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Catherine Johnson 11/01/2013

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There are a lot of stars in “Unthinkable”.  One of the most positive, talented and gracious is Catherine Johnson.  Hand picked by Eric Stacey, she knows what the stakes are.  The two worked together on “Purple Mind”  A film centered around a man suffering from PTSD.  With emotionally intense dialogue and a controversial subject matter, Catherine is in for a serious ride.

Catherine states, her character, “Helen” in “Unthinkable” has been married to the same man for ten years and she loves him dearly.  Their lives take on a whole new meaning when something sinister happens to the neighbors.  Helen has a close bond with them.  What is she to do?  Does she unravel the mystery?  Her compassionate and protective nature … does she help or mind her own business?

UNTHINKABLE-First Day 10/23/2013

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The first day on set of “Unthinkable” went off without a hitch.  Dennis Fitzgerald . . . http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4189288/ (Phillips) and Randall Paul (Madison) . . . http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0666955/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm . . . were pros.  

With ease they portrayed their characters 30 year friendship.  How will they find out what’s been kept from them?  What does the government have to say for itself?   How can a journalist change circumstances?  …….  To be continued!

 

PURPLE MIND – Interview for Talent Spotlight Magazine 10/29/2012

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Just sent this interview for Talent Spotlight Magazine off to Jessica Gilbert.  She says it will be published in late November, but thought I’d post it here for anyone looking to get a head start on the rest of the world beating a track to our door…  LOL

Jessica: Eric, it’s wonderful to have you in TSM, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do an interview for the magazine.

 

Eric:  Thanks for your interest in learning more about what we’re up to.

 

Jessica: What inspired you to get into filmmaking?

Eric:  My dad worked in the movies and he was always off somewhere on location or at the studio, so movies and filmmaking and my dad were always part of the same cloth.  When I was a kid, he put a Kodak roll film camera in my hand and I started taking pictures.  This was when I was around seven years old, so I was hooked from a really early age back when the only place people made movies was where we lived – Hollywood.  Also, I guess I fell for the romance of the movies.  What I saw from my perspective was a guy – my dad – who was always going off to interesting places, and hanging out with interesting people and who everybody else seemed to admire.  It was hard not to want to have that kind of life, except that there was a period where I wanted to be a race car driver.

Jessica: Tell us a little bit about your filmmaking background.

 

Eric:  One Saturday afternoon when I was five or six, my dad took me to see the original “King Kong,” with Fay Wray.  As the film was unfolding, Dad started telling me how a team of special effects people made King Kong move and that the “monkey” was really only six inches tall.  He ruined the picture for me by destroying the illusion of King Kong’s menace, but gave birth to the filmmaker in me.  As a kid, I got acting jobs in films at Warner Brothers like “East of Eden” with James DeanI’m often tempted not to tell people about my experience growing up in Hollywood, because they think I had some special privilege, but that’s anything but the case.  I’m still “getting started” making films today when most of my friends are retired and taking cruises or playing golf.  Today anyone with a Canon DSLR can make movies tell great stories, but back then you needed sound stages and cameras that weighed over a hundred pounds and twenty trucks of equipment to make a movie.  My dad really gave me my start in the business.  He got me jobs as an bit player, as a caterer’s assistant, and eventually as a production assistant on films in Europe before he died over forty years ago.

 

Jessica: Can you recall the first film you ever made?

 

Eric:  The first film I ever made was a documentary on drag racing.  That was before anyone knew what drag racing was.  Two of my friends and I went up to Bakersfield Top Fuel Drags for a weekend and came back with a few hours of 16mm film.  I sold a clip of a dragster crashing in flames, but the rest was a bust.  We lost all our money.  It was an important lesson.  My second film was much better.  It was called “The Ceremony.”  A friend wrote it and I shot and directed – a story about a ten year old kid who falls victim to the peer pressure of a neighborhood gang which forces him to kill a neighbor’s dog as part of the initiation into their club.  I’d been working on the original “Planet of the Apes” as one of the “humans” at the time.  That’s where the budget came from.  “The Ceremony” started getting me jobs.  First as a Line Producer at the American Film Institute and then at the UCLA Media Center where I made films for The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities among others.

 

Jessica: Tell us about your film Purple Mind. What made you want to create this type of film? How did you come up with the name?

