Thursday, May 17, 2007

Delivering 'Framed' John Graham

Delivering 'Framed' John Graham: He faces a US murder warrant. New evidence suggests he's the victim of Rex Weyler

On Thursday, Tuchone-Canadian John Graham, from the Yukon, enters a Vancouver courtroom to appeal his extradition to the United States on the charge of killing fellow activist Anna Mae Aquash 31 years ago. Graham says he has been framed by the U.S. to cover the government's own complicity in the murder. Meanwhile, a week ago, a former UBC professor and Amnesty International veteran, Dr. Jennifer Wade, received a chilling letter from U.S. prisoner Leonard Peltier that lends credibility to Graham's story. In April, former American Indian Movement (AIM) member Bob Robideau toured B.C., claiming to represent Peltier and accusing Graham of the murder. The Peltier letter casts doubt on Robideau's claims.

In the 1970s, Graham from Yukon and Aquash from Nova Scotia traveled independently to South Dakota, where vigilantes had killed literally hundreds of traditional native leaders. Some 300 murders of native people in and around South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, during a "reign of terror"
in the 1970s, remain unsolved. The FBI arrested Aquash many times and urged her to become an informant. She later told AIM lawyers that agent David Price threatened that if she did not cooperate "you won't live out the year." A South Dakota rancher found her body on February 24, 1976.

Although she had been shot with .32 calibre bullet in the back of the head, an FBI pathologist reported that she died of exposure. FBI agent Price claimed not to recognize her, and the government buried her in a nameless pauper's grave after severing her hands. When the body was later exhumed, the FBI story unraveled. Now, 31 years later, they claim AIM ordered the murder and that Graham pulled the trigger. Naturally, many native leaders suspect dirty tricks.

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