Saturday, June 28, 2008

"AIM Myth Busters" Begins Posting on June 26, 2008

Retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph H. Trimbach and his son John M. Trimbach, the co-authors of American Indian Mafia, innaugurated their new blog on June 26, 2008. Their blog is called AIM Myth Busters. Their site is mirrored here.

Trimbachs chose this symbolic date for their first post because on June 26, 1975, two FBI agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, were murdered on Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Joe Trimbach was the Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI office when these murders occurred. The Minneapolis Divison of the FBI has jurisdiction in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

On June 1, 1977, a career criminal named Leonard Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life terms "for the first degree murder of and for aiding and abetting the first degree murder of [the] two FBI agents."

There may be more to the story than the quote above, because Trimbachs write:

In 1977, Peltier was convicted of aiding and abetting, or helping in the murders, a level of guilt that carries the same level of complicity and punishment as if the defendant actually pulled the trigger.

The official FBI history of the Reservation Murders Case (RESMURS) is here.

The Trimbachs believe that the murders of these two young men probably led to the murder of a young Indian woman named Anna Mae Aquash in December 1975. Anna Mae was one of four people who reportedly heard Peltier bragging about the murders, as Anna Mae's friend Ka-Mook testified at the trial of one of Anna Mae's killers, Arlo Looking Cloud.

Indians testified at the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud and will also be witnesses at the trial of John Graham, who is scheduled to go on trial for her murder on October 6, 2008.

The Trimbachs explain the purpose of AIM Myth Busters:

Joe and John Trimbach, authors of American Indian Mafia, An FBI Agent's True Story About Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM), comment on timely topics and questionable histories in a continuing effort to correct the historical record of 1970s Pine Ridge, honor the fallen, and raise awareness of issues important to Native Americans.

I am really appreciative of the fact that Joe Trimbach, who is retired and has many grandchildren, is still trying to set the historical record straight and get justice for people murdered on Indian lands. He is telling the story of Indians overcoming historical suspicions and malicious rumors and working with their government to get justice for crime victims.

As the Minneapolis FBI said in a well-known document titled "Accounting For Native American Deaths" (2000):

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and its Agents in South Dakota can only operate effectively where we have the trust and help of the American people. For South Dakota, much of our work revolves around crimes occurring in Indian Country. The trust and help of reservation residents are vital to the accomplishment of our sworn duty.

I think that the trial of John Graham will show that this trust is being built, and I am glad that the Trimbachs and Indians like Richard Two Elk, Paul DeMain, and Tim Giago will be chronicling this important story.


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