 

Eric:  Well, ever since the sixties I’ve been interested in social issues.  By the time VietNam became such a controversy, I’d been in and out of the Navy, but I saw a lot of young guys go off to that war who never came back or came back shattered and broken.  During the late sixties and early seventies, I’d been concentrating on establishing myself somewhere in the film industry – not protesting or standing up for my beliefs in some way – so I‘ve always looked back at those days with a sense of regret that I hadn’t been more active in speaking out against that illegal and ill-fated war that took 50,000 American lives.  So, just after moving from LA to Portland, Oregon in 2005, I’d started making some small documentaries and as the war in Iraq was turning into another VietNam, I began rewriting a story about domestic violence which I’d written years earlier, changing the main character from a redneck wife-beater to a combat soldier returning from Iraq only to deal with a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which threatened to destroy both the soldier and his family.  At the time, the script was titled “Sandbox,” and as I started showing it to a few actors, I got really good responses.  Then, when Emily Bridges read it and said she wanted to do it, that was the moment that turned Sandbox from a writing project into an independent feature project.  A really low budget indie feature project that attracted actors from New York and LA as well as Portland.  I was really committed to doing the film, but in spite of there being no money for the actors or crew, the project managed to attract a small but really great group of enthusiastic filmmakers who believed in the project enough to spend a few months essentially working for free.  We shot the majority of the film on The Imperial Cattle Ranch in Maupin, Oregon, a 30,000 acre cattle and sheep ranch with 40 mile horizons and endless quiet, where if a guy were to go crazy on his family, there would be no one within twenty miles to hear the screams.  So, in a way, the first hour of the film is a bit like Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” but then it takes a turn – but I don’t want to spoil it for any of your readers, so that’s all I‘ll say.  As far as the title, “Purple Mind,” that came about one night in Maupin as we were all sitting around the bunk house – yes, really, the Ranch’s bunk house – and we – the cast and crew – were tossing around titles for the film.  I think it was Ian Rickett – a USC film student at the time – suggested that PTSD was kind of like a soldier earning a Purple Heart for being wounded in war, only in our character’s case it was a Purple Mind, for coming home with mental wounds instead of physical wounds of war.

 

Jessica: What other films are in the works?

 

Eric:  I have a pet project called “Affidavit,” which I’ve been developing off-and-on for over twelve years.  It’s a behind the scenes story about a Special Forces soldier who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during Iran-Contra.  I don’t want to say any more than that, but if we get it made it should create quite a stir.

 

Jessica: Who are some filmmakers you admire and look up to?

 

Eric:  Well, I’m old-school, so I would have to say that list would include names like Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, and Terrance Malick, because they‘re all pioneering filmmakers who have in some way stood up to the pressures of Hollywood to tell courageous stories which have endured.  I would also add John Cassavetes and Dennis Hopper to that list for being among the first real “independents” who led the way for the waves of independent filmmakers of the last forty years.  On the other hand, how could any list like this not include Orson Welles, the genius who made one of the great films of all time, “Citizen Kane,” a film too clearly critical of a man powerful enough to black-list him from making films for the rest of his life.

 

Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

 

Eric: Well, it seems to me that when human beings stick to their own kind they are a peaceful and harmonious and loving bunch.  But as soon as you broaden that to include folks who are somehow different, whether it be their color, their language, their religion, their sexual orientation or their wealth, suddenly far too many tend to see those folks as the “other.”  I know this sounds a bit like playing God, but if I had the power to do something in the world today, it would be to help people see that there really is no “other” – there are only people who all share universal hopes and dreams of belonging.  I’ve tried to do that in some way with every film I’ve made, and I’ll keep trying till my last breath.

 

Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?

 

Eric:  It’s got to be Howard Beale’s speech from Paddy Chayefsky‘s brilliant screenplay for Sidney Lumet’s Oscar winning film, “Network”  –  Beale:  “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be! We know things are bad – worse than bad, They’re crazy! It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone!’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone! I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!” So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” … Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Or this one, also from “Network” – Beale: “Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business.”


Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?

 

Eric:  My dad was from the school that taught, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.”  But as I’ve lived my life, I’ve found that people who pretend usually wind up unhappy or in trouble.  So, for me, it’s “What you see is what you get.”  Most of my films of the past fifteen years are available on Amazon, and they’re all up on our website at www.landfallprods.com.  There’s more about “Purple Mind” at www.purplemindmovie.com including my blog.  And, of course, there is a Purple Mind fan page on Facebook.  I hope to meet some of your readers and fans there.

