Why Was Anna Mae Aquash Really Murdered?
"December 12, 1975: Anna Mae is driven to the reservation home of Bill Means where AIM members Clyde Bellecourt and David Hill are said to be waiting. Later that night, Theda Clark, Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham drive Anna Mae to a remote part of the Pine Ridge Reservation. After Looking Cloud and Graham force Anna Mae out of the car, they drag her to the edge of a cliff. Graham allegedly shoots her in the head."---Former FBI Agent Joseph H. Trimbach and his son John"Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a Mi'kmaq Indian from Canada, was brutally murdered in 1975. Her murder can only be described as a conspiracy and a cover-up by the American Indian Movement [AIM]...It would be a terrible miscarriage of justice if only the foot soldiers are prosecuted and not those that gave the order to murder Anna Mae or those that knew about it and failed to prevent it or to report it."---Lakota Sioux journalist Tim Giago, speaking truth to power"[In 1973,] The AIM people destroyed the homes of Indian residents [living in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation]. They stole valuables and burnt furniture. They shot pets, dogs and cats, and smashed children's tricycles. They defecated and urinated on floors—after having 'purified' themselves in 'sweat' rituals."---John BurrowsThe FBI has a very long memory. One murder they never forgot was the brutal December 1975 execution of the idealistic American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Anna Mae Aquash.This murder was a federal crime because it happened on Indian lands, and the FBI has been investigating this difficult case for more than 30 years.People have come forward to tell what happened in recent years, so the FBI and federal prosecutors have finally been able to develop enough evidence to take these killers---and perhaps even the AIM kingpins who ordered Anna Mae's murder---to court.As the renowned Lakota journalist Tim Giago observes:Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a Mi'kmaq Indian from Canada, was brutally murdered in 1975. Her murder can only be described as a conspiracy and a cover-up by the American Indian Movement...It would be a terrible miscarriage of justice if only the foot soldiers are prosecuted and not those that gave the order to murder Anna Mae or those that knew about it and failed to prevent it or to report it."In October 2008, John Graham, the alleged triggerman, will finally go on trial. John Graham was a young, low-level member of AIM Security in 1975. Now he is in his 50s. If John Graham is remorseful and tells the truth about how he was manipulated as a young person, it might teach other young people not to listen when older people incite them to commit a crime.Although John Graham may have been Anna Mae's actual killer, the testimony of cooperating AIM witnesses may prove that some AIM leaders ordered this killing.The retired FBI agent Joseph H. Trimbach and his son John have posted a timeline (scroll down) about the crimes of the leadership of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The timeline also appears in their book American Indian Mafia along with a detailed analysis of the history of the American Indian Movement.Anna Mae Aquash may have been murdered because she witnessed the convicted killer Leonard Peltier brag about murdering two FBI agents on June 26, 1975.According to the Trimbachs:Leonard Peltier [is] AIM’s preeminent symbol of cowardice and violence. With a reputation as “AIM muscle,” Peltier aspired to be Dennis Banks’s bodyguard. According to several Native Americans, Peltier interrogated Anna Mae Aquash at gunpoint in 1975. Peltier serves two consecutive life sentences for the brutal slayings of two FBI Special Agents in June of 1975. Both Agents were shot in the face at point blank range. Peltier later bragged about the killings, yet managed to convince several politicians, authors, entertainers, world leaders, and human rights activists of his innocence. Although his support has begun to wane, Peltier still enjoys a worldwide following among true believers, political extremists, and self-anointed elites.You can read some articles about the murdered FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams by scrolling down here.Leonard Peltier's lawyer Bruce Ellison reportedly encouraged other AIM members to believe that Anna Mae was an FBI informant. Maybe he did this to protect his client Leonard Peltier. Hopefully the trial of John Graham will bring the full truth about Anna Mae's murder and the AIM's true agenda to light.According to the retired FBI agent Joseph H. Trimbach:Leonard Peltier’s long-standing lawyer and defender... [Bruce] Ellison has been implicated in the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash by several AIM members who place him at meetings where Aquash’s fate was discussed. When questioned before grand juries, Ellison has repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.The AIM has murdered whites, blacks, and Indians. They have killed law officers and civil rights activists who got wind of the criminal nature of the leadership.The AIM claimed to be advancing the civil rights of Indians, but they were really a terrorist organization that kidnapped Indians, turned an Indian village into a smoking ruin, stole or destroyed Indian artifacts from Clive and Agnes Gildersleeve's Wounded Knee museum (twice), sold the stolen artifacts, destroyed the Gildersleeve's museum, stole Indians' property, raped, and killed people. Read some posts about the Gildersleeve's museum and how the AIM preyed on Wounded Knee by scrolling down here. My first post about the ruin of Wounded Knee is here.The AIMsters really had a nerve to claim they were defending Indians. As John Burrows writes:[O]ne hundred to two hundred Indians led by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), swarmed into Wounded Knee and wrecked Clive Gildersleeve's museum. They knocked the old man down and spat on him. They smashed and overturned glass display cases and slashed hide paintings and pictures. Then they left, these self-proclaimed AIM "warriors," taking with them whatever artifacts they had not destroyed. Altogether they stole, destroyed or damaged $50,000 worth of irreplaceable Sioux treasures. Many of these items were later sold to white collectors. "The reason for that destruction," AIM "leader" Clyde Bellecourt said, "was that the owner, even though he was married to an Oglala Sioux, was white.....The AIM people destroyed the homes of Indian residents. They stole valuables and burnt furniture. They shot pets, dogs and cats, and smashed children's tricycles. They defecated and urinated on floors—after having "purified" themselves in "sweat" rituals. Sanitation does not obtain in the Indian movement.Sometimes people are blinded to the truth about terrorists by the BIG LIE: terrorists often camoflage their real agenda by seeming to champion a good cause. This seems to have been the case with the AIM. The way the AIM acted at Wounded Knee proves they were burglars, thieves, arsonists, rapists, kidnappers, and killers, not champions of the Indians' civil rights.Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85) On February 27, 1973, a mob led by the AIM seized the Indian village of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. They took hostages; they reportedly raped and killed some women; they started shooting at federal agents. Eventually AIM reduced the village to rubble. The area around the village may hold the remains of people murdered during the occupation of Wounded Knee.What happened at Wounded Knee was terrorism!Some of the lawyers who were members of the AIM were involved with the American Communist Party. One lawyer, Mark Lane (scroll down here), even had a relationship with the Soviet KGB's propaganda apparatus. This was revealed when a KGB archivist named Vasili Mitrokhin (scroll down here) defected to the British.Communist propagandists don't care about improving people's civil rights. Their goal is to destroy our trust in our government by depicting murdering criminals as civil rights champions and the innocent victims of "frame-ups." Their goal is to destroy our trust in government by depicting our law enforcement and military as terrorists who murder innocents and use biological warfare to commit genocide.AIM seems to have murdered and buried perhaps six victims in unmarked graves during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. They murdered two FBI agents on June 26, 1975, and they murdered Anna Mae Aquash in December 1975. They were terrorists who used force, violence, and propaganda to manipulate the U.S. government, discredit law enforcement, and mask their own criminality.Here is the dreadful passage from the Trimbachs' timeline that tells of the brutal, gory terrorist murder of Anna Mae Aquash, a young woman who believed in the AIM's lofty, professed values but witnessed their criminal underbelly:December 10 (on or about), 1975: Anna Mae is carried from the Denver home of Troy Lynn Yellowwood by John Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud and put in the back of Theda Clarke’s red Pinto hatchback. Several witnesses observe that Anna Mae is bound and carried against her will. She is eventually taken to the offices of the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Offense Committee in Rapid City, where she is questioned by AIM members. Anna Mae is moved to two residences owned by Thelma Rios-Conroy. AIM leaders hold further discussions about Anne Mae’s loyalty. According to News From Indian Country sources, WKLDOC [Wounded Knee Legal Defense Offence Committee] attorney Bruce Ellison is said to have encouraged the idea that Anna Mae might be an informant.December 12, 1975: Anna Mae is driven to the reservation home of Bill Means where AIM members Clyde Bellecourt and David Hill are said to be waiting. Later that night, Theda Clark, Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham drive Anna Mae to a remote part of the Pine Ridge Reservation. After Looking Cloud and Graham force Anna Mae out of the car, they drag her to the edge of a cliff. Graham allegedly shoots her in the head. [Full timeline--scroll down].
Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity, and a Long, Long Memory: The FBI Turns 100!
FBI Director Mueller honors fallen FBI agents at a centennial memorial wreath at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial July 17 in Washington, D.C.---FBI Photo Gallery
"Last year, the FBI announced it had identified 100 truly cold cases from the Civil Rights era for review.'We have a very, very long memory,' Mueller said."---ABC NewsA very, very long memory! That is just so cool! Be scared, bad guys! Be very, very scared!The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will turn 100 on July 26, 2008. President Bush has proclaimed July 26 FBI Day:For 100 years, the committed men and women of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have worked diligently to deliver justice and keep Americans safe. On FBI Day, we recognize the Bureau's many accomplishments and pay tribute to all who have served in its ranks with valor and dedication.The FBI traces its origins to 1908, when under the leadership of President Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, a force of Special Agents was created, later to be called the Bureau of Investigation. As a Federal agency with the power to investigate crimes across State lines and enforce Federal law, the FBI has protected our country against threats from abroad and caught dangerous criminals like "Baby Face" Nelson, John Dillinger, Ted Kaczynski, and Ramzi Yousef. Today, the FBI is charged with guarding our Nation from terrorist attacks, combating public corruption and organized crime, resisting cyber attacks, and opposing other high-technology crimes. The FBI also has a deep commitment to civil rights, helping protect the values we cherish.With an abiding respect for the Constitution, the men and women of the FBI bring strength, impartiality, and devotion to their pursuit of justice. They continue to uphold their motto of "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity." On FBI Day, we especially remember the fallen agents [see here] who paid the ultimate price in serving our country and keeping our Nation safe.The FBI has posted an article about how they will commemorate their history called "FBI 100: Let the Celebrations Begin." One of the articles in the FBI 100 series is called "The Top Ten Moments in FBI History."Here is a listing of their commemorative articles:FBI 100 Series:- "FBI Day" Celebrations Gallery- The Kansas City Massacre- Bonnie and Clyde- The Unabomber- The Lindbergh Kidnapping- First Strike: Global Terror in America- An Odd Couple of Crime- The FBI History websiteNational Geographic News profiles the FBI in an article called "Inside the FBI." ABC News has an article on the FBI called "Cold Cases Are Not a Thing of the Past: As Bureau Turns 100, Director Mulls Open Cases":The Federal Bureau of Investigation will turn 100 on July 26. Through the years the FBI has nabbed some of America's most notorious gangsters, but there are plenty of cold cases that have eluded them...If you visit the FBI office in Washington, D.C., you'll see a remarkably real looking wax figure of J. Edgar Hoover leaning over a desk. The FBI has tried to retain the bulldog, "never give up" attitude of the former director when it comes to unsolved cases.In speaking about the unsolved case list, [FBI historian] Fox said, "You can't forget these things. The crimes are horrendous. Justice needs to be served."Mueller said there are "a number of the Civil Rights cases that we are taking another look at, with Civil Rights organizations, ones that I would love to see solved, even though maybe 40 to 50 years have gone since the incident."The FBI recently saw one such case resolved. In 1967, a jury had found Edgar Ray Killen, among 17 others, not guilty in the murder of three Civil Rights workers, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. The case, which the FBI named "MIBURN" for "Mississippi Burning," finally ended with a manslaughter conviction for Killen in 2005, exactly 41 years to the day that the three men first disappeared.Last year, the FBI announced it had identified 100 truly cold cases from the Civil Rights era for review."We have a very, very long memory," Mueller said.
Dan Rather Rides Again!
