A Wonderful Time for a Ghost Dance

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A Wonderful Time for a Ghost Dance
Setting Up John Graham 
by R. Weyler
Aaron Mercredi: I see you have accused me of disrupting your event on Friday, March 30, 2007, UBC. As you witnessed, I rose to ask Mr. Bob Robideau a question after he publicly accused Tutchone citizen, Canadian citizen, and Vancouver  resident John Graham with murdering fellow Canadian activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. The question I asked, which remains unanswered, is simple:

1. What evidence does Mr. Robideau possess that suggests Mr. Graham was involved with the death of Ms. Pictou Aquash?
 
As you also witnessed, Mr. Robideau offered no evidence, but rather, immediately insulted me personally. He called me a "white man" (true), a "pig" (a matter of opinion), and he accused me of "exploiting native people," which would be a surprise to my indigenous friends and colleagues around the world.

In any case, these were insults, rather than an answer to a fair and important question. Mr. Robideau also issued a common street threat: "I'll deal with you later," which perhaps was intended to intimidate me from asking further questions.

Since this is a matter of freedom, perhaps life & death for John Graham, who has family, children, friends, and associates from three decades of work in Canada for human rights and other issues (mercury poisoning, uranium mining, etc.) you should be extremely careful in making unfounded accusations and in supporting those who do.

As you also witnessed, Mr. Robideau further suggested that he knows “the people” who ordered the death of Ms. Pictou Aquash. I rose again to ask Mr. Robideau two more questions:

2. Who are these people?

3. What evidence do you have that they ordered an execution?

Again, as you saw, Mr. Robideau refused to offer any evidence and again leveled insults: “white man”, “pig” and so forth, which seems to be his stock insult for someone who asks inconvenient questions.

Keep in mind, there is no evidence that AIM ever dealt with informers by “executing” them. It is unheard of. In the cases of Douglas Durham, Mernie Morning Gun, Virginia “Blue Dove” DeLuce and dozens of other informers, when AIM discovered them, they simply exposed them. AIM leaders even supported Norman Brown, a teenager at the time, whose mother begged him to cooperate with in fabricating evidence. There exists zero public evidence that AIM ever executed any informer: ever, anywhere. There is lots of evidence that the FBI snitchjaggeted activists and framed people for bogus crimes.

Mr. Robideau claims he has come to Vancouver from his home in Spain to inform us about the campaign to free Leonard Peltier from jail. And what information did Robideau provide? Mr. Peltier has been in jail for 31 years. Some of his supporters are asking Democratic presidential candidates to promise to pardon him, if they get elected, at the end of their term. And we can sign a petition. That’s it. All of this is available in the public record. Any new campaign? Any new ground-breaking information? Not that I heard.

In November and December 1981, I participated with Bill Means, Tom Campbell, Susanna Styron and others in the first effort to convince a departing president to pardon Mr. Peltier. We spent two months in Washington DC lobbying the US Congress, Senate, and White House staff of President Jimmy Carter. We introduced many US politicians – some who still support Peltier – to the case. Seeking such a pardon remains a noble pursuit, although the chance of ever getting a US president to pardon Peltier is extremely slim given those who have personal reasons for keeping him imprisoned. Did Robideau offer any new approach? Any new progress?

Is it a coincidence that Mr. Robideau happens to be in Vancouver right now, delivering his modest update on the Peltier case? Some people believe it is not, and that the real purpose of Mr. Robideau’s visit at this time is to denounce Mr. Graham, denounce his supporters, split the native support groups in BC, and prejudice Canadian opinion against Mr. Graham. I do not
know if this is true, but at the one meeting I attended, Mr. Robideau did indeed engage in all these activities, twice accusing Mr. Graham of murder and claiming to know the “people” who ordered this murder.

As you may know, Robideau’s theory about this case in Canada is very similar to that of U.S. Attorney Robert Mandel, who filed a U.S. bid to extradite Graham to the US. In a letter on January 26, 2004, Mandel assured Canada that “the evidence . . . is available for trial” and sufficient to prosecute. Since Mr. Robideau offers no evidence, let’s see what Mr. Mandel came up with: Mandel told Canada that spiritual leader and elder Al Gates was “available
for trial” and could testify that Graham was present at the murder. This proved to be false. Mr. Gates had been dead for nine months when Mr. Mandel put his name forward. Arlo Looking Cloud, the only alleged witness to Aquash's murder, says the FBI induced him with heroin and alcohol to give a false statement. He now insists he will not testify against Graham.