 

Jessica: Thanks so much again for doing an interview for TSM and wish you the best of luck with all your film projects in the future.

 

Eric:  Thanks Jessica.  It’s been my pleasure.

 

End of interview

PURPLE MIND – Outreach for Truth 09/16/2012

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It’s been nearly a month since my last blog.  I can’t explain it other than to say that I just burned out writing about PTSD and so many other troubles that result from people (and Governments) saying one thing but doing another.  Of course, it isn’t nice to characterize this as lying.  A kinder word is the now-popular term used by politicians who “mis-speak.”

I’ve recently been helping document a woman’s bicycle ride for truth.  She’s riding from Orcas Island in Washington state to Washington, DC, where she will deliver a petition for a new investigation into the events of 9/11 to President Obama and to Attorney General, Eric Holder.  Pam Senzee is a member of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an organization boasting over 2,000 certified Architects and Engineers who are convinced the official story – that fire brought down the three World Trade Center buildings –  is a classic example of “mis-speaking.”  A&E offers some very compelling evidence which is all available from the A&E for 911 Truth website.

But what got me fired up to write today was seeing an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette about a Fort Carson soldier accused of killing an unarmed man outside a Colorado Springs motorcycle club who appears likely to argue at trial that the killing resulted from the effects of combat stress and war injuries.  I couldn’t say, one way or the other, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone was killed as a consequence of PTSD, and it is stories like this which prompted us to make our independent feature film, “Purple Mind,” about an Iraq combat veteran’s struggles with PTSD.

Recently, one of our strongest supporters, a member of the Boston Veterans for Peace, has begun working to help get our film into theaters.  He has targeted the Cinemark Theater chain, and their theater in El Paso, TX, home of the First Armored Division at Fort Bliss, TX.  In order to encourage the folks at Cinemark that there is a real audience for “Purple Mind,” we’re encouraging all our friends to drop by the Cinemark Facebook page and write a note on their wall encouraging them to book “Purple Mind” into their El Paso theater (and other theaters near military bases).

“Purple Mind” is the story of Roy Matthews, an Iraq combat veteran who returns from one war only to fight another war against the PTSD which threatens to destroy both Roy and his family.  Brian Morton of Rogue Cinema Reviews gave “Purple Mind” four out of four cigars.  “Purple Mind is one of the best dramas I’ve seen this year.  It’s scary and in the end, it reminds us that not everyone can come home from something as terrible as a war and go right back to life as we all know it..  It’s a great movie that needs to be seen.”

Thanks for any support you can lend.

Peace

A HISTORY OF DECEIT 08/22/2012

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People who don’t know me may wonder why I make the films I do; films that encourage a more in depth understanding of educational methods (The Waldorf Promise), films that encourage our potential to put off climate change through understanding environmental principles (A Passion for Sustainability), and most recently, films which encourage us to understand why our soldiers are killing themselves in record numbers (Purple Mind).  It’s because now and then something really extraordinary presents itself to me, reminding me of why it’s so important for us all to understand that what we’re told by Washington and the corporate media is mostly PR.  Here is one of those somethings…

PURPLE MIND – MOVIE REVIEW 08/03/2012

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Today’s Review:

“There have been tons of movies about men who come home from war warped in some way. Most of them are horror movies, and none of them have to do with reality. Well, Eric Stacey has taken this specific genre and given it both a base in reality and a bit of hope!

“Roy has come home from the war on terror, but he’s not the same man who left and his family isn’t quite sure why. Roy is having nightmares; he’s distant and seems to be angry all the time. The family moves to a ranch to try to get away from everything and give Roy a chance to clear his head, but the isolation only makes things worse for Roy, until it seems that he’s in danger of losing everything, his family, his home and even his life. Until the local Sheriff steps in, recognizing Roy’s problem, and sends a friend to help Roy out and lead him down a path that will get him home.

“Purple Mind is one of the best dramas I’ve seen this year. It’s realistic, it’s scary and in the end, it reminds us that not everyone can come home from something as terrible as a war and go right back to life as we all know it. Stacey has given us a glimpse into what veterans with post traumatic stress disorder go through, and that helps all of us…both the vets to not feel so isolated and us to know what’s going on.”  — Brian Morton, RogueCinema.com

http://www.roguecinema.com/article3310.html

PURPLE MIND – TV SERIES? 08/01/2012

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I’ve been seeing promos for a new TV series featuring contestants (celebrities) who go on combat missions with Special Forces or Navy Seal teams.  Wow.  Along those lines, I think PTSD may also be on the way to claiming its very own specific film genre.  In the press and on the web, PTSD is getting nearly as much attention as romance, science fiction & action-adventure.  While the audience for PTSD themed films is nowhere near as large as those for the better established film genres, my sense is that we will be dealing with the consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan for a long time to come (many seasons, eh corporate sponsors?).

