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Native America Calling
A program of Native American Public Telecommunications

P.O. Box 40164,
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196
(505) 277-7999 www.nativetelcom.org

Program Aired Thursday, November 4th, 1999

Host: Harlan McKosato, Guests: Vernon Bellecourt and Ward Churchill

Harlan - Show intro - gives background on Anna Mae and the case to date.

Plays clip from Russell Means........"In a few minutes we’re going to name..........ordered them to take her out and execute her."

Harlan - Joining us right now from Cleveland, Ohio is Vernon Bellecourt, he is Anishinabe and a national representative for the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council and he along with his brother Clyde have been accused of ordering the execution of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, not once but twice, welcome back to the show, Vernon.....are you there, Vernon?

Vernon - Warm greetings to you, Harlan, and to your listeners out there.

Harlan - Well, of course after we heard the accusations yesterday, Vernon, we felt that we should call you, we did call you, obvious question is, how do you respond to these accusations against you and your brother?

Vernon - Well, first of all, back on September 16th of this year, in Ottawa, Ontario, Robert A. Branscombe, a person claiming to be a distant relative of Anna Mae Aquash family, staged a press conference, during which he recklessly named several individuals, some in the leadership of the American Indian Movement, who he alleges were involved in the death of Anna Mae Aquash 23 years ago on the Oglala Lakota Nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

A name that was, a person that was charged by Mr. Branscombe [as] being involved, was Russell Means, so it’s very puzzling what happened in three weeks, where now Russell Means would join with Robert Branscombe to make these ridiculous, outrageous and libelous and slanderous statements at a press conference.

Incidentally, everyone should note that it was right down the hall in the federal building in Denver, Colorado right down the hall from the FBI, [the press conference was held outside in the plaza because a permit was denied to have the press conference inside] we were hoping that the news media and others would not be fooled by this reckless grandstanding by Russell Means, Robert Branscombe, and of course waiting in the wings is an individual who is very deceitful and treacherous, who is a white man who first showed up in his book Agents of Repression, stated that he was behind the hill from the Jumping Bull community the day after the gun fight that erupted there and killed two FBI agents and Joe Stuntz, a guy by the name of Ward Churchill who’s a white man, masquerading now as a Cherokee, and of course I understand that he was going to be on the program.

Harlan - Let me point out that Ward [Churchill] is gonna be joining us in just a few minutes.

Vernon - Well, ordinarily, I wouldn’t even join the same program with this individual, because he, in fact is at the center of a program, and it’s not coincidence that they had this press conference yesterday, obviously the FBI must be listening to our phone conversations, because yesterday, and for those of your listeners that have access to the web, they can find us at AIMovement.org, that would be AIM Movement with one ‘M,’ AIMovement.org and they can click onto the Ministry of Information and the Council on Security and Intelligence and, of course, I’m just going to share with you part of this report and people would need to know this to understand the nature of what happened yesterday.

But following a lengthy 25-year investigation of Ward Churchill, Glenn Morris, Russell Means and their other Indian and non Indian co-conspirators, collaborators, dupes and unwitting pawns, the American Indian Movements Grand Governing Council’s, Council on Security and Intelligence is releasing a lengthy report.

We do so, because of the continued attacks by this group of deceitful and treacherous frauds against the legitimate leadership of the American Indian Movement and the international, political and diplomatic core of the International Indian Treaty Council, incidentally, the president, a colleague, a close friend and a brother is William "Bill" Means, the brother of Russell Means, and of course, Mr. Branscombe yesterday divulged that this phone call from Minneapolis by myself to my brother at a home on the Rosebud reservation, was in fact, according to Robert Branscombe, the home of Bill Means, so you began to understand the treacherous nature of the reckless charges that Russell Means made yesterday.

He went on to say, (Harlan interrupts briefly) if I could just conclude this, it’s very important. They perpetuate these attacks by fraudulently representing themselves as being members of the American Indian Movement and so called Confederation of Autonomous AIM chapters, now using their website to sew disruption, division and confusion and the ringleaders, the puppeteers behind Russell Means, are two wannabes, which are white men masquerading as Indians who are very deceitful and treacherous individuals by the name of Ward Churchill and Glenn Morris.

And again I want to emphasize to your listeners to log on to our website, AIMovement.org, they will be able to visit the Council on Security and Intelligence and they will come to the same conclusion that in fact, what happened yesterday down the hall from FBI headquarters, with his puppeteers and handlers Robert Branscombe, who incidentally a year ago went into Leavenworth federal prison to visit Leonard Peltier, in order for anyone to visit Leonard Peltier they have to go through a major beauracracy to get on his list, yet Mr. Branscombe was able to go in and he promised Leonard that they would see that he got out of prison if he signed an affidavit against the three alleged killers of Anna Mae Aquash, incidentally their names and our names have been thrown around for the past 20 years by Ward Churchill, Glenn Morris and his group of co-conspirators including Russell Means.

Harlan - O.k. I have to ask you the question. Were you involved in any way with the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash?

Vernon - Absolutely not. I mean that’s totally outrageous for him to make those wild allegations and I hope that the media would understand that he covered himself by saying that he had heard that from somebody else.

Well, obviously, we believe that the death of Anna Mae Aquash was caused by a program that began in the office of Richard Nixon in 1972 where they had a recruitment drive to recruit extremist agent operatives and informants, Indians and non Indians masquerading as Indians, such as Mr. Churchill and through that infiltration, they in fact sparked the firefight at Jumping Bull that claimed the life of Joe Stuntz our young Indian brother and two FBI agents, Ron Williams and Jack Coler, who were all victimized by their own FBI who botched this job that led to the death of their own agents and of course the result is Leonard Peltier being in prison for now 23 years.

Same people that we list in our report were on the periphery and were actually in the area of the taking of Anna Mae from Colorado and eventually to South Dakota where she was eventually murdered in a execution style killing. As I said, three weeks ago, Branscombe was accusing Mr. Means and yet in three weeks somehow, he got to Russell Means, and Russell and others are the only ones that know what Russell’s involvement was, but as was said by Bill Means when I discussed this with him, he said, it’s really strange that everything they’re accusing us of is what they are responsible and guilty for, and I would hope that people would understand that.

Harlan - Vernon, we want to remind our listeners that we do have Ward Churchill on and we’ll bring him on in a few minutes. Vernon, do you believe that members of the American Indian Movement were involved in the killing of Anna Mae?

Vernon - They were obviously agent operatives and informants who showed up at around the shoot out at Jumping Bull and were able to infiltrate the movement and we know and to quote John Trudell who was also charged at one time by Bob Robideau as having been involved in the killing of Anna Mae, we don’t know who pulled the trigger, but what we do know is that agent informants and operators set into motion a campaign that brought about a reign of terror on the Pine Ridge reservation that led to the shoot out at Jumping Bull and led to the execution style death of Anna Mae Aquash.

Harlan - Show i.d., re-intros Vernon, question to you, after nearly 24 years will anything good come out of this or will it open a whole new set of attacks....

Julian - What can be done to bring about peace within Native Americans.......

Harlan - Wish I had the answer, Vernon, do you think this is going to help solve anything?

Vernon - Well, obviously Russell Means reckless grandstanding yesterday is certainly not going to help the healing process or reconciliation or help the cause of Indian people, or non Indian people, but what you have to understand in visiting our website AIMovement.org is that at the center of over a fifteen year campaign, individuals such as Ward Churchill, Russell Mean’s puppeteer, Glenn Morris and other conspirators, collaborators, dupes and unwitting pawns are at the center of that is an individual that you are now going to bring on the radio who is a white man masquerading as an Indian and of course he’s been booted out of the International Indian Treaty Council by Bill Means, we booted him out of the American Indian Movement when his actions we could see were divisive, disruptive and yet he now along with Russell Means are continuing to try to promote discourse, division by declaring the existence of the federation of autonomous AIM chapters.

So it is these people who have caused this division down through the years. In the meantime, my brother Clyde Bellecourt and I who were accused by Russell Means yesterday of being mobsters.

We would want people to come to Minneapolis and see what we’re doing with alternative schools, training programs, health programs, legal services, we develop training projects, we’re opening one on the Pine Ridge, Oglala Lakota Nation, we’re actively involved and if people would look at our website, they would see the long chronology of involvement that we have had very positively, very constructively to help our people. On the other hand, Ward Churchill and his lackeys, Russell Means, have done nothing other than to line their own pockets with their revisionist writings and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Mr. Churchill is a literary, and an academic and an Indian fraud, and why I would even have to carry on or why anyone would want to carry on a discussion with this individual is beyond me, but it’s these people that have been at the center of discourse and division.