UPDATES BELOWThe former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather (above) is suing his former employer for firing him.Dan Rather was fired because he reported a story on 60 Minutes (9-8-04) that was based on unauthenticaed and possibly fabricated documents that purported to be George Bush's Texas National Guard military records. These are called the Killian Documents.These documents could never be authenticated because the man who gave them to CBS, Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, claims he made copies of the documents for CBS and then burned the originals.I think that if Burkett ever had real documents, he would not have burned his evidence. Also, Burkett's account of how he got these documents has changed several times, so we know that he lies. Burkett has admitted that he was lying to CBS when he claimed he got the documents from a Texas Guardsman named George Conn, and then he claimed that he got these documents indirectly from a lady named Lucy Ramirez, but nobody ever found her.Bill Burkett claims that after he made copies of the original documents for CBS, he burned the original documents to destroy DNA so his source could never be identified. I think either Burkett himself or someone he is protecting fabricated these documents.USA Today (9-21-04) reports that Burkett claims he was used:"I didn't forge anything," Burkett said. "I didn't fake any documents. The only thing I've done here is to transfer documents from people I thought were real to people I thought were real. And that has been the limitation of my role. I may have been a patsy."...Burkett recounted his continuing efforts — beginning before he was discharged from the Texas Army National Guard in 1998 — to clean up what he saw as Guard corruption and mismanagement. He said that activity led to a telephone call in March from Ramirez and her offer to provide documents damaging to President Bush.Burkett said Ramirez told him she had seen him the previous month in an appearance on the MSNBC program Hardball, discussing the controversy over whether Bush fulfilled all his obligations for service in the Texas Air Guard during the early 1970s. "There is something I have that I want to make sure gets out," he quoted her as saying.He said Ramirez claimed to possess Killian's "correspondence file," which would prove Burkett's allegations that Bush had problems as a Guard fighter pilot.Burkett said he arranged to get the documents during a trip to Houston for a livestock show in March. But instead of being met at the show by Ramirez, he was approached by a man who asked for Burkett, handed him an envelope and quickly left, Burkett recounted."I didn't even ask any questions," Burkett said. "Should I have? Yes. Maybe I was duped. I never really even considered that."By Monday, USA TODAY had not been able to locate Ramirez or verify other details of Burkett's account. Three people who worked with Killian in the early 1970s said they don't recognize her name. Burkett promised to provide telephone records that would verify his calls to Ramirez, but he had not done so by Monday night.If Burkett believes he was used, why didn't he turn over the telephone records that would verify his calls to Ramirez?It is hard to believe that the fabricator (if he was actually hoping to pass these documents off as authentic) was so unsophisticated that he never realized that typewriter and computer text have a different appearance.Bloggers on the Internet quickly discovered that the documents, which purported to be from the 1970s, had been word-processed at a time when the Texas National Guard used typewriters.Information in the documents also seemed wrong. For example, The Seattle Times (9-11-04), citing The Dallas Morning News, reported:The man named in a disputed memo as exerting pressure to "sugarcoat" George W. Bush's military record left the Texas Air National Guard a year and a half before the memo supposedly was written, his service record shows.An order obtained by The Dallas Morning News shows that Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt was honorably discharged March 1, 1972. CBS News reported this week that a memo in which Staudt was described as interfering with officers' negative evaluations of the future president's service was dated Aug. 18, 1973.Some people have speculated that obviously fake documents were given to Dan Rather by Republican operatives such as Karl Rove in order to discredit Dan Rather when they were outed as fakes word-processed on a computer. Others speculate that Democratic operatives fabricated the documents. Probably only Bill Burkett, a person who was known for his dislike President Bush, knows what happened; and he isn't telling.A media survey in the Washington Post (1-11-05) of the Report of the Independent Review Panel that CBS hired to conduct the postmortem on "Rathergate" concludes that CBS newspeople were uncritical in their handling of the Killian documents because they were motivated by partisanship against President Bush.Now Dan Rather is suing his former employer CBS. The judge in Dan Rather's 70 million dollar lawsuit is named Ira Gammerman. This week, a blog I have never heard of called Connie Talk (7-16-2008) claims:[Judge Gammerman decided] whether or not Rather's legal team can release a set of 10 so-called "secret" documents to the public.According to Rather's attorneys, CBS has objected to the release of these documents, which reportedly support important facts in Dan's case and also relate to "matters of national significance."CBS maintains, however, that they have nothing to hide.In an update, Connie Talk (7-16-08) claims:CBS argued that [the "secret" documents] remain sealed from the public eye, and the Court agreed, including documents that reportedly support Rather's claims.I have no clue what this is all about. Today's NYT (7-18-08) story didn't mention a word about so-called "secret" documents that support Dan Rather's case and touch on "matters of national significance."Dan Rather may have been tricked, but he was pretty gullible to believe these Killian documents without investigating their provenance very carefully. Dan Rather was so eager to find fault with President Bush that his judgement was clouded.UPDATEThis article seems to be talking about what Connie Talk (above) refers to as "secret" documents.Felix Gillette of the New York Observer (7-17-08) writes:Dan Rather and his lawyers were back in a Lower Manhattan courthouse late Wednesday afternoon for yet another round in Mr. Rather's ongoing $70 million civil lawsuit against his former employers.Over the course of a 45-minute hearing in front of Justice Ira Gammerman, tempers occasionally flared as the lawyers for both sides argued over a number of issues, ranging from the scheduling of depositions to the transparency of the discovery