20 Quotes to Inspire Change

They’re profound thinkers who spoke powerful words. But they also lived their lives as an example, putting these words into action every day. From Africa to the Americas, here are quotes from 20 famous–and not so famous–people, living and dead, who spent their lives thinking about and contributing to social justice movements.

1. “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” -Audre Lorde

2. “We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.” -Archbishop Desmond Tutu

3. “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Photo: Sepperer Markus

4. “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”- Paulo Freire

5. “People must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other.” -Jane Jacobs

6. “We have a world to conquer…one person at a time…starting with ourselves.” -Nikki Giovanni

7. “We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo: meanestindian

8. “It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act.”- His Holiness The Dalai Lama

9. “The people are the only ones capable of transforming society.”- Rigoberta Menchu

10. “Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good; try to use ordinary situations.”- Jean Paul Richter

11. “There will be no Homeland Security until we realize that the entire planet is our homeland. Every sentient being in the world must feel secure.” -John Perkins

12. “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” -Helen Keller

13. “Take your easy tears somewhere else. Tell yourself none of this ever had to happen. And then go make it stop. With whatever breath you have left. Grief is a sword or it is nothing.” -Paul Monette

14. “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.” -Reinhold Neibuhr

15. “During times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell

16. “To be human, at the most profound level, is to encounter honestly the inescapable circumstances that constrain us, yet muster the courage to struggle compassionately for our own unique individualities and for more democratic and free societies.” -Cornel West

Photo: Amor Ministries

17.”If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.” -Adrienne Rich

18. “Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two.” -Octavio Paz

19. “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” -Elie Wiesel

20. “The more you move, the stronger you’ll grow….” -Ha Jin


20 Quotes to Inspire Change.

yours truly,


Afghanistan…How much longer?

Notes on Temperatures in a Warzone

Curated by Stillmind

-12/23/10- by Jake Reed
The first writer published in response to Matador’s recent call for nonlinear narratives, Jake Reed reflects on his experience in Afghanistan through different temperatures.
Afghanistan. Photo: US Army

125° Fahrenheit

Doha, Qatar, summer 2010. My bottle of frozen water is warm after the 100-yard walk from the chow hall to my tent. My flight to Afghanistan leaves in fifteen minutes. I won’t return for six months. They issue me my weapon and body armor. They give me my final instructions. I walk across the runway and feel the heat resonate up my legs. The C-130 lowers its cargo door and we shuffle inside.

-65.2° to 176° Fahrenheit

The operating temperature of the 5.56mm round that goes into my M4 Carbine. I have ninety of them hanging on my vest. This means that when everything else breaks, I can still shoot something.

I haven’t shot anyone yet. Most of us haven’t. We awkwardly sling our rifles over our backs and slam them into doorways and kneecaps. We attach scopes we hope to never use. I make sure it’s in the background whenever I’m on Skype.

14° Fahrenheit

The temperature at which my iPod officially stops working. I throw it across the room and it bounces off the plywood wall. I’m on a random mountain in Afghanistan. I haven’t slept in 32 hours. I curl into my sleeping bag and try to shiver myself to sleep. My M4 is a foot away. It’s loaded. I stare through the bullet holes in the tin door and see the full moon outside.

Photo: US Army

3.56° Fahrenheit

The amount the temperature drops with every thousand feet of altitude. The loadmaster opens the Blackhawk doors so the gunners can respond to any threat during takeoff. The wind whips through the helicopter and smacks me in the face. My helmet is the only reason is doesn’t rip off my cap. I shove my hands into my pockets and fold my legs into my chest. I left my gloves in the tent.

I look at the soldier across from me. He’s carrying a sniper rifle. He looks up and smiles – he’s just as cold as I am. The higher we fly, the colder it gets. I look out the door and see mountains. They’re covered with trees. In the distance I see taller mountains covered in snow. The sun rises over the range and everything is colored gold. I’ve never seen a more beautiful landscape.

208° Fahrenheit

The steeping point of Rooibos tea from Teavana. Someone must have sent it in a care package. I don’t care about the perfect cup – I just want something warm. I pour boiling water over the tea leaves. I set my stopwatch for 5-6 minutes and look around. I just landed back at the front office and I’m the dirtiest thing in this room. I unsling my M4 and lean it against my desk. I take off the forty pounds of armor and drop it to the floor.

I need a shower. I need sleep. I need to slow down before I burn out.

I log onto my computer and start responding to emails. The phone rings. My colleagues come back from lunch. I don’t get to sleep for another fourteen hours. I forget all about my tea.

