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May 14, 2009
IVAW/VoteVets fraud was an Escaped Mental Patient?By Mrs Greyhawk
It seems an anti-war “Marine” from IVAW has now been unmasked as a lying mental patient. He’s never served a day in the Marines, as he has claimed.
“Rick Duncan” (Richard Glen Strandlof) of Colorado Springs was a prominent anti-war activist who claimed to have served in Iraq on three tours of duty AND survived the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
Greyhawk updates: Real Iraq veterans get suckered into joining IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against War), too. Here's a resignation letter from one of them that offers insight into what this fraudulent "anti-war" group is really all about.
Hell, even their leader (allegedly a former Coast Guard member) isn't an Iraq vet. (At least he admits it.)
More from Greyhawk:
He was not an "escaped mental patient" - unless there's more news to follow.
Our hero (or someone else named "Rick Strandlof") was trying to run something called the "Reno Tahoe Grand Prix" in 2005/2006.
RENO TAHOE GRAND PRIX FOUNDATION NEW YEAR’S BASH AND FUND-RAISER Dec. 31, 2005 and Jan. 1, 2006Coverage from the Nevada Appeal, April 23, 2006:
I had the opportunity last week to speak with a gentleman named Rick Standlof, who is the moving force behind the proposed Reno-Tahoe Grand Prix, a street race through the streets of downtown Reno.Corrected the following week:
Computers are wonderful. You make one little mistake, and it will propagate it through an entire document. So my computer and I apologize to Rick Strandlof of the Reno-Tahoe Grand Prix for misspelling his name throughout last week's column. Just remember the old adage, Rick: "Any publicity is good publicity."Computers are wonderful. But speaking of Nevada Appeal - around that time Strandhof was appearing in court regarding a guilty plea he had entered in a criminal case before a Nevada Mental Health Court Judge the year before*.
I recently reported that Las Vegas had signed a Champ Car race for 2007, noting that the Reno-Tahoe Grand Prix concept for 2009 might be in jeopardy as a result. Well, a couple of readers asked me for an update on the Reno-Tahoe Grand Prix and I attempted to contact founder Rick Strandlof.The next week:
Once again I've had inquiries about the Reno-Tahoe Grand Prix. Not being a professional skip-tracer, I don't have any more news. The website is down, the phone number I had is not working, and there is no record of Rick Strandlof, the erstwhile promoter, that I can find. So I can only conclude that another race promoter has overstated the facts and I gave him the benefit of the doubt.And more:
According to Nevada court records, a Richard Strandlof completed 24 months probation in 2006 in an "unlawful taking" of a motor vehicle case in Reno.So not for Grand Prix Fraudo.
I'd bet that Strandlof - as part of his plea bargain, was receiving outpatient "mental health treatment" during his probation period (during which he was also "setting up" the Grand Prix) - and that's the extent of his "mental patient" status.
Regardless, immediately after Strandlof completed his probation (at about the time the "Nevada Appeal" writer was looking for him for follow up) he could be still be found in Reno - if you knew where to look. Far from hiding, he was quoted as a representative of the communist group "World Can't Wait" in an AP report (now archived on Michael Moore's website, among other places) on an "Anti-Bush Rally" held weeks before the 2006 elections:
In Reno, Rick Strandlof with World Can't Wait said his coalition opposes "the Bush regime's record of corruption, fear, incompetence and tyranny."Apparently he had found some easier "marks" than Race Fans.
When "Rick Duncan" started the group Colorado Veterans Alliance he used the same "charity" tactic as with the Grand Prix hustle. (In this case, helping "homeless veterans".) But when real veterans began to join the effort, they quickly identified him as a fraud:
The man, who called himself Rick Duncan — purportedly a former Marine captain and 1997 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy — is in fact 31-year-old Richard Glen Strandlof, a former mental patient who never served in the military and falsely claimed he was in the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to David Walsh of the Colorado Veterans Alliance, which Duncan founded.Now, "According to Walsh, federal authorities are looking into fundraising by Strandlof conducted under his real name in Nevada. He purportedly raised $25,000 during a New Year's Eve event near Reno, Nev., on Dec. 31, 2006."
That would be the Grand Prix fraud noted above - though the date was actually December 31, 2005.
Kudos to the real veterans in the CVA who saw right through this phony. Once the story broke, I was able to discover everything above in about an hour with Google.
That IVAW, on the other hand, fails at this at every opportunity is no surprise. The more outlandish the stories he could tell, the further he could go in the organization - and beyond. From IVAW he moved to appearing in videos for Democratic political candidates and posting "recommended diaries" at VoteVets. He weighed in on several issues, citing his six troops who were killed because of Bush, claiming he was an openly gay commander well respected and admired by his brothers in arms... each of his lies (see here) disgraced actual veterans (gay or straight) - but all were embraced without question by the "anti-war" vanguard.
Greyhawk's Law will never be repealed: "There are two types of combat veterans that have a tremendous appeal to the anti-war crowd - the fictional and the dead."
Still more: "Veterans' group disbands after founder exposed as impostor" - wrong group, right thing to do.
*Correction/clarification on timeline: Strandlof's initial court appearance was April, 2005)
Posted by Mrs Greyhawk / May 14, 2009 8:29 AM | Permalink
I haven't wanted to kick any one's ass this bad in a long time. Yet even in the midsts of all this rage I take solace in the fact that should "Rick Duncan" meet some actual Iraq and Afghanistan vets... Read More
Shocka - the guy complaining about shower quality in the "Stealing Water" story from CBS TV's Houston affiliate KHOU was an IVAW member.“You can eat Subway, Burger King, you can buy a $1,200 Oakley watch, but you can’t have clean water to brush you... Read More
The New York Times covers FakeVet Rick Duncan:And Mr. Strandlof, who contrary to his claims never graduated from the Naval Academy or served in the military, is a 32-year-old drifter with a history of at least one criminal conviction, for car theft in ... Read More
"Funny that this is a story now" - indeed.Milblogs were far ahead of the media on that Rick Duncan story... (surprise, right?) Basically that's because we're tired of seeing these frauds' stories promoted by the media, usually to vigorous response from... Read More
Megyn Kelly: "They lied about being war heroes, and now they might get away with it scott free." Video here. Another Strandlof appearance included. Strandlof was an easy take-down. I know because I did it. It took about an hour of my time, but none of ... Read More
Since I've considered the issue before writing - and thus am late to weigh in, you've probably already heard this news: "A federal judge in Denver has ruled that the Stolen Valor Act is "facially unconstitutional" because it violates free speech..." I ... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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