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The Death of Anna Mae Aquash

April 23 - 25, 2010
Indian Country, the FBI and the Death of Anna Mae Aquash

The Unquiet Grave

As the FBI told the story, it happened like this.
On February 24, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, a rancher on that part of the South Dakota steppe that crumbles into the Badlands was looking for a place to run a fence line when he turned a bend in a gully and found, curled on its left side, clothed in a maroon jacket and blue jeans, and looking for all the world like someone sleeping in perfect peace, a corpse. Its place of rest was the bottom of an embankment not fifty steps from the main artery in those parts, Highway 73, but hidden from the road by the embankment. The nearest settlement lay ten miles to the southwest, a smattering of chipboard federal houses called Wanblee; a few miles to the north, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, on which the corpse rested, petered out into one of continental America’s emptier expanses. The body lay, if not in the precise middle of nowhere, hard on the edge of it.

Roger Amiotte did not approach the body. He returned to his truck, drove the mile back to his house, and called the Bureau of Indian Affairs police in Kyle, a slightly more sizeable outpost past Wanblee. The police had an officer at his place in twenty minutes. The officer was followed by deputy sheriffs from Kadoka, the county seat, then by two BIA investigators and a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the town of Pine Ridge, the reservation capital ninety miles off. A search of the scene showed no sign of crime: no violence to the body, no bullet casings or gunpowder, no scuff marks in the scrub, nothing so much as a footprint. A few tufts of dark hair clung to the face of the blond embankment, suggesting the unfortunate had fallen over it.

“When they were hauling the body off,” Amiotte would later say, “one of the cops said—I thought it was pretty tactless—he said, ‘Well, I guess there must not have been a rape involved, her pants are still on.’ Her pants. That was my first clue she was a woman. I didn’t get too close, and you couldn’t tell one way or the other from a distance.” She had no identification on her.

As the sun fell, Jane Doe was loaded into an ambulance and driven to the Indian Health Service hospital in Pine Ridge, where next afternoon an autopsy was performed. The pathologist judged her an Indian of twenty to twenty-five years, five feet two inches, 110 pounds, and light complexion, though dehydration and exposure had darkened her. She had borne a child or children and had surrendered a gallbladder to a surgeon and, nearer to death, had had sexual intercourse of a voluntary nature. She had died, the
pathologist eventually said—the precise moment of his saying so is a matter of some importance and uncertainty—of frostbite and had lain in the elements for seven to ten days. Her decay was so severe that her [Image: hendricks.jpeg]fingerprints could not be taken at the hospital, so the FBI asked that her hands be chopped off and forwarded to its laboratory in Washington. The doctor amputated them, and they were sent east. While the lab worked, the authorities on Pine Ridge tried to identify the woman, but none of their leads proved fruitful. Her decomposition worsening, she was moved to a mortuary, but the body proved too far gone to preserve. On March 2, 1976, a week after her discovery, Jane Doe was given a Catholic service and a pauper’s burial in an unmarked grave by order of the BIA police.

The next afternoon, the FBI Identification Division in Washington called the FBI field office in Rapid City, which oversaw operations on Pine Ridge. It was Ash Wednesday, the day on which believers since the Middle Ages have darkened their foreheads to remind themselves of the approach of Judgment Day. Washington told Rapid City that the lab had lifted prints from the woman’s severed hands and the ID Division had matched them to Anna Mae Aquash, a federal fugitive and luminary in the American Indian Movement. It took two days to find her family in the Canadian Maritimes—Aquash was a Mi’kmaq tribeswoman, a Nova Scotian by birth—at which point the press was also notified.

That was the FBI’s story.

Neither the family of Anna Mae Aquash nor her colleagues in AIM believed she had died of exposure. The Aquash they knew was too smart to have taken an underdressed stroll in the prairie winter, and even if she had, she was too strong a backpacker and too shrewd an improviser to have succumbed to the cold. And she never—never—traveled alone on Pine Ridge, which was then in a state of anarchy just shy of civil war. Her friends and family thought her as likely to have died of exposure—alone, on Pine Ridge—as of a paper cut. They wanted her body unearthed and a second autopsy performed, but the government, aware of these sentiments, beat them to it. On March 9, six days after Aquash was identified, the FBI asked for and a federal judge ordered a post-postmortem. Two days later a backhoe was sent to Holy Rosary Cemetery, outside the tumbledown town of Pine Ridge, and the grave dug up.

Candy Hamilton, a friend of Aquash’s, stood vigil. Years later she said, “After I got there, Dave Price and Bill Wood and Gary Adams showed up. They were about the worst of the FBI agents on the reservation, though they did sort of keep their distance from me that morning. I had always sworn no matter what they did, they were never gonna see me cry, but I’d already gotten started before they got there. I heard one of them say, ‘Well, she’s crying.’ It wasn’t a sympathetic tone. They were making jokes and laughing.”

Special Agent Wood eventually introduced himself to Hamilton, who said she knew who he was. He asked if she had information about how Aquash had died, and she told him to go to hell.

In half an hour, the pine vault holding Aquash was lifted from the ground, loaded onto a flatbed truck, and driven to the hospital. There waited Dr. Garry Peterson, deputy medical examiner for greater Minneapolis. Peterson had been hastily retained by the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee, AIM’s legal arm, to observe the government’s re-autopsy. At the hospital, however, FBI agents told Dr. Peterson their doctor was not coming. They did not say why. They said only that if a second necropsy were to be had, Peterson would have to do it. Peterson had brought none of his tools, and the hospital was ill equipped. (The original autopsy on Aquash, like all Pine Ridge autopsies, was the work of a pathologist who came from off the reservation, kit in tow.) Peterson asked the staff to gather what equipment they could and sent Special Agent Price to Sioux Nation, the general store in Pine Ridge, to fetch a butcher knife. A clutch of Aquash’s friends, women chiefly, marked time outside the autopsy room.

“I thought, ‘Oh shoot, these agents are having it much too easy today because we’re all so upset,’ ” Candy Hamilton recalled. “So I started quarreling with Wood. I said, ‘Her family’s coming and we want her jewelry and personal items to give to them.’

“He said, ‘Well, that’s all evidence now, you can’t have any of that.’
“I said, ‘That’s not evidence—you couldn’t even identify her by ’em. We want it.’ He just sneered and walked out.”

Hamilton is a compressed woman with a voice metered in the Cumberlands and a chin that comes at you like a shovel. She was one of many white do-gooders who came to Pine Ridge in the 1970s for the cause of Indian rights and one of the few who stayed after the moment expired.

“Well, Wood came back in and was way across the room from me, and he said, ‘Candy, you want something of Annie Mae’s? Here’—and he threw a box across the room at me—‘take her hands.’ I caught it, and all the women turned and looked and said, ‘What’s that?’ And I said, ‘He says it’s her hands.’ You could hear them rattling in there. Everybody was horrified.

They hadn’t started the autopsy yet, so I went in the room where Peterson was. They still had her all covered up. I told him, ‘It’s really important for her to have all her body together. Could you put these in with her or put them back on her or something?’ And he did, he sewed them back on at the end of the autopsy.”

When Dr. Peterson’s tools were at last assembled, he unsealed the pine vault and with the help of Agents Wood and Adams removed the cloth-covered coffin inside. The coffin was opened and the body, wrapped in plastic and cloth, was extracted and unwrapped. It was coated in a disinfectant of such pungency that Agent Adams had to excuse himself and revisit his breakfast.

No sooner had Peterson brushed the disinfectant from Aquash than he noticed a lump in her left temple, just above the eye. It looked and felt like a bullet. He suspended his examination while a radiologist took the body for X rays, which confirmed that the lump was a metal object the size and shape of a slug. The body was returned to Peterson, and in seconds he found a hole at the base of the skull. It was surrounded by a circle of dried blood and gunpowder two inches in diameter.

“You could not believe it,” he would later say. “I mean, the hole was so plain in the back of her neck. And in the front you could feel the lump. You could see the bullet from across the street.”

Even before he opened her skull, Dr. Peterson concluded that Anna Mae Aquash had died of a different kind of exposure—as it turned out, exposure to a .32-caliber, copper-jacketed bullet.

* * *
It fell to Norman Zigrossi to explain how the government had missed a bullet in the head of a corpse and failed to recognize in her a fugitive whom federal officers had not only arrested more than once but were also searching for at the time her body was found. Zigrossi was the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Rapid City resident agency, which meant he ran the office. A sad-eyed man of languid posture but fleet speech, he would soon become infamous in Indian Country for saying of its occupants, “They’re a conquered nation, and when you’re conquered, the people you’re conquered by dictate your future.” He called his agents, not inaccurately, “a colonial police force.” Zigrossi saw no mischief in the first autopsy. He said a small-caliber head wound could cause almost no bleeding and could be nearly undetectable once a body had begun to decompose. In proof thereof, he said that no one—none of the paramedics or nurses or doctors or lawmen—who had seen the body had detected the least sign of injury. As for the FBI’s not recognizing Aquash, no agents had been at the autopsy, and the lone agent who saw Aquash at Amiotte’s ranch did not identify her for the good reason that he had never seen a picture of her. The newspapers of western Dakota, in the manner of the provincial press everywhere, printed Zigrossi’s claims without corroboration and returned to alfalfa futures and the openings of used-car dealership.
A few less tractable observers, all from beyond Dakota, nosed further.

Freelancer Kevin McKiernan, whose reporting on Pine Ridge remains a gift to history, found a nurse by the name of Inez Hodges who had been on duty the night Aquash was brought to the hospital. Hodges had seen the Jane Doe in the morgue and instantly noticed an odd and obvious mark on the woman’s eye socket: the lodged bullet, although she did not diagnose it as such. She also saw a swath of blood on the white plastic sheet beneath the woman’s head. Its plain source was a raised crater at the base of the skull. Hodges showed her findings to a co-worker, whose name the FBI knows but to this day will not release. (To do so, says the FBI, would violate the witness’s privacy.)

Kevin McKiernan also found Dr. Stephen Shanker, who had pronounced Aquash dead on arrival. Shanker was just out of medical school, and his experience in matters postmortem was elementary. Nonetheless, in the first moments of his exam, he noticed that the hair on the back of Aquash’s head was matted with blood. He put his hand there and got a palmful of it, apparently freshly thawed. A moment’s probing brought him to the bullet hole. His analysis was unequivocal—“she hadn’t died of natural causes; it looked like a police matter”—and he assumed the autopsy the next day would analyze the wound more extensively. Both Shanker and Hodges said they were stunned by the exposure ruling and that after the bullet was finally found they expected authorities to interview them about what they had seen. The authorities did not—at least not until a public outcry was raised months later.

McKiernan and other reporters also spoke with Dr. W. O. Brown, the resident pathologist at West Nebraska General Hospital in Scottsbluff and the contract coroner for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Two or three dozen times a year, Dr. Brown flew his private plane to Pine Ridge to look over corpses (or, perhaps, to overlook them). Of his work on Aquash, he was unrepentant. “A little bullet isn’t hard to overlook,” he said. “It certainly isn’t the first time a bullet was overlooked.” And, “Why all the interest in this case? It seems awfully routine, you know. So they found an Indian body—so a body was found.” And, “I suppose the Indians will never let that woman die. AIM’s trying to stir up all the trouble they can. It’s a matter of record that Indians use every little incident that they can to create a situation over. They distort facts and use it to their advantage to further their cause. But I’ve tried to remain neutral. I don’t think I’m prejudiced.”

The day after Dr. Peterson found the bullet, Dr. Brown was sure of this much: he had missed it only because the hospital’s X-ray machine had been broken. But he soon reversed course: the machine had been in fine fettle and he had merely chosen not to use it because X-rays were “too time-consuming,” “too awkward,” and “at times unsuccessful.” And anyway, since “it’s fairly common for Indians like these to die of an overdose,” why bother X-raying them? (His tests showed that Aquash’s blood was free of drugs or alcohol.) When other excuses failed him, he said he had cut short his exam because the body was “stinky” and “decomposed”—conditions one might have thought were routine in his work. But from his verdict he did not swerve. It was the frost that had taken Anna Mae Aquash, not the bullet. The bullet, he said, may have pierced the brain casing, but not the brain proper. If it had entered the casing, it might have started a chain of events that incapacitated Aquash and left her at the mercy of the cold, but the shot did not kill her.

Over the years, the claims of lawmen would shift: “we weren’t at the autopsy” became “we were standing outside the door,” which became “we were inside the autopsy room but only before and after the autopsy,” which became “we may have been inside during the autopsy itself.”
As at the autopsy, so at the crime scene. Zigrossi said only one FBI agent (eventually named as Donald Dealing) had gone to Roger Amiotte’s ranch, but witnesses counted four agents, including Price and Wood.

“When we asked Price whether he was at the crime scene,” WKLDOC’s Ken Tilsen said, “his first thing was, ‘I wasn’t assigned to her.’
“ ‘Okay. Were you there?’
“ ‘I wasn’t working that day.’
“ ‘That wasn’t the question. Were you there?’
“ ‘I don’t remember.’ ”

* * *
The agents who sent Aquash’s hands to Washington were working in a long tradition. In four of the New World’s five centuries, frontier capitals had paid bounties for Native body parts in proof that their owners had been exterminated. As a macabre byproduct, scalps and hands, ears and genitals became trophies in the saloons and on the saddle horns of the Americas. Even in 1976, when Aquash was dismembered, the museums of civilized North America displayed the skeletons and mummified heads of tribal elders—grandparents and great-grandparents of those still living.

The FBI agents who had Aquash’s hands severed could not have known they were continuing a ritual that would make a martyr of Aquash, that songs would be sung about her and ceremonies held in her honor and newborns named for her decades after their deed. Agents did, however, know to be bashful about their handiwork. Early press releases said Aquash’s “fingerprints” had been sent to Washington but neglected to say her fingers had gone with them. When the particulars were outed, the FBI described amputation as a standard practice for identification in many jurisdictions, but it could point to no such jurisdiction in North America. Over the years the FBI refused to say whether its agents had considered other, less gruesome, means of identification, only that “it was impossible to obtain fingerprints” on Pine Ridge.

The claim did not sit right with Garry Peterson. “All fingers,” he wrote in his autopsy report, “show distinct fingerprint ridges although the finger pads appear somewhat wrinkled.” Dr. Peterson said afterward that anyone trained in taking prints—that is, any FBI agent or BIA officer—should have been able to print the digits. Had better results been wanted, the agents could have asked Dr. Brown to inject fluid beneath the dehydrated fingertips. If all else had failed, Brown could have severed only the fingertips (as the FBI lab eventually did), putting each tip in the corresponding finger of a latex glove and sending those to Washington. There was no justification for taking the entire hands.