98.6° Fahrenheit

The operating temperature of the human body. The temperature of the blood that flows through your veins. The temperature of the blood that pours from shrapnel wounds and seeps along the floor of the Heath Craige Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram. I’m here to get an infection on my foot looked at. Two soldiers are being medevaced to Rammstein after an IED went off during a routine patrol. The ambulance idles outside. The flight crew is fueling a C-17 on the runway. Angry passengers walk out of the air terminal complaining that their flight was being rerouted to Germany. I step over the trail of blood and fill out the sign-up sheet for sick call.

My plane leaves in a month. 

For more wartime writing, please see Daniel Britt’s notes on traveling overland through Iraq and Afghanistan.

    About the Author

Matador ID: jakeallreed

Jake is a workaholic travelphile whose idea of a good time is sleeping on a dirty cot in the middle of nowhere. He’s been shot at, homeless, stranded in a blizzard, and pushed off a cliff.


The Internet World

When the Internet Becomes Too Much

posted by René Volpi on August 30th, 2010

One of the top tech trends for 2008 will be internet addiction, prognosticates J. Walter Thompson, the advertising agency powerhouse. What’s old is new again. “Internet addiction has been a concern since the dawn of the Web,” acknowledges Ann Mack, the agency’s director of trendspotting.

It may not be a new trend, but it remains an important one. Mack points to online discussions, internet gambling, online porn, and interactive role-playing games. But just about everything about the internet can snag you in one way or another.

Are you an internet addict? A surprising number of people are. Between 5% and 10% of web users suffer from some form of internet dependency, estimates Maressa Hecht Orzack, who has studied computer addiction at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Mass., affiliated with Harvard University.

There’s even a name for it: Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). It first made waves in 1995, 2 years after the web went graphical with the introduction of the browser Mosaic. Ironically, the disorder was suggested by New York City psychiatrist Ivan Goldberg as a joke, parodying the bevy of new psychiatric conditions that had been recently recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

But his thoughts struck a chord, with colleagues telling Goldberg that his descriptions were right on target, and Goldberg came to accept IAD as a serious affliction. People were, and are, going overboard, spending too much time online to the detriment of their work, academic, family, and social lives.

IAD hasn’t yet been accepted by the American Psychiatric Association as a formal diagnosis, and the term “Internet overuse syndrome” is probably better descriptively. But there are ways to tell if you’re so afflicted, according to Goldberg, who maintains a website titled Depression Central (www.psycom.net/depression.central.html).

You may be addicted to the internet, says Goldberg, if you need to spend more and more time online to achieve the same level of satisfaction or if you feel anxious when not connected. You might grasp your situation but find it difficult to cut down on your internet use.

If you’re an addict, says Goldberg, you’re probably reducing or forgoing important social, occupational, or recreational activities in favor of your time online. You may even be experiencing sleep deprivation, facing marital difficulties, losing friendships, and neglecting your job or schoolwork to the point of possibly being fired or flunking out.

Some experts dispute that IAD is a true addiction, but Kimberly S. Young differs. “It’s like other addictions,” says Young, director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery (www.netaddiction.com) and a professor at St. Bonaventure University. “It has the same qualities as compulsive gambling, shopping, even smoking and alcoholism.”

Before you can be cured of internet addiction, as with other addictions, you have to recognize that you’re hooked, according to Young.

Common warning signs, she says, are compulsively checking your email, always anticipating your next internet session, and complaints from others that you’re spending too much time or money going online. As with any other addiction, you have to be motivated in order to kick the habit. “You have to really want to change,” says Young.

Re-establishing a healthy relationship to the internet depends to a great extent on your individual circumstances. In some cases, all you may need to do is develop time management techniques to help you better control yourself, says Goldberg. You could, for instance, set a daily online time limit of an hour a day.

In other cases, you may need to deal with any underlying reasons that cause you to feel compelled to spend so much time online. There may be problems or conflicts you’re consciously or subconsciously trying to avoid, which may be dealt with best through therapy.

“Internet addiction can be an attempt to deny or avoid another more serious problem in your life,” says Goldberg. “People spend excess time in front of their computer[s] to avoid thinking about such difficulties as what they will do when they graduate from school, the infidelity of [a] spouse, the drug abuse of their children, and so on.”

The key concept here is the surrendering of the will. If you no longer control your relationship to it—whether it’s the internet or a pharmaceutical drug—you’re in trouble.

