Three Cups of Tea disputed

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Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 15, 2011 - 11:38pm PT
This caught my eye because Krakauer's name is attached to it.

NEW YORK — A "60 Minutes" investigation alleges that the inspirational multimillion seller "Three Cups of Tea" is filled with inaccuracies and that co-author Greg Mortenson's charitable organization has taken credit for building schools that don't exist.

The report, which airs Sunday night on CBS television, cites "Into the Wild" author Jon Krakauer as among the doubters of Mortenson's story of being lost in 1993 while mountain climbing in rural Pakistan and stumbling upon the village of Korphe, where the kindness of local residents inspired him to build a school. The "60 Minutes" story draws upon observations from the porters who joined Mortenson on his mountain trip in Pakistan and dispute his being lost. They say he only visited Korphe a year later.

The "60 Minutes" report alleges that numerous schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan that Mortenson's Central Asia Institute is said to have established either don't exist or were built by others. According to the CAI's website, the institute has "successfully established over 170 schools" and helped educate over 68,000 students, with an emphasis on girls' education."
In a statement issued Friday through the institute, Mortenson defended the book he co-authored with David Oliver Relinhis, and his humanitarian work.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan are fascinating, inspiring countries, full of wonderful people. They are also complex places, torn by conflicting loyalties, and some who do not want our mission of educating girls to succeed," Mortenson said.

"I stand by the information conveyed in my book and by the value of CAI's work in empowering local communities to build and operate schools that have educated more than 60,000 students. I continue to be heartened by the many messages of support I receive from our local partners in cities and villages across Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are determined not to let unjustified attacks stop the important work being done to create a better future for their children."

"Three Cups of Tea" was released by Penguin in 2006. Spokeswoman Carolyn Coleburn declined comment, saying the publisher had not seen the "60 Minutes" story. The book sold moderately in hardcover, but was a word-of-mouth hit as a paperback and became an international sensation, selling more than 3 million copies.

Mortenson has received numerous honors, including the Sitara-e-Pakistan (Star of Pakistan), a civilian award rarely given to foreigners.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42615493/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:41pm PT
I must be really tired...where Krakauer's name attached? Thanks for sharing.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:42pm PT
Over the years I've run into two or three people who have had direct involvement with 60 minutes, "investigations". They are masters of character assassination and innuendo.

Take anything they present with about a pound and a half of salt.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 15, 2011 - 11:43pm PT
The second paragraph mentions that Krakauer doubts some of Mortenson's claims.

I agree TGT, I take everything with a grain of salt.

Also, I don't really care if a few of Mortenson's claims are untrue. He has done more for U.S. interests in the region than any of our Presidents have.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:44pm PT
It ain't over till it's over...........who wrote the story & moreover why?

I don't trust ANY news these days until well established by numerous sources.

Someone might just be out for blood. There's often a reason.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:45pm PT
Hmmm.

He was just here.
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:46pm PT
Take anything they present with about a pound and a half of salt.

This from a Glen Beck fan.


Edited to add:
Every significant turning point in American politics beginning with Whitfield's sermons pre revolutionary war, began in a church.

Beck is an unlikely Jeremiah,but a damn effective one.
 TGT

Revise away.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:47pm PT
You got that wrong too
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:51pm PT
Thanks Port. I AM tired!

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 15, 2011 - 11:57pm PT
As Tami said, there is often a reason.

My experience with media of any sort is they are overworked and depend on making insane deadlines just to have a job tomorrow. The speed of information in the present has no time for depth of thought.

This was tried with failure by the Bush presidency by applying sound bite thinking to political reason.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:07am PT
the whole premise of 60 minutes is to televise someone being thrown to the lions and broadcasting a virtual evisceration.



Some times they deserve it, many times they are completely innocent, but they don't care, they still sold the adds.
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:23am PT
Can they throw Glen Bleck to the lions?
Please!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:27am PT
A lot of knee jerk reponses here: the truth, whartever it is, will come out.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:35am PT
What ever the truth is, it's far more complex than what a 12 minute sensationalized segment can deal with .
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:39am PT
I never said that a 12 minute segment on 60 minutes will determine the truth. There are obviously some issues here that need clarification, which, I believe, will happen.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:46am PT
I was privy this week to a story that if spun from first appearances would make a sensational story of US military involve in graft and corruption in Haiti when the real story was resourceful guys getting the job done while stranded by the complete failure of both the State Dept, and the dysfunctional Haitian society.

60 minutes makes a living out of sensationalizing.

The truth will come out, but not there.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 16, 2011 - 12:51am PT
TGT,

The world does wait breathlessly on news of plucky soldiers doing what's right in the face of overbearing authority.

Thank You !
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:00am PT
I was privy this week to a story [ ].

I have an internet connection too.

So TGT's take is American soldiers good, American government and dark people bad. Shocker.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:12am PT
Ricky again misses the entire point.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:16am PT
Damb good book, makes you want to believe. What was the book that was so big that Opra got duped on?
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:19am PT
If someone is intentionally twisting facts to create these claims that Mortenson/CAI aren't as stated....may they suffer dearly. In this life and the next several.

I saw Mortenson at a Barnes & Noble reading a few years ago. I did not get the impression he was an imposter. At all. I give zero credence to this 60 Minutes story until any allegations made are fully proven.
apogee

climber
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:26am PT
"The world does wait breathlessly on news of plucky soldiers doing what's right in the face of overbearing authority."

Credit: apogee
sullly

Trad climber
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:31am PT
It would be a bummer if true. Then again, Lance Armstrong doped (boo) but raised cancer awareness (yay). Faustian bargain?
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 16, 2011 - 01:32am PT
What was the book that was so big that Opra got duped on?

A million little pieces.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:35am PT
It seems odd that a story like this would suddenly appear now. Mortenson has been doing this kind of work in northern Pakistan since the mid to late 1990s, and later in Afghanistan. It's pretty high profile. If there was something significantly off, we'd probably have known it by now. Perhaps his story of his formative experience, stumbling glassy-eyed into Korphe in 1993, grew a bit in the telling - or perhaps he saw what happened somewhat differently than some of those there now say they saw it. Perhaps he hasn't always been exact about recording achievements, and taking and sharing credit - that also comes with the territory. Both non-profits, and that part of the world.

I didn't see the television piece - no TV. But there is no shortage of journalists eager to find stories, not to mention interested Pakistanis, and somehow I think if there was anything much to what was said, it would have been known already. Perhaps he's spun his story a little bit too rosily, or his organization and colleagues have. Is there the slightest suggestion that it's to his own selfish benefit, or that he hasn't accomplished a great deal for education in these places?

Non-profits regularly puff themselves up a bit - our mailboxes are full of their propaganda, eh? And perhaps a few are run by self-serving egomaniacs, where story and reality are far different. But it seems highly doubtful that's the case here. Mortenson has accomplished some very worthwhile things.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:46am PT
Mortenson, at the event I saw him, was probably THE most unassuming human I have ever seen speaking publicly. He was constantly trying to get the others in his entourage up on stage, he seemed so overwhelmed by the attention. Yet those people knew: The audience was there to hear Mortenson. And they gently pushed him back on stage, time and time again. He constantly lauded the efforts of others involved, minimizing the work he himself had done.

Reading both "Three Cups of tea" and "Stones Into Schools"(which takes up where 3 Cups left off, and brings up to date to...I cannot recall the year, but maybe like 2010?(Correct that, if somebody knows). In the "Stones" book, it details how the organization has grown, and much of the on-hand efforts have been made by people from the organzation living in Pakistan/Aphghanistan, as Mortenson has, by necessity, been spending his efforts at speaking engagements.

I wonder if Krakauer has interviewed any of the military men who have gone on record as stating how helpful Mortenson/CAI has been in their dealings with the people of those countries.

I won't even deign to suggest that "maybe" there is some merit to the 60 M piece.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 16, 2011 - 01:48am PT
Anders,

Perhaps...

Until anyone has facts this is dense supposition much like the assault on Dean for picking up a lost soul and saying he did it for the compliments.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 16, 2011 - 02:01am PT
It's like he was poured into that uniform, Apogee:

Credit: Srgt. Rock
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 16, 2011 - 02:12am PT
I don't know anything about this case. I do lament the demise of 60 minutes regarding investigative journalism.

They used to go after big business corruption like the tobacco industry but now their network IS big business in league with other big business and all they can do is fluff pieces and go after little fish.

Anders speculation might be a possible explanation but let's see how this plays out. There doesn't seem to be any denying the positive contribution the man has made to the area and to philanthropic life in general. It's a shame that has to be a target when politics and industry are such cesspools full of lies and corruption without the redeeming elements of this story

Peace

karl
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 16, 2011 - 09:15am PT
Ricky again misses the entire point.

I get your point... the 60 minutes subject could be Stalin and you would feel the same way. You're one of those people who carefully selects a news source based upon them telling you what you want to hear.

Enjoy.

60 Minutes has broken some important stories over the years and has definitely impacted our society for the better, at times.

I never got into this whole 3 cups of tea bullsh#t, so I don't really care if Mortensen lied about it or not.

DMT
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 16, 2011 - 09:27am PT
I'll reserve judgment (if I ever pass it). My interactions with the media demonstrate that it often fails to deliver the truth like due to the fact that their job is to deliver viewers to advertisers. The truth isn't always the best way to do that. In fact, the whole truth is rarely the way to do that. Pretty sweeping statements I've made but that sums it up as far as I'm concerned.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 16, 2011 - 10:11am PT
The news release is basically reproduced here:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/04/investigation-throws-three-cups-of-tea-author-greg-mortensons-charity-work-into-doubt.html


I would not be even slightly surprised to learn that many major details of the autobiographical sections of the book are empirically incorrect. That is the case with essentially all memoir and autobiography.

Americans generally believe that the most reliable access to the past is by talking with "someone who was there.". One of the first things you learn as a historian or lawyer is that the are few things less reliable than an eyewitness account. even folks trying desperately hard to give what they believe to be factual accounts of past events collapse different events, replace on person with another, and on and on. that is the way memory works. HUHman memory isn't like computer memory.

And of course, in a memoir that is also partly a marketing document, layers of other redress and editors will have helped to rework material. And again, it is indeed also possible that an author can reshape material in ways he or she knows to be empirically incorrect yet feels to be dramatically authentic.

each of these represents diffent ways that an account can be inaccurate, even wildly inaccurate, without involving deliberate, selfconcscious falsification or fabrication.

Put another way, I never expected the account in Three Cps to be empirically reliable in it's detail. Well have to wait and see just how unreliable, and in what ways.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Apr 16, 2011 - 10:20am PT
who do you believe? the little guy making a difference,
or big money.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Apr 16, 2011 - 10:25am PT
Mortenson's School initiative is PRECISELY what our foreign policy should look like if you have a hoary hope in hell of having Afganistan, Pakistan or any other stan regarding the West as anything other than some pillaging marauder.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 16, 2011 - 10:32am PT
Form the link listed above:
"In “Three Cups of Tea,” Mortenson writes of being kidnapped in the Waziristan region of Pakistan in 1996. In his second book, “Stones into Schools,” Mortenson publishes a photograph of his alleged captors. In television appearances, he has said he was kidnapped for eight days by the Taliban. 60 MINUTES located three of the men in the photo, all of whom denied that they were Taliban and denied that they had kidnapped Mortenson. One the men in the photo is the research director of a respected think tank in Islamabad, Mansur Khan Mahsud. He tells Kroft that he and the others in the photo were Mortenson’s protectors, not his kidnappers. “We treated him as a guest and took care of him,” says Mahsud. “This is totally false and he is lying.” Asked why Mortenson would lie about the trip, Mahsud replies, “To sell his book.”"

So - the news is asking us to believe purported Taliban members. Wasn't it last year's theme that the Taliban was a bunch of (insert very negative and derogatory phrases)?


Krakauer is quoted as saying "It’s a beautiful story. And it’s a lie."

I DO hope that Krakauer is shown to be libel in that statement. It shouldn't be difficult at all to find those climb mates and have them sign affidavits if their story holds water.

The article also says Mortenson didn't respond to their inquiry. Perhaps the organization will see they have a need for a PR contact. They requested an interview, and he didn't respond. Looking at the Calender of Events which shows his scheduled appearances (link: http://www.threecupsoftea.com/events/calendar/); it's not really hard to imagine he may not have felt it all that urgent to speak to them. A person who is hiding something - well, maybe they would rush to defend themselves. But a person who hasn't got time for the bullshit drama of others....no.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 16, 2011 - 10:36am PT
It's gonna be on tv, thus it's gotta be true! They're out to find truth not make money through muckraking after all... Remember even that weasel geraldo jumped ship on 60 minute.

Also all self reported claims fall short of scientific scrutiny.

I'm with Crimp, judgement is the road to all evil.

So the toothfairy may actually turn out to be the dentist? B-the Fing D!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 16, 2011 - 11:01am PT
Of course publicly noted Pakistanis will deny being Taliban and deny being kidnappers!

What is likely is that Mortenson has done more for relations with Pakistan and Islam than the Entire US government which has spent many billions trying to "Keep us Safe" from radical Islam and told more lies than Mortenson in the process. 60 minutes seems to shy from the big targets since their network's parent company is a big status-quo corporation.

So, certain, Mortenson has built schools and inspired people to do charity. Maybe his story has some embellishments, which is unfortunate but not unheard of in biographies and auto-biographies. If it wasn't, hollywood would do it for him when they make the movie ala "Seven Years in Tibet"

Peace

Karl
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 16, 2011 - 02:27pm PT
This seems reminiscent of the current fuss involving the Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus, from Bangladesh. Yunus and the bank won the Nobel Prize for their work on micro-credit, and the model has been widely copied. Yunus is now being harassed by the government of Bangladesh, which despite appearances is an oligopoly, not a democracy. His offence being that he suggested that he might be interested in getting involved in politics, in other words that he's a threat to them. He was already, in that he created a large civil society institution that is relatively independent of the government, and reasonably clean. But it's now official.

Naturally they found a few imperfections in the work of Yunus and the bank. It's a large organization. But the one about throwing out the baby with the bathwater may apply.
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 16, 2011 - 02:36pm PT
I second everything klk says above.

And I have to add that I found the book darned near unreadably dull. But I never wanted to say so, because, well, after all, it's so earnest, and apparently for such a good cause. But, it's also a little too earnest, a little too self congratulatory. But, then, let's not say so, because it's for a good cause. I have to wonder if all the people who claim to have read the book have actually done so? Reading it, I felt like this was one of those books that people want to like and want to say they've read, when really they just want to support what seems like a good cause.

The most curious thing about the book to me is that Mortenson would be rewarded for the book. For the deeds he describes, fine, good humanitarian stuff. But as a book? Well, for starters, Mortenson himself almost certainly didn't write it. I wonder if his "co-writer" signed a gag order. Mortenson acts like David Oliver Relin doesn't even exist. I'm talking about the first book here--I notice that Relin didn't participate in the second one: I wonder who wrote it?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 16, 2011 - 02:42pm PT
One of the best damn lies I have ever read.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 16, 2011 - 04:19pm PT
Dolomite - I've read both books, and had a vastly different experience than you. The book was written, at the request of others, for use as a vehicle TO raise awareness of the work of the CAI, and also to assist with fundraising. The books were not intended to be, nor are they, in my opinion, self-congratulatory.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but I cannot imagine anyone who has ever seen the man speak would consider him anything but a humble human being. Perhaps his biggest flaw(from my perspective) might be that he seemed to have difficulty in delegating. It's amazing that, with the work load he carried, he didn't have a sever breakdown from exhaustion(and in "Stones Into Schools" there is a small section detailing one such crisis).


Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 16, 2011 - 04:46pm PT
Yes, almost everyone has had a vastly different reading experience than I had—the books have been on the NYT best seller list for ages, people like them. I understand why the idea of them is appealing. I’m sure, Happie, that you’re right that the book was written to raise awareness and to assist with fundraising—that’s my take too. The book has been remarkable in raising awareness and fundraising, which proves that it has been an effective advertising tool. For many, this is a measure of a good book, just not one I share.

I am also sure that the books were not intended to be self-congratulatory, but that’s a very thin line. I doubt I’m the only reader who thinks he didn’t cross it now and then.

I’ve seen him in person. I believe he’s sincere. But sometimes too much humility has a way of coming off as . . . well, not humble.
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Apr 16, 2011 - 05:15pm PT
Krakauer is quoted as saying "It’s a beautiful story. And it’s a lie."


I'd consider that quote with more concern...if it wasn't attributed to a writer who has made a lucrative career casting aspersions at people.
sullly

Trad climber
Apr 16, 2011 - 05:18pm PT
Jennie, I agree.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Apr 16, 2011 - 06:12pm PT
The fact is that Mortensen and his organization have and are doing much good in a Very ignored area of the world.

"Helping to establish" can mean many different things.... all the way from donating money towards something to doing the entire project. I know in some cases they have paid teacher (s) salaries while others built the school. It is still helping establish something wonderful. How jaded some are. Use your energy spent criticizing to help change people's lives. lynne
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Apr 16, 2011 - 06:25pm PT
who do you believe? the little guy making a difference,
or big money.

Can't really add any more to that.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 16, 2011 - 07:09pm PT
An article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (Mortenson lives in that area) in which he responds:
http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_4d3125cc-67d7-11e0-b861-001cc4c002e0.html
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 17, 2011 - 12:26am PT

I'll await judgement too.
Considering how many schools Greg and CAI have built in
Pakistan and Afghanistan and the accolades he gets, especially
for such a long period of time gives one reason to doubt
60 minutes.
I've enjoyed Krakauer's books, but maybe he's off base on this
one.
apogee

climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 12:36pm PT
//who do you believe? the little guy making a difference,
or big money. //

"Can't really add any more to that. "


Funny you would come down this way, TGT, when your Supreme Court has handed 'big money' corporations everything they'd dreamed of to be able squash the voice of the little guy...
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 17, 2011 - 02:46pm PT
How many schools have you whiners made?
Jay-spedcredmo/severe-bro
tomtom

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
Apr 17, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
+1 Jennie

Krakauer published a pile of BS in Into Thin Air which he refuses to acknowledge or correct.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 17, 2011 - 03:12pm PT
In the bozeman paper, he seems to acknowledge a "compression of time in the events", I'll give him artistic liberty on that one.

I hope he is not abusing the funds of CAI, that would be the most damning to me. I wouldn't necessarily trust the locals stories about not being Talib, especially if they are in fact Talib.

Krakauer, while a good writer doesn't seem to be entirely unbiased or truthful himself, especially with "In to thin air"

-I'll with hold judgment too!
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Apr 17, 2011 - 03:55pm PT
this thread could easily turn into a krakauer bashing fest but...
im not qualified to call him a scumbag.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 17, 2011 - 04:55pm PT
I haven't read all the posts on this thread, but note that the 60 Minutes is airing tonight 7/6 pm.
I'm gonna watch!
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 17, 2011 - 04:59pm PT
Considering how over-exerted the man has been with the project, I can easily see how he might have accepted the co-author's rendition of the story of Korphe. Perhaps he said something.."Dude, it was over such n such period" and the guy said "You'll bore your readers with such logistics. Remember, the book needs to BE read to be effective..." Or some such thing.

It's also very easy to see, from the readings of the books, that organization and details don't seem to be Mortenson's strong points. It's not hard to imagine accounting going through some growing pains as the organization developed. For those who would pooh pooh that notion, all I can say is thank your lucky stars that YOU have the ability to manage such facets of your own life so well. Not everybody does, and it is NOT an indication that they are trying to get over.



As for Krakauer, perhaps he too has been drawn in beyond what he intended(thought the "beautiful story, and it's a lie
quote is pretty damning). Maybe he found such discrepancies and did as he was paid - reported them. But didn't expect to be used as a point man in such a sensationalistic way. I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this matter.



I won't see the tv show - but will be interested in the comments afterward of those who might. My hope is that 60 Minutes realizes they are creating spin for the sake of viewership(is it Sweeps Week, by any chance?) and includes an adendum with Mortenson's response via the Bozeman article. Doubtful of course...

What ill timing as well - just diagnosed with a hole in his heart, and a medical procedure upcoming.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 17, 2011 - 05:54pm PT

Happi
Who has a hole in their heart--Greg M or Krak?
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:17pm PT
Mortenson. It was reported in the link I posted upthread, where he responded to the 60M claims. He will undergo some medical procedure this coming week, it also says.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:18pm PT
Frankly, doesn't sound good. When someone is collecting $30,000 for speaking fees discussing a cause, you might think that some of the speaking fee are also going to the cause, wouldn't you if you were organising the event? But the Bozeman article makes it sound like that's not the case.

Though I do think the work he has done is inspiring, there does exist the possibility that he's lost the plot.

Money seems to have that effect often.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 06:49pm PT
I agree that 60 Minutes is not to be trusted. I've never really given a damn about them since the Audi 5000 hatchet job about "sudden uncontrolled acceleration" that turned out to be "idiots mistaking the gas for the brake."

Oh, and ask yourself what percentage of the money United Way collects that actually goes to those in need. It will disgust you.
kwit

climber
california
Apr 17, 2011 - 07:13pm PT
anyone ever read roland barthes' "operation margarine" from his book mythologies? inure the public to greater systemic evils by pillorying minor, and possible false, evils, giving us a chance to purge our collective consciousness and rest easy that the bad apples have been thrown out.

if we want to look for real fraud and money mishandling in international aid affairs, i think we need to look a far sight over mortenson's head.

this is not to say any fraud is excusable; rather that we only have so much stored collective outrage and it would be a shame to squander it on something minor.
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 17, 2011 - 07:47pm PT
Just watched the piece in my hotel. Very harsh. The Krakauer stuff was pretty fluffy and the whole thing was like a shotgun blast but the overall effect was rather damning. Remember the story about him getting kidnapped and held by the Taliban for eight days, eventually released after asking for a copy of the Koran? That probably didn't happen. The story about wandering lost into Korphe seemed mild in comparison. Two problems here, the financial improprieties of CAI related to paying travel and advertising expenses for Mortenson's speaking engagements and book tours while receiving no revenue from either and the, well, lying.
Brandon-

climber
Done With Tobacco
Apr 17, 2011 - 07:51pm PT
inure the public to greater systemic evils by pillorying minor, and possible false, evils, giving us a chance to purge our collective consciousness and rest easy that the bad apples have been thrown out.

Kwit, I'll play devils advocate here. Who would you propose to be the bad guy in this model?
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 07:57pm PT
I really don't expect people running private charities to be so selfless that they will not pay themselves well for what essentially is a charitable brand they are creating.

The reality of non-profits can be quite disheartening. Call me cynical, but I think you can see it all around you.

Take the lady that started MADD. She created a behemoth political machine that has taken over a significant part of county courts to implement. It is its own economy now. So naturally she wanted to make some nice money as CEO. Well, once you create the bureaucracy, it takes on a life of its own with a board of directors and all sorts of hangers on.

They fired her after she wanted a huge salary increase. Seems everyone wants to cash in on what they created. Is that wrong? Maybe yes, maybe no. I frankly couldn't care less.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 17, 2011 - 08:18pm PT
bump, 60 minutes story is on right now!
Gene

climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 08:20pm PT
Transcript:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/15/60minutes/main20054397.shtml
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Apr 17, 2011 - 08:23pm PT
Stich, I would agree, in that the ends justifies the means in many cases.

But the only thing that irks me in this case is the fact that the whole aura of the school building project has been presented to the public as an act from a selfless persona. Collecting money from others for a charity, while keeping what sounds like over a million dollars from book royalties and speaking fees just strikes a wrong chord, in my opinion.

The MADD example is a bit different, as the purpose of that was more to create public opinion, not to raise money for a charity.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 08:26pm PT
None the less, regardless of what people set out to do, once they see they are bringing in millions to their causes, they almost always want to upgrade their lifestyles like Jimmy Swaggart. Same old story.
Gene

climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 08:29pm PT
Watch it online
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363068n&tag=related;photovideo
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 17, 2011 - 08:36pm PT
Thanks Gene!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 17, 2011 - 08:50pm PT
Ho man!

And I almost bought a $100 dinner ticket last month.


JK has been pretty hard on some of my friends, but this rings too true.
A "hostage" photo with HIM holding the AK47? Private jets? Phantom schools?

Talk about taking a good idea and totally abusing it!
This guy is a fraud!
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 17, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Ouch. That stung.

The images of school buildings sitting vacant, uncompleted, or used for hay storage are pretty hard to defend. And then there are the ones claimed on a tax return that don't even exist!
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 09:01pm PT
you can read, or watch the report here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/15/60minutes/main20054397.shtml
kwit

climber
california
Apr 17, 2011 - 09:50pm PT
hey brandon: not proposing any "bad guy" at all. i'm just pointing out that even if mortenson is a complete fraud (which is still a huge IF as far as i'm concerned), this ritual debunk-and-eviscerate minor players feeds our collective public need for spectacular bad guy purging, and when we're done, we feel we've done our moral work, while the really big bad guys and problems (those of wall street provenance, for example) that we aren't sure how to solve, continue to profit and exist. in short, our local witch hunts make us feel like the system is working (60 minutes exposes another scam!), when in fact it is desperately broken.

mortenson, however dubiously, brought to light tremendous regional problems, poverty, and thus potential for international aid. his mismanagement and sketchy ethics should not go unresolved, but what damage to we do by vilifying him so publicly and sensationally?

just something to think about.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:02pm PT
Happi:
60 MINUTES located three of the men in the photo, all of whom denied that they were Taliban and denied that they had kidnapped Mortenson. One the men in the photo is the research director of a respected think tank in Islamabad, Mansur Khan Mahsud. He tells Kroft that he and the others in the photo were Mortenson’s protectors, not his kidnappers. “We treated him as a guest and took care of him,” says Mahsud. “This is totally false and he is lying.” Asked why Mortenson would lie about the trip, Mahsud replies, “To sell his book.”"

