Saturday, February 28, 2009

FINAL EDITION: Goodbye, Dear Rocky Mountain News!

Goodbye, Colorado

"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to you today. Our time chronicling the life of Denver and Colorado, the nation and the world, is over. Thousands of men and women have worked at this newspaper since William Byers produced its first edition on the banks of Cherry Creek on April 23, 1859. We speak, we believe, for all of them, when we say that it has been an honor to serve you. To have reached this day, the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, just 55 days shy of its 150th birthday is painful. We will scatter. And all that will be left are the stories we have told, captured on microfilm or in digital archives, devices unimaginable in those first days. But what was present in the paper then and has remained to this day is a belief in this community and the people who make it what it has become and what it will be. We part in sorrow because we know so much lies ahead that will be worth telling, and we will not be there to do so. We have celebrated life in Colorado, praising its ways, but we have warned, too, against steps we thought were mistaken. We have always been a part of this special place, striving to reflect it accurately and with compassion. We hope Coloradans will remember this newspaper fondly from generation to generation, a reminder of Denver’s history – the ambitions, foibles and virtues of its settlers and those who followed. We are confident that you will build on their dreams and find new ways to tell your story. Farewell – and thank you for so many memorable years together." (The Rocky Mountain News 2-27-09, midnight)

My heart is broken. The Rocky Mountain News closed on Friday. I am really sad that this great newspaper was swept away by the recession and by the change in America's reading habits. Nobody bailed out the Rocky, and a lot of good men and women have lost their jobs and their passions.

I am still hoping the Rocky may somehow reemerge as an on-line publication.

Some bloggers berate the main-stream media (MSM), but not me. I know my blogging is nothing compared to professional journalists.

The Rocky Mountain News believed in free speech. They gave ordinary people like me a chance to make our views heard.

The Drunkablog notices something kind of miraculous. The farewell comments of Snapple and JonBen that were posted after the RMN article "Goodby, Colorado" (February 27, midnight) were picked up by the Columbia Journalism Review when they reposted the Rocky's farewell to Colorado!

Drunkablog writes:

Check out the Rocky's front page

Spooky. Sad.

Update: The Columbia Journalism Review notes the Rocky's passing. Check out the first comment they plucked from readers' reactions. Then check out the name on the second comment. Talk about spooky.

The Rocky Mountain News wrote a five-part series of articles about ex-professor Ward Churchill's "scholarship." The Rocky spoke truth to power when they confronted the BIG LIES of Ward Churchill. For me, this series was their finest hour, so I am posting links to the articles below.

"Shadows of Doubt (Overview)

Confirmed: Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 1--The Charge: Fraud

Confirmed: Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 2--The Charge: Plagiarism

Confirmed: Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 3--The Charge of Mischaracterization

Confirmed, Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 4--The Charge of Misrepresentation

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ward Churchill "Jokes" in Three Scholarly Books That Mothers Should "Snuff" Their Babies and Kill Themselves to "Do the Planet a Real Favor"

"There are currently no fewer than 24 books in print concerning the Jonbenet Ramsey case."--Discredited ex-Professor and American Indian Movement (AIM) Activist Ward Churchill (Perversions of Justice, p. 402)

[University of Colorado Research Misconduct Inquiry]

Some coward at the The Chronicle of Higher Education (2-15-09) is banning comments about discredited ex-professor Ward Churchill's vicious language. The coward is also suppressing information about how Ward Churchill undermines the sovereignty of Indians, abuses their history to make his political points, tells lies about FBI-backed death squads, and fabricates stories about the US Army deliberately giving the Mandan Indians smallpox.

Professor Marc Bousquet claims that Ward Churchill was fired from his teaching job at the University of Colorado because he wrote an essay called "Some People Push Back." This essay, which characterized the 9-11 victims as "little Eichmanns," was written just after 9-11-01; but because Churchill was a very obscure scholar, the national media only noticed his essay in early 2005 when a student whose dad had been burned up in the Twin Towers complained to his college after he learned that Churchill was coming to speak.

In early 2005, the faux-Indian "scholar" Ward Churchill emerged from obscurity. His falsehoods were chronicled in The Rocky Mountain News [See the end of this article]. His writing was finally examined by real scholars, and he was eventually fired for research misconduct after a long investigation by college professors at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Churchill's big mouth made scholars notice what real Indian voices had been saying for a long time, but a big mouth does not absolve one of research misconduct.

Churchill's research misconduct did not go unnoticed by real Indian people. The Indian law professor Dr. John LaVelle exposed Churchill's dishonest scholarship in 1996. In 2004, the Canadian Indian nation of Churchill's late wife Leah Kelly criticized Churchill for misrepresenting their history and her family.

One thing I pointed out on the CHE site is that the former Boulder, Colorado professor Ward Churchill "jokes" in three scholarly books that mothers should "snuff" their babies and kill themselves "to do the planet a real favor."

In his 2003 book Perversions of Justice (p. 402), Churchill also complains in a footnote about the excessive media coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey murder. The ex-Professor has even counted the number of books published about Jonbenet's murder. Even I didn't do that. According to Ward Churchill, "There are currently no fewer than 24 books in print concerning the Jonbenet Ramsey case."

I find Ward Churchill's negative attitude about the JonBenet coverage very strange considering the fact that a Boulder lawyer named Lee Hill claims that he [Lee Hill] hid a witness in the Ramsey case in the home of an American Indian Movement (AIM) activist.

Churchill writes on page 370 of Perversions of Justice:

Every wide-eyed little waif starving to death in Iraq and the reservations of Native North America is of a value identical to that with which a Jonbenet Ramsey or Danielle van Dam is currently imbued. From this realization, had it occurred, one could hope that certain conclusions might accrue, conclusions resulting not just in an American "regime change," but in an alteration of public sensibility that left the likes of Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright sitting where by rights they belong: in a defendants' dock overshadowed by the gallows.

At the very least, it was reasonable to expect that it might at last dawn on average folk that, to quote Georgia State University law professor Natsu Saito, "if Americans want their own kids to be safe again, the way to make it happen is really not very complicated---stop killing other people's babies." (Perversions, p. 370; Note: Natsu Saito is Churchill's current wife.)

Ward Churchill writes as though he were an expert on the U.N. sanctions on Iraq, but in "Some People Push Back," he hasn't yet learned how to spell the names of Ambassador Madeleine Albright or Denis Halliday, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq .

As NBC News (1-6-2006) explains:

The oil-for-food program ran from 1996 to 2003. It was created to help Iraqis cope with U.N. sanctions imposed after Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It let the Iraqi government sell limited — and eventually unlimited — amounts of oil primarily to buy humanitarian goods.

