[R-G] LPDC Alerts: Begin the New year with Leonard Peltier in mind and action
james m nordlund
realiteee1 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 8 23:19:41 MST 2005
Who Killed Anna mae Pictou? - Rex Weyler
Anna Mae Pictou Aquash
January 8, 2004
Who killed Anna Mae?
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."
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
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
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
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
"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.
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
[tag] 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).
Ongoing fight for release of FBI documents under FOIA
January 6, 2005
The FBI continues to play games and hide documents from the
Peltier Legal Team. The Legal Team immediately sent the below
letter to the court to combat the bad faith exhibited by the FBI.
One can only wonder what the FBI continues to seek to hide. One
thing is for sure, the FBI is playing games that the Peltier Legal
Team will challenge and which the court should not countenance.
The Honorable Susan Richard Nelson
United States Magistrate Judge
242 Federal Building
316 North Roberts Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101
Re: Leonard Peltier v. FBI, 02-4328 DWF/SRN
Dear Magistrate Judge Nelson:
The undersigned represent Mr. Leonard Peltier in the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) case captioned above. In accordance with
an Order of this Court filed on August 15, 2003, the FBI was to
begin releasing documents from its Minneapolis Field Office not
later than December of 2004 and to complete processing by
December of this year.
On December 30, 2004, the FBI produced 5,112 pages of material
from its Minneapolis Field Office File #70-10239 Sub X Sections 1
through 97. The documents released make it clear that the FBI is
not acting in good faith with respect to the processing of Mr.
Peltier's FOIA request. The 5,112 pages released consist of Mr.
Peltier's 1977 trial transcript as well as the trial transcript from the
case of USA v. Robideau and Butler. Incredibly, the FBI withheld
144 pages from these transcripts on the basis that they were
exempt from disclosure under Exemption (b) (5).
As indicated in Defendant's Fourth Report on the Status of
Plaintiff's FOIA Requests, Mr. Peltier's application for expedited
processing of his FOIA request was denied. Since Mr. Peltier has
exhausted his administrative remedies as it relates to his request
for expedited processing, we would like for you to issue a briefing
schedule and a date for oral argument so that the Court may
reconsider its decision in this regard.
The FBI has a long history of misconduct as it relates to Mr.
Peltier's case. See Peltier v. Booker, 348 F. 3d 888, 896 (10th Cir.
2003). As a direct result of this misconduct, Mr. Peltier has spent
nearly 29 years in prison. This latest action on the part of the FBI
is just another example of how it will do anything in its power to
keep Mr. Peltier behind bars.
The immediate release of the 90,000 pages of material improperly
withheld by the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis is essential. These
documents should have been provided to Mr. Peltier's attorneys
years ago. As a consequence, Mr. Peltier was and remains
unable to mount an adequate defense to the charges for which he
was convicted. To continue to allow the FBI to stonewall the
release of meaningful material merely serves to violate Mr.
Peltier's due process rights, the spirit of FOIA, and this Court's
Order of August 15, 2003.
We look forward to hearing from you shortly.
Barry A. Bachrach, Esq. and
Michael Kuzma, Esq.
NOTE: In 2001, the Peltier attorneys sent a new round of
requests to every FBI Field Office in the United States. By virtue
of these FOIA requests & two subsequent lawsuits that have been
filed in federal court, it has been discovered that the FBI actually
has 142,579 pages of material that have never been made
available to Leonard Peltier or his attorneys. The Minneapolis
Field Office alone has 90,000 pages. The data maintained by this
FBI Field Office is particularly important in that the Minneapolis
Field Office was the Office of Origin, or the office in which the
RESMURS investigation was based.
Leonard's Message on the Passing of Dianne Lynn Martin
January 4, 2005
A MESSAGE FROM LEONARD PELTIER
Leavenworth Prison, Kansas, USA
As we begin the New Year, I would like to take a moment
to honor a devoted sister in the struggle who passed away recently. On
December 21, 2004, Dianne Lynn Martin, Professor of Law at the Osgoode
Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada, suffered a heart attack and passed
away at the age of 59.
After 18 years of fighting for my freedom, Dianne's
absence will be deeply felt. She leaves behind a legacy of working for
justice and empowering others to fight for the truth. Although I know
that she is in a better place, I am deeply saddened and I extend my
condolences to Dianne's friends and family. She was a devoted activist
Dianne began working on my behalf in 1986 with Bruce
Ellison and Lew Gurwitz. Since then she has proven invaluable in both
legal and political aspects of the struggle. She worked hard to liberate
not just me, but other political prisoners, including Romeo Phillion,
whom she helped set free after more than 30 years of wrongful
At the beginning of my 29th year in prison, I remember
Dianne Lynn Martin, without whom my freedom would not seem so possible.