So - the news is asking us to believe purported Taliban members. Wasn't it last year's theme that the Taliban was a bunch of (insert very negative and derogatory phrases)?


Krakauer is quoted as saying "It’s a beautiful story. And it’s a lie."

I DO hope that Krakauer is shown to be libel in that statement. It shouldn't be difficult at all to find those climb mates and have them sign affidavits if their story holds water.

The article also says Mortenson didn't respond to their inquiry. Perhaps the organization will see they have a need for a PR contact. They requested an interview, and he didn't respond. Looking at the Calender of Events which shows his scheduled appearances (link: http://www.threecupsoftea.com/events/calendar/); it's not really hard to imagine he may not have felt it all that urgent to speak to them. A person who is hiding something - well, maybe they would rush to defend themselves. But a person who hasn't got time for the bullshit drama of others....no.

I'm not sure why you would ever believe climb mates affidavits, if you believe that a respected research director is a "purported Taliban member".
You obviously did not google "Mansur Khan Mahsud". The results are pretty clear cut.

60 minutes is the highest profile media in America, the source of all money. For a charity, it is truly the "golden goose". No rational person would pass up a chance to appear on behalf of their charity......unless there was a reason.

Krakauer, a Pulitzer award finalist, has been scrutinized by pros, over and over. He has a reputation for truth, even when painful.

I just got Greg's book, and anticipate the reading.

It does seem that a salary (on top of expenses) of $141,075 is rather generous.

In addition, charity watchdogs appear to have a problem with what his group is doing, financially. It appears that all expenses involved with his talks is charged to the charity, but Greg pockets the $30,000 speakers fee, without any of it going to the charity. That is not kosher.

http://www.charitywatch.org/articles/CentralAsiaInstitute.html

http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/central-asia-institute-in-bozeman-mt-28

From it's online financial report:

income $13,686,792
Spent on it's programs: $800,000-$1,000,000
That is a hell of a difference.

http://www2.guidestar.org/PartnerReport.aspx?partner=justgivews&ein=51-0376237
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:07pm PT
There is a hell of a lot of defending of Greg on this thread, and a variety of defenses.

They all appear to come down to "well, he seems so sincere!"

And, perhaps he is.

but I would remind you that is EXACTLY what they said about Bernie Maddoff, and they say about all con men. That is what these guys are good at, gaining your confidence.

All I would suggest, is that a healthy dose of scepticism, for ALL aspects of this story, are in order.

you might want to start googling around, as I've started to do. It is not hard to come up with some quick conclusions.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:08pm PT
One of the best damn lies I have ever read.

you must have missed the Enron offering.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:11pm PT
Krakauer is quoted as saying "It’s a beautiful story. And it’s a lie."


I'd consider that quote with more concern...if it wasn't attributed to a writer who has made a lucrative career casting aspersions at people

And been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for the quality of his writing........
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:11pm PT
kwit,
pulling in $60M makes him more than a minor player.

I just spoke to a climber in the middle of this and he was very sad about the impact this will have on our community.



It appears that GM was seduced by the dark side of doing good, of being a hero.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:13pm PT
Lynn said:

I know in some cases they have paid teacher (s) salaries while others built the school.

Ok, since we are hearing testimonials.......Lynn, with your right hand on a bible, how do you know, of your own personal knowledge, that was the case? do you have receipts? a 1099?

Or do you mean that you heard about that?
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:16pm PT
My take...

He is passionate, but not super wise about how to deal with the mad rush forward. He sounds like he doesn't know how to delegate, so lots of things get screwed up.

Krakauer did admit that he was doing a whole lot of good.

The bozeman article sort of sounded like he had a a lot of the money coming in and he was going to create some sort of endowment with it, so that this project can continue on indefinitely. He hints at this in some of his books, about being advised to make hay while he can. That people are more willing to send money to build schools, then they are to send money yearly to keep them going.

I think that he is also dealing with serious messes in the countries he is working in. But like Krakauer said.. why lie about building 11 schools in a very rough place when you only built 3. 3 is still pretty damn good when its an area that no one else has reached because of the violence there.

Strange story.. I hope he can work things out because this story is going to hurt his cause if he doesn't.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:19pm PT
It's unlikely that anybody could survive a 60 Minutes expose like that intact.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 17, 2011 - 10:25pm PT
It's unlikely that anybody could survive a 60 Minutes expose like that intact

Unless he comes out strong and defends himself in front of cameras. But we didn't see that. We saw the 60 mins. film crew confront him at a book signing and him refusing to speak. And then cancel the day's lecture. Not exactly a good move from any standpoint.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:27pm PT
When you read his books you see that he is awkward in public situations. He likes one on one or very small groups. It doesn't even remotely surprise me that he mishandled that.
Hardshell

Trad climber
Ketchum Idaho
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:31pm PT
So now one of the truly good guys is being attacked by the drive-by media and the "half-empty cup of tea" crowd---people with ulterior motives or way too much free time on their hands. I've known greg and his initial backer since the start of CAI and believe that what-ever small transgressions may have accumulated over the many years of difficult work, they are far overshadowed by his efforts to bring some light to a remote and troubled corner of the world which has been beset by illiteracy and intolerance for millenia---all the while at significant personal risk and sacrifice. Greg has faced far greater threats than Krakauer or 60 Minutes and I'm sure he will recognize he has deep support which will remain long after his small minded attackers soon move on to their next victim.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:39pm PT
mortenson, however dubiously, brought to light tremendous regional problems, poverty, and thus potential for international aid. his mismanagement and sketchy ethics should not go unresolved, but what damage to we do by vilifying him so publicly and sensationally?


And WHO says that in the 60 minutes program? Jon Krakauer. He also donated $75,000, and was doing so until warned off by members of Greg's board.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:40pm PT
all the while at significant personal risk and sacrifice. Greg has faced far greater threats than Krakauer or 60 Minutes

You mean like when his "kidnappers" let him hold the AK47 in the photo?
Please explain that to my small mind if you would, Hardshell, in your sixth post on ST.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:50pm PT
Oh my! It's shocking, just shocking to think that a climber might exaggerate or fabricate his actions! What's the world coming to?

First, kudos to Greg for doing good deeds. However . . .

Let's see: one audit in how many years? Has the IRS been sleeping at the controls, or has that agency been warned off investigating The CAI? By some one or some agency high up. Greg's efforts have produced comforting illusions about the US involvements in the middle east . . . we're only there to help you, folks! Is the CIA lurking in the background?

Nice shot of him grinning and holding an AK47 after being kidnapped. Must have been photoshopped by the Taliban. Or perhaps simply a case of instantaneous Stockholm Syndrome.

So much to ponder as he flies off in his private jet . . .
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 17, 2011 - 10:55pm PT
I for one hope the best for him, but when you are talking about that amount of money that everyones kids are hustling to raise I think it is legit to expect his books to be straight and expect that he is open about what he is doing. Maybe people make mistakes. Maybe they can be more affective.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:00pm PT
Hardshell wrote:
I've known greg and his initial backer since the start of CAI and believe that what-ever small transgressions may have accumulated over the many years of difficult work

small transgressions? Stealing money from children? Apparently millions?

How many lectures a year does he give, at $30,000 a pop? 100?

You do the math.
$3 million. a year. Into his pocket.(none to the charity)

From the book?
Who knows? Millions. Into his pocket (none to the charity)

collected by the Charity? 60 million.
spent by the Charity on schools? UP TO 1 million a year.*
started 1996, so in operation for 14 years, so spent on
schools, UP TO 14 Million dollars.

WHERE IS THE OTHER 46 million out of 60 million?

Follow the money.................

*http://www2.guidestar.org/PartnerReport.aspx?partner=justgivews&ein=51-0376237
see Financial Comments from the Organization
tomtom

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:15pm PT
Although some put weight in that Krakauer was a Pulitzer Prize nominee, a number of Prize winning stories have turned out to be frauds as well.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:15pm PT
From the Bozeman article.

He also responded to questions "60 Minutes" raised about his finances in a letter, dated Wednesday. Kroft's letter said that a number of people have raised concerns that there is "inadequate separation" between the charity's finances and Mortenson's personal financial interests. CAI provided the "60 Minutes" letter to the Chronicle Friday.

The letter cited a warning from CAI's own attorneys last December and January that if audited by the IRS, Mortenson would likely be found in violation of rules against gaining "excess benefits" from the charity.

Kroft's letter pointed to CAI's 2009 nonprofit tax statement to the IRS, and asked why only 41 percent of the money it raised actually went to pay for schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The letter also questioned whether CAI is spending millions to advertise Mortenson's best-selling books and to hire charter jets to take him to $30,000 speaking engagements around the country, yet it received almost none of the money from his speeches and books.

Mortenson responded that he gets a royalty of about 40 or 50 cents per book, and that he has contributed more than $100,000 of his own money to CAI, which has more than offset the book royalties. The $30,000 fee for speaking is average, he said, adding he does some events for free.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:21pm PT
Didn't Caldwell and gang "befriend" their kidnappers too (before they killed them)? I too have been in situations where you didn't really know if you were about to be offed, or invited for tea. Friendliness in such a situation is often a wise strategy. And of couse the Taliban is going to admit it to the news agency?

Anyway, my suspicion is "yes and no", the guy is genuine but lost control of the situation, took some advantage of the ambiguous relationship between his org and himself, and didn't realize envious people and profiteering news orgs where waiting in the wings to ambush him.

But tell me this, if you are running a really good non-profit, and you find you can bring in a ton of money through various types of expensive marketing, are you doing good or bad by spending tons of money on that marketing? Maybe 50% of your donations are being re-cycled into more marketing, but you are growing and doing evermore good? Not a clear call to me, but there are plenty of huge non-profits that have very low service to overhead ratios. I wouldn't want to give them my money, but at least they are not selling junk CMOs.
Tom Johnson

Trad climber
Guerneville, Cal
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:24pm PT
I just saw the show. There's something about about 60 Minutes selective journalism that makes my skin crawl. They go after Mortenson at a book signing after he won't reply.

Next story: Three college basketball players who raped a female basketball player. 60 Minutes tells us the players "chose not to reply" to their inquiris.

Why didn't 60 Minutes go to those guys' colleges where they now blissfully shoot hoops and get in their faces? The rapists get cut slack unlike Mortenson, who no matter what the circumstances, has done some good in life.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:27pm PT
The truth will come out in the near future, speculation by uniformed supertopians does no good,but, if you're having fun, keep it coming.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:36pm PT
I've been skeptical about all this, having read both his books, recommended them to many friends and family, and seen him speak during one of his original debuts at the AAC in 1998 (and in awe of the story he told), but it does appear after seeing the recent reports that the man is a pathological liar. Many of the tales I personally have repeated to friends now seem to be completely fabricated. It's like Krakauer says--why doesn't he just tell the truth?

Maybe (more) good will come of this in the end.

(edit) in the interview in Outside, he seems to indicate that the stories in the book were a result of co-authoring. But the fact remains that he also spoke those stories in public speaking engagements. And frankly, his view of what he's entitled to in terms of personal financial benefit seems a bit odd and in contrast to the selfless persona he has created in his talks and books. http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-greg-mortenson-interview-sidwcmdev_155690.html
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:38pm PT
I hope Mortenson accepts an appropriate channel to discuss and rebut these accusations. If not, he will ultimately be assumed guilty by the public.

Still…having Jon Krakauer accuse you of twisting the truth is like having Mel Gibson denounce you for racist rants.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:41pm PT
Read the 60 Minutes transcript.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/15/60minutes/main20054397_page3.shtml


Daniel Borochoff is president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, which has been examining and rating charitable organizations for the last two decades. He says the Central Asia Institute's financial statements show a lack of transparency, and a troublesome intermingling of Mortenson's personal business interests with the charity's public purpose.

According to the documents, the non-profit spends more money domestically, promoting the importance of building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan than it does actually constructing and funding them overseas.

Borochoff: What's surprising is that most of the program spending is not to help kids in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it's actually... what they call domestic outreach where he goes around the country speaking and the cost incurred for that, things like travel is a major component of that. You know, just advertising.

Kroft: What does that mean?

Borochoff: Sounds like a book tour to me.

His point is that when Greg Mortenson travels all over the country at the charity's expense, he is promoting and selling his books and collecting speaking fees that the charity does not appear to be sharing in. According to the financial statement, the charity receives no income from the bestsellers, and little if any income from Mortenson's paid speaking engagements, while listing $1.7 million in "book-related expenses."

Kroft: The $1.7 million that they spent for book-related expenses is more than they spent on all of their schools in Pakistan last year.

Borochoff: Correct.

Kroft: What do you say, I mean...

Borochoff: It's disappointing. You would hope that they would be spending a lot more on the schools in Pakistan than they would on book-related costs. Why doesn't Mr. Mortenson spend his own money (LAUGH) on the book-related costs? He's the one getting the revenues.

In fiscal year 2009, the charity spent $1.5 million on advertising to promote Mortenson's books in national publications, including a full page ad in "The New Yorker." And there are $1.3 million in domestic travel expenses, some for private jets.

Late last night (Saturday, April 16), we received a statement from the board of directors of the Central Asia Institute acknowledging that it receives no royalties or income from Greg Mortenson's book sales or speaking engagements. But the board says the books and the speeches are an integral part of its mission, by raising public awareness and generating contributions. And it claims that Mortenson has personally contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization.

Ain't no flatlander

climber
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:41pm PT
Taking money out of kid's piggybanks so he can fly in private jets to tell stories...that's twisted.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:45pm PT
Krakauer: In 2002, his board treasurer quit, resigned, along with the board president and two other board members and said, "You should stop giving money to Greg."

Kroft: Did he say why?

Krakauer: He said, in so many words, that Greg uses Central Asia Institute as his private ATM machine. That there's no accounting. He has no receipts.

You Krakauer haters may be interested to know that Krakauer was an early fan of Mortenson and donated $70,000 personally.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:48pm PT
No accounting. Ha ha ha. Not surprised in the least.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:50pm PT
What a crazy, wild thread. I don't have enough time to ponder and dig up all the accusations and supporting facts because I have a pretty challenging life to live at the moment.

I am fairly certain Mortensen did start some schools and change the lives of people that would otherwise have been left behind. I am certain this can be documented.

If there are proveable accusations of wrong doing then Mortensen has to deal with it. When you do wrong karma and/or God will take the matter in their hands.

I for one think it's best to believe the best about others until totally proven otherwise.

Yo nay sayers out there.....tell me specifically WHAT THE HEY YO DONE to change the world for good lately. Tearing the throat out of another human doesn't count. Lynne

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:55pm PT
I was giving him the benefit of the doubt but matching up the report and Mortensen's rebuttal in the Bozeman paper seem to bring up a fishy smell.

Looks like insiders have bailed from CAI for years with complaints. That's fishy.

Then while Mortensen said he was just ambushed at the end by 60 minutes, they seemed to document numerous chances for him to respond and if they've been researching for months, he knew they were poking noses around.

So why refuse to talk? He was at a book signing, they offered to wait. That release that he was medically unable to respond is fishy too.

Doesn't mean he hasn't done more good for our relations with Afghanistan and Islam than the US government with less money wasted and fewer lies told, but perhaps that isn't the point.

But like JK said, (ken) "This guy isn't Bernie Madov. He has done a lot of good."

Sometimes people get out of hand, and into pocket, Unfortunate.

Peace

Karl
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 17, 2011 - 11:55pm PT
Wow this is now front page story on cnn (I'd give a link but it's just to cnn.com, which which will change when you pull it up).

We only got one side of the story from 60 Mintues, but it wasn't a pretty one. If there's another side, I'd like to hear it. I will *sort of* reserve judgment, but I don't think I'd be getting my checkbook out for the charity, or buying the books, unless there's a creditable refutation.

Edit:
A few posts above:

Yo nay sayers out there.....tell me specifically WHAT THE HEY YO DONE to change the world for good lately. Tearing the throat out of another human doesn't count. Lynne

I haven't done jack but I'd applaud Krakauer and 60 Mintues for exposing what seems to be a scam artist.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:04am PT
I haven't done jack but I'd applaud Krakauer and 60 Mintues for exposing what seems to be a scam artist.

He has built dozens of Schools in an area that is very hard to do so, He appears to have some accounting difficulties. He may have taken more money then some would consider appropriate,

As John Krakauer said "he's not Bernie Maddoff, he has done a lot of good!

The only thing Americans love more then having hero's is seeing them fall!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:08am PT
Judging others is something you need to be very careful about. Why do people so often want to believe the worst and not consider the best ?

Pretty incredible evening tonight. Get alone outside and observe the full moon, stars and the planet.

Mortensen has done good. If he has erred lets help him get back on the path.

You all commenting here, are you holding your lives up as perfect examples to follow ???
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:11am PT
In an odd twist Lynne, are you not judging some folks on this thread? Sort of ironic, no?

edit: this is not intended to be a mean-spirited comment. I hope it is not take as such.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Full Silos of Iowa
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:20am PT
Just watched the 60 Minutes piece. Seems something's fishy somewhere.

You've heard it before: Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story (or two).

Time will tell. Maybe.

.....

Looked like Krakauer's aged a bit. Time waits for no man.
Gene

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:39am PT
GM claimed that he was held against his will by Taliban. He published a picture of them. I find it pretty damn egregious he would knowingly put these fellows at risk by identifying them as Taliban.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:09am PT
What a crazy, wild thread. I don't have enough time to ponder and dig up all the accusations and supporting facts because I have a pretty challenging life to live at the moment.

I for one think it's best to believe the best about others until totally proven otherwise.

Yo nay sayers out there.....tell me specifically WHAT THE HEY YO DONE to change the world for good lately. Tearing the throat out of another human doesn't count. Lynne


I'm not sure what you are asserting, here, Lynn. The next time you post about anything that you perceive as negative, should you expect to get a third degree about the worthiness of your life, as deserving to post?

Does this mean a child, who has not had a chance to make a mark on the world, should not be listed to when they witness something horrific? The don't DESERVE to be listened to? They don't DESERVE to post?

you may mistakenly believe that there is some joy that someone is taking in all this, but that is certainly not true. It is, in fact, tragic. Krakauer certainly make that clear that it was his opinion.

Did Greg start out with a plan to defraud contributors and take millions intended for destitute children? I can't believe that.

Did he eventually see an opportunity and go crazy for money? As you say, we'll see.

Will anyone ever trust him with contributions again? Never. But he'll have his tens of millions to console himself.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:18am PT
Let's wait to hear the other side(s) of the story, before coming to conclusions. 60 Minutes is from all accounts good-quality journalism, but it's still 'gotcha' journalism. The questions raised seem more nuanced than can be thoroughly reviewed and discussed in ten or fifteen minutes on such a program.

This thread has re-raised some popular fallacies about non-profits and charities. (Former mostly serving members, latter mostly the public.) Sticking with charities (= 501 (c)(3)s), which it appears the CAI is, some of them are:

 They should spend an absurdly high proportion of their income on programs, i.e. helping others. A charity that claims that "all donations are spent on programs" either has a lot of income that isn't donated, a lot of expenses that are donated (in kind, volunteers), or is lying. Even the Franciscans and Poor Clares have overhead. And administrative expenses vary through the life of an organization - there are times that you have to invest a bunch of money, whether it's in a startup, infrastructure, fundraising, or otherwise. 20 - 30% isn't unusual for administrative expenses for a stable organization.

 Nobody should be well paid. GIGO - if someone has the energy and experience to deliver results that advance the mission, why shouldn't they be well paid? If a non-profit finds a cure for cancer, why shouldn't its CEO be paid $20 million a year?

 They should be perfect. Even if they have explosive growth, the organizational model, directors and employees must not err.

 They should be assessed entirely on a corporate model. (Oddly, given the corruption and excesses of the second Gilded Age of the US.)

Greg Mortenson had what he says was an epiphany in 1993, before the Taliban and al Qaeda were on the US radar. His parents were Lutheran missionaries in Tanzania, so maybe he came by his dogood streak that way. It kind of looks like he was a 36 year old climbing bum in 1993, but then found a calling, slowly building his organization until 2001, when it took off. If the organization outgrew him, in terms of administrative and professional needs, it wouldn't be a big surprise. If he sometimes confuses his personal affairs and those of the organization, also no surprise - part of what is sometimes called "founder's syndrome". If he sometimes took a bit more credit than was perhaps due, immodest, but usually not a crime. If he managed to leverage it all so that he personally benefited (lectures), part of the American way, isn't it?

But Mortenson and the CAI do seem to have done a great deal of good in a part of the world that needed it. Maybe there's more to the backstory than we know, of course, e.g. government backing. Still, he has delivered.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:27am PT
MH, when you start off by suggesting waiting for the other side before drawing conclusions, and then go on to discuss what sure sounds like a bunch of justifying excuses, that's not good.

By the way, charities MUST be measured like a corporation, because they ARE corporations, controlled by a series of laws. In Ca, that is the California Corporation Code. As the head of a non-profit for the last two years (501(c)7), I am familiar with the need for care.

The way you post, it sounds like someone misplacing change, or incompletely filling out some whacko form. We are talking tens of millions of dollars. Gosh, I think I'd notice if I had an extra 10 million in my bank account.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:31am PT
I'm not making excuses, just commenting on what may have happened, from the perspective of someone who works with a lot of (Canadian) non-profits. The systems are fairly parallel.

It simply sounds like he may have gotten in over his head, in terms of lacking the administrative and financial skill and experience to run the CAI, or the sense to hire others to do it for him. Perhaps the IRS will now audit the organization, which might clarify what actually happened.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:39am PT
Nice post MH..

From the Bozeman Chronicle..

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_4d3125cc-67d7-11e0-b861-001cc4c002e0.html

The percentage of CAI money that goes toward schools is higher than "60 Minutes" assumed, he told the Chronicle, because during the last five years it has been building a "nest egg" of savings to make CAI sustainable into the future. The fund is exclusively for overseas teacher training, scholarships, new schools and supplies, he said. As of Friday, it had grown to more than $25.6 million, according to a financial statement CAI released.

It sound like a lot of the donations are being saved in order create an endowment so that the schools will be supported indefinitely. So this would be why not all the money is going towards building schools. They want to be able to sustain the effort once the schools are built. In his books, Greg has said that he was advised to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, once the first book came out and became popular. This was because the public is fickle and likely to stop donating. Its more glamorous to donate towards building a school in an area that has never had a girls school. Its less glamorous to donate towards keeping one open for years to come.

Plus he also said that it is very difficult to find the time to be on the ground in Afghanistan, and Pakistan, to find people to lead each new endeavor. So its hard to get each new project started. It isn't just about getting the money.


caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:45am PT
Haven't seen anything really damning. It costs more to live and travel in the US than it does to build a school over there. The hard part is getting the money over there.

And that the non profit pays for the travel for the book stuff? Those speeches produce money for the CAI. And the CAI... seems to be Mortenson, and people like his cult of personality and what he does. Which is fine.

There are a lot of hinky non profits out there. That spend 8 dollars out of every 10 on fundraising. This looks to me like a disorganized group trying to do some good.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 18, 2011 - 01:55am PT
Haven't seen anything really damning

Then why not talk to 60 mins? I think claiming that schools were built, when in fact they had not been, is pretty damning. It's the fundamental goal of the organization. I want to hear Mortisen's side of the story, which he doesn't seem to want to give.
gf

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 03:19am PT
Good to see 60 minutes is devoting its resources to issues of grave consequence rather than trivial details like the mortgage backed securities meltdown from 08; and further good news they aren't wasting time looking into issues like the implications for us debt financing when the chinese real estate bubble bursts.
zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:20am PT
I have to say I'm not at all surprised by this story about CAI. For a couple reasons:

-first: my brother and sis-n-law, both of whom work in Bozeman for non profits, have talked for years about CAI members regularly quitting because of having really difficulties with the lack of transparancy in the organization. The rate of attrition of staff has been ridiculously high for a while.

on the other hand: Those of us who have read his 2nd book know that Mortensen's way of managing the organization is 'not like a typical ngo' and the argument could be made that his style is perhaps uniquely suited for the really dangerous/remote areas he works in.

-second: I've worked in ngos for a long time in the Himalayas and also do my research very close to where Mortensen works (in Balti village on the India side of the LoC), some of his description of his school-building success I often found to be 'a stretch.' Building schools in rural Pakistan is great and I think he's done a great job with getting schools built. However, without additional support (teachers, trainings, etc.) and without support from the government or teacher's union, rural schools can only succeed so far. So many schools are empty b/c the teachers don't show up, the kids have to help w/ fieldwork, so in that sense, the 60 minutes segment pointing to empty classrooms is not a really fair accusation.

there's a lot of Supertopo folks who really want to give him the benefit of the doubt ('well he's got good intentions'), but non-profit charity work is so often not nearly as effective as people want it to be.