Harlan - Alright, Vernon Bellecourt, we’ve given you your opportunity to respond to the charges, and right now I’m going to bring Ward Churchill in to the program. Ward is currently a professor of Native American Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he’s also authored several books and exposes on counterintelligence programs, he’s also co-director of Colorado AIM, welcome to the program

Ward - Thank you, good morning.

Harlan - Well, you’re on the air and you’ve heard Vernon’s comments.

Ward - Well, I’ve heard them, one hardly knows where to begin to address the disinformation that’s involved. But Vernon, for starters ought to make up his mind whether I’m a puppeteer who was powerful enough in the American Indian Movement 25 years ago to orchestrate all the things he’s accusing me of, or whether I’m a late comer to the American Indian Movement that no one had ever heard of until the end of the 1980s because he’s said both things at various times.

As to being expelled from his version of the American Indian Movement, I would point out that that is an entity which did not exist before 1993 when he incorporated it, it is a corporation under the laws of the state of Minnesota, it was incorporated on an essentially fraudulent basis, with the national membership meeting site designated annually as being Leonard.....ah, excuse me Vernon’s own living room. So there is sort of a charade being perpetrated here that begins with the fact that Glenn Morris and I neither of whom are supposedly members of the American Indian Movement according to this outfit, at any point resembling 1975 we were expelled from something we were never part of in the first place.

What Vernon calls the so called Confederation of Autonomous AIM chapters, is the American Indian Movement. We are not a corporation, we are not funded as, national American Indian Movement incorporated is, by the federal government or major corporations, we are not a social service program, we are a national liberation movement, that’s what AIM was always supposed to be about.

I’d like to read a little list of names here that I was compiling while Vernon was talking. Some of them will probably be recognizable to your listener ship. John Mohawk, Mike Myers, Tim Coulter, Steve Tullberg, Don Grinde, Joe Locust, Diane Million, Sharon Venne, Regina Brave, Joe Geshick, Bob Robideau, Richard Robideau, Bobby Castillo, Glen Morris, Russell Means, Brooklyn Rivera, Armstrong Wiggins, Dave Hill, Carter Camp, Joey K. Dow(sp?), Bob Rowka, Cliff Alice Currie, I could go on but there’s no need to.

Harlan - Yah, what is the list?

Ward - The list is individuals who over the course of time, Vernon Bellecourt in particular has accused of being an agent, a dupe, a provocateur, a white man masquerading as an Indian, a lackey, in other words, anyone he’s ever had a disagreement with over the course of his involvement with the American Indian Movement has been designated in exactly the fashion that he is designating people now.

Notably, myself, Glenn Morris, Russell Means, Robert Branscombe, who I’d never laid eyes on or spoken with till yesterday. But, since we’re talking about Branscombe, who is in fact a status Indian, a Micmaw, a member of the people of Anna Mae Aquash and a blood relative of Anna Mae Aquash, and that’s documented.

With reference to the September 16th press conference in Ottawa, Russell Means most emphatically was not named, he has never been named in this. That was just a flat out lie.

O.k? In my book, I did not state that I was on the other side of the ridge from the Jumping Bull [Compound], if Vernon could read, he would see that what I stated was that I was at Potato Creek which is some distance away on the Pine Ridge reservation. I had arrived there that day in an International Scout vehicle without a radio, I had no idea what was going on and was surprised by one of the FBI sweep operations, that’s what I recount.

I was on my way to Spearfish, South Dakota to take up a faculty position, I had not resided in South Dakota nor had I been in South Dakota since I was 6-years-old, at the time I arrived at Pine Ridge. That’s simply another flat out, disinformational statement.

Bob Robideau did not accuse John Trudell of having been involved in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash, what Bob Robideau indicated in his statements was that John Trudell was aware of the nature of the execution that had been perpetrated, after the fact and that he participated in a cover up, along with Dennis J. Banks. That’s a rather different matter than being a direct participant in a murder.

What Bob Robideau also said, which Vernon managed to omit, was that Anna Mae Aquash was killed because she was bad jacketed, you guys did bring that up in the introduction to the program.