The internet is a fantastic medium, dramatically improving our ability to communicate with one another and find information to help us with our careers or studies. But, as with most things in life, there’s a need to keep things in healthy balance.

Thank you reidgold@comcast.net or http://www.reidgoldsborough.com. for your cooperation on this research

30 Photographs that changed the world

30 Photographs That Changed the World

August 4th, 2010
by René Volpi

Ok. It’s true…A good photograph makes a point; a great one serves as a statement about culture, life, and everything that’s happening outside the image’s frame. Photos have been inspiring people and showing them the truth for centuries now, so it’s hard to narrow the list of influential images to just 30, but here are some of the photos that have changed the world:

1. General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon; Eddie Adams, 1968
AP photographer Eddie Adams captured this shot of a South Vietnamese general executing a Viet Cong officer in the Tet Offensive, and it became one of the most iconic shots of the Vietnam War. Sadly, Adams would come to lament the damage the Pulitzer-winning photo did to Nguyen and his family, claiming that the man had killed a “so-called bad guy” and been demonized by people who didn’t understand the scope of the situation.
2. Migrant Mother; Dorothea Lange, 1936
This image of a working woman who had just sold her cars tires to feed her seven children came to represent the Depression and the Dust Bowl in the popular imagination.
3. Kent State; John Paul Filo, 1970
The Kent State protest in Ohio at the news that President Nixon was sending troops into Cambodia drew the presence of the Ohio National Guard, who turned on the crowd and fired, killing four. The horrible image of a young woman crying in anger over the dead body of a student won a Pulitzer Prize for John Filo. The event inspired Neil Young to write the protest song “Ohio.”
4. Tiananmen Square; Jeff Widener, 1989
Shooting the Chinese protests for the Associated Press, Jeff Widener captured this shot of “the unknown rebel” standing in front of a line of tanks. The man was shortly led away and never seen again, but his act of nonviolent protest was a vital moment in world history.
5. Galloping Horse; Edward Muybridge, 1878
This series of 12 photos was a biological landmark because it proved that there is indeed a point in a horse’s stride when all its hooves leave the ground.
6. Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Massery; Will Counts, 1957
Elizabeth Eckford was one of the first black students admitted to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. This photo shows her grueling walk to class while being shouted at by white student Hazel Massery. Although Massery would later express regret for her actions, the photo showed the nation and the world the heated strife in the Southern United States.
7. How Life Begins; Lennart Nilsson, 1965
Lennart Nilsson began taking pictures of developing fetuses with an endoscope in 1957, and the 1965 publication of his photos in Life Magazine was a breakthrough in showing people where we all came from.
8. Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima; Joe Rosenthal, 1945
One of the most indelible images of World War II as well as a Pulitzer winner, this photo of U.S. Marines raising their flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima is widely used as a tribute to American heroism. Of the six men in the shot, three died in the battle. The image was used to create the USMC War Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
9. Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston; AP, 1965
The rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston remains controversial because of the way Liston went down halfway through the first round, seemingly out of nowhere. This shot of Ali standing over his prey became one of the many iconic shots of the man known as “the greatest.”
10. The Hindenburg disaster; UPI, 1937
The stirring image of the Hindenburg zeppelin going down in flames helped galvanize public opinion on the dangers of airships and end their era once and for all.
11. Earthrise; William Anders, 1968
Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders snapped this shot of the Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon as he and Frank Borman orbited the Moon. The shot changed the way we think of our planet and its place in the cosmos.
12. President Johnson Sworn In Aboard Air Force One; Cecil W. Stoughton, 1963
Cecil Stoughton was President Kennedy’s photographer, and he captured this heartbreaking image of Jackie Kennedy standing with the newly sworn-in President Johnson mere hours after Kennedy was shot.
13. V-J Day in Times Square; Alfred Eisenstadt, 1945
No image said more about the relief Americans felt at the end of World War II than this classic image of a sailor sweeping a nurse into his arms for a kiss when hearing the war had ended.
14. The Abu Ghraib scandal; 2004
The Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was the site of multiple counts of prisoner torture and abuse, which became news when this and other photos showing American soldiers mistreating prisoners surfaced. They changed the course of public opinion for many people.
15. Hurricane Katrina aftermath; 2005
This stunning image of an abandoned home in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina reminded people how badly the city of New Orleans had suffered through one of the biggest natural disasters in American history.
16. Wounded Soldier at Home; Eugene Richards, 2008
Eugene Richards’ “War Is Personal” documents the human cost of the Iraq War, as seen in this photo of a soldier who survived a brutal attack that took part of his head.
17. The 9/11 attacks; New York Times, 2001
There are many haunting images of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but this one of a person standing in a gaping hole of wreckage, with no exit or hope of rescue, is one of the most wrenching.
18. Birmingham beatings; Charles Moore, 1963
Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the focal points of the civil rights movement, and black residents and protestors faced near-constant torment as they struggled for equality. This image of young people being assaulted with a fire hose showed the lengths their attackers would go in order to fight the changing tides.
19. The Terror of War; Huynh Cong Ut, 1973
A naked girl runs with a group of other children after the napalm bombing of a Vietnamese village. She survived by removing her clothes. This was one of the many award-winning images that brought war’s atrocities into Americans’ homes.
20. “Dewey Defeats Truman”; 1948
Perhaps the most famous incorrect headline in history, the Chicago Tribune printed early editions of that day’s issue saying that Harry Truman had lost the presidential election in order to make their deadlines. Their Washington correspondent, as well as conventional wisdom, assumed Truman would lose. However, Truman pulled ahead and won, making the papers inaccurate and leading to this classic image of a newly minted president showing the dangers of sloppy journalism.
21. Lynching; Lawrence Beitler, 1930
Thousands of whites descended on an Indiana park to hang a pair of black men accused of raping a white woman. The image is a shocking reminder of how recently something like this could happen in the U.S.
22. Omaha Beach; Robert Capa, 1944
One of the few surviving images from D-Day, Robert Capa’s haunting, blurry image was a brief glimpse for many people into a world of war they might not otherwise understand.
23. Burning Monk; Malcolm W. Browne, 1963
Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc set himself on fire to protest the government’s persecution of Buddhists, and the resulting photo captured millions of people’s attention.
24. Man Walks on the Moon; Neil Armstrong, 1969
Neil Armstrong snapped this image of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the first human trip to land on the Moon. It became a testament to American innovation and dedication.
25. Afghan Girl; Steve McCurry, 1984
Known only as the Afghan girl — her real identity unknown until she was rediscovered in 2002 — Sharbat Gula’s face became one of the most iconic National Geographic covers of all time, and a symbol of the struggle of refugees everywhere.
26. Abbey Road cover; Iain Macmillan, 1969
The final album recorded by The Beatles before their breakup, the cover of Abbey Road featured a shot of the four men crossing the road almost in lock-step, except for Paul McCartney, whose off-balance stride spurred the urban legend that he was dead.
27. Martin Luther King, Jr.; 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr. raised his arms as he addressed the crowd in his “I Have a Dream” speech in August 1963. His performance there, and the subsequent photos of the crowds and his address, were a turning point in the blossoming civil rights movement.
28. “Tear down this wall”; 1987
Speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, President Reagan bluntly exhorted Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” It was the beginning of the end, as the wall would fall in 1989. The site of Reagan in front of the gate is a key one in 20th century history.
29. Federal Dead on the Field of Battle of First Day, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Mathew Brady, 1863
One of the earliest war photographs, this sobering look at the war ravaging America remains one of the most important war images of all time.
30. Tetons and the Snake River; Ansel Adams, 1942
Ansel Adams is a legend among photographers, and his 1942 “Tetons and the Snake River” is a prime example of the stark nature photography that he elevated to fine art. It was also one of the 115 pictures embedded on the golden record and sent on the Voyager spacecraft. The picture also fueled an environmental protection movement that lasts to this day.
What’s your take?  Leave me a comment!