I see this so much in the Himalayas...especially well-intentioned climbers and mountaineers who want 'to help' people in mountain communities, but often don't do their research on organizations they're supporting. Or they decide to start an ngo and really have no idea how to do it well.

deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:51am PT
John Moosie-

Ah, the endowment argument makes sense--build the lasting legacy. The alternative is--just help in the present as best you can--and it's pretty clear that there's a lot of help needed in the present over there.

But perhaps it would be difficult to find trusted associates to hand money to over there.

I still wonder why he was so cagey about being interviewed, and why, on a number of occasions over the past years, he enhanced his stories--I reckon the origin story is forgivable, but to continue enhancing in a pointless way, something else might be up?

I guess we'll see how it all plays out.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:30am PT
Wonder what the Dzi Foundation could do with all the money that went into paying for private jets. Sometimes small, scrappy NGOs get more done with less than the high flying, full zuit NGOs.
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:59am PT
Frankly this thread makes me sick! A bunch of pompous blowhard jackwads sitting in the plush comfort of their easy chairs decrying someone who IS making a difference. What have any of you POS complainers done with your lives? Go back to watching American Idol or Dancing with the Stars or what ever useless masturbation that constitutes the "value" of your existence. In other words go blow yourselves!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:00am PT
Was it something I said?

DMT
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:13am PT
Oh my.... The invasive Gov't surgical team known as the IRS, is definitely going to have a field day with this one and will in fact enlarge GM's sphincter.

Anyone that knows anything about Non-Profit 501 Org's knows this is not a good thing, for the individual taking any monies for the deeds that GM is supposedly doing. Regardless of premise or intent.

Bad Juju.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:16am PT
yep a sixty minute piece on the fuped up bankers and corrupt politics in this country would not fly.
lets go after the little guy, whos done more
good than all the bombs of merica,and whos done more good than all of us put together.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:25am PT
Denial by loved ones and close friends regarding ones drug or alcohol addiction, is the primary factor in that addicts final demise, regardless how wonderful that individual may well be.


Just saying...
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:49am PT
"I want to hear Mortisen's side of the story, which he doesn't seem to want to give."

According to the Bozeman article, Mortenson was recently diagnosed with a hole in his heart(how poignant.....), and is undergoing a medical procedure THIS WEEK. Is it REALLY THAT hard to believe that he may be unable to launch a damage control campaign at the snap of a finger?

I do NOT find all these accusations damaging, but I know, unfortunately, that most will jump on the "the crook!" bandwagon. Again, I DO see that the sloppy accounting within the organization has created this mess. It's too bad that this wasn't addressed years ago, when Three Cups launched the growth within the organization. But as of now - The story is Spin.

And when they have to hire an expensive PR person to assist in dealing with this problem, people are going to piss and cry about wasted money.

I DO hope, and expect, that a thorough accounting is going to be done by a reputable agency, as a part of the response. It will take some time. And yes, it is likely that people will say "All that money for bribes???" and think it really went into the man's pocket. Because so many love to see a trainwreck of another - so long as it's not themselves! For the xians - "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."



blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:06am PT
According to the Bozeman article, Mortenson was recently diagnosed with a hole in his heart(how poignant.....), and is undergoing a medical procedure THIS WEEK. Is it REALLY THAT hard to believe that he may be unable to launch a damage control campaign at the snap of a finger?

GM's supporters seem to have a hard time following this. As has been pointed out, 60 Minutes tried for months to speak with GM--they only showed up at his book tour when those efforts proved futile.

Lots of defenses of him are that "sloppy accounting" isn't the worst thing in the world, but none of the charges against him were for sloppy accounting!

The private jet was a "tipping point" fact for me--there may be occasional exceptions, but in general, when someone is flying a private jet, they're literally burning money for their ego.

I hope the IRS brings this guy down!

Edit: Philo--why the hostility? Isn't it a good thing that a crook is exposed?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:08am PT
philo,
is it so hard for you to believe that a person can become addicted to playing hero after a taste of the real drug?
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:28am PT
"As has been pointed out, 60 Minutes tried for months to speak with GM"

According to the Bozeman article, GM is quoted as "...."60 Minutes" had spent several months investigating him, but didn't try to contact him until March 30, and only gave him a chance to respond "at the 11th hour." He said Kroft ambushed him with a camera crew at an event in Atlanta where he was speaking to ninth-graders. Mortenson said he declined to give an on-air interview."

March 30th. Not months. And that he declined to give an on-the-spot interview seems ODD to people?

Anyone who is on the "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh MY!" bandwagon - DO please take a moment to read the Bozeman article, The link is here:
http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_4d3125cc-67d7-11e0-b861-001cc4c002e0.html
sempervirens

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:37am PT
What's Krakauer's motivation? He pulled out his support 'cause he didn't like what's happening. He notes that GM did a lot of good. And now he's going public with this information that damns GM. But why? Is it just to reveal the truth? Are his motivations altruistic? Is he pissed at GM? I don't think Krakauer needs the publicity. I hope he doesn't need the money after all he's done. Does 60minutes pay those who go on the show; I expect they do.

If GM has been dishonest then he should fess up, IMO. The media's lack of attention to the greater rip-offs of the world is no reason to let GM off the hook. Still I wonder, why is Krakauer doing this?

Either way this whole affair is disappointing.
Weld_it

Trad climber
Chatsworth
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:41am PT
FACT: THIS HOLE THING IS ODEROUS
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:04pm PT
Waiting for the Montana contingent to weigh in: Brokaw, Tackle, Chabot, Anker . . .
raymond phule

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:07pm PT

March 30th. Not months. And that he declined to give an on-the-spot interview seems ODD to people?

So words against words.
raymond phule

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:11pm PT

60 minutes can make Mother Theresa look like a self centered douchebag. 60 minutes' job is to make everyone look bad.

Our job is to think....

But mother Theresa was self centered douchebag so 60 minutes would do a good job in that case.
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
60 minutes can make Mother Theresa [sic] look like a self centered douchebag.

Christopher Hitchens already took care of that:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position

bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:38pm PT
This what fame and money can do to a good person. He's rotten now.

And it's a f*#king shame. I think he did mean well initially.
raymond phule

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:46pm PT
Have someone linked directly to the organizations own homepage where they answer some questions?

http://ikat.org/

To me it seems that most of the accusations are quite true but that they might not be that important.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:51pm PT
OK I just read the links giving GM's and CAI's responses.
Amazing to me that some of you seem to think they exonerate him. To me, they are further evidence of guilt.
Just one random example:

**13. We have been told that the bulk of these travel expenses involve Mr. Mortenson’s
speaking engagements. We are also told the reason the expenses are so high is because Mr.
Mortenson frequently travels privately on chartered jets at CAI’s expense. Is this correct? Can
you tell us the amount of expenses CAI incurred for Mr. Mortenson’s travel on chartered
aircraft?**
As a result of Greg’s aggressive speaking schedule and, in particular, the significant security
risks that arise due to CAI’s programmatic focus, he and CAI staff sometimes travel on
chartered flights. The amounts vary depending on the time period.

LOL--he's having the foundation pay for private jet trips to promote his book (from which he derives mucho $$$$). He's a crook, he's been caught, and some of you suckers have the same mentality that causes a certain percentage of the population to believe that OJ was framed by the LAPD.

By the way, I stand by what I said about 60 Minutes trying to contact him for months. From the 60 Minutes transcript:

(CBS News) He dismissed our initial request for an interview last fall, and our follow-up messages and e-mails over the past two weeks have gone unanswered. So we decided to seek him out at a speaking engagement and book-signing in Atlanta.

One thing I agree with some of his defenders on--anyone interested in this should read all the transcripts linked to and draw his own conclusions.
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Apr 18, 2011 - 12:52pm PT
feeding frenzy...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
On 60 minutes they showed a copy of a document they said was contacting GM in advance of the 11th hour "ambush"

That's part of my souring on GM's response. Even if they were contacting him for the first time, he totally blew them off and had them kicked out. Not the response of a forthcoming dude with nothing to hide.

Peace

Karl
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
I am going to wait for the truth to come out, and it will. It's interesting that so many people, my wife included, applaud 60 Minutes and their tactics when they are exposing some "bad" guy, but then condemn them when they feel that the target is a "good" guy.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:06pm PT
http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-greg-mortenson-interview-sidwcmdev_155690.html
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:23pm PT
I am going to wait for the truth to come out, and it will. It's interesting that so many people, my wife included, applaud 60 Minutes and their tactics when they are exposing some "bad" guy, but then condemn them when they feel that the target is a "good" guy.


Uh Jim..., how many times have you been married. Heehe.

By the way, you have posted your comment three times on this thread, I think. It sounds as if you know something about the details of the way Mortensen runs CAI or something about the 60 Minutes reporting. Inquiring minds want to know.


Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Apr 18, 2011 - 01:25pm PT
Ban him from Supertopo. it's the right thing to do.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 18, 2011 - 02:40pm PT
I've worked as a periodic project evaluator for a Swiss aid project in Nepal for many years, and can say that the problems 60 Minutes uncovered on the ground in Pakistan are typical for that part of the world. Nepal is full of nicely built and totally empty school houses and health clinics because there is no staff for them. Trained and educated people are at a premium in that part of the world and are soon lured to something more comfortable and lucrative than a village outpost.

Corruption is rampant and expected. Previous comments about a lot of Mortenson's funds going to bribes which he can't acknowledge rings true to me. Paying the elites of a poor country for the privilege of helping their poor is one of the more galling aspects of aid work at all levels. Theft and corruption at the village level are also rampant, as well as petty rivalries and jealous vindictiveness, along with deliberate sabotage.

I spent as much as half of my time trying to moderate local level feuds and find out the real reasons a project was not working. What frequently appeared to be a technical problems on the surface of a project were almost always upon investigation, social problems and political failures. If all this is true of a peaceful country like Nepal and a non violent religion like Hinduism, how much more so in a country like Pakistan with a different tradition?

I have a lot of sympathy for the argument that Mortensen was holding back money to build an endowment to try to pay for the long term management of his projects. I can also believe that if an outside overseer was not on hand to supervise the money, a lot of it disappeared and the success of many projects was faked. As for the finances of his organization in the U.S., I imagine the IRS will sort that out.

Meanwhile, Krakauer should be happy that the Sherpas he worked with on Everest aren't talking to 60 Minutes about how they were misrepresented, especially Lobsang Jangbu, who is no longer alive to defend himself.
JerryA

Mountain climber
Sacramento,CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 02:43pm PT
NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED !
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Apr 18, 2011 - 02:45pm PT
I read Three Cups of Tea. I found it to be a tad boring.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 18, 2011 - 02:56pm PT
Hi Jan,

can you explain the "kidnapping"?
The private jet?
The lack of open response?
WBraun

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 03:12pm PT
Yeah Jan

Most of these "google knowledge" wankers here have never dealt with the real third world.

I remember half our crew got kidnapped and held hostage for some bullshit ransom by the corrupt govt. in Columbia trying to extort money out of them because we were an American film crew.

Then in Africa they came out in a boat in the Niger river trying the same spiel there.

In Borneo our helicopters split in the middle of night for political reasons between the president of Indonesia and the military.

Some total bullshit crap that was just some personal feud between them.

Luckily we had the proper people around us to deal with these type assho'les.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 03:50pm PT
The amount of invective and condemnation from many on this site who know absolutely nothing about the underlying issues, non-profits, the vagaries of third world countries, fund raising, etc., is pretty staggering.

The guy builds schools for kids that never had them in countries that no one ever gave two farts about (except the Soviets and Alexander the Great) until he wrote about it. Despite this very obvious and undisputed fact, everyone is so quick to condemn, so unwilling to forgive.

Why don't some of you blowhards actually perform a bit more research than watching 12 minutes of "60 Minutes" which, to be frank, is entertainment, not journalism. Maybe then you could do something more productive with that info that just slam people on this site.

As Alexander Pope wrote long ago: "A little learning is a dangerous thing."
atchafalaya

Boulder climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 03:53pm PT
"The amount of invective and condemnation from many on this site who know absolutely nothing... is pretty staggering."

First time on Supertopo?

bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:00pm PT
The amount of invective and condemnation from many on this site who know absolutely nothing about the underlying issues, non-profits, the vagaries of third world countries, fund raising, etc., is pretty staggering.


I hear ya. The dude didn't appear to ponzi-scheme the operation from what I can tell. He really meant well, IMO.

But fame, book-publicists, and money really took over his soul. This is why I really like my place in life. Fame and money would kill me...

He had a good soul, I think. He was led astray, and didn't have the awareness to realize the reality of what was happening.

He did more good to the world than bad. Can you say that for yourself?
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:04pm PT
What's that line from Lawrence of Arabia, someone making an observation about T.E. Lawrence (who was there for things he believed in), that he was "riding the whirlwind."

I suspect Mortenson may be in a similar situation. He's so busy doing what's he doing, he just hasn't stopped to be a bookkeeper. But that's forgiveable to me. The reason he's able to do what he does is because he's not a bookkeeper.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:12pm PT
I think that Jan and Werner hit the nail on the head. Unless you've worked in 3rd world countries, you have no idea how ridiculous it is to hold projects to "western" standards and business practices. I worked extensively in South America and Africa, "showing your appreciation" to the locals was the only way you even had chance of having your project have a chance of coming to fruition.

For damn sure, don't lose your temper, yell at someone and make them lose "face", pushing your entitled Western Weight around. That's when stuff just comes up missing and the only answers to your inquiries about it are shrugged shoulders.
Maysho

climber
Soda Springs, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:14pm PT
I am not seeing anything like corruption. I read the CAI Board response to the questions, and they made sense to me.

I think many here are forgetting the bottom line. This dis-organized, socially awkward, sort of bumbly climber dude, got an inspiration to help some people who needed it, did it, scrapped with very little money for some years, wrote and published a very inspiring story, and now can raise millions of bucks for his cause. Most importantly he has sparked a needed national and international conversation about how to help in the third world.

So his speaking schedule sometimes is helped by chartering a jet, who cares, through speaking he raises $60 million bucks for the CAI! He could be way more lavish with travel and get paid way more, and he would still be a very efficient fundraiser, and the cause is a great one, not only that, the way his books and his speaking tours make people think about alternatives to the futile militaristic approach to the region is worth a lot IMHO.

It has been awhile since I read the book, but as I recall, his description of the kidnapping was of a somewhat soft but undoubtedly scary detainment by some potentially hard core Islam-ists who needed to check him out. Not incompatible with someone 16 years later saying "he was our guest".

Sounds like many schools have been built, and I am sure there are some that haven't worked out, but many that have.

I hope the result of all of this is that Greg tightens up his act, gets the help of a seasoned manager, CAI strengthens their board oversight and financial systems, and they move on and kick ass with building more schools, training and retaining teachers, and hopefully helping to foster more local/indigenous talent to carry on this worthy mission.

I say Go CAI!, Go Greg Mortenson!

Peter
Captain...or Skully

climber
My ready room
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:15pm PT
Word, Peter. Always good to have perspective, huh?
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:19pm PT
Why do the difficulties of operating in a third world country excuse a lack of honesty here in this country? Mortenson had already admitted that parts of his books were fictionalized--this cannot be excused by how difficult Pakistan is. Also, if the number of schools built have been inflated, how can this be blamed on how things are in Pakistan?

It's Mortenson's book so he is entitled to all of its profits. Also, he is entitled to all the speaking fees. But did his audience know that, and would they have supported him as much if they knew? Also, why is the non-profit paying to support the book and the book-tours when they are a for-profit enterprise for Mortenson?

Also, Krakauer is quoted as an early fan of Mortenson (gave him $75,000) that got disillusioned after hearing complaints from directors and officers in Mortenson's organization. But many of the worst allegations are made by others. So there are still serious allegations, even if you discount what Krakauer says completely.

Finally, NO ONE is disputing that Mortenson has done a lot of good, even if he not been completely honest and even if he has used his organization for his own personal financial gain more than he should.

graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:21pm PT
This dis-organized, socially awkward, sort of bumbly climber dude

That is how I pictured him in my mind, and maybe that used to describe him. But look at the videos of him--if that ever described him, he looks completely different now.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:22pm PT
I think many here are forgetting the bottom line. This dis-organized, socially awkward, sort of bumbly climber dude, got an inspiration to help some people who needed it, did it, scrapped with very little money for some years, wrote and published a very inspiring story, and now can raise millions of bucks for his cause. Most importantly he has sparked a needed national and international conversation about how to help in the third world.

So his speaking schedule sometimes is helped by chartering a jet, who cares, through speaking he raises $60 million bucks for the CAI! He could be way more lavish with travel and get paid way more, and he would still be a very efficient fundraiser, and the cause is a great one, not only that, the way his books and his speaking tours make people think about alternatives to the futile militaristic approach to the region is worth a lot IMHO.


Well said, Peter. Look at organizations like the U.N., Human Rights Watch, Amnesty Int'l, before you criticize his work.

I think he's just a naive man, abused by media-whores and publicists. I could be wrong.

Another thing that came to mind was the incessant bombing of girl schools by Islamists throwbacks. Does Greg know this? He must. For every 3 he builds, 2 are destroyed. One survives though, so that is, by definition, progress.

What a f*#ked up world we delve in. Cheers! and Rock on!!!!!

Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:25pm PT
Time will tell. 60 Minutes knows the libel laws better than I do; they wouldn't go to press unless their attorneys gave them the green light.

I sincerely hope that he is able to stay out of prison and continue his good works.

That said, I found the concept of 1.7 million to promote a book a very creepy statistic. I understand that the book is an important fund-raising tool, symbiotically connected to the solicitation of funds that support the continued marketing of the book, that solicits etc . . .

But, (without researching it, of course, like the lazy naysayer I am) that amount of money in promotion has to be the single largest amount of cash ever spent on book promotion. Which makes me wonder: what would have happened to the book without all that promotion?
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 18, 2011 - 04:25pm PT
Why do the difficulties of operating in a third world country excuse a lack of honesty here in this country?

Exactly. Why not just be honest? People would be forgiving if he were just forthright. I'm not buying the argument "you're not qualified to pass judgement unless you've been there." The difficulties of regional management have nothing to do with chartering private jets to fly around the U.S.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:32pm PT
If Americans could understand honesty, plastic tits wouldn't exist.


You just blew my mind!

You are more correct than you think...I think. Same logic.
squish

Social climber
bc
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:40pm PT
link to pdf file at the bottom

story by JON KRAKAUER
Three Cups of Deceit
How Greg Mortenson,
Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

free today


http://byliner.com/

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:40pm PT
Helpful thoughts and perspectives from Jan and Peter.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 18, 2011 - 04:45pm PT
Why is all this a story? Can anyone provide a 'never-read' with the cliff notes?

DMT
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Apr 18, 2011 - 05:26pm PT
"The truth uncompromisingly told always has its ragged edges." Herman Melville.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Full Silos of Iowa
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:03pm PT
GG, that one belongs in the favorite quotes thread.

.....

If the hairless ape weren't egoistic or greedy, then (a) plastic tits wouldn't exist; (b) he never would've conquered El Cap or the moon.
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:10pm PT
If Americans could understand honesty, plastic tits wouldn't exist.


Haha-nor viagra ;)

I hope the truth is somewhere in the middle and GM refocuses to actually achieve the goal with some provable results (as Riley commented). Jan-good insights, agreed a lot of obstacles with 3rd world. This whole thing sucks. Even if he has 65% truth to what he has been trying to do and accomplishing results, then I'm happy. And maybe he can clean it up now going forward. He was a big hero to me, and it hurts my heart to think he has done bad.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:21pm PT
This whole thing sucks. Even if he has 65% truth to what he has been trying to do and accomplishing results, then I'm happy. And maybe he can clean it up now going forward. He was a big hero to me, and it hurts my heart to think he has done bad.

Don't worry, I think GM has already cleaned up very, very well!!
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:22pm PT
WBraun

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:24pm PT
Maybe GM will invite FortMental for lunch serving a knuckle sandwich.

Talking sh'it from behind your coward avatar .....
WBraun

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:40pm PT
Never saw your post FM

OK you get nice ham sandwich ... :-)
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:45pm PT
'Three Cups of Tea' Publisher to Review Book After '60 Minutes' Report
Seems that the publisher doesn't share the view of some of the blowhards on this thread that there's anything wrong with 60 Minutes' journalism:

"In a statement, Viking, an imprint of Pearson PLC's Penguin Group (USA), praised Mr. Mortenson's humanitarian efforts but noted that " '60 Minutes' is a serious news organization, and in the wake of their report, Viking plans to carefully review the materials with the author." "

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704821704576271202187464110.html
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 06:59pm PT
I've read both sides and watched the 60 Minutes video. From what I've seen (so far), if I were a major donor, I wouldn't cut ties with CAI, but I would insist on yearly audits and a more independent board going forward. Also, maybe it's time for Mortenson to retire as CEO while still remaining involved.
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Apr 18, 2011 - 07:46pm PT
Having read the byliner article by Kraukauer (a must for anyone venturing an opinion here) I hope the f*#king IRS conducts an investigation. If GM has been using the NGO to market his book and associated tour, he needs to go to jail. I cannot countenance theft on such a grand scale using the veneer of "good intentions" to hide behind.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 08:14pm PT
ot everyone here agreed with Krakauer's conclusions, but I don't remember anyone accusing him of purposely fabricating anything.

Also, I read many of the accounts of the Everest disaster and all geneally supported Krakauer with the exception of Boukrev's.

If anyone can point to even one instance of Krakauer fabricating anything in his book, please point them out. Fabricating facts and disagreeing with someone's interpretation of the facts are two different things.

We know that Mortenson fabricated facts in his book. WHEN CONFRONTED, MORTENSON HAS OPENLY ADMITTED TO DOING SO.

I challenge the Krakauer haters to find even ONE example where Krakauer fabricated facts like Mortenson has--again Mortenson has admitted to doing so.

Edit: This post was in response to Owlman's post. He said that he was Mortenson's next door neighbor and slammed Krakauer. He deleted his post.
goatboy smellz

climber
Nederland
Apr 18, 2011 - 08:24pm PT
Fattrad, put me down for 20 bucks on Mortenson, he looks like he has been eating well and could take little Jon.

graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 08:32pm PT
FICTION, in Three Cups of Tea:

From his base in Haji Ali’s home, Mortenson settled into a
routine. Each morning and afternoon he would walk briefly
about Korphe,
accompanied, as always, by children tugging
at his hands…. Off the Baltoro, out of danger, he realized just
how precious his own survival had been, and how weakened
he’d become. He could barely make it down the switchback
path that led to the river…. Wheezing his way back up to the
village, he felt as infirm as the elderly men who sat for hours
at a time under Korphe’s apricot trees, smoking from hookahs
and eating apricot kernels. After an hour or two of poking
about each day he’d succumb to exhaustion and return to stare
at the sky from his nest of pillows by Haji Ali’s hearth.

FACT, according to Mortenson now:

http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-greg-mortenson-interview-sidwcmdev_155690.html?page=3

Q: But you stand by the Korphe story as it was written?

Mortenson: Well, there are discrepancies that, again, have to do with compression of events.




Q: Still, there are clear discrepancies between that version and what’s in Three Cups of Tea. In the book, you’re described as being in Korphe overnight, but now you think you were really there only a few hours. In the book, it says you went back to Korphe as soon as you could, and it’s during this second trip that you and Hajj Ali talk about you building a school there someday. When did that actually happen?

Mortenson: The second scene in Korphe about building a school happened in September 1994, a year later.

Q: Then there was quite a bit of literary compression going on. You entered the village in September 1993, but you went back a year later, not a few days later, and talked about the school?

Mortenson: That’s correct.

graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 08:40pm PT
Graniteclimber, look into another book of his (not mountain or Mormon related) and you'll find controversy regarding taking down an American hero. Trust me on this one.

Trusting you has nothing to do with it. Is Krakauer a liar or isn't he?

I just pointed out a passage in Mortenson's book that Mortenson now admits has factual fabrications.

If there are examples like this in Krakauer's writings, please point them out.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 08:53pm PT
I did some googling. I don't think I found what you want me to find. Post the links. Or if you are afraid to do that, post the exact google search terms and the numbers of the results I should look at.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:01pm PT
NBC picked up the story and reported today's statement by Viking.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:11pm PT
To make this thread on topic.


Endnote 1 to the Byliner article.

"According to Three Cups of Tea (pages 10 and 44), Mortenson
was an accomplished mountaineer who, before attempting
K2, had made “half a dozen successful Himalayan ascents,”
including climbs of 24,688-foot Annapurna IV and 23,389-
foot Baruntse, both of which are in Nepal. But there is no
record in the American Alpine Journal (which meticulously
documents all ascents of Annapurna IV, Baruntse, and other
major Himalayan peaks) of Mortenson reaching the summit
of, or even attempting, any Himalayan mountain prior to
1993. Scott Darsney, Greg’s climbing partner on K2, confirms
that Mortenson had never been to the Himalaya or Karakoram
before going to K2."

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:01pm PT
To make this thread on topic.


Endnote 1 to the Byliner article.

"According to Three Cups of Tea (pages 10 and 44), Mortenson
was an accomplished mountaineer who, before attempting
K2, had made “half a dozen successful Himalayan ascents,”
including climbs of 24,688-foot Annapurna IV and 23,389-
foot Baruntse, both of which are in Nepal. But there is no
record in the American Alpine Journal (which meticulously
documents all ascents of Annapurna IV, Baruntse, and other
major Himalayan peaks) of Mortenson reaching the summit
of, or even attempting, any Himalayan mountain prior to
1993. Scott Darsney, Greg’s climbing partner on K2, confirms
that Mortenson had never been to the Himalaya or Karakoram
before going to K2."