“One question,” Ken Tilsen later said, “that the FBI could never answer about cutting off her hands was, why not wait?” Tilsen in latter years was a man of bare pate and bad angina but still, as he had been in the 1970s, an adherent of the querulous detail, which he piled one atop the next with compounding weight. He carried himself accordingly, chest forward, like a stevedore or beauty queen, but the aggressive effect was tempered by a wrinkled, deliberate voice conveying lawyerly gravitas. “Even if the FBI thought they had to cut off her hands, basic decency requires that you wait more than a day to see if other people might recognize her, particularly since Pine Ridge was and is a small place where everybody knows everybody. They didn’t even pause before taking that drastic step. When I asked experts about the motivation for this, what they told me was that the primary result of removing her hands and sending them to the lab—rather than taking the fingerprints at the hospital—was to increase the length of time it took to identify her.” And indeed, once during Aquash’s life, the FBI had identified her in a mere twenty-four hours from prints lifted off her in the field. Shipping the hands added several extra days to the process of identifying her.

Tilsen continued, “Now, why would they want to delay the identification? I have always suspected it was because the FBI was afraid of what they would find if they dug into this case. They knew this was Anna Mae Aquash, and they were afraid that some of their people—not necessarily FBI agents, I have never believed even David Price was capable of pulling the trigger, but their allies, their friends—were involved, and they didn’t want to find out. They wanted the trail to go cold. Any of the agents who saw Anna Mae should have been able to identify her. They had her photograph and they had a description of her. She was a fugitive—and not just any fugitive. They believed she had information about the killing of two FBI agents on Pine Ridge in 1975, to the investigation of which the FBI had devoted every imaginable resource, and they believed she had been traveling with some of the alleged killers. Moreover, before she disappeared, she was scheduled to appear in court. But the day before her trial, she jumps bond and walks out of the same hotel where the FBI was staying. David Price was, I think, staying in that very hotel. She literally walked out from under their noses. After that, they had to be hunting all over for her. A few months later, a woman shows up dead on the same reservation where Anna Mae lived. The body is in the middle of nowhere. It is inconceivable that this woman just wandered off on a drunk and died of exposure, miles from the nearest bar or for that matter any human habitation. The agents look her over. She’s an Indian of attractive build. She’s about the right age, about the right height, right weight.

She’s wearing the very distinctive jewelry she always wore. Only a few of the FBI’s important fugitives are women, fewer still are Indian women, and fewer still are Indian women from Pine Ridge. Yet the FBI wants us to believe that not one of those agents at the scene or the hospital thinks, ‘Hmmm, I wonder if this is our fugitive?’ For any of these agents, that is virtually impossible to believe. For David Price it is absolutely impossible.”
It was “absolutely impossible” because Price knew Aquash. Less than a year before she turned up dead, he had questioned her about a murder.

Several months after that, he had arrested her in a raid, by some accounts recognizing her on sight. He had almost certainly lied about being at Amiotte’s, and he had lied about or obscured his proximity to the first autopsy, at which he had photographed her face. At the time he took those pictures, he had been in possession of pictures of the living Aquash. And although he would later swear he was not looking for her, internal FBI documents would eventually prove that just days before her body was found, he was helping to coordinate the hunt for her. And then there is the story that Aquash told her peers, which was that in the last months of her life Agent Price had given Aquash a choice: cooperate with the FBI, or he would see her dead before the year was out. She had told him to go fuck himself.

* * *
To believe the FBI’s claim that its agents did not recognize Aquash was to believe its claim that she was thoroughly decayed. That she was decayed was not in question. How badly decayed was.

“Her face was pure black with exposure and dehydration,” David Price once said, “and she had no eyes! You try to identify a girl you’ve only seen twice in your life and [identified] the second time only because she identified herself!” The FBI’s press officers have said the same thing through the decades, if with less spirit. Price’s claim is supported by a BIA policeman who knew Aquash slightly and said he did not recognize her when he saw her in the morgue.

But other witnesses have said differently. Dr. Peterson, while cautioning that it is harder to identify a rotted corpse than most people think, said Aquash’s condition “wasn’t bad, even after burial and exhumation.” The workers at the hospital who saw Aquash before the first autopsy were more adamant: Jane Doe could have been identified by anyone who knew her. Journalist Kevin McKiernan said that pictures from the second autopsy “showed facial features that appeared identifiable” but also that someone who did not know Aquash well might have needed leading—say, with lineup photos—to identify her. Ken Tilsen said no one who knew Aquash failed to recognize her from the second-autopsy pictures. And Candy Hamilton said Aquash was “totally recognizable” in the pictures.

The FBI could make the question moot by releasing its photos from the two autopsies. It will not. To do so, say Aquash’s dismemberers, would violate norms of decency. The FBI does, however, say that its agents showed the pictures to people on the reservation and that this is proof that agents were trying to identify Jane Doe. But the FBI will not say to whom it showed the pictures, and the only person known to have seen them is one Myrtle Poor Bear. In Poor Bear’s story, Agents Price and Wood showed her the pictures as a threat. They said Aquash had been blackened by fire, not frostbite, and that if Poor Bear did not agree to lie under oath that she had seen AIM’s Leonard Peltier kill the two FBI agents in 1975, Poor Bear would end up like Aquash. Poor Bear perjured herself.

Price and Wood said Poor Bear’s claim of having been threatened was a lie. The irony of their saying so about a witness who said they made her commit perjury was apparently lost on them. Whatever the truth of Poor Bear’s story, the FBI has never explained why its agents were showing pictures of someone whose face was rotten beyond recognizing. If Aquash was, as the FBI claimed, beyond identifying, what good did it do to show the pictures? Surely the mere fact of showing them (if true) proves she was at least potentially identifiable.

“The other thing they say about their great efforts to identify her,” Candy Hamilton said, “is they put out a flyer about this unidentified woman. But no one ever saw it. After we found out it was Annie Mae, I dug around on the bulletin board at Sioux Nation and finally found one sign buried under a whole bunch of other stuff. That’s the only one I ever saw or heard of. It had the wrong age, wrong size—five-six or something. And she was teeny. I mean, I’m five-four, and I felt like I towered over her.”

The flyer does not survive, but the BIA memo on which it was based does. It says Dr. Brown measured the body at five feet two inches and 110 pounds. How Aquash grew to five feet six or so in the flyer is a mystery. (When Brown released his autopsy report two weeks later, Aquash mutated again: five feet four and 105.) Hamilton said the flyer mentioned none of Aquash’s identifying traits—her gallbladder scar, her partial dental plate, her childbearing, her jewelry—though all were noted in Brown’s autopsy. The jewelry, her friends have said, would have given her away in an instant. Three decades later Roger Amiotte still remembered her “big butterfly bracelet with great big wings of silver and a body of turquoise—stuck out about yay, wider than my wrist. It was unique.” The FBI thought the bracelet unusual enough to show a local jeweler (who knew neither its owner nor its maker), but the agents did not show it to the public.

After several days in the hospital morgue, Aquash’s corpse was sent to a mortuary just over the state line in Nebraska. But the mortuary, according to BIA police chief Sayers, “told us they couldn’t keep it in the state it was,” so Sayers ordered the body buried. Yet mortician Tom Chamberlain told another story: the body, he agreed, was beyond embalming, but it was not bad off, certainly not beyond keeping. He had coated it with disinfectant and put it in his unheated garage, where he was certain it could have stayed a week or more in the cold weather—only, Sayers had called him a day or so after the body’s arrival and insisted it be buried. Chamberlain said he had asked just how Sayers intended to do that when the corpse had not been identified and had neither a death certificate nor a burial permit attached to it. Sayers did not have an immediate answer.
“Darnedest thing I ever saw,” Chamberlain said. “Been doing this for over fifty years and haven’t run into a case like this yet.”

A friend of Aquash’s who had other funereal business visited Chamberlain’s at this time and overheard Chamberlain on the phone saying he wouldn’t bury an unidentified body without approval from the state licensing office. The friend, Gladys Bissonette, offered to look at the Jane Doe, but Chamberlain told her he had been ordered to let only “authorized” people see the body. Another friend of Aquash’s, Lou Beane, said she visited Chamberlain’s and heard him say he had a corpse out back with a bullet in its head. The undertaker denied Bissonette’s claims; he was not asked about Beane’s before his own undertaking.

In the end, Chief Sayers prevailed on a priest at Holy Rosary Mission to bury the woman. No burial certificate ever surfaced, and neither church nor funeral parlor kept their usual records for processing a body. The priest at Holy Rosary later explained that he had buried the woman without the required paperwork because last rites were a sacrament he had to give all comers.

Toward the burial the FBI took an attitude similar to its attitude toward the first autopsy: it knew nothing of the BIA’s work. Only after the deed was done, Agent Wood swore in court, did the FBI learn Aquash had been buried. But again there is evidence to the contrary. Inmates from the Pine Ridge jail who buried Aquash on March 2 also exhumed her on March 11.

They said the same men in suits attended both affairs. Candy Hamilton said the only suits at the March 11 exhumation were on FBI agents. Ergo the FBI seems to have attended the March 2 burial. Then, too, a report from Agent Wood said that on March 2, BIA officer Merrick told him the body “was being buried at Holy Rosary Cemetery on March 2, 1976.” “Was being buried,” meaning at that moment being buried or soon to be buried, was rather different from what Wood told the court: Aquash “had been buried” by the time he learned about it.

* * *
The first time a director of the FBI spoke publicly about the Aquash case was in May 1976, three months after the body had been found and, more important, days after page-one exposés ran in the Washington Star and Minneapolis Tribune. Clarence Kelley’s FBI ordered an investigation whose objectivity may be measured by the fact that Agent Wood was one of the investigators. Between the FBI’s investigation and the press reports, Kelly knew that witnesses had seen four FBI agents at the crime scene, that hospital staff had seen the bullet wound, and that mortician Tom Chamberlain had said Aquash did not need to be buried immediately. But when Kelley spoke to the public, he said that only one agent had been at the scene, that no one there or at the hospital had seen any sign of violence, and that Chamberlain had declared the body needed to be buried. Kelley also knew the entrance wound had been obvious, but he implied it was not by calling it “small.” He knew the lodged bullet had been visible to the naked eye, but he implied the opposite by saying it had settled “behind” Aquash’s eye socket. He knew Dr. Peterson had diagnosed the bullet wound in a few seconds, but he implied the opposite by saying Peterson made his diagnosis only after X rays were taken. The FBI has reiterated Kelley’s falsehoods, with only the smallest of changes, ever since. When the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights asked the Justice Department to investigate, the department at first ignored the query, then said, via letter by Assistant Attorney General Richard Thornburgh (later attorney general under Reagan and the elder Bush), that Justice had already made an investigation and it was “thorough,” but that the results could not be shared. From time to time, members of Congress were asked by constituents about FBI wrongdoing in the case, and the legislators would ask the FBI for explanations. The standard reply from the FBI read, “We believe the allegations . . . lack the specificity necessary for an investigation. Accordingly, no action on our part is warranted.”
Congress accepted the answer and moved on. But Indian Country has never moved on.

This article is excerpted The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country

Steve Hendricks is the author of The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country and the soon-to-be-published A Kidnapping in Milan: the CIA on Trial. He can be reached through his
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Thanks for posting this Keith. It definitely deserves its own thread.
Quote:The FBI has reiterated Kelley’s falsehoods, with only the smallest of changes, ever since. When the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights asked the Justice Department to investigate, the department at first ignored the query, then said, via letter by Assistant Attorney General Richard Thornburgh (later attorney general under Reagan and the elder Bush), that Justice had already made an investigation and it was “thorough,” but that the results could not be shared. From time to time, members of Congress were asked by constituents about FBI wrongdoing in the case, and the legislators would ask the FBI for explanations. The standard reply from the FBI read, “We believe the allegations . . . lack the specificity necessary for an investigation. Accordingly, no action on our part is warranted.”
What a fucking bunch of criminals the FBI are. What a set up.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Yeah Magda,this story gets lost in the whole Pine Ridge war at that time.Although,it is interwoven into the movie "Thunderheart" that stars Van Kilmer.The other most crucial thing to understand is that it was the testimony of Myrtle Poor Bear that sealed the fate of Leonard Peltier.Here is the important paragraph below.

Quote:The FBI could make the question moot by releasing its photos from the two autopsies. It will not. To do so, say Aquash’s dismemberers, would violate norms of decency. The FBI does, however, say that its agents showed the pictures to people on the reservation and that this is proof that agents were trying to identify Jane Doe. But the FBI will not say to whom it showed the pictures, and the only person known to have seen them is one Myrtle Poor Bear. In Poor Bear’s story, Agents Price and Wood showed her the pictures as a threat. They said Aquash had been blackened by fire, not frostbite, and that if Poor Bear did not agree to lie under oath that she had seen AIM’s Leonard Peltier kill the two FBI agents in 1975, Poor Bear would end up like Aquash. Poor Bear perjured herself.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
OK,the case of Anna Mae Aquash gets just as murkey as the Leonard Peltier case.Anna Mae was either set up in a COINTEL OP.,or was killed by The American Indian Movement.One thing is for sure,this case split AIM into factions,and probably is responsible for the decline of AIM as a revolutionary movement amongst Native Americans.

This link goes to a very good investigation into the case by the Vancouver Sun.It is a bit long so I'll just post the first chapter.

Quote:Who killed Anna Mae?
by Rex Weyler, Vancouver Sun, January 8, 2005
In the 1970s, two First Nations youths, John Graham from Yukon and Anna Mae Pictou from Nova Scotia, set out to help win native rights. They stumbled into a violent American maelstrom that cost Pictou her life and left Graham facing a murder charge.

