Monday, May 12, 2008

Paul Wolf Watch: The Fifth Installment

Paul Wolf, "an impostor trying to save his own legacy"

Note: The article posted below was written by the former FBI Special Agent in Charge of North and South Dakota, Joseph H. Trimbach, and was originally posted (scroll down here) in response to a recent blog posting by Washington civil rights attorney, Paul Wolf. [See my earlier article about this here.]

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

“Anna Mae Aquash was executed by a single gunshot to the back of her head on orders from the American Indian Movement because they believed her to be an informant for the F.B.I.”

That statement by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in June of last year points to a renewed interest in solving this 33-year old murder case. The alleged trigger-man, John Graham, was the subject of the Canadian Court’s order which sent him in chains to South Dakota. He will stand trial later this year. Another person implicated, American Indian Movement (AIM) attorney Bruce Ellison, was labeled a possible co-conspirator in a 2004 trial that found AIM member Arlo Looking Cloud guilty of aiding and abetting the murder.

Bringing the perpetrators to justice and telling the true story of the American Indian Movement’s crimes against the people of Pine Ridge is good news for Indian Country. But not everyone is happy that the truth is finally seeing the light of day. Particularly bothered are the self-anointed “historians” of the AIM legacy, usually found wearing a trench coat of conspiracy theories and half-truths. They do not like their version of Pine Ridge history challenged by anyone, even by people who were there.

A good example was recently provided by Washington-based attorney Paul Wolf. In 2001, Wolf oversaw a report presented to the U.N. Human Rights Commission [See here] about civil rights violations against AIM and other dissident groups. Central to Wolf’s argument are alleged abuses of COINTELPRO, the FBI’s counter-intelligence program originally designed to disrupt the Communist Party’s infiltration of America. While there were some abuses of COINTELPRO, Wolf’s presentation has proven to be a distinctly unreliable source of information for telling us about it. After reading my book, American Indian Mafia, you’ll see that all of Wolf’s assertions regarding the American Indian Movement, for example, are either distortions or outright lies. Also telling, Wolf’s report overlooks the fact that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover formally terminated all COINTELPRO operations on April 28, 1971, well before AIM violence attracted the attention of federal investigators.

Not surprisingly, Wolf blogged [Scroll down here] that my book should be ignored, mostly because I’m old and cranky. You gotta love that, a civil-rights lawyer in favor of age discrimination. Curious as well, Wolf chose to air his views at indianz.com, where Indian Country bloggers are often critical of fat-cat, white lawyers. (Note to the red-haired attorney: I know Indians. Indians are my friends. Mr. Wolf, you’re no Indian!)

And while it’s true I’m getting up there in years, I’m still young enough to spot an impostor trying to save his own legacy. The problem with Wolf’s report, as he surely knows, is that it is mostly propaganda designed to advance a political agenda. Its credibility is not helped by virtue of its co-authors, among them John Conyers, Cynthia McKinney, and Sheila Jackson Lee, all members of the Congressional Black Caucus. These politicians were evidently enticed into endorsing Wolf’s political nonsense based on assumed government abuses against the Black Panthers, a holdover group of extremists from the violent 1960s. Again, while there may have been some truth to the allegations, it is impossible to tell from this highly falsified report.

Want more proof that Wolf’s rant is political horse hockey? Consider that defrocked Professor Ward Churchill lent his expertise in research, and that Left-wing ideologue Noam Chomsky is listed as an unbiased contributor. Wolf howls about everything from the assumed subversion of the press to the plight of “political prisoner” and convicted killer Leonard Peltier. The unsuspecting reader is thus treated to the usual mantra of an all-powerful government subverting the rights of the common man, with solutions founded in rank socialism. Even Jimmy Carter is implicated in a vast conspiracy to deprive citizens of their rights under the guise of promoting American security. Wolf’s report also proved to be the perfect vehicle from which Bruce Ellison could construct plausible alibis for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. That’s right, the same Bruce Ellison who, for over 30 years, has been in the business of blaming the FBI for the crime, while skillfully diverting attention away from his own alleged involvement in the murder—nice work if you can get it. Do you suppose the U.N.’s High Commissioner, Mary Robinson, to whom the report was presented, had a clue about any of this?

Of course, the real travesty of justice was not the actions of government Agents who faithfully and legally did their jobs. It is rather the legitimacy granted those who practice the same type of dishonesty and recklessness in print they accuse others of having committed in upholding the law.

Wolf did not get very far before another blogger [See here] pointed out that he failed to note numerous references to COINTELPRO in my book. No wonder. Referencing the inconvenient truths in American Indian Mafia would have exposed his report for the fraud that it is. Wolf and his ilk cannot afford to analyze my book on its merits; that would require far too much honesty and integrity. I am proud to say that, so far, Native Americans who are not fooled by the usual AIM smoke and mirrors are among my strongest supporters. They know the truth and they see through Wolf’s sheepish attempts to run from it. Your turn, old man.

Joseph H. Trimbach, the former FBI Special Agent in Charge of North and South Dakota, is author of the book, American Indian Mafia, An FBI Agent’s True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM).

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