If Saddam was eventually selling unlimited amounts of oil, I think Iraqis were hungry because Saddam and his sticky-fingered helpers in the UN and elsewhere took so much of the oil-for-food money for themselves.

If you read Ward Churchill's famous 9-11 essay, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," he divines that in 1996 Madeleine Albright "responded" to the 1998 remarks of a UN official named Denis Halliday!.....Odd.....How did Madeleine Albright ever manage to respond to Halliday two years before he made his remarks? He didn't even have that job in 1996. [See more about this here.]

Perhaps because they were unfamiliar with his work, scholars failed to notice that Churchill's "shocking" 9-11 comments were actually quite typical of his writing. The scholars were only reading the media, I guess; they were unacquainted with Indian publications about Ward Churchill or with his ignorant, mendacious, creepy books.

I don't like to think that American scholars actually knew that Ward Churchill "jokes" in three books that mothers should "snuff" their babies and kill themselves "to do the planet a real favor." However, Churchill is famous now, and I still seem to be the only person who has ever thought that it is very abnormal to keep repeating this "joke" in scholarly literature.

I suspect that if a lunatic professor were to tell other professors that they should "snuff" their babies and kill themselves "to do the planet a real favor" that professors would not rush to defend the lunatic's free speech.

Ward Churchill also reveals that he has daydreams about politicians being hanged:

[R]everies of malignant toads like Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and Jesse Helms squatting in the shadows of the gallows are simply too pleasant to be suppressed. [2003 Introduction to Churchill's book Acts of Rebellion; cited by Bruce Fein, "Professorship not a License" 2-15-05]

I have these delightful visions which is what puts me to sleep at night of Madeleine Albright, Jesse Helms, and Henry Kissinger all in a nice neat little row with nooses around their necks and... And the current crop is amply entitled to the same destiny as far as I'm concerned. Do I think anybody's going to do it? Well, that's an interesting question. Who would be doing it? There's only one possible answer: you. We. Us... [audio]---Ward Churchill 3-25-05

Were the opportunity acted upon in some reasonably good faith fashion – a sufficiently large number of Americans rising up and doing whatever is necessary to force an immediate lifting of the sanctions on Iraq, for instance, or maybe hanging a few of America's abundant supply of major war criminals (Henry Kissinger comes quickly to mind, as do Madeline [sic]Albright, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton and George the Elder) – there is every reason to expect that military operations against the US on its domestic front would be immediately suspended. [Ward Churchill, "Some People Push Back."]

On June 26, 1975, two young FBI Special Agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, were shot to death execution-style at close range on Pine Ridge Indian reservation after they were already injured and on the ground. When ex-Professor Ward Churchill claimed that the two murdered FBI agents died "Custer-like--in their self-made trap," he viciously disparaged these victims of terrorism in exactly the same way that he disparaged the 9-11 victims as "little Eichmanns." [Read about FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams here.]

Churchill has claimed, variously, that he was on Pine Ridge the day of the shootings or the day after. He also has claimed that he was "a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) security team at the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota in the early 1970's."

Churchill even claims that he taught the Weather Underground terrorists how to make bombs.

I believe in free speech for Ward Churchill. That's why my my blog has chronicled the loathsome ex-teacher's free speech, which he has often used to tell audiences in very graphic language who he thinks deserves to be snuffed, burned alive, shot, fragged, hanged, kneecapped, dismembered, stabbed in the throat, and so on. Here is a little taste of Ward Churchill's violent rhetoric.

"Is Ward Churchill the New Michael Bellesiles" by Dr. Thomas Brown is very informative and details Churchill's advocacy of assault, terrorism, and murder:

In 1998, Churchill published Pacifism as Pathology, a manifesto justifying the use of political violence. Churchill claims to have taught bomb-making to the Weather Underground. Churchill called for breaking the kneecaps of tourists headed for Hawaii, as a political statement in support of Hawaiian nationalism. He repeatedly called for the destruction of the United States. Churchill gave speeches in which he offered justifications and explicit strategies for successful terrorist actions against the US.

Churchill’s personal life echoed this theme of violence. Churchill claims to vandalize or destroy state property as revenge for every traffic ticket he receives. A number of people had accused Churchill of assault or threats of assault. Joanne Arnold, an administrator on Churchill’s home campus, reported that Churchill had threatened in a phone call that she would “get hurt” if she didn’t back off her position in a dispute over naming a dormitory. Carole Standing Elk, an Indian activist, complained that Churchill had spit on her during an argument. David Bradley, a New Mexico artist, complained to his local police that Churchill had threatened to kill him." [Full text]

Some scholars arrogantly claim they are "speaking truth to power" when they defend this brutal, vicious propagandist who publishes his lies in a KGB mouthpiece. Ward Churchill claimed in a KGB publication that FBI-backed death squads killed 342 Pine Ridge Indians who were affiliated with the American Indian Movement. [More about Churchill's strange Pine Ridge statistics here.]

Ward Churchill has also mischaracterized the words of genuine scholars to give credibility to his claim that the US Army deliberately infected the Mandan with smallpox. [See
"Did the U.S. Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill’s Genocide Rhetoric" (2006) by Dr. Thomas Brown in Plagiary.]

Dr. Brown writes:

Churchill fabricated all of the central details of his [Mandan Indian] genocide story. Churchill also falsified the sources he cites in support of his genocide charges, sources which say the opposite of what Churchill attributes to them. Moreover, we must conclude that falsification and fabrication are habitual with Churchill. This essay has analyzed not much more than three cumulative pages of Churchill’s writing, drawn from across six different essays. (Since Churchill published his second version at least twice, this adds up to at least seven different publications.) Within those few pages, Churchill has committed multiple counts of research misconduct—specifically, fabrication and falsification.

Churchill "cites" The Effect of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian (1945) by E. Wagner Stearn, Ph.D. and Allen E. Stearn, Ph.D. to give the impression that his claim is documented by these respected scholars. In fact, this book actually chronicles in painstaking detail the attempts of the American government to innoculate Indians against smallpox.

In a discussion about the health effects on Indians of the construction of the Pacific Railroad, the Searn and Stearn book even mentions that some trouble-makers tried to convince Indians that the whites planned to deliberately infect them with contaminated clothing:

Mischief makers tried to provoke the Indians against the whites by telling them that they were to be exterminated by smallpox, introduced in clothing sent to them. [Stearn and Stearn. The Effect of Smallpox on the Destiny of the Amerindian (102)]

Churchill is a mischief maker, too. His fabricated history of the Mandan genocide reminds me of the KGB lie that the US Army invented AIDS to kill black people. In the USSR, the leaders of the Soviet Academy of Sciences actually did "speak truth to power" and denounce this lie right in Izvestia:

The New York Times (11-5-87) reported:

Soviet scientists have disavowed charges in the Soviet-sponsored press that the AIDS virus was artificially cultivated at a secret American military base.The scientists, Roald Sagdeyev and Vitali Goldansky, publicly distanced the Soviet Academy of Sciences from the accusations about American responsibility for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. They said they had protested the appearance of Soviet articles that repeated those contentions.The disavowal was contained in Izvestia, the Soviet government newspaper...