A short article from the same link.
Murder suspect waiting in Vancouver jail for fate
CBC, WHITEHORSE Dec. 3, 2003

A Yukon man is in a British Columbia jail waiting to see if, and when, he'll be extradited to the United States on a murder charge.
John Graham, formerly from Haines Junction, was arrested on Tuesday by Vancouver police following a 911 tip.
Graham is charged in the 1975 murder of aboriginal activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash in South Dakota. She was found shot to death.
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Graham is the second man charged Pictou Aquash's death. Another man, Arlo Looking Cloud is scheduled to on trial in February for the same murder.
Graham had been in hiding for years before his arrest.
In an 1999 interview with the CBC, Graham expressed his concerns about getting a fair trial in the United States.
"I can't cooperate in this investigation," he said at the time. "I refuse to talk to the FBI or the RCMP about this. They're not capable of handling this case and getting any kind of justice."
An extradition request must be filed within 60 days.
It will be up to a judge to decide if Graham will be sent back to the U.S. to stand trial for first degree murder.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
I'm going to post the whole article Keith as it so often happens that they get moved or otherwise disappear and this is such an important story. It must not disappear.
Quote:Anna Mae Aquash
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Who killed Anna Mae?
by Rex Weyler, Vancouver Sun, January 8, 2005
In the 1970s, two First Nations youths, John Graham from Yukon and Anna Mae Pictou from Nova Scotia, set out to help win native rights. They stumbled into a violent American maelstrom that cost Pictou her life and left Graham facing a murder charge.
On February 24, 1976, rancher Roger Amiotte walked his fence line on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota. The fence ended at a steep ravine, which had failed to restrain his livestock. Planning to extend the fence, Amiotte paced the embankment until he rounded a curve and came upon the body of a young woman.
The rancher stopped twenty feet from the corpse. She wore blue jeans, a burgundy windbreaker, tennis shoes, and a single turquoise bracelet. Animals had apparently gnawed at her ear. Amiotte returned home and called the Tribal police. Within two hours, a dozen law enforcement officers * Sheriff's deputies, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police, and FBI agents * combed the scene.
At the Pine Ridge morgue, a doctor and nurse found blood on the woman's head. However, BIA pathologist Dr. W. O. Brown, described the case as "awfully routine," reported no blood, and concluded the woman had died from "exposure" two weeks earlier, in early February. On FBI instructions, Brown severed the victim's hands for later identification and approved a burial.
"It was the darndest thing I ever saw," said mortician Tom Chamberlain, "an unidentified corpse buried without a death certificate or burial permit." On March 3, 1976, the anonymous body rested in a pauper's grave on Pine Ridge. On that day, the FBI identified the dead woman as 30-year-old Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The Bureau notified the Pictou family in Canada that Anna Mae had died "by natural causes."
The family requested another autopsy, and AIM lawyer Bruce Ellison petitioned the FBI to exhume the body. On March 11, Dr. Garry Peterson examined the corpse, noticed "a bulge in the dead woman's left temple and dry blood in her hair," and revealed the actual cause of death: a .32 calibre bullet "shot at close range into the back of her head."
Extradition Case
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The FBI now claims AIM executed Aquash as a suspected informer. They possess a video confession from 50-year-old Arlo Looking Cloud, from South Dakota, who admitted being present when John Graham allegedly shot Aquash. Looking Cloud remains in custody, convicted of aiding first-degree murder.
The U.S. wants Graham returned to South Dakota to face the murder charge. His extradition case opened in Vancouver on December 6 and resumes next week before Justice Elizabeth Bennett. Canadian Crown attorney Deborah Strachan represents the U.S.
To prepare this story, I reviewed court transcripts and evidence summaries from the Looking Cloud trial, the Vancouver extradition hearing, and other related cases; FBI memos; and sworn affidavits and public statements by the interested parties. I interviewed Mr. Graham, other native leaders, and attorneys in Canada and the U.S., on both sides; and I reviewed the extensive public record compiled over thirty years.
A U.S. summary of evidence cites witnesses who claim Looking Cloud, Graham, and AIM member Theda Clark kidnapped Aquash from a house in Denver, Colorado in December 1975. Others witnessed Graham and Looking Cloud with the victim on Pine Ridge Reservation shortly thereafter.
"The Judge in an extradition hearing has a very narrow scope," Strachen explains. "All we have to show is that this is the person the requesting state [the U.S.] is looking for and that, if believed, the evidence could lead a reasonable jury to convict the accused." This is a "prima facia" argument that on "first appearance" the evidence seems adequate. "We do not argue the quality of that evidence," Strachen said.
Canada's extradition treaty with the U.S. presumes that evidence supplied is accurate. A U.S. Attorney * in this case Robert Mandel in South Dakota * certifies the evidence. On first appearance, the evidence against Graham does indeed seem compelling.
However, Graham's attorney, Terry LaLiberte, pointed out inconsistencies, which he claims the U.S. "deliberately or negligently" failed to disclose. Alleged witness Al Gates "had been dead for nine months," said LaLiberte, when the U.S. "claimed he was available for trial." Witness Frank Dillon, to whom Graham allegedly confessed, claims he did not make the statement attributed to him.
The only potential eyewitness, Arlo Looking Cloud, now alleges that detectives plied him with alcohol and drugs, coerced the testimony from him, and denied him the right to have a lawyer of his choice. His new attorney, Terry Gilbert from the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York, claims that Looking Cloud's court-appointed lawyer incriminated his own client. "Looking Cloud was a homeless alcoholic for more than 20 years," said Gilbert, "vulnerable to manipulation by the detective in Denver."
Outside the Vancouver courtroom, LaLiberte recalled that in 1976, Canada extradited AIM member Leonard Peltier with evidence coerced from a similarly vulnerable Myrtle Poor Bear, who later testified that FBI agent David Price frightened her into making false statements.
Crown attorney Strachan says the Poor Bear incident, "is history. How is it relevant to this case? Just because the FBI did something once, is not evidence that they're doing it here." Aquash's daughter, Denise Maloney-Pictou, agrees. "This is 2004, not 1976," she says. "We just want to see Graham stand trial, and for a jury to hear all of the evidence."
"History is what this case is all about," replies Matthew Lien from Graham's Defense Committee. "The FBI wants to rewrite the record. The perpetrators of this crime are behind the prosecution."
Brave Hearted Woman
Anna Mae Pictou was born on March 27, 1945, on the Mi'kmaq reserve five miles east of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Her mother, Mary Ellen, traded housekeeping for a room in a small house and earned babysitting money to feed Anna Mae and two older sisters, Rebecca and Mary. Their father, Francis Levi, died in 1948, Mary Ellen remarried, and they moved to the Pictou Reservation on the Northumberland coast.
At the reservation school, Anna Mae earned straight A's, but at St. John's Academy, off the reservation, where she endured racial taunts, her performance slumped. When her stepfather died and her mother left with her third husband, Anna Mae stayed with Rebecca and her husband.
In 1963, with her boyfriend Jake Maloney, Anna Mae drifted to Boston, where she gave birth to two daughters, Denise and Deborah. She earned $200 per month as a seamstress and felt prosperous. However, when Jake had a love affair, Anna Mae left with the girls. She volunteered at the Boston Indian Council, an outlet for her rage concerning the plight of native people. At her first demonstration, she met AIM leader Russell Means and devoted her life to native rights.
In 1973, Anna Mae left her daughters with her sister Mary Lafford and traveled to South Dakota with Ojibwa activist Nogeeshik Aquash. They joined AIM activists protesting tribal council corruption and BIA police violence. The group occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee, the site of an 1890 massacre of 200 men, women, and children by the U.S. Seventh Calvary. During the ensuing seige, Anna Mae Pictou and Nogeeshik Aquash married in a traditional ceremony.
Anna Mae earned a reputation as a devoted advocate for native people. At Pine Ridge, she became known, in the Lakota tradition, as "a brave hearted woman," someone who could be counted on to stand up for the weak and dispossessed. She advanced through the AIM ranks in Boston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.
Pine Ridge
Traditional Lakota leaders on Pine Ridge Reservation cite their 1868 Treaty with the U.S. as the basis for a 160,000-square-mile territory west of the Missouri River. However, after gold discoveries in the Black Hills, the U.S. reduced Lakota title to five reservations, less than 10 percent of their treaty land. The "traditionals" claimed that the BIA further eroded their land base by granting leases without Lakota approval. In 1972, Richard "Dickie" Wilson, controlled the tribal council and fashioned his own police force, the Guardians of Oglala Nation, the GOONS, who harassed Wilson's opposition with beatings and drive-by shootings.
When chiefs Matthew King and Fools Crow traveled to Washington D.C. to redress their grievances, vigilantes sprayed King's modest house with bullets and burned Fools Crow's home to the ground. "It was those BIA police and those goons," claimed King.
When traditionals Raymond Yellow Thunder and Wesley Bad Heart Bull were murdered, the elder women gave AIM permission to occupy Wounded Knee to expose the violence. For 71 days, AIM activists armed with .22 gauge hunting rifles, faced off against the vigilantes and BIA police bolstered by SWAT teams and U.S. Marshals with M16s and grenade launchers. Two Indians * Frank Clearwater and Buddy Lamont * died from bullet wounds.
The siege ended with a promise from U.S. Attorney Leonard Garment to investigate the BIA police and Wilson's goons, but there is no evidence an investigation ensued. Before 1973 ended, seven more traditional leaders had died violent deaths, including Pedro Bissonnette, head of the Oglala Civil Rights Organization, shot at close range with a twelve-gauge shotgun by BIA policeman Joe Clifford. No charges were filed against Clifford.
Into this maelstrom walked Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash and John Graham, two wide-eyed young Canadians eager to advance native rights.
Armed and Dangerous
While Aquash became a leader of the movement, successfully raising funds from celebrities in Los Angeles, Graham became a loyal foot soldier in AIM security.
Graham was born on August 31, 1955, in Champagne, Yukon, the traditional territory of the Aishihik First Nations of the Southern Tutchone. In the summer of 1969, he came to Vancouver for a Rolling Stones concert. In 1974, he joined a "Native Caravan" to Ottawa, and then headed south, into the U.S., to find his younger sister Joan, who had been taken from their family and placed in a foster home. He did not find her, but a year later, Graham arrived on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota as a full-fledged member of the American Indian Movement.
Since the death of Pedro Bissonnette, fourteen more traditionals had died from gunshots or beatings, including Pedro's sister-in-law, Jeanette Bissonnette. On March 21, 1975, Edith Eagle Hawk drove toward Rapid City to testify in a federal court about violence on Pine Ridge, when White rancher Albert Coomes ran her car from the road, killing her, her four-month-old daughter Linda, and her three-year-old grandson Earl Janis. The FBI issued no indictments.
The Traditional Council of Chiefs signed a unanimous request for AIM to protect them. AIM had long since crossed the threshold between protest and armed defense of their people. They established a camp on the property of Harry and Cecilia Jumping Bull, a stronghold in the heart of the traditionalist community. Leonard Peltier, Dino and Nilak Butler, Bob Robideau, and teenager Norman Brown lived among this hard-core group of defenders. Anna Mae and John Graham visited the encampment.
The FBI had thoroughly infiltrated AIM by this time. In June, they transferred approximately 40 agents into South Dakota, including Jack Coler, who possessed a detailed map of the AIM camps on Pine Ridge. On the morning June 26, 1975, Coler and agent Ron Williams drove into the Jumping Bull property, ostensibly to look for a teenager who had allegedly stolen a pair of cowboy boots. Williams and Coler carried high-powered rifles and ammunition. A shootout erupted, and by 2:30 that afternoon, Coler, Williams, and Lakota native Joe Stuntz lay dead.
News reports, quoting the FBI, claimed the agents had been "ambushed .. dragged from their cars .. and executed." According to John Graham, he and Anna Mae heard about the shootout in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "We have to go back in," Anna Mae said. Graham says they drove all night and arrived in Pine Ridge amidst a massive FBI manhunt. They located Peltier and others hiding in ravines as helicopters passed overhead. "We made it out of there," Graham says, "and I helped several brothers get into Canada. Then I hung out in Detroit and Denver."
Aquash and Graham had crossed a legal threshold themselves, vulnerable to charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder. Both believed the AIM response amounted to self-defense, but the FBI would not see it that way. Within days of the shooting, Ottawa RCMP received an FBI report naming Aquash as a suspect, and an FBI field report described her as "armed and dangerous."
Aquash took refuge at a tent encampment on the Rosebud reservation adjoining Pine Ridge. Dino and Nilak Butler camped nearby. On September 5, 1975, she awoke to shouting, stumbled from her tent half-dressed, and stared into the barrel of an M16 rifle. "You," FBI agent David Price said to her, "I've been looking all over for you."
Fifty agents in battle fatigues ransacked the camp. She later told her friend Candy Hamilton, "I heard the agents smashing things and laughing, throwing eagle feathers and beadwork around. They verbally abused me, accusing me of things I hadn't done."
At the Federal Building in Pierre, South Dakota agents charged her with illegal possession of dynamite, which they claimed to have found at the scene. When she asked for a lawyer, an agent told her, "You're not going to get a call through unless you talk to us first." They asked her about June 26th, "where two men were killed."
"Three men," said Aquash.
The agents insisted that she had witnessed the shooting of the agents, although Aquash denied it. She later told AIM lawyers that agent David Price threatened that if she did not cooperate "you won't live out the year."
"You can either shoot me or throw me in jail," the FBI account quotes her. "That's what you're going to do with me anyway."
Dino Butler reported that agents told him flatly: "Cooperate and live, don't cooperate you die."
Aquash spent the night in jail, made bail the next day, and called her sister Rebecca Julian in Nova Scotia. Speaking in their native Mi'kmaq, she told her sister that she feared for her life. Rebecca urged her to come home. She promised she would, but added, "If you could see the people, they way they're treated here, you'd understand."
The FBI added firearm possession to their indictment, and Anna Mae faced two felony charges. Court-appointed attorney, Robert Riter, relayed the FBI's deal: testify against Dino and Nilak Butler for shooting agents Coler and Williams, and they would drop one charge and allow her to plead out on the second charge. Otherwise, she faced a long jail sentence.
Anna Mae and Nilak Butler fled to Los Angeles where they organize a vehicle to spirit Peltier and AIM leader Dennis Banks into hiding. In November, they headed north in a Dodge Explorer motor home, owned by actor Marlon Brando. The fugitives included 20-year-old Ka-Mook Nichols Banks, eight months pregnant and carrying her one-year-old daughter. Friction had developed among the group. Anna Mae had had an affair with Dennis Banks, alienating Ka-Mook Banks. More seriously, each fugitive harboured fears about informers.
Eight months earlier, Dennis Banks had discovered that AIM security chief, Douglass Durham, worked for the FBI. Anna Mae had suspected Durham when he arrived at Wounded Knee claiming to be "one-fourth Chippewa." She noticed that he died his hair and provoked gratuitous violence. She had expelled him from the Los Angeles AIM office, but Durham endeared himself to Banks and infiltrated the Defense Committee the Wounded Knee trial in St. Paul.
The former Marine had served as a CIA operative in Cuba and Guatemala. In Iowa, he worked on the police force while engaged in drug smuggling. The Des Moines police fired him after a violent fight with his pregnant wife over his pimping. He boasted that he headed "the largest criminal organization in Iowa." He flew AIM leaders around in U.S. Army planes and framed AIM members with violent crimes.
In one chilling assignment, he seduced Jancita Eagle Deer from the Rosebud Reservation. At the age of 15, Eagle Deer had reported to her school principal that reservation public defender William Janklow had raped her. Janklow denied the charge but the Rosebud Council barred him from the reservation. Janklow became a U.S. senator and is now serving jail time for vehicular manslaughter. Eagle Deer announced to AIM members that she would marry Durham.
In January 1975, she accompanied him to Gresham, Wisconsin, where Durham instigated a shootout with local sheriffs, arousing an armed citizen's vigilante group. When Aquash and others expelled Durham, he fled with Eagle Deer. She was last seen alive staggering along a deserted road near Aurora, Nebraska, just before a speeding vehicle ended her life. No charges were ever filed in her death.
A month later, AIM exposed Durham at a news conference in Chicago. His disruption of AIM fit the FBI's strategy, documented in memos from the era, to "disrupt or neutralize" leftist, black, and American Indian groups. William Sullivan, former head of FBI Intelligence stated that, "We were engaged in COINTELPRO [counter intelligence] tactics to divide, confuse, weaken an organization."
In a 1968 memo, the FBI described a tactic called "snitch-jacketing," to "create the impression that leaders are informants for the Bureau." Ka-Mook Banks testified at the recent trial of Arlo Looking Cloud, John Graham's co-accused, that by 1975, many within AIM suspected Aquash was an informer.
The FBI knew about the fugitives in the motor home, and on the night of November 14, 1975, Oregon police stopped the vehicle near the Idaho border. Peltier and Dennis Banks escaped into the night, but Aquash, Ka-Mook Banks, her daughter and unborn child, and two other native men remained in custody.
"My efforts to raise the consciousness of whites," Aquash wrote to her sister, "is bound to be stopped by the FBI." She told an Idaho reporter, "If they take me back to South Dakota, I'll be murdered." Aquash returned in chains, but was released. Fearing for her life, she fled west. The FBI filed a ten-count indictment against her for a variety of violent crimes.
In Los Angeles, she uncovered information about Douglass Durham's involvement in framing two AIM members with a gruesome murder. She promised to meet her journalist friend Paula Griese in Minneapolis in January, but never arrived. The last weeks of Anna Mae's life are the subject of the cases against John Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud, and their counter-charges against the FBI.
Someone shot Aquash in the back of the head with a .32 calibre handgun, between December 20, 1975 and early February 1976. The prosecution's theory states that AIM executed her, and that Graham pulled the trigger. The defense theory is that the FBI killed Aquash, and that David Price, Douglass Durham, or someone from the Pine Ridge goon squad pulled the trigger.
U.S. prosecutors claim that Graham, Looking Cloud, and Theda Clark kidnapped Aquash from the home of Troy Lynn Yellow Wood in Denver, took her to South Dakota, interrogated her with other AIM leaders, and executed her. Yellow Wood and four others witnessed the party leaving the Denver home. Two of those witnesses recall Aquash bound with rope, but Irving told a reporter in 1999, "Anna Mae walked out on her own." Witnesses Cleo Gates and Candy Hamilton testify that they saw Aquash with Graham on the Pine Ridge Reservation in December, and Hamilton says Aquash seemed upset. Graham acknowledges that the four drove from Denver to Pine Ridge, visited Cleo and Dick Marshall, and travelled to Bill Means' home in Rosebud.
Here, the stories diverge. Graham says they dropped Anna Mae at safe house on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The U.S. attorney's summary of evidence states that Graham told his friend Frank Dillon, "We had to off her." The summary states that native spiritual leader Al Gates will testify that Graham admitted being present at Aquash's death. However, Dillon now claims he did not say this and Gates is dead.
Asked how the U.S. certified the dead Gates as a witness, U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon, replied, "I'm not sure how long he's been dead." McMahon would not comment on the impact to his case of losing the testimony of Gates, Dillon, and Looking Cloud.
Looking Cloud's eyewitness account is the evidence that Graham killed Aquash, but he has recanted and stated that he will not testify against Graham.
AIM is sharply divided over blame for Aquash's death. Ka-Mook Nichols Banks, Russell Means, John Trudell, and Bob Robideau have stated that someone in AIM may have ordered her death, and that they believe Graham might have carried out the execution. Others, such as Peltier, Vernon Bellecourt, and Dennis Banks claim that the FBI has intimidated witnesses, fabricated evidence, and planted media stories to create this impression. In either case, the FBI has clearly succeeded in their stated effort to disrupt, neutralize, and divide AIM.
Due Process
"In Canada," said Graham's lawyer, Terry LaLiberte, "I'd drive a truck through the holes in this case."
"AIM did not execute informers," he says flatly. Anna Mae's biographer, Johanna Brand, concurs, "There was no precedent for such treatment of informers." When AIM exposed Durham, they brought him before a public press conference. They did not execute or harm Bernie Morning Gun, Virginia "Blue Dove" DeLuce, or any of the dozens of informers they uncovered. AIM leaders supported Norman Brown, the teenager whose mother begged him to cooperate in fabricating evidence.
On the other hand, Brown himself now believes AIM may have been involved in the slaying. "As for the Movement leaders," he says, "I have seen them and experienced their b.s. as so very few people saw and or could ever imagine."
During the 1975 trial of Dennis Banks and Russell Means, Judge Fred Nichol found prosecutors guilty of counseling witnesses to commit perjury, suppressing evidence, infiltrating the defense team, and lying to the court about their activities. Nichols grew so distraught, he dismissed the charges, commenting, "The waters of justice have been polluted." The following year, a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights examined Lakota complaints and, according to investigator William Muldrow, found the FBI guilty of "threats, harassment, and search procedures conducted without due process of law."
The defense points to the handling of the Leonard Peltier extradition from Vancouver as a shameful precedent. In 1976, RCMP and Hinton, Alberta Municipal police arrested Peltier at the camp of Cree leader Robert Smallboy. Canada extradited Peltier to the U.S. on the basis of two affidavits signed by Lakota woman Myrtle Poor Bear, who claimed to have witnessed the shooting of the two agents.
Myrtle Poor Bear had been a radio dispatcher for the BIA police at Pine Ridge, a single mother struggling with alcoholism and depression. Hotel receipts show that between February 19 and 23, FBI agents David Price and William Wood held her in a hotel room in Nebraska. Poor Bear says they bullied her to sign the affidavits against Peltier. Her first affidavit, from February 19, alleges she was Peltier's girlfriend and that he confessed to her. The two affidavits signed four days later claimed she witnessed the murder first hand. Crown prosecutor Bill Halprin presented the last two versions to a Canadian court, which sent Peltier back to the U.S., where he remains in prison today.
Before Judge Paul Benson in Fargo, North Dakota, Poor Bear testified that she had been coerced, that she had not witnessed the shootings, had not been Peltier's girlfriend, and had never met him. "I was forced to sign those papers," she said. She claims Price and Wood showed her pictures of the dead Anna Mae Aquash. "The agents are always talking about Anna Mae about the time she died." A year later, in Canada, she said, "He [Price] showed me pictures of the body and said that if I don't cooperate this is what may happen to me." She claims that agent Wood "said that they could get away with killing because they were agents."
FBI agent Nicholas O'Hara acknowledged to the Rochester, Minnesota Post-Bulletin in 1992, "Myrtle Poor Bear's affidavits were falsely made and were then used to help extradite Peltier from Canada."
Judge Donald Ross, during Peltier's appeal in 1977, said the Myrtle Poor Bear affidavits show "the United States is willing to resort to any tactic in order to bring somebody back to the United States from Canada."
Canada's Choice
Former Canadian Minister of Indian Affairs, Warren Allmand, declined to intervene in the Peltier extradition on the advise that, "justice would take its course." He now feels "betrayed and insulted [by the] FBI's deliberate use of fraud." In 1992, fifty-five Canadian MPs filed a brief to a U.S. court affirming that Canada had been duped.
Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country in the U.S., and Anna Mae's daughter Denise Mahoney-Pictou both claim, "There's no Myrtle Poor Bear in this case." DeMain believes the phoney affidavits are irrelevant. "The FBI framed a guilty man," he says of Peltier.
"That's not how our legal system is supposed to work," says Graham in Vancouver. He claims FBI agents visited him in the Yukon in 1989 and urged him to accuse others of murdering Aquash. "They told me that if I didn't cooperate, they'd go after me." In 1995, former BIA policeman Bob Ecoffey visited Graham in Whitehorse with an RCMP officer present. Graham claims Ecoffey offered him "immunity," if he cooperated. "Immunity from what? I asked him."
Ecoffey and Denver detective Abe Alonzo arrested Looking Cloud in 2003, and a South Dakota jury convicted him of aiding first-degree murder. Looking Cloud's new lawyer, Terry Gilbert, says his video testimony was coerced. An appeal will begin on January 10 in St. Paul, Minnesota. On October 19 last year Looking Cloud refused to testify against Graham before a Grand Jury and claims he will not testify against Graham in the future.
David Seals, with a Lakota human rights group, interviewed Looking Cloud at Pennington County jail in South Dakota, and writes that Looking Cloud told him, "It was a set-up I was drunk. They were giving me drugs and alcohol." Seals claims the video confession is "almost incoherent, and the police were asking a lot of leading questions."
In the Vancouver courtroom LaLiberte said before Justice Bennett, "My lady, you are being misled by the United States of America. Evidence certified by [U.S. Attorney] Robert Mandel appears not to exist They have been negligent, if not deceitful. Canadian courts should and can demand more." Outside court, LaLiberte declared, "This whole case has been concocted by Ecoffey."
"Bob Ecoffey was a BIA cop at the height of the reign of terror on Pine Ridge," Graham says. Ecoffey, claims that in the BIA office in 1976, he heard "a young woman crying" through the intercom and that a "medicine man" told him this was the spirit of Anna Mae seeking justice. Janis Schmidt from Pine Ridge claims Ecoffey is "a fraud. He never said who the medicine man was. He tried to claim Selo Black Crow as his Grandfather, which he isn't. Selo said that Bob came around and asked a lot of questions, even accused him of killing Anna Mae. How does he know the cyring voice wasn't Jeanette Bissonnette or Edith Eagle Hawk looking for justice?"
In September of last year, Ecoffey married witness Ka-Mook Nichols, who has testified that Aquash feared AIM. At the Looking Cloud trial Nichols admitted to receiving $25,000 in 2004 in connection with her cooperation on the case, money she maintains is compensation for her expenses in traveling to collect evidence.
Amnesty International has not commented on the details of Graham's case, but has expressed "concerns about ... apparent efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigations to prejudice the fair trial rights of AIM leaders."
Anna Mae's daughter, Denise, is now the executive director of Indigenous Women for Justice, seeking resolution in her mother's murder. She believes AIM ordered the execution and that "John Graham murdered my mother."
Graham's daughter Naneek feels differently. "My dad never hurt anybody," she said outside the Vancouver courtroom.
"I don't blame Anna Mae's daughers," says Graham. "They're being led to believe that by the FBI. They want justice for their mother. But they don't know the history of the FBI. This whole thing is a rerun. If I go back to South Dakota, I'll get railroaded just like Leonard."
Retired Hinton, Alberta police officer Bob Newbrook, says he now regrets participating in the arrest of Peltier. "I'm afraid that Canada will get duped again with the same sort of trumped-up evidence that the U.S. used to get Mr. Peltier."
In the Vancouver courtroom, Judge Bennett will decide whether or not the evidence supplied by the U.S. is sufficient to return Graham to South Dakota for trial. If she rules that it is, Graham's case will go before Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler. The Minister has more leeway than the judge to assess the history and quality of the evidence before him. In any case, Canada must decide, in light of its previous experience with Leonard Peltier, if it trusts the U.S. with the fate of a Canadian First Nations citizen.
Norman Brown, a teenager when he met Anna Mae, recalls, "the times when she stood with the warriors, when very many men didn't [they] have no idea the sacrifices we all made for each other."
One thing we know: Anna Mae did not deserve what happened to her.
Rex Weyler received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his 1982 book Blood of the Land, recounting the clash between native groups and law enforcement throughout the western hemisphere. His most recent book is Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World (Raincoast Books, 2004).

