From Nick Percivel
I’m writing as a follow-up to Greg Volk’s letter to you. I joined the NPA in 2008 and have been a very active member – among other things I was an active member of the Relativity Group and lead the Twin Paradox Project. I became a dissident 50 years ago in 1964 when I started my debates with physics professors regarding the illogic of the Twin Paradox. The initial 44 years of lonely battles against the mainstream, whose mantra always was, “You don’t understand Special Relativity”, were very frustrating! However, I began to see some light when I learned that dissidents were organizing and that the Internet provided a way for “outsiders” to breach the barriers of censorship. Given that background, most of you can understand my delight with and love for the NPA.
I got to know personally most of the active NPA members. From personal experience and from discussions with many active NPA members, I know and appreciate and respect the tremendous contributions that Greg Volk and David de Hilster have made to the NPA over the decades. I was not “buddy-buddy” with Greg and David, but, because I was active, I had much contact with them including disagreements over technical views as is to be expected with independent thinkers. (In contrast, I had not even heard Col. Springer’s name until the fall 0f 2013.) I became involved with this issue not primarily because I wanted to help friends, but rather I was outraged when I heard about and researched what had happened to Greg and David (and to the NPA itself) at the hands of Col. Springer and later as events kept unfolding. My initial letter in January was a purely individual reaction and Greg and David had no advance notice of its contents, etc.
Considering what happened, Greg is to be commended for a relatively mild letter. If you go to Greg’s Facebook page, you will see why he is a high integrity, turn-the-other-cheek, love thy neighbor (regardless of what he’s done) kind of person – as those who know Greg can attest. Despite Col. Springer’s actions, Greg held out an olive branch and, except for endorsing what Col. Springer had done to David, aggressively worked for reconciliation and a move to cooperative leadership, but those overtures were rejected. As a now interested 3rd party, I tried to follow Greg’s example and contacted Col Springer and bent over backwards to be as nice, polite, conciliatory and diplomatic as I could be, however, those overtures were also rejected.
In January, Greg sent out his petition including supporting documentation and quickly got 150+ signatures including virtually all of the actively participating NPA members. What an amazing reponse! Greg’s letter was consistent with that documentation. Col Springer’s rebuttal while sounding plausible didn’t seem to have been driven by a desire to be as consistent. Let me add a few details while trying to minimize overlap with what Greg has already sent out, namely, his letters and documentation.
First let me expand a bit on Col Springer’s treatment of David as that was a primary reason for my getting really angry and getting personally involved. For 20 years, David de Hilster volunteered tremendous time and effort to revitalize and grow the NPA. He built an NPA website that is very, very functionally rich. I built TeacherWeb.com which was used by 10,000+ schools (for the almost 10 years I was the only software developer) so I know what a tremendous effort David did in creating the NPA website including the tremendous amount of server side code. In recent years, the “old” board had authorized small payments for continuing work. Pal Asija, who’s also very knowledgeable about info systems, puts the value of David’s work at $300,000+ – I estimate a considerably higher value. Col Springer refused to pay David his $3000 after David had completed the pre-authorized work. If you were stiffed for $3000 worth of work, you would be very angry. I don’t know if any of you have talked to painters or carpenters or other independent contractors about their reaction to being stiffed for a few hours or a few days of work, but it evokes an extremely strong reaction. The emotional reaction increases by the square of the amount of time one’s been stiffed. For David, the emotional impact understandably was like being stiffed for many years of hard work as it was like 20 years of volunteer work was being repudiated. This resulted in great anger and frustration which affected his “day job” performance. In addition, Col Springer has spent members’ dues to send lawyers’ letters threatening to sue David and more lawyers’ letters threatening to sue Greg and David. As Greg, wrote, this stress cost David his job and his house and more and to move to another state into a rental. Further, this stress and impact on David was made clear to Col Springer as it unfolded, yet all he would do was escalate his attack on David. To this day that $3000 has not been paid. Instead, ironically Sam Falaki was hired to create an alternative web site. My professional opinion is that that was a most wasteful decision. Can you begin to understand how that must have affected David!?! How would you have reacted? And then David was virtually forced out of the NPA that he loved so much and gave so much to. This is what motivates me to stand up to Col Springer and work for justice.
Aside from the actions as described in the prior paragraph, Greg gives Col Springer the benefit of the doubt and assumes he’s (misguidely) working for his vision of the NPA. I interpret Col Springer ‘s actions as primarily focused on gaining personal power and secondarily, later, working to tranform the NPA. Some examples: Greg brought Col Springer into the board to develop By-laws. Col Springer was not chosen by the board or by the members, but just by Greg who has long since withdrawn that endorsement. Following that “mandate”, Col Springer, along with his colleague Jim Newburn, so alienated Greg and David that both resigned from the board – Greg in protest over the way David was being treated. (In retrospect, naïve moves when dealing with someone questing after power, but does that warrant a repudiation of decades of their hard work?) With the two engines of the NPA and its board alienated and gone from the board and having only a naïve and passive remnant of the board, Col Springer wrote the By-laws to have a new position, namely, Chairman of the Board, as he couldn’t unseat President Cynthia Whitney and he assumed that newly created position. His By-laws defined the requirements for President and Vice President to include academic credentials which Cynthia Whitney and Bill Lucas have in spades, but for his position, Chairman of the Board, his By-laws did not require academic credentials as that would not match Col Springer’s background, but instead it called for “leadership” – unfortunately history has shown that many who just coveted leadership have led their citizens to disaster. Needing another board member who would be loyal to him, Col Springer had Sam Falaki, whom he had hired to do the website, join the NPA and a few weeks later had him elected to the board. Was that in the best interest of the NPA?
As most of you know, Greg lives dissident science and has read more dissident literature than anyone. He also has forged relationships with the other primary dissident organizations to work together in cooperation. He’s been able to do that as he is held in the greatest respect throughout the dissident community. One example of that has been Greg’s arranging with Tesla Tech to hold a joint conference with the NPA this summer. And what was Col Springer’s contribution? It was to not do anything to help bring about an NPA conference and to honor this commitment to Tesla Tech and further good relations with them, but rather to get a lawyer to write a letter to try to squelch this conference.
Well, you might say, at least the NPA Saturday morning video conferences have continued. However, they were dropped by the NPA and continued only by the individual efforts and funding by Greg Volk and others. So how have your NPA dues been spent by Col Springer? – paying lawyers to attack/threaten Greg and David.
I would have had no problem if someone openly challenged Greg and/or David and honestly and openly presented an alternative course of action for the NPA and ran for election, etc. I’d listen and evaluate the merits of each. However, I contend that as discussed above, this is not what occurred. I strongly urge you to attend the August 2nd online meeting and support Greg and David and repudiate the actions of Col Springer. David de Hilster spent 20 years loving and working for the NPA and does not deserve to be treated as Col Springer treated him. Similarly, Greg Volk has spent a tremendous amount of time and effort expanding the NPA. I feel that we all should actively support them on 8/2 and that to not support them on 8/2 will in fact be an endorsement of Col Springer’s actions to alienate and do serious harm to David and Greg and I believe, the NPA.
Thanks for reading