Certainly, there is plenty of drama and conflict attached to PTSD.  Joseph Bobrow’s recent article in Huffington Post told us “the most frequent reason soldiers gave for attempting suicide was… intense emotional pain.”  He then asks, “Did we need to spend $50,000,000 to find that out?”  The apparent stupidity of psychological researchers could drive a normal person over the edge.

The question Army researchers seem focused on is that because people who try to commit suicide do so in an effort not to harm themselves so much as stop the pain, that this supports developing new therapies which focus on “quelling” emotional pain rather than on dealing with “underlying issues” such as depression or post-traumatic stress.  Don’t VA shrinks already prescribe killer amounts of pain killing drugs just to mask the symptoms?

But there may be hope.  Bobrow reminds us that since time immemorial people have been using a combination of small peer support groups, expressive arts, vigorous recreation and secular ritual to transform unbearable trauma.

Good deal.  Our film, “Purple Mind,” focuses on Roy Matthews, a veteran suffering the unbearable trauma of having taken part in the Battle of Falujah where he not only lost his best friend, but also ripped apart families, killed women and children and imprisoned countless innocent Iraqi males.  Certainly, Roy Matthews’ experience of war represents a disturbing story of the trauma of war, but it is only one story.  There are as many variations as there are soldiers and veterans suffering PTSD, many who never saw a dead person, and more still who never left their homes.  Roy’s story is just one of many hundreds of thousands, twenty percent or more which will go untreated and unresolved… at least until it becomes an accepted practice within the military to see soldiers as whole people with mental and spiritual lives in addition to meeting the physical requirements of the battlefield.

But how long and how complicated is such an outcome to take?  Arizona provides a clue.  Last week we learned that if it turns out medical marijuana might help war veterans deal with their depression of PTSD, Arizona will treat veteran potheads  as hippie-no-good-nicks looking for a phony baloney excuse to get high.

“The decision to deny requests by veterans, care providers and others for medical marijuana use for PTSD, migraine headaches, anxiety and depression follows a recommendation by medical officials in the Department of Health Services.”  Bravo medical officials for keeping our veterans safe from pot!

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, yet another new study found that among soldiers, those who had engaged the enemy in combat were found to be twice as likely as others to admit hitting someone upon their return and one third of victims of the post-combat violence were said to be close relatives of the soldiers themselves.

“The association between performing a combat role and being exposed to combat, and subsequent violence on return from deployment, is about two fold,” Dr. MacManus told the BBC.

The conflicts between government interests and the individual interests of soldiers and veterans was highlighted in a press release from The American Federation of Government Employees today.  “Dr. Michelle Washington, a post-traumatic stress disorder specialist at the Wilmington, VA Medical Center, has seen her performance rating lowered, job duties altered and job titled changed stemming from her Senate testimony about mental health care access wait times, says AFGE.”   Washington and others have faced adverse actions from the VA in a “coordinated pattern of retaliation” for bringing to light mismanagement at the VA.

“For eight months, Dr. Washington has been under attack for speaking the truth about the unmet needs of veterans facing severe mental health problems,” said AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer J. David Cox. “It is time for the agency’s highest level appointee over our veterans’ health care system to take prompt action to fix this situation and make Dr. Washington whole in terms of her job duties, job title and performance ratings.”

Cox called the VA’s treatment of Dr. Washington, “highly illegal, extremely disrespectful of the Congressional hearing process and threatening to the VA’s ability to identify deficiencies in services it provides to veterans.”

Mini-series anybody?  No?  Not enough drama?  Well, here’s more…

Former Connecticut Supreme Court Judge Barry Shaller’s recent book, “Veterans On Trial: The Coming Battles Over PTSD” suggests that, “Since courts in America stand uniquely on the front lines of dealing with the unsolved problems of society, courts will bear the brunt of postwar mental health problems.”

The key-art of our film “Purple Mind” tells the story in a nutshell.

“THE ARMY TRAINED US TO GO TO WAR.  
BUT NOBODY TRAINED US TO COME HOME.”

