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AIMGGC Press Conference Statement
"Concerning the death of Anna Mae Aquash,
Buddy Lamont, and Frank Clearwater."
"Letter to Senator Orrin Hatch follows statement."

From AIMGGC Ministry for Information
the People's Voice ~ Tuesday, December 7, 1999

Copyright © 1999 AIMGGC
All Rights Reserved


Released December 6, 1999, 10:00 A.M. - Mount Rushmore Convention Center, Rapid City, South Dakota. At Hearings of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

          The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council leadership issues this final statement on the eve of the closing days of the 20th Century. We issue this statement, not only in relationship to the death of Anna Mae Aquash, but also in relationship to the violent deaths of Vietnam Veteran, Buddy Lamont, and Frank Clearwater. These two Native men were murdered by FBI snipers at Wounded Knee on the Oglala Lakota Nation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota in 1973.

          To our friends, to our supporters, to our relatives throughout this hemisphere, and throughout the world, we condemn the actions of a former personality in the American Indian Movement, Russell Means. We condemn the actions of Robert Branscombe, and academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill (who is to Russell Means what Edgar Bergen is to Charlie McCarthy), in the attack on us at the press conferences held on September 16th in Ottawa, Ontario Canada, and again at the Federal Building near FBI headquarters in Denver, Colorado on November 3rd, and again on November 17th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Russell Means made the same unsubstantiated accusations to a federal grand jury, and to the media.

          Their actions can best be described as reckless, defamatory, slanderous, and libelous. At this very moment we are assembling a legal team in Denver, Colorado to file a defamation lawsuit against Branscombe, Means, and Churchill. Moreover, we see this attack on us as a continuation of the United States Government's FBI war against the American Indian Movement that had its origins in the Nixon White House. During the American Indian Movement's Trail of Broken Treaties March in 1972, along with Acting Director of the FBI, Mark Felt, Richard Held who was the architect of CoIntelPro, Norman A. Zigrossi, and others launched a campaign to recruit "extremist informants" to infiltrate the American Indian Movement in order to misdirect, disrupt, demonize, and discredit the leadership of the American Indian Movement in order to neutralize AIM.

          There is enough credible evidence to suggest that it was this covert FBI program utilizing these extremist informant agents that, in fact, created a climate of terror on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota that victimized, not only Anna Mae Aquash, but Pedo Bissonette, Byon DeSersa, Buddy Lamont, Anita Wilcox, Frank Clearwater, Jeannette Bissonette, and dozens of others who were murdered because of this FBI campaign of terror. Additionally, Joseph Kills Right Stuntz, and FBI agents, Ronald Williams and Jack Coler were killed during the "shoot out" at the Jumping Bull residence on June 26, 1975 as a result of a botched FBI operation.

          Our brother, Leonard Peltier remains in prison after 23 years. Our investigations reveal that these extremist informants were on the periphery of both the Aquash and Jumping Bull killings. It is no coincidence that the Branscombe, Means, Churchill press conference was staged on November 3rd, the day that the campaign and vigil to free Leonard Peltier started in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. No doubt, this FBI program continues.

          As is the case with WACO and Ruby Ridge, it appears that the FBI is totally discredited and cannot be trusted to investigate all of these murders and possibly their own culpability as to the abuse of power. Therefore, we are calling on Senator Ben (Night Horse) Campbell, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the South Dakota Congressional delegation, as well as other congressional leaders, Attorney General Janet Reno, and the United States Civil Rights Commission who are currently holding hearings on the unsolved deaths of Indian people in Mobridge, and Rapid City, SD, and White Clay, NE to expand their inquiry into all the uninvestigated and unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Oglala Nation during the 1970's and continuing today. Additionally, we request that they join us in demanding the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the Pine Ridge Reservation with the appointment of a Special Investigator.

          We further demand that the press focus on this investigation, and not on a so-called "division" within the American Indian Movement. This is a diversion in the cover up involving the death of Anna Mae Aquash. There has never been a division in the American Indian Movement, and there never will be. There is only the truth to be uncovered behind the actions of a few.