Vancouver man may get bail in case of slain Indian activist
AP, January 13, 2004
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota -- One of two men accused of killing an American Indian Movement activist in South Dakota may be released from the Canadian jail in which he's been held for six weeks.
John Graham was arrested in early December in Vancouver on a warrant from the United States that charges him with first-degree murder.
He and Arlo Looking Cloud, who was picked up in March in Denver, are accused of killing Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A rancher found her frozen body in February 1976.
A March indictment accuses Graham and Looking Cloud in the fatal shooting of Aquash, 30, around Dec. 12, 1975. Graham is fighting extradition.
His lawyer, Terry LaLiberte of Vancouver, said a judge will likely release Graham from jail after a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
The judge wanted a group of people to come up with $25,000 bail for Graham and that has happened, LaLiberte said.
Concerns raised over arrest of activist
CBC, Dec 3, 2003 VANCOUVER - A leading B.C. human rights advocate says Canada will be making a grave mistake if it extradites native rights activist John Graham to the United States.
Graham was arrested in Vancouver on Monday in connection with the high-profile murder of another aboriginal activist * Anna-Mae Pictou-Aquash.
She was shot dead in 1975 two years after joining native militants at the occupation of Wounded Knee.
But questions about the FBI's involvement in her death have never been answered.
Jennifer Wade, the founder of the Vancouver branch of Amnesty International, was at the extradition hearing of Leonard Peltier * another man connected to Pictou-Aquash.
LINK: Free Peltier campaign
In 1976, Peltier was sent back to the U.S., where he was convicted of the murders of two FBI agents and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
The Canadian government has since lobbied for the U.S. to release him from prison.
Now Wade says Canada will make the same mistake if it extradites Peltier's friend, John Graham, for the murder of their colleague, Pictou-Aquash.
"She was very intelligent and knew far too much, and I think she was gotten rid of," she says."And John Graham definitely feels it was the FBI that got rid of her, and they're trying to pin the murder on him."
Wade notes Graham was one of the founders of the American Indian movement along with Peltier and Pictou-Aquash.
Wade says she doesn't know why police decided to move in on Graham this week, because he had been living in Vancouver for years.
American officials have until February to file an extradition bid for Graham. In the meantime, he remains in custody.

Murder suspect waiting in Vancouver jail for fate
CBC, WHITEHORSE Dec. 3, 2003
A Yukon man is in a British Columbia jail waiting to see if, and when, he'll be extradited to the United States on a murder charge.
John Graham, formerly from Haines Junction, was arrested on Tuesday by Vancouver police following a 911 tip.
Graham is charged in the 1975 murder of aboriginal activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash in South Dakota. She was found shot to death.
[Image: Graham2.jpg]
Graham is the second man charged Pictou Aquash's death. Another man, Arlo Looking Cloud is scheduled to on trial in February for the same murder.
Graham had been in hiding for years before his arrest.
In an 1999 interview with the CBC, Graham expressed his concerns about getting a fair trial in the United States.
"I can't cooperate in this investigation," he said at the time. "I refuse to talk to the FBI or the RCMP about this. They're not capable of handling this case and getting any kind of justice."
An extradition request must be filed within 60 days.
It will be up to a judge to decide if Graham will be sent back to the U.S. to stand trial for first degree murder.