Lied about climbing did he?

SCOUNDREL!

DMT
squish

Social climber
bc
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:33pm PT
JK went on Wiltsie and Hornbein's departure from the CAI board, which was in 2004, a long time ago. Maybe JK had another project on the go, why now?
Anyhow, Wiltsie and Hornbein are very credible and worldly enough to know how local issues (payouts) work. They did not want their names associated with the CAI for their personal reasons. JK had worked with Wiltsie in the past, Queen Maud Land that I know of, so was privy to his views and probably the reason he was a donor.


Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:34pm PT
the American Alpine Journal (which meticulously documents all ascents of Annapurna IV, Baruntse, and other major Himalayan peaks

Does the AAJ in fact document all ascents of Himalayan peaks? It documents major ascents, generally only new routes.

Second, wouldn't Annapurna IV and Baruntse be considered medium Himalayan peaks, although perhaps a major ascent could still be made on them?

If GM climbed one or the other peak (or both) by a trade route, hardly a surprise that it wasn't recorded in the AAJ. And it seems unlikely that anyone in 1993 would attempt K2 as a first Himalayan or Karakoram peak.
Chute

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:52pm PT
Check out this link to Jon Krakauer's essay "Three Cups of Deceit". Jon has written a 90 page expose of problems with Mortensons charity and refuting a lot of the claims Mortenson has made about his accomplishments.
http://byliner.com/
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 18, 2011 - 11:56pm PT
I thought of that too, Mighty Hiker, but it doesn't explain this:

Scott Darsney, Greg’s climbing partner on K2, confirms
that Mortenson had never been to the Himalaya or Karakoram
before going to K2.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:01am PT
If anyone is interested in checking facts about Mortenson's climbs in the Himalaya,
the source to check is not the AAC but Liz Hawley in Kathmandu.
sempervirens

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:06am PT
A 90-page article to refute GM's claims. Why? I can't understand why Krakauer would want to do it. He has to know this could not only stop any good work GM is doing but also ruin his life. JK are you on this forum? Tell us why you're doing this.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:07am PT
If we nuke Pakistan, will this problem go away? The Indians would be happy.

I'm just sayin'....
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:07am PT
yeah, the krakauer article is pretty grim reading. it seems that important sections of both books were fabricated.

the korphe story seems less important-- i wouldn't care too much what year he went to korphe --

but the accusation of kidnapping is really serious and appears to be entirely fabricated. worse, the folks implicated in that kidnapping are identifiable and not happy with the charges. mansour appeared pretty credible in his cnn interview, and he's apparently well known in the international policy community. and there's at least a bit of textual evidence that also suggests the kidnapping story was pure fiction. polishing the bit about how he got started would be fairly forgivable, but false accusations of major crimes aren't going to be easy to shrug off.

so far as the charity goes, the IRS is going to be all over it. multiple resignations by principals all involving the same charges, no accounting, legal advice that the practices were violating IRS code, etc.

the whole thing is over. what a cluster.

edit @sempervirens: are you kidding? did you read the piece? all it did was accelerate the explosion. no charitable organization that size and that high-profile can operate for very long the way mortenson was running the thing. as far as krakauer's motivations, my inference after reading the piece is that he felt personally betrayed by mortenson. he dropped 70k of his own cash and put his own credibility on the line in very public ways.
sempervirens

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:42am PT
Hi Klk, no I've yet to read the Krakauer 90 pages, but certainly will. I can understand Krakauer feeling burned. But is that enough to want to bring GM down, all the way down to nothing. He won't get the $75K back. Are you saying Krakauer is trying to save his own reputation? You haven't really explained the motivation. Allright I'll read the 90 pages and get back.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:44am PT
From the Christian Science Monitor:


There are also many people who say they’ve been positively affected by CAI’s work.
Monitor reporters traveling last summer through Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan have noticed several schools constructed by CAI. One large, freshly built girls’ high school sat on a hill overlooking the bleak town of Ishkashim on the mountainous border with Tajikistan.

The school was not in session at the time. However, interviews with a few local teachers revealed respect for “Mister Greg.” The teachers expressed gratitude for the new school. While they said they wished they had more school supplies, they were hopeful that CAI would be following through on promises to send more soon.



Ruhullah Hamid, spokesman for Badakhshan’s Education Department, says that he’s unaware of any corruption or misrepresentation of CAI’s projects in his province. He says that CAI constructed at least 12 schools in the province in addition to providing computers. With about 400 of the province’s 647 schools lacking a physical structure, Mr. Hamid says CAI’s contributions have been more than welcome. 

“We are very happy with these buildings that they made for us,” he says. “I cannot accuse him of being corrupt, because I don’t have any evidence that this institute was corrupt, but if it is true that this institute raised much money and did not spend it correctly, people will be suspicious not just in America, but in all other countries who send money to Afghanistan.”

The Pakistani government conferred the Star of Pakistan, the country's third highest civilian award, on Mortenson and invited him to take tea with President Asif Ali Zardari in 2009. President Zardari’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, told the Monitor the government was treating the allegations with caution. "One has to find out the detail because often a number of media reports turn out to be incorrect," he says. "Until one knows what the story really is, one can't move forward."



http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2011/0418/Greg-Mortenson-s-Three-Cups-of-Tea-Will-CBS-report-harm-aid-work

Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2011 - 12:45am PT
A 90-page article to refute GM's claims. Why? I can't understand why Krakauer would want to do it. He has to know this could not only stop any good work GM is doing but also ruin his life. JK are you on this forum? Tell us why you're doing this.

I can think of three reasons. One, he personally gave GM $75,000. Two, he builds credibility within the media, thus promoting his own book. And finally, JK knows his criticism in the climbing community will be heavily scrutinized and he wants to be thorough. I don't think his motives are pure, but that doesn't stop him from be right.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:54am PT
The charges in the krakauer piece, which was the trigger for the 60 Minutes and CNN reports, aren't exactly "corruption," but rather misrepresentation, amateurism, and incompetence.

Parts of Krakauer's critique of factual errors in the books are a bit pedantic, but two of the major criticisms are really serious and appear really well founded. Mortenson's management of finances was clearly irresponsible and probably in violation of tax code.

That doesn't mean that CAI was a bad idea or didn't do good or even that Mortenson's intentions weren't honorable. All of those things could be true at the same time.

indeed, I suspect that they may well all be true. That's what makes this whole thing so sad-- it doesn't appear to be a simple story of a scam artist or pure self- aggrandizement. But it's a disaster for themountaineering community, a potential problem for other charities or policy folks in the area.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:32am PT
I read Three Cups of Deceit.
It's long and attacks Mortenson on many different fronts.
The following lengthy passage sounds like a charge of "corruption" to me--not just amateurism or incompetence.
Quick summary: not only does Mortenson cause CAI to buy Mortenson's books, he has CAI buy retail instead of wholesale because that gives him a higher royalty and better placement on bestseller lists.


Using CAI funds, Mortenson has purchased many tens
of thousands of copies of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into
Schools, which he has subsequently handed out to attendees
at his speaking engagements. A significant number of these
books were charged to CAI’s Pennies for Peace program,
contrary to Mortenson’s frequent assertions that CAI uses
“every penny” of every donation made to Pennies for Peace
to support schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rather than
buy Mortenson's books at wholesale cost from his publisher,
moreover, CAI has paid retail price from commercial outlets
such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Buying from
retailers allows Mortenson to receive his author’s royalty
for each book given away, and also allows these handouts
to augment his ranking on national bestseller lists. (Had he
ordered the books from his publisher, Mortenson would not
have received a royalty, nor would bestseller lists reflect those
purchases.) According to one of Mortenson’s friends, when he
learned that Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love had bumped
Three Cups of Tea from number one down to number two on
the New York Times paperback nonfiction list, “Greg was furious.
He started buying books like crazy, with the CAI credit
card, to try and put Three Cups back on top.”

Why did Krakauer research and write the article (if "article" is even the right word--it's very long)? My guess--it's just a very interesting story that he had some personal knowledge of, and he's a writer.
sempervirens

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:06am PT
Dang. If Jk is telling the truth I'd say GM is done. It's very sad for him, his family, us, the communities he tried to help, the mountaineering community.

Incompetence and deceit are pretty well supported by the article. One might even say mental illness is involved. Is GM a bit of a pathological liar.


So he's a writer and he had to expose the truth. I'd rather know the truth than not know it.

Can the message still hold?. I sure hope so. Building schools is more effective than military occupation. I can imagine the hay making foxx news could make out of this.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:15am PT
In the la times:

Like many people who believes in ‘Education is a right and not privilege’, I have also read both of Greg Mortenson’s books and watched Greg Mortenson - 60 Minutes which was aired on CBS News on April 17, 2011. Mortenson claims that he has educated over 60,000 of young children and mostly girls and built over 170 schools in Karakoram -the north west of Pakistan and the Wakhan valley of Afghanistan near the Russia and China border during the last 17 years.

Mortenson was intelligent enough to select Karakoram, the 2nd highest rocky mountain in the world, located on the Pakistan-Chinese border, beyond which it becomes an ocean of snow, where he envisioned writing his first book ‘Three Cups of Tea’. Being a native of the north west of Pakistan, I visited Karakoram Mountains along with a French Professor. I was amazed at the pride of the tall mountains and the scenic beauty of nature. At the same time, I found that it is harder for foreigners to come here because the government is charging them heavy amount and do not have any plan to encourage mountaineers and tourists to contribute to local economy. Our successive governments are busy investing their energies and money in wars instead of investing in education. Mortenson had selected Wakhan - a majestic alpine valley in the border region of Afghanistan and Tajikistan to educate children, build schools and to write his second book ‘Stones Into Schools’. This valley is located in the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia. Mortenson has selected areas where it was not harder for local and foreign media and researchers to attest such splendid education projects that Mortenson had started.

While reading Mortenson’s both well-written books, I had the view that they are based on fiction, mixed with half truth. He describes the harder geography of the area very beautifully and in a dramatic way. He presents his characters such as Haji Ali, Rasheed, Sarfaraz, Sadbar, and Parveen like Hollywood movies characters to impress his readers . His timely stories contributed to connect his education case of Afghan and Pakistani children with US people easily, because the US led western nations are investing blood of its sons and daughters in Afghanistan and Pakistan augmented by tax-payers’ dollars to bring peace in the region and security to its own people. He is also successful to connect his stories with the defeat of Communist Russia in Afghanistan on the hands of ‘Mujahideeen’, ‘Taliban’, and ‘Warlords’ led by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United state and supported by the entire Capitalist world including Communist China. He has beautifully engaged his readers to the anarchic situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan as he refers to the successive presidents and Al-Qaeda leaders to make his storey central to the current global unrest in the mountains of Central Asia.

What did not astonish me at all was that Greg Mortenson received Pakistan’s highest civil award, Sitara-e-Pakistan because leadership in the third world countries are always in search of foreigners to honour them with such awards to do ‘Realpolitik’. It also did not surprise me that he presented his wife and two children - Khyber and Amira; heroes of his work because the North American culture and society functions in an individualist context.
It was the most disturbing factor for me that Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces was chief guest at one of Mortenson’s school inauguration in Afghanistan. It is also strange that how Mortenson was inducted by the U.S. military to lecture and mentor young officers at the Air Force, Naval and West Point academies to share his philosophy of Afghan and Islamic culture with them while educating top -ranking Pentagon brass like General David Petraeus and Admiral EricLarson.
Being inhabitant of the North West of Pakistan and Afghanistan for over 35 years, it made me sad while reading Mortenson’s story that he was kidnapped by Taliban supporters in Waziristan, where he was held as a prisoner for eight days before his captors released him in a sudden and dramatic mystery with details known only to Mortenson till the 60 Minutes show was aired. The show found that four of the supposed abductors where ordinary Wazir Pashtun from FATA who were promised by Mortenson to build schools in the war-raged Waziristan FATA. One of the alleged was Mansoor Khan Masud, who runs FATA Research Centre, Islamabad and also writes for American Foreign Policy Magazine, who says that Mortenson was their guest. Mortenson has done a historic injustice to fabricate that Pashtuns are warriors and against education which is contrary to their customs such as Melmastia (hospitality.

Despite Mortenson’s successes of fame and fortune, he not only failed himself but other philanthropists as well, that one day an intuitive Steve Kroft of CBS will be able to find the whole truth and set the record straight and do some justice to the Pashtuns and Americans. I commend Mortenson for connecting westerners with Pakistani and Afghan children’s education. I wish he could have done it differently.

Jahan Zeb is Canadian Pashtun and perusing his MA degree in Community Studies. jahanzebca@gmail.com


Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:17am PT
Frankly this thread makes me sick! A bunch of pompous blowhard jackwads sitting in the plush comfort of their easy chairs decrying someone who IS making a difference. What have any of you POS complainers done with your lives? Go back to watching American Idol or Dancing with the Stars or what ever useless masturbation that constitutes the "value" of your existence. In other words go blow yourselves!

Actually, when I see such a post, I first ask to see the halo of the poster. That's ok, philo, I'll be happy to compare notes, anytime.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:18am PT
STewart Johnson says:
yep a sixty minute piece on the fuped up bankers and corrupt politics in this country would not fly.
lets go after the little guy, whos done more
good than all the bombs of merica,and whos done more good than all of us put together.

All this proves, is that you don't watch 60 minutes, or you wouldn't make that argument.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:24am PT
Happi says:

According to the Bozeman article, Mortenson was recently diagnosed with a hole in his heart(how poignant.....), and is undergoing a medical procedure THIS WEEK. Is it REALLY THAT hard to believe that he may be unable to launch a damage control campaign at the snap of a finger?


Yes, because that is what one has associates for, in a multi-million dollar a year corporation.

I do NOT find all these accusations damaging, but I know, unfortunately, that most will jump on the "the crook!" bandwagon. Again, I DO see that the sloppy accounting within the organization has created this mess. It's too bad that this wasn't addressed years ago, when Three Cups launched the growth within the organization. But as of now - The story is Spin.


WHERE do you find the evidence for sloppy accounting? So you are willing to throw anyone associate with his organization who does accounting, over the side of the boat, with no evidence, just to save him?


And when they have to hire an expensive PR person to assist in dealing with this problem, people are going to piss and cry about wasted money.


No, what they are going to say is that is clear evidence of wrongdoing when, instead of simply answering questions and giving out straight information, you hire PR firms.


I DO hope, and expect, that a thorough accounting is going to be done by a reputable agency, as a part of the response. It will take some time. And yes, it is likely that people will say "All that money for bribes???" and think it really went into the man's pocket. Because so many love to see a trainwreck of another - so long as it's not themselves! For the xians - "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."


You must be pretty pure for all the stones that you are casting.......
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:30am PT
"As has been pointed out, 60 Minutes tried for months to speak with GM"

According to the Bozeman article, GM is quoted as "...."60 Minutes" had spent several months investigating him, but didn't try to contact him until March 30, and only gave him a chance to respond "at the 11th hour." He said Kroft ambushed him with a camera crew at an event in Atlanta where he was speaking to ninth-graders. Mortenson said he declined to give an on-air interview."

March 30th. Not months. And that he declined to give an on-the-spot interview seems ODD to people?

Anyone who is on the "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh MY!" bandwagon - DO please take a moment to read the Bozeman article, The link is here:
http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_4d3125cc-67d7-11e0-b861-001cc4c002e0.html

Happi, I read his various non-answers. So, now your turn. take a minute to watch the 60 minutes segment, and the eyewitness testimony. To me, the tipping point was his characterization of his companions as Taliban, including a picture of a man well known as a learned academic (interviewed on camera)
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:39am PT
For the 60 minutes haters, show me your Emmy.

Ratings
Based on ratings, 60 Minutes is the most successful broadcast in U.S. television history

Recognition

Emmy Awards

As of May 2007, 60 Minutes had won a total of 78 Emmy Awards, a record unsurpassed by any primetime show on any network.

Peabody Awards

The show won Peabody Awards for the segments "All in the Family", an investigation into abuses by government and military contractors; "The CIA's Cocaine", which uncovered CIA involvement in drug smuggling; "Friendly Fire", a report on incidents of friendly fire in the Gulf War; and "Duke Rape Suspects Speak Out", the first interviews with the suspects in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case, and "The Killings in Haditha," an investigation into the killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:40am PT
Does 60 minutes pay those who go on the show; I expect they do.


They do not. If they did, you can be sure that Greg would have lined up.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:42am PT
60 minutes can make Mother Theresa look like a self centered douchebag. 60 minutes' job is to make everyone look bad.


Proving that you don't watch 60 minutes. I think of their piece on Mohammed Ali, for example. I think they also did one on Mother Theresa, and she came off.....saintly.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:55am PT
I think that Jan and Werner hit the nail on the head. Unless you've worked in 3rd world countries, you have no idea how ridiculous it is to hold projects to "western" standards and business practices. I worked extensively in South America and Africa, "showing your appreciation" to the locals was the only way you even had chance of having your project have a chance of coming to fruition.

For damn sure, don't lose your temper, yell at someone and make them lose "face", pushing your entitled Western Weight around. That's when stuff just comes up missing and the only answers to your inquiries about it are shrugged shoulders.


Hmmmm. So while spending $1 million/year (according to GREGS financial filings for children, he pockets $3 million a year, plus at least 10 million from his books? And has the charity pay a couple of million of his "expenses", effectively giving him another 2 million a year?

That's ok with you?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 09:19am PT
What's with you Ken M? You seem to have a personal stake in this. Did you donate some money? If not, why the jihad?

DMT
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 19, 2011 - 10:40am PT
No sh#t, KenM.

I thought I was pretty careful NOT to be bashing others in my posts. In fa ct, I have consciously witheld some of my opinions on several aspects of the thread/story because - they are my opinions only, and based on my own intuitions.

But since you post something along the lines of "throw accountants/bookeepers under the bus" I am going to come right out and suggest(not say, suggest) that you seem to be on some sort of vigilante hunt. For ONE thing, GM himself was very likely the book keeper for the start of the thing. For another - IF there are these improprieties that are being claimed, then YES - a book keeper DOES have some responsibility!

I stopped working for companies importing goods from China because I didn't like the way we treated our partners(in name only, for many of these business people, while they treat them like dogs). A book keeper who sees such gross incompetence (as is claimed - I still suggest it IS Spin) cannot, on good faith, continue on. SO...... PERHAPS the book keeper didn't see the situation as you seem to?

And this "let's compare halo's" bullsh#t. Another old saying is "Pride goeth before the fall." Best watch yourself, dude, as you walk this path through life. I think it must be hubris to the nth degree, to imply one's "way" is superior to others. In AA, we say "It is progress, not perfection." It also goes on to say (paraphrase) "So you think you quit alcohol and now all's gold. Get to work on your relationships." And then - it is NEVER over, for once you see "Hey I no longer do such and such, or act, or react, in such and such a way..." there is STILL work to do, on the path of progress. Even the person who considers themself saintly STILL has work to do, if they snap at their spouse when they are under duress....

CLEARLY the CAI and GM need to move forward on the path of progress. I really DO hope that they can survive this storm, and do so. It COULD be the silver lining in the cloud, as it DOES seem that the organization and GM(which have been perhaps too intertwined, from a professional standpoint) have never been able to stop and take a breath. Momentum is a rather strong force.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2011 - 10:58am PT
HG: I assume you haven't read Three Cups of Deceit (and I don't mean skimmed, but really read).

There's a tone of "maybe Mortenson made a few mistakes, but he's a great guy doing such great stuff" in some posts that is predicated on setting up and then belittling straw-men charges (e.g., he just wasn't good at keeping records, or maybe he bragged about his climbing background but so what?). Poor record keeping is by no means the only or the most serious charge. (Although, when "poor record keeping" means spending hundreds of thousands of $$$ for years with no documentation, that does become a serious charge.)

If anyone reads and comprehends Three Cups of Deceit, I think their support for Mortenson will evaporate (OK, his mother, etc. doesn't count). If I'm wrong about that, well, then some people are even more gullible than I suppose.
raymond phule

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:09am PT

For another - IF there are these improprieties that are being claimed

But GM has already admitted to many of the improprieties.

I am curious about what is going to happen with the claims in regard to the stories from Pakistan. GM admitted that the stories in his book where not factual but his latest version of these stories is still quite different from what Jon Krakauer claims is the truth. Did GM lie in his interview with outside magazine?
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:09am PT
"In AA, we say "It is progress, not perfection."

Far more importantly and most assuredly a critical part of that "progress", we are directed to go forth and face the storm that we created, confess our misdeeds, openly make amends, take full accountability and responsibility for all our misbehaviors and do everything in our power to correct our future actions & behaviors. We blame no one for our actions and do ALL that is necessary in order to clean up all the trash that we piled up on our side of the street. We then do this for the rest of our days on earth. (8,9 & 10)

We are to do the next right thing, no matter how difficult it may be.

I have yet to see this here from GM. Only the proverbial blame, denial and constant excuse game.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:30am PT
It's nearly impossible for a public figure in the US to successfully sue the news media for defamation.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:42am PT
Cage will need permission from his bailbondsman to attend, I'm afraid.

DMT
raymond phule

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:46am PT

If Mortensen has been defamed by 60 Minutes, he can sue them. We await the action of his attorneys.

I believe the Krakauer article is much more interesting than the 60 minutes show because it has much more details.

Much of the things said in the program is also clearly true.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:04pm PT
This whole issue would not have been so blown out if GM would have just faced Kroft and the accusations openly. Had GM just gone on 60 Min, took the heat, stood his ground and said his peace, this would most certainly not be were it is today.

Running from any accuser/s most certainly always opens the door to misperceptions and totally identifying with the potential disaster of the destruction of ones true character.

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:07pm PT
blahblah - Correct, I have not downloaded the article. I'm actually in the Grand Canyon(online, fer christs's sake...) and have been checking into my emails, favorite haunts and doing a little business work(yesterday I was contacted by quite a nice website that will be using some of the images I took while visiting Jerome, AZ, and spent my battery time sending full res images, for example. AND in our conversations, the woman has said they would like to also do a story on my winter southwest road trip! woohoo).

So.... I have picked and chosen my uses for internet time.

People are not going to change my position on this scenario. Sorry - I have seen way to many hatchet jobs, where statements are made, with purported truths that aren't really. An example would be "personal jet use." It SOUNDS like an unnecesary luxury. Yet it is actually, in many case, a realistic requirement.

If GM has done wrong, let the COURTS try him and come to a verdict. If the CAI has not upheld the requirement for their 501(c) 3 status, that too will be decided, and the status revoked. If the financials are not in order, the IRS will deal with it, and you can be sure it will be hesdline news. Anyone who thinks the US Gov isn't fully aware of GM and the minutiae of his life.... may be should ask where the hell all that money for Homeland Security goes, if it isn't looking into the dealings of a person moving money around the Middle East.

Until then, I have not seen anything that is a proven fact of wrongdoing.
locker

Social climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:13pm PT


"and spent my battery time sending full res images"...

Not sure if you know it already...

But they have these NIFTY little devices that go into you car lighter receptical that is some sort of "inverter"(???) for charging computers and such...

Usually available at Truck stops and bigger gas stations and of course places like Wal Mart, etc...

Not overly expensive...

Mine works GREAT!!!...

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Full Silos of Iowa
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:14pm PT
three cups of deceit

Maybe it was poppy tea.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:16pm PT
Radical nailed it.

Remarkable thread...


Religious responses from folks who are not religious.

If Mortenson set up a kool-aide stand here on Supertopo and started selling kool-aide mixed with cyanide, he'd have a lot of takers. Maybe even more than Jim Jones.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:22pm PT
Those of you trying to absolve Mortenson of all blame might have an easier time if you were actually to read Krakauer's piece so that you could understand the charges and the evidence.

As it is, this thread has a surreal quality as folks who've decided that Mortenson is a good guy and his project wonderful invent possible lame accusations and then offer fantasy rebuttals.

I guess maybe it has some therapeutic value, but it sure as hell doesn't do anything else. I know this is =the internet, but still, this is a topic that actually touches the larger mountaineering community, so it is one that deserves a bit more intellectual effort than the sort of stuff that goes on in the usual politard threads.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:22pm PT
If Mortenson set up a kool-aide stand here on Supertopo and started selling kool-aide mixed with cyanide, he'd have a lot of takers. Maybe even more than Jim Jones.

Truly seems to be the underlying case here and throughout all of GM's followers.
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:33pm PT
Having read the long article by Krakauer (http://byliner.com/);, I agree with klk. Initially, I thought the attacks on Mortenson were just some sort of media distortion, but what Krakauer details is something quite different. If what JK writes is true, Mortenson benefited financially MUCH more than legally permitted. He took advantage of donors to CAI, plus the proceeds from thousands of school programs which gave money to benefit kids.

