Our Freedom

Honour Anna Mae Pictou Aquash and Harriet Nahanee / Free John Graham and Leonard Peltier

Update from the John Graham Defense Committee September 29, 2007

Filed under: John Graham — ourfreedom @ 1:05 am

Update from the John Graham Defense Committee, Sept. 21, 2007
by John’s daughters Naneek and Chusia

We are very grateful for all the support that has been shown recently and want to thank everyone. The letter writing campaign to the Supreme Court Chief Justice of Canada has been especially important.   Please, those of you that have not yet written letters to request our dad’s appeal be heard before the Supreme Court, visit http://www.grahamdefense.org/letter_campaign.htm for addresses of the government officials, and write as soon as you can.

The decision on the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada could be made as early as the end of September, though it could take several months.

Please write and ask that  the Canadian government not hide behind intergovernmental procedures but respect the spirit of the law.  Canada is not upholding our dad’s rights, and thus it is not upholding the rights of all Canadians.

Our dad’s rights have been violated since the beginning when the FBI tried three times to coerce him into lying to back their theory that AIM executed Anna Mae. In fact, he was threatened by the FBI.  This is a serious violation of our dad’s rights.  Press conferences were held on the steps of the FBI building calling him a murderer, news articles regurgitated the state’s “evidence” and websites slandered his name and reputation, all before any trial or indictment.

Our dad was placed under house arrest. He was not allowed to work (his employer wrote the court attesting to his character and offering him work at any time). He could not apply for financial assistance and was not allowed to be present during court hearings.

Our dad is not allowed to wait for the Supreme Court decision at home.  Regardless of the countless letters about his character, his history of compliance with court orders and the fact that the USA has shown no evidence against him, he is incarcerated while waiting to hear if the Supreme Court will hear his case.  He is alone, far from friends and family, enduring confinement, bad food, loud TV day and night, phone calls being cut off, little access to fresh air and the burden of an uncertain future.

If the Canadian government agrees to extradite our dad  it will be allowing the USA to undermine our Charter of Rights. The concept of innocent until proven guilty does not apply to our dad because of an Extradition Act that does not protect Canadians.

In 1999 Canada changed its Extradition Act to reinforce the USA’s security measures.  Even though mistakes have been made in the past the USA now does not need evidence to extradite a Canadian.  Canadian courts will not/cannot scrutinize evidence.  In light of the case of the illegal extradition of Leonard Peltier (50 Canadian MPs submitted an amicus curiae on his behalf recognizing that a grave mistake had been made and he had been illegally extradited), and the recent treatment of Maher Arar, it is astounding that no evidence is required to extradite a Canadian.

The same law enforcement officials who sought Peltier’s extradition are now seeking our dad’s extradition. Canadian courts have been shown that the evidence presented by the USA is so severely lacking that it wouldn’t be enough to lay a charge in Canada.

GOLD BRACELET RAFFLE

Fund raising for our dad’s legal defense continues. A gold bracelet is being raffled (donated by Chusia). Only 600 Tickets were printed, and the draw date of September 28, 2007 is rapidly approaching. It is a woman’s two-inch, Native art, gold bracelet, worth CDN$2000. Photos of the bracelet are at: http://www.grahamdefense.org/contribute.htm.

Tickets are CDN$5.00 each. At http://www.grahamdefense.org, payment can be made by credit card or PayPal. Cheques or money orders should be made out to Fran Asp, 15 Firth Road, Whitehorse, Yukon,  Y1A 4R5  Canada.. Fran is our dad’s sister and the Secretary Treasurer of The Defense Committee. Be sure to write ‘Gold bracelet raffle’ on your cheque or money order.

In Europe, money may also be sent to the Swedish postal bank account postgiro 25 27 10 – 9. Be sure to note that the money is for ‘Gold bracelet raffle’ or ‘John Graham.’ Raffle tickets cost 3.50 Euros, or 32.50 Swedish crowns each.

Support John Graham T-shirts will be sent if requested for all donations of at least CDN$50 (35 Euros, or 325 Swedish crowns). A photo of the T-shirt is at
http://www.grahamdefense.org/contribute.htm.

Once again, thank you everyone for your support.

Naneek and Chusia Graham.

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John Graham Defense Committee
E-mail: info[at]grahamdefense.org
Website: www.grahamdefense.org

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Free John Graham September 12, 2007

Filed under: John Graham — ourfreedom @ 7:10 pm

Free John Graham
[Canada’s] Supreme Court set to decide Graham’s extradition fate

By Chusia Graham
Common Ground
September 2007

grahamfamily.jpg

John Graham with his daughters: Naneek (left) and Chusia (right).

In the ‘70s, traditional Lakota people opposed the leasing and selling off of reservation lands for mining operations. While the Elders of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation cried out for help to protect the Lakota’s sacred ground and traditional way of life, which was in jeopardy, the US government supported and funded the tribal government, headed by Richard Wilson who favoured uranium mining. It was clear that violence would be applied against any opposition; the FBI was supporting the tribal police with weapons and training.

On June 26, 1975, a shoot-out took place at Pine Ridge, resulting in the deaths of two FBI agents and one Native American man. Based on fabricated evidence, Leonard Peltier, a citizen of the Anishinabe and Lakota Nations, was extradited from Canada for the murder of the two FBI agents. The primary evidence against Leonard was provided by Myrtle Poor Bear, who, according to some sources, was mentally unstable and apparently tricked into it. She had never met Leonard Peltier.