Bad jacketing meaning that she was falsely represented by individuals within the American Indian Movement as being a probable FBI informant.

What Bob Robideau said was that in Farmington, New Mexico, the AIM annual meeting there in 1975, Vernon Bellecourt instructed himself as a member of the Northwest AIM security crew, along with Dino Butler and Leonard Peltier to take Aquash out on a mesa and interrogate her about the possibility of being a federal agent and if they were unsatisfied with her answers to bury her where she stood.

They were in fact satisfied with her answers and took her into their group, for purposes of guaranteeing her personal security. However, shortly there after, the Oglala firefight occurred and Northwest AIM was shattered leaving Aquash unprotected.

That’s [what] Bob Robideau actually said, that is a matter of record from the AIM tribunal convened in San Rafael, California in the spring of 1994, to investigate the activities of the Bellecourt brothers. The results of that tribunal which was continued in Rapid City, South Dakota during the fall of [1994] was that both Bellecourt brothers were permanently banished by a representative tribunal of American Indian Movement members, from ever identifying themselves as members of AIM again.

They were found guilty of treason, collaboration with the federal government of the United States, receipt of funds in order to work against the interests of American Indian people, drug dealing, and various other activities which are not representative of the attitudes and values of AIM. That was published in Indian Country Today, at the time, it is also a matter of record.

The entire tribunal, evidencery body including tapes, audio and video, documents, including statements by the Bellecourt brothers themselves and so on and so on have been deposited by Bob Robideau at the University of New Mexico, at Albuquerque.

They are open for public scrutiny, they can be investigated. What we have here is what is referred to in counterintelligence circles as a pseudo gang, that is a contrivance of the federal government to impersonate a bonifide movement for purposes of disrupting and destroying the movement. It is a matter of procedure, it is an operational technique that has been developed not only in United States, but by counterinsurgency forces in Great Britain and elsewhere.

Harlan - Have to go to a break right now. (gives number and brief history of discussion) We’re talking today about the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Some say she was murdered by the FBI, others think it was members of the American Indian Movement. We have with us as guests today, Vernon Bellecourt and Ward Churchill and gentlemen I want to go to the phone lines now. Patty From Fort Belnap, North Dakota......

Patty - wants to know why we aren’t focusing on Leonard Peltier............

Harlan - Yeah, we will be focusing on Leonard in a few shows, trying to get Leonard on the air.

Patty - Start healing through common ground........

Harlan - Vernon, how do you respond to Patty?

Vernon - Well, I think she’s absolutely right, and listen, we have too many important matters to even sit on this program and discuss this with somebody who is central to the program. The individual that’s on the other line. But the Time/CNN piece obviously was a major breakthrough in focusing on the case of Leonard Peltier, there’s a worldwide cry now for his freedom, including Bishop Desmond Tutu who did an excellent job and you’re right, starting in Washington, on November 1st, there’s a vigil at Lafayette Park, we would urge everyone in the area to come down and join us with their prayers for peace and freedom for Peltier.

I will be in Washington myself, somewhere between the 16th and the 18 and I will be there along with everyone else to put our spirit and our prayers together. I think the most important thing for us to do today is in spite of all the problems that we are confronted with across the country, is to put our attention to the case of Leonard Peltier and free Peltier.

Harlan - Patty, thanks for your call, Joyce from Canton, Ohio.......

Joyce - Doesn’t know what’s going on, wants the names of the three people.....

Harlan - Well, it’s, there were three men that were accused, I don’t know any of these men, perhaps we can get one of our guests to.......

Vernon - Harlan, John Graham lives I believe in Saskatchewan, the young man from Oglala Lakota Nation who’s been in Denver for the last 20 some years, a guy by the name of Arlo Looking Cloud and the third one is a 70-year-old respected grandmother, in fact a relative of Russell Means, which again, the family is very concerned why Russell would repeat these names.

You know, these names have been thrown out for the last 20 years, yet no one has been arrested, no one’s been charged, no one’s been indicted and it is because we are convinced that what happened at the Jumping Bull community and what’s happening to Leonard Peltier and Anna Mae Aquash is in fact a government campaign that created the conditions of violence that led to her death. So obviously in order for the FBI to open this case they may have to give up some of their informants who are still operating today.