Its not a matter of building savings for CAI in the future. According to Krakauer, Mortenson pocketed millions of dollars and used CAI funds to promote his own talks. He's in huge trouble with the IRS and has destroyed CAI's integrity. Its a very sad situation. I hope CAI can somehow recover and continue its mission. This story is just beginning as far as public knowledge of what really has been going on.
Gene

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:12pm PT
Connect the dots:

Peace and Hope Begin With Education: One Child At A Time
Central Asia Institute’s Domestic Education Program was established to promote awareness of the importance of primary education, literacy, and cross-cultural understanding about the remote regions of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. We do this through public events, global outreach and in the USA, our books Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, and our Pennies for Peace Program.
https://www.ikat.org/events/
(Central Asia Institute’s website)
Note “our books” in above quote. CAI does not share in the revenue from GM’s books.

It may surprise many people who have donated money to CAI, as it surprised me, to learn that CAI receives none of the proceeds from any of Mortenson’s books. All of the royalties from Three Cups of Tea are split equally by Mortenson and David Relin. All of the royalties from his other books are paid to Mortenson alone.
John Krakauer, Three Cups of Deceit

The following is from Central Asia Institute IRS Form 990, Page 29
(D) DESCRIPTION OF TRANSACTION: THE ORGANIZATION HAS AN ECONOMIC INTEREST IN A BOOK WRITTEN BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREG MORTENSON, WHICH IS WRITTEN IN REGARDS TO HIS JOURNEYS IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN WHILE PURSUING THE ORGANIZATION’S MISSION. DURING THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2009, THE ORGANIZATION PAID $1,729,542 FOR BOOK-RELATED EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH OUTREACH AND EDUCATION.
https://www.ikat.org/wp-includes/documents/Financials/990FYE9-30-09.pdf

Note CAI’s claim of “economic interest” and “$1,729,542 for book-related expenses…”

CAI = GM and that’s wrong.

EDIT:
$4,607,300 in CAI expenses described as:
DOMESTIC OUTREACH AND EDUCATION, LECTURES AND GUEST APPEARANCES ACROSS THE UNITED STATES TELLING CENTRAL ASIA INSTITUTES STORY AND THE PLIGHT OF CHILDREN IN PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN.
https://www.ikat.org/wp-includes/documents/Financials/990FYE9-30-09.pdf

GM doesn’t share speaking fees with CAI.
BJ

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:13pm PT
If Krakauer were a prosecutor, the Judge wouldn't even bother to hear the case.


He'd slam the gavel, and proclaim "guilty, guilty, guilty Now lets hang the bastard and have a beer"
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:16pm PT
Lemme see if I have the bold strokes:

GM lied about some of his or his organization's accomplishments.

He may have lied a bit about his climbing accomplishments too.

He likes living high on the hog of the global charity business.

Some of his donors are pissed about all this.

I gather he or his org also did build quite a few schools, maybe not nearly as many as they claim? I dunno.

That's, um, it... right? Tempest in a teapot? Pissed off donor with a global bully pulpit?

DMT
squish

Social climber
bc
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:21pm PT
Here is a link to a piece with a break down of GM's book sale royalties with a $5,876,170 estimate that was based on the lowest percentages and could have been as high as 9 million+.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-pinter/why-greg-mortensons-math-_b_850522.html
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:23pm PT
"Lemme see if I have the bold strokes:

GM lied about some of his or his organization's accomplishments.

He may have lied a bit about his climbing accomplishments too.

He likes living high on the hog of the global charity business.

Some of his donors are pissed about all this.

I gather he or his org also did build quite a few schools, maybe not nearly as many as they claim? I dunno.

That's, um, it... right? Tempest in a teapot? Pissed off donor with a global bully pulpit?"




WOW! Sounds just like typical Corporate America and of course, none other then all of the Wall Street folks in general.

Thus, everything is indeed AOK!
BJ

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:24pm PT
I don't think that the inflated resume, messy time-line and the like are truly a problem. But what is, is the financial improprieties, mismanagement, fading of the line between CAI and GM, and the large scale overt involvement of CAI into GM Inc.

That will be his downfall, he isn't going to come out of this whole
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:29pm PT
DMT, no, at least not to me. Read the Krakauer piece. What it alleges, and with what looks like fairly good evidence, is that GM falsified his kidnapping and publicly identified folks who had actually been his benefactors as Taliban kidnappers. Then the book sold jillions of copies and he promoted the story round the world.

Imagine if someone from another country visited the Sierra, you took them around and showed them all the locals only stuff. Then they went home and wrote a book that named you and yr friends as terrorists, claimed you had kidnapped them and held them hostage, and that they were starting acharity to go back to the Sierra and build the schools that ignorant terrorist rednecks like DMT wouldn't build for their own children. Then they flew round the world giving talks and seminars in which they kept repeating the story and using it to raise dough for their charity and for more book tours.

I can understand the need for a certain percentage of off-the-books money work in places where cash payments are regularly used in policy to facilitate everything from travel to labor. And I can understand a bit of lily-gilding-- even self-conscious, deliberate polishing --in buffing a story for the mass market and potential donors. I can even understand the dangerous amateurism that led so many of the initial supporters and adminisitrators to publicly resign. I don't approve of it, it's clearly incompetent or worse, but it's understandable.

The slander of Mansur and others is to me a genuinely serious charge and one that has repercussions far beyond this case. What is this going to do to other, future efforts to travel and do charitable work in the area? How do you think other climbers are likely to get treated now once they're in the backcountry? That region is a tinderbox, and it looks as if GM tossed in a match and a can of gasoline in the belief that he needed a campfire.

I don't have the grounds for questioning his motivations. That, or his climbing resume or his sloppy account, just aren't the issue.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:30pm PT
In fact if you want to see an organization that funnels money to people in an even more egregious way you should take a hard look at National Public Television and Radio. They help funnel all kinds of public money toward people that make income in the millions.

Yeah, maybe so. BUT! Does the CEO themselves of those Org's get to pocket Millions of those donated and federally funded monies.... legally????

Big difference which appears to be the case here.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:39pm PT
This type of thing underminds my trust in ANY institution abroad which REALLY sucks because the third world is in SUCH need of assistance.

I was not a donor to the CAI but feel the betrayal nonetheless because it was such a lovely story, so very believable and was doing most excellent work.

Just goes to say best is to give to charities at home, like womens shelters, where you can see what they do and get involved as opposed to just writing a cheque.......
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:43pm PT
"Just goes to say best is to give to charities at home, like womens shelters, where you can see what they do and get involved as opposed to just writing a cheque......."

I will throw one in that is a much better concept.

Give no monies. Rather, donate something far greater... your own time and efforts to any worthy local cause that will benefit another human being.

At the end of the day, you can actually see the fruits of all the labor & help involved. More importantly, you will truly be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself for being a major contributor to solution efforts.




"Greg M. is a drop in the bucket but should be a wake up call to everyone."

That STILL does not make it right. Not one bit.

Edit: Addtions
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:48pm PT
A constant theme here is that Mortenson is the CAI and the CAI is Mortenson. And of course that's true to a certain extent. But it was Jean Hoerni who established and endowed the CAI before his death.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:49pm PT
DMT,
klk beat me to it, but no, you don't have the bold strokes. At all.

For example, I still haven't seen Mortenson's supporters explain why Mortenson caused CAI to buy Three Cups of Tea at retail rather than wholesale prices.

The charge: this caused Mortenson to receive higher royalty rates, and counts toward bestseller lists. (Also, Mortenson went nuts when Three Cups fell from No. 1 and ordered massive purchases by CPI to try regain top spot.)

The response: The deafening sound of silence.

Only reason I'm posting this is because DMT just did exactly what I (and others) have caught Mortenson's defenders doing: mischaracterizing the allegations and then dismissing them. That is a BS tactic and we're on to it.

(By the way, Mortensen causing CAI to buy his books at all seems like huge conflict to me, but perhaps that's defensible, I don't know. The specific charge is the retail rather than wholesale purchases.)
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:52pm PT
Let me be blunt blahblah I don't really care about Greg Mortenson and 3 Cups of Tea.

I was just wondering out loud why this whole story seems to provoke the fervor of a religious argument, what with supporters and detractors and 90-page menifestos and sh#t.

I got my answer. It IS a religious issue.

Cheers
DMT
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:00pm PT
^ ^ ^
Ha ha, translated from DMT-ese to English: "I have no idea what the issues are surrounding this topic, and don't know why other people seem to be interested in it, so I guess this is a "religious" issue."

OK I'm out (as far as busting DMT's balls on this.)
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:01pm PT
I will pray for you.

DMT
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:24pm PT
@DMT-- i didnt really care about 3 Cups either. didnt care for the book for a lot of different reasons, but was happy to see someone doing some decent charitable work in a a region that needs it. and i wish this wasn't a big deal, but it is. i realized that yesterday in the airport when i walked past one of the TVS and folks were watching the CNN segment (long segment, too), with interviews of Mansur and a really unhappy Peter Bergen. Bergen is a serious guy, and if he thinks this is a policy disaster for the region, then yeah, I'm going to listen. Then I walk down the hall a bit and there's this classic business travelers-- the two overstuffed rolling pieces, balding, beer belly, loafers-slacks-sport -coat-lurking-the-head-of-the-boarding-line --talking on his blackberry and saying, "Yeah, I heard and it's funny 'cuz I'd just bought the book in the airport."

This has taken me by surprise, frankly, but I can already see the fallout at every talk and fundraiser I'm involved in for the next several years. It's going to come up at a very bad time, given the critical stage we're at with fundraising and charitable giving. Really sucks.



@blahblahblah-- I don't repeat the charges that GM went out and bought stacks of the books in retail when it was in danger of dropping out of first place on the NYT list, because as best as I could tell, the sourcing for that claim is a single anonymous "friend" of GM's. That sort of sourcing is controversial-- but often justified --in journalism, but it does push the envelope a bit and especially in this context. I'm not comfortable with repeating that even as a charge w/o a better familiarity with the evidence. It isn't that I don't trust JK's judgment or integrity on such things, but I'm not comfrotable with the general practice on this sort of matter.

So far as the general practice of CAI buying the book at retail, that happens all the time, esp. with autobiography and memoir. WHen Newt Gingrich published his big book, his buddies and campaign contributors bought jillions of copies, apparently the only folks who did. That in and of itself is just not an unusual occurrence, although I can't speak to the tax code implications.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:26pm PT
Thanks klk for your thoughts.

Fatty, never mind. The quip is not worth the explanation.

Cheers

DMT
MH2

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:29pm PT
"The quip is not worth the explanation."


Sounds like a job for me:


Believers/Nonbelievers <[great distance]> firsthand knowledge
BJ

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:36pm PT
So far as the general practice of CAI buying the book at retail, that happens all the time, esp. with autobiography and memoir. WHen Newt Gingrich published his big book, his buddies and campaign contributors bought jillions of copies, apparently the only folks who did.


People are free to spend their own money as they see fit. That is not the case here, it was other peoples money
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:48pm PT
Dingus doesn't really care about Greg M. he is too busy trying to sort through his confusion of impassioned speech and religious fervor.

Next he will be posting pics of dead coyotes on fences and proselytizing us about how it demonstrates clearly what is really wrong with California...

Or posting long-winded diatribes about the brilliant 4-hour conversation he had with his seatmate and how most people wouldn't be able to have a conversation like that.

Or about how hot and bothered he gets about people going through his trash looking for things to recycle.
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
If any of the disillusioned need a replacement, I'd recommend Rory Stewart.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:58pm PT
Another issue that no one has yet posted here, are the ramifications of this whole gig if GM is found to be a fraud and having in fact acted financially inappropriately all at cost of the children of that region that he was supposedly helping. The Taliban will have a propaganda field day with this and it will only reinforce their ideology regarding any Westerner and their supposed democratic compassionate ways. Yup... definitely a bigass growing concern for what the US has been trying to do over in both Pak and Afghanville if this goes down in a negative way.

Also, the head dude that GM claimed as being one of the supposed Taliban abductors, is no less than a very important, high profile political and reputable key Pakistani figure who has been a long time American policy in that region supporter. He is pissed to say the least and GM's romancing the truth allegations may just add to the growing distaste of Americans and our over all policy in that entire region.

Ideology and propaganda are the Taliban's greatest weapon in that region. Fact!

The big picture friends... the big picture.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:08pm PT
This type of thing underminds my trust in ANY institution abroad which REALLY sucks because the third world is in SUCH need of assistance.


It can be a lot cheaper to do things there but it's true that there's a culture of corruption in many places.

When I was in India, I raised some money from friends for a series of Cataract camps a Swami I met was sponsoring in his ashram under construction. They, in collaboration with the Lion's club in India, arranged for free Cataract Surgery with Lenses and Medicine plus free food and accommodations during the process. I witnessed the Swami living humble and simple and took a 4 1/2 hour bus ride to witness the first stage of the next camp. The Ashram's side took less than $500 to make a camp possible for up to 80 people. That's a lot of charity bang for the buck (Approx half for food and half contribution to the medical team)

Give them a decade and a few million dollars and the chance for corruption is possible but it depends on the personalities. The parent ashram fed every person in the village I was staying in three meals a day, every day, with no spiritual pressure added, and there was no donation box to be seen and no money talk. The Master of the Ashram lived in a room that would be the equivalent of a $3 hotel room in town, and simplicity was a big value.

Peace

Karl


Briefing the patients for the cataract camp
Briefing the patients for the cataract camp
Credit: Karl Baba


Patient to get Cataract Surgery that weekend.
Patient to get Cataract Surgery that weekend.
Credit: Karl Baba


Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:29pm PT
Karl, that sounds pretty amazing. You got to see proof of people doing good for others without having to have huge personal gain.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:34pm PT
"ugly place it is, that part of the world. Can't imagine trying to get anything done there, much less build a girls school!"

Very unfortunate that most of those supposed girls schools were in fact literary fiction, rather than a reality.

But please, by all means, continue with the ill song and dancing.




* Now patiently awaiting the more drastic and proverbial demeaning personal attack....*
Ricky

climber
Sometimes LA
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:37pm PT
....ugly place it is, that part of the world.

I'm rather certain Mr. Stewart would disagree with that characterization. Different isn't necessarily ugly.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 19, 2011 - 04:23pm PT
I have tried three times to look at the Krakauer document linked above. My machine just chokes and gives me a big blank page. Can someone possibly send it to me in some other fashion? As I can't see it, I can't tell if that is even possible. Thanks much.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 19, 2011 - 04:32pm PT
Crimpergirl:
For me it was the browser.
I first tired Firefox, and couldn't see it.
I then tried Chrome, and could see it, but some of the text was garbled.
Then I tried Explorer, and it worked perfectly.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 19, 2011 - 04:48pm PT
I first tired Firefox, and couldn't see it.
I then tried Chrome, and could see it, but some of the text was garbled.
Then I tried Explorer, and it worked perfectly.

Same thing for me. Firefox didn't work at all, but Internet Explorer worked perfectly.

The link is http://byliner.com/

Also, it asks you to enter an email address but it doesn't have to be valid for you to get the article. You can enter dontspamme@dontspamme.com if you want.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 19, 2011 - 04:55pm PT
"The entire world view of most of the people he met was dictated by their reading of or, more often, what they’d been told about the Koran."

Exactly why this type situ can indeed set our over all efforts their back to zero. I guarantee ya that the Taliban are currently hard at work on their propaganda machine with this one. Their influence in that entire region is far stronger than anything any Westerner could ever entice.

Let's remember that we are nothing more than invading Western Infidels to most of the senior tribal leaders in that entire isolated region.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 19, 2011 - 05:00pm PT
You guys rock. Thanks!! Off to explorer I go...
Gene

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 05:01pm PT
Here's an interesting opinion piece from a Paki newspaper.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/152507/three-cups-of-sincerity/
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 19, 2011 - 06:04pm PT
Gene, the comments after the opinion piece are very interesting. Those Pakistani posters would feel right at home on this thread.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Apr 19, 2011 - 06:52pm PT
this comment in the above article was especially poignant:

Posted by Saleem Ali:
"This is an utterly absurd argument about philanthropy. With limited resources you are simply content with anyone who has opened schools — no matter how much money is wasted?
It is precisely this kind off self-congratulation which the Pakistani elite comfort themselves with by throwing crumbs to their servants and thinking they are helping the poor. Yes, they will come and say Shukriya Bibji but is that the kind of society we want? Where precious philanthropic resources are wasted in perpetuating an elite glamorized class? Mortenson’s case is particularly troubling because there are plenty of competing organizations which are doing the same work and doing it better –Citizens Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation to name two. Valorizing one organization which is wasting resources compared to others simply so our elite get to brush shoulders with Bill Clinton et al at Mortenson fundraisers is really sad. Wake up elite Pakistanis and make sure charity is used constructively and efficiently by all."
WBraun

climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 08:00pm PT
I read the pdf 3 cups of deceit and everything starts becoming pretty clear .....
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 19, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
Sadly, one side-effect of all this is that it may harm organizations like the Hillary Foundation, which has been doing sterling work of a similar nature in Khumbu for 50 years.
sullly

Trad climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 08:05pm PT
How much has JK given to the Pat Till. Foundation? How much profit did HE make off that book? Did he gather his story justly? Apparently not.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Apr 19, 2011 - 08:20pm PT
Interesting.

The State attorney general of Montana smells blood, and or political gain:

HELENA, Mont. — Montana's attorney general has launched an inquiry into the charity run by "Three Cups of Tea" co-author Greg Mortenson. Attorney General Steve Bullock's statement Tuesday to The Associated Press follows investigations by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer into inaccuracies in the book.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42671433/ns/us_news/
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 19, 2011 - 08:28pm PT
How much has JK given to the Pat Till. Foundation? How much profit did HE make off that book? Did he gather his story justly? Apparently not.

What are the answers to those questions?
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Apr 19, 2011 - 09:06pm PT
AP Newsbreak...

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20110420/D9MN25480.html

Once again Supertopo is the world's leader in news...


nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 19, 2011 - 10:16pm PT
I have an urge to apply my own life narrative to Greg's situation and this makes me very open to his perspective...

I spent 3 crazy years trying to build a business (phone systems for small businesses), and finding myself unable to effectively manage all the things required to do it well: sales, marketing, finance, legal, accounting, facilities, engineering research for software and systems development, evaluating 3rd-party hardware components, overseeing staff outsourced in India for development projects, daily operations and drop-everything troubleshooting and smoothing over customer fiascos (companies get pretty upset when their phones stop working on days they are bidding for the projects that will keep them afloat), all while I did other hourly contract work as an individual to keep money pouring into the business while it was growing.

It was just too much, I slept a few hours per night with regular (at least once per week) work-through-the-night sessions. I was not good at delegating or creating a situation where I had people I could delegate stuff to. During a brief period when I did have partners, I was very defensive about questions they raised that pointed to things I was not doing well. I was probably irrational from sleep deprivation as well as feeling personally attacked for the things I objectively wasn't doing well. To be fair, I was accomplishing an extraordinary amount but a single person's extraordinary efforts just can't replace an organization of moderately committed and competent people with healthy communication and processes. My emotions were a roller-coaster that bucked with the random events of software glitches, moments of customer appreciation for heroics, moments of customer righteous anger when our systems failed... all of these things accelerated my own inability to accept feedback on how to make things better. And ultimately I needed to preserve space to be "unaccountable" so I could hide in my shell and have mini-meltdowns when it was all just too much. I reached a point where I wanted to leave but felt trapped by the obligations I had created. I didn't see a clean way out without jeopardizing my customers' businesses. Ultimately this problem was solved for me when my main customers pulled the plug after 3 years because of a small price undercut that I could not match, while they lost a lot of features. They switched because a new company president was drinking buddies with the president of one of my competitors. I could have doubled-down and rode it out, figuring out how to attract outside investment with a more realistic and accurate financial model and business plan, but I was ready for an excuse to end it. I had really given it my best and found myself not able or willing to do the required tasks. But my passion for the parts of it I liked had driven me to super-human lengths in the effort to be something I was not. Accepting my business failure was a key part of defining my identity much less in terms of my career.

I think it's a common thing for successful businesses to have growing pains, where the type of personality and values needed to get something started and grow to a certain point, ultimately become the wrong things to grow beyond that point. That transition from cowboy / "brilliant leader" to a mature organization with proper governance and processes is difficult, is often the place where businesses fail, and in cases of dramatic success it often results in dramatic leadership changes and power struggles.

I hope this is what the CAI situation amounts to, i.e. a transformation in governance to something that can scale to handle the success it has generated.

And I hope the media dust settles in a way that ultimately pays respect to what Greg has created, even if he turns out to not be the right person to keep it going. I'll keep my mind open until more perspectives emerge.

Edit: I have a personal interest because I tend to be very skeptical, but after reading Three Cups of Tea I was totally moved and set up a substantial (for me) recurring donation to CAI. Prior to this, I had substantially no charitable giving in my life.
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:07pm PT
GM rebuttal

http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-greg-mortenson-interview-sidwcmdev_155690.html
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:41pm PT
Hey Nutjob,

That was perfect. The part that resonates the most is to not define who you are by what you do for money.

It's OK to say no. that's when other people learn to respect you.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:24am PT
That was a good interview with GM.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 20, 2011 - 01:47am PT
How much has JK given to the Pat Till. Foundation? How much profit did HE make off that book? Did he gather his story justly? Apparently not.

I'm still waiting for you to post links or other substantiation for your accusations. If you think Jon Krakauer did anything wrong in writing his pook about Patrick Tillman, why don't you tell us what you think he did was wrong?

It appears that you are angry at him because he made money on the book. I don't know why. That is what journalists and professional writers do. They write books for money.

Krakauer never pretended to be operating a charity.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 20, 2011 - 01:52am PT
How much do the heads of public Unions make? Do they get to fly around in jets paid for by others?

How much did the people in charge of Acorn make from "donations?" What kind of perks do they get? One, even stole millions of dollars.

BTW, how much does the head of Media Matters make?

And, on and on it goes ....

Greg M. is a drop in the bucket but should be a wake up call to everyone.



Skip

Skip, none of these are CHARITIES.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 20, 2011 - 01:58am PT
http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_ee83bfae-6a32-11e0-983e-001cc4c002e0.html
sempervirens

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:09am PT
Has anyone read "Little Princes", by Conor Grennan? He's a young American guy who started a childrens home in Kathmandu for trafficked children. His non-fiction (yeah, I said non-fiction) book is light reading and ... heart warming. It's not nearly as dramatic as Three Cups of Tea. And you can donate to his organization. It's all on-line. He's been on some lame American TV talk shows. It seems believable, there are photos and he names plenty of people who could either corroborate or deny his story. Maybe Krakauer could go interview them for us.

I wonder if anybody on ST might have an opinion. ha, ha.
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:25am PT
Never read it, sempervirens, but I'll give it a whirl. Always looking for good reads.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:30am PT
One very positive effect Mortensen has had is on the U.S. military and its policies. Currently, the military networks worldwide are advertising for women volunteers from within the army to be part of special women's teams in Afghanistan to promote health and education among women. I am certain this would not have occured without the example of Greg and his work.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:38am PT
One very positive effect Mortensen has had is on the U.S. military and its policies. Currently, the military networks worldwide are advertising for women volunteers from within the army to be part of special women's teams in Afghanistan to promote health and education among women. I am certain this would not have occured without the example of Greg and his work.

Sorry. "The Company" (CIA) began this tactic in Afghanistan, back in '86. Has nothing to do with GM.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 20, 2011 - 02:58am PT

They did these sorts of programs with men. Using women in this role is something new.
Randisi

Boulder climber
East Side
Apr 20, 2011 - 03:02am PT
I must admit that even before all this, there were a couple of things I found peculiar in Three Cups of Tea. The Mother Theresa vigil, for instance. I found it hard to believe that a person could just show up and the sisters would allow him access to the body. Not to mention that she died three years before this so-called incident.

But I didn't know that till I read the Krakauer piece. I really wanted to believe that someone could be that good. Where'd my native cynicism go?

Oh well.

As The Stranglers once sang, No More Heroes Anymore.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B4bsqYxwo0
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:52am PT
They did these sorts of programs with men. Using women in this role is something new.

Actually, it entailed women also. My wife at the time (Spring of 1985) was active duty and was briefed on a DOD wide memo seeking female volunteers from all branches of service for a "Special" Women's program in an undisclosed area in Southwest Asia.
pk_davidson

Trad climber
Albuquerque, NM
Apr 20, 2011 - 06:13pm PT
I could care less about literary license used in the book 3CoT (actually not even written by GM) but the "unusual" usage of $,disproportionate percents of spent funds and the CAI involvement in book buying and sending GM around while saying they benefit from it but don't get any of his royalties or honoraium is what is troubling.

More telling for me is the 2002 incident of Hornbein and Wiltsie (& others) exitting the board apparently because GM wouldn't cough up standard accounting documents. Wiltsie claimed GM "treats CAI as his personal ATM."

However it all falls out, this is sad.
BJ

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 06:58pm PT
I could care less about literary license used in the book 3CoT (actually not even written by GM) but the "unusual" usage of $,disproportionate percents of spent funds and the CAI involvement in book buying and sending GM around while saying they benefit from it but don't get any of his royalties or honoraium is what is troubling.

More telling for me is the 2002 incident of Hornbein and Wiltsie (& others) exitting the board apparently because GM wouldn't cough up standard accounting documents. Wiltsie claimed GM "treats CAI as his personal ATM."

However it all falls out, this is sad.


Exactly. I am not sure of Gordon Wiltsie's credentials, but Tom Hornbein was the Chief of Anesthesiology at the UW. You don't get there unless you have some budgetary acumen.