Man wanted in killing of Wounded Knee survivor arrested in B.C.
Body of Nova Scotia woman found shot in head, frozen in South Dakota cbc north
A man wanted in the 1975 slaying of a prominent Canadian member of the militant American Indian Movement has been arrested in Vancouver, his lawyer said Tuesday.
John Graham, also known as John Patton, was arrested Monday by city police acting on a warrant, said lawyer Terry Laliberte.
[Image: wounded_knee.jpg]
Graham is wanted in South Dakota for first-degree murder in the death of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a Mi'kmaq born in Pictou Landing, N.S., whose frozen body was found in February 1976. She had been shot in the head.
Pictou-Aquash was among the Indian militants who occupied the village of Wounded Knee for 71 days in 1973.
A standoff between members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and government-backed factions led to the deaths of two FBI agents, among others.
Leonard Peltier, another well-known AIM activist, was convicted of the murder of the two agents.
Vancouver police spokeswoman Constable Anne Drennan said Graham was arrested after police were tipped in a 911 call.
Graham appeared briefly Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court, where Canadian justice department lawyer Deborah Strachan said the U.S. is seeking his extradition.
He is to appear next for a bail hearing on Dec. 17.
Graham, described by his lawyer as an aboriginal from a Yukon band, has been living in Canada for some time.
Laliberte said he wasn't sure how long Graham had been living in Vancouver but it was "the last year for sure."
Graham faces the murder charge along with American native Arlo Looking Cloud.
Extraditing Graham from Canada could take time, so prosecutors still plan to try Looking Cloud. His trial is set for February in Rapid City, said U.S. Attorney James McMahon of South Dakota.
[Image: ghrahamlongshot.jpg]
A March 20 indictment accuses Graham and Looking Cloud in the fatal shooting of Pictou-Aquash, 30, around Dec. 12, 1975. They would serve mandatory life prison terms if convicted.
In a 2000 interview with the CBC show The Fifth Estate, Graham denied any involvement.
The connection between Peltier and the Canadian woman was renewed last May when Peltier filed a libel lawsuit over an editor's note that linked his case to the killing of Pictou-Aquash.
The lawsuit names as a defendant Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country, a newspaper based in Wisconsin.
The lawsuit quotes from an editor's note published in March in which DeMain said, "The primary motive for the murder of Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash by other members of the American Indian Movement in mid-December 1975, allegedly was her knowledge that Leonard Peltier had shot the two agents as he was convicted."
Peltier, who is serving two back-to-back life sentences in Leavenworth, Kan., called the editor's note defamatory.
© Copyright 2003 Vancouver Sun
Long manhunt in U.S. slaying ends with arrest in Vancouver
Suzanne Fournier, The Province, December 03, 2003
An international manhunt ended yesterday with the arrest in Vancouver of a man wanted for the 1975 slaying of American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.
John Graham, known in AIM circles as John Boy and John Patton, was arrested at the corner of Broadway and St. Catherine's after a 911 call.
Aquash, a Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq and the mother of two daughters, was found on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in February 1976. Her frozen body was wrapped in a blanket and she had been shot once in the head.
Aquash has become an international cause celebre and the subject of film, theatre and news reports demanding her killers be brought to justice.
For years, the FBI was suspected of killing her in a bid to destabilize AIM. In recent years, more compelling evidence has emerged showing she was executed by AIM to protect inside information.
Graham, who was 20 when Aquash died and is now 48, is married with children and has been living quietly in Vancouver.
He appeared in B.C. Supreme Court yesterday and was remanded in custody until a Dec. 17 bail hearing.
Federal justice spokesperson Pascale Boulay said from Ottawa it will take "at least 90 days" before a decision is made on whether to extradite Graham to South Dakota.
Graham and co-accused Arlo Looking Cloud, 49, were charged last March with the murder of Aquash around Dec. 12, 1975.
Looking Cloud, a former AIM foot soldier who had become a homeless alcoholic, was arrested at that time and is in custody in Rapid City, S.D., where he will go to trial on Feb. 3.
In a 2000 interview with the CBC, Graham, a member of the Southern Tuchone First Nation of the Yukon Territory, denied any involvement. "I wasn't there and I didn't witness it," he said.
Wisconsin journalist Paul DeMain, who has done more than 100 interviews researching the life and death of Aquash, the highest-ranking woman in the male-dominated AIM, told The Province yesterday that he believes the order to execute her came from the highest circles of what was then an armed and radical organization.
"The actual killing was carried out by two low-level AIM foot soldiers, but Anna Mae was executed because she knew that Leonard Peltier had killed two FBI agents and she knew about a controversial death at Wounded Knee," said DeMain.
Peltier, who was extradited from Vancouver to the U.S., is serving two life sentences for the FBI murders.
Aquash's two daughters, Debbie Maloney Pictou, now an RCMP officer in Nova Scotia, and Denise Maloney Pictou of Toronto, said when Looking Cloud and Graham were charged that they were glad a conspiracy of silence had ended.
"We were inspired with those who chose to courageously stand on their own and honour our mother's spirit with truth and integrity," the sisters said then.
They have refused comment since the two were arrested.
© Copyright 2003 The Province

Man sought in U.S. slaying nabbed in B.C.
By AP-CP, December 3, 2003
FLANDREAU, South Dakota -- A second man wanted for the 1975 slaying of Nova Scotia-born aboriginal activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash has been arrested in Canada, Patrick Charette, a spokesman for the Department of Justice in Ottawa, said yesterday.
John Graham, also known as John Patton, has been jailed in Vancouver, Charette said in a telephone interview from Ottawa.
U.S. attorney James McMahon of South Dakota said he was told that Graham was picked up in Vancouver.
Graham is from Canada and has been on the lam since he was indicted earlier this year in the United States.
He and Arlo Looking Cloud are charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Aquash, a member of the American Indian Movement, on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Aquash, a Mi'kmaq born in Pictou Landing, N.S., vanished from Denver in December 1975. Her frozen body was found in February 1976 near Wanblee, South Dakota. She had been shot in the head.
"He has been arrested on what we call a provisional arrest, on behalf of the Americans," Charette said.
The United States now has 60 days to file an extradition request and supporting documents.
After that, Canada has 30 days to determine if the matter should be sent to a Canadian court, Charette said.
If the case will proceed, it will go to an extradition judge and be argued in court, he said.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Day One of Trial
news clips for KPFK radio

February 3, 2004
Rapid City, South Dakota
Hotel Alex Johnson

by antoinette nora claypoole

Three blocks from here there is a courtroom without windows which lives in the Federal Building of the United States government. Appropriate place for blind justice to occur. No sun can seep through dark walls. A little farther away there are Indians, People of the Black Hills, Crazy Horse country. Wide spaces of earth sky and snow which falls and sparkles like crystals which live in a hillside on the Warm springs Indian reservation in Northern
[Image: looking+cloud.jpg]

Where one of Annie Mae”s old friends still lives.
But this is South Dakota.

Where Indians have been murdered incessantly since the discovery of gold on Indian Land. And today yet another Indian is himself accused of murder. One that occurred nearly 28 years ago this month.

Today, February 3, 2004 Arlo Looking Cloud sat in that courtroom of the Federal Building in Rapid City, South Dakota looking straight ahead, motionless while an opening statement by the prosecution claimed he was a cold blooded murderer of a woman he knew back in the renegade days.

he was driving the car that took Anna Mae Pictou Aquash from Denver back to Rapid City. On one of those long bleak endless winter nights back in the times when Wilson goon squads made life for Indians on Pine Ridge something more infused with death cries than birthing ceremonies.

Today Looking Cloud sat silent and emotionless as he and a filled courtroom
listened to graphic descriptions of the execution of Anna Mae, haunting images of her decomposed body and bloodied turquoise jewelry projected into all of us through an overheard screenÉlike some kind of surreal screening of a Peckinpah flick. Looking Cloud showed no response as the story was told yet again, this time by the feds "for the record."

The horrors of a trek
from Troy Lynn's house in Denver to a barren apartment in Rapid City. The indictment of Annie Mae by AIM and the subsequent execution of her radical blue jeaned body was described by a dispassionate prosecutor, his showing images of death like a hoover sales man ready to be laid off.

There was nothing really new in the prosecutions claims.
We have all heard
the story many times before.

About how the feds HAD to cut off her hands
because her body was decomposed. And they really did want to know who this dead woman was. So they had to send her hands away. The old FBI lines about doing their duty and if they HAD had an xray machine when they did the first autopsy they would have found the bullet hole. In her head. Instead of burying her as a Jane Doe dying of exposure.

There has been up to this point no one called to testify regarding the blood
found at the back of Anna Mae's neck. No testimonies yet from a nurse who tried to call attention to the wound in Annie Mae's head and was silenced. There are a lot of things which have yet been unspoken. And from the tone of this first day, one wonders if anything new will emerge at all. But then again it is only the first day.

And a few things were accomplished
which merit notice:
The jury was chosen after only 6 hours.
7 women, one black man, 3 white men.
Perhaps one of them Indian.
So much for the jury by ones peers idea.

Still, the judge was thorough in instructing the jury to set aside notions
of anti AIM politics and anti Indian sentiments in general. The defense made an opening statement which did little more than call Arlo a dumb Indian who had no idea what was going on with a woman tied up in the back of a Red Pinto. He was driving. The defense claims thus far that Arlo was just a young hungover Indian doing what an old bossy Indian woman, Thelma Clark, was telling him to do. Drive a car to Rapid. Don't ask questions.

The entire defense opening was filled with this poor guy "was
just at the wrong place at the wrong time"rhetoric. So. Now John Graham is being made out by Arlo's own defense attorney as the bad guy with all the old karma . The man to watch out for is John Graham, according to Arlo's defense attorney, Timothy Rensch.

The first day of this trial left some of us wondering what Annie Mae would have said about this government, this "trial" these opening statements which never mentioned a word about how FBI repeatedly threatened her life. Some of us wonder whether Annie Mae would really trust a system who threatened her life and that of her children.

The answer to that lies in the way Annie Mae

One of her close friends, Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, herself a warrior woman, told me today
Annie Mae would not have wanted things like this to happened. She believed that what a person did came back to them in some other way. She would not believe there is any justice in this system." Then there is the one perspective Indian juror who when asked today if he had any prejudices that would interfere with him hearing the case fairly replied: " Only that I know certain no Indian will every be given a fair trial in this white man's courtroom". That Indian man was immediately dismissed from consideration.

Tomorrow's another day in Rapid.

The witness ist for the upcoming days include Troy Lynn and John Trudell.
Those media and family who live in the room with no windows, the space with no vision,
the Federal courtroom tomorrow may or may not hold the souls of Annie Mae's family, her daughters, her old lovers.

Today they were conspicuously NOT present.

Just like that horrendous day of her second burial. Nearly 28 years
ago. Tomorrow is another day in the complexities of justice.
How we define that word depends on what we mean by mercy.
And the beat goes on.
Within us
and without us.

(scroll down for days two, three and closing)

antoinette nora claypoolec
copyright 2004

all rights reserved

Feb. 5, 2004
Hotel Alex Johnson
Rapid City, S. Dakota

DAY TWO , Looking Cloud Trial
KPFK radio coverage


Kamook Banks turns Fed

There is a water shortage in many places on the planet.

Today in the courtroom of Rapid City's Federal building, that reality was a deception. Just like so many things about this complex and brutal murder trial. Tears were running like big rains into the arroyos of Northern New Mexico.

Which is where Darlene Nichols, aka Kamook Banks has lived over the past few years. From where she now flees, taking FBI relocation money with her, $42,000 in the past six months according to her testimony.

Perhaps just like a storm over desert she imagines she was arriving to help. But sometimes lightening kills and sometimes slides bury drive by cars. With drivers inside of them. This is what the courtroom was like today, in Rapid City. My eyes still aching from tears I never expected to shed. For the loss of yet another Indian warrior woman happened right there for Judge and family to see.

Darlene was one of a series of Indian women called to the stand today by the prosecution. She in her cry me a river presence she selected for the jury and observers a psychic connection to what it feels like to watch a warrior die. And that is what happened today. To Kamook Banks. She was no longer the AIM woman who claimed sovereignty for Indian people. She is now Darlene the woman dressed as a man in short hair and polyester blazers who with sullen resolve kisses into the schemes of a government she once knew would as easily murder her as any one of her best friends. Kamook spoke of her current relationship. With the FBI. Talked of how they help her out, spoke with disdain about Leonard Peltier and revealed she cooperated full heartedly with a wiretap of her good friend Troy Lynn.

With something like a mutant monotone voice Darlene said she believed her husband, Dennis Banks 'was involved in the murder of Annie Mae". Ever since he phoned her about it back in Feb. 1976. Finally , she confessed, she "had to do something." So she turned into the very thing that Annie Mae was accused of being. By the man who was lovers to them both. Kamook has bedded down with the FBI that threatened the life of her best friend, her children and lover.

Probably the intensity of this transformation of radical to FBI snitch/collaborator was only softened by the fact that the defense attorney,Timothy Rensch, rose to the status of thunder being as he continually objected to hearsay evidence (mostly to no avail). And then finally challenged Special Agent Wood, FBI agent who was involved in investigating Annie Mae back in the day when she was walking with us here.

What called this storm into the courtroom today?

It was a slow rumble which shook many of us like a 4.5 in northern California. The courtroom silenced, even the laptop keyboards of New York Times reporters quiet as Darlene revealed not a shred of Kamook left inside of her heart. Still. Kamook herself was as rain in a needed dry season when she delivered somberly the truth she believed necessary to speak. That she had turned to the FBI soon after her divorce from Dennis Banks. Dennis Banks was phoned by the New York Times during a court break for comment. He did not come to the phone today. Maybe tomorrow will be a better one for him.

The father of Darlene's four children. Has muted their relationship. She spoke today like a Catholic girl to her confessor, kissing the ring of the bishop prosecutor, telling the sins of silence, selling the sacredness of woman strength to the white men who examined her life. When she spoke about Annie Mae the portrayal was one of a pitiful scared woman who was captured and overpowered by the people around her. Kamook Banks aka Darlene has become the snitch Annie Mae never was. The eerie paradox of this feels like some kind of a legend
written with the wrong ending.

Yet many of us know differently about Annie Mae, and though this trial has little to say of Annie Mae alive and brave, Troy Lynn Yellowood, another witness in the collection of Indian women "presented" today, Troy Lynn did her best to defy the prosecution and talk of Annie Mae as a woman who defied her accusers.