Harlan - The three names that were thrown out yesterday by Robert Pictou Branscombe, were Peter Nelson Clark, John Patton, and Arlo Looking Cloud. Joyce, those were the names.

Joyce - Thank you and I hope there will be a way to end the pain and suffering in our communities..

Vernon - Well, if we get all these phony, wannabe Indians out of our community and running education programs that should be run by Indian people. I think that’s the first step. All these literary frauds that take on a phony Indian identity so they can sell books, similar to the other guest that’s on this program. We have these people taking over, it’s a phenomena.

Harlan - Alright, I wanna give Ward a chance to respond to that. Ward are you there?

Ward - Yes, I’m here, that one name where you said, Peter Nelson Clark, it’s Theda Nelson Clark, that’s the grandmother Vernon was referring to, there’s one woman, two men.

Oddly enough, in one connection, I tend to agree with Vernon Bellecourt. And that is what happened to Anna Mae Aquash and what happened to Leonard Peltier are the result of a concerted, FBI Counterintelligence program, and what we called for yesterday was the opening of a grand jury and a congressional investigation into the matter which can only serve to help Leonard Peltier in revealing the nature of that program and Vernon’s also correct, the reason they have not done this to date is because it will reveal FBI operatives and informants, we do believe, along with, at least what national AIM states, that the execution of Anna Mae Aquash came at the order of a federal operative.

I happen to believe that federal operative is Vernon Bellecourt, but I would be very poorly advised on my part to be demanding a congressional investigation into this context to reveal the nature of the illegality of the federal operations there, if I in fact were the federal operative and that’s exactly what I’m demanding. Along with Russell Means, Pictou Branscombe and the other individuals involved in it.

Actually, I’m a very late comer to it. I wasn’t even supposed to participate in the press conference yesterday but was asked to speak to the nature of the FBI counterintelligence programs and in addition to the individuals who were named as being at least presumptively part of the American Indian Movement who were involved. I personally demanded that they bring in FBI agent David Price, FBI agent William Wood and the coroner who falsely listed the cause of death on Aquash’s initial autopsy as exposure rather than a gun shot wound to the head, for interrogation for complicity in the operation resulting in her death, so that’s one aspect of it. We have some apparent agreement on that, but if that were the case, if clearing the air were what national AIM really had in mind, if clearing the air were what the Bellecourt brothers had in mind, they’d be joining us in demanding the convening of the investigation both by congress, and by a federal grand jury and probably by a local grand jury in Colorado as well, and I would solicit them to do so.

We can join hands on that particular issue, let’s clear the air once and for all, let’s get to the circumstances that attend the false conviction and imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, and let’s do it right now, and that’s the way to do it.

The other thing that keeps getting thrown around here has to do with my identity and I’d really like to know, what a presumptive Chippewa, who’s listed in Ojibway News as being a 1/64 degree blood quantum himself has by way of an expert data base to make a determination for the Cherokee people, Keetowah Band of Cherokees, who is and who is not a Cherokee. I am an enrolled member of the Keetowah Band, I am who I have always been, Vernon Bellecourt himself during the 1980s made reference to me being an American Indian in the famous expulsion letter from the International Indian Treaty Council.

I am stated, by Bill Means as being a member in good standing of the American Indian Movement and you don’t get that by being a white man masquerading as an American Indian, this is something that’s been contrived during the 1990s by the Bellecourt brothers as part of a campaign to try to discredit not only myself but a number of other people.

Harlan - I want to go back to the phone. I want to bring in Ken from Bellecourt, North Dakota.

Ken - Talks about Russell Means having a butch haircut, a while back. He saw it on a tape...... Why is he trying to build a bar by the reservation........

Harlan - Ward, do you want to respond to that?

Ward - Well, I would agree with the individual calling that this would be definitely wrong, if it were true. But during the period in question, I’m not sure what the period in question is supposed to be, but Russell Means hasn’t had a butch haircut since he was about 9 years old, and I don’t think that’s the period in question and as to starting a bar anywhere, that’s absolutely absurd. Russell Means has for 20 years has been at the very forefront of opposing alcohol on the reservation or in any point approximate.....

Harlan - Well. Ward - Where this comes from I don’t know.

 
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