Fast forward to 2003 when John Graham, a citizen of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations of the Yukon, Canada and a Canadian citizen, along with co-accused Arlo Looking Cloud, is charged with the 28-year-old murder of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Anna Mae Pictou. Graham and Pictou were friends and both had been involved in the struggle for Native rights. At the time of his arrest, John had been living in Vancouver for several years. Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted of first degree murder in a trial that lasted three days (The same judge is assigned for John Graham’s trial). Twenty-three witnesses were called by the prosecution, and one for the defence. One prosecution witness admitted she was paid $43,000 to cooperate with the FBI. Her testimony was mainly focused on Leonard Peltier’s case. The purpose of her testimony was to have on record that Leonard Peltier had confessed to killing two FBI agents in a shoot-out at the Pine Ridge Reservation on June 26, 1975. Leonard Peltier has always maintained his innocence.

The evidence in John Graham’s case is hearsay and an attack on the First Nations People. Having lied and fabricated evidence in the past (with Leonard Peltier), the US government should have to provide real evidence – forensic, date of death, credible witnesses (vs. hearsay or paid-off individuals) before any citizen of Canada is handed over to the US, ever again. This is not just a First Nations issue; it is everybody’s issue because the laws are set up to accommodate the US. All a willing (paid-off) person has to say is that they heard you did it and that constitutes enough “evidence” to extradite someone. In fact, all that is needed for the extradition to occur is a description of you.

With respect for Anna Mae Aquash and the 65 others who died in the ‘70s at Pine Ridge, a full, private investigation needs to happen. What happened at Pine Ridge must be recognized as a massacre. The rumour accusing Anna Mae Aquash of being an FBI informant originated with the intention of separating American Indian Movement (AIM) members and turning them against each other. Another rumour circulated that caused an even larger split: “Native man kills native women.” The struggle and separation grew larger and created a distraction.

On June 26, 2007, the BC Supreme Court denied John’s extradition appeal. At the same time, Cash Minerals Ltd. released a report about the amount of uranium found in the Yukon, where John Graham was born and raised. Cash Minerals is a Canadian-based company focused on uranium exploration in the Yukon Territory. The company released a report about its 2007 exploration program in the Yukon. As of June 26, 2007, Cash Minerals and joint-venture partner Mega Uranium Ltd. had drilled more than 4,000 meters, of which 2,700 meters were drilled at the Odie property, one of 19 properties under the Yukon Uranium project. Uranium mining contributes to the destruction of the planet. The killing of Anna Mae Aquash and the 65 others was to turn us against each other and start the finger pointing.

We are currently asking for permission to be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada. We are sitting in a position of not knowing if Canada will extradite another innocent man or not. We are preparing for the worst, which is extradition to South Dakota. We need all the help, support and interest that we can get.

John Graham is a political prisoner. I will fight until John Graham, my dad, is free to live his life in peace and to exercise his right to protect Mother Earth.

The John Graham Defense Committee would appreciate the public’s support in writing letters to government on behalf of John. It would also welcome volunteers and talent for a proposed fundraiser.

More info at http://www.grahamdefense.org
email: grahamdefense(at)hotmail

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Chusia Graham; Bev Lightfoot and her children Tyler and Ceana; Veronica Butler; Dianne Champaign. Opening song from the 32nd annual Prison Justice Day, August 10, 2007 at Trout Lake Park, Vancouver.

 

Let me hear ya say “Free John Graham”

Filed under: Events,John Graham — ourfreedom @ 7:05 pm

OLMECA UPDATE olmeca1.jpg
August 31, 2007 – Friday

Vancouver “UNDER THE VOLCANO” Festival!

This is a once a year festival that is exemplary of how people can come together to create alternative spaces for networking and creative resistance. It was an honor to be invited and be in the presence of many great artists and people resisting and creating from the bottom. A big thanks to the folks working in La Otra Campana throughout Vancouver, the Native Youth Movement and daughters of John Graham and organizers for the Festival…

We will be posting up some more blogs and images from Olmeca’s performance at this year’s Festival (8.12.07) in the coming days. Please go to http://www.myspace.com/olmeca

[Excerpt from Olmeca’s update]
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Let me hear ya say “Free John Graham”

by Our Freedom editor

Xicano, Los Angeles based hip-hop MC Olmeca shouted, ‘let me hear ya say, Free John Graham‘ during his performance at this year’s Under the Volcano festival of art and social change held in Cates Park, North Vancouver, Tseil-Waututh indigenous territory.

Olmeca Musik

John Graham’s struggle for freedom and Harriet Nahanee’s support for him were also mentioned at this year’s Prison Justice Day rally held at Trout Lake in East Vancouver, where one of his daughters took part in singing the women’s warrior song to open the event.

Prison Justice

Recent Events:

Friday, August 17, 2007, 8 p.m., Vancouver: Benefit for John Graham’s legal defense. Support John Graham in his ongoing legal battle against the U.S. Government for his rights to live in peace and protect Mother Earth from greedy mining industries. Music by Headwater. W.I.S.E. Hall, 1882, Adanac St., Corner of Victoria Dr. Suggested donation: $15.

Thursday, August 23, 2007, 7:00 p.m., Vancouver: Public forum, John Graham faces extradition to the USA without any evidence having been presented to a Canadian judge. Find out why. Speakers: Chusia Graham, Bob Newbrook, Rex Weyler, Tom Kozar. YWCA Hotel, 733 Beatty St. (2 blocks south of the Stadium train station).