What really happened in Cambodia?

The Mysterious Disappearances of

Sean Flynn and Dana Stone

by René Volpi
Thanks to Tim King

Forty  years have passed since two of my colleagues and  friends, war photographers Sean Flynn and Dana Stone dropped off the radar.  What we know, what we don’t know, and what we may soon learn.

Sean Flynn and Dana Stone
Sean Flynn and Dana Stone

Forty years after the disappearance of Vietnam War photographers Sean Flynn and Dana Stone, we stand on the verge of possibly learning their ultimate fate. Flynn’s name made the news a little over a week ago, when it was announced that remains recovered in Cambodia could be his.

The son of legendary actor Errol Flynn, went missing in Cambodia on 6 April 1970, along with Stone. For 40 years, the world has wondered what happened to remove these vivacious, talented men permanently from the world. Books, a song and a play have been written; a movie by their friend and colleague Tim Page called “Frankie’s House” was loosely based on real events surrounding the lives of these journalists who didn’t just live at the edge, but managed to go past it.
One person who has never forgotten about Sean Flynn– besides me–for  he was a very dear friend who took me for rides on the back of his motorcycle, is his half-sister, Rory Flynn. She organized the recent excavation of the gravesite that could contain the remains of her long lost brother.
Initial reports on the recovery of the remains in Cambodia were apparently skewed, and the group working with Rory Flynn says the truth of what happened was not conveyed in a proper context by a number of media outlets.
Investigator Dave MacMillan, told Salem-News.com that his team acted with the consent of the Cambodian military, local police, local community leaders and landowners, and with the full knowledge of JPAC, (Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command) in Hawaii.
MacMillan said, “We are not amateur bone hunters, we volunteered to help Rory on her mission and worked as her field agents and did not receive payment for what we have done and are still doing, both Mr.Scott Brantley who is a registered private investigator from Nashville Tennessee and myself have combined 35 years of investigation experience between us.”

“Did they want to get captured? They never said anything like that to me or to others then working in Cambodia that I know of. They pushed the envelope, but knew the risks were extreme. Stone was very level headed, but Sean played high stakes.” – Jeff WilliamsDeclassified CIA document on civilian POW’s in Cambodia

Mike Luehring, a representative of the Flynn family, contactedSalem-News.com after our first report, to confirm the statements of Dave MacMillan, and the importance of informational accuracy.
Citing the “crazy press coverage of the event”, Luehring wrote, “I’ve followed your coverage and appreciate your accuracy on the story.” We always appreciate the verification; stories of this magnitude should never be sensationalized, yet they are, and this was no exception.
I have been in contact with a number of people who knew Dana Stone and Sean Flynn, and the list is growing. One person highly significant to the story, is T. Jeff Williams, who was in Phom Pehn on 6 April 1970.
He says our description of the last sight of Sean Flynn is not complete accurate, based on his memory, and he is indeed someone who would know. Jeff Williams was the only American AP correspondent in Cambodia when the 18 March 1970 coup occurred. He is among the last to see Sean and Dana.

Snapshot: Vietnam War 1970

To fully understand this point in the Vietnam War, and the complex, politically sensitive decision to invade Cambodia in 1970, you must consider that communists had been using Cambodia for a long time, unofficially, to fight a war against South Vietnam and the United States.
I wasn’t even nineteen then yet, but in working with the people who were there earlier, in this years-long quest for information, I am reminded of how quickly stories can change, and the extreme importance of first-hand accounts.

The last picture taken of Sean Flynn and Dana Stone, in Cambodia, shortly before they were taken captive at a Communist
checkpoint. Photo courtesy: Stephen Bell

The War in Vietnam officially began after the November 1964 attack on the U.S.S. Maddox, a Navy destroyer operating in the Gulf of Tonkin. The shots reportedly fired by the North Vietnamese vessel were a matter of contention for years in the U.S. People believed the story was contrived as a reason for war. Interestingly, since the 1990’s, the Vietnamese have displayed artifacts from a vessel in a museum that they claim was involved in the attack on the Maddox.
In the beginning there was a great deal of public support, not that most people had the slightestidea where Vietnam was.
But support and enthusiasm began to wane as the years passed, falling as the death toll kept rising. Americans were not used to seeing a bloody war being fought every night on the evening news, but that quickly became part of the American indoor landscape.

Then came the Tet Offensive in 1968, which it happened before my time there, and with it a high price for all those present.. The highly orchestrated series of communist attacks staged by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong on the Chinese holiday, was costly for the communists who lost many of their fighters all over South Vietnam. The cost for Americans, in addition to the military casualties, was that the attack came to represent a turning point in the war. It was Walter Cronkite, who would later be integral in search efforts for Sean and Dana, who proclaimed to the nation that the war in Vietnam could no longer be won.
Cambodia had officially been neutral during the Vietnam War, but it was no secret that communist forces used Cambodia frequently to travel and stage operations, many of them utilizing the infamous Ho-Chi Ming trail.

Cambodia’s royal leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, was losing popular support over the growing presence of communists in his country. Khmer Rouge guerrilla fighters were growing and becoming increasingly organized.

While Sihanouk was in Moscow, on 18 March 1970, General Lon Nol took control of the government of Cambodia. With little patience for the communist insurgency, Lon Nol decided to go after tens of thousands of Vietnamese communists in eastern Cambodia, where a number of bases were maintained to support operations against the Americans and South Vietnamese.
According to historical accounts, Lon Nol tried to block the communists from using Sihanoukville, a main supply route, while demanding that their troops leave his country.

