To say the John Graham Defense Committee has fallen on hard times is to ignore the fact that it never actually got off the ground in the first place.
Graham the so called “land warrior” convicted in the abduction, rape, and murder of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash has done his best to portray himself as an innocent wrongly convicted merely on the basis of being an “activist” for indigenous rights.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It is almost a verbatim copy of another so called “wrongly convicted warrior” by the name of Leonard Peltier.
As fellow convicts Graham and Peltier pled each others case, exchanged verbal friendship rings, and publicly commiserated about the injustice of actually being held accountable for their actions.
A sweetheart deal short in duration as public sentiment turned and a body of evidence began to lead to questions as Peltier’s sonnets for Graham became tainted when Peltier’s own cousin and one time upper echelon member of LPDOC Robert Robideau declared the evidence related to Graham’s guilt was undeniable and he personally would be glad to see Graham extradited from Canada and tried in court, going so far in his denunciation to make multiple demands of Graham’s site that they drop all references to Peltier.
Robideau along with a large number of others got their wish – Graham was extradited, tried, found guilty, and is now serving a life sentence.
Additionally the AIM leadership understood they would be spreading themselves thin if they lined up behind Graham in the same manner they did Peltier.
Defending Peltier served a purpose as a smoke screen to divert attention from themselves and as another potential money making scam.
Graham on the other hand had nothing to offer as they scrambled to profess their love for Annie, in the end they gave Graham up acknowledging that he did in fact murder Annie.
Peltier having seen which way the wind was blowing made a u turn and notably pedaled away divesting himself of his previous claim that he didn’t want to see or be involved in the “wrongful conviction” of another indigenous man.
The subtext obviously being that he, Peltier, was one such man and no less a lie than Graham’s similar claims.
Additionally the Peltier camp may have thought donations going to Peltier could be impacted if Graham was included.
The obstacle for Graham, AIM, and Peltier is that they can never stay on the same page – revisions are routinely made by one or the other without prior notification or consultation which then requires a clean up crew.
Graham’s defense has been for the most part cartoonish from first denying any knowledge to having transported an unbound Annie at her request from California where she was abducted by himself, Arlo Looking Cloud, and Theda Nelson Clark to a “safe house” in of all places Pine Ridge where she was murdered, to the really childishly imaginative taking of a DNA sample by the feds from a park bench where the “land warrior” following an interview as a means to set him up.
Even more bizarre is there are those who have seized on the “Lies of John Graham” as absolute truth and propagated them.
Among the self styled sleuths and quasi apologists who have made an effort to either mitigate or absolve Graham has been an attempt to make Graham’s age a factor when he committed his crimes, as though abduction, rape, and murder only have consequences at some specific time in a persons life.
I’ve often wondered what this age of accountability should be? Is it the legal majority of 18, 21, or later in life – maybe 30 or 40?
If a person is old enough to abduct, rape, and murder then they’re old enough to face the consequences.
I would have phrased the above sentence differently by using the word man rather than person but I’ve never considered Graham to be a man in any meaningful sense of the word.
A part of the misbegotten contrived defense such as it is and has been is that Graham was just a young “foot soldier” being led around by the nose by adoptive aunt Theda Clark – I don’t interpret that as much of defense for Graham being the trigger man and it wasn’t a theory advanced during his trial.
In addition to the array of 23 witnesses at Graham’s trial has been the paucity of donations to the defense fund for wrongly accused political prisoners – Peltier cornered that venue long ago and there’s only so much to go around leaving Graham in the position of a foundling temporarily taken in not truly accepted and then cast aside.
I don’t know what Graham’s up to now, he may be a prison laundry or kitchen warrior having sought and found his particular niche in life, but one thing I do know is Graham never was a land warrior nor a political prisoner.
And like Peltier was never a founder, leader, or voice of any consequence within AIM – but like Peltier an unknown thrust into the spotlight following murder.
Who knows, maybe if Graham outlasts Peltier his “political” fortunes will take an upturn – but I kinda of doubt it as I tend to to believe the political prisoner thing has been overdone and people aren’t necessarily as gullible as they once were.