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Critical Campaign to Convince Cotler to Stop Graham Extradition PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 23 February 2005 11:16
Critical Campaign to Convince Cotler to Stop Graham Extradition

PEJ News:
The crucial case of citizen John Graham is one that now requires exceptional assistance on the part of all Canadians concerned about our justice system. The final verdict in whether or not John is extradited to the United States may ultimately rest with the people and their further response to federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.

Dear readers. The crucial case of citizen John Graham is one that now requires exceptional assistance on the part of all Canadians concerned about our justice system. The final verdict in whether or not John is extradited to the United States may ultimately rest with the people and their further response to federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.

Immediately upon realizing that the B.C. Supreme Court failed John a group of concerned social justice supporters began spear-heading a renewed campaign to inform Cotler and the other two representatives of Canada?s two opposition parties, Harper (Conservative) and Layton (NDP), of their extreme concern not only for John?s safety but for that of every Canadian who would, should this extradition proceed, become vulnerable to the illegal and unethical precedent thus being set.

It therefore truly behooves every one of us to take a moment out of our busy schedules to address this vital question of whether or not we?re going to allow the present government to betray our citizenry to American interests and in so doing wipe out any vestige of actual sovereignty that we may still possess.

For those of us here in B.C. and the Yukon who feel this case is of supreme importance I would ask that readers everywhere please express their concerns to at least these three representatives of our democratic system by sending hard-copy letters to their respective addresses thus adding further weight to this urgent situation. As well, wherever you can, please try to send your letter to your local newspaper so as to alert everyone possible to this case. Further to that try to send your concerns on to whatever networks you may be a part of including your associates and friends on your personal lists. Your assistance in this endeavour will ultimately bear fruit for not only John and others like him but for all future threats to our independence in the coming years ahead.

Please read the informative article below by the John Graham Defense Committee regarding the specifics of letter writing in this campaign.

Another consideration is that Amnesty International has been conspicuously absent throughout John?s hearing and long time supporters and members of said organization are rightfully concerned that AI ought to be directly involved in protesting this important extradition case. Again, hardcopy letters to Canada?s AI organization are recommended. I will append the AI address below along with those Members of Parliament mentioned above.

Finally, I would highly recommend readers view Rex Weyler?s article on the John Graham case, ?Who Killed Ana Mae?? prior to writing letters of support. For Rex?s article please see the following URL: http://radicalpress.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1096

On behalf of John Graham, his family, friends and supporters I remain,

Sincerely concerned,

Arthur Topham Pub/Ed The Radical Press

Contacts to send your letter to:

The Honourable Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada 284 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario Canada? K1A 0H8

Email: webadmin@justice.gc.ca Email: Cotler.I@parl.gc.ca

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The Honourable Stephen Harper Conservative Party Leader Fax: (613) 947-0310 Email: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

Hill Office House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

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The HonourableJack Layton New Democratic Party Leader Fax: (613) 995-4565 Email: Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

Hill Office House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

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Amnesty International Canadian Section 312 Laurier Avenue East Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H9

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From John Graham Defense Committee Dear friends and supporters,

We ask you to support us now, at this critical time for John Graham. It is so important that Canada's Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler -- and the public at large -- hear from all those opposed to the extradition of John Graham.

In light of what has been revealed in the recent extradition hearings -- the US government's reliance on non-existent evidence, negligent and/or intentional inaccuracies, the apparent use of coercion, etc.?-- our goal is to flood the desk of Minister Cotler's office?with letters expressing opposition to John's extradition.

WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW!

We hope you will act now by sending a letter to Minister Cotler, and also to every newspaper in your area (major and independent papers, independent publications, and internet-based websites and forums).

?

We have prepared some tips for letter writing, as well as topics which you can consider for your letters. While your own words are optimal, please feel free to use our prepared text either?for inspiration, or "as is".

We will also be modifying the sample letter on the John Graham Defense Committee website for your use, as well. Thank you for your urgently needed action at this critical time. Together, we can turn the tide towards truth and justice.

Matthew Lien http://www.matthewlien.com John Graham Defense Committee http://www.grahamdefense.org

?