Finally, in 1992, KGB chief Primakov made this frank admission in Izvestia:

[KGB foreign intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists' 'crafty' plots were fabricated in KGB offices."--Izvestia (3-19-92)

I am thankful that the CU scholars finally examined Churchill's "scholarship" and saw through his divisive lies. It's too bad they didn't listen sooner to what Indian sources had been saying about Churchill.

Dr. Thomas Brown, Dr. John LaVelle, and the CU scholars who investigated Churchill really did "speak truth to power" when they exposed Ward Churchill's lies. Scholars are supposed to try to uncover the truth, and they really did uncover the truth about the fake Indian Ward Churchill.

I was glad that Indian people finally were heard on the subject of the "wannabe" Indian Churchill. Dr. LaVelle is a good example of a real Indian professor. When Indian nations want a lawyer, they often choose Dr. LaVelle.

Media and Scholarly Research:

The Rocky Mountain News wrote a five-part series of articles about Ward Churchill's "scholarship."

Shadows of Doubt (Overview)

Confirmed: Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 1--The Charge: Fraud

Confirmed: Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 2--The Charge: Plagiarism

Confirmed: Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 3--The Charge of Mischaracterization

Confirmed, Ward Churchill is a Fraud, Part 4--The Charge of Misrepresentation

The University of Colorado also investigated and fired Ward Churchill for violating the ethics of scholarship all CU professors must abide by.

Law Enforcement Holding "Pow Wow" about JonBenet Ramsey Murder

"One year, one of JonBenét’s classmates brought cupcakes to school because it was her birthday. Unfortunately, the mother had miscounted and come up with one cupcake short of the number of children in the class. Everyone was in a quandary, and the little girl didn’t feel like she should have to give her own cupcake away. 'Why don’t we cut my cupcake in half?' JonBenét suggested. 'That’s a good idea,' the teacher replied. 'Then everyone can have one.' 'Fine,' JonBenét replied. 'I’ll take one of the halves and someone can eat the other one.” The teacher reported this incident to Charles Elbot, the principal of the school, who awarded JonBenét one of his 'I caught you being good' rewards for her thoughtfulness. Boy was she ever proud!"--Ramsey facts

On February 3, 2009, The Rocky Mountain News reported that city, state, and federal law enforcement authorities were planning a two-day "pow-wow" in the next few weeks to review the evidence in the December 26, 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey. [See also the Boulder Police press release of 2-2-09 and my earlier post here.] I suppose the authorities must be having their "pow wow" just about now.

Soon, it may even be possible for forensic experts to use the DNA found both inside JonBenet's underwear and on the waistband of her pajamas to create a computer-generated image of the killer's face, and perhaps someday soon the evil kindermord's likeness will emerge from his DNA and even be published in the Rocky Mountain News and on the Internet.

The Daily Mail (2-17-09) reports:

Forensic experts will soon be able to reconstruct facial features and skin just by reading DNA, U.S. scientists said.'Forensic molecular photofitting' maps the genes that are linked to skin pigmentation and facial structure which means a person's face could emerge from the analysis...[More]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Robert Robideau Dead in Barcelona, Spain

"They died Like worms."--Robert Robideau speaking of the brutal 6-26-75 murder of FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler on Pine Ridge Indian reservation. (American Indian Mafia, p. 338)

UPDATE: In a 1994 article, Paul DeMain, who is now the Editor of News from Indian Country, wrote:

Who actually killed at close range FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams on June 26th 1985 [typo--1975], people have asked; who killed Anna Mae Aquash on February 24, 1976? [There are different views on this date.]

Her murder has often been blamed by AIM, on the FBI and vice-versa and the subject is still an emotional issue to many AIM members. It may be that only a handful of AIM members or FBI agents know the true answer to either question.

Both issues were brought up during interviews with Bob Robideau and Ward Churchill by News From Indian Country correspondent Shelly Davis (Mid-Jan, 94) when Robideau claims that the Bellecourts provocateured (or bad-jacketed) Aquash as an agent, which eventually led to her death. In addition, Robideau goes on to say that the now infamous Mr. X segment filmed for Incident at Oglala was made in Ward Churchill's home. [For more about the fabricated Mr. X see here, here, and here.]

News From Indian Country (2-19-09) reports [Check the link to see the full story and possibly updates to what I have cited]:

News From Indian Country has received word via email from various friends and the widow of Robert Eugene Robideau, Pilar Campo Robideau of his passing on the evening of February 16th.

According to the information in the emails and Myspace, Robideau suffered a seizure while working in his painting studio at the American Indian Movement Museum he helped create with his wife in Barcelona.

Robideau was a long time member of the Autonomous Chapters of the American Indian Movement, and who along with Dino Butler was acquitted at trial in 1977, of shooting to death two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation on June 26th, 1975. His cousin, Leonard Peltier was later convicted of aiding and abetting on the same murder charges and was sentenced to two life terms in prison. [See the legal history of the Peltier case here.]

Robideau served two terms as director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) where he set the stage in the early 1990s for the emergence of a Mr X who claimed to have been responsible for the shooting of the two agents. Robideau introduced Mr. X Peter Matthiessen on February 17, 1990 at Robideau's home...

Several members of the American Indian Movement, including the late Vernon Bellecourt, former AIM National Chairman John Trudell, and Dino Butler later stepped forward to claim Mr. X was actually Harry David Hill, a current LPDC spokesperson, and refuted his claim of having shot the agents.

In recent years, Robideau actively supported the extradition of John Boy Patton-Graham from Canada [for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash]. Graham is awaiting trial in Rapid City, South Dakota on charges he aided and abetted in the First Degree Premeditated Murder of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash on or around Dec. 11, 1975 on orders of senior members of the American Indian Movement who thought she was an FBI informant. Robideau accused AIM brothers Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt for initiating the actions against Aquash, and claimed that AIM Attorney Bruce Ellison of Rapid City, South Dakota had a hand in framing Aquash as a snitch. [See full text. Watch for updates to this article or new articles at News from Indian Country.]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Forensic Molecular Photofitting Will Soon reconstruct Facial Features and Skin Pigmentation

The Daily Mail (2-17-09) reports:

Forensic experts will soon be able to reconstruct facial features and skin just by reading DNA, U.S. scientists said.