"Either kill me off or defend me" was what Troy Lynn remembers Annie Mae saying to her accusers, while Mathalene White Bear remembered Annie Mae as someone who cared deeply for her daughters, her family. And then relayed to us the story of the silver ring. Which might just top Tolkien's classic for mysticism and symbolic liberation. If it had a different ending. The courtroom and jury heard about how John Trudell came to get a silver ring, in Santa Monica near the sea. A ring Annie Mae had sent as a sign of distress.

But White Bear implied Trudell never bothered to protect Annie Mae from the death threats the ring was meant to signify:

"I hope the next time you see this ring it is on my finger. But if it comes to you any other way, you'll know I'm in trouble. Then you should call this phone number". Annie Mae's words to White Bear sometime in the Fall of 1975. "The phone number was that of John Trudell who was fine brother to us back then. I called him when the ring arrived in a small white box through the mail. No letter or anything. He came and got the ring within a day and I never heard from him again. I spent 28 years of hell waiting to find out what happened" .

Maybe we all feel that way today. But a worse nightmare would be that another quarter century goes by with the wrong person(s) accused.Today, having mentioned COINTELPRO and the 'operatives placed in AIM 'to set up Annie Mae " , the defense offered a sense that not everyone has forgotten the atmosphere of murder which pounded in the veins of agents back when Annie Mae defied them.

As some of those same agents sat in the back row of the courtroom today thinking they had taken yet another line of Indian women down as they testified against the movement they once believed in, I longed for just a glimpse of their souls.

Take a photo of their conscience.
Sell it to the National Inquirer.
Then give them mirrors to places which have windows instead of lying walls.

DAY THREE Looking Cloud Trial
for KPFK radio

February 4 , 2004
Rapid City, South Dakota

Federal Building

by antoinette nora claypoole

"Annie Mae was extremely intelligent and I respect her intelligence. She used her intelligence intelligently. That is rare. And she had a strong heart to go with it. This is what attracted me to her."
--John Trudell
witness for the prosecution
spoken in an interview
outside the courtroom
Federal Building,
Rapid City, Feb. 5, 2004

One of the witnesses presented by the Prosecution on the third day of this trial was remarkably clear and striking, carrying herself with a demeanor of strength and sentiment. A kind of eerie flashback for those who knew Annie Mae.

Looking to see how it was that Annie Mae may have grown into her thirties had she lived.

The image of Denise Maloney--Annie Mae's daughter-- sitting in the witness stand remains with many of us as the long Dakota night devours our sense of whether an acquittal will necessarily happen, whether it is necessary to happen. And what reality this jury will bring to the lives of so many in Indian Country.

The abrupt ending to this trial means we carry the image of Denise with us into dreamtime. Hoping for whatever justice lives on for the family and people who loved Annie Mae. For late this afternoon the Defense rested its case, after calling only one witness.

Special Agent David Price. Who briefly, without sentiment of any kind, articulated for the Defense attorney that yes in fact the FBI trained operants and sent them into AIM.

In his final words he admitted Annie Mae was not one of them. As though somehow we needed the FBI to tell us that.

Then in the same self righteous incantation he confessed that he had probed, worked her for information about the shootout at Jumping Bull in 1975.But of course most of us know all this already.

In the midst of this strange and abrupt testimony all some of could do was imagine that of all the friends and family who came to testify and witness this trial, Annie Mae would have held one set of statements with a special motherly pride.

And so I share some of them with you.

There is only one way to say any of this. The day was long, was emotional, was John Trudell emphasizing search for who ordered these people to take a gun to a mother warrior's head, images of a squash blossom bracelet around decaying flesh and still the legend of her strength and courage lives on. Through the blood of her strong daughters.

In the following paragraphs you will find "unofficial " transcript
as typed while I was in the
Rapid City courtroom.

Federal Bldg, Feb. 5 2004.

(testimony for the prosecution,
Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud)

The testimony is from Denise Maloney, a remarkable and brave woman who follows in her mother's path of speaking "from heart while using her intelligence intelligently."

Denise was only 11 years old when she heard that her mother had been murdered.
Her mother, Annie Mae Pictou Aquash died and lived for her daughters.
As so many repeated in the courtroom today.

Denise Maloney Testifies
Prosecution: Did you travel with anyone to this trial??
Denise: Yes I brought my sister, my father and the Chief of my nation.

P: Can you tell us, is there a time when you talked to Arlo Looking Cloud?
Denise: Yes
P. Can you tell us when that was??
Denise: In early April 2002. I got a call from Paul Demain and he said that he spoke with Richard Two Elk who said that Arlo needed to speak with Annie Mae's daughters. At that time it was a big decision for us as we had not talked with anyone about this.

P: How does Richard Two Elk figure into all of this?
Denise: Paul Demain said Two Elk was his brother and that is all I know about him.

P: Did you get an opportunity to speak to Arlo Looking Cloud at that occasion??
Denise: Yes I did.

P: Who else was on the phone at that time?
Denise: My sister and that was all.

P: How was Mr. Looking Cloud?
Denise: He was very quiet. I don't think any of us knew what to say. My sister asked if she could record the conversation and he said no. We asked if this was something he wanted to do. He said yes. He said he felt bad that he hadn't done this a long time ago. We asked him to speak from his heart. And that we were grateful he was doing this. And that we didn't need all the details we just needed to know how my mother died. He said he had gotten a phone call .was instructed to go to rather THEY were to go to Troy Linn's house. He was emotional. I asked if he had been drinking that day He said no. Was my mother there?? Yes. What happened?? First day they went to Rapid City. The second day we went to Rosebud. Was my mother in the car?? He said no. We were trying to find out what her demeanor was for our own purposes. He said Theda and John Boy came out of the house and he felt bad that he did not know that was what they were going to do. He said that Angie and john Boy were calling her an agent. He said he did not know that they went out there to kill her. He thought they were just going out there to scare her. He was told to stay with the car. And Theda and John Boy went up over the hill with my mother. We thanked him for telling us And wished him well in his healing. And that was the end of the conversation.

P: When your mother was murdered how old were you
Denise: I would have been eleven. I found out just shortly before my 11th b birthday.

QUESTIONS FROM THE DEFENSE: (cross examination)

Defense: How long was the conversation?
Denise: It wasn't terribly long. I couldn't' put a time on it. Time stood still for me

Defense: Did Mr. Looking Cloud say he was sorry??
Denise: His words to me were that he felt bad. He may have said sorry but what I heard was that he felt bad that he hadn't phoned us in all this time.

Day Four

antoinette claypoole
Feb 6,2004
Late in the evening
Rapid City , South Dakota

by antoinette nora claypoole

"They violated so much court procedure, they had no common decency."
---Brenda Norrell

A jury deliberating the fate of Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud sat for nearly 7 hours and returned at 7:15 in the evening with a GUILTY verdict. This was little surprise to few in the half empty courtroom after hearing closing statements earlier in the day.

The defense, just as he had done the day before, failed painfully to speak to the jury of how
little evidence there was against his client. And the prosecution continued with it's presentation that Arlo knew every step of the way that Annie Mae was going to be shot that late night in December.

In closing statements the Defense made no mention of how the video
tape of Arlo, which was presented as evidence the day before, found
Arlo admitting he was still drunk as they questioned him. What defense
in their efforts to help a client fails to question evidence which is
clearly beyond credible. The closing statements were certainly an omen
that the jury of 7 women 5 men, 1 black and potentially 1 Indian, was
going to have little trouble finding the defendant guilty.

There was however one very enigmatic rather eerie moment near the end
of the Defense closing arguments which held some of us captive. And
rather stunned the entire courtroom. Timothy Rensch, as though he had
to get something off his chest after failing so miserably to
effectively cross examine-- or even present-- witnesses, Atty. Rensch
closed with a metaphor about the prosecution. Saying that it is like
the prosecution has "taken a lightening rod of prejudice and they
swirled it in the sky and they touch the fears we have against the
American Indian Movement and they have brought that rod down and held
it over Arlo's head."

The defense was emotional at that point and it seemed a desperate
gesture to nearly confess that he had been working on a case which from
the on set was bias and ridden with hidden agendas. It felt to some of
us in the courtroom as though Rensch was finally being able to get off
his chest the box he felt he had been trapped in since he was assigned
this case months ago.

First the Prosecution was demanding a plea bargain. They were wanting
names of others, big names, from Arlo in exchange for lessening his
sentence. The defense could not make his client cooperate. At one point
it is court record that Rensch tried to remove himself from being
Looking Cloud's attorney. But it never happened. He stayed with Arlo
and the demands of a prosecution which was insisting on Arlo giving up
names of the American Indian Movement continued.

Clearly the agenda has been all olong to take down a movement which was
highly effective in turning around the policies and attitudes of the
U.S. regarding Indians. And some people are very disturbed that that
movement is STILL effectively infused with a new generation of
warriors. The U.S. wants to destroy the only radical movement/group
left from a time in the late sixties and early 70's when challenging
the government was necessary and effective. AIM has survived because
it is the only group from that era which had/has a spiritual component.
And it will continue to be effective for that reason. It was that
reality that Arlo Looking Cloud may have touched as he sobered up after
his arrest last March. Perhaps he realized he would no longer cooperate
with the authorities as he had been doing for the past decade.

Arlo in that jail cell refused to name names. And the prosecution,
the FBI , were very upset. So they continued forward with their plan
to destroy AIM by putting AIM on trial this week.

The life and death of Annie Mae meant nothing to them. That admittedly
when FBI Special Agent David Price said he had worked and probed Annie
Mae, and as Annie Mae said to John Trudell, "he threatened to kill me
if I did not cooperate". Well Arlo has not been killed he has been
found guilty of a brutal crime where there was no evidence present
that he killed Annie Mae. No weapon, no witnesses, no bloody socks, or
souvenirs in trunks of cars. Hearsay from witnesses is all they had.
And those witnesses changed their stories right there on the witness

Even John Trudell had to admit to the defense that he was "making
assumptions about things" as he tried to look credible to a courtroom
wondering why he was working so hard at insisting that Arlo knew Annie
Mae was going to die. He was not there. How did he know? From a
conversation in a car, in a hotel room, after a Midnight Oil concert
where he and Bad Dog opened. Ever been hanging out after a concert???
How much do any of us remember at 3 in the morning? John admitted he
wasn't even sure WHERE the conversation with Arlo took place. When
Arlo told his Annie Mae story. Which changed as often from Arlo as it
does with anyone else.

None of the witnesses were there when Annie Mae was executed.
The stories from people in court about those days leading to her death
changed like weather in high desert towns in a summer some of longed
for in the midst of these chilling events.

Russell Means said of the verdict last night "It is appalling that
South Dakota still functions at this level of Neandrathalism".

And I say that it is a pitiful and painful day that finds us listening
to wails from a Lakota Auntie in a white man's courtroom. Where
racism and murder are condoned. By the same system that stole land,
massacred women and children. These badlands breathe brutality. These
Black Hills belong to a nation of courageous warriors who will not be
destroyed by such things as dominance and corruption. It only makes
them stronger. Just as Annie Mae's family deserved so much more in
their desire for resolve, so does Arlo's family know that he did not
in any way have the fair trial a dominator nation promises.
There is no justice in rooms without windows which reach to the sky.
There is more to do for everyone. Including staying awake to how
darkness does not need to prevail.

a. nora claypoole
all rights reserved
copyright 2004
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller

Leonard’s Reaction to Kamook Banks and the Arlo Looking Cloud Trial
February 10, 2004

By Leonard Peltier
Hau Kola,
First of all, I want to thank all those who have been standing up for the American Indian Movement and myself. The Arlo Looking Cloud trial was nothing more than an indirect presentation of another Myrtle Poorbear to discredit AIM and myself, and to extradite John Graham. I am an innocent man. The government knows that, and Kamook knows I am innocent as well.
On a personal note, Kamook’s testimony was like being stabbed in the heart while simultaneously being told your sister just died. I cannot convey enough, the shock and hurt that I felt. Of all the fabrications that the government has used to keep me imprisoned, this one hurt so deeply. I would have laid down my life to defend Kamook and her people and I did risk it several times. If there has ever been a time during my 28 years in this hole that I have felt disheartened, it is now. I loved Kamook as my own family. I can’t believe the $43,000 the FBI gave her was a determining factor for her to perjure herself on the witness stand. There must have been some extreme threat the FBI or their cronies put upon her.
If you want to know who is responsible for Anna Mae’s death, just look around and see who else has been irresponsibly pointing fingers at proven warriors. This kind of behavior is doing the dirty work of the F.B.I. and the corporate entities that seek to control or own Native lands and resources. All of those who took part in this abortion of justice in Rapid City should be ashamed. I would say more, but my emotions are overwhelming at the moment.
We as a people and a nation need to honor those who sacrificed for the people and not forget them as they become elders. In every generation we must stand strong. The enemy has many masks and the ideologies that drive it are centuries old now, the gluttonous appetite for money and power of those addicted. I will not give up and it’s not over until it’s over. Speak, organize, demonstrate, pray, help the poor and oppressed, be a good example, and most of all “don’t ever give up!”

In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier
Mitakuye Oyasin

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Robert Robideau, Native American activist, dies at 61

By Kay Mitchell, The Oregonian

February 18, 2009, 11:00PM

Robert Robideau, a former Portland resident and Native American activist who was injured during a 1975 shootout in South Dakota that left two FBI agents dead, died Tuesday in Spain, according to friends and family. He was 61.

John LeKay: Steve Hendricks recently wrote a book entitled "Unquiet Grave", in which he states his reasons why he believes Ana Mae Aquash was murdered. This is what he said in an interview when I asked him about this:

[size=12]Aquash was murdered for many complex reasons, some of which I think I know, others I definitely don't know. In overarching terms, she was murdered because (a) the FBI made AIM so paranoid with its infiltrations and provocations that AIM felt it had no choice but to execute the next informer it found, who happened (incorrectly) to be Aquash and (b) AIM wasn't smart enough to resist the urge to violence, and the group too often and too foolishly resorted to guns and fists to solve problems that guns and fists couldn't solve. As to why AIMers believed Aquash was an informer, I'm not entirely sure. There are all kinds of theories out there, many potentially credible: she knew that Peltier had bragged about killing the FBI agents at Oglala, and AIM feared she would talk to the feds; she was a powerful woman and made other women (and men) bitterly jealous; everywhere she went, it seemed, important AIMers got arrested, so people thought she was not merely an informer but a particularly effective one; and so on. I wasn't able to penetrate the minds of those in AIM who ordered her killing, so I can't say. Perhaps all of the above and more were at play, or perhaps none of the above and something else entirely[/SIZE]

Robert Robideau: A few months after the exposure of FBI informant Douglas Durham, Dennis Banks and Vernon Bellecourt who both suspected Anna Mae might be an FBI informant because of her close relationship with Banks had myself and others question Anna Mae. We came away fully satisfied that she was not. On September 4, ( one day before the FBI raid on Crow Dogs land on the Rosebud reservation) Anna Mae took me aside and asked if she could join my group, I took her in. From that day up until she was killed I considered her a member of our group.