process.On the latter issue, Mr. Rather and his lawyers petitioned the justice to release a number of key documents turned up in discovery. Mr. Rather's lead attorney, Marty Gold, suggested to Justice Gammerman that the documents, if released, would help refute CBS's repeated, public characterization of Mr. Rather's claims in the suit as a fantasy. He said that of the thousands of documents handed over by CBS, Mr. Rather would like to give the public access to roughly 10.But the justice was unmoved. He reiterated that while he had no intention of imposing a gag order in the case, he considered the request to release the documents a distraction. He said he would continue to uphold CBS's request to keep the documents from discovery out of the public eye."We think the cat's already of out of the bag," said Mr. Gold."We can close the bag now," responded Judge Gammerman.Judge Gammerman noted that eventually everything will come out to the public if the case goes to trial, as early as this November.The other thorny question was about who should get deposed for this suit; in the process, it became clear who has delivered depositions already."Our position is that Sumner Redstone should not be deposed in this case," a lawyer for CBS told the judge in another part of the arguments yesterday afternoon.Judge Gammerman was again unmoved, and said that he was inclined to order the deposition of Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone but would wait until the other depositions had taken place before ruling on CBS's objection.Throughout the course of the hearing, it became much more clear for the first time who has already been deposed in the case, and who will be deposed in the coming months. According to proceedings today, Mr. Rather has already been deposed; so, too, former F.B.I. agent and Navy aviator Erik T. Rigler. Former CBS News president Andrew Heyward, on the other hand, is tentatively scheduled to be deposed on July 29th and 30th. Ditto CBS president Leslie Moonves, who is penciled in for a deposition on Sept. 24th. [See full text]UPDATE 2Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton claimed in Salon (9-27-07):Rather's suit will become an extraordinary commission of inquiry into a major news organization's intimidation, complicity and corruption under the Bush administration. No congressional committee would be able to penetrate into the sanctum of any news organization to divulge its inner workings. But intent on vindicating his reputation, capable of financing an expensive legal challenge, and armed with the power of subpoena, Rather will charge his attorneys to interrogate news executives and perhaps administration officials under oath on a secret and sordid chapter of the Bush presidency.Well, I think I'll wait to see what the court says. Blumenthal's article didn't address the problems with the so-called Killian documents. He just claimed that Dan Rather was a victim of partisan politics. Blumenthal didn't tell that Mary Mapes disliked George W. Bush, yet he made a big deal out of the fact that the head of Viacom wanted George W. Bush to win the election.Nobody forced Dan Rather to report on the Killian documents before he had established that they were genuine. A professional journalist doesn't do that. Who ever tricked Dan Rather could not have succeeded if Dan Rather had done his job.Blumenthal writes:[CBS producer Mary] Mapes' argument was that the Killian documents "meshed" with the facts in precise and nuanced ways. "The Killian memos, when married to the official documents, fit like a glove," she wrote. "There is not a date, or a name, or an action out of place. I don't think this is right. For example, The Seattle Times (9-11-04), citing The Dallas Morning News, reported:The man named in a disputed memo as exerting pressure to "sugarcoat" George W. Bush's military record left the Texas Air National Guard a year and a half before the memo supposedly was written, his service record shows.An order obtained by The Dallas Morning News shows that Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt was honorably discharged March 1, 1972. CBS News reported this week that a memo in which Staudt was described as interfering with officers' negative evaluations of the future president's service was dated Aug. 18, 1973.
Rep. Tom Davis Asks for Committee's Yellowcake Investigation to Be Expanded
It seems like there are still a few "loose ends" to tie up about the Niger yellowcake, CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, and journalist Robert Novak. Today (7-17-08), the office of Rep. Tom Davis (shown above) released this statement:Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote to Chairman Henry Waxman today to ask him to expand the committee’s investigation into yellowcake from Niger to include the government’s mishandling of secure information.Here is the letter.
Ranking Member Davis' Letter to Chairman WaxmanAs they say, "The Devil is in the details." A careful reading of Rep. Davis' letter reveals some pretty curious facts:As the Committee continues to consider how to obtain copies of reports compiled by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the interview of the Vice President conducted as part of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's "investigation into the leak of the covert identity of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Valerie Plame Wilson," I ask that you also consider joining me in initiating an inquiry on several other important matters broadly related to pre-war
intelligence on Iraq's nuclear program.I know of your abiding interest in this issue, and I hope you agree that in order to help complete the historical record it would be beneficial to explore the additional investigatory avenues discussed below.
Ensuring that there are effective govemment-wide procedures guiding the classification and protection of classified material is essential if the United States is to confront the global security challenges it faces. Only by fully understanding past missteps can we be certain that problems will not recur. These subjects I suggest offer the prospect of significantly expanding public knowledge of the events and individuals involved.
.The CIA's erroneous expression of doubt in September and October 2002 to the White House, the British, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about lraq's interest in uranium yellowcake, when analysts at the CIA, in fact, had no such doubts.
.Valerie Plame Wilson's role in dispatching her husband to Niger in February 2002. Varying accounts of Ms. Wilson's role, including one she gave under oath to the Committee on March 16, 2007, differ from a February 12, 2002 e-mail authored by Ms. Wilson, upon which findings of the bipartisan report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence were based.