The present board of CAI is interesting, Abdul Jabbar is a retired Professor at San Francisco City College. The other Board member founded a Private school for "gifted" (with rich parents) children.

Neither seems like a Board room heavy weight, ready to go toe to toe with a out of control demi God
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 20, 2011 - 07:26pm PT
Men doing good works - they are not perfect, they have educational experiences, and they will be heavily scrutinized if they make a splash. THe very type of scrutiny going on here is what precisely keeps a lot of excellent people from being public leaders. It is not for the thin-skinned or timid.

Charities receive tax breaks and other dispensations to do good works for society. In exchange, they have to disclose much information. In some cases, it is very easy for a charity to seem extremely effective because a very high percentage of their revenues go to programs. That accounting classification is part art and part science. In some arenas, it is much harder to have a stellar % going to programs. In any case, it is important that the donor gets to see how the charity will spend the money in order to determine if this is how they want their money to be used. We can look at the same information, and you may be delighted to jump on that bandwagon, and I may think a different program will be a better vehicle for my donation.

Controls within charitable organizations cost money to implement. That raises their administrative costs and reduces their contribution to programs. However, controls become very necessary to implement, particularly when growth is high. I have been part of many rapidly growing organizations. You can view this phenomena as bad management or outgrowing your infrastructure.

Given the environment in Asia, there is a lot to be said about hands on verification that the money is being used exactly as intended. Hands on verification may mean that certain projects won't be built and more money goes into administration. It does reduce shenanigans.

If you want to garner big money, you need to offer more than a tin cup to put money in. Many of the big fund raisers involve celebrities and fancy events. Is that waste or investment to bring in the big bucks?

The answer for some may be to give their money to well established charities serving as similar a mission. ANother tactic may be to make restricted donations or donate goods so that you have more control over how the money is used.

It is appropriate to look at how donor money exempt form taxes generating big tax deductions are used. CAI may need to invest in its infrastructure to earn the trust of donors. CAI and GM may have a lot to learn about how to operate appropriately.

BJ

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 07:35pm PT
Free up that 3 million a year they are spending on GM, his books and shipping him around, and you can afford a lot of institutional controls and comptrols
zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 20, 2011 - 07:51pm PT
this whole situation about CAI is troubling and depressing...

but in the spirit of reminding people that small donations do make a difference, I thought I'd share some pics from a reproductive health education program that I started in north India in 2008. It initially got funding from a US-based ngo, which has since pulled out of India...but the women who lead the women's health workshops are still doing the workshops. They have no ngo funding, I figured out the cost of keeping it going--which is $2,000 US per year--and I raised the money this year through doing 3 slideshows. The folks who donated are friends and family, so they are donating based upon their trust in me. But so far, the girls have done 3 workshops, with 5 more planned for the summer.

there's a lot of good local programs going on that need small scale funding. They might not have a website, or name-recognition, but they are doing good stuff. here's some pics!

Credit: zeta

Credit: zeta

[photo[photo
yeah, that's me doing a condom demonstration
yeah, that's me doing a condom demonstration
Credit: zeta
id=198796]id=198795]
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 20, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
That's excellent Zeta! Love it!



Men doing good works - they are not perfect, they have educational experiences, and they will be heavily scrutinized if they make a splash. THe very type of scrutiny going on here is what precisely keeps a lot of excellent people from being public leaders.
While I agree-9 years of no accounting & not having to answer to anyone is not being put through over-zealous scrutiny by any means-it's utter bullshit and VERy unfortunate.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 20, 2011 - 08:31pm PT
I haven't done enough homework to make a judgement so I was trying to walk the line, leaving the door open that it was fast growth, going beyond the skill set of the founder that was the possibly the cause of bumps in the road.

Let's hope that the cause can be effectively served despite the frailties of a man or a new institution.

I have a long history of invovlement in helping to set up non-profits and putting in control structures. It is not always appreciated but very necessary to keep the confidence of the donors. I still see eyes rolling when we talk about documentation that the funds were used as intented, segregation of duties, self dealing, .....
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 20, 2011 - 08:45pm PT
The road to hell, as has famously been said, is paved with good intentions. (Edit: referring to seamstress' post above, not necessarily GM and the CAI.)

Non-profits do often take a bit of educating as to things like accountability, governance, records, filings and other boring but essential things for their long-term health.

(I got #333! Does that mean I'm only half-evil, sort of a a half-FatTrad?)
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 20, 2011 - 08:54pm PT
The road to hell, as has famously been said, is paved with good intentions.

This isn't just about good intentions, it's about making $5,000,000 (the bottom of estimates of what Mortenson took in.)

It's one thing to mismanage a charity's money and it's another to have it pay millions to support your personal for-profit business.

Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh make tens of millions on their books, TV & radio shoes and speaking fees. No one cares. But they aren't pretending to be all about charity.
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 20, 2011 - 08:54pm PT
Yes, Seamstress, I bet it is the unglamorous side of non-profit. Wish someone like you could have been able to get through to GM on those issues throughout the course of the foundation. Seems like a few tried, but were not listened to and avoided.
QITNL

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 09:44pm PT
I've worked with lots of nonprofits and most of them are far from perfect. I've worked with lots of dotcoms and find them even worse.

Here's an interesting piece:
How Krakauer Got Onto the Mortenson Story and the Launch of Byliner.com
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/46926-how-krakauer-got-onto-the-mortenson-story-and-the-launch-of-byliner-com.html

This part sort of bugs me:
"Krakauer is donating all the proceeds from his article to charity and the piece, which is currently available for free on byliner.com, will be sold exclusively through Amazon's Kindle Singles store for $2.99 on Wednesday evening. Bryant said the story has had roughly 20,000 downloads since it was posted Tuesday morning."

So Mark Bryant (Krakauer's former editor at Outside) has used this story to launch his Byliner site with the equivalent (through Tuesday morning) of $60,000 of free publicity, money that otherwise would have gone to charity.

This article contradicts that, listing 50,000 downloads ($150,000) through Monday:
http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/culturefeed/sf-based-byliner-makes-waves-3-cups/
SF-based Byliner Makes Waves with '3 Cups of Deceit'

More about Byliner here:
http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/19/byliner-launches-with-a-splash-aims-to-disrupt-long-form-journalism/
Byliner Launches With A Splash, Aims To Disrupt Long-Form Journalism

I don't get the feeling they are up to anything good, rather they are just exploiting this to get attention.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 20, 2011 - 09:52pm PT

This part sort of bugs me:
"Krakauer is donating all the proceeds from his article to charity and the piece, which is currently available for free on byliner.com, will be sold exclusively through Amazon's Kindle Singles store for $2.99 on Wednesday evening. Bryant said the story has had roughly 20,000 downloads since it was posted Tuesday morning."

So Mark Bryant (Krakauer's former editor at Outside) has used this story to launch his Byliner site with the equivalent (through Tuesday morning) of $60,000 of free publicity, money that otherwise would have gone to charity.

This article contradicts that, listing 50,000 downloads ($150,000) through Monday:
http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/culturefeed/sf-based-byliner-makes-waves-3-cups/
SF-based Byliner Makes Waves with '3 Cups of Deceit'

More about Byliner here:
http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/19/byliner-launches-with-a-splash-aims-to-disrupt-long-form-journalism/
Byliner Launches With A Splash, Aims To Disrupt Long-Form Journalism

I don't get the feeling they are up to anything good, rather they are just exploiting this to get attention.

Poor Krakauer can't just get a break. He's a professional writer who writes for cash. He doesn't pretend to be operating a charity.

He spends a lot of time writing an expose. He then makes it available for free download and also sells it on Amazon, donating the proceeds from charity. He doesn't have to make it available for free, but by doing so you accuse him of robbing charity. Would it make you feel better if he just left it free on the Byliner site and didn't have the charity sale on Amazon? If you think you are stealing form charity by downloading it, why don't you just buy it again from Amazon?

You're missing the bigger point that Krakauer has apparently decided to not make a penny on this book and is making it available for free with some sales that will only benefit charity.

Contrast that with Mortenson who apparently pocketed very penny from his book after his ghost-writer received his cut.

Also, I"m sure that Krakauer wrote every word in his book. It's not ghostwritten like Mortenson's.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:13pm PT
Agreed. I am still trying to understand the the Krakauer hate regarding *this* incident.
Randisi

Boulder climber
East Side
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:22pm PT
I am still trying to understand the the Krakauer hate regarding *this* incident.

The charitable interpretation would be that he cares about the issue of educating Pakistani and Afghani children and thinks CAI might survive to continue on with the work if it severs ties with Mortenson.

That's the charitable interpretation anyway.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:26pm PT
I think my last post was unclear. Sorry. I'm trying to understand the hate directed toward Krakauer regarding this event.
BJ

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:28pm PT

His book, and its basic premises, are fabrications.
He is a liar.
He is probably- still don't know for sure- a sociopath.
They are very common.

Good thing he's married to a clinical psychologist
BJ

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:41pm PT
Catch a clue, will ya?

Saves money when he has to go to his court ordered meetings with a clinical psychologist

Can't anyone make a joke here?
BJ

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 10:47pm PT
Profile of the Sociopath
This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.

Glibness


Spooky

Sorry, I guess I'm being glib
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:07pm PT
"The sociopath next door" was an interesting read. And a bit disturbing.
QITNL

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:14pm PT
Crimpergirl, I'm not directing any hate at Krakauer. But after scratching a little bit below the surface here, I find a textbook dotcom marketing play.

Who benefits most from this expose? Byliner - a company founded and funded by millionaires. This is their first and only piece of content. They are using this story - and the attendant buzz generated by TV - to launch their website. That is their stake in this affair, their primary interest.

They have no concern in reforming charity; their own charitable intentions are flimsy, at best. They'll use all this free publicity to secure further VC funding. At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is all about making money.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:20pm PT
Thanks QITNL. I really wasn't thinking of anyone in particular when I asked the question. I do appreciate your thoughts regarding it. Thanks again-
BJ

climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:24pm PT
I was joking Rad!

But I think you're probably right track, especially after I read his rebuttal in Outside Online, which was full of justification. He thinks he and the book and CAI are all one. And what benefits him, benefits CAI. Spooky and he probably really believes it

And his wife will probably divource him when the IRS sends a bill for 23.00 X 10*6 Dollars. She's going to have to dig deep in her clinical psychologist savings to come up with half of that!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:26pm PT
crimpie,

I certainly don't Hate Krakauer, it takes way to much energy to hate some one.

I do think he has misrepresented some very important facts of his own, especially regarding Anatoli Boukrev and Lopsang Sherpa?
Boukrev was awarded the American Alpine Clubs highest honor for heroism, and Krakauer found a way to HOLYWOOD it up and make him the villan. There was No vilian other than greed.

Allegations of misrepresentation also surround his book into the wild.

After reading three cups of Deceit, Krakauer is likely right on, in the Three cups of tea case.

JK is a phenomenal writer, whom I respect a great deal!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:31pm PT
Thanks Ezra. It is clear that some are angry at JK's portrayal of things in other books. I was curious if that was coloring their feelings toward him in the 3CoT stuff. It was a sincere question I posed because I couldn't figure out other than a dislike of JK before this what was causing the hate (maybe to strong a word - sorry) or distaste toward him. I certainly don't have all (or most if any) the answers so that is why I asked. Thanks a lot for sharing. :)
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:39pm PT
Cool Sullly. Thanks.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 20, 2011 - 11:58pm PT
Crimpergirl, you are right. My dislike stems from a previous book and a family I know who had a very bad experience with the man.

Sullly is apparently close to the McChrystal family. But McChrystal made his own bed in this one. Krakauer just uncovered the coverup.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-10-14/gen-mcchrystals-credibility-problem/

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2011/04/obamas-appointment-of-mcchrystal-criticized-by-tillman-family/1
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 01:58am PT
Sullly, I don't care if its McChrystal you're close to or others of his feather lower down on the chain, you're hatred seems to be prejudice based the feelings of who you you have tea and crumpets with rather then based on any facts that you can share.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 21, 2011 - 11:17am PT
Who benefits most from this expose? . . . This is all about making money.

Brilliant analysis.

Krakauer bought into GM and CAI, hosted and helped to organize some events, donated 70k of his own dough, and helped to publicize CAI because secretly, all the while, he was plotting to get rich off the deal. His plan apparently involved spending however many months researching and interviewing, writing up a story too long to sell to a magazine but too short to publish as a book, release it on the net as a $2.99 download, distribute all that revenue to charity, and then make his getaway.

I can see why you post anonymously.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 21, 2011 - 11:27am PT
. . . a reproductive health education program that I started in north India in 2008 . . .


Zeta, good on you. Very cool.

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 21, 2011 - 11:50am PT
If you have read this thread and watched the "60 Minutes" piece, I urge you to read Krakauer's piece.

I downloaded it for free using the links in his thread. I thought "Three Cups of Tea" was one of the worst written books I have ever read, and I thought that Mortenson was a slightly messed up klutz (I don't know Mortenson and have only read the one book), but I did care about educating girls in Central Asia: I wasn't particularly concerned about the myth making in the book. (How could I; I am a climber: it's all about myths.)

But I was concerned about the financial issues of the way Mortenson ran CAI and the claims that 85% of the money raised was going to programs. Krakauer’s article lays out the factual bits on both the myth making in the books, but more importantly to me, the financial issues. My first thought was that this was not such a bad deal for CAI: they paid for Mortenson's expenses, he got any speaking fees and book royalties and CAI collected donations--$14 million last year. But a law firm advised Mortenson and CAI's board that IRS rules on excess benefits would not allow for this arrangement, and Mortenson could own $5,263,458 to CAI for excess benefits he received ovedr the three years 2007-2009.

This can be very serious stuff.

In 1992, William Aramony, the CEO of United Way of America for more than twenty years, resigned amid allegations of financial mismanagement and criminal activity, for which he was convicted and sentenced to prison.

Oral Suer was the CEO of the United Way of the National Capital Area in the Washington, D.C. area from 1974 to 2002. In 2002, he was charged with defrauding his organization of several hundred thousand dollars through misuse of leave salary, misreporting expenses such as billing private travel to his company, and drawing retirement benefits from the UWNCA retirement fund while he was still working there. In May 2004, Suer was convicted and sentenced to 27 months in jail.

The allegations of "Ghost Schools" and the hints of gross mismanagement of the CAI programs in Pakistan and Afghanistan detailed by Krakauer probably mean that CAI is toast. CAI's success was in raising money and Mortenson's ability to influence large groups of people and powerful leaders. If Mortenson is tainted, I cannot see how CAI survives.


blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 21, 2011 - 12:16pm PT
I wasn't particularly concerned about the myth making in the book. (How could I; I am a climber: it's all about myths.)

One slightly interesting part of this story (at least to me) is how accepting many of the posters here seem to be to GM's "myth making." I suppose there's a certain amount of exaggerating that we can all understand, but to me GM went way beyond that (the foundation myth, the fake kidnapping, the Mother Teresa BS, and others).

Do so many of you really go around just making up stuff that you expect that everyone else does to?
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 21, 2011 - 12:51pm PT
Your IRA went down the toilet because of myths people made up. Where's your outrage?

Hehe, your comment may have made a little sense (not much) a couple years ago, but check current stock prices, see how much of an idiot you are, and then either fess up or just slink away, doesn't much matter to me.

(By the way, not that it matters in the slightest to this thread, I do have a certain amount of outrage at the abuses in parts of the US economy--privatized gains and socialized losses and all that. Not all us fall neatly into whatever compartment you think you can place people in--you're as wrong about that as you are about most other things.)
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 21, 2011 - 01:13pm PT
My first answer to the question, do I make stuff up?: Uh...have you read any of my posts?

I think it is a fair question to ask how much to make of the myth making. Personally, I didn't believe a lot of what Mortenson wrote, so I am not surprised to find that some of it is untrue. That didn't keep me from appreciating the effort to build schools and educate girls.


There is a fine but bright line between the truth, all of the truth, all of the time and the truth well-told.


However, I do care very much about the failure, at least in part, to deliver the promise of education, and Mortenson seems to have lied about this aspect, probably unnecessarily so since many of the schools seem to be functioning as planned. Krakauer also states this position at the end of his article.

Mortenson clearly mislead his funders in claiming that 85% of the funds raised go to programs: the CAI web site says the mission is building schools and providing education in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But when 60 Minutes pointed out that much less than this was being spent on programs, Mortenson, through CAI’s board, broadened the mission statement, stating that the rest of the money goes to the mission of educational awareness in the US, which is synonymous with his speaking engagements. If the mission statement had included both building schools and education for Pakistanis and Afghanis and giving speeches and selling his books, many contributors would have held back, holding their noses. Mortenson also asserted that the money raised in the "Pennies for Peace" program was going to schools when in fact a big chuck of it was paying for speaking engagements. This is not the truth well told, these are just outright subterfuges.

Maybe another way to say this is that if, in fact, 85% of the money raised was going towards building schools and education and there were no "Ghost Schools," then I would defend Mortenson and urge forgiveness for his storytelling. But myth making in the absence of mission fulfillment is just lying, in this case for personal gain. Everyone has a right to be pissed at him.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 21, 2011 - 04:57pm PT
Finally watched the 60 Minutes piece and did a little more homework. GM needs some awfully good advice. I thought that Krakauer seemed frustrated and dismayed with GM's shortsighted practices, but not really attributing evil intent.

Can CAI survive? I don't know that it is poised to outlive GM even if this ruckus never happened. I bet not.

How will GM survive? The changes he claims to be making seem to be in the right direction, but awfully late and not after the first warning that his practices were not appropriate.

The bottom line is that I would not entrust any money to these folks knowing that their history of lax fiscal management and lack of diligence about conflicts of interest.

I do remember some whining from board members about "do we really need an external audit annually" and certain policies for segregation of duties. The whining was about the expense and burden on a small charitable institution's staff. So long as I was the treasurer or on the finance committee, those had to be in place. You can not set up a non-profit and take people's money without being fully accountable for how it is spent. That is the price of admission.

Every leader needs to have people around him/her that will tell him what he needs to know, not what he wants to hear. It can be difficult to have a small institute and employ or have in the inner circle people who aren't telling you what you want to hear.

Sad. I believe in the cause. I can not support it through this mechanism.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 05:56pm PT
GM needs some awfully good advice. I thought that Krakauer seemed frustrated and dismayed with GM's shortsighted practices, but not really attributing evil intent.

GM's gotten lots of good advice from a lot of good people over a lot of years. The frustration is because GM won't listen to the advice. That is why officers and directors of CAI have resigned in protest and disgust.

Rather then hold GM to account, some people would rather attack Krakauer for bringing this to the public's attention, especially those people who have petty personal grudges based who their friends are (Sullly for example). But to discredit the story, you have to discredit not just Krakauer but the many other creditable people making allegations.

Gordon Wiltsie is unimpeachable. He was a CAI board member and the CAI's Treasurer. Takes good pictures also http://www.alpenimage.com/

The statement about Mortenson using CAI has his personal ATM machine was attributed to him.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 21, 2011 - 06:29pm PT
A friend of GM's, Nicholas D. Kristof, wrote a column in the NY Times today entitled 'Three Cups Of Tea' Spilled.

Page A27, check it out.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Apr 21, 2011 - 06:47pm PT
From Kristof:

But let’s not forget that even if all the allegations turn out to be true, Greg has still built more schools and transformed more children’s lives than you or I ever will.


This is bedrock fact.

It's important to acknowledge this much, come what may with GM and CAI, even for those of us who suspect the worst of the allegations may be true.

Ed -

From one of the NYTimes readers' comments as highlighted by editors:
Anyone who starts off climbing Mountains in the Himalayas has a serious ego problem. If you need to conquer mountains start a business not a charity. Charity requires humility. That doesnt mean you cant help others. But someone needs to provide some balance to this guy.

Ouch!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 06:53pm PT
My perspective is that no one has denied GM has done some good things. JK says as much too.

One question - somewhere I read that GM hadn't climbed any mountains in the Himalaya prior to his unsuccessful attempt on K2 that begins this story. I'm curious as to what people know of that. True? False? Somewhere between? It's a question of pure curiosity and regardless of the answer, it takes nothing away from the good that GM has done.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 06:59pm PT
But let’s not forget that even if all the allegations turn out to be true, Greg has still built more schools and transformed more children’s lives than you or I ever will.

This is bedrock fact.

It's important to acknowledge this much, come what may with GM and CAI, even for those of us who suspect the worst of the allegations may be true.

That is true, but if I'm going to donate money, I want it to go where it will do the greatest good. If one charity uses all of the money to build schools while another uses 90% and gives its CEO a 10% kickback, guess which one I'm going to give my money to.

Giving to the charity like the CAI is much better spending it on Netflix. But I don't have a choice between just Netflix and the CAI. There are many other charities out there that do good work, keep good books that they open to the public and get regular audits.

http://charitywatch.org/

The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) is a nationally prominent charity watchdog service whose purpose is to help donors make informed giving decisions.

This web site will provide you with information about our organization, the charities we rate, and our method of grading charities. Special features will focus on top salaries, top-rated groups, and hot topics in America's most popular causes such as: Abortion, Animal Protection, Cancer, Child Sponsorship, Environment, Human Rights, International Relief, Senior Citizens, and more.

Other features include tips for giving wisely, a helpful-hints guide for getting the most for the dollars you donate; tips for online giving; answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ); praise from both the press and regular American citizens; useful and interesting articles on a variety of topics relating to charitable giving; and more.

Bookmark this page and come back often to see the latest updates.

The AIP's President was interviewed in the 60 Minutes piece.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 07:01pm PT
One question - somewhere I read that GM hadn't climbed any mountains in the Himalaya prior to his unsuccessful attempt on K2 that begins this story. I'm curious as to what people know of that. True? False? Somewhere between? It's a question of pure curiosity and regardless of the answer, it takes nothing away from the good that GM has done.

I'm curious about this too. If he had participated in other expeditions, there should be people who participated and could vouch for him.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 07:09pm PT
Ah, here is the passage - it is from the byliner.com article by JK. I found it upthread in a post by DMT. I've copied and pasted what DMT did:

"According to Three Cups of Tea (pages 10 and 44), Mortenson was an accomplished mountaineer who, before attempting K2, had made “half a dozen successful Himalayan ascents,” including climbs of 24,688-foot Annapurna IV and 23,389- foot Baruntse, both of which are in Nepal. But there is no record in the American Alpine Journal (which meticulously documents all ascents of Annapurna IV, Baruntse, and other major Himalayan peaks) of Mortenson reaching the summit of, or even attempting, any Himalayan mountain prior to 1993. Scott Darsney, Greg’s climbing partner on K2, confirms that Mortenson had never been to the Himalaya or Karakoram before going to K2."
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 07:49pm PT
Girls and boys were served by the schools. It is my understanding the school(s) served more females than males though.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 21, 2011 - 07:50pm PT
I'm curious as well (as to his climbing bona fides). It goes hand-in-hand with my comment that I'm surprised that so many people seem to defend his "dramatic license." That may be true with a few skewed details now and then, but his documented lies go *way* beyond that. I suspect GM is a fraud from top to bottom, but we'll see.
Gene

climber
Apr 21, 2011 - 07:54pm PT
http://rockandice.com/news/1422-krakauers-fact-checking-questioned
EDIT: Above link has been taken down.

But, says Harlin, "I think that people who are trying to undermine someone the way Krakauer is have an obligation to NOT be sloppy with their facts and research techniques. I have no idea if Mortenson made previous trips to the Himalaya or climbed those peaks. Just don't use the AAJ to make the case. It's bad research and misleading and could in fact lead to a false conclusion."

Doesn't mean much in the overall scheme of things.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 08:02pm PT
DMT was quoting my post and I cut and paste it from Krakauer's byliner article. But Krakauer doesn't say Mortenson didn't do other climbs in the Himalaya but just notes that there was no record of other climbs and that others Mortenson on the K-2 trip thought the K-2 climb was his first.

I find it interesting. It's one thing to "compress" a time narrative-- saying that you stumbled off K-2 and into a town that you didn't spend much time in until a year later-- and it's another to call yourself a climber and make up an alpine resume, if that is what he did here.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 08:12pm PT
Yes, with CAI, most money was used as intended. Only 41% went schools, but that doesn't bother me as most of the rest was used to build an endowment or for public outreach. The amount allegedly misspent is only a fraction of the CAI budget, although it is a significant fraction.

The CAI is a legitimate charity that has done a lot of good. There are much worse organizations out there--organizations that are charities in name only with the only purpose of defrauding donors.

As Krakauer himself said, Mortenson is no Bernie Madoff. There are lots of organizations out there run by mini-Madoffs.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 08:13pm PT
Thanks for the clarification GraniteClimber.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 08:46pm PT
Washington Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-the-us-military-fell-in-love-with-three-cups-of-tea/2011/04/20/AFWqYaJE_story.html
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:05pm PT
I couldn't connect to the Rock and Ice link Gene provides above. I expect Harlin was basically confirming what Mighty Hiker noted earlier: that the AAJ wouldn't be the record of trade routes on peaks like Baruntse. And that Krakauer should (probably does) know this, thus his sentence was disingenuous. But that was the only lack of balance I picked up in the byliner piece.

I do wish GM's old climbing partners, would speak up here, if they exist.