'Forensic molecular photofitting' maps the genes that are linked to skin pigmentation and facial structure which means a person's face could emerge from the analysis, Dr Mark Shriver from Pennsylvania State University said.

The process has already been used to help identify and convict serial killer Derek Todd Lee who murdered seven women in Louisiana...

Dr Shriver said he has now linked DNA that mark a person's ethnic origin with the gene mix of fixed points on the face, e.g. corners of the mouth and tip of the nose.

This allows the computer to build up an image of a face based on the gene mix found in the DNA. [Full text]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pavel Felgenhauer of Novaya Gazeta on the Murders of Baburova and Markelov

Novaya Gazeta Journalist Pavel Felgenhauer

"In the opinion of the Novaya Gazeta staff, of which I am a member, the Russian security services or rogue elements within these services are the prime suspects in the murders of Baburova and Markelov. The boldness of the attack by a single gunman in broad daylight in the center of Moscow required professional preliminary planning and surveillance that would necessitate the security services, which closely control that particular neighborhood, turning a blind eye. The use of a gun with a silencer does not fit with the usual pattern of murders by nationalist neo-Nazi youth groups in Russia, which use homemade explosives, knifes, and group assaults to beat up and stab opponents to death.

The offices of Russia's rulers President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have not issued any statements expressing indignation or offering any condolences after the two murders. This follows the usual behavioral pattern of the authoritarian Putin regime when its critics are murdered in cold blood.--Pavel Felgenhauer of Novaya Gazeta in Eurasia Daily Monitor (1-22-09)

I wrote about this brazen murder here and here. On January 19, 2009, the human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, a journalism student at Moscow State who also freelanced for Novaya Gazeta, were gunned down on the street in central Moscow. On January 29, 2009, Dmitry Muratov, editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta had a meeting in the Kremlin with Russia's President Medvedev. It was Muratov's understanding that President Medvedev will put his authority behind this murder investigation.

A few days before this Kremlin meeting, Anastasia Baburova's colleague Pavel Felgenhauer wrote in the Eurasia Daily Monitor (1-22-09):

On Monday, January 19, at around 3:00 P.M., a Novaya Gazeta reporter Anastasiya Baburova, 25, and a prominent human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, 34, were shot in the head in a Moscow street some half a mile from the Kremlin by a masked gunman with a silencer-fitted pistol. Baburova and Markelov were walking together toward a metro station after a press conference at which Markelov had criticized the early release on January 15 of former Russian Colonel Yuri Budanov, a tank commander convicted and imprisoned in 2003 on charges of murdering a young Chechen girl named Elza Kungayeva in 2000.

Markelov represented the Kungayeva family and was planning to appeal Budanov's release. According to the Moscow police, information retrieved from closed circuit TV cameras installed in the street indicates that the gunman followed Baburova and Markelov from the press conference venue before crossing the street and catching up wit them for the hit. Markelov was killed immediately; Baburova died several hours later in a Moscow hospital (Interfax, January 19; Itar-Tass, January 20; Kommersant, January 20; Novaya Gazeta, January 21).

Markelov had received threats in connection with the Budanov case. He had also represented Mikhail Beketov, the editor of the pro-opposition newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda, who was severely beaten in Khimki last November, as well as the families of many Chechen civilians who had disappeared or were tortured. Markelov had also defended Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in Moscow in 2006.

Baburova was a student of journalism at Moscow State University and since October had been a freelance journalist at Novaya Gazeta, investigating the activities of neo-Nazi groups in Russia. Before becoming a professional journalist, Baburova was a political activist who took part in Other Russia anti-regime protest marches. Baburova was the fourth Novaya Gazeta journalist killed since 2000 (Kommersant, January 20; Novaya Gazeta, January 21).

Budanov has announced that he had nothing to do with the murder. Investigators from the Moscow department of the Investigation Committee of the Prosecutor General's Office believe Markelov’s murder was well-planned and connected to his human-rights activities. According to the investigators, Baburova may also have been intentionally targeted. Hundreds of people in Moscow and other Russian cities have publicly expressed their solidarity and outrage after the murder. Pro-Moscow Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov posthumously awarded Markelov with a medal for his "merits to the Chechen republic" (Itar-Tass, January 20; Novaya Gazeta, January 21). Kadyrov has been accused of complicity in the killing of prominent Chechens as well as being connected with the Politkovskaya murder. Apparently, this time he wanted to stress his innocence publicly.

In the opinion of the Novaya Gazeta staff, of which I am a member, the Russian security services or rogue elements within these services are the prime suspects in the murders of Baburova and Markelov. [Full text]

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pay to Stay: Obama's Man in Azerbaijan

"I'm here as a private citizen, so all I'm doing is talking about elections, and the Internet and democracy, and to talk about our election," [Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe] told a reporter from Radio Free Europe who wasn't admitted to the $peech" [about democracy].--Wall Street Journal (2-10-09)

["RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq, broke the news on Friday that former Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was headed to Baku at the invitation of an organization associated with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev."--See stories here.]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2-9-09) reports:

David Plouffe, the former campaign manager of U.S. President Barack Obama, spoke to some 50 people at a university in Baku on February 9 in a meeting closed to the press.

Journalists were told to leave the auditorium at Gerb (Western) University before Plouffe gave a speech on the 2008 U.S. presidential election and "the power of democracy."

Plouffe is employed by AKPD Media and Messaging, a political-consulting firm that works for Democratic candidates and causes. The firm's founder is David Axelrod, who was the chief strategist on Obama's presidential campaign.

Local media say the invitation is from the Association for Development of Civil Society in Azerbaijan, which acts as a mouthpiece of Aliyev's presidential office. The organization told local media that Plouffe will also meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

But, after his speech, an RFE/RL reporter asked Plouffe whether he planned to raise human rights issues with President Aliyev.

"I'm here as a private citizen, so all I'm doing is talking about elections, and the Internet and democracy, and to talk about our [U.S.] election, and how great it was that so many people participated in it, and that's a lesson I think people can learn."

Plouffe's visit comes little more than a month before a referendum that seeks to remove the two-term limit on any individual serving in the office of president.

Azerbaijani opposition figures say that if the referendum succeeds, Aliyev will become president for life, thus confirming the dynastic rule of the Aliyev family started by his father Heidar...

They note the arrest on January 22 of Fakhreddin Abbasli, a senior official of the Musavat opposition party, which was planning a protest against the referendum. Other Azerbaijani activists say they have been intimidated and arrested when asking people to sign a petition against the referendum.

