PRESS CONFERENCE BY FAMILY OF JOHN GRAHAM, YUKON TUTCHONE NATIVE EXTRADITED TO THE UNITED STATES
Saturday December 8 @ 10:30 am at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Side)
Friday December 7, 2007 – The family of John Graham and supporters of John Graham will be making statements to the media about John Graham’s extradition to the United States on Thursday December 6, 2007 after a refusal by the Supreme Court of Canada to hear Graham’s appeal. His supporters continue to criticize the unjust extradition process and the allegations that Graham murdered Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Anna Mae Pictou. Former FBI regional director Norm Zagrossi has himself stated it “looked like a cover-up” (CBC The Fifth Estate). Rex Wyler, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author, has raised many doubts about the evidence against John Graham.
John Graham has received support letters from a wide range of organizations including Canadian Labour Congress, NDP MP Bill Siksay, 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 stated concern about the lack of a fair trial.
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 previously 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. One witness Al Gates that U.S. Attorney Robert Mandel stated would be available for trial had been dead for nine months. Another witness Frank Dillon has denied making any incriminating statements against Graham.
Supporters claim there are parallels to Leonard Peltier, who was extradited from Vancouver in 1976 based on FBI affidavits signed by Myrtle Poor-Bear, who claimed to be Peltier’s girlfriend. It is now widely reported that Poor-Bear had never met Peltier and had been intimidated by the FBI. In 1979 former US solicitor general Warren Allmand acknowledged this and formally apologized. 50 Canadian MPs have since submitted an amicus curiae recognizing the grave mistake made in Peltier’s extradition.
Between 1973-75, an estimated 67 American Indian Movement members or associates were killed in South Dakota by Bureau of Indian Affairs police and a paramilitary squad- Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOON’s). By this time, the FBI had also targeted AIM with a counter-insurgency campaign entitled COINTEL-PRO (Counter-Intelligence Program). COINTEL-PRO was also used to target communist & socialist groups, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the Black Panther Party.