Tips for Letters to Editors

? Begin your letter with a clear statement opposing the extradition of the First Nation and Canadian citizen John Graham. ? Determine the maximum word count for the newspaper you are sending to; most have a limit of about 250 words. ? Use your own words, even if you modify the text we have provided. ? If you are relying mostly on our text,?consider writing?the first paragraph in your own words. ? Request a response at the end of your letter. ? Include your name, address, e-mail (if sending by e-mail), and telephone number.

Key Points For Letters to Justice Minister Cotler

? Begin your letter with a clear statement opposing the extradition of the First Nation and Canadian citizen John Graham. ? Use your own words, even if you modify the text we have provided. ? If you are relying mostly on our text,?consider writing?the first paragraph in your own words. ? Request a response at the end of your letter. ? Include your name, address, e-mail (if sending by e-mail), and telephone number.

For letters to the Minister, the most effective forms of correspondence are in the following order:

1) Letters sent by mail; or faxes 2) Letters sent by e-mail

? Address your letter to:

Honourable Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Mail to: Honourable Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada 284 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0H8 E-mail to: webadmin@justice.gc.ca

______________________________________________ Suggested Topics and Text for Letters ______________________________________________

Flawed Certification of Evidence

The U.S. has either negligently or deliberately failed to disclose glaring inconsistencies between the certified evidence and the actual evidence.

One alleged witness, Al Gates, had been dead for nine months from the time the U.S. certified him as being available for trial. When asked in an interview how the U.S. had certified a dead witness, U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon simply replied, ?I?m not sure how long he?s been dead.?

Frank Dillon, another witness to whom John Graham allegedly confessed, told a Grand Jury that he did not make the statement attributed to him in the certified evidence, and that he did not hear any such confession.

Arlo Looking Cloud, the only potential alleged eyewitness, says detectives plied him with alcohol and drugs to coerce his testimony from him. He has since recanted his entire testimony, and has issued an affidavit refusing to testify should John Graham be brought to trial in the United States. He recently demonstrated this refusal to testify before a Grand Jury.

While U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon has refused to comment on the impact of losing the testimony of Gates, Dillon, and Looking Cloud, we can easily see that the entire case has no substance. If the U.S. provides a certified summary of evidence which is proven to be largely inaccurate with key elements that no longer exist (and perhaps never did), it would be blatantly negligent of the Canadian Government to extradite its citizen under such circumstances.

Concern for Canadian Sovereignty

Canada's very sovereignty comes into question when a requesting country is not required to disclose its evidence to the Canadian court, and when Canada's Supreme Court Justice is reduced to the level of a rubber-stamping bureaucrat.

Furthermore, if the Canadian government represents the requesting country, who then will defend the constitutional and legal rights of the Canadian being sought?

In the case of John Graham, his lawyers are providing their service without adequate financial compensation. As a result, they are unable to devote the time such a complex case requires. Meanwhile, the United States is able to rely on its vast resources and the resources of the Canadian government.

Considering the United States' disregard for international law and fair treatment of prisoners, Canadian citizens should be deeply concerned for their sovereignty which has apparently been surrendered by their own government.

?

The Historical Relevance of Leonard Peltier

We can look to the handling of the Leonard Peltier extradition as a shameful precedent. In 1976, Canada extradited AIM member Leonard Peltier to the U.S. on the basis of two affidavits signed by the Lakota woman Myrtle Poor Bear, who claimed to have witnessed the shooting of two FBI agents. Myrtle Poor Bear later testified that FBI agent David Price frightened her into making false statements.

Arlo Looking Cloud, the only alleged eyewitness in the case against John Graham,?is described by his attorney, Terry Gilbert of the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York, as ?a homeless alcoholic for more than 20 years, vulnerable to manipulation by the detective in Denver.?

Myrtle Poor Bear was a single mother also struggling with alcoholism and depression. Hotel receipts show that between February 19 and 23, FBI agents David Price and William Wood held her in a hotel room in Nebraska, where Poor Bear says she was scared into signing the affidavits against Peltier.