BULLETIN: Wednesday, January 5, 2005
FROM FRANK AND ANNE DREAVER
LEONARD PELTIER DEFENSE COMMITTEE CANADA
A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO DIANNE LYNN MARTIN
March 19, 1945 - December 20, 2004
Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB '76)
Canadian Counsel for North American Indian Political Prisoner
Leonard Peltier; the LPDC Canada and the LPDC Coalition
We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic
loss of our dear friend and comrade Dianne Lynn Martin, Professor of Law
at the Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Canada; founder of the law
school's Innocence Project; and long-time Canadian attorney for North
American political prisoner Leonard Peltier and the LPDC Canada. Dianne
passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, December 20 of an
apparent heart attack. She was 59 years old.
Wow, what can I say? We are honoured to have worked
with and to have known Professor Martin or simply Dianne as she
preferred to be called. She was a good spirit of high intellectual
capacity, of high moral character, principled, sharply witty, generous
and humble. In her 30-year career, she has left a profound legacy in the
defense of justice and fundamental human and civil rights. She believed
passionately in the need for and demanded the highest of standards
within the administration of justice. This was demonstrated to us in her
generous 17-year commitment to our indigenous struggle for justice and
freedom for Leonard Peltier.
Dianne was constantly looking for practical means to
this end, all of which were meticulously researched. Her various briefs
were tabled in both American and Canadian courts. The documentation,
which she compiled with our committee and her law students, was
presented and lobbied by international LPDC representative Frank Dreaver
to hearings of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations; the U.N.
Human Rights Commission, to the European Parliament and the Hague; and
to various international governmental and human rights bodies. In 1996,
this documentation became a permanent record with the U.N. Human Rights
Commission. It was also donated in a formal ceremony to the Osgoode Hall
Law School library in 1999.
Dianne assisted us in raising the case of Leonard
Peltier to a world audience, with a focus on Canada's involvement as an
international violation. Her research and analysis; her briefs and
writings; her speeches and oral arguments have contributed to a growing
international recognition and endorsement of this grave miscarriage of
justice perpetrated by the United States government.
Her further contributions include a 1989 "leave to
appeal" the Peltier extradition to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa
with co-counsel Clayton Ruby and the late Lew Gurwitz; arguing the case
of extradition fraud on November 9, 1992 on behalf of 55 Canadian
Parliamentarians in an amicis curiae brief to the U.S. Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals in St. Paul's, Minnesota; and facilitating an
independent legal hearing with the LPDC Canada in Toronto, Ontario on
October 25, 2000, presided by The Hon. Justice Fred Kaufman, Q.C., a
former Senior Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeals. Justice Kaufman's
findings formed the basis of our Canadian application for clemency on
December 11, 2000 to United States President Bill Clinton, a request
which Clinton later refused. The findings were also filed with the
Canadian Department of Justice and the Prime Minister of Canada, who
referred the materials for a further review with the Minister of
Despite all our disappointments and frustrations through
all the many years, Dianne refused to give up the fight for justice. She
believed strongly that Mr. Peltier was innocent and had been framed,
fraudulently extradited and wrongfully convicted for a crime that even
the United States government was forced to admit they can not prove.
(Government officials have since claimed that Leonard Peltier is guilty
of aiding and abetting. However, he was never formally convicted of this
charge, or given a chance to defend himself in any court of law in both
Canada and the United States. His case remains one of the most extreme
violations of an individual's constitutional right to due process.)
Dianne believed that there was an urgent need for unity
in our struggle. To date, the simple presenting of evidence alone in
this case has not proven to be enough. Like us, she understood that any
effective collaboration would not exist without the co-operation and
good faith between peoples, and the belief in the individual's
responsibility to lead by example. Dianne would often share with us her
hope and dream for a strong and united world demand for Mr. Peltier's
Thank you Dianne on behalf of Leonard Peltier and the
Peltier committee for your beautiful spirit, your courage and your time.
We will always remember you and will continue in our struggle. We send
our sincere heartfelt condolences to the Martin family and all her
relatives and friends.
Frank and Anne Dreaver
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Canada
lpdccfd at sympatico.ca
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
INVITATION TO A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE FOR DIANNE LYNN MARTIN, PROFESSOR OF
LAW, OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL AT YORK UNIVERSITY, TORONTO, CANADA
Memorial Service at the Moot Court Room, Osgoode Hall Law School
January 5, 2005, 10 am to 11:30 am
Dianne Lynn Martin
March 19, 1945 - December 20, 2004
A Special Memorial Service to celebrate the life of
Professor Dianne Martin will be held in the Moot Court Room at the Law
School on Wednesday, January 5, 2005 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Family, friends and colleagues will gather to pay tribute to
the tremendous contribution she made to the cause of social justice as
well as to the Law School over her 30 year career. All classes will be
suspended during the 90-minute memorial service.
