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News ::
State Sponsored Terrorism in the USA (english)
21 Nov 2002
"The federal government - or to be more accurate, certain elements of it - set out to destroy us in a myriad of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. They hide behind their usual cloak of 'national security' to do their dirty work."
"The federal government - or to be more accurate, certain elements of it - set out to destroy us in a myriad of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. They hide behind their usual cloak of 'national security' to do their dirty work."

  Is this the quote of a Muslim living in

America? In fact since 9/11, Muslims are held on false

pretexts, technicalities as lame as scratches on worn

passports. But no, the preceding words are not the result of

the latest crackdown on "security risks." These are the

words of Tate Wikuma, better known as Leonard

Peltier.  Peltier sits in prison doing two

consecutive life sentences for a crime he did not commit.

There must be times when he asks, "What did I do to deserve

this?"  Peltier is a native American Indian.

He was among a group of AIM (American Indian Movement)

members called upon by the Lakota tribe to help defend their

people from violence initiated by the US

government.  Early one morning in 1973 Peltier

awoke to gunfire. At first he thought it the sound of

hunting rifles in the nearby woods. But as people took cover

around him, crying out in fright, he and other AIM members

took up their rifles to protect the women, and

children.  Peltier claims that he shot in the

air while taking cover behind the trees, to make it appear

there were many more returning fire - hoping this would make

the shooters back off. But in the end of Wounded Knee II,

two FBI officers were killed, and law enforcement descended

onto the reservation like an army.    Peltier

managed to escape to Canada. However, he was extradited back

to the US after the FBI presented the Canadians with evidence

that his ex-girlfriend, Myrtle Poor Bear, claimed that she

had seen Peltier shoot the agents. Not only did she claim to

be an "eyewitness," but she claimed that Peltier was the

father of her two children as well.  Her

damning testimony amounted to Peltier getting two life

sentences at Leavenworth. One problem? Peltier claimed he

had never heard of Myrtle Poor Bear. Later, she recanted,

saying her testimony had been coerced by government agents.

By then Peltier had already become another victim of state

sponsored terrorism. If people questioned the government's

evidence, the strategy was simple: Give the media all the

dirt on the man. Then who would seem the more credible,

another lowlife Indian or FBI agents upholding their

commitment to keep America secure?  The victim

became the criminal, allowing the US government to cover its

own crimes. All this occurred over a quarter century ago,

yet as a special court gives the US government broader powers

of surveillance on the basis of national security, one may

see the connection. Then, as now, protecting national

security can easily become a pretext for the government to

not only go after foreign detractors, but any citizen who

dares to dissent.  Attorney General John

Ashcroft called the decision for a special court "a victory

for liberty, safety and the security of the American people."

He said it "revolutionizes our ability to investigate

terrorists and prosecute terrorist acts."  Ann

Beeson, arguing the case for the ACLU, said, "We are deeply

disappointed with the decision, which suggests that this

special court exists only to rubber-stamp government

applications for intrusive surveillance warrants." The court

works in secret, and so - who can tell if it is acting

against terrorists or in the interests of protecting the hard

won civil liberties of the American people?
Looking at the case of Peltier and more recently, that of

James Ujaama, charged for associating with terrorists, it

seems to me there should be more checks against abuse in our

system of justice, than less. The sad truth of his cause?

Despite the protests of the Sioux and other indigenous

tribes, much of their land was taken, and former treaties,

terminated.    "Termination is nothing new in

red-white relations," Peltier wrote. "They (white men) had

been trying to terminate us since 1492. They've always

wanted to get rid of us, and I suppose they'll never stop

   During the 1970's, Indians were

machine-gunned in their homes, a tactic strikingly similar to

that of the IDF gunning the homes of Palestinians on the West

Bank. Among hundreds killed or maimed, a nine year-old girl

had her eye shot out while playing in her front yard. The

"paramilitary law operations" were increasing, just as

uranium mining got under way at the reservation.
   Now, the water on the reservation has

since become contaminated, and coupled with malnutrition,

many of the elderly and children are ongoing fatalities of

this war against the aboriginal people of America.

Spontaneous miscarriage and spontaneous abortions on the

Sioux reservation are seven times the national average.
   In cahoots with energy interests - fueled

by mining uranium - the US government annexed much of the

Lakota (Sioux) reservation. Although sitting at Leavenworth,

Peltier is no longer the victim. But he calls the US

government "a victim of the energy wars, having strayed far

beyond the bounds of legality and human decency . . . all

these things are acts of war against the Lakota people,

against all Indian people, against all indigenous people,

everywhere, against all humanity."
   Does any of this ring familiar as the US

prepares to go to war against oil rich Iraq?
See also:
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