I am a little surprised that the kill the messenger attitude toward Krakauer and the why-didn't-60-Minutes-pick-on-the-real-criminals, or other inefficient, fiscally irresponsible nonprofits, or someone else (besides our hero) arguments at this late point in the discussion. They're irrelevant.
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:09pm PT
I would hope that people do not miss the current political significance of debunking Mortenson's work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Anyone who swallows the hook tossed by the American media is exercising a glorious naivete. Neither is Krakaur interested in anything more than his own fame and fortune.

In the next couple months I bet we see another ramp up of the war there and a call for more military spending and fewer constitutional rights.
Gene

climber
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:12pm PT
Dolomite,

You're right. The link I posted is now dead. Strange.

g

EDIT: In the dead link statement JK promised to remove the reference to the AAC in his endnotes quoted below.

1 According to Three Cups of Tea (pages 10 and 44), Mortenson
was an accomplished mountaineer who, before attempting
K2, had made “half a dozen successful Himalayan ascents,”
including climbs of 24,688-foot Annapurna IV and 23,389-
foot Baruntse, both of which are in Nepal. But there is no
record in the American Alpine Journal (which meticulously
documents all ascents of Annapurna IV, Baruntse, and other
major Himalayan peaks) of Mortenson reaching the summit
of, or even attempting, any Himalayan mountain prior to
1993. Scott Darsney, Greg’s climbing partner on K2, confirms
that Mortenson had never been to the Himalaya or Karakoram
before going to K2.

g
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:15pm PT
Mortenson puts the blame for the inaccuracies in Three Cups of Tea on his co-writer, David Oliver Relin

This sounded like a cop-out to me, but there may be more truth to this then I first thought.


In a 2008 interview Relin takes all the credit.


http://etude.uoregon.edu/winter2008/relin/

David Oliver Relin is a Portland-based writer and the author of the New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time

Three Cups of Tea wasn't a co-written book, but you share a byline with the main character, Greg Mortenson. How did that come about?

That’s been the only negative thing about this whole adventure for me. After I turned in the manuscript, ]I received a galley back from the publisher with two names on it. It was published that way over my objections.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:28pm PT
Blaming it on Relin is a cop-out since Relin supposedly learned the story from GM (and others). But more importantly, GM has been telling the same story that appears in the book at his talks - don't think he can blame that on Relin!

Something else, if one's name shows up on any document as an author, it is that person's responsibility to make darn sure it is accurate (if it is portrayed as the truth).

GM has done some good with these schools. That is not in dispute. But he's also lied about some things - and even he admits that (i.e., compression of time, one trip was really multiple trips, etc.) Though he's done good, to me, his credibility is shot.
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:36pm PT
I have no doubt that Relin wrote the book himself. Mortenson was the subject of the book, not its author, even though you would have never got that impression from GM himself, until now. But I highly doubt Relin fabricated a climbing resume for GM. And GM certainly had a chance to correct any minor errors before the book went to press.

I note that Relin has not made a public statement yet. Could that be because he benefited directly from 1.75 million dollars worth of promotion in 2009 from CAI to pad his reputed fifty percent of the royalties?
BJ

climber
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:42pm PT
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20010329&slug=judd29

Greg Mortenson is an absolute liar, and here is proof.

In this March 2001 interview, he is recounting the story yet again. But in David Relin 2008 interview, he infers that he did not meet Mortenson till after September 11, 2001. Mortenson has inferred the very same thing. So I hold that Greg Mortenson has been telling this story since before he even met Relin. So even now, he is lying to us
Gene

climber
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:48pm PT
According to Three Cups of Tea (pages 10 and 44), Mortenson was an accomplished mountaineer who, before attempting K2, had made “half a dozen successful Himalayan ascents,” including climbs of 24,688-foot Annapurna IV and 23,389-foot Baruntse, both of which are in Nepal.

Also, one of the reasons I decided to climb a mountain to honor my sister Christa is that the very same hour that my sister died, I actually was climbing in Mount Sill which is in the east Sierra Mountains in California, and I fell about 800 feet. And the exact same hour that my sister died from epilepsy, I fell about 800 feet down a mountain. And earlier in the day, I had seen a ruby-throated hummingbird up near the top of the mountain, and ruby hummingbirds don't fly at 14,000 feet. ~GM
http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/mor0int-5

An 800 foot whipper on Mt. Sill, of all places, is possible I guess for a K2 hopeful with half a dozen successful Himalayan ascents already under his belt, but falling at the same time his sister passes and seeing an out of bounds ruby-throated hummingbird?

Literary license?

Of course, this proves nothing other than I am bored.
g
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:57pm PT
Interesting story, BJ!

What GM said in 2001 doesn't match his latest interview with Outside magazine, where he supposedly explains what happened. The amounts of time in the village Korphe are totally different.

Here's from March, 2001:
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20010329&slug=judd29

He and another climber, Scott Darsney, walked off the mountain, into rural Pakistan, devastated.
"I was pretty exhausted, emaciated and emotionally kind of shot," he said from his office in Bozeman, Mont., this week.
The climbers eventually stumbled into a Pakistani village, Korphe, where two Balti porters took them in and patiently nursed them back to health with goat's milk, yak butter and unleavened bread. "I was overwhelmed with their hospitality," he recalls. "It was to the point of embarrassment."
Mortenson asked his hosts if the village had a school. They led him to an orchard where 84 children squatted in the dirt, doing their lessons by sharing six slate boards. Their teacher, an expensive luxury at $1 a day, was shared with another village and was nowhere to be seen this day.
Mortenson never let the image or those children's faces (whose look of determination reminded him of his sister) leave his thoughts. He vowed to return to this country and raise money to build them a school, which he figured would cost $12,800.

and here's from last weekend after the story broke.
http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-greg-mortenson-interview-sidwcmdev_155690.html?page=2
We spent a night at the snout of the Biafo Glacier.
 
The next morning I was so weak that I pretty much ditched everything I had. We started walking at around 10 or 11, I got left behind as usual, and I was alone when I hit a fork in the road. When you’re coming out from there, there’s a fork in the trail about two hours before Askole, a village where expeditions park their jeeps when they hit the trailhead. If you go north, to the left—which I did—it goes to Korphe. The main trail goes right, or to the south, heading to Askole. I made a wrong turn there. So I ended up in Korphe. I was met there by Hajj Ali, the village chief.
I got to Korphe, I would say, early afternoon. And this is my best memory: I wandered into the village. There were graves before the village, some kids met me, and we went up to the house of Hajj Ali. I remember collapsing by the inner hearth of his house. I thought I was in Askole, but they said, No, you’re in Korphe.
 
I was there a few hours, probably two or three hours, had tea, and I said, I gotta go to Askole. They took me to a cable-pulley bridge over the Braldu River. And I can’t remember now, but Mouzafer either came over to me or I went over to him, but that’s where we met. Later, we rejoined Scott and the others and we drove to Skardu.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 09:59pm PT
Cliff's Notes version of the byliner article

http://humanosphere.kplu.org/2011/04/ten-points-from-three-cups-of-deceit-starting-in-seattle/

The timeline is interesting.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 21, 2011 - 10:03pm PT
So the "simplification" "time compression" and "omissions" that he blames on his co-writer and editors was already part of his story years before the book was written.
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Apr 21, 2011 - 10:12pm PT
Anyone know Scott Darsney? A web search says he's based in Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. Maybe GM thought Darsney lived remotely enough that no one would cross check his story. It was before the internet made a search as easy as it is now.

http://www.mtnworld.com/
http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Darsney/555539972
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Apr 21, 2011 - 10:25pm PT
Though he's done good, to me, his credibility is shot.


Crimpergirl's post defines things eminently.


(Many here,including myself, are uncomfortable with Mr Krakauer as torch-bearer for the expose'. But Greg's credibility is gone. Hopefully, the legitimate aspects of CAI mission won't be decimated, but...
BJ

climber
Apr 21, 2011 - 10:30pm PT
Anyone know Scott Darsney? A web search says he's based in Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. Maybe GM thought Darsney lived remotely enough that no one would cross check his story. It was before the internet made a search as easy as it is now.


These guys will get him for us, they're in Dutch all the time. And nothing like a little time in a crab pot to turn the most reticent dude into a blabbering fool

Besides, Jonathon hates liars of any shade

http://www.timebandit.tv/

And why the hell would anyone be based in Dutch? Unless he's in witness protection
Amicus

Trad climber
Dog Patch, CA
Apr 21, 2011 - 10:40pm PT
I'm having trouble making sense of the updated recount of stumbling into Korphe as presented in the outside interview. So doing some armchair map reading I tried to replay the account given below on the map.

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=35.671382,75.830984&spn=0.052504,0.097418&z=14&lci=com.panoramio.all

Quote: " I was alone when I hit a fork in the road. When you’re coming out from there, there’s a fork in the trail about two hours before Askole, a village where expeditions park their jeeps when they hit the trailhead. If you go north, to the left—which I did—it goes to Korphe. The main trail goes right, or to the south, heading to Askole."

Credit: Amicus

You can check the valley out pretty quickly on google earth. The main valley running up and down from the K2 basecamps runs east/west. Anyone exiting would be walking west down the valley. Korphe appears to be on the south bank of the river (skiers left) cutting though the valley while Askole is on the north (skiers right). If there's a fork up stream from Korphe and Askole in the trail (which is where GM says he strayed in the wrong direction) he would have been taking the left fork south (skiers left) while heading out.

Could be a simple mistake of north and south.
(He also would have had to cross the glacial river at some point to do it.)
Is there a bridge or a ford up there?

It casts doubt on where the story is coming from. Just imagining being there, but I have trouble with the idea of an experienced mountaineer who's been living outside in the same valley for two months. He watches the sun go up and down every day and should be paying attention to snow quality and what direction it's getting hit by the sun. Pretty basic stuff to staying alive in the mountains. But who then can't keep straight which direction is north and south in his story telling when it really matters to tell the story as it happened.

my2cents
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 21, 2011 - 10:42pm PT
My guess is that there are a lot of people out there who know more than they're saying in the public space, under the "if you don't have anything good to say don't say it" model. I can respect that.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 21, 2011 - 11:02pm PT
^ ^
Coz speaks the truth EXCEPT that Largo is best climbing writer of all time, at least in English, can't say about other languages.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 21, 2011 - 11:04pm PT
I think you all are wrong!
Joe Simpson is the best climbing writer ever!.....:)
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 21, 2011 - 11:06pm PT
I've really enjoyed this thread. Lots of interesting thoughts and information shared. All of that with no name-calling or jerkish behavior.

There are many great writers out there - thanks to all of you for giving us such great material. :)
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 22, 2011 - 12:00am PT

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/04/20/mosharraf-zaidi-why-we-wanted-to-believe-what-greg-mortenson-was-selling/

Worth reading

Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:03am PT
Nice link, klk, thanks. I would like to add a couple particular reasons for our collective defense of GM (which, although I didn't share, I think I understand). One, some of us have knee-jerk reaction to Jon Krakauer (my own feeling is that this is mostly unjustified--but that's for a different thread). The other reason, particular to us (assuming there's an us) is that climbing is basically a self-centered pursuit, and I think we all know this. So, here's GM, who comes across as one of us, and he manages, because of his climbing, to become a larger person, a humanitarian. It's as if climbing almost has some utilitarian social value. We can feel guilt by association, but also pride by association. It's hard to let it go.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:51am PT
Everyone who took the 60 minutes piece and Krakauers article ,uncritically, and at face value should be deeply embarrassed.

We can of course start that embarrassment walk of shame with the likes of Tom Hornbein and Gordon Whiltsie.

They should be the first to be totally ashamed & embarrassed of themselves for expecting any sort of financial integrity and responsibility from GM and then quitting their positions on the Board.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:59am PT
"The premise still stands" and both Hornbein and Whiltsie are total selfish ignorant idiots for expecting what they did from GM and then quitting the board when he basically told them both to FO, right Frothmental?


This bullsh1t controversy started long before 60 Min and JK got a hold of it. Long before.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 22, 2011 - 02:06am PT
An impenetrable Mental Fort, impervious to all reason!


GM is infallible.

How do you know that?

Because GM's book shows how good he is!

How do you know his book is correct?

Because GM is infallible.

How do you know that?

Because GM's book proves how good he is! I read it! It is proof!

But many people say GM's book has falsehoods and omissions. How do you explain that?

It all true! It was written by GM!

Why would it be true just because it was written by GM?

Because GM is infallible.

But how do you know that?

I know that because I read his book.

How do you know the book isn't wrong?

Because it was written by GM. GM is infallible.

But what if it is wrong?

It was written by GM, it can't be wrong. Even if parts are wrong, it is right. GM is infallible!
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Apr 22, 2011 - 03:03am PT
How do you guys manage your NGOs?
Hankster

Social climber
BASE!
Apr 22, 2011 - 09:11am PT
blahblah is so right this time! John Long blows Krakauer away, and I LOVE Krakauer. I own all of both thier sh#t. Largo is the sh#t. IMO

caylor
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 22, 2011 - 09:22am PT
I wouldn't compare the three (Krakauer, Long and Simpson) - all very talented writers, each pursuing a fairly unique direction.

All three are riveting, each in their own way - Long with his own special brand of SoCal phraseology, Krakauer with his 'in depth reporting' style and Simpson with his black, bashed up soul.

DMT
Hankster

Social climber
BASE!
Apr 22, 2011 - 09:24am PT
Whatever, Largo is the Chuck Norris of writers!!! He just kicks ass!

caylor
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 22, 2011 - 10:18am PT
Sorry dudes, but these two are the Grand Masters of Mtn writes, hands down:

Ain't no flatlander

climber
Apr 22, 2011 - 12:30pm PT
Could be a simple mistake of north and south.
(He also would have had to cross the glacial river at some point to do it.)
Is there a bridge or a ford up there?

Amicus, you are correct. It's impossible to end up in Korphe by mistake while heading down valley. By that time of year, the river is pretty much unfordable. According to Nazir Sabir, in those days, there was only a rope bridge that required help to cross. It's fairly easy to get lost while on the glacier if nobody is around. But once you step off the Baltoro, even if you are wasted, there is no way to accidentally end up on the south side of the river. This entire episode was a flat out lie.
squish

Social climber
bc
Apr 22, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
Board of Directors have "duty of care".
Wilstie and Hornbein quit before the book was released, so monies were not in the amount of they are today.
However past and present directors failed to report any problems and they will have to live with that. I don't know the legal aspect of this.
It appears they saved JK a bit of money and I am sure in certain circles it was well known "not to give".


I will give a vote to Chris Bonington as I have met him and was invited to visit him in the Lake District if in England.

He gets extra points for being a climber's climber. I have met JK and not so.

I have met a couple of editors who have worked with many top climbers and they are the very hard to deal with in many aspects.

Another article and point of view from Pat Morrow, a well known and respected climber, writer and photographer who worked with GM and knows the region very well had this to say:

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/canadian-climber-condemns-witch-hunt-for-mortenson/article1995333/?service=mobile
zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 22, 2011 - 12:50pm PT
I just finally read JK's piece. I was please to see an Anthropologist friend of mine is cited in this, Nosheen Ali, who works in Gilgit/Hunza region. Her piece that is referenced in the article is really worth finding, if you want to read more:

“Books vs. Bombs? Humanitarian Development and the Narrative of Terror in Northern Pakistan,” published in the academic journal Third World Quarterly. Here's the abstract:

This article examines the role of humanitarian discourse and development in reconfiguring the contemporary culture of empire and its war on terror. It takes as its point of entry the immensely popular biographical tale, Three Cups of Tea, which details how the American mountaineer Greg Mortenson has struggled to counter terrorism in Northern Pakistan through the creation of schools. Even as this text appears to provide a self-critical and humane perspective on terrorism, the article argues that it constructs a misleading narrative of terror in which the realities of Northern Pakistan and Muslim life-worlds are distorted through simplistic tropes of ignorance, backwardness and extremism, while histories of US geopolitics and violence are erased. The text has further facilitated the emergence of a participatory militarism, whereby humanitarian work helps to reinvent the military as a culturally sensitive and caring institution in order to justify and service the project of empire.

If anyone wants a copy, send me a PM and I'll send you a copy.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:30pm PT

I do think he has misrepresented some very important facts of his own, especially regarding Anatoli Boukrev and Lopsang Sherpa?
Boukrev was awarded the American Alpine Clubs highest honor for heroism, and Krakauer found a way to HOLYWOOD it up and make him the villan. There was No vilian other than greed.

Allegations of misrepresentation also surround his book into the wild.

Ezra, I would be careful of stating that an allegation of something is evidence of ANYTHING, particularly if time has gone by, and nothing has come of the allegation. I could accuse you of something right here, then forever after, that could be used as "evidence" that you are an unethical person, eh?

As for Everest, I'm puzzled by your assertion. Jon was actually there, and he recounted what he saw, and how he interpreted what he saw. I've read all the published books of those who were up there, and I've met and discussed it with several......and all of those accounts support JK. By the way, the biggest supporter of of AB's heroism......is JK.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:32pm PT
This isn't just about good intentions, it's about making $5,000,000
.... Mortenson who apparently pocketed very penny from his book after his ghost-writer received his cut.

=
Perhaps you (and Krakaeur) would like to present us with evidence of this with pictures of Mortensens mansion, sports cars, hookers, and yacht.


That's pretty disingenuous. Isn't his bank account enough?

rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 22, 2011 - 01:54pm PT
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
you see, we do have some smart kids coming up....
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 22, 2011 - 02:16pm PT
Several 501(C) CEO's in the past have been convicted and sent to do their time for far less than GM's irresponsible financial behaviors.

Ignorance and being totally naive of the very specific req's within a 501(C) are not a defense for what GM has been doing. Hell, GM openly admits to many of them.

GM will go down and is done. Stick a fork in em.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 22, 2011 - 02:34pm PT
No GM will be fine, he'll get Fort Mental-Midget to defend him with his biting, incisive wit and everything will be good in their fantasy land once more.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 22, 2011 - 03:10pm PT
Yes, with CAI, most money was used as intended. Only 41% went schools, but that doesn't bother me as most of the rest was used to build an endowment or for public outreach. The amount allegedly misspent is only a fraction of the CAI budget, although it is a significant fraction.

Graniteclimber, your note above does not jibe with the actual financial statement from the charity, although I see this 41% being quoted around:

https://www.ikat.org/wp-includes/documents/Financials/CAIAuditedFSFYE%209-30-09.pdf

in 2009, they took in 13 million dollars. spend about 4 million (that is NOT 41%)(maybe-you don't know with this creative accounting....how much of that went for what, exactly. There is also the common practice of giving a vendor x amount of dollars for an inflated contract, then they give you 1/2 x back in cash "for your business".)


"The Organization received donations during the year ended September 30, 2009 from two board
members, in the amount of $13,200 and $10,000."

Wasn't that generous of Greg and his wife, out of their likely 5 million of income?
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 22, 2011 - 03:17pm PT
The 41% figure is from media reports. I looked for more information about it and found this.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/20/inquiry-into-%E2%80%98three-cups%E2%80%99-charity.html

Tax information filed with the Internal Revenue Service for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009, the most recent available, put the charity’s expenses at $9.7 million. Of that, $3.9 million _ about 41 percent _ was spent on building materials, teacher salaries, scholarships and other expenses related to school building.

A larger amount, $4.6 million, was spent on what was described in the tax documents as ”domestic outreach and education” and ”lectures and guest appearances across the United States.” Mortenson, who is the Central Asia Institute’s executive director and a board member, received $180,747 in compensation that year.

More than $1.5 million of the charity’s expenses went to advertising and marketing Mortenson’s books.

Ken M., they are using the same data as you, but the 41% calculation is based school expenditures divided by total expenses, not what they took in. The situation is worse than I thought.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 22, 2011 - 04:00pm PT
We should be focusing on restoring honor to the climbing community, where being taken at one's word is essential.
That is why it is neccesary for GM to be piloried despite the substantial good he has done.


We should NOT be debating who is the better climbing author,..




















since we all know Tom Patey was the best!
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 22, 2011 - 04:43pm PT
Ron, indeed an awesome and well written story log from one of the boldest Icemen that walked this planet...
Gene

climber
Apr 22, 2011 - 06:09pm PT
Zeta at al.

I found a link to the Nosheen Ali paper.

http://www.webofdemocracy.org/atips_and_foias_uploaded/booksvbombs.pdf

I've only glanced at the piece but it looks informative.
g

EDIT: I just finished reading this article. Please read it.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 22, 2011 - 08:04pm PT
Rewritten for the mental fort.

This article investigates how expansive new security projects have gained both legitimacy and immediacy as part of the ‘global war on terror’ by analysing the process that led to the fencing and securitising of the border between the United States and Mexico. The framing of the ‘enemy other’ in the global war on terror relies on two crucial shifts from previous geopolitical boundary narratives. First, the enemy other is described as not only being violent but also as outside the boundaries of modernity. Second, the enemy other is represented as posing a global and interconnected threat that is no longer limited by geography. These two shifts are used to justify the new preventative responses of pre-emptive military action abroad and the securitisation of the borders of the state. This article argues that in the United States the good and evil framing of the global war on terror was mapped onto longstanding communal distinctions between the Democrats and Republicans. In the process, Mexico and increasingly people from Central and South generally are described as violent, irrational and a threat to the security of the American state. These changes led to a profound shift in the borderlands of New Mexico, and Arizona, where fencing and securitising the border with Mexico was previously resisted, but now is deemed essential. The article concludes that the framing of the war on terror as a global and interconnected problem has allowed sovereign states to consolidate power and move substantially closer to the territorial ideal of a closed and bounded container of an orderly population by attempting to lock down political borders.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 22, 2011 - 08:45pm PT
Mr. Morrow is in his corner. He says no one should doubt Mr. Mortenson’s good work.


No one should DOUBT? Sorry, but Saint Greg is not above doubt any more than any other person should be.


Mr. Morrow and his wife, Baiba, were hired by Mr. Mortenson several years ago to do a promotional film on a network of new schools established in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Ah, Mr. Morrow, Greg's EMPLOYEE.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 22, 2011 - 08:54pm PT
So... you know that Greg Mortenson has $5,000,000 in his bank account?

I know a minimum of what he has been paid (salary listed in financial reports, book royalties, book lecture honorariums). Easily discovered.

I know what he has contributed to his charity (listed in the financial reports)

I think he has FAR more in his bank accounts/investments.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 22, 2011 - 11:01pm PT
After reading some of the overly certain posts on Mortenson's legal liabilities, I looked up the IRS definition of excess benefits that are cited in Krakauer article.

An excess benefit transaction is a transaction in which an economic benefit is provided by an applicable tax-exempt organization, directly or indirectly, to or for the use of a disqualified person, and the value of the economic benefit provided by the organization exceeds the value of the consideration received by the organization.

Mortenson is the disqualified person since he is the head of CAI. Mortenson, through the CAI board, has responded to this issue of excess benefit by stating that CAI gained far greater benefits than Mortenson has. This seems to be borne by the numbers that everyone is quoting.

I cannot see any other legal fraud; my guess is that Mortenson will not face any sever legal liabilities. CAI may have to clean up its reporting to the IRS.

I would still guess that CAI and Mortenson are toast since just about everyone thinks that the arrangement for the education and outreach part of the program stinks.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 23, 2011 - 12:25am PT
Ah, Mr. Morrow, Greg's EMPLOYEE.

I have no dog in this fight. I don't know anything about GM, and don't much care. Mr. Morrow, on the other hand, is steel to the core. If he says he didn't see anything amiss, then he didn't see anything amiss.

That doesn't mean there weren't things he didn't see, or that GM is a saint. But you should maybe reconsider talking sh#t about people you know nothing about.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 23, 2011 - 12:29am PT
If this thread has nothing else, it's got plenty of people talking sh#t about those they know nothing about.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 23, 2011 - 01:28am PT
I have no dog in this fight. I don't know anything about GM, and don't much care. Mr. Morrow, on the other hand, is steel to the core. If he says he didn't see anything amiss, then he didn't see anything amiss.

That doesn't mean there weren't things he didn't see, or that GM is a saint. But you should maybe reconsider talking sh#t about people you know nothing about.

Ah, we have another Saint in the mix. Of course, I don't know Morrow. I also know that he is not without bias. Who, made of steel to the core, does not stand up for a friend?

I also know that he made an accusation against 60 minutes that was BS: using parts of his film without his permission.

Uhhhh....it is NOT his film. It is Greg's film, bought and paid for. He is the filmmaker, who made it for Greg's marketing. Just like a marketing firm that makes an ad for a corporation's marketing, when that corporation starts using it, if it gets picked up by the media and shown, the marketing firm does NOT need to give permission!
So, this STEEL GUY seems to have a bit of an honesty issue, himself.

He should consider what tar baby he chooses to associate himself with.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 23, 2011 - 02:05am PT
Uhhhh....it is NOT his film. It is Greg's film, bought and paid for. He is the filmmaker, who made it for Greg's marketing. Just like a marketing firm that makes an ad for a corporation's marketing, when that corporation starts using it, if it gets picked up by the media and shown, the marketing firm does NOT need to give permission!
So, this STEEL GUY seems to have a bit of an honesty issue, himself.

He should consider what tar baby he chooses to associate himself with.