Isa Qambar, the head of the opposition Musavat party, told RFE/RL that he doesn't know much about Plouffe's visit.

"If he is here to meet the members of the government and to talk about the promotion of civil society, then it would be useful for him also to meet the representatives of the civil groups and political parties, too," Qambar said. [Full text]

Perhaps what David Plouffe did in Azerbaijan should be called "pay to stay," because Obama's "Man in Azerbaijan" accepted a $50,000 speaking fee for his closed speech from an organization that is a mouthpiece for Azerbaijan's President Aliyev, who is repressing his opposition and backing a referendum on term limits that his opposition claims will allow Aliyev to become "President for Life." I don't believe that Mr. Plouffe didn't know that an Aliyev mouthpiece was paying him $50,000 for his secret speech about elections. Mr. Plouffe is a partner in the AKPD. According to the AKPD, Mr. Plouffe "maintained discipline over communications in the [Obama] campaign, including controlling leaks and releasing information..."

The Wall Street Journal (2-10-09) writes:

Azerbaijan is a key U.S. ally but the State Department has also criticized the country for its poor record on human rights and free elections.

Mr. Plouffe holds no U.S. government positions but controls the remnants of Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign organization, which he built and oversaw. His speech at a local university was sponsored by a local nongovernmental organization with ties to the Azerbaijan government.

"I'm here as a private citizen, so all I'm doing is talking about elections, and the Internet and democracy, and to talk about our election," Mr. Plouffe told a reporter from Radio Free Europe who wasn't admitted to the speech.

Mr. Plouffe's appearance in Azerbaijan was arranged by a Washington-based lobbying firm called Bob Lawrence & Associates [here], according to records and interviews. The company lists Azerbaijan among its clients [here] on its Web site. People with knowledge of the speech said the appearance was arranged by the Lawrence firm through Mr. Plouffe's agent, the Washington Speakers Bureau. A person answering the phone at the Lawrence firm said no one was available for comment. A spokesman for the Washington Speakers Bureau couldn't be reached.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr. Plouffe's visit was entirely private. "He's not there at the behest of, and not delivering a message on behalf of, the president of the United States," he said. "If the president had a message for Azerbaijan, he'd pick up the phone." [Full text]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2-10-09) reports:

David Plouffe, the manager for President Barack Obama's election campaign, has been quoted as saying he was not in possession of the full facts when he undertook a paid speaking engagement in Azerbaijan.

"The Wall Street Journal" reported on its website that Plouffe intends to give away his speaking fee of approximately $50,000 to groups that advocate democratization.

A close associate of Plouffe was quoted as saying that he only learned that the speaking engagement was at the invitation of a pro-Aliyev organization after he had already embarked for the Caspian Sea state.

RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service says the organization in question is the Association for Development of Civil Society in Azerbaijan, which acts as a mouthpiece of Aliyev's presidential office. The trip was arranged through a Washington-based lobby group that lists Azerbaijan as a client.

The White House says Plouffe is not representing President Barack Obama or the U.S. administration in any way.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed Plouffe's statement that he is in Azerbaijan strictly as a private citizen...

His trip to Azerbaijan comes at a politically sensitive moment, as Aliyev is set to hold a referendum on March 18 freeing him from constitutional term limits.

Opposition parties oppose the referendum, which they say will allow Aliyev to remain president for life.

Azerbaijani activists have complained of being intimidated and arrested when asking people to sign a petition against the referendum. [Full text]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ten Years After Galina Starovoitova

"Not that she was perfect...She had an acid tongue, once offering mock praise for Communist lawmakers on the floor of the State Duma during the August 1998 financial collapse. 'You say you want to return to the Soviet Union. Well congratulations! You're fulfilling your plan. The shelves in all the stores are empty!'

...Less than a year after her death, the last remnants of democracy were being rooted out, Russian troops were back in Chechnya for a second time in a decade, and an obscure KGB officer named Vladimir Putin was riding a wave of xenophobia to the Kremlin.

These days, the only crowds allowed to pour out on the streets in Russia are those singing Putin's praises -- or denouncing and harassing his enemies."---Brian Whitmore RFE/RL (11-20-08)

I remember Galina Starovoitova with Valdimir Vysotsky's song "The Wolf Hunt." This song describes how the freedom-loving wolves are surrounded, hunted down, and killed by hunters. You can read a bit about Vysotsky and this song here.

Brian Whitmore remembers the Russian State Duma Deputy and human rights activist Galina Starovoitova on the tenth anniversary of her November 20, 1998 murder.

In an article posted on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (11-20-08) Brian Whitmore reports:

Most of all I remember the crowds. The angry and bewildered masses gathered on St. Petersburg's Palace Square the morning after the assassination. The throngs of grieving ordinary people lining up to view her open casket. The haunting scenes of shivering pensioners in shabby overcoats crashing the gates at Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery to watch the twilight burial.

Ten years ago, on November 20, 1998, State Duma Deputy and human rights activist Galina Starovoitova was gunned down in the stairwell of her St. Petersburg apartment. Depressingly -- but not surprisingly -- those who ordered the killing are nowhere close to being brought to justice.

As a journalist working in St. Petersburg at the time, I knew Galina well, covered the aftermath of her assassination, and even endured a frightening interrogation at the hands of the Federal Security Security (FSB) as part of their so-called "investigation" into the killing.

Recent Russian history is littered with depressing watersheds and turning points as the country abandoned its clumsy, tentative, and half-hearted experiment with democracy in the 1990s.

For me, in hindsight, November 20, 1998 was truly the beginning of the end.

Shortly before she was killed, Starovoitova said she was deeply concerned that Yeltsin's successor could turn out to be a "potential dictator" with little interest in democracy.

How right you were, Galina. [Full text]

Putin's Hero: KGB Chief Yury Andropov

"Andropov thought that the Communist Party had to keep power in its hands and to conduct an economic liberalization. This was the path China followed. For people in the security services, China is the ideal model. They see this as the correct course. They think that [former Russian President Boris] Yeltsin went along the wrong path, as did Gorbachev...[Putin and his protégés thought Andropov] was simply a genius, that he was a very strong person who, if he had lived, would have made the correct reforms."---Olga Kryshtanovskaya, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Elite Studies [Search Kryshtanovskaya]

Brian Whitmore has published an interesting article in Radio Free Europe/Radio liberty (2-9-09) about Putin's devotion to the economic ideas of KGB Chief Yury Andropov:

In June 1999, Vladimir Putin laid a bouquet of flowers on Yury Andropov's grave to mark the 85th anniversary of the late Soviet leader and longtime KGB chief's birth.

