Former FBI Agent Joe Trimbach to Red Nation: Don’t Glorify an Unrepentant Killer
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In a December 23, 2009 press release, the former FBI Special Agent in Charge, Joesph H. Trimbach asks the Indian organization Red Nation not to glorify the unrepentant murderer Leonard Peltier:
In a letter to an organization that advocates on behalf of Native Americans, former FBI Agent Joseph H. Trimbach admonished the group for awarding their first annual humanitarian award to convicted killer Leonard Peltier. The group, Red Nation, gave the award to Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), at a film festival in November. Peltier serves two life sentences for the 1975 murders of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Trimbach and his son, John, authored a book about the Peltier trial and what they call the "transformation from killer to saint."
The letter, addressed to Red Nation founder Joanelle Romero, calls on the group to rescind the award and give it to a Native American worthy of such an honor. John Trimbach claims that Peltier's efforts to compare his incarceration to the historic oppression of Native people is nothing but a propaganda ruse designed to mask his guilt.
Trimbach said that it was a disgrace to give such an award to someone who is the antithesis of what the award is supposed to symbolize. "This accolade is supposedly for Peltier's 'lifelong commitment to indigenous and human rights' and his leadership in alleviating 'abuse among Native people.' Red Nation is obviously misinformed about the facts of this double murder. From the day he was convicted, Peltier has done nothing but lie about his involvement in Native issues, beginning with his role in the American Indian Movement. He has has spent his entire criminal career lying to people about his so-called activism behind bars."
Trimbach added that the decision to honor an unrepentant killer is especially nonsensical given the wealth of information that renders Peltier's claims to mere falsehoods and fables. "There's a good reason why every court that has looked at this murder case has found against Peltier. They see right through his lies."
Peltier has recently set up a non-profit corporation that Trimbach says only diverts needed funds away from Indian Country. "This is so objectionable to both Natives and non-Natives who are aware that Peltier uses his made-up victim story to fool people into contributing to his defense fund. This money, from all over the world, could have and should have been used to alleviate genuine Indian hardship and suffering." Trimbach also charges that Peltier has gotten away with piggybacking on pressing Native issues in a self-centered and greedy scam, making it doubly harmful to true Indian causes. "Peltier has maliciously trivialized the seriousness of genuine issues facing Indian Country, all in the name of his own glorification. He bilks his fellow Native Americans out of their hard-earned money, and then returns the favor by doling out some of this money to his friends and supporters. He has no shame."
Trimbach adds that the notoriety given Peltier is due mostly to author Peter Matthiessen's controversial bestseller, In The Spirit of Crazy Horse. "This book is written in the blood of Peltier's victims; it does little more than make a mockery of the Crazy Horse legacy and true Indian heroism. The Red Nation group should come to grips with the damage wrought by this book, particularly when it has been repeatedly exposed as a pack of lies. By the same token, Red Nation should be held accountable for their endorsement of a cold-blooded murderer."
The Trimbachs call on all Peltier supporters to donate to the Red Cloud school and other institutions on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. "It's time to provide assistance that the Peltier fund has diverted away from people truly in need," says Joe Trimbach. "We want to replace the funds that Peltier's cause has essentially stolen from reservation Indians."
In his letter to Red Nation, Trimbach reminded the group that Peltier once interrogated fellow AIM member Anna Mae Aquash by putting a loaded gun in her mouth and calling it "truth serum." Aquash was subsequently murdered after Peltier's leaders decided that she was guilty of being an FBI informant. Trimbach says that Aquash was never an informant. "If Anna Mae had been working for us, she would still be alive today because we would have pulled her out of that dangerous situation. It is a shame that Peltier and the old AIM leadership continue to get away with lying about their role in her demise."
The Trimbachs' book implicates AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks in the conspiracy that led to the beating, rape, and execution of Aquash in 1975. The alleged triggerman, former AIM member John Graham, is scheduled for trial in February 2010. "Justice for Anna Mae is long overdue," notes John Trimbach. "I hope the organizers at Red Nation sleep soundly at night, while the spirit of Anna Mae cries out for justice. Her death remains a sobering reminder of the true AIM legacy and the evil behind Peltier's propaganda machine. It is not too late for Red Nation to wash their hands of the Peltier myth of innocence. Their time is surely better spent educating people about poverty and neglect on the reservations. Red Nation owes it to their members to be informed about the Peltier murders. There's really no excuse for honoring an unrepentant killer."
The Trimbachs' historical expose, American Indian Mafia, documents the major court findings of fact in the Peltier murder trial and reveals much about Peltier's claimed alibis.
John M. Trimbach
Trimbach & Associates, Inc.
First Url: Book Synopsis
Second Url: AIM Myth Busters
Book Title: American Indian Mafia, An FBI Agent's True Story About Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM)