Free John Graham
March 26, 2008
In honour of Anna Mae’s birthday (March 27, 1945) and part of a series of events to commemorate March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racism…March 21 marks the anniversary of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa when police opened fire on hundreds of South Africans protesting against Apartheid’s passbook laws, killing 67 and wounding 186…
(free john graham image by Angela Sterritt, Gitxsan Nation)
FREE JOHN GRAHAM
A public forum on the extradition of John Graham and the struggle for indigenous self determination against colonization, corporate control, and state repression…
Wednesday March 26 @ 7 pm. Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre. 515 West Hastings (Waterfront Skytrain Station). BY DONATION. Suggested Donation $5-20. (no one turned away). All proceeds go to John Graham Legal Defence Fund as there are significant upcoming legal costs.
* Hosted and Opening talk by Rex Wyler: Rex Weyler is a highly acclaimed journalist, writer, and ecologist. He cofounded Greenpeace International and co-founded Hollyhock Educational Centre. His 1997 book “Blood of the Land: Government and Corporate War Against First Nations” chronicles Indigenous history and received a Pulitzer-prize nomination. He also authored “Greenpeace: The Inside Story” and “Song of the Whale”. His photographs and essays have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times.
* Chusia and Naneek Graham: John Graham’s daughters who are leading the campaign for truth and justice for their father. They will be speaking about how this struggle has personally affected their lives and their commitment to follow in their father’s footsteps for political, economic, and social justice.
* Mike Gifford (supporter of John Graham and independent researcher) on uranium mining and resource extraction and its impact on indigenous peoples. John Graham was involved in struggles against uranium mining both in the US and Canada. These struggles continue today, most recently with imprisonment of retired Chief Robert Lovelace of the Ardoch Algonquins, who along with the Sharbot Obaadjiwan, have been blocking Frontenac Ventures from uranium exploratory drilling. In unceded British Columbia- eighth highest mineral potential in the world- mining and resort development (particularly leading upto 2010 Olympics) are continuing at an alarming rate; yet indigenous communities are taking courageous stands against ongoing colonial exploitation and corporate devastation to protect the land.
* Billie Pierre (Nlaka’Pamux/Saulteaux, documentary film-maker, researcher/writer, and Native Youth Movement activist since 1995) on the history of the American Indian Movement and state repression against AIM. For example, between 1973-75, an estimated 67 AIM members were killed in South Dakota by Bureau of Indian Affairs police and a paramilitary squad. The FBI also targeted AIM with a counter-intelligence campaign COINTEL-PRO, aimed at disrupting dissident political organizations and also targeted the Black Panther Party, Martin Luther King, socialist groups, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. Despite FBI claims that it no longer undertakes COINTELPRO activities (after a major official investigation); COINTEL-PRO-type activities continue today including through Anti-Terror legislation and diverse security and surveillance operations.
* Lyn Highway (Anishnabe Nation) on supporting John Graham as a political prisoner/prisoner of war. John Graham’s case is being portrayed as ‘an individual criminal act’, yet it operates within a larger context of political repression. Similar to cases such as Leonard Peltier and other political prisoners around the world, the criminalization and demonization of John Graham is an attempt to deny the fundamentally political nature of the imprisonment and obscure the social and political movements that political prisoners represent.
* AND…. reading of a recent letter from Leonard Peltier on his imprisonment and the case of John Graham by Dr. Jennifer Wade: retired UBC Professor, founder of Vancouver branch of Amnesty International, and long-time support of Peltier and Graham.
John Graham is a Southern Tutchone from the Yukon Territory. He is currently imprisoned at the Pennington County Jail in Rapid City, South Dakota, and his trial date has been set for June 17, 2008. John Graham was arrested in Vancouver in December 2003, and after a prolonged legal battle including leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, he was extradited to South Dakota in December 2007. The allegations against John are of murdering fellow AIM member and Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Anna Mae Pictou in 1975. John Graham denies he killed Anna Mae.
In the mid-1970s, AIM was carrying out armed stand-offs in defense of the land including the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. As a result, AIM was the one of the primary targets of the COINTELPRO counter-intelligence program aimed to weaken, confuse, and arouse suspicion amongst AIM members. At different times, Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, Leonard Peltier and John Graham all said they were offered their freedom if they collaborated with the FBI against other AIM members; they all refused. On the killing of Anna Mae, former FBI regional director Norm Zagrossi has himself stated it “looked like a cover-up” . Ellen Klaver, a journalist in Colorado who has followed the story for three decades, has observed that, “Whoever was involved, the FBI was the architect.” Both the B.C. Supreme Court extradition judge and the B.C. appeal court ruled there were deficiencies in the record of the case given to the courts by U.S. officials.
However the 1999 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Canada lowers the burden of proof to include hearsay evidence, which would not be admitted in a Canadian criminal court. Graham and his lawyers have stated they would welcome a trial in Canada, where the fake evidence could be exposed. A key witness Arlo-Looking Cloud recanted his testimony stating that he was coerced and under the influence of alcohol. Another prosecution witness Kamook Banks admitted she was paid $43,000 to cooperate with the FBI.
Graham has received support from a wide range of organizations including Canadian Labour Congress, Native Youth Movement, Chief Capilano of the Squamish Nation, BC Teachers for Peace and Global Education, BC Hospital Employees Union, Stopwar.ca, Council of Yukon First Nations, BC Federation of Labour. Amnesty International has also stated their concern about the lack of a fair trial, given the clear parallels to Leonard Peltier. Peltier was extradited from Vancouver in 1976; now widely known on false evidence. In 1979 former US solicitor general Warren Allmand acknowledged this and formally “apologized”, yet he remains behind bars as one of the most well-known political prisoners of our time.
The US government, with Canadian government complicity and cooperation, is intent on repressing the last remnants of AIM. Graham’s current legal struggle reflects the political repression faced by Indigenous people who struggle against state and corporate control over Native lands and resources and reflects the ongoing reality of the “Indian Wars”.
*** Organized by John Graham Support. For more information contact email@example.com or call 604 418 0279
==> Trailer of Documentary “Our Sacred History and White Man Lies”: https://ourfreedom.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/our-sacred-history-and-white-man-lies-2/
==> Interview with John Graham:
Vancouver Sun: Who killed Anna Mae?
COINTELPRO’s long shadow- The importance of the John Graham case:
The Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash Story:
The Case of John Graham:
Canadian Dimension: The Hauntings of Colonialism:
The Tyee: Delivering Framed John Graham
Common Ground: BC Supreme Court set to decide Graham’s extradition fate http://commonground.ca/iss/0709194/cg194_graham.shtml
Georgia Straight Article:
Aboriginal Title and International Law: The Occupation of BC, Iraq, the West Bank, and the Extradition Cases of Sittting Bull, Leonard Peltier, James Pitawanakwat, and John Graham by Anthony Hall, University of Lethbridge