Word.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 23, 2011 - 10:19am PT
Hey Riley, I thought about accepting your bet for the price of a beer, but I don't know how to state it. You posted the link to the CBS report that stated that Mortenson could be liable for $23 million in back taxes. The details of this are included in Krakauer's article and it relates to work done by the law firm Copilevitz & Canter on $7,263,458 in expenses for CAI's education and outreach over a three year period (2007-09). The law firm indicated that these could be considered excessive benefits under IRS rules. The arrangement really stinks, but I read Mortenson's defense against this and checked the regulations. On the face of it, the rule only applies if Mortenson received more benefit that CAI on the speaking tours. CAI received substantially more in contributions than it paid for these activities, so I stated my doubt that the basic arrangement of paying Mortenson's expenses on his education and outreach trips are illegal.

However, you raise a different point in your latest post: There may be illegal spending by Mortenson that has not yet been reported. There may be, and for this reason, I would not take your bet. Krakauer quotes Debbie Raynor, CAI's CFO in 2004, "...CAI has spent over $270,000 in cash and wire transfers without proper documentation as the disbursement of this money. There is no record to who ultimately received these monies or the manner in which it was spent." There is also the comment, reported by Krakauer, that Mortenson used CAI as his personal ATM. But this comment could refer to travel expenses--a charted plane, for instance--that CAI employees or board members thought excessive but are not illegal. If Mortenson was removing money from CAI and spending it on non-CAI related purchases it would not be excessive benefits under the IRS rules, it would just be fraud. This is what got the United Way executives thrown into jail.


Now that I am hooked, I will follow as the story unfolds, like staring at a train wreck.

BJ

climber
Apr 23, 2011 - 11:12am PT
Where there is smoke, there is fire.

At the very least there is rampant spending by Mortenson, on Mortenson. This could easily be construed as a conflict of interest, ramrodded by Mortenson thru a weak Board.

While this not be strictly illegal, it points to individaul control of a large 503 which betrays the public trust.

But I still think there are illegalities present, and they will be soon smoked out
BJ

climber
Apr 23, 2011 - 11:19am PT
[quote] I found a link to the Nosheen Ali paper.

http://www.webofdemocracy.org/atips_and_foias_uploaded/booksvbombs.pdf[/quote]

I read that, but it pretty much went over my head. I was wondering if Weld-it could explain it better
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 23, 2011 - 11:31am PT
Very interesting article. Here is an especially thought-provoking line:

"As such, one might more appropriately declare the US as the ‘region that gave birth to the Taliban’."

:)
Gene

climber
Apr 24, 2011 - 01:25am PT
To honor his sister’s memory, in 1993, Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the Karakoram range.
https://www.ikat.org/wp-includes/documents/greg_bio.pdf

Nothing ambiguous about that statement, huh?
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Apr 24, 2011 - 02:00am PT
This is one of the most difficult to read threads I've ever come across. People are either drooling at the mouth at the idea of someone elses' hero being cast as a villain or burying both thumbs in their ears shouting "BLABLABLAIMNOTLISTENINGBLABLABLA!"

Gotta be a middle ground... is it possible to be a f*#k up that's done some good too? Life isn't all absolutes.
slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
Apr 24, 2011 - 02:36am PT
Sidebar:

There's no shortage of potential targets for your righteous fury.

Even LOCKS OF LOVE has got into shenanigans for selling much of the hair they collect from donors thinking that their beautiful long hair will be given away as wigs to kids with cancer. Fact is, much it is sold outright to wig makers. The rest gets made into wigs... which kids with Alopecia purchase (at a discount).

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 24, 2011 - 09:00am PT
I can't help but wonder if the sales of Three Cups Of Pee or Stones Into Cowsheds have dried up or actually taken off,..?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 24, 2011 - 09:51am PT
And now this character is in hospital for heart surgery...in Bozeman apparently.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/23/greg-mortenson-hospitalized_n_852930.html
Anejo

Ice climber
Yukon
Apr 24, 2011 - 09:52am PT
So, what you Americans have better in Afganistan or Pakistan then this guy and this foundation?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 24, 2011 - 10:03am PT
Anejo, a little more attention to grammar might make your post more intelligible.

Just saying,..
Anejo

Ice climber
Yukon
Apr 24, 2011 - 10:10am PT
is that intelligible answer?
Anejo

Ice climber
Yukon
Apr 24, 2011 - 10:11am PT
btw, skip steve house... nothing but respect
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 24, 2011 - 10:27am PT
So, what you Americans have better in Afganistan or Pakistan then this guy and this foundation?


QUESTIONS!


BTW! "This Guy" is an intricate part of the ORG that utilizes the above devices all over the skies of both Paki and Afgani. Many seem to have forgotten that part of this whole deal. There is much more to the behind the scenes game than many here wish to accept to about "this guy".
Anejo

Ice climber
Yukon
Apr 24, 2011 - 10:37am PT
once again, what or who's better? Anybody? Never met 'this guy'.
raymond phule

climber
Apr 24, 2011 - 10:48am PT

once again, what or who's better? Anybody? Never met 'this guy'.

I don't know but why does it matter? Is it ok to deceive people if you also do some good?
Anejo

Ice climber
Yukon
Apr 24, 2011 - 11:09am PT
Raymond, it matters! I bet , that vast majority tacoans never live in third world. I mean 'live', not visit or been for couple weeks.That's what missing here.
raymond phule

climber
Apr 24, 2011 - 11:16am PT
So deceiving people is ok if you have lived in a third world country? Where should we draw the line? What if the bank robber give 1 dollar to a charity from the 10 million he got in the robbery, is that ok and he should be free of any charges?

One thing with all this is that it it is up to everyone to decide for themselves if they want to give money to CAI or not. Why does it seem like some people don't want that the facts should be available to the public?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 24, 2011 - 11:26am PT
So, what you Americans have better in Afganistan or Pakistan then this guy and this foundation?

then? than?

Is it just me? Seems ambiguous and unspecific. WTF is he saying?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 24, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
So, what you Americans have better in Afganistan or Pakistan then this guy and this foundation?

Nothing. America wastes more money and tells more lies than Mortensen while doing less good.

Not to excuse Mortensen but since 60 minutes doesn't like asking hard question to those in real power anymore, it's fair to say.

and those drones are a pretty short sighted benefit. Sure we might get some Taliban or even a couple Al Queda who are so far back in the sticks they would never be a threat to us, but at the cost of the support of the sovereign Pakistani people who have nuclear arms. We can't keep a compliant president in Pakistan forever if they keep pissing their people off by letting the US bomb them.

Peace

Karl
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Apr 24, 2011 - 12:55pm PT
Bummer, slobmonster. J donated his Jesus hairs, although his were not worth a lot and getting cut off anyway. I've known others that grew there hair just to donate it though. I hope they take the money that they get for selling weaves and kick it back to cancer/alopecia research.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 24, 2011 - 02:17pm PT
So, what you Americans have better in Afganistan or Pakistan then this guy and this foundation?

I see.
What he meant to write was;

So, have you Americans (done) better in Afg(h)anistan or Pakistan th(a)n this guy and his foundation?

A fair question that would have been better served by proofreading your reply before posting.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 24, 2011 - 03:34pm PT
Hey Ron, I spend a fair bit of time communicating with people all over the world whose second or third language is English. Anejo's post was as clear to me on the first reading as your 'corrected' version. Sometimes it helps to read it out loud. Just saying,.. ...as they say.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 24, 2011 - 04:10pm PT
Roger,
I hear you.

I have a smattering of languages but lack the guts to go on foreign language forums.

Perhaps Anejo is bolder and smarter than me, but it was ambiguous to me on a third reading, so perhaps a rewrite WAS called for.

(to "do" was one of the first verbs I learned in latin)
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
Apr 26, 2011 - 10:34am PT
http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-scott-darsney-greg-mortenson-three-cups-of-deceit-response-sidwcmdev_155822.html
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 26, 2011 - 10:44am PT
Darsney's account rings true to me, especially the part about the difficulties of straddling two cultures.
I know that one well.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 26, 2011 - 11:12am PT
Darsney's response is remarkable for how little it says.

Its only new contributions are to provide an excuse for the date of the Korphe event (and I don't really care-- I'm amazed at how many folks seize on this peripheral issue as the detail to focus upon) and to suggest that Krakauer misunderstood Darsney's claims about whether or not Mortenson had ever been to the Himalayas.

Then some predictable boilerplate about what a good guy he ghosted for.

Given the legal ramifications, I suppose it's remarkable that Darsney spoke with the media at all. But this "interview" just doesn't shed any helpful light on anything, really. I don't blame Outside for publishing it, because there is so much interest in the story. But we don't know anymore about the ghosting than we did before.

None of the damaging issues-- the charges of fabrication of the kidnapping and Taliban claims, the Mother Theresa puffery, the Messianic complex, the multiple warnings and resignations from board members, donors, administrators, and legal counsel, the mechanics of the ghosting --are addressed at all.

Darsney is in a a spot as well. It's going to be tough for his name to appear on a cover for awhile. He's probably going to have to be less visible than Caspar on his current projects.


Edit: Thanks to my fact checker for point out that Darsney wasn't the ghost but rather the former climbing partner cited by Krakauer. He probably wasn't in a position to speak to the other issues. Which makes his interview even more tangential, although possibly of more interest to climbers. Heh
BJ

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 11:29am PT
You got it perfectly KLK, the problem is the money, accounting, profligate spending on books for private sales and lack of any meaningful Board.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 26, 2011 - 11:34am PT
what a scumbag Mortenson is

As I understand it, that's not the issue.

But you're right. This thread, and the larger debate, quickly degenerated into a simplistic set of judgments on individual personalities: Mortenson, Krakauer, is or isn't an as#@&%e who ought to be shot.

It's the 21st century, and Americans can't think about any issue in even the simplest social context. Each and every thing that happens must be reduced to a black/white judgment of the "soul" or "intentions" of one individual. Then all accounts of that crummy little social atom have to be written as either hagiographies or demonologies.

Every thread on ST eventually ends up in that sort of moronic reduction of the Final Judgment.

End of an empire.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 26, 2011 - 11:42am PT
I would agree that the mitigation is insufficient. The waters only muddy further.

This whole thing makes me so sad.
There is a lesson here about he dark side of doing good.
The best outcome would be for a bunch of schools to become a reality.
BJ

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:35pm PT
Just to be clear, while Darnsey's account jives with TCT, it does not jive with Mortenson's retelling of the story to Ron Judd of the Seattle Times in 2001.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 26, 2011 - 12:50pm PT
Good essay here in the New Yorker.

Tx to Dolomite for the cite:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/04/greg-mortenson-peter-hessler.html

John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:06pm PT
The best outcome would be for a bunch of schools to become a reality.

Seems like even with the website not jiving with what people are finding, schools are and have been built.

I don't think the man is perfect. When I read 3 cups of tea he sounded like an unbalanced mess. He still does. But he also sound like he has a genuine calling to build schools and that is what he is trying to do.

I think he needs some strong managers, and he needs to be kept as a visionary for CAI. Hopefully that is how this will play out. But I also wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing collapses and he gets shoved completely out.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:09pm PT
FortMental, what is your connection to GM? You are sure going out of your way to defend the liar.

The only possible positive outcome from this whole affair is for CAI to cut all ties with GM. If they do that and get a real BOD, then CAI might have a chance of surviving.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
www.climbaddictdesigns.com
Apr 26, 2011 - 01:43pm PT
I have no ties to Mortenson, and I will defend him. Some people on this thread are talking sh#t - pure sh#t, based on news bite spin.

Sheep.


If anyone hasn't noticed, the reason this story came to light in the first place appears to be that someone leaked information FROM the CAI's internal discussions in looking the problems in an effort TO address them.

F*#king jackals. Wonder how much those internal documents and notes went for.

There are audits being done, and the issues will be addressed. I will bet three cups of tea with anyone that Mortenson will NOT be found guilty of any crime, and will NOT be "having to owe millions to the IRS." You have ONE guy, doing multiple speaking events on like 200 days of the year, and all the rest he does for his cause, having been on the roller-coaster from day 1 over 18 years ago and without a pause to regroup, and you think he is intentionally inflating school numbers to pocket the money, when graft and corruption in a wild territory is rampant?


It's ONE thing to say "All this is very distressing, and it doesn't look good." and QUITE another to be labeling him "liar, thief, psychopath," ready to donate the static line for a noose around his neck.

When the sh#t hits the fan for yourselves personally, next time, and others are misinterprating YOUR actions, discounting any attempts of explanation, I do hope you enjoy a healthy serving of humble pie.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:32pm PT
HG--have you read Three Cups of Deceit yet?
If not, why are you still posting on this thread? Why should anyone waste his time reading your opinions if you won't spend the minimal amount of time necessary to have anything like a slightly informed opinion?

(I don't have any beef with you, just posting this bc I recall earlier in this thread your stated intention NOT to read 3COD--it's fine to be ignorant on this, but you seem to want to both have an opinion and remain ignorant. Kind of weird.)

Edit--I hadn't read Coz's post above when I wrote mine.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:37pm PT
Coz has it right, the jury is still out. Nearly every post I have seen is from someone who has already come to a conclusion based, not on the facts, but on how they personally feel about Mortensen, Krakauer or 60 minutes. The focus from 60 minutes will lead to an intense investigation of the facts and until then we should all just chill out.
Randisi

Boulder climber
Soon to be in China
Apr 26, 2011 - 02:39pm PT
Clearly having five million in charitable donations, in your personal checking

Has this been established?
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:05pm PT
Considering the type of journalist Krakauer is, I would be incredibly surprised if he doesn't have documentation and/or taped interviews to back up every word in his article, Three Cups of Deceit.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:09pm PT
I wanted to cannonize GM for work with education and girls in third world countries. Alas, he is a man. No matter if he is guilty, niave, or overwhelmed, prudent donors aren't going to give to CAI anymore. Thousands of schoolchildren won't be collecting pennies for CAI anymore.

It isn't 60 Minutes fault or JK's fault that GM is embroiled in this controversy. It would come to light in time. My mom taught me that I should conduct myself as if every act could end up on the front page of the paper.

When you cross the line and become a member of those who have, you will be simultaneously worhipped and villafied.
QITNL

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:36pm PT
(Just posting news - I have no horse in this race)

Scott Darsney Questions the Accuracy and Fairness of "Three Cups of Deceit"

http://outsideonline.com/adventure/travel-ga-scott-darsney-greg-mortenson-three-cups-of-deceit-response-sidwcmdev_155822.html

Below is the full text of Darsney’s e-mail.

Three Cups of Tea Is Not Diminished by One Cup of WikiLeaks

I have known Greg Mortenson for the past 18 years and have shared many cups of tea and many adventures with him over that time, first in Pakistan in 1993 and in several other countries since.

Greg is a very humble, quiet man who does not like to be constrained by time and by many of the ways of Western life and business. He can overcommit himself beyond belief, yet he will stop to help someone out with any problem or concern, no matter how small, whether it’s to help a person on the street with directions or to read a story to a child. People can be frustrated, including myself at times, with Greg’s lack of punctuality and transparency, but this is what makes Greg, well, Greg. He just happens to prioritize things in a different way from how the West views things, a lesson we could all learn from. Greg takes the time to build relationships over a long period, not in a 24-hour news cycle.

Like the bridge he built in Korphe, Greg has to build a bridge between two worlds: the West, with its donations to give, which requires knowledge, informed decisions, and lectures; and another very different world, which is about tribal and family alliances and customs built over long periods of time with faith and trust.

If Greg is misappropriating funds, then show me the luxury cars, fancy boats, and closets full of shoes. This is not a “ministry” or a business gone corrupt. Are there not other NGOs and nonprofits that stray now and then? Don’t they also spend more internally as they get bigger, especially when growing quickly? But their intent and purpose still stay on the course of the mission.

I saw Greg struggle for over seven years to get CAI off the ground. I visited with him several times in San Francisco, lying on the floor of crash pads while Greg told me of his setbacks. He has dedicated his whole self to this cause at risk to his family, his friends, and his health.

If Jon Krakauer and some of Greg’s detractors had taken the time to have three or more cups of tea with Greg and others—instead of one cup of tea with a select few who would discredit him—they would have found some minor problems and transgressions. But to the extent to call it all “lies” and “fraud”? No way. They would have come to very different conclusions. It takes a lot longer than one journalistic research cycle to have three cups of tea with someone.

On the other hand, in light of these events, it is only fair that Greg be willing and available to have one cup of tea—if not more—with his naysayers as well. If Greg is unwilling or unable, then the court of public opinion may not be very understanding.

Yes, I did say to Jon Krakauer that Greg didn’t go to Korphe until 1994. However, on our way out, Greg got lost a second time somewhere between the Biafo glacier region and Askole. About half a day later, Greg finally showed up in Askole saying he’d made a major wrong turn. He’d ended up in a village on the wrong side of the Braldu River. It’s certainly plausible that this was Korphe.

Also, Greg recounted to me his imprisonment in Waziristan when I met him in Beijing. I don’t doubt that he was held against his will.

I have read accounts that I said Greg had never climbed in the Himalaya before. I must have misspoken, or Krakauer misheard. I meant the Karakoram, not the Himalaya in general. I am pretty sure that [the 1993 K2 climb] was Greg’s first trip to Pakistan, but he had told me of his past trips to Baruntse and Annapurna IV before, for sure, and at the beginning of the 1993 trip.

Jon Krakauer is a respected and acclaimed author. He is a stickler for details and getting the facts straight, but from what I have read so far, the research needs to continue (as I’m sure it will). This is what Krakauer does, and why he can be a compelling author and journalist, and why I enjoy reading his books. But this one gives me pause. Greg Mortenson is a humanitarian first, an author second—also with a compelling story to tell—and Three Cups of Tea was a first-time process for Greg.

I feel that the message, the good, and the outcomes far exceed some journalistic faux pas in the retelling of a story from ten years previous. Being a humanitarian and building schools (school does imply teachers, staffing, etc., not just an empty building) is what Greg Mortenson does. He continues to do it well. He inspires others to carry on. This is what he is best at. This whole thing is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

If you are a stickler for minutiae, strict detail, and exact accountability, all of this may be troubling for you, and perhaps some extra oversight and introspection will be good and welcomed by Greg and the Central Asia Institute. If you also believe in faith, time, building bridges between cultures, and increasing education and awareness with long-term results beyond a three-month news cycle, you will continue—along with myself and others—to support Greg Mortenson and the CAI.

—Scott Darsney, Kathmandu, Nepal, April 22, 2011
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 26, 2011 - 03:37pm PT
A famous (self-serving) climber-author finds a few disgruntled ex-employees,

That's not really the case here, at least I wouldn't spin it that way. Nor would I accuse GM of being Bernie Madoff. Coz is right, the jury is still out on GM. I hope he pulls through this, but he also should understand that stepping aside maybe the best way for the organization to continue its mission.
Gene

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:42pm PT
There are enough questions about GM and CAI for people to be curious if not skeptical about what’s going on. As a non-profit, CAI has a responsibility to do its utmost to be open and transparent.

I find troubling that there are only three board members, one of whom is GM, the executive director. That leads to what GM refers to below from his Outside Magazine interview.

There’s pages and pages of analysis, but they [expert non-profit law firm] determined that CAI, Three Cups of Tea, and Greg Mortenson are pretty much all part of each other. As much as it would be great to separate everything, we’re all intricately woven. They said CAI needs me, and I’m really the only reason CAI can exist right now. ~Greg Mortenson

If you look at CAI’s financial statements, in the fiscal year 10/1/07 to 9/30/08, CAI spent $380K on ‘domestic outreach’ and had contributions of $13.1 million. In the following year, CAI spent $4.6 million on outreach and brought in $13.7 million. Even with the economy in the tank, that’s not a good ROI.

In the Outside interview, GM states
I should mention that last December we raised about $8 million, which is the highest month we’ve ever had in our history. In January, when I commissioned this firm in D.C., I cut back our advertising by 80 or 90 percent on my own. I also cut back book purchases by 80 percent. I also took my name off the Web site, took the books off the Web, and took my schedule off the Web.

His name is all over the CAI website. He’s misleading about taking his schedule and books off the CAI site. GM’s schedule on the CAI site shoots you over to http://www.threecupsoftea.com/. His personal website and that of both books are copyrighted by the Central Asia Institute. A quasi-truth at best.

CAI’s site says
Central Asia Institute’s Domestic Education Program was established to promote awareness of the importance of primary education, literacy, and cross-cultural understanding about the remote regions of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. We do this through public events, global outreach and in the USA, our books Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, and our Pennies for Peace Program.
Our [CAI’s] books? GM collects the royalties, not CAI.

I hope that this tempest in tea cups reflects clumsiness rather than ill intent. If the GM controversy is a result of multiple misunderstandings and lack of attention to detail, openness and transparency will benefit all involved.
QITNL

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 03:54pm PT
One part of this matter that interests/bothers me is how the story was presented to the court of public opinion rather than the responsible authorities. This was deliberate and calculated - they knew full well what the reaction would be. I do not wish to become another pawn in that jury.

It just seems kind of wrong to build yourself up by tearing someone else down. So I'm keeping an eye on these Byliner guys, too, if anyone cares.

With three cups of luck, Byliner builds pre-launch buzz for its longform-focused platform
http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/04/with-three-cups-of-good-luck-byliner-builds-pre-launch-buzz-for-its-longform-focused-publishing-platform/

They're milking it.

I wonder if beneath everything may be some sort of rivalry between climbers or competing non-profits?
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Apr 26, 2011 - 04:02pm PT
One part of this matter that interests/bothers me is how the story was presented to the court of public opinion rather than the responsible authorities.

So as not to be a hypocrite, you should stop posting on Supertopo
Gene

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 04:06pm PT
QITNL,

If GM and CAI come out smelling like roses, it will only enhance their ability to raise funds and carry on. JK and 60 Minutes will have to eat at the trough of shame.

If JK and 60 Minutes are proven mostly correct in their allegations, then they have performed a public service.

Time will tell.
g
QITNL

climber
Apr 26, 2011 - 04:09pm PT
Fair enough, I won't post anything else to this thread.
Port

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 26, 2011 - 04:09pm PT
I wonder if beneath everything may be some sort of rivalry between climbers or competing non-profits?

Its possible, but JK gave CAI $75,000 of his own money.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Apr 26, 2011 - 04:17pm PT
I wonder if beneath everything may be some sort of rivalry between climbers or competing non-profits?


I wonder if Mortenson should really be described as a climber, past or present. JK cast doubt on his climbing claims, but JK's sources may not be accurate in that regard.
It's a side issue and doesn't change anything one way or the other, but I'm curious.

Regarding any serious (not to say good, just serious) climber I know, there would not be any question as to whether they really were a climber. That this is even an issue for GM just tells me how strange the whole thing is.
The Chief

Trad climber
from the Land where Free Mongols still roam!
Apr 27, 2011 - 04:50pm PT
It's funny....the things you people have focused on.

What is even funnier, is the fact that you have posted more replies on this thread than anyone else. Oh the grand illusion of your hypocrisy makes many here on ST laugh.

But please, do continue with your self justifying off the deep end moronic funnyass rants.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Apr 27, 2011 - 07:15pm PT
As I mentioned a few days ago, the story about "accidentally" wandering into Korphe instead of Askole was a flat out lie.

http://outside-blog.away.com/blog/2011/04/greg-mortensons-trip-to-korphe-cant-get-there-from-here.html
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 27, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Interesting thread summed up by the comment early on: "I was privy this week to a story that if spun from first appearances would make a sensational story of US military involve in graft and corruption in Haiti when the real story was resourceful guys getting the job done while stranded by the complete failure of both the State Dept, and the dysfunctional Haitian society."

What you see in the above, and in much of the thread herein, is the tendency for us to think in black and white, losing sight that we live in the gray all the way. Haiti is a shithole full of grifters and cheats and thugs - and plenty of fine people besides. The US military did a lot of great humanitarian work there but some were involved in graft and corruption and shenanigans because that stuff always goes on and always will be so long as humans are in play.

JM, JK, me and you are at least half full of sh#t about a whole lot of stuff. Of course there are shenanigans with the Pakistani operation because there always is. Most of us can do wonderful things sometimes. Sometimes not. It doesn't make us good or bad, rather human.

60 Minutes often feels reactionary and immature and punitive. It plays of the basic thrill of righteousness and exposing the "bad guy," and in this way, the producers sew the seeds of their own destruction by all-or-nothing thinking. You can make most anyone sound like a scoundrel or a saint, depending on your line of inquiry. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle - deep in the gray.

JL
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 27, 2011 - 09:09pm PT
People will either pillory or praise 60 Minutes depending on how they feel about the person or institution being investigated.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 27, 2011 - 09:15pm PT
60 Minutes has remarkably little to do with this.

The show got involved because of Krakauer's research and story. The show has a lot of dough, so they invested in a bit more research (the sort that would supply visuals), and then ran the sort of thing that they now regularly run, a piece somewhere between the sort of investigative telejournalism of the seventies that gave the show its start, and the cheesy tabloid crap that now rules the airwaves.

The CNN story was comparatively good, given our current standards for telejournalism, which are sh#t.

This whole thing is a pathetic farce. I would just laugh, except that there really are irons in the fire.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 27, 2011 - 09:26pm PT
People will either pillory or praise 60 Minutes depending on how they feel about the person or institution being investigated

The truth? 60 Minutes is the Geritol Network and no one under 40 gives a flying f*#k what they say or how they say it. As a news organization they are not relevant. As entertainment they are on the way out.

DMT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 27, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
Largo gets it right, once again!