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“SECRET FUNDS” 03/31/2013

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Movies On A Mission has just launched a new crowd funding effort for AFFIDAVIT, the film that will once and for all put an end to speculation about the CIA’s use of drug trafficking to raise “Special Funds.”

What are “Special Funds” you might ask?  Those are the off-the-books funds which are not budgeted by Congress or the President to fund special operations, such as training and arming the Contras during Iran-Contra of the 80s and today may even include tens of millions in Corporate donations to favored political candidates.  The OSS began “Special Fundraising” during WWII in Italy with the help of Mafioso Vito Genovese, by cornering the market on heroin.  Ever since, drugs have been a preferred means to fund CIA super secret operations, and today, as Washington and Colorado have voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuanna, we believe it is time that the Government’s criminal hypocrisy come to an end.

No, we are not the first to take on this mission.  In August, 1996, the San Jose Mercury News began publishing Gary Webb’s articles, The Dark Alliance, which revealed spectacular details of an Army-CIA drug ring which sold tons of cocaine to the street gangs of Los Angeles.  Unfortunately, the SJMN publishers caved in to pressure from Washington and withdrew their support for the Webb articles.  Not surprising, as David Guyatt comments in the footnotes to his articles “Deep Black – The Secret Wars of the CIA” – “Don’t expect the major media to inform you of what is really going on in the world. They won’t. To paraphrase Walter Mattheu’s one-liner uttered to perfection in the movie JFK: “These dogs don’t hunt.” Least-ways not anymore. The old media “blood-hound” is, today, curled up on a rug in front of the salary fire. His muscles have wasted, his belly is full and his nose has forgotten how to twitch – and his arm twitching dreams are of earlier days.”

Our film, AFFIDAVIT, tells the story of PFC William Tyree as documented by affidavits sworn by Tyree’s commanding officer, Col. Edward P. Cutolo and US Army Criminal Investigator, William Wilson, who served as the Army Inspector General of the May Lai Massacre.

Tyree took part in two black Operations, Watchtower and Orwell, both initiated by Edwin Wilson.  Watchtower was to “establish a series of three electronic beacon towers beginning outside of Bogata, Columbia, and running northeast to the border of Panama.” With the beacons in place and activated, aircraft could fix on their signal and fly undetected from Bogata to Panama, landing at Albrook Air Station. All told, 30 “high performance aircraft” flew the covert route to Albrook.

More alarming still, are Cutolo’s and Tyree’s allegations concerning a black operation suitably named “George Orwell” which saw the return of Edwin Wilson.   During a meeting with Cutolo, Edwin Wilson explained that “it was considered that Operation Watch Tower might be compromised and become known if politicians, judicial figures, police and religious entities were approached or received word that U. S. troops had aided in delivering narcotics from Columbia into Panama.” Based on that possibility, Cutolo, formed twelve separate Special Action Teams (SATs).  Operation Orwell was tasked with implementing intense “surveillance of politicians, judicial figures, law enforcement agencies at the state level and of religious groups.”  The underlying purpose was to provide the “United States government and the Army” with advance warning of the of the discovery of Watch Tower to enable them to “prepare a defence.”

Bill Curtis produced a broadcast television documentary, “Murder At Fort Devens” in 1998.  The program explored the prosecution and conviction of William Tyree for the murder of his wife, Elaine.  The documentary explored only what was available to the public at the time.  Tyree’s pre-trial judge, Judge James Kiliam found Tyree innocent and expressed his suspicion that “forces unknown” were at work behind  Elaine Tyree’s murder and Bill’s subsequent conviction.

But today, armed with the affidavits of Col. Cutolo and Col. William Wilson, we know that PFC William Tyree was charged, prosecuted and imprisoned for a murder Col. Cutolo knew Tyree did not commit; a murder Cutolo conspired to falsely convict Tyree of in order to protect “National Security.”

How much longer, and how many more will be murdered, die accidentally or be discredited through incarceration so that poppies and cocca leaves can fund the secret wars of the CIA? Latin America was the secret CIA war following Vietnam.  Iraq and Afghanistan were next, both based on manufactured evidence.  We are still at war in Afghanistan.  How many more of our service peoples’ lives will be wasted based on wars generating “Special Funds” and on dark secrets protected by “National Security?”

There is only one thing we can do to stop this — for those who profit from “Special Funds” to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed. That is what  AFFIDAVIT is all about, to shed light on how this has happened and to reverse course on a military bankrupting a nation and its people. Will you support AFFIDAVIT?

We can only produce “AFFIDAVIT” with your help.  The film is crowd funding at www.usaprojects.org/project/affidavit.  Whether you are able to contribute twenty-five dollars or a thousand, every dollar is tax deductible and will finance a film dedicated to reversing a terrible wrong.

Eric Stacey,
Producer, Movies On A Mission, LLC

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

MOVIES ON A MISSION – CRAZY BIKE RIDE TO THE WHITE HOUSE 10/11/2012

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Crazy bike ride to the White House?  What’s this all about?