.The circumstances and background of Robert Novak's encounter on July 8,2003, with an individual on a Washington, D.C., street corner, a few blocks from the Department of State, minutes after departing from a meeting with Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage in which Mr. Armitage mentioned Ms.Wilson's place of employment. [Full text of letter]
Retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson "Disappeared" in Iran
This father and grandfather is Bob Levinson. He has a wife and seven children. Mr. Levinson disappeared from Iran's Kish Island on March 9, 2007, but the FBI believes he is still in Iran. Mr. Levinson's family maintains a site about their husband and father called Help Bob Levinson. His son Daniel recently wrote a poignant article about his missing dad in The Washington Post (6-22-08).It seems that in Iran the government takes people away, and their families don't know where they are. I wrote yesterday about the disappearance of two Iranian doctors, AIDS experts, who were detained by the Iranian authorities and have not been seen since.The American and international media is also continuing to wonder what happened to the retired FBI agent Mr. Levinson.Mr. Levinson's son Dan wrote in The Washington Post (6-22-08):We are no closer to finding answers than we were when our father disappeared March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran. He was on a private business trip, and I emphasize "private" because, although he worked for the FBI years ago, he has been retired for more than a decade.When he disappeared, my father was investigating cigarette smuggling -- a known problem in that region -- on behalf of several large companies. The last man known to have seen him claims to have been detained by security officials on Kish Island and says he believes the same thing happened to my father. A few weeks after his disappearance, a news article by Press TV -- an Iranian government-sanctioned media outlet -- reported that my dad was "in the hands of Iranian security forces." No other details were provided.Since this report more than a year ago, the Iranian government has said it has no information about my father.Mr. Levinson's wife Christine is going to Iran again to search for him:[Christine] Levinson [is] concerned about her husband's health. He suffers from diabetes, hypertension and gout."No matter what, I am going to continue to search for Bob for as long as it takes. This is my job," she noted.Reuters (7-15-08): notes:[Christine Levinson] said the next visit was aimed at following up to see if officials had uncovered any new leads. In addition, they hoped to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."They said their religion requires them to help all people and they would continue to investigate. ...That was over seven months ago and we still have not heard anything," she said.Bob Levinson retired from the FBI a decade ago and his wife said he told her he was going to Kish to investigate counterfeiting and smuggling of cigarettes for a client, most likely a tobacco company.Unfortunately, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is believed by some to have been one of the the "students" who kidnapped American diplomats during President Carter's administration and held them hostage from 1979-81 until President Reagan was innaugurated.Daniel Pipes writes in Kommersant Daily (11-13-06):Five former American hostages confirmed that Ahmadinejad as one of their captors. William J. Daugherty, a former intelligence officer, said he saw Ahmadinejad 8 to 10 times at the start of his captivity: "I recognized him right off. … I remember so much his hatred of Americans. It just emanated from every pore of his body." [Russian version here. Different views here.]Today, while an American father and husband is missing in Iran and possibly held by the Iranian government, President Ahmadinejad addresses our university students and the United Nations. Maybe some American students or U.N. officials could ask President Ahmadinejad where people are disappearing to in Iran.Everything possible should be done to have Mr. Levinson returned to his family. FBI agents do so much to keep our people safe. They are people with integrity and respect for the law and human rights who speak truth to power every day in their jobs, unlike some dishonest ex-perfessors who tell contemptible lies about the FBI for a living. [See here and here.]According to The Washington Post (4-4-07):A senior U.S. official said Levinson's project was"innocuous" and "had no connection with anything political." Levinson also may have been doing some consulting work, U.S. officials said.Here is the FBI (7-15-08) press release:FBI Seeking Information about Missing Retired Special Agent Robert LevinsonRetired FBI Special Agent Robert Levinson has been missing since March 2007 and is believed to be in Iran. As Mr. Levinson is a retired Special Agent, the FBI has an interest in his disappearance. Through the FBI’s legal attaché offices worldwide, the FBI is working with the Department of State to gather information regarding his safety and whereabouts.The FBI has obtained information that Mr. Levinson arrived on Iran’s Kish Island on March 8, 2007, had several meetings at the Maryam Hotel, and then checked out the next day. However, Mr. Levinson did not fly to Dubai on a previously scheduled flight. There is no record of Mr. Levinson leaving Kish Island. Nor is there any record of Mr. Levinson using his passport or credit cards after March 9, 2007.“This is a matter of great concern for the FBI. Bob had a long and distinguished FBI career, and he has a wife, four daughters, three sons, one grandchild, and another on the way, all awaiting his return. Plain and simple, our goal is to bring Bob home to his family,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Joseph Persichini, Jr., Washington Field Office.Anyone with information about Mr. Levinson’s disappearance should contact their local FBI field office, or if outside the U.S., the legal attaché at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can also submit information on the web at www.fbi.gov.
Iranian AIDS Doctors Taken Away by Iranian Authorities
Kamiar (left) and Arash Alaei during an interview with RFE/RL in 2006."[T]he main attitude in the region is that HIV is a Western disease; so we don't get HIV. So when we broke the silence of denial in Iran and we [successfully got] the support of the religious leaders, we could motivate other countries in the region."---Kamiar Alaei" I think all religious leaders don't have similar attitudes. We should find positive people -- religious leaders, leaders of different countries. And by connections and discussion with them, they can find a way to motive negative leaders, and negative religious leaders."---Arash AlaeiWhen Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia on September 24, 2007, he elicited jeers and laughter when he told his audience, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country.Of course, like every country, Iran has homosexuals, and now two Iranian doctors who revolutionized how AIDS is treated in their country have been taken away somewhere by the Iranian authorities:RFE/RL (7-16-08) reports:Two prominent Iranian physicians have been detained by the Iranian government for unknown reasons.Brothers Kamiar Alaei and Arash Alaei -- internationally recognized for their revolutionary work in how drug addicts and HIV/AIDS-infected people are treated in Iran -- were taken to an undisclosed location by the authorities in late June.In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, the mother of the two men, who did not want her name used, said they are entirely innocent of any wrongdoing."They were not [involved] in politics. They worked in the field of AIDS and drug addiction," she said. "They have appeared on Iranian state television many times to talk about these issues.... They have been involved only in scientific work and research."...Read an interview with the Alaei brothers conducted in Washington in 2006 by RFE/RL correspondents Fatemeh Aman and Heather Maher here.Both men have spoken about the situation with HIV/AIDS in Iran during professional visits to the United States.Kamiar Alaei, co-founder of Global Health in the Middle East and Central Asia, is a doctoral candidate at the State University of New York at Albany School of Public Health. Global Health in the Middle East and Central Asia trains health experts in the treatment and care of HIV/AIDS victims.The Asia Society recognized him as a 2008 Asia Fellow, "one of 23 new fellows identified as being among the most promising trendsetters and emerging leaders in the Asia-Pacific region."Kamiar reportedly returned to Iran in early June to spend the summer working there.The two brothers also participated in the Aspen Health Forum in October 2007, a gathering of U.S. and international health leaders organized by the Aspen Institute.The BBC (6-16-04) wrote a story about the Alaei brothers.