Shortly after he became Russia's president in 2000, Putin saw to it that a plaque honoring Andropov was placed on the Moscow building where he once lived.

And to mark the 90th anniversary of Andropov's birth in June 2004, Putin arranged for a 10-foot statue of him erected in the suburb of Petrozavodsk, north of St. Petersburg.

Andropov died 25 years ago today, on February 9, 1984, after ruling the Soviet Union for just 15 months. His spirit, however, is very much alive in the current Russian elite. In fact, few former Kremlin leaders are more relevant to understanding today's Russia.

Before his brief tenure in the Kremlin, Andropov was the longest serving KGB chief in Soviet history, running the spy agency for 15 years from 1967-82.

In the mid-1970s, when Andropov was at the height of his power in Lubyanka, a group of eager young KGB recruits from Leningrad fell under his influence. Among these fresh-faced rookies were Putin and key members of his current inner circle: National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, military procurement chief Viktor Cherkesov, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, and Federal Antinarcotics Service head Viktor Ivanov.

As KGB chief, Andropov understood that the Soviet economy was falling dangerously behind the West and needed to be reformed if the country was to remain a superpower. What he had in mind, however, was not a repeat of Nikita Krushchev's thaw. And he certainly wasn't interested in the wholesale political reforms that Mikhail Gorbachev would eventually pursue.

Andropov wanted to introduce limited market mechanisms to make the Soviet economy more competitive with the West. But his plans for an authoritarian modernization left little room for any inkling of democracy or pluralism. Instead, the political system would remain tightly controlled, with the KGB taking a leading role.

This is how Olga Kryshtanovskaya, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Elite Studies described Andropov's vision in a 2007 interview:

"Andropov thought that the Communist Party had to keep power in its hands and to conduct an economic liberalization. This was the path China followed. For people in the security services, China is the ideal model. They see this as the correct course. They think that [former Russian President Boris] Yeltsin went along the wrong path, as did Gorbachev."

Kryshtanovskaya added that Putin and his protégés thought Andropov "was simply a genius, that he was a very strong person who, if he had lived, would have made the correct reforms."

Putin and Co. eventually got their chance to implement their hero's vision, of course. And for awhile things seemed to be going along just swimmingly as pundits swooned about Russia Inc. and the Putin economic miracle.

The party only lasted until world oil prices tanked late last year and exposed the weakness at the heart of the system -- that the Russian economy is dangerously dependent on energy and commodities prices, just as the Soviet economy was in Andropov's time. [Full text]

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Investigators Plan Two-Day "Pow-Wow" to Review Evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey Murder

"We'd love to solve this case for JonBenet so she can rest in peace."--Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner [See also the Boulder Police Department press release- Police reactivate Ramsey case, appoint advisory multi-agency task force (2-2-09).]

Here is a story about this sweet little kindergarten girl:

One year, one of JonBenét’s classmates brought cupcakes to school because it was her birthday. Unfortunately, the mother had miscounted and come up with one cupcake short of the number of children in the class. Everyone was in a quandary, and the little girl didn’t feel like she should have to give her own cupcake away. “Why don’t we cut my cupcake in half?” JonBenét suggested. “That’s a good idea,” the teacher replied. “Then everyone can have one.” “Fine,” JonBenét replied. “I’ll take one of the halves and someone can eat the other one.” The teacher reported this incident to Charles Elbot, the principal of the school, who awarded JonBenét one of his “I caught you being good” rewards for her thoughtfulness. Boy was she ever proud!

The Rocky Mountain News (2-3-09) reports that city, state, and federal law enforcement authorities are planning a two-day "pow-wow" in the next few weeks to review the evidence in the December 26, 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey. [See also the Boulder Police press release of 2-2-09.]

The Rocky Mountain News (2-3-09) reports:

[The Boulder, Colorado Police Department] plans to approach the homicide as a "cold case," and [Chief of Police Mark Beckner] has invited a team of veteran investigators from several state and federal agencies to participate in an "advisory task force."

The group will meet for a two-day "pow-wow" sometime in the next few weeks to review evidence in the case and identify additional testing that might be done.

The task force's goal is to "explore all possible theories about what happened the night JonBenet was killed," Beckner said. He said he wants to go into the two-day meeting "clean" and with no preconceived notions.

"We are open to all possibilities," he said.

The task force will include about 20 people from nine outside agencies, including the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, state attorney general's office and Denver Police Department.

"This effort will be focused on reviewing the case and evidence from beginning to end in the hope that we will come up with new ideas on efforts that could lead to additional evidence," Beckner said. "We are doing this for JonBenet."...

While the list of participants in the advisory task force is still being finalized, the following agencies have agreed to send one or more representatives:

* Colorado Bureau of Investigation
* Boulder district attorney's office

* Telluride Police Department
* Boulder County Sheriff's Office
* Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
* Attorney general's office
* Denver district attorney's office
* Denver Police Department

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tonight University of Colorado Students Should Ask Leonard Crow Dog Where Perry Ray Robinson is Buried

"Because [the Canadian Indian Anna Mae Aquash] was at Wounded Knee when Robinson was shot, some believe that her death is connected to the Robinson murder. She apparently knew more than just the truth about Leonard Peltier's crimes. Soon the wheels of justice may come to a stop at a very green area near Wounded Knee Creek, not far from the village ruins."--Former FBI Special Agent in Charge, Joseph H. Trimbach, American Indian Mafia, updated edition. [Scroll down and see the Trimbachs interviewed by Jenna Spotted Wolf on the T.V. program Native View.]

Above is a picture of Perry Ray Robinson. He was "disappeared" in 1973 during the American Indian Movement's (AIM's) violent occupation of the Lakota village of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Perry Ray Robinson's wife and two children don't know what happened to him or where his remains lie.

An AP (1-16-04) story reprinted by News from Indian Country reports:

"Reliable sources let it be known positively that Ray had been shot and killed at Wounded Knee by an Indian man and buried there. We have been told that a participant in Wounded Knee has heard a definite confession from the man who did it," Cheryl Robinson wrote in a February 1975 request for a meeting with AIM.

According to News from Indian Country:

Perry Ray Robinson Jr., was a civil rights activist who worked with Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young in the the south during the 1960's. Robinson went to Wounded Knee in 1973 to support the American Indian Movement, was seen inside during the occupation, but was never heard from again after April 25, 1973 after a confrontation with AIM Security guards Carter Camp, David Hill and Leonard Crow Dog inside the village.