          In the meantime, the leadership of the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council refuses to be distracted, and as we have done for 31 years, we continue to develop and operate programs in Minneapolis, MN and nationwide that serves the needs of our people in the areas of health, housing, education, legal services, protection of sacred shrines and burial sites, prison programs, employment and job training centers, environmental issues, and racism in either sports and media, or wherever racism raises its ugly head. Representatives of the International Indian Treaty Council, IITC, the International Diplomatic Corp of the American Indian Movement continues to represent the interest of Indian people at the United Nations, and all other international forums. We honor the memory of our ambassadors and relatives who dedicated their lives to this work, and have left us so soon; Greg Zephier, Ingrid Washinawatok, Phillip Deere, Bill Wahpepah.

ATTACHMENTS:

United States War Against the American Indian Movement, see http://www.aimovement.org Ministry for Information.

Freedom of Information Declassified FBI and Nixon White House documents (Upon Request).

Chronology of American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council Activities and Work, 1968-1999, see http://www.aimovement.org and go to A Brief History.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Visit our web site URL: http://www.aimovement.org and see Ministry for Information.


LETTER:

December 6, 1999

Senator Orrin Hatch
131 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Hatch,

          In the interest of justice, human rights, and fairness, we respectfully request that you and your office support our request that the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate hold hearings on the Oglala Lakota Nation's Reservation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota. We request the appointment of a Special Investigator to investigate, not only, the recent deaths of Indian people in Rapid City and Mobridge, South Dakota, and in White Clay, Nebraska, but the many unsolved deaths that occurred on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the violent and turbulent 1970's that took place during and after the armed confrontation between Indian people and U.S. Government forces at Wounded Knee in 1973.

          Attached to this letter is a sampling of the first of 17,722 pages of FBI, CIA, White House, and other U.S. Government documents declassified under the Freedom of Information Act. Another 6,000 plus pages have been withdrawn from various U.S. Government files and placed under a National Security cover following hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act, and other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate Ninety Fourth Congress, Second Session, April 6, 1976.

          Only one witness was called. That witness was Douglas Frank Durham, an exposed FBI agent operative, one of several uncovered by the American Indian Movement Council on Security & Intelligence. Many others are yet to be exposed, some, no doubt, are still operating undercover.

          This Committee on the Judiciary of the United States now must investigate what role the FBI and their extremist agent/informants, and other U.S. Government agencies played during the reign of terror in 1973 and thereafter in South Dakota. The families of the victims have waited long enough, such as the families of Anita Wilcox, Jeanette Bissonette, Pedro Bissonette, Byron DeSersa, Anna Mae Aquash, Jancita Eagle Deer, Frank Clearwater, and Buddy Lamont who was a Vietnam Veteran murdered by FBI snipers at Wounded Knee, 1973. There are dozens of other uninvestigated and unsolved murders of Indian people that took place during this time that need to be investigated as well.

          Moreover, the Committee on Judiciary must include, in its investigation, the shoot out on June 26, 1975 at the Jumping Bull residence on the Pine Ridge Reservation which claimed the lives of Joseph Stuntz, and FBI Agents, Ronald Williams, and Jack Coler in what appears to have been a botched FBI operation due to the actions of their extremist agent informants. Additionally, the Committee must review the Justice Department's prosecution of Leonard Peltier who is still in federal prison after 23 years.

Sincerely,

/S/ Vernon Bellecourt,
National Representative of the American
Indian Movement Grand Governing Council

cc: President William J. Clinton
Senator Ben Night Horse Campbell,
      Chairman of Senate Indian Affairs
Senator Paul Wellstone
Senator Orrin Hatch
The Honorable Elsie Meeks,
      Commission Member, U.S. Commission on Human Rights
President Harold D. Salway, Oglala Lakota Nation
The Honorable Mary Francis Berry,
      Chairperson U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
The Honorable Janet Reno,
      Attorney General of the United States
Senator Patrick J. Leahy
Senator Tom Daschle
Senator Tim Johnson


Press Contacts:

Clyde Bellecourt, Chairman of the Board
(Office) 612-724-3129 ~ (Cell) 612- 251-5836

Dennis Banks, National Field Director,
American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council
(Office) 218-654-3060 ~ (Cell) 218-760-0295

American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council
"Ministry for Information, American Indian Movement"
Phone: 612-721-3914 ~ E-mail: aimggc@worldnet.att.net


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