Press Statement and Phone Transcription
February 17, 2005

Robert Robideau
International/National spokesperson
Legal Assistant to Leonard Peltier and Barry Bachrach

The history of the unjust 29-year imprisonment of Leonard Peltier is well-documented. As recently as late 2003 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit stated, "Much of the government conduct on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and in the prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It coerced witnesses. These facts are undisputed." Others, such as Peter Mathiessen In The Spirit of Crazy Horse, have chronicled the outrageous government misconduct which has kept Leonard unjustly in prison.

Now we face a renewed government effort of spreading misinformation which is intended to seal Leonard's fate.In light of the recent trial of Arlo Looking Cloud and the current extradition process of John Graham, both of which have been extensively covered on this website and elsewhere, certain misinformation is being spread which requires us to address THE FACTS and destroy the fiction. During the trial of Looking Cloud, the government planted the idea that Leonard was in some way responsible for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash began to circulate. For instance, one Canadian television program recently stated, "At his [Looking Cloud's trial the question was raised that Leonard Peltier ordered the execution fearing she was an FBI informer." An examination of the trial trascript will prove that no such statement was ever made. The persistence of this inaccurate perception can only be understood in the context of the ongoing FBI campaign to deny not only Leonard Peltier justice, but justice for Anna Mae as well.

Leonard had nothing to do with Anna Mae's killing. Not only had he shared Anna Mae's concerns about Durham with AIM leadership, but as the events leading to her death were unfolding, he was living as a fugitive incommunicado in Canada, where he remained until his arrest and extradition. Further, Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country, who in recent years has made outragiously inflamitory accusations about Mr. Peltier stated, "I neithr believe nor feel that Mr. Peltier ordered, or was capable of ordering, the death of Anna Mae Aquash. I would have never said that Leonard peltier ordered Anna Mae's death because first of all I don't believe that is the way that happened and second of all even if Peltier wanted her dead there was no authority for him to have ordered something like that....but the first proposition is that I never would have said that."

The historical record shows, along with Anna Mae Aquash, Leonard was one of the AIM members to first suspect that Douglas Durham was an FBI infiltrator. Anna Mae raised these concerns with AIM leadership, including Vernon Bellecourt and Dennis Banks, who, for whatever reason, dismissed them. Her threat to Douglas Duraham's cover, initiated a "bad-jacketing" campaign by the FBI. Dennis Banks and Vernon Bellecourt targed Anna Mae as a result of actions taken by the FBI which led them to believe she was working with Durham.

An examination of the facts ineluctably lead to a different conclusion. We know, for instance, that after Anna Mae's murder was made public that Vernon Bellecourt flew to California to meet with Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt and John Trudell. At my trial in Cedar Rapids in 1976, John Trudell, who participated in meeting with Banks and Vernon Bellecourt shortly after her body was discovered, gave damning testimony, stating under oath, "I was sitting in a car with Dennis [Banks] when he said,"You know that body they found? That is Anna Mae." I didn't know about a body..." According to Trudell this information was provided by Banks before the body had been identified. He gave similiar testimony at the Looking Cloud Trial.

I am confident that John Trudell's knowledge of the involvement of AIM leadership will eventually be revealed. Kamook (Banks) Ecoffey testified similarly regarding the invovlement of her former husband at the Looking Cloud trial.

During the Farmington,N.Mex., AIM Convention, Banks and Vernon Bellecourt expressed their concerns to Mr. Peltier, whom they then had interrigate her in an effort to discover the truth. Their suspicions sparked a series of accusations and confrontations by other AIM members which Anna Mae suffered and endured.But, she refused to be driven out of the Movement that she had come to embrace. Despite these accusations, Anna Mae remained a member of our group throughout the aftermath of the Oglala firefight.

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.

Leonard felt obligated to withdraw his support from John Graham when it became clear that Graham, who has acknowledged having a role in Anna Mae's murder, was attempting to establish a connection between himself and Leonard, specifically claiming that following the Oglala firefight he hooked up with "Leonard and them , and they were in the hills there. Anna Mae and all of us stayed..." As I was one of the people with Leonard at that time, I can unequivocally state that this is a lie.

False statements by Mr. Graham and lies by Kamook (Banks) Ecoffey [a/k/a Darlene Nichols] have been embraced by the media, which is reporting these outrageous accusations against Leonard. In the case of Kamook, who said that Leonard "...believed [Anna Mae] was a fed, and he was going to get some truth serum and give it to her so that she would tell the truth," her own sister, Bernie Lafferty, said in a taped interview that she knew this to be a lie.

Further, there is no association official or otherwise between John Graham and the LPDC. In fact, we have requested repeatedly, both privately and publicly, that Mr. Graham's support committee remove Leonard's statements and links to the LPDC website from their website, to no avail.

We know now that Anna Mae was not killed for what AIM members who participated in killing thought, but because of personal fears of some AIM leaders of going to prison. All old suspicions about Anna Mae came back to haunt them after the Oregon state police road block, which Banks escaped. Banks had participated in Bombing on the Pine Ridge Reservation with Anna Mae and she knew that he had been with them at the road block . In a personal repremand, Banks expressed, in his recent book Ojibwa Warrior, doubt's about himself, "Did I do the right thing? DID I ABANDON MY PEOPLE JUST TO SAVE MYSELF? We believe that these fears and suspicions were expressed to John Trudell, who Banks called to pick him up from the road during the escape. We are confident that John Trudell, who photo identified John Graham in Canada, will reveal this information.

Finally, it is necessary to underline the continuing attacks against Leonard Peltier and his support network by the FBI and their affiliated websites, as well as the on going attacks on leading AIM members connected to the LPDC by Vernon Bellecourt and Dennis Banks. Their well documented participation in these efforts is echoed here as an attempt to destroy the on going work to raise the consciousness for justice and freedom for Leonard Peltier.

I phoned both Dennis Banks and Vernon Bellecourt to inform each of them that I was releasing this statement to the press with the approval of Leonard Peltier. Dennis wanted to know,"Did Leonard issue this Statement?" I told Dennis no that I was issuing the statement because I know that not only the FBI was setting him up but also you [Dennis Banks]. His response was, "That is a pretty strong statement Bob." Dennis Banks who refused to hear the statement stated, "Who is going to believe you Bob." and Vernon Bellecourt who did listen to the statement said,"Your a trouble maker, Bob."

Robert Robideau
International/National spokesperson
Legal Assistant to Leonard Peltier and Barry Bachrach
Phone: 01134938150424
e-mail: here

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