I guess it does sound a little crazy.  It sounded that way to me too when Pam Senzee first called and told me she planned to ride her bike (yes, with pedals) from the San Juan Islands in Washington State all the way across the country to Washington, DC to deliver a petition to the White House.

That is crazy.  Who does stuff like that?  Pam is a member of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a group of over 1,700 Architects & Engineers who question the official story of how the World Trade Center buildings came down on 9/11.

Oh, no.  More conspiracy theories?  No.  The folks at A&E for 9/11 Truth have conducted serious scientific and forensic studies which produced incontrovertible evidence that the World Trade Center buildings did not come down as a result of fire – the Official Story from the National Institute for Science and Technology.

Don’t most people just turn away from the kind of conspiracy nut jobs you’re talking about?  Yes, and that’s the point of Pam’s ride.  It’s all about outreach.  Pam has made it nearly all the way across the country, giving away hundreds of DVDs from Architects & Engineers founder, Richard Gage, which explain in detail why the group is calling for a new, independent investigation into HOW the World Trade Center buildings really came down.

But I thought the terrorists were all Taliban and Jihadists.  Well, that’s what most people think, but if what the A&E folks are saying about HOW the WTC buildings came down is true, then there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered.

Remember, we’re talking about 3,000 people who were murdered on 9/11.  We’re also talking about two wars, 7,000 US dead and perhaps a million Iraqi dead, not to mention all the casualties plus trillions of tax dollars and assaults on the US Constitution which all came about based on the official story of 9/11.

Well, maybe that’s reason enough to help this nutty gal – what’s her name? – Pam Senzee get the word out.  Glad you think so.  Now, take a look at this little YouTube video I threw together about Pam’s cross country ride to the White House and see what you think.

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 – REALITY TV GOES TO WAR 08/14/2012

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Well, tonight it happens, at last.  The major media, NBC specifically, brings us the latest in PR from the Pentagon in the form of its new “reality” show, Stars Earn Stripes.  (8/7 c)

If ever there were a perfect example of the military industrial complex desire to warp the minds of young people into celebrating war, this is it….  You see, gradually, the military has decided that smaller and faster makes more sense for today’s “war on terror,” with small, highly trained strike teams from Special Forces and/or Navy Seals ready to penetrate borders and take out bad guys or rescue VIPs without the necessity of taking over a country via a massive invasion. Good thinking Pentagon brass.  Very efficient.  Saves money and lives.

However, “Stars Win Stripes” is a shameless attempt to turn marginal celebrities into world class warriors of Rambo stature.  Under the direction of Gen. Wesley Clark and Bertram van Munster, best known as the producer of The Amazing Race in association with Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of Top Gun 1 & 2, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, etc.), the show pretends to put TV “celebs” in harms way to let America fully appreciate what it takes to kill at close range.  NPR says the show is “stultifyingly boring as television and badly designed as a reality-competition show.”  With celebrities like Nick Lachey, Eva Torres and Todd Palin, can anyone seriously wonder what this show is really about?  –  Todd Palin?

If you’ve ever wondered how much of what Washington has to tell us about the military and war is the truth, Stars Win Stripes might get a passing grade for impressing us with the strength, skills and determination of Special Forces and Navy Seal types, but it does nothing to deepen America’s understanding of why we go to war or carry out covert missions in the first place.  And this is one of the great underlying problems of our current state of affairs in Washington.  The military-industrial complex in collusion with the mainstream media carefully avoid any discussion of what’s important for us (voters) to understand about things like “National Security” and the “War on Terror.”

Chris Hedges has quite a lot to say on the subject in his recent book, Empire of Illusion.  “The defense industries, like all corporations, rely on deceptive ad campaigns and lobbyists to perpetuate their lock on taxpayer money.  The late Senator J. William Fulbright described the reach of the military-industrial establishment in his 1970 book The Pentagon Propaganda Machine.  Fulbright explained how the Pentagon influenced public opinion through direct contacts with the public, Defense Department films, close ties with Hollywood producers, and use of the commercial media to gain support for weapons systems.  The majority of the military analysts on television are former military officials, many employed as consultants to defense industries, a fact they rarely disclose to the public.  Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star army general and military analyst for NBC News, was, The New York Times reported, at the same time an employee of Defense Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm.  He profited, the article noted, from the sale of the weapons systems and expansion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he championed over the airwaves.”

So, while Stars Earn Stripes may find an audience with young folks interested in blowing shit up, I would like to point out the fact that though we may have the strongest and best equipped military in history, that is no excuse for treating the rest of the world like it has an obligation to become like usor else.

As David Swanson, author of War is A Lie, recently wrote about our little independent film, Purple Mind, “Here’s a movie of the sort Hollywood should be required to make every time it makes a glorification of war.”  But if you want to see our movie any time soon, you’ll have to do it on-line.  It may take NBC some time before they call.

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 – SHARING THE TRUTH 07/30/2012

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“The War On Terror” is based on the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  After eleven years, millions of deaths and trillions of dollars spent on this war, isn’t it time that we share the truth with everyone possible?  We’re within 100 days of the November elections.  Keep in mind, one of Mitt Romney’s key endorsers is mega-war profiteer, George H.W. Bush,

Watch this important video!

SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE!

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.