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An Open Letter to the Green Anarchy Collective

I'm an anarchist living in Vancouver, Canada, and I previously wrote to the Green Anarchy collective about issue #19 of the Green Anarchy journal, primarily out of concern over the uncritical inclusion of writings by former American Indian Movement (AIM) spokesperson John Trudell in that issue.
An Open Letter to the Green Anarchy Collective

Hello,

I'm an anarchist living in Vancouver, Canada, and I previously wrote to the Green Anarchy collective about issue #19 of the Green Anarchy journal, primarily out of concern over the uncritical inclusion of writings by former American Indian Movement (AIM) spokesperson John Trudell in that issue. As I informed you in my last letter, John Trudell has testified as a primary "witness" for the US government in their case against Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham, who in the 1970s were active in AIM and the life-and-death struggle of the Lakota people at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

In the latest issue of Green Anarchy, #20, the collective refers to complaints received about the inclusion of Trudell in the previous issue, one of which was my earlier letter, but does not state the primary reason of the complaint: Trudell's status as government collaborator. Instead the matter is watered-down to "disputes, factions, and political mud-slinging in AIM", which is not at all the point of contention. So, I've made this an open letter to ensure that those who are interested may know what the actual dispute over Trudell is.

In February of 2004, Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted of aiding and abetting in the murder of fellow AIM member Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, whose body was found in 1976 at Pine Ridge. In February of 2005, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ordered John Graham to be extradited from Canada to stand trial in South Dakota for the murder of Anna Mae. Graham is appealing the decision, as well as Canada's Extradition Act. He is presently under house arrest in Vancouver.

In both Looking Cloud's trial and Graham's extradition hearing, John Trudell's testimony was the deciding factor, despite the fact that he only offered hearsay (second hand) information, claiming that Looking Cloud had confessed to him. Trudell's collaboration with the US government is a matter of public record. During Looking Cloud's trial, Kamook Banks, another former AIM member, admitted to being a paid government informant.

The murder of Anna Mae occurred in the midst of the deadly "COINTELPRO" counter-insurgency campaign waged by the FBI against AIM and the Lakota Nation, using Native paramilitaries and off-duty Bureau of Indian Affairs police who killed more than 60 Native people and assaulted many more at Pine Ridge between 1973 and 1976. When Anna Mae's body was found, FBI agents, and the coroner they contracted, tried to cover-up her death, claiming that she died from exposure and quickly burying her body as an unknown Indian woman, before attempting to identify her. A second, independent autopsy requested by her family and comrades confirmed that Anna Mae had in fact been shot in the head. The FBI then claimed that AIM killed Anna Mae because she was a suspected informant. At the time of her death, Anna Mae was a fugitive from the law, having been previously interrogated and threatened with death by FBI agents. Many believe that the FBI carried their threat to its conclusion.

In 1976, AIM member Leonard Peltier was extradited from Canada to the US, based on the false testimony of Myrtle Poor Bear, who was threatened by FBI agents that she would end up dead like Anna Mae if she did not cooperate in the case against Peltier. In regards to the current case against John Graham, Leonard Peltier stated: "I fear that John will not receive a fair trial in the US anymore than I did. I must remind you, it is court record that the FBI lied to extradite me back to the US." Peltier remains a prisoner of war serving two life sentences for the murder of two FBI agents.

On the case of John Graham, Arlo Looking Cloud, and Anna Mae, the indigenous anti-capitalist 'Zig-Zag' has stated: "At this time, the strategy of the FBI is to destroy anything positive associated with AIM (and by extension all Indigenous resistance), to further undermine the case of Leonard Peltier (falsely convicted in the 1975 killing of two FBI agents in S. Dakota), and to turn Aquash from a symbol of this resistance to one of injustice."

Statements of support for John Graham have been written by the Secwepemc Native Youth Movement and by Secwepemce elder and Gustafsen Lake defender, Wolverine.

The Vancouver Native Youth Movement has issued two statements in support of John Graham. In their latest statement, the Vancouver chapter calls "on all those who support our people's struggle to boycott the works & activities of John Trudell in particular, and to denounce all those who have collaborated with the government & police in this matter."

Vancouver anarchists who have been working in solidarity with John Graham and the indigenous resistance movement were also more than a little dismayed to find Trudell's writings pop up in Green Anarchy's pages.

In the very same issue of Green Anarchy that Trudell was featured, William Cottrell was described as a state informant against two persons charged with ecological-related sabotage: "During the course of his trial in October, he ratted on his friends and comrades and, in our opinion, should no longer be supported."

Why does this standard of non-support for collaborators apply to the ecological and anarchist resistance movements but not to the indigenous resistance movement?