Her first affidavit, from February 19, alleges she was Peltier?s girlfriend and that he confessed to her. The two affidavits signed four days later claimed she witnessed the murders first hand. Canada?s Crown prosecutor Bill Halprin presented only the last two versions to the Canadian court.

Poor Bear later testified that she had been coerced, that she had not witnessed the shootings, had not been Peltier?s girlfriend, and had never met him. ?I was forced to sign those papers,? she said, claiming Price and Wood showed her pictures of the dead Anna Mae Aquash. ?The agents are always talking about Anna Mae - about the time she died.?

A year later, in Canada, she said that Agent Price ?showed me pictures of the body and said that if I don?t cooperate, this is what may happen to me.? She claims that agent Wood ?said that they could get away with killing because they were agents.?

Judge Donald Ross, during Peltier?s appeal in 1977, said the Myrtle Poor Bear affidavits show ?the United States is willing to resort to any tactic in order to bring somebody back to the United States from Canada.?

Former Canadian Minister of Indian Affairs, Warren Allmand, declined to intervene in the Peltier extradition on the advice that, ?justice would take its course.? Mr. Allmand now feels ?betrayed and insulted? by the FBI?s ?deliberate use of fraud.?

In 1992, fifty-five Canadian MPs filed a brief to a U.S. court affirming that Canada had been duped into extraditing Peltier. This is a case directly related to the parties and the events involved with the John Graham extradition case.

In an apparent attempt to?coerce John Graham into testifying, agents visited John Graham in the Yukon in 1989, urging him to accuse others of murdering Anna Mae Aquash. ?They told me that if I didn?t cooperate, they?d go after me.? In 1995, former BIA policeman Bob Ecoffey visited Graham in Whitehorse with an RCMP officer present. Ecoffey offered Graham ?immunity,? if he cooperated. ?Immunity from what?? Graham replied, insisting he had no need for immunity, as he was not guilty of anything.

In another display of apparent coercion, the only video-taped statement by Looking Cloud was recorded?without his lawyer present, and while he was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Even if this video-tape was considered to be?reliable, it could not be admitted as evidence under U.S. law because Looking Cloud has refused to testify in person.

Leonard Peltier has recently sworn an affidavit describing how an investigator paid by the FBI, Robert Branscombe, visited Peltier in prison where he offered Peltier his freedom in return for false testimony against John Graham. Leonard declined the offer, saying that he did not want to be another Myrtle Poor Bear.

Unanswered Questions

Why did the FBI cordon off?the scene where the body of Anna Mae Aquash was?found, on a reservation where they had no authority??No such attention was afforded numerous other violent deaths on the reservation during the ?reign of terror? in the 1970s. The FBI claimed the Major Crimes Act gave them jurisdiction. However, they had determined the cause of death was exposure - not a ?major crime? at all.

Why did the FBI choose to conduct their own private autopsy, during which they failed to detect blood-stained clothing, blood- matted hair, a point-blank bullet wound in the back of the head, and a bullet lodged in the cheek? All this was apparently overlooked by the FBI's sanctioned pathologist, while Agent David Price looked on. And yet, these features were immediately observed in a second independent autopsy after Anna Mae's body was exhumed due to suspicions that the FBI were concealing the truth about her death.

Why was Agent David Price unable to identify Anna Mae in the autopsy, even though he had interrogated her at length not long before, and had listed her as ?wanted? by the FBI?

Why did the FBI order the unusual procedure of having Anna Mae's hands chopped off and sent to Washington, D.C. in jars of formaldehyde for identification? FBI Regional Supervisor Norman Zagrossi said he was not familiar with the technique of severing hands for identification.

Why did the FBI have Anna Mae?s unidentified body hastily buried without a death certificate or burial permit?

The documented evidence pertaining to the autopsy and burial of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash justify an investigation into the FBI?s handling Anna Mae's death. The case against John Graham should not be allowed to distract attention away from a critical examination of how the FBI and other government agencies acted during the climate of racism and the 1970?s ?reign of the terror? in the Pine Ridge area.

- end -

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2005 11:16
 

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