This evening (2-6-09), Leonard Crow Dog---this sinister AIMster who has information about where Perry Ray Robinson and others "disappeared" by the AIM are buried---will be commemorating the pea-brained Peltier at the University of Colorado:

Colorado Daily (2-3-09) reports:

BOULDER, Colo. — A special event commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of Leonard Peltier will be held in Math 100 on the University of Colorado campus at 7 p.m. Friday.
Hosted by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, and CU student groups 180 Degree Shift at the 11th Hour and Indigenous Support network, the event will feature speaker Chief Leonard Crow Dog, performances by Aztec dancers Grupo Tlaloc and more.

For more information, call 720-231-6987.

I think that the C.U. students should ask Leonard Crow Dog what happened to Perry Ray Robinson and the others who were "disappeared" in 1973 during the violent AIM occupation of Wounded Knee.

A former member of the AIM has told the retired FBI Special Agent Joseph H. Trimbach that Leonard Crow Dog claims to have information about where a number of unknown people murdered by the AIM are buried.

In American Indian Mafia (updated edition), former FBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Trimbach and his son John write:

History tells us that, when it comes to preserving the legacy of the occupation as a "liberation," there is a lot of shoveling to do. A former AIM member informed me that at least one of the old guard is worried. In one of his more lucid moments, AIM's spiritual advisor, Leonard Crow Dog, warned that at least seven spirits haunt the village ruins. He urged a land purchase of the area in order to prevent a gastly discovery. To illustrate, Crow Dog drew lines in the sand and a map while explaining to this Indian, "there's a Mexican, an Italian, a black man, three white women..." Could these be the forgotten souls AIM members do not want people to know about? Was it feared their departure might compromise internal security, should they decide to cooperate with authorities once safely inside a hospital recovery room? Without more evidence, concerns that excavation might disturb sacred ground has outweighed the desire to solve murder mysteries. Some Indians believe it is better to let the dead rest in peace. But others fear that the fallen remain anonymous so as to protect their betrayers, and the legacy already recorded. With the possible exception of Ray Robinson, the deaths remain shrouded in secrecy. The history books consider them all, even Robinson, unworthy of mention.

Recent events, however, offer renewed help for the victims' families. On August 20, 2008, Russell Means' former bodyguard, Richard Marshall, was indicted for aiding and abetting the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. Because Anna Mae was at Wounded Knee when Robinson was shot, some believe that her death is connected to the Robinson murder. She apparently knew more than just the truth about Leonard Peltier's crimes. Soon the wheels of justice may come to a stop at a very green area near Wounded Knee Creek, not far from the village ruins. [American Indian Mafia, 323-324.]

Trimbachs' American Indian Mafia has the scoop on the low-life Leonard Crow Dog, and it isn't a pretty picture. You can buy a copy of this book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The e-book is five dollars.

Joseph H. Trimbach reminds me of the Russian writer Solzhenitsyn because he has also devoted himself to telling an unknown history of our country even though he has been attacked and vilified by criminals who murder people and bury them in anonymous graves. Joseph Trimbach and his son John have interviewed many Indians for their book to uncover the truth just as Solzhenitsyn interviewed many Soviet victims of oppression so that they also could testify about a tragic history that nobody wanted to hear.

Now, Indian journalists are also interviewing the Trimbachs. Scroll down on this list of their appearances to see videos of the Trimbachs being interviewed by Jenna Spotted Wolf on the TV program Native View.

Joseph and John Trimbach are real human rights activists; they are American heroes, unlike the violent, lying criminals who hypocritcially masquerade as Indian rights activists, Leonard Peltier and Leonard Crow Dog.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Leonard Peltier: Still Threatening the FBI after 33 Years

"May death be upon you FBI."--Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier is in prison for the 1975 murders of Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, two young FBI agents who served on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Evidently, Peltier is still stuck on stupid because he reportedly has penned a fatwah to his dwindling followers that begins, "May death be upon you FBI."

Below, I am re-posting "Who Is Leonard Peltier?" (2-4-09) as originally posted on AIM Myth Busters. For more information about this sociopathic murderer, see the website of Joe and John Trimbach, American Indian Mafia. The Trimbachs are the authors of American Indian Mafia: An FBI Agent's True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM), the authoritative account of the history of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who is Leonard Peltier?

Hint: His Handlers Do Not Want You To Know

“May death be upon you FBI.” So begins a threat posted a few months ago on a Leonard Peltier blog site and attributed to the incarcerated felon himself. Peltier was convicted in the 1975 shooting deaths of two wounded FBI Agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams. Both men were shot in the face at point-blank range. Recently, Peltier and his lawyers launched a new charm offensive with the goal of persuading President Obama to grant him his freedom. But surely a convicted murderer who is trying to ingratiate himself to a new President should sound a bit more conciliatory. One would think someone must have advised Peltier that a defiant reference to the crime he was convicted of committing is not the best way to win friends and influence parole boards. Nor do Peltier’s terroristic rants help his chances of being granted a pardon from a newly-pressured President. Perhaps Peltier should explain that the death wish was inserted by one of his propaganda surrogates and claim—as he did during his trial for double murder—that he was not involved. Should that assertion be likewise refuted, Peltier might concede that, okay, he may have authored the heading, but a “political prisoner” who’s had to put up with over 30 years of prison life is entitled to a little payback. In any event, issuing murderous edicts against the FBI from the confines of a federal penitentiary is the act of a real knucklehead, which is why it seems likely Peltier authored the message. Like every other miscalculation he has made, beginning with his decision to become a “cop killer,” this one will surely backfire.

In fact, like all the contradictory alibis Peltier and his lawyers have conjured up over the years, this latest outburst, delivered with the usual malice, only underscores his unmitigated guilt. Look for his next parole board to conclude, with more certainty than ever, that Peltier is undeserving, that Peltier is unrepentant, that Peltier is unquestionably guilty. Hence, his lawyers must press for the last-ditch ploy of Presidential intervention. What they may not want their client to know, however, is that President Obama is unlikely to pardon a vindictive killer-turned-victim who spouts fatwahs from his prison cell. Peltier must hope that the Commander-in-Chief, charged with keeping us safe from terrorists and killers, would risk letting a terrorist-killer go free. Moreover, President Obama would be opposing the judgments of Presidents Clinton and Bush, both of whom were convinced of Peltier’s guilt, and both of whom Peltier now holds in contempt for seeing through his routine. If this is the best strategy this felon and his lawyers can dream up, perhaps he should seek new legal counsel.