The law school is establishing A Dianne Martin Bursary Fund
to assist students in financial need who have a demonstrated interest in
social justice. Those wishing to honour Dianne's memory may contribute
to the Bursary by sending a cheque payable to Osgoode Hall Law School
(Re: Dianne Martin Bursary) to the Dean's Office, or by going online to
the law school's Online Donation Form at
https://osgoode.yorku.ca/alumniforms.nsf/giving?OpenForm and typing in
"Dianne Martin Bursary" under the heading "Please Direct my contribution
For more information, contact the law school at (416)
736-5199 / Fax: (416) 736-5251 or email at lawdean at osgoode.yorku.ca.
Begin the New year with Leonard Peltier in mind and action
January 1, 2005
Dear friends & supporters,
First, thank you for your efforts this past year & throughout
the past nearly three decades. Your actions & commitment
keep Leonard's hope for freedom alive.
My colleagues & I will continue to do all we can to ensure
that the wrongful conviction of Leonard Peltier will not stand
& the illegal imprisonment of this innocent man finally comes
to an end. We will not give up. We will not go away.
In 2005, we ask you to stand firm. Join with the Peltier
Legal Team & the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, once
again -- as well as supporters worldwide -- in a call for
justice for Leonard Peltier.
INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS - Executive Clemency
We ask you to write, call, fax & e-mail the White House to
express your support for an award of Executive Clemency to
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
E-Mail: president at whitehouse.gov
White House Web Mail:
Go to https://sawho14.eop.gov/PERSdata/intro.htm
INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS - Parole
Sign an online petition in support of the immediate parole of
Invite others to sign the petition (see the links on the right
side bar & at the bottom of the petition page).
Or create & circulate your own hard copy petition. The text of
the parole petition follows.
JUSTICE FOR LEONARD PELTIER: PETITION IN
SUPPORT OF PAROLE
Convicted in connection with the deaths on June 26, 1975, of
two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Leonard
Peltier has served nearly 30 years in federal prison despite
proof that he was convicted on the basis of fabricated &
suppressed evidence, as well as coerced testimony.
In violation of the U.S. Constitution & the government's own
congressionally mandated guidelines, Peltier has been denied
fair consideration for parole. On February 1, 1994, the U.S.
Parole Commission determined that Leonard Peltier would not
be considered for parole for 15 years, or until December 2008,
after a total imprisonment of 394 months. This amount is
more than twice the 188+ months to be served based on Mr.
Peltier's aggregate guideline range. Further, the U.S. Parole
Commission has failed to provide parole dates "consistent with
the applicable parole guideline" to all "old system" prisoners,
including Leonard Peltier, as mandated by Congress in the
Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.
We, the undersigned, support justice & human rights for all
people of all nations; recognize that the U.S. courts, by their
decisions, have recognized the undisputed misconduct in
Peltier's case, yet have failed to take corrective action;
determine the U.S. government's handling of the Peltier case
as a clear abuse of the legal standards of American justice; &
do hereby call for justice for Leonard Peltier in the form of an
immediate grant of parole.
NAME ADDRESS CITY/STATE/COUNTRY E-MAIL
Completed hard copy petitions should be mailed to the Leonard
Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) at the below address.
ORGANIZATION/SOLIDARITY GROUP ACTION
Renew your commitment & pass a resolution in support of
justice for Leonard Peltier. Urge other groups & organizations
to do the same. See a sample resolution at:
Such resolutions will be compiled, combined with supporter
petitions, & presented to the U.S. Congress, the White House,
& used for miscellaneous other purposes.
Mail or fax your formal resolution, or e-mail an image of the
signed resolution to:
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044-0583
E-mail: info at leonardpeltier.org
This year, when the new session of Congress convenes, the
legal team will renew its efforts to convince the Judiciary
Committees of the U.S. Senate & U.S. House of
Representatives to hold hearings on government misconduct
& the Pine Ridge "Reign of Terror". Information on the
actions you can take to support these efforts will be released in
the near future.
Again, thank you for all you do to help win Leonard's release.
Keep up the good work.
Attorney for Leonard Peltier
The "PeltierSupport" Mailing List is a service of the Peltier
To subscribe, visit the Peltier Legal Team's Web site at
http://www.peltiersupport.org. Scroll to the bottom of the
home page, enter your name & e-mail address in the mailing
list text box, & click on "Subscribe" & then "GO".
To subscribe, send a blank message to lpdc-on at mail-list.com
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