Sincerely,
Sam

Vancouver, Canada
August 2, 2005



An article about the case of Anna Mae, Arlo Looking Cloud, and John Graham, by the indigenous anti-capitalist Zig-Zag can be found here:
 http://www.nativeyouthmovement.com/content/view/23/64/

The website of the John Graham Defense Committee can be found here:
 http://www.grahamdefense.org
For Sure! 02.Aug.2005 20:36

AnarchistarePathetic

That's exacly what drives me crazy! NO support from the anarchist community for a real fighter like Peltier, but some rat, snitch, scumbag gets treated like a hero, in one of the leading anti-capitalist publications in this country! No one even cares about the info Sam has brought to light. Ah Portland, leading the revolution over some strange cliff.

Collaboration 02.Aug.2005 20:46

Curious

I'm am familiar with some of the history surrounding the AIM and the Pine Ridge occupation; but I am curious about Trudell. He appeared to have a very connected role with early AIM as well as for indigenous rights. I mean his family was taken out by the U.s government... so when you say "Trudell collaborated with the U.s government"...that makes it sound just a little to convenient.Why would he want to rat out one of his own people after all the sacrifices he had made? Can the U.s government really bring you that low? What did Trudell stand to gain? Could you provide me with a little more insight?

it would indeed be out of character for trudell to rat 02.Aug.2005 21:23

unless graham really did it

How did Dennis Banks know not only that she had been killed, but the cause of death, on February 24? Banks called Ka-Mook, his then wife, and told her that; and at the Butler/Robideau trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 22, 1976, John Trudell testified to this, quote: "Dennis (Banks) told me she (Anna Mae) had been shot in the back of the head. He told me this in February, about the 25 or 26 of February. He told me this in California." The cause of death wasn't established until March 10, so how did Banks know in February? He knew it was Anna Mae but her body wasn't officially identified until March 3, and our family was informed March 5, but he already knew.

Trudell went on to testify that he didn't even know there was a body, let alone that it was my mother. Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt were in the car with Dennis Banks when he told John Trudell this. How come Graham and his conspiracy theorist supporters aren't raising questions about this cover-up?

5) Graham says he had nothing to do with the killing of your mother. What do you say to that?

When Graham and Looking Cloud were first indicted I contacted several prominent AIM and former AIM members and asked them if the right men had been indicted for murdering my mother. The people I spoke to included John Trudell, Dino Butler, the late-Nilak Butler, and Bob Robideau, and the answer they gave me was yes, the right people had been indicted. They confirmed that John Graham shot my mother and that Arlo Looking Cloud and Theda Clark were with him.


The Bellecourts vs. John Trudell, Ward Churchill and Leonard Peltier 02.Aug.2005 21:23

Wild Green

This is absolutely about "disputes, factions, and political mud-slinging in AIM". If an "anarchist" killed a friend of mine (who is an anarchist), I would very well testify before the trial.

We have no facts concerning whether Looking Cloud is innocent or guilty. We have the word of two factions of AIM.

The Bellecourts and Bill Means oppose Trudell, Ward Churchill, and Leonard Peltier. "Here, it is worth noting the continued involvement of Banks and Bellecourt in the Looking Cloud and Graham cases, consistent with their ongoing support for the FBI's campaign to frame Leonard Peltier for the murder of Anna Mae, a campaign that includes accusing Peltier representatives, including myself and Ward Churchill, of being FBI agents.", Robert Robideau, International/National spokesperson, Legal Assistant to Leonard Peltier and Barry Bachrach. see:  http://www.coloradoaim.org/blog/2005/02/press-relese-from-bob-robideau.html

Ward Churchill has earned my respect. I have had my doubts about him, driven from the Bellecourt faction of AIM. However, none of them have held water. I had my doubts when Ward attacked Paul Watson of the Sea Shepard at the E-law Conference. I have investigated Ward Churchill's claims against Paul Watson and have found them to be true.

John Trudell has earned my respect both from his activism and from his poetry. His wife and kid were killed by the FBI, I do not see how he could ever sell his soul to them. . . he continues to fight the FBI.

These attacks reek of co-intelpro.

"that's exacly what drives me crazy! NO support from the anarchist community for a real fighter like Peltier. . ."

Please remove this flamebate. Anarchists have always supported Peltier, including members of the GA editorial collective, if not the collective as a whole. I have some major disagreements with GA, but this rumor-mongering is complete trash. Anarchists, including members of the GA collective have engaged in organizing and street actions in support of Peltier.

Critique GA for what they believe, do or do not do, not some strawman.

Indigenous Women for Justice 02.Aug.2005 22:13

Jim Lockhart eagleye@PhilosopherSeed.org

Before you get your shorts in a knot, take a little time to explore some of the many diverse opinions and perspectives involved in this issue. The murder of Anna Mae has been extremely controversial and a very devisive event in Indian Country. There has been much taking of sides, back and forth recriminations, and, unfortunately, a ton of disrespect and character assasinations have been flying over this for years.

A link to a good website, of Indigenous women:
 http://www.indigenouswomenforjustice.org/

There are also website around in support of John Graham.
It's not as simple as the original post above purports it to be. John Trudell has been in the trenches since the Indigenous takeover of Alcatraz. This doesn't necessarily make him right, but it does command respect. The above website is a good place to start, if one wants to seek the truth on this issue. Don't expect an easy ride.