Judge Shaller seems to agree.  “We should really look to our veterans with all their training and education, their experience to be leaders and model citizens. They are, after all, law abiding people who go through an experience that changes them in some ways, and causes them problems. I don’t think it’s enough that they just recover. I think that that’s setting the bar too low. … What the military should institute is a training program for soldiers’ re-entry into society, comparable in duration to basic military training.”

Very enlightened, Your Honor.  Wanna hit?

 

 

 

PURPLE MIND – CASUALTIES OF THE LIE 07/28/2012

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I don’t understand why more people aren’t really angry about the number of people who have died in our two wars.  The other day, Michael Moore described the Iraq and Afghanistan “conflicts” as our two “ongoing Auroras.”

Seems that when one of our own unleashes a deadly attack on unarmed civilians with assault weapons in a theater in Colorado, we can’t stop talking about it.  But when we kill over a million innocent civilians in Iraq, we can only talk about the unfortunate results to our own troops, who I’m calling “Casualties of the Lie.”

Yesterday, I posted a five minute compilation video featuring ex-CIA asset Susan Lindauer discussing her experiences as the first non-Arab American detained under the Patriot Act for threatening to expose the Bush Administration’s lies about advance warnings of the attacks of 9/11 – lies which stand to this day as the justification for our “War on Terror.”  Trouble is, the terrorists were not just the hijackers, they were also those who took advantage of their advance knowledge of the attacks to bring down the World Trade Center and Building 7 by controlled demolition.

Don’t believe me?  Well, you’re not alone.  Most people refuse to think about Govt. complicity in the 9/11 attacks.  If they did, no one would have signed up to go off to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.  If they did, we might not be witness to 18 veteran suicides a day and people wouldn’t be so impossibly familiar with the term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

If the advance warnings of the 9/11 attacks had been responded to appropriately when the Attorney General and the President were warned, according to Lindauer, there would have been a much more satisfying result.  Through Lindauer, Iraq had offered far better than the threat of war:  they offered to purchase a million American automobiles every year for ten years; they offered American oil companies 1st tier oil export contracts; they offered American business reconstruction contracts for buildings and infrastructure throughout Iraq; and, they offered American technology companies contracts to upgrade the entire Iraq telecommunications system…. all that in exchange for our lifting sanctions responsible for the death of 5,000 Iraqi children a month.  You’d think Bush and Company would have at least considered such a great deal.

Instead we got Paul Bremmer who systematically dismantled Iraq, top to bottom, destroying a civil society and giving birth to a ten year war whose only beneficiary was the US Military Industrial Complex, and a war which still threatens to send the United States into bankruptcy.

But why does it matter, you ask, now that we’re “out” of Iraq and “winding down” in Afghanistan?  It matters because far too many people don’t want to think of America as an aggressor nation.  They want to think of America as “preserving freedom” via a military strong enough to stand up to any threat.  It matters because the trillions spent on our wars of aggression might better serve America by being spent on education, innovation, renewable energy, healthcare and infrastructure, things things which would really benefit America and Americans, things which would create jobs and turn the economy around.

If you believe the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were/are dedicated to “preserving freedom,” ask yourself this question:  What memories live in the mind of a soldier who served multiple tours in Iraq?  Ask yourself why that soldier is twice as likely to die by suicide than members of the general population.  Ask yourself what kinds of trauma, combat and deployment did that soldier experience?  Ask yourself why that soldier’s “fight for freedom” would the cause him to turn to drug and alcohol abuse, to become depressed enough to commit suicide.  Why?  In exchange for his fight to “protect our freedom,” our soldier comes home with depressive symptoms five times that of his civilian brothers and sisters.  And it is all related to stress.  Stress in the form of exposure to death – not just of his buddies, but of innocent civilians as well.  Our soldier comes home feeling isolated and disconnected.  He feels ineffective, no longer deployed or actively involved in military culture, he feels like a failure who doesn’t belong, a burden to others and unable to readjust… because there is little in common between the experience of war – especially an illegal war – and the experience of civilian values.  The war has ripped that dignity from his soul forever – unless he is fortunate enough to receive some honest and meaningful therapy.

