This blog maintained by and property of The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Monday, February 14, 2005

Statement From Bob Robideau

Dear Supporters,

It has become clear that certain factions are maliciously and wrongfully framing Leonard Peltier as a patsy to be falsely blamed for the death of Anna Mae Aquash. First and foremost, let us be clear that Leonard had no involvement in the murder.

Leonard Peltier has never voiced an opinion as to the innocence or guilt of those charged with Anna Mae’s murder. That is fact. Leonard’s statements in the past year have not given support to Arlo Looking Cloud or John Graham specifically (or anyone else alleged to have taken part in Anna Mae’s murder), but have been solely in support of fairness and due process.

Leading up to the Looking Cloud trial and then in reporting the trial, the media has embraced the false statements made by Kamook (Banks) Ecoffey and others. It should be noted that Mr. Ecoffey was a key investigator in the Looking Cloud case and carried on a relationship with a key witness prior to trial, a witness who made falsely damning statements about Leonard at trial. By sensationalizing testimony given in that trial, the media has made outrageous accusations about Leonard Peltier that have no foundation in the truth.

Indeed, the reporting is becoming more outrageous as a host of a Canadian television program recently stated: “At his [Cloud’s] trial the question was raised that Leonard Peltier ordered the execution fearing that she was an FBI informer.” This statement was an intentional misrepresentation of the facts and is not at all supported by the Looking Cloud trial transcript. This is part of a larger conspiracy to smear Leonard in the press and make him the patsy for the wrongs committed by the FBI and others, some of whom have purported to have been long time supporters of Leonard. We cannot stand and let shadows gutlessly utilize the media to skewer Leonard Peltier to protect themselves, in some instances, and, in other instances, simply to make sure that Leonard remains in prison.

This has not been the only media attack. In a recent settlement in a civil suit Leonard filed against Paul DeMain (editor of News From Indian Country) - who had also aligned himself with the FBI against Leonard Peltier in implying his involvement in the Aquash murder - DeMain was forced to admit what is common knowledge in The Movement, i.e., that Leonard “had no authority to order the murder,” and that he has no evidence that Leonard had any involvement in any way in the murder of Anna Mae. That is fact.

The recent attacks on Ward Churchill - who has contributed vastly to our knowledge on the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities (specifically on how the FBI worked to destroy the American Indian Movement) and who has also served as a spokesperson for Leonard Peltier for many years - is another example of gross media manipulation. Remember that speakers, teachers, writers, and publications themselves were targets of the FBI’s counterintelligence program during the 60s and 70s in an attempt to interrupt or prevent the exchange of free ideas and to adversely affect public opinion on activists and dissident groups. These attacks on Mr. Churchill are designed, in part, to discredit Leonard Peltier and the work that has generated vast interest in his case, as well as efforts to win his freedom. People, such as Ward Churchill, have exposed the FBI’s disruption of AIM, the Black Panthers, and virtually any person who dares commit the heinous crime of domestic dissent.

The FBI maneuvered in a very calculated fashion to disrupt AIM and other organizations, and it continues to do so today, as we witness the Kafkesque trial of Leonard Peltier for the death of Anna Mae Aquash in the media. The motives underlying Anna Mae’s death were planted by the FBI as part of its co-intelpro activity. It started by the infiltration of AIM by Douglas Durham who infiltrated AIM at its highest levels. He earned the trust of Dennis Banks, Vernon Bellecourt and others whom he used to get information for the government. Because Anna Mae saw through Durham, she became a threat to Durham because, she, like many others did not trust him. Leonard did not trust him and voiced his opinion to Dennis Banks who disregarded it during the first International Treaty Council Convention on the Standing Rock Reservation in 1974.

The FBI then began targeting and setting up Anna Mae because she had become a threat to Durham’s cover and they began a campaign to “bad jacket” her. We know that both the FBI and people within AIM targeted Anna Mae Aquash because of the connection which the FBI created between her and Durham. Shortly after Durham was exposed as an agent of the FBI, Anna Mae became a target because AIM leaders believed she was working with Durham. At this time, AIM leaders resolved to rid AIM of so-called “rats.” The fact is that Anna Mae never was a “rat,” but the FBI played people and maneuvered to create fear among AIM leaders that she was. This caused great concern to certain members of AIM because she was deeply involved with AIM Leaders. The fear and suspicion became so overwhelming, certain factions decided something had to be done with Anna Mae. Leonard was not involved in any way with the decision making and the death of Anna Mae. In fact, Leonard at this time was a fugitive on the run into Canada, incommunicado with the group that he worked.

Now we have the John Graham Defense Committee inappropriately using Leonard’s statements to bolster support for Graham and also manipulate the media. Indeed, John Graham has falsely associated himself in a relationship with Leonard that does not and never did exist. In an interview with David Melmer on March 02, 2004, Graham falsely stated that shortly after the Oglala firefight, he and Anna Mae “. . .connected with Leonard and them, and they were in the hills there...” However, Mr. Graham did not, at any time, meet or join with Leonard’s group. In fact, Leonard Peltier has never met and doesn’t know John Graham personally. We now know that Graham’s lies are part of a conspiracy and attempt to implicate Leonard in the killing of Anna Mae.

Four requests were sent to the John Graham Defense Committee asking that all links to Leonard Pettier Defense Committee Web sites and all Peltier statements be removed from the John Graham Defense Committee’s Web site. When the private attempts to have these materials removed was ignored, we publicly demanded the removal of all links to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Web sites and all Peltier statements. Still, contrary to Leonard’s express demands, the John Graham Defense Committee has failed to honor Leonard’s wishes.

Let us be clear. Leonard Pettier had no involvement in the murder of Anna Mae and it has become clear to Leonard that he must distance himself from anyone alleged to have played a role in her death. Leonard must protect himself from unfounded accusations. It is important that we not stand stilt while Leonard is made the fall guy for yet another crime he did not commit. Leonard has suffered 29 years and we will not stand by and allow him to suffer any further injustice. We have already seen the United States Government present patently false evidence both in Leonard’s case and in the Looking Cloud case. Baseless accusations are being made against Leonard and associations being alleged that never existed. It is important that we stand behind Leonard and not let him be framed for yet another incident in which he had no part. It has become clear to Leonard and those close to him that he must remove himself from anything or anyone who has been allegedly connected to Anna Mae’s murder. Most importantly is that certain factions be stopped from lying and implicating Leonard. We will not rest until that is done.

Robert Robideau
LPDC International/National Spokesperson and Legal Assistant to Leonard Peltier and Barry Bachrach
Phone: 01134938150425