Monthly Archives: December 2010

John Graham Maintains His Innocence Despite a Guilty Verdict

From the Vancouver Media Co-Op.

On December 10 a South Dakota jury found John Graham guilty of felony murder in the death of American Indian Movement (AIM) member Anna Mae Aquash. John Graham, a Tuchone native originally from the Yukon, continues to maintain his innocence. Aquash was murdered in the 1970s in an execution-style killing in South Dakota. Graham has said that she was his friend and comrade.

In 2004, Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted of murder for aiding in the murder of Aquash. He received a life sentence with a chance of parole in 2013. Earlier this year, Richard Marshall was acquitted on the charge of supplying the gun that killed Aquash. Looking Cloud testified against both Marshall and Graham at trial. Thelma Rios plead guilty in November of this year to charges of aiding and abetting, for which she received five years of probation and no jail time.

At trial, the state alleged that John Graham took Aquash from Denver against her will and ultimately killed her in the hills of South Dakota. The government claimed the motive for the murder was that AIM believed Aquash to be an informant who had knowledge of sensitive information.

The jury acquitted Graham of premeditated murder: the first-degree charge. Nevertheless, the lesser charge of second degree felony murder* carries a sentence of life in prison.

Aquash was a Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia and was well-known as a skilled organizer and warrior with AIM. In 1975, she said she had been targeted and threatened with death by the FBI. Her body was found on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in February 1976. The original autopsy report, made by an FBI-contracted coroner, stated her cause of death as “exposure” and made no record of the bloody bullet-wound in the back of her head. The FBI removed her hands for purposes of identification in Washington as they claimed the body was unidentifiable. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) buried Aquash as a Jane Doe. Read the rest of this entry

Dr. Binayak Sen’s Statement to the Court

From the International Campaign Against War on the People in India website.

I am a trained medical doctor with a specialization in child health. I completed my MBBS from the Christian Medical College, Vellore in 1972, and completed studies leading to the award of the degree of MD (Paediatrics) of the Madras University, from the same institution in 1976. After this, I joined the faculty of the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and worked there for two years, before leaving to join a field based health programme at the Friends Rural Centre, Rasulia in Hoshangabad, MP. During the two years I worked there, I worked intensively in the diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis and understood many of the social and economic causes of disease. I was also strongly influenced by the work of Marjorie Sykes, the biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, who lived at the Rasulia centre at that time.

I came to Chhattisgarh in 1981 and worked upto 1987 at Dalli Rajhara (district Durg), where, along with the late Shri Shankar Guha Niyogi and the workers of the Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh, I helped to establish the Shaheed Hospital, that continues to practice low cost and rational medicine for the adivasis and working people of the surrounding areas upto the present. After leaving Dalli Rajhara, I worked to develop a health programme among the Adivasi population in and around village Bagrumnala, which today is in Dhamtari district. Read the rest of this entry

Mao’s Birthday Celebrated

Fight Back! News Service is circulating the following article from the New China News Agency on the celebrations marking the 117th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth.

CHINESE MARK 117TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHAIRMAN MAO’S BIRTH

CHANGSHA, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — People across China marked the 117th anniversary of the birth of late leader Mao Zedong on Sunday with various activities in his hometown in central Hunan Province as well as in other parts of the nation.

In Mao’s birthplace, Shaoshan village, villagers and visitors arrived in the early morning to observe a local tradition in celebration of Mao’s birthday — eating a bowl of noodles.

“Today is Chairman Mao’s 117th anniversary and many tourists came from afar on this special day just to have a bowl of ‘long-life noodles’ to show their respect towards the chairman,” said village official Mao Yushi.

Noodles are a traditional Chinese food to celebrate birthdays, as people believe long noodles stand for longevity.

The villagers and tourists then came to Mao Zedong Square where they paid tribute to the “Great Helmsman” by leaving behind bouquets at Mao’s bronze statue and singing the famous tune “The East is Red”, a song in tribute of Mao.

Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 citizens in Shaoshan – known as one of China’s “red tourism” sites – marked the date with a 5,000-meter foot race that started from Mao’s former residence and ended at the square in front of the Shaoshan Railway Station. Read the rest of this entry