Most returning soldiers are reluctant to speak about their experience in the war zone, especially if it contradicts the official story.  Soldiers can lose their benefits if they criticize the military.  But there are a handful of brave soldiers who are unafraid.  They belong to groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War, whose members spoke at the Winter Soldier testimony before Congress in 2008, describing the kind of experiences – clear examples – of why a soldier would come home suffering from PTSD, depression and thoughts of suicide.  Soldiers who are willing to speak truth to power, are the soldiers who truly deserve our respect.  They are the men and women who inspired us to make our film, “Purple Mind.”  They are men and women America needs to embrace and learn from in order that we not be deceived into another unjustified war designed to benefit a few large corporations at the expense of the United States of America.

PURPLE MIND – SEEKING THE TRUTH 07/26/2012

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If you’re someone seeking the truth about what’s going on in Washington or in our excursions into the Middle-East, it’s nearly a sure thing you won’t find it in the mainstream (corporate) media.  Our little indie feature film, “Purple Mind,” reflects what hundreds of Winter Soldiers had to say about their experiences in Iraq, but unfortunately a majority of Americans still prefer to believe the fictions of 9/11 and Sadam’s weapons of mass destruction.

This past weekend, I met ex CIA-Asset Susan Lindauer, who was the first non-Arab American prosecuted and silenced under the Patriot Act from talking about her direct knowledge of terrorist World Trade Center attacks well in advance of 9/11.  Susan’s story is terrifying, but now available from Amazon.com – “Extreme Prejudice” – a fascinating study in how the Patriot Act nearly destroyed Susan, eviscerated the US Constitution, and continues to threaten us all today.

One of the “secret charges” brought against Susan was an accusation that she received a book from Iraqi colleague about the US Military’s use of depleted uranium and the resulting birth defects suffered by Iraqis and cancers by American soldiers.  John Ashcroft’s US prosecutors said Susan’s possession of this “classified information” constituted a risk to demoralizing US troops and they attempted to imprison her without trial for up to ten years, an effort which, thankfully, Susan was able to overcome.

So, today I would like to share what one Winter Soldier had to say about what really demoralizes the troops.  Here it is…

PURPLE MIND – MIDNIGHT MURDER 07/21/2012

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I sure didn’t expect to be writing about mass murder today, but it’s pretty hard to ignore when a lunatic gunman opens fire on the audience of a midnight movie.  Apparently there are some similarities between how James Holmes conducted his mass kill and “The Joker’s” excessive killing in “The Dark Knight.”  But I am in agreement with others who refuse to give credence to the idea that the movie made him do it.  Rather, I think that the more detached from reality we become as a society, the more psychopaths we hatch to kill us when we’re unaware.

Our film, “Purple Mind,” illustrates the result of an organization which conditions men and women headed for combat to suppress their emotions when it comes to killing.  The tougher our warriors are in battle the better.  They are trained to put their feelings inside little boxes and shut their feelings away while they are at war.  The danger is that these men and women come home and suddenly they’re expected to become “normal” again, like turning on a switch.  But it doesn’t happen that way, does it.

Films are more violent today then ever in the history of cinema.  Our bad guys are generally psychopaths who have become more and more glorified as our movies have moved further from depictions of real life to stories reflecting the excesses of the comics films like “The Dark Knight” are based on.  Hey, they’re fun.  But they are also way out there!

So, with all that in mind, I thought I’d repost an article from Scientific American, “What Psychopath Means.”  It’s pretty interesting.

By Scott O. Lilienfeld and Hal Arkowitz  | November 28, 2007

We have all heard these phrases before. “Violent psychopath” (21,700). “Psychopathic serial killer” (14,700). “Psychopathic murderer” (12,500). “Deranged psychopath” (1,050). The number of Google hits following them in parentheses attests to their currency in popular culture. Yet as we will soon discover, each phrase embodies a widespread misconception regarding psychopathic personality, often called psychopathy (pronounced “sigh-COP-athee”) or sociopathy. Indeed, few disorders are as misunderstood as is psychopathic personality. In this column, we will do our best to set the record straight and dispel popular myths about this condition.

Charming but Callous
First described systematically by Medical College of Georgia psychiatrist Hervey M. Cleckley in 1941, psychopathy consists of a specific set of personality traits and behaviors. Superficially charming, psychopaths tend to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest and undependable, and at times they engage in irresponsible behavior for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it. Largely devoid of guilt, empathy and love, they have casual and callous interpersonal and romantic relationships. Psychopaths routinely offer excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead. They rarely learn from their mistakes or benefit from negative feedback, and they have difficulty inhibiting their impulses.