Stay Tuned: While Ward Churchill Promises, Joe Trimbach Delivers
"[T]he motherfucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway."---Leonard Peltier bragging to Ka-mook Banks, Anna Mae Aquash, and others about his cold-blooded 6-26-75 execution of a badly-wounded FBI agentAlmost one year ago, on July 24, 2007, Ward Churchill was fired from his job at the University of Colorado. The University issued a press release that stated:The University of Colorado Board of Regents...voted to accept President Hank Brown’s recommendation to dismiss Professor Ward Churchill from the faculty of CU-Boulder for conduct that fell below minimum standards of professional integrity...The university’s review of Professor Churchill focused on his professional activities, not his statements about victims of September 11, 2001. Professor Churchill, like every United States citizen, has the right to make controversial political statements. Early in the investigation, the university determined his speech was protected by the First Amendment.The University of Colorado values academic freedom as the bedrock of any university. But for academic freedom to thrive, it must be accompanied by academic and professional integrity.Now comes the most ridiculous, hypocritical, and bombastic posturing on the site of the Ward Churchill Solidarity Network (6-26-08):Ward Churchill’s case continues to be emblematic of the ongoing attacks on those who teach and write about “unpopular” truths, insist that the histories of Indigenous peoples and peoples of color be made accessible, and resist U.S. violations of human rights and international law.This statement strikes me as breathtakingly mendacious because it is Ward Churchill himself who attacks people who teach and write about unpopular truths. It is Ward Churchill himself who attacks people who insist that the histories of Indians be made accessible. It is Ward Churchill himself who attacks people who defend the human rights of Indians.One of the main people whom Ward Churchill has maligned in his "research" is the retired FBI agent Joseph H. Trimbach, who tried to defend the Indians of Wounded Knee from the AIM terrorists.In 1973, Mr. Trimbach was the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI when the American Indian Movement (AIM), led by Russell Means, attacked the Indian village of Wounded Knee and held people--mainly the elderly and children--hostage. AIM pillaged the store, the museum, people's cars, and homes. AIM shot and injured law enforcement that responded to protect the people.Ward Churchill tried to whitewash the role of AIM and discredit one of the Indian victims, the elderly Agnes Gildersleeve, by claiming in his book book Agents of Repression (1988 p. 143) that the Gildersleeves were white. Mrs. Gildersleeve was Indian; her white husband had lived among the Indians for many decades.Churchill claimed that the Gildersleeve's store deserved to be destroyed because it was "government chartered," but the AIMsters who ruined the buildings justified their actions by claiming that the store was operating without a government license. The Gildersleeve's small museum of Indian artifacts was plundered; its contents were stolen or destroyed.Some Indians say that during the occupation of Wounded Knee women were raped, and AIMster Leonard Crow Dog let it drop that AIM may have "disappeared" some people and buried their bodies near the village of Wounded Knee. The entire town was left a ruin and has never been rebuilt.On June 26, 1975, AIM murdered two FBI agents named Ronald Williams and Jack Coler while they were on a routine investigation at Pine Ridge. Leonard Peltier was convicted for this crime. In December 1975, AIM leaders ordered the execution of the Canadian Indian Anna Mae Aquash and blamed her murder on the FBI.Mr. Trimbach is the one who is teaching and writing about these unpopular truths and insisting that the history of Pine Ridge be made accessible. Ward Churchill is suppressing the truth with his fake history.Joe Trimbach and his son John have written a book called American Indian Mafia. Their book and site show that Ward Churchill's books and essays are filled with falsehoods.Ward Churchill has written that the two FBI agents murdered on on Pine Ridge Indian reservation on June 26, 1975, deserved to die. On June 26, the anniversary of these murders, the WCSN promised:To bring you updated information on such struggles, to keep you informed of developments in Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the University of Colorado (scheduled for trial in March 2009), and to better respond to your queries, we’re launching a new website (right here) in mid-July.We’ll be featuring a column written by Ward, blogs, an updated calendar, news, and easier access to documents about CU and their corporate cronies.Stay tuned.On June 26, 2008, the day that the WCSN made promises, Trimbachs delivered on their blog AIM Myth Busters. The first post tells about the murders of the two FBI agents and about the murder of Anna Mae Aquash by AIM. Trimbachs tell how Ka-mook Banks testified in court that Leonard Peltier bragged about killing a badly-wounded FBI agent. Anna Mae was also present when Peltier boasted of his cold-blooded murder, and Peltier's confession may have cost Anna Mae her life.On June 30, 2008, the Trimbachs spoke on the Montana program Native View with Jenna Spotted Wolf about the upcoming trial of John Graham for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash and subsequently issued this press release (7-10-08) about their appearance:The Trimbachs talked about their book, American Indian Mafia, An FBI Agent’s True Story About Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM). Much of the discussion focused on the upcoming trial of John Graham, the alleged triggerman in the 1975 murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Graham will go on trial October 6 of this year. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that AIM leaders ordered Aquash’s execution-style murder because they believed her to be an FBI informant. Joe Trimbach explained that Aquash was never an informant.The show focused on the murder of Ray Robinson, a civil rights activist under Martin Luther King. Robinson, the only black male seen in Wounded Knee village during the 1973 occupation, was allegedly shot in the leg during an argument. His body is believed to be buried near the village ruins. The Trimbachs emphasized the need for justice in the Aquash and Robinson murders.Also discussed was the falsified history of Pine Ridge and the manufactured persona of convicted killer Leonard Peltier.Ward Churchill misleads people with his propaganda about Pine Ridge history. He publishes selfish, hypocritical rants on the Internet about his violated free speech and "unpopular truths."Meanwhile, back in the real world, Trimbachs are telling what really happened and giving the living law enforcement and Indian eyewitnesses to AIM's crimes a chance to have their perspective heard and recorded in the history books and on radio, T.V., and the Internet.For example, Trimbachs tell how the former common-law wife of AIMster Dennis Banks, Ka-mook, used her free speech to witness to the truth in open court:Ka-Mook: We were sitting one day at the table in this motor home. Anna Mae [Aquash] was sitting by me, and my sister was on the other side, and Dennis [Banks, Ka-mook's common-law husband] was standing in the aisle, and Leonard [Peltier] was sitting on this side, he alternated between sitting and standing. And he started talking about June 26, and he put his hand like this [gesture holding a gun] and started talking about the two FBI Agents.McMahon: What did he say?Objection overruled.McMahon: Tell the Court as best you remember exactly what he said.Ka-Mook: Exactly what he said?McMahon: Exactly what he said.Ka-Mook (extremely upset): He said the motherfucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway.