Answers.com states, “With their supply system threatened, the Vietnamese communist forces in Cambodia launched an offensive against Lon Nol’s government. As the Cambodian forces faltered, the United States decided to mount a limited incursion to save Lon Nol’s government. Destroying the communist base areas on the Cambodian border would also inhibit enemy operations in South Vietnam.”
I read an article this week that compared these teenagers of the Khmer Rouge, with those who came to comprise what we now know as the Taliban.

The press crews in Cambodia in early April 1970 were in many respects, on their own. This was the situation for Sean Flynn, Dana Stone and so many others.
Twenty days after the two disappeared, on 26 April 1970, President Richard Nixon’s approval was given for a multi division offensive into Cambodia.
‘Operation Rover’ assigned the U.S. Army’s First Cavalry Division’s Bravo Troop as one of the units to take part in the operation. While there was clearly a measured degree of success in Cambodia, this marked, or confirmed in some cases, the beginning of the end to the conflict, as stated on the Website for the Air Cav’s Bravo Troop:
“The campaign had severe political repercussions in the United States for the Nixon Administration. Pressure was mounting to remove America’s fighting men from the Vietnam War. Although there would be further assault operations, the war was beginning to wind down for many troopers.”

No Witnesses to Disappearance

Jeff Williams’ distinction of being the only American AP correspondent in Cambodia when the 18 March 18 1970 coup occurred, was part of a six-month assignment. During those approximately 180 days, 25 foreign journalists were killed–murdered–or disappeared. Jeff was around Sean and Dana in Cambodia, and he know them from working in Vietnam.
He says that in spite of the widely reported information about the two combat photographers electing to turn themselves into communist guerrillas, there is no definitive proof that Flynn and Stone rode up to a checkpoint at all.
He said, “No one was in sight behind that car that blocked the road. No ‘guards’ or Khmer Rouge. Sean and Dana rode up close to it, checked it out and came back to where the group of other journalists were hanging around, said they saw nothing and then decided to look on the other side. That’s when they disappeared.”
The car that Jeff refers to was photographed by Zalin Grant. It was a white sedan, parked sideways in the road to prevent traffic from passing. It is reported that communist guerrillas were in the woods adjacent to the car, with an ambush waiting for anyone who came close.

200 Armed Cambodian Tour Guides

The press tour that Zalin Grant was part of  that day, arrived at Chi Pou around noon. American reporters in Phnom Penh had talked the government information office into providing eight French armored cars, along with 200 Cambodian soldiers, to escort the newsmen into the combat zone.
This is where things begin to become unclear. The story about Dana Stone and Sean Flynn deciding to be captured, if it is true, is almost certainly based on what happened to a former Cover Girl model, Michèle Ray, who had been taken captive by Khmer Rouge, and was released unharmed within a week. This happened shortly before Flynn and Stone disappeared.
Of this notion, Zalin Grant wrote, “Sean Flynn had talked to me admiringly many times about how Michèle had gotten away with it.”
But that still isn’t proof.
One person who knew something about this was Roxanna Brown, the youngest credentialed photographer in Vietnam at one point. She reportedly stayed overnight with Sean Flynn, the night before he went missing. She died in 2008 in federal custody at Seattle’s Sea Tac Airport, because she was refused medical attention. Her family was paid close to a million dollars over the associated negligence.
Jeff Williams has a different take on Dana Stone and Sean Flynn’s last day of freedom.
“Did they want to get captured? They never said anything like that to me or to others then working in Cambodia that I know of. They pushed the envelope, but knew the risks were extreme. Stone was very level headed, but Sean played high stakes.”
Zalin explains that most of the news people were staying around a village that had recently been destroyed. Many were thinking about three friends; two Japanese TV reporters and a French photographer, whose car appeared to be the one blocking the road ahead of them. There are discrepancies about that as well.
“Sean and Dana were traveling with another photojournalist, René Volpi  from Magnum, when they saw the car from a distance, they stopped and sat a few minutes on their Hondas, trying to make up their minds what to do. When word came of trouble at the checkpoint, the Cambodian troop commander (or the “good guys”, which fought the Khmer Rouge) ordered the entire escort force to return to the safety of the nearest provincial capital”.