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Ana Mae Aquash

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Robert Robideau

After my release from Leavenworth federal prison in 1979, many of those that participated in the killing of Anna Mae sought me out to tell me of the role each had played in the killing of Anna Mae. From these initial conversations it was clear to me that these individuals believed Anna Mae to be an informant. All had participated at various stages of the sequestering and questioning of Anna Mae to protect other members of AIM. To say that these individuals anticipated the ultimate outcome of their actions would be contrary to the truth; not one that spoke to me sanctioned her ultimate execution. There had been many informants before her and as a security member who had participated in their questioning, I can verify that never once had we considered executing them.
From my investigations, she was killed by the order of one leader, to protect himself from prison. AIM should not be condemned for the act of one coward.
I would strongly disagree with the fantasy of some profiteering writers- their claim the FBI had injected an uncontrollable paranoia that sent AIM into a frenzy of violence. Civil rights investigators Shirley DeWitt and Maldrow’s reports of that era make it very clear that the Oglala people living on Pine Ridge reservation and members of AIM had been forced to take defensive actions in order to protect themselves from the waves of violence perpetuated against them by both the federal government and the tribal government under the leadership of Dick Wilson. As a member of Dakota AIM and Northwest AIM who witnessed some of this violence, I can attest to this. My acquittal in the death of Coler and Williams also makes it somewhat clear that the group of Euro Americans who heard our witnesses on this issue agreed with us.
JL: When you say from your investigations that Ana Mae was killed by the order of one leader; that AIM should not be condemned for the negative actions of one person who gave the order or the person (s) who carried this out. But If this person, (AIM leader) hasn't come forward and its been 33 years, then it's inevitable this silence will cast a shadow of guilt on all AIM leaders and an organization of others who know who this is. This is still a catch 22.
What do you believe is the solution to this problem of wrongful condemnation of an entire organization, instead of one person?

Robert Robideau: FBI reports clearly show that they knew 33 years ago who the shooters were yet chose not to prosecute. Why? Their reports strongly suggest that they took no action because they wanted to protect an undercover informant’s anonymity. It is also reasonable that the FBI chose not to reveal their findings for prosecution as strategy to stigmatize AIM with the killing to achieve our demise. Their Counter intelligence program ( cointelpro) used such tactics in attempts to destroy AIM by darkening the public's conception of us. Just as they have done to the freedom fighters of Palestine. Where the guilt properly lay with one person they manipulated it to infect all members. Dick Wilson is an example of someone responsible for many killings and assaults and the FBI turned a blind eye and did everything they could to place Wilson’s violence on AIM. The solution may have been lost 33 years ago, but all things must come full circle and perhaps by giving John Graham, the second individual indicted for killing Anna Mae, his day in court will open doors revealing a path to the truth. Part of the truth is the struggle to expose the FBI's culpability to the killing itself.
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J Edgar Hoover

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JL: Also, why would someone carry out this "order" to begin with? Please correct me if I'm wrong but from what I have gathered, AIM is not the US military where someone takes an oath to follow orders from a higher official - otherwise face court martial, imprisonment etc. I mean where was this person'(s) free will and conscience?

[size=12]Robert Robideau: Even though the FBI attempted to paint AIM as a military terrorist organization, we were not. The family was the heart of many of our AIM Chapters. Northwest AIM’s heart beat came from brothers, sisters, cousins and close friends. What is important to know about that segment of history is the federal government’s success in instilling fear through the violence of this period, tagged as the Reign of Terror. William Janklow’s pronouncement that ’ the only way to deal with AIM is to put a bullet in the head of its leaders compounded a real threat of imprisonment and/or death that was felt in our leadership; and it also instilled a deep sense to protect our leadership from harms way. Once a body guard for Russell Means, I know that it would have been easy for me to have killed to protect him without orders. Perhaps, if he told me that someone represented a grave threat to his life I too might have killed to save him. The state of mind that was created here was protection.

John LeKay: What do you believe was the motive for U.S. Attorney McMahon, in Arlo Looking Clouds trial, to raise the issue of Leonard Peltier, putting witnesses like Kamook Banks Nichols on the stand and allowing her testimony to stay on the record?

Robert Robideau: Cloud's trial to get things into the court record that they hoped would once and for all condemn Peltier for the killing of Coler and Williams; and damn any further attempts to free Peltier through Parole or Presidential clemency. The government’s admission on several occasions in open court that it had no credible evidence Leonard Peltier killed the agents, that it could not prove who killed the agents was the rational for introducing Kamook’s $42,000 worth of testimony to the witness stand. Not only did Kamook provide the FBI with the disparately sought after culpability to the killing of their agents, her allegations went further in an attempt to condemn Peltier further by inferring that he may have played some role in the killing of Anna Mae simply by having Kamook state that Peltier did not trust Anna Mae.
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Arlo Looking Cloud

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Kamook Banks Nichols

Bernie Lafferty said that, “Leonard treated Anna Mae no different than the rest of us, “… “I never once heard Leonard accuse Anna Mae of being an informant.” Bernie also stated, “We was always real close to Anna Mae…well, we had to be…I know deep in my heart that she was no FBI agent. She would never say anything to anybody” (taped phone conversation, August 4th, 2004). Why would anyone in their right mind continue to include a person they believe to be an informant in their group which was allegedly involved in criminal offenses. The allegation is as absurdly ridiculous as Peltier’s alleged confession.
Kamook claimed to have spoken to Anna Mae at the Farmington AIM Convention about her “interrogation,” while in fact she was at no time present at the AIM Convention, which had known but later confirmed in a taped interview with her sister Bernie Lafferty, whom also commented, “ I did not approve of what my sister did.”
JL: What do you believe Kamook had to gain from doing this?

Robert Robideau: For love, money and friendship…. According to Kamook the FBI gave her $42,000 for ‘moving expenses.‘ Soon after the Looking Cloud trial Kamook married, Robert Ecoffey, a Pine Ridge goon during the reign of terror. Both Candy Hamilton and Bernie Lafferty complained to me about being in a room complete of FBI agents. Shortly after the trial she and I exchanged several e-mails in which she blamed her ex husband, Dennis Banks, for her behavior. John Trudell, who I had confronted in 1994 about his participation in the killing of Ann Mae, testified that Arlo Looking Cloud had confessed to him, stated in a taped interview with a member of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee that he had given Kamook "strong words of support" to encourage her to take the witness stand.

John LeKay: Why do you think it is that no one has investigated the lives of 60 or more human beings that were murdered by Dick Wilson's GOONS?

Robert Robideau: According to one Wilson Goon, Duane Brewer, in a video taped interview with Kevin McKiernan, the FBI provided him and other members of Wilson’s vigilante goon squad with armor piercing ammunition, arms and intelligence to wage war against his own people and AIM. Brewer, with smiles clued to his lips, expressed the whole period as some sort of Disney Land adventure. The FBI made public claims to have investigated many of these Oglala and AIM murders, claiming to have solved some, while making other claims that their investigations were hampered because they did not get cooperation from the communities. It is as evident as the April 1975 FBI Memorandum/Position paper calling for "The Use of Special Agents of the FBI in a Paramilitary Law Enforcement Operation in the Indian Country," that the FBI were on the Pine Ridge reservation to wage a deadly war against the American Indian Movement and the Oglala Lakota people who supported [size=12]us.

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[size=12]John Trudell

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[size=12]Leonard Peltier

JL: Why do you think there has been so much focus on Ana Mae and not so much on the others?

Robert Robideau: Anna Mae Aquash was a leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1970 to the time of her death and although known for taking part in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, she is best known for her involvement with Dennis Banks and Leonard Peltier during the aftermath of the June 26, 1975 Oglala shoot out with the FBI on the Pine Ridge reservation.

The motives underlying the FBI’s focus on Anna Mae's death were planted and nursed along for 33 years as part of its cointelpro efforts of the 70‘s to destroy AIM. In the last analysis, the FBI viewed the Anna Mae case as an opportunity to give the final killing blow to both AIM and Peltier. In the Anna Mae's case, the FBI maneuvered in a very calculated fashion to destroy AIM and it’s popularity in Indian Country. Some like Steve Hendrick’s have contributed to this effort in their writings and propaganda by mimicking that which the FBI wants to hear, “AIM is dead.” The FBI’s ongoing efforts to “get Leonard Peltier,” was frantically spurred on after an almost successful bid for freedom through Presidential clemency in 2001 at which time one of their own, Don Edwards, stated in opposition to the FBI campaign against Peltier‘s clemency, "As a former Congressman from California for over thirty years, a former FBI agent and a citizen committed to justice, I wish to speak out strongly against the FBI's efforts in opposing the clemency appeal of Leonard Peltier. I served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights in the U.S. House of Representatives."

The Anna Mae case has witnessed in recent Kafkesque trial of Leonard Peltier for the death of Anna Mae Aquash in the media. In July of 2005 a four page February 1993 FBI memorandum was discovered in documents received by Peltier’s attorneys through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that outlined the FBI’s conspiracy to destroy Peltier's Executive clemency campaign. The memo urged their agencies to "Get the story/pictures out publicly through...magazines or other publications which have worked closely with the FBI over the years". PaulDeMain, Editor of News From Indian Country, fully aware that the FBI had begun their efforts to stop Presidential clemency for Leonard, sold the FBI an advertisement to recruit Native Americans into the FBI in August 1995. In 2006 DeMain published an article deriding AIM by Joseph Trimbach, Agent in charge of the Minneapolis bureau during the 1970‘s.

In recent headline news, “President Bill Clinton's Decision Not to Pardon Leonard Peltier Lost His Wife a Key Supporter -- and Helped Gain Barack Obama a Friend,” David Geffen, a key Democratic supporter, chastised Ex President Bill Clinton’s frailer to grant a pardon to Peltier stated, ''Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?'' "Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it's troubling," Geffen concluded.

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JL: How are these sensational matters connected to the larger issues that the main stream media won't touch with a 10 foot barge pole like the violation of treaties, the mining of gold, uranium, silver, copper, minerals in the the Black Hills, the pollution and contamination of aquifer's, wildlife etc. The cancer and high infant mortality rates, birth defects, severe poverty, lack of jobs, alcoholism, suicide, racism, etc please see this

Robert Robideau: The role of main stream media is disseminating official propaganda to assist in the process of theft and silent genocide. Racism and systematic isolation is historically characterized by land theft and control of our destinies, humiliation and murder being the final objective. Racism is the basic motivation for containment and isolation. These are the basic methods used to oppress and control a targeted group of people. From the beginning Europeans have systematically stolen our Lands, and natural resources through various methods, including policies of genocide to remove us from our traditional lands. The Reservation system insures white control over the political, and economic existence of Native American Indians. The Pine Ridge reservation is not only one of the poorest but has the highest destructive environments that a people exist in these United States, with the highest rates of cancer, infant mortality, birth defects, poverty, suicide, etc. The environmental pollution and contamination has become an International concern as a result of and continuation of multi national exploitation of mother earth. For the most part mainstream media has ignored this critical issue.

The media has waged relentless propaganda campaigns against the Pine Ridge reservation to build fear and hysterical sentiment toward our people to assist in achieving the final objective of control and isolation. We witness these same outrageous crimes being perpetuated against the Palestinian people and others groups, such as the peoples of Iraq, who possess rich resources. North American Indian people are no longer seen as human beings, instead it is taught to view and fear us as Savages, just as the Palestinian people have been taught to be seen as terrorists.

Today, we are free to leave our reservations and come and go as we please. However, just as it has been made illegal for the Palestinians to freely move about, it was illegal for an Indian to leave the reservation. We were once considered illegal aliens off the reservations.
[size=12][size=12]Despite treaties recognizing our rights to self determination the United States government continues to maintain an occupation force to control reservations through the Major Crimes Act and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); and impose Congressional Acts that have and continue to impose policies of genocide and take away our sovereign rights. To this day all Indian lands are maintained under the jurisdiction of the United States Government through the BIA and/or State governments that impose their will over the lives of native American Indians. [/SIZE]

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JL: What do you see as ways that people can heal some of the wounds from that time and what are your thoughts on native spirituality and traditional medicine etc?

Robert Robideau: Healing is a process that must begin through re=-education with a vision for equality and well being for all. Euro American people, who have historically been the aggressors must begin the process of healing by educating themselves about our true history and the process of silent genocide that has and continues to take place against native American Indian people in North America. Most people in the United States, including President Bush, have no idea about native American Indian treaties and sovereignty simply because there has been a concerted effort on the part of Euro Americans to exclude our true history from academia. Instead Euro Americans are taught by educators that we are the “vanishing race.”
Little or nothing is taught about the concerted effort to make us vanish and why. Euro Americans created special schools of indoctrination with the objective of stripping our children and future generations of their culture and heritage through a long process of brainwashing techniques. Through Congressional Acts like the 1887 Allotment Actracial discrimination became institutionalized. Racism touched every aspect of social life, sanctioning containment. Just as the South Africans during Apartheid would be in 1948, all native American Indians were racially classified into categories: Full Bloods, Mixed Bloods and White for the purpose of valid rights or claims of any persons to reservation lands.
The Act not only institutionalized racism through a Blood quantum classification that has served Euro Americans in their efforts to further cut our population levels. The Act divided existing reservation areas into 160 acre plots, one plot for each head of household. The practical results of this Act were that some sixty million acres of treaty land (almost half) were stolen and opened to white settlement. We were forbidden, with threats of imprisonment and death, to practice our traditional religion and medicines. The massacre of over 300 men, women and children in 1890 at Wounded Knee was the final act that told us to give up our “primitive” ways. It was not until the birth of the American Indian Movement that many Plains tribes began to openly practice native spirituality and medicine. About 1990 a proposal for Native American Freedom of Religion bill was introduced to Congress which I apposed. I wanted to know why this special bill was being introduced when the United States Constitution guaranteed all whom resided in the United States the right to practice their respective faith.
In a final note much of the critical medicine and healing methods used today by doctors has come from Native American medicine. Yet, we have benefited the least.

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Mass grave for the massacre at Wounded knee

JL: What are some ways that people can learn more about the Free Peltier campaign and the reasons why he should be free?

Robert Robideau “Silence is the voice of complicity, an injustice committed against one is an injustice to all.” Recognizing that Peltier has been imprisoned for decades for a crime he did not commit, various governments and dignitaries from around the world have called for Leonard's release.

"Amnesty International considers Leonard Peltier to be a political prisoner... Amnesty International believes that Leonard Peltier should be immediately and unconditionally released."