"State Security" Intercepted FARC Communications with Confederates Inside the U.S.
American hostages Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves, and Thomas Howes in 2006 while held by the FARC Terrorists"I want to send a message to the FARC...you guys are terrorists. You deny that you are, you say with words that you're not terrorists, but your words don't have any value. Don't tell us that you're not terrorists, show us that you're not terrorists."--Marc GonsalvesFormer French-Columbian hostage Ingrid Betancourt is reunited with her children Melanie and Lorenzo.It turns out that someone's "state security" was intercepting the phone calls of hostage-holding FARC terrorists, some of whom were operating inside the U.S.Breitbart (11-10-08) reports:The stunning rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. military contractors owed its success not just to artful deception, but also to a five-year U.S.-Colombian operation that choked their captors' ability to communicate.Known as "Alliance," it began with a satellite phone call in 2003, just weeks after the Americans' surveillance plane crashed in the southern Colombian jungle, according to U.S. and Colombian investigators and court documents.The call came from Nancy Conde, the regional finance and supply chief for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, whose boyfriend would become the American hostages' jailer. She was calling confederates in Miami to see if they could supply the rebels with some satellite phones.What Conde didn't know was that state security agents were listening.U.S. law officers arrested the Miami contacts, who in exchange for promises of reduced sentences put Conde in touch with an FBI front company, according to a U.S. law enforcement official involved in the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.Over more than four years, that company provided wiretapped satphones and other compromised telecommunications equipment that threw the rebels off balance and eventually helped authorities strangle their supply lines.The operation laid crucial groundwork for the brazen July 2 commando rescue of 15 hostages held by a rebel unit that Conde supplied, the biggest blow ever dealt to the FARC.In all, U.S. and Colombian agents intercepted more than 5,000 rebel phone conversations, investigators told The Associated Press.They allegedly heard Conde and her coconspirators negotiate shipments of everything from assault rifles to condoms for distribution to about a third of the FARC's estimated 9,000 fighters, including the 1st Front that held the hostages."We're not talking just about finances, communications equipment, food and weapons—but also medical supplies, medicines and people who cared directly for the wounded," said Luis Ernesto Tamayo, the security official who ran the Colombian side of the operation. He wouldn't say whether hostages were discussed in any of the intercepted conversations.Many of the calls went to a rebel "call center" in the gateway city of Villavicencio, where radio communications from the jungle were relayed to international phone circuits.It was in Villavicencio that Conde, 35, allegedly operated several front companies. Located where the Andes mountains open out onto Colombia's southeastern plains, the city's airport was a key conduit to airstrips in rebel-dominated zones.In addition to Miami—a major shopping destination for Latin Americans—she had suppliers and buyers in at least seven countries and territories including Brazil, Venezuela and the three Guyanas, the U.S. investigator said. The FARC units operating in her area were major cocaine exporters."A big part of the business was drugs for arms," the American official said....On Feb. 2, authorities pounced on Conde, arresting her as she entered Colombia from Venezuela, where she'd gone to give birth. They rounded up a total of 39 alleged members of her supply and communications network, including three doctors—one of them a 61-year-old Cuban—and two of Conde's three female deputies.The arrests, which began in 2006, notably included the capture of Jose Maria Corredor at a jungle camp. He allegedly shipped in hundreds of assault rifles from Venezuela in exchange for cocaine....Conde and 10 others had been indicted in the District of Columbia in September on charges of conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization. The group included Aguilar, alias "Cesar," and Alexander Farfan, alias "Enrique Gafas," both of whom were captured in the July 2 rescue mission and also face charges of hostage-taking and terrorism.The United States is seeking their extradition.The U.S. indictment, unsealed in February, says "Cesar" and "Enrique Gafas" had the three Americans in their custody at least as early as 2006 [Full text].
Goons Murdering Journalists in Central Asia
Murdered 26-year old Central Asian journalist Alisher Saipov"A professional journalist has paid the ultimate price by doing his job...We are all deeply saddened by Alisher's brutal death but firmly resolved to continue reporting events in Kyrgyzstan and throughout Central Asia."---Voice of America Director Danforth Austin“We are shocked and saddened by the brutal murder of Alisher Saipov and send our condolences to his family and friends...Saipov reported extensively on repression in neighboring Uzbekistan and criticized Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The authorities in Kyrgyzstan must now launch a thorough and timely investigation into our colleague’s murder and bring those responsible to justice.”---Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Executive Director Joel SimonRFE/RL (7-2-08) reports that state-controlled Uzbek media goons are again making threats:Last fall, Alisher Saipov, a human rights reporter for Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was denounced by Uzbekistan's state-controlled media. Not long afterward, the 26-year-old journalist was fatally shot [see here] in front of his office in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Human rights groups believe that Saipov, an ethnic Uzbek who was born in Kyrgyzstan and lived there, was killed by the ruthless security services of neighboring Uzbekistan.Last month, the Uzbek media were again stirring up trouble. State television smeared the entire Uzbek service of RFE/RL, denouncing its journalists as criminals and airing broadcasters' photographs as well as private information about their family members, including home addresses [See here]. The television service has rebroadcast this program at least three times in recent days. Saipov had received death threats, and the first death threat against a colleague at RFE/RL headquarters in Prague came last month. It's an ominous pattern.Also last month, Solijon Abdurahmanov, one of the few independent journalists working inside Uzbekistan, was arrested after police officers claimed to have found narcotics in his possession. This seems to be a favorite trick. Previously, the cousin of an RFE/RL Uzbek journalist was sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug possession -- shortly after authorities became aware of his intention to defect.Such is the gangster-like world of Central Asia today. This deplorable human rights situation poses a familiar quandary for policymakers. The next U.S. president will struggle daily to balance our security interests with our commitment to democracy and human rights. And the stakes in Central Asia are high.Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, countries rich in oil and gas, both have repressive regimes. Both are also courted by Russia and China. Uzbekistan, which the organization Freedom House ranks as on par with North Korea in terms of political rights and civil liberties, has military bases that U.S. and NATO forces use to stage operations in Afghanistan. In May 2005, Uzbek security forces opened fire on an anti-government rally in the eastern city of Andijon, killing as many as 1,000 demonstrators; when the Bush administration criticized the regime's response, Uzbek authorities ejected U.S. forces from the country. The government also closed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's bureau in the capital, Tashkent, after RFE/RL journalists sought to investigate the massacre....Last week, a teacher who has frequently appeared on RFE/RL programs in Turkmenistan was arrested, taken to a psychiatric clinic and threatened. When he refused to sign a statement vowing to sever contact with RFE/RL, he was incarcerated. One RFE/RL Kazakh colleague has lost two brothers who are widely believed to have been killed by the Kazakh equivalent of the KGB. Uzbek colleagues in our Prague headquarters worry about their relatives back home. "They won't shoot my mother today," one has said. "They'll have her killed in a car accident six months from now, when nobody's looking." That should mean one thing: We have to continue looking -- and they have to know it. [Full text]
Litvinenko Killing by Russian Goons Has British-Russian Relations in the Deep Freeze
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (left) and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev (right) cool in Japan (7-7-08)---RFE/RL (7-13-08)"We have justice to do on the part of someone who was murdered on British soil, and it is not an acceptable position to be where we are."--Prime Minister Gordon BrownBrian Whitmore (RFE/RL 7-13-08) reports:When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown set off to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time, he carried an agenda.For starters, Brown wanted to press the new Kremlin leader on the 2006 killing in London of Aleksandr Litvinenko. Virtually as the meeting began, the BBC was airing allegations that the Russian state appeared to have orchestrated the former security officer's death by radiation poisoning. [See here.]..."The big European countries are all energetically making peace with Russia. You've got France, Germany, and Italy all in the Russian camp as far as energy is concerned," says Edward Lucas, deputy foreign editor of the British weekly "The Economist" and author of the book "The New Cold War: How Russia Menaces Both Russia and the West." "And so I think to some extent, Britain worries it may be a bit isolated on this."...Germany, France, and Italy -- which have been eager to cut energy and other commercial deals with the Kremlin -- have long preferred that the EU take a conciliatory line with Russia. Newer EU members like Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states -- with still-fresh memories of Soviet domination -- have meanwhile pushed for a much tougher stance.The drama lies with the countries that remain somewhere in between. Sweden has sometimes joined forces with the new members, particularly in backing Georgia in its ongoing conflict with Russia. And if Britain were to fully put its weight behind what Lucas calls an emerging "anti-Kremlin axis developing in Europe," it could change the dynamic of the Russia-EU relationship decisively."To me, the really interesting question is whether Britain will then throw its lot firmly with the nascent anti-Russian bloc that is taking shape around the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Poland," Lucas says.There are some indications that London is moving in that direction. British diplomats managed to get a protocol inserted into the EU's framework for negotiations on Russia's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the ex-KGB agent accused of involvement in Litvinenko's death....A key sticking point within the EU -- and between Europe and Russia -- will be how to deal with the ongoing crisis in Georgia. Tbilisi's push to join NATO and the EU has infuriated Moscow, which has sought to pressure Georgia via its proxies in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.In a clear show of support from Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice traveled to Tbilisi last week where she warned Russia against escalating tensions....But there are, nevertheless, powerful forces at play preventing the EU from confronting Russia on Georgia, the Litvinenko assassination, or other issues.Medvedev has been much more conciliatory in his rhetoric than his bombastic predecessor Vladimir Putin, and many European leaders prefer to give the new president a chance to back up his words with actions.Moreover, many Kremlin-watchers believe there is a debate under way among the Russian elite about the long-term efficacy of the hard-line foreign policy that has been prevalent in recent years."What the EU is doing at the moment is [seeking] to facilitate a change in Russian policy," says Michael Emerson, a specialist on Russia-EU relations at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels. "I think the majority balance among EU foreign ministers is still hoping that they should play their cards in order to facilitate such a positive movement rather than to flip over into a more confrontational mode."This policy inclination, analysts say, coincides with powerful commercial incentives like Germany's participation in the North Stream pipeline project with Russia and joint projects between energy companies like Russia's Gazprom and Italy's Eni.Eugeniusz Smolar of the Center for International Relations in Warsaw says you can see "horror on the faces" of business leaders in Europe when relations with Russia deteriorate."The problem is that there are vested interests -- mainly economic interests, but also strategic interests -- that do not allow [these countries] in these circumstances to see Russia as an enemy, [or even] as a major adversary," Smolar says.Such calculations, however, may change as the Anglo-Russian dispute unfolds.A defiant Brown, unswayed by angry calls from Moscow to "deny or confirm" the BBC report, told the House of Commons on July 10 that the Litvinenko case "would not be closed."He added, "We have justice to do on the part of someone who was murdered on British soil, and it is not an acceptable position to be where we are."The Daily Mail (7-11-08) observes:Relations between London and Moscow hit a new low yesterday after Russia named a British diplomat as a spy.Intelligence sources in Moscow claimed that the man, who is employed at the British Embassy in a job promoting trade, was a senior secret service agent.They 'unmasked' him in retaliation for what they saw as Britain's provocative and bungling actions ahead of Gordon Brown's meeting with new Kremlin leader Dmitry Medvedev three days ago at the G8 summit.This included a British intelligence source claiming that the FSB – formerly known as the KGB – was involved in the London murder of Russian emigré Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned by polonium-210 and a bid to murder billionaire Boris Berezovsky, an arch-enemy of ex-president Vladimir Putin.Russian security officials said the official, named as Christopher Bower, director of UK trade and investment at the British embassy, was a senior British intelligence officer.Mr Bower worked as a reporter for the BBC before joining the UK Foreign Office in the 1990s.The Russians claimed he used his diplomatic cover to maintain contact with Russian MPs, radical opposition members and human rights groups in the Caucasus region. 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