The most reasonable conclusion is that Peltier’s ugly missive merely telegraphs his true feelings, as he has been known to do in his defense fund newsletter, now posted under the revamped feel-good title, “Who is Leonard Peltier?” Hint: his handlers do not want you to know the answer. They would have you buy into his pious sermons of self-devotion and an assortment of martyrdom claims his misinformed followers have been trained to disassociate from his crimes at the Jumping Bull compound. Sadly, the Peltier faithful are programmed to deny the reality of a cause célèbre that represents the extreme opposite of true Indian bravery and sacrifice. The required ignorance is truly astounding and no doubt attributable to Peter Matthiessen’s highly falsified Peltier story, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, and Robert Redford’s documentary, “Incident at Oglala.” As described in the book, American Indian Mafia, these accounts were produced by people unmercifully duped by Peltier’s lies.

For many years, Peltier’s number one alibi was that the murders were committed by an apparition known only as Mr. X. The X story was widely promulgated by the aforementioned propaganda pieces, each of which used the X ghost as the centerpiece of Peltier’s defense. None of the people who produced these deceitful stories, by the way, have ever been called to account for their misleading efforts, even after the offending productions were exposed as a series of fabrications. The first clue that something was awry was that Peltier often spoke glowingly of the mysterious phantom who executed two disarmed and injured men. (See Mr. Peltier assured us that Mr. X was a very brave fellow, basically a nice guy, and always respectful of others. The problem was that Mr. X did not exist. Once the X angle was exposed as a complete hoax (by one of Peltier’s accomplices), Peltier had to change his story. And he’s been changing his story ever since. Today, he would tell you he has no idea who committed the murders, although he admits shooting at the Agents and—minutes later—viewing their dead bodies. (The murder timeline places Peltier at the scene, at the exact moment the killing shots were fired.) Every now and then, Peltier lapses back into his alibi alter-ego and alludes to the brave spirit he imagines he once was. Peltier has said he feels very close to this X dude, understandable given their common surroundings in federal prison. Who knows, maybe X wrote the opening line. How else to explain the stupidity of announcing to the world the desire to become a repeat offender?

There’s more. Peltier assures his followers that the carnage at Jumping Bull was a “sacrifice” that was “paid for with someone’s (his) life.” Never mind that he took two lives in the process of self-immortalization. Or that another life was taken in the shooting aftermath. The point we’re supposed to focus on is that Peltier sacrificed his freedom for the benefit of future generations. You see, it really is all about him. Peltier thus offers himself up as the symbolic poster boy for victimized Native Americans dating back to Christopher Columbus; therefore, he is not guilty. That he opened long-distance fire on two men armed with only pistols and finished them off minutes later at close range is of little historical significance; there were larger issues in play. Some Peltier supporters bolster this argument by saying that Peltier-style activism (read violence) is a necessary ingredient in service to Indian Country ideals. Sounds a bit like today’s Muslim fanaticism, doesn’t it? The fact is, most Peltier pushers are non-Indian radicals who simply use him as their political flunky.

Another debatable contention is how well the political prisoner myth has served the man. Had Peltier taken responsibility for his crimes and repented, he might not have spent most of his adult life behind bars. He could have been a free man by now, traveling throughout Indian Country and delivering a message of hope and salvation. Instead, he has frittered away his years presiding over a victimhood scam that merely exploits collective white guilt and rakes in atonement dollars for the sins of our forefathers. While it may have been difficult to resist buckets of money pouring in from all over the globe, Peltier’s quest for celebrity has been a fool’s errand. All the money in the world cannot change the facts. Furthermore, no one familiar with the truth can be happy that a small fortune that could have been used to alleviate genuine hardship on the reservations was shamefully wasted on a grand lie.

In the face of consecutive life sentences (plus seven years for an armed escape in 1979), Peltier can only seek comfort in the consolation prize of recent recruits: disaffected members of the socialist left and newbies culled from protected sanctuaries of academic fraud. Most people, however, are open to hearing the other side of the story. And when they have access to truthful information, they abandon the cause in droves, convinced that a guilty killer was rightfully convicted. Even Peltier’s former attorney, Barry Bachrach, ran for the hills when he realized that his client is an angry and patently guilty megalomaniac. Many of the original Peltier supporters have left as well, once they were forced to confront the reality of a man who says he feels “joy” in believing his “efforts were not in vain.” How long did they endure before these words made them ill?

What always gets lost in the propaganda are the actual heinous acts for which Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), refuses to take responsibility. Ron Williams and Jack Coler had worked hard to become FBI Special Agents. Dedicated to protecting the innocent and apprehending the guilty, they were murdered while attempting to carry out their sworn duty of serving Indians on the reservation. They left behind devastated young wives, parents, and fatherless children. They were each 28 years old. The deaths of these young men and the sad aftermath of AIM violence on the Pine Ridge reservation endangered Indian residents for years to come. Just six months after Peltier’s murderous rampage, his AIM leadership ordered the execution of fellow member Anna Mae Aquash, partly because they feared she had revealed to the FBI Peltier’s boast about executing Ron Williams as he pleaded for his life. AIM leaders had Anna Mae murdered and then made a martyr out of her, too. The extreme hypocrisy, typical of the AIM leadership, rivals that of Peltier’s claimed victim status. Add this to the list of revulsions from 1975: an AIM tough guy in his 30s shoved a loaded gun in Anna Mae’s mouth during one of her pre-death interrogations. His name? Leonard Peltier. Of course, his disciples must deny this reality as well because it so thoroughly exposes the underbelly of evil that comprises the heart of his propaganda machine, not to mention AIM’s legacy of destruction.

In the fight of good versus evil, one looks for signs of hope. Despite the recent inmate repackaging, open-minded believers have begun to notice that certain aspects of the myth do not add up, and the shocking depravity of a young, violent Peltier from long ago slowly sinks in. Former supporters resent being played for fools, all those years. The costumed performer who used to wow the crowds now stumbles and leaks sawdust across the stage, no longer convincing in the role of perpetual victim. Defense fund donations have slowed to a trickle compared to what they were in the 1980s, when America’s “prisoner of conscience” was often favorably mentioned by clergymen, statesmen, and Indian wannabes. One wonders if inmate #89637-132, in quiet moments of mandatory rest time, realizes that three decades of myth-making were all for naught. While his past lawyers may have been able to send their kids to college on the blood money they earned, none of their efforts have actually helped their client gain his freedom. Not even a little bit. Perhaps they believed that a sociopathic killer who could never be released was better used as a symbol of Indian persecution. If pity is due Peltier, pity him for having lawyers who don’t give a whit about his future and whose legal counsel has merely sealed his fate. Pity him for not being smart enough to figure that out, not even after 30 years of being exploited for purely political reasons. And so it is perhaps understandable that a frustrated, thickheaded killer might vent with a “death to the FBI” curse. For on June 26, 1975, Leonard Peltier certainly brought death to the FBI.

Posted by James Simon at 9:59 AM