Not surprisingly, psychopaths are overrepresented in prisons; studies indicate that about 25 percent of inmates meet diagnostic criteria for psychopathy. Nevertheless, research also suggests that a sizable number of psychopaths may be walking among us in everyday life. Some investigators have even speculated that “successful psychopaths”—those who attain prominent positions in society—may be overrepresented in certain occupations, such as politics, business and entertainment. Yet the scientific evidence for this intriguing conjecture is preliminary.

Most psychopaths are male, although the reasons for this sex difference are unknown. Psychopathy seems to be present in both Western and non-Western cultures, including those that have had minimal exposure to media portrayals of the condition. In a 1976 study anthropologist Jane M. Murphy, then at Harvard University, found that an isolated group of Yupik-speaking Inuits near the Bering Strait had a term (kunlangeta) they used to describe “a man who … repeatedly lies and cheats and steals things and … takes sexual advantage of many women—someone who does not pay attention to reprimands and who is always being brought to the elders for punishment.” When Murphy asked an Inuit what the group would typically do with a kunlangeta, he replied, “Somebody would have pushed him off the ice when nobody else was looking.”

The best-established measure of psychopathy, the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), developed by University of British Columbia psychologist Robert D. Hare, requires a standardized interview with subjects and an examination of their file records, such as their criminal and educational histories. Analyses of the PCL-R reveal that it comprises at least three overlapping, but separable, constellations of traits: interpersonal deficits (such as grandiosity, arrogance and deceitfulness), affective deficits (lack of guilt and empathy, for instance), and impulsive and criminal behaviors (including sexual promiscuity and stealing).

Three Myths
Despite substantial research over the past several decades, popular misperceptions surrounding psychopathy persist. Here we will consider three of them.

1. All psychopaths are violent. Research by psychologists such as Randall T. Salekin, now at the University of Alabama, indicates that psychopathy is a risk factor for future physical and sexual violence. Moreover, at least some serial killers—for example, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Dennis Rader, the infamous “BTK” (Bind, Torture, Kill) murderer—have manifested numerous psychopathic traits, including superficial charm and a profound absence of guilt and empathy.

Nevertheless, most psychopaths are not violent, and most violent people are not psychopaths. In the days following the horrific Virginia Tech shootings of April 16, 2007, many newspaper commentators described the killer, Seung-Hui Cho, as “psychopathic.” Yet Cho exhibited few traits of psychopathy: those who knew him described him as markedly shy, withdrawn and peculiar.

Regrettably, the current (fourth, revised) edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), published in 2000, only reinforces the confusion between psychopathy and violence. It describes a condition termed antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), which is characterized by a longstanding history of criminal and often physically aggressive behavior, referring to it as synonymous with psychopathy. Yet research demonstrates that measures of psychopathy and ASPD overlap only moderately.

2. All psychopaths are psychotic. In contrast to people with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, who often lose contact with reality, psychopaths are almost always rational. They are well aware that their ill-advised or illegal actions are wrong in the eyes of society but shrug off these concerns with startling nonchalance.

Some notorious serial killers referred to by the media as psychopathic, such as Charles Manson and David Berkowitz, have displayed pronounced features of psychosis rather than psychopathy. For example, Manson claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and Berkowitz believed he was receiving commands from his neighbor Sam Carr’s dog (hence his adopted nickname “Son of Sam”). In contrast, psychopaths are rarely psychotic.

3. Psychopathy is untreatable. In the popular HBO series The Sopranos, the therapist (Dr. Melfi) terminated psychotherapy with Tony Soprano because her friend and fellow psychologist persuaded her that Tony, whom Dr. Melfi concluded was a classic psychopath, was untreatable. Aside from the fact that Tony exhibited several behaviors that are decidedly nonpsychopathic (such as his loyalty to his family and emotional attachment to a group of ducks that had made his swimming pool their home), Dr. Melfi’s pessimism may have been unwarranted. Although psychopaths are often unmotivated to seek treatment, research by psychologist Jennifer Skeem of the University of California, Irvine, and her colleagues suggests that psychopaths may benefit as much as nonpsychopaths from psychological treatment. Even if the core personality traits of psychopaths are exceedingly difficult to change, their criminal behaviors may prove more amenable to treatment.

Psychopathy reminds us that media depictions of mental illness often contain as much fiction as fact. Moreover, widespread misunderstandings of such ailments can produce unfortunate consequences—as Tony Soprano discovered shortly before the television screen went blank.