Former FBI agent and member of Congress, Don Edwards, in 2000 condemned the FBI's opposition to presidential clemency for Peltier, stating "The FBI used Mr. Pelteir as a scapegoat and they continue to do so today. At every step of the way, FBI agents and leadership have opposed any admission of wrong doing by the government, and they have sought to misrepresent and politicize the meaning of clemency for Leonard Peltier. ..”
The National Congress of American Indians stated in a letter to President Clinton," Now is the time to make a strong statement to the American public, and the world, reflecting this important ideal that injustice towards this country¹s indigenous peoples will no longer be tolerated, nor sanctioned by a just U.S. government."

Roberts' paintings reflecting his thoughts on Anna Mae Aquash can be found here.Check Them Out!!!

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Aim,has been split into different camps since the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.Robert Robideau accuses AIM leaders Dennis Banks, Vernon Bellecourt and others,of ordering her death.This excerpt is taken from a review of Dennis Banks autobiography.

The Albatross: Who Killed
Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, and Why?

It is the innocence of the albatross that haunts the Ancient Mariner, the wantonness of killing it.

Anna Mae Aquash was born Pictou in Canada, and she came to the U.S. as a committed First nations activist. When she joined AIM she quickly ascended to a leadership role. Then she was murdered and she became, in her tragic death, the albatross of AIM–not an unpleasant burden to be ignored and discarded, but a crippling talisman like Coleridge's original, an emblem of failed will, pointless destruction, and dishonor. As I write, a booze-addled AIM flunkie has sort of confessed to having helped kill her at the behest of AIM leadership, and he has implicated a Canadian Indian man. People of character, like John Trudell, are offering corroborations that are circumstantial but troubling, and people of no character, like FBI and BIA officials, are serving up the usual farrago of lies.

Rex Weyler has written an excellent summary of the circumstances surrounding the Aquash murder for the Vancouver Sun (reprinted at A telling though seemingly minor detail in Weyler's story: Myrtle Poor Bear, who was blackmailed into perjuring herself to get Leonard Peltier extradited from Canada 25 years ago, claimed when she successfully repudiated her testimony at Peltier's trial that the FBI coercion included this threat: They would see that what happened to Anna Mae (and they showed her pictures of the dead body) happened to her, if she failed to help them. (For a vehemently alternative view of the Graham/Aquash story, see Minnesotan Mike Mosedale's extremely hostile review of Ojibwa Warrior.)

We will never know the truth, thanks to the federal government. The FBI handled AIM with one of the most pernicious propaganda devices, worthy of the KGB: snitch jacketing. It's a simple strategy: If you want to neutralize a leader, spread the word that he/she is a government spy. He can't prove he isn't, and even if only some believe it, that's a wedge. There is no leader in AIM who has not, in the last thirty years, been identified as, alternately, a thief and con man or an FBI snitch. To my knowledge only a handful of the latter accusations have proven true, notably Doug Durham, who may have murdered Jancita Eagle Deer and had a serious grudge against Anna Mae Aquash. FBI bedfellows: Don't leave home with 'em.

Snitch jacketing backfires when the agency that's doing it has lost credibility, as the FBI has. When both sides could be liars, who do you trust? When the government is indistinguishable morally from its enemies, who do you believe? As I write, the FBI is using the same unethical tactics to get John Graham out of Canada that they used to extradite Leonard Peltier 25 years ago: a fabric of lies, suppressed details, and emotional coercion.

Snitch jacketing may have worked with Anna Mae Aquash, and maybe she actually was an informant, even though she was the first to "out" Doug Durham–scarcely the act of a fellow spy–and it was Durham who started the whisper campaign accusing her when she raised questions with Dennis Banks about Durham. There's no question that this most prominently active of the AIM women was suspected as an informant (turned, the wisdom went, to save herself after being captured in a shootout with the FBI). However, no evidence of collaboration has surfaced in the decades since her death, whereas Durham's spying is public knowledge now. So who do you believe?

We will never know for certain that she was not an informant; the law of negative proof makes snitch jacketing effective. The only kind of proof we can expect is, if she was an informant, proof of that. If she was, then perhaps the FBI's initial claim when her body was found, that she was a "Jane Doe" who "died of exposure" was a bit of Occidental humor, like South Dakota Attorney General (and part-time pedophile rapist, but she was just an Indian, you know) Bill Janklow's joke that most of the Indian problems in his state could be solved with bullets in the heads of AIM leaders. Which, it turns out, was what killed Anna Mae Aquash. Coincidentally.

Who do you believe? New evidence suggests that AIM may indeed have executed her "for treason," whether she was guilty or not, and whether the killer was John Graham or not. We'll never know, and Banks says not. Today, with 25 years of distance, we find the notion of her execution horrifying, an act of murder. But I think of The Guns of Navaronne, made in the '60's. Near the end, partisans of the Greek Resistance execute a spy in their midst and most of us approve, however sadly, the sentence for treason against freedom fighters. If they were wrong about her, though, what a burden to carry forever.

Dennis Banks certainly doesn't act guilty. The most damning bit of evidence against him, his having told John Trudell that her body had been found before the FBI released the identification of the commonplace "Jane Doe" they took such uncommon interest in, is easily accounted for. The FBI knew before the body was examined who the woman in the gully was, othewise why would two Special Agents respond to a report of another dead body at Pine Ridge? Keep in mind that about sixty Oglala Sioux were murdered in the five years surrounding Wounded Knee, not to mention untold numbers of casualties of hunger, alcohol, and deadly cold. The FBI didn't answer those calls for body bags. In fact, the sixty murders all went uninvestigated.

The FBI and the coroner knew that "exposure" doesn't generally cause blood-crusted bullet wounds to the skull. How carefully did these experts examine the dead young Indian on the slab? (Ten years later, the coroner would explain that the bullet that traversed her brain might have "contributed" to her death, but what killed her was frostbite!) Agent David Price, who had spent hours interviewing her a few months earlier, who targetted her for special attention as a key member of AIM, and –coincidentally again– had told her less than a year ago that if she didn't turn snitch she'd "be dead in a year," was on the scene when her body was found and present at the morgue when they cut off her hands (for "identification purposes"). Why this interest, one wonders, if she was thought to be a Jane Doe frozen drunk in a ditch? And he saw a face not, as he claimed, decomposed at all by the month of sub-zero "exposure" in a shady gully covered with snow. He knew who Jane Doe was, just he would have needed a blindfold not to see the bloody gunshot wound and the bulge in her skull where the .32 shell lodged. Exposure. So how did Banks know immediately that Anna Mae was found. Informants work both ways. Someone leaked the identification to AIM immediately, before the public admission that it was her.

For all the Pictou family's anger, the evidence of AIM guilt is still meagre. Banks certainly has done nothing to undermine the legend of Annie Mae (as Buffy Sainte-Marie calls her in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"); in fact, his is a prominent voice keeping her story in the foreground of AIM history. Banks spends a page of a final chapter of Ojibwa Warrior eulogizing Anna Mae, singling her out from his list of heroic American Indian women: Gladys Bissonette, Nilak Butler, Lou Bean, Mary Gertrude Crow Dog, Cecilia Jumping Bull. Another odd bit of "evidence" mustered against him is his failure to mention in the book that he and Anna Mae were, briefly, lovers while he was married to Kamook Nichols, the Lakota wife who would later accuse him of ordering Anna Mae's execution. But he is consistently vague about his love life. On the other hand, he is painfully forthcoming about his failure to listen to her when she voiced her suspicions about the sinister Doug Durham.

If Dennis Banks was an accessory to her death, if he conspired in her death, and this can be proved without relying on the lies and suborning and deceit that the FBI spews like a river of sewage, then let him be charged and tried. Meantime, nothing he does will bring her back, nothing will "make up for" her death, nothing will earn or merit forgiveness should there be reason to forgive. But if ever a man has paid for a sin, Banks has paid. He has devoted twenty years to the spiritual renewal of his people with a sincerity and dedication that cannot be denied.

Perhaps, if there is guilt, that has been an act of atonement, for the death of a woman he loved.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Doug Durham was a government operative who infiltrated the highest eschelons of the American Indian Movement.He became the head of security,and was eventually outed first by Anna Mae Aquash.

For The Spirit of Annie Mae
("My efforts to raise the consciousness of Whites who are so against Indians
in the States are bound to be stopped by the FBI
sooner or later."...Anna Mae Pictou)
...taken from In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

by Peter Matthiessen...
One of the first AIM people to suspect that Douglass Durham was some sort of government agent was Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, the young Micmac woman from Shubencadie, Nova Scotia.
During Doug Durham's brief visit to Wounded Knee, certain AIM women, Aquash among them, had noticed that this "one-fourth Chipewa" in headband, beaded belt buckle, and turquoise jewelry was dyeing his hair black.
...taken from Wasi'chu - The Continuing Indian Wars
by Bruce Johansen and Roberto Maestres

Another rather inept attempt to reinforce the "savage" stereotype was directed not within police circles but to the American public...This was a report on AIM byt the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committe. The only witness to appear before the committee when it met April 6, 1976, was Douglass Fran Durham, a former FBI-paid operative who had infiltrated the American Indian Movemen in 1973.
No Indians were asked to testify at the hearing, at which Durham, who had earned $20,000 from the FBI for his spying, read into the record several falsehoods and several statements which imputed acts of savagery to AIM members, most of them without corroboration. Some of Durham's statments were refuted by his own testimony.
The most spectacular fabrication was a description of events on Easter Sunday, April 22, 1973, in the occupied hamlet of Wounded Knee. On that day, according to Durham, "AIM members hung a man from a cross in full view of marshals and some members of the press. For approximately six hours, the body was pummeled for six hours." In March 1975, Durham, who was so trusted that he was appointed AIM's head of security during the 1974 Wounded Knee trials in St. Paul, was confronted with evidence that he was an informer. He confessed, and was simply ousted.
Durham Update (provided by Paula Giese)
Durham was/is Army Intelligence, as well as his sort of "cover" as FBI. He resettled in a suburb of Dallas, TX (where he still lives). For a time, he infiltrated groups of Chicano people and attempted to infiltrate liberation groups (of Maya) S. of the border. I had obtained and published (in Akwesasne Notes and AIM pamphlets) enough pix of him that he was apparently recognized.
Durham's background--he was a minor mafioso, involved in drug and arms smuggling, using Army planes (which he also used for AIM flights--included running a number of illegal gambling establishments in Iowa. This made him a particularly valuable "consultant" to NY state authorities during the 1989-90 "gambling/anti-gambling" Mohawk tribal war at Akwesasne. He didn't appear on any scenes publicly that I know of, although he may have "snuck in" to Ganienkeh (the Mohawk Warrior Society land), if so I didn't hear it. He was around the NY state Gambling Commission.
Back in TX, he lives in some sort of born-again Christian communal house, that is said to be a cover for Satanists. (I don't have anything definite on this). I feel this is some type of government covert operation. Durham remains available to various state and federal authorities as their main man who is both an "expert" on Indians and on gambling. I have no recent photos of him.
During his army career preceding his infiltration of AIM at Wounded Knee (he went in under Army auspices, and took part in fake interviews which were really military interrogations) he was known as a disguise expert, and gave classes in that, in demolition, and in "infiltration, ex-filtration [getting out again afterwards]." This was in connection with an unsuccessful U.S./Gusano invasion of Cuba in the early '60's.
I would be very interested in receiving any info, especially current photos.
Anyone living in Dallas may obtain a current address/phone (his number is unlisted) from the Polk City Directory, at the main library. Up until 2 years ago, Durham kept the "key" odd spelling of his first name as "Douglass" making him easier to ID on directory listings, but about a year ago, he dropped the second S. His middle name is "Frank." He was born in 1937, is approximately 6'2", used to be rather stocky-built with something of a pot-belly. He used colored contact lenses and died what appears (from early family photos) to have been brown hair, black. Sometimes he wore varieties of wigs, including a blond crew-cut wig (in LA).
The people of his "born-again/Satanist" group maintain he's not the same guy--but he is, and he is still "active". If you have this kind of interest and ability, you should be very, very careful, physically and psychologically. He was always armed, including a variety of small, hidden knives and guns; I think this would probably still be true.
Durham's "secret" or covert Army commander was then-Col, now Lt. General Robert K. Brown, publisher of Soldier of Fortune Magazine, and of a group of "covert" entities, which includes Omega Ltd (a funds laundry), all located in Boulder, CO. Brown is not a retired old right-wing officer with an odd hobby (recruiting bikers and psychos for "deniable" paramilitary operations in Africa and S. America), he is an active leader in covert U.S. "intelligence" operations, which includes assassinations, quiet murders, and organizing "native" troops for battles against their fellows.
There is a whole U.S. "secret Army organization" which doesn't appear on any regular Army chain of line-command. There is a more recent one which appears to be headed by "retired" Army officers which is organized on a statewide basis, there being a commander and chain of command for each state. Its purpose is not known at this time (it is not specifically intelligence/disruption, it's more like the regular army except it's half-social, half-secret).
Recently, the commander of Texas for this "informal state-by-state" Army group is said to have met covertly with individuals connected with the operation of the Shakopee Mdweakanton Sioux casinos; purpose of the meeting is not known. I speculate that casinos make excellent laundromats for covert funds; the organized crime casinos of Nevada and NJ perform(ed?) this service for the CIA. Perhaps the secret army is looking for it from Indian casinos?
The Army's intelligence/disruption, secret operations activities in this hemisphere have never received the attention of those of the CIA and FBI, although in the early '70's there was a brief national flash about how Army Intelligence had infiltrated many campuses and student orgs.
Indian people should be especially interested in Army Intelligence, because--Army v. Indians, traditional, ya know. They still are in the field. Ward Churchill's book, "Agents of Repression" is symptomatic, as well as operative. During the period of which he writes, AIM was targeted by the CIA, Army Intelligence, Naval Intelligence (on the West Coast) for major disruptions and attacks on not just leaders, but grass-roots members. Churchill's books makes it appear the FBI is some sort of villainous out-of-control org, which it was, but by comparison to the others, they were kind of clumsy. Durham's case is a good example. Like most of these covert types, he was crooked and corrupt, so he sought money from whoever would pay him, e.g. the FBI, local (Minneapolis and St. Paul) police, etc. Much of the *lawyers'* focus on Durham's FBI affiliation was part of a legal strategy: It was the Justice Department (of which the FBI is its investigative arm) which was prosecuting hundreds of federal "Wounded Knee and aftermath" cases, so whatever they could "make" legally of Durham's so-called "invasion of the defense camp" (actually rests on "violation of attorney-client confidentiality") might have legal benefits for hundreds of AIM defendants. Their concentration should not have been allowed to obscure the more active and sinister organizations for which Durham (and of course many others) actually worked.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller

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