According to Zalin Grant, “One of them turned on his camera as Flynn cycled toward them, warning, ‘Pathet Lao! Pathet Lao!’ It was a measure of his excitement that he confused the guerrillas of Cambodia with those of Laos.”More time passed, and then a French TV crew that René from Magnum had summoned were sent back in the direction of Sean and Dana. What happened only adds to the mystery.

  1. Sean Flynn, Svat Rieng prov. 6 April 1970 Time photographer
  2. Dana Stone, Svat Rieng prov. 6 April 1970 CBS cameraman
  3. Richard Dudran, Svat Rieng prov. 7 May 1970 St. Louis PD COrr.
  4. Michael Morrow, Svat Rieng prov. 7 May 1970 Dispatch News Serv.
  5. Miss Elizabeth Pong, Svat Rieng prov. 7 May 1970 Christian Sci. Mon.
  6. Welles Rangen, Takeo Prov. 31 May 1970 NBC Hong Kong bur.
  7. George Syvertsen, Takeo Prov. 31 May 1970 CBS Tokyo bur. ch.
  8. Merry Miller, Takeo Prov. 31 May 1970 CBS New York prod.

Strangely, Dana Stone was nowhere to be seen at this point. René and Sean had convinced the French TV crew to turn around, but Sean stayed in the area. That is from what we can tell, the very last time that a western person saw either Sean Flynn or Dana Stone.
A couple of days later, more journalists were taken at a checkpoint, and the number of missing news people kept rising. Soon eleven newsmen were missing, along with two French teachers who had been captured. It was shocking for the local press corps.
Another key person in all of this, is Sean Flynn’s old friend Tim Page, who has never given up his interest in locating his old friend.
The CIA’s Electronic Reading Room publishes many documents that are now declassified. A search of their records for ‘Sean Flynn’ and ‘Dana Stone’ reveals some interesting information, some of which I was not particularly familiar with.

(will be continued in the next Post)

Monsanto, Big Brother of The New World Agricultural Order

Monsanto, Big Brother of the New World Agricultural Order: An Interview With Marie-Monique Robin

Sunday 27 June 2010

Posted via René Volpi

by: Mickey Z., t r u t h o u t | Interview

Journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin. (Photo: Razak / Ségolène Royal)

Award-winning French journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin is the author of “The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply” (The New Press) and the creator of the film by the same name.

In a review of these two projects, Leslie Thatcher writes: “What Marie-Monique Robin most effectively documents are the perverse effects – the moral, social, technological, economic and market failures – of Western society’s economic organization, most specifically with respect to science and the products of science and, ultimately, with respect to the preservation of the public commons and human life on the planet.”

My conversation with Marie-Monique Robin follows:

Mickey Z.: Was there an initial spark that led you to this project that took three years and investigations on four continents to complete?

Marie-Monique Robin: My “story” with Monsanto began in 2003, when I made three documentaries for the Franco-German channel ARTE (to which I pay a tribute for the quality of its programs) about the reduction of biodiversity.

MZ: Please take us through those documentaries and their connection to Monsanto.

MMR: The first, “Biopirates,” told how corporations like Monsanto were holding abusive patents on living organisms which are contributing to a new drastic reduction of biodiversity. At that I time, I heard about a company called Monsanto which already held more than 600 patents on living organisms. The second documentary, called “Wheat: Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” told the story of cultivation of that golden cereal, from the very beginning 10,000 years ago until today and explained how the practices of industrial agriculture that brought the “green revolution,” made thousands of local landraces and varieties disappear, a dramatic evolution which will be accelerated by GMOs [genetically modified organisms]. At the same time the so-called green revolution provoked a huge contamination of the environment through the massive use of chemical pesticides, “biocides,” which “entered into living organisms, passing one to another in a chain of poisoning and death,” as Rachel Carson wrote in “Silent Spring.” Finally, I made a documentary, called “Argentina: The Soybeans of Hunger,” about the cultivation of Roundup Ready soybeans in Argentina, where I depicted the environmental, social and health disasters which the introduction of Monsanto’s GMOs represent. Today, they cover 60% of the area under cultivation in the country.

MZ: What was the process like, creating these three films?

MMR: I traveled around the world for a year: Europe, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Israel and India. The ghost of Monsanto lurked everywhere, almost like the Big Brother of the new world agricultural order – the source of much anxiety. Therefore, I proposed a new investigation to ARTE about this powerful multinational, created in 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri, the world leader of GM foods (90% of genetically modified crops) which presents itself on its website home page as “an agricultural company” the purpose of which is to “help the world’s farmers to produce healthier food … while reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment.” But what it doesn’t say is that, before getting involved in agriculture, it was first of the largest chemical companies of the twentieth century and one of the biggest polluters in industrial history. My book, “The World According to Monsanto,” tells how the firm became one of the major industrial empires on the planet and one of the most controversial companies in the industrial history.