A third witness, Frank Dillon, has denied making any incriminating statements against Graham, and claims Mandel’s letter misrepresented him.

Graham's lawyer, Terry LaLiberte, says he wants Mandel to explain in court the gaps, misrepresentations, and flaws in the extradition request. He said “In Canada, I’d drive a truck through the holes in this case.”

John Graham and his family and supporters in Canada believe that the US FBI has fingered him for this crime to cover their own complicity in the murder. Graham was once visited in the Yukon by FBI agents, who asked him to testify against other AIM leaders. Graham refused. He claims the agents warned him that they would charge him with the crime, as they have now done.

I first wrote about the Peltier case in 1975 as a reporter here in Canada. As you may know, Peltier came through Vancouver at that time and received assistance from local first nations leaders. In 1981 I published my book on the war against indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, Blood of the Land. Excerpts from my book are available online. It would also be helpful to read Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Johanna Brand's The Life and Death of Anna Mae Aquash.

I wrote a story for the Vancouver Sun, regarding the case against John Graham, published January 8, 2005. At that time, two people phoned me to discourage me from writing and publishing the story. The first is a person, who goes by the name of “Paul DeMain” (suspected alias), believed by many observers to be acting on behalf of the US FBI. “DeMain” was at first very reasonable in spinning the FBI version of the story, but over several days of phone calls, he turned threatening and insulting. Eventually he phoned the senior editors at the Vancouver Sun to denounce me personally and threaten them if they published the story. By some means, he intercepted my personal emails to my story sources, and sent quotes to the Vancouver Sun, out of context, claiming to demonstrate that I was “biased.” The editors at the Vancouver Sun reviewed my story, judged it to represent all opinions fairly, to be reasonable and well researched. They published the story in spite of the attacks by the US agents.

The second person to call me was your new friend Bob Robideau. He tracked me down and phoned me from Spain two years ago to tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about. I asked him these questions, which he still has not answered:

4. How did he, Bob Robideau, in Spain, in 2005, know that I was writing a story about John Graham and Anna Mae Aquash in Vancouver?

5. How did he know what I was writing, and how did he judge it wrong?

6. Why did he bother to track down and discourage a journalist in Vancouver, writing a story for a local newspaper about a local man charged with a crime by the US Attorneys’ office?

Typically, Mr. Robideau has not answered these questions.

Aaron, a man’s life and liberty hang in the balance. If you are going to organize events that appear designed to denounce this man and his supporters, accuse him of murder, and split the native groups in BC against each other, you better do your homework. You better absolutely know for yourself, through your own research and intelligence, what the facts of this case are. Do not listen to Wormtongue tactics, whoever comes up here to play that role. Learn for yourself. All the information is available. Before you organize events that denounce John Graham, you should talk to him, to his family, to his friends, to his supporters.

My life, my research, my evidence and knowledge are an open book. I have no secrets. I’ll answer any question any time. I’m not attempting to spin truth or insult anyone. I have worked as a reputable journalist for 35 years and never once been accused of misrepresenting facts in order to bias a story.

You may be sincere, but you are playing with life and death, so you need to be more than sincere. You need to be informed in depth.

===========================

My questions to Mr. Robideau remain before him and you. Perhaps you could supply answers:

1. What evidence does Mr. Robideau possess that suggests Mr. Graham was involved with the death of Ms. Pictou Aquash?

2. Who are these people that he claims ordered an execution?

3. What evidence does he have that they ordered an execution?

4. How did he, Bob Robideau, in Spain, in 2005, know that a Vancouver reporter was writing a story about John Graham and Anna Mae Aquash?

5. How did he know what I was writing, and how did he judge it wrong?

6. Why did he bother to track down and discourage a journalist in Vancouver, writing a story for a local newspaper about a local man charged with a crime by the US Attorneys’ office?

And, of course, many want to know:

7. What is his purpose for being in Vancouver right now?

8. Why is he eager to denounce Tutchone-Canadian John Graham?

I have more questions, but answers to those would be a good start.

 
 
R. Weyler
Vancouver BC
April 2, 2007

 

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