MZ: With so much background and research, how did you ever reach the conclusion that you had gathered enough material to write this important book?

MMR: Once more, I traveled a lot – to the US, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, India, Vietnam, Europe – and met a lot of scientists, experts, whistleblowers (from the FDA, EPA, Berkeley University), lawyers, farmers and Monsanto victims. I consulted thousands of declassified documents from the EPA (on dioxin), FDA (GMOs), judiciary affairs (PCBs), scientific studies, reports from independent organizations and then decided it was enough!

MZ: Monsanto has given the planet “gifts” like Agent Orange and Roundup Ready crops, PCBs and GMOs, yet, for most humans, it has pretty much flown under the radar. To what would you attribute the fact that the vast majority of us rail mostly at governments, instead of the far more dangerous and powerful multinational corporations?

MMR: The problem is that the corporations act behind the scene, manipulating information, studies, press and the experts of the regulatory agencies. To speak quite frankly, I had never imagined before that a company could resort to such procedures, to sell its harmful products, in complete impunity, during decades: concealing scientific data, lying, manipulating regulations, corruption, pressuring scientists and journalists, threats. The problem is also that governments do not take any legal action against companies which are repeatedly affecting the environment and the health of consumers. If Monsanto were a private person, it would be convicted as a great criminal, but current law protects the criminal companies, which are never held accountable for the damage they cause.

MZ: What role does Monsanto play in the all-important areas of food safety and food supply?

MMR: Nowadays Monsanto is the world leader in biotechnology and the first seed company. Ninety percent of the GMOs grown in the world belong to it. During the last decade, the firm bought dozens of seed companies all over the world, pushing its transgenic seeds, which are patented. A patented seed means that the farmers who grow it may not keep a part of their crops to re-sow it the next year, as farmers used to do everywhere in the world. In the US and Canada, farmers who grow transgenic crops must sign a “technology agreement” – the no-sowing requirement is clearly expressed. If they don’t respect the agreement and violate the patent, they are harassed by the “gene police” and sued by Monsanto. Clearly, transgenic crops are just a tool to control the seed supply, which is the first link in the food chain, by forcing farmers to buy seeds each year.

MZ: How influential is Monsanto in the decision-making process at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other so-called protection agencies?

MMR: It was quite amazing to discover how Monsanto is using the “revolving door,” in order to control the decisions and policies that affect its products. Just one example: To avoid tests on GMOs to assess their possible harm on the consumer health and on the environment, the FDA invented the concept of “substantial equivalence,” which was based on no scientific data, as James Maryanski, the former chief of the Biotechnology Department, recognized in front of my camera. And who wrote the FDA’s May 1992 policy? A former Monsanto attorney named Michael Taylor, who was hired by the FDA as deputy commissioner for policy, and then became Monsanto vice president! Interesting enough, Michael Taylor went back to the FDA under the Obama administration.

MZ: What does it say about industrial civilization that Monsanto has become so rich and powerful by creating and selling what you call “some of the most dangerous products of modern times”?

MMR: Consumers and citizens played a role in this dramatic story. We all use the hazardous products, which characterize “modern life.” And the price we are paying is very high. In my next documentary and book, “Toxic Lies,” I explain how the chemical industry is “poisoning our plate.” I investigated the link between chemical exposure (pesticides, food additives, plastics, etc.) and the epidemics of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, reproductive disorders and diabetes, which can be observed in the so-called “developed countries,” and especially in the US. And if you investigate how all the chemicals are assessed and regulated, you finally understand that consumers are not protected at all against these dangerous hazards.

MZ: What can be done? What can readers take away from this interview and your book that will inspire immediate direct action? What steps would you recommend being taken to challenge not only Monsanto. but also an industrial culture seemingly hell bent on wiping out life on earth?

MMR: The key is held by consumers and farmers. That means that all of us should promote organic farming by buying organic food, which is the best way to protect our health and environment. That will be the end of Monsanto and similar companies for sure. Another suggestion: order “The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply.”

Marie  Monique-Robin received the 1995 Albert-Londres Prize, awarded to investigative journalists in France, and is the director and producer of over 30 documentaries and investigative reports filmed in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

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Posted by René Volpi
July1rst. 2010
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