A lot has been written about the American Indian Movement (AIM). And a shoot-out at Jumping Bull Compound, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (FBI codeword “resmurs”). On June 26, 1975. Books (In the Spirit of Crazy Horse) and even two flicks (Thunderheart, Incident at Oglala). Depict these fateful events between “radical” Indians and FBI. But like an old gangster movie house shut town in most small American towns, this Western story isn’t being told much any more. The silver screen slashed by time, history lost. Who killed two FBI agents (Coler and Williams) that June day in 1975 is dominated by a post colonial dronelike buzz hovering over Indian Country. There is spying. In the Sky. And. Lies about Leonard Peltier being guilty of killing FBI, his serving two life sentences, set-up as a scapegoat for those crimes, and other federally designed atrocities. Peltier a name some have forgotten, or worse yet. A political prisoner some don’t realize is still alive. Viable efforts to free him, from a wrongful conviction. Still taking hold. Despite the lostness of time.
|Leonard Peltier, circa 1979|
They have at times refused, then randomly approved page counts. And then denying access, again.
Given him varied catch me if you can runarounds. Kuzma persists.
In February of this year (2012) Michael Kuzma became “the Plaintiff” in a case filed against the United States Dept. of Justice. Regarding the “withholding of files” by the FBI. The first of his potential “string” of lawsuits. His colleagues from Buffalo, New York. Attorneys at Law, Daire Brian Irwin and Peter Reese are representing Kuzma in a request for 927 pages of FBI files, about a man of too many names. “Frank Deluca” aka “ Frank Leonard Blackhorse”. But why does a Peltier lawyer and his friends, go “after” Blackhorse and the FBI? Irwin explains his own rationale: “Based on all the work Mike has done I am totally convinced that Blackhorse holds the key to Leonard's cell.
|"Siege at Wounded Knee, 1973"|
“A ‘piece in the mosaic’ which will set my client free” Kuzma explains. “Indian Country and any ‘pinhead’ knows. That there were infiltrators into AIM who set up and created the deaths of the two FBI agents on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation”. He believes Blackhorse fits that part. Further, Kuzma knows for fact that Blackhorse did pull the trigger on at least one federal agent Fitzgerald. And was neither extradited from Canada for that shooting when he was found with Peltier . Nor did he ever go trial. He simply. "Disappeared". Kuzma is convinced that Peltier’s wrongful conviction in the FBI killing that day in ’75, is a cover up, an FBI plan gone bad. “Blowback” as he calls it: “It was their own dirty tricks. Their harassment. What happened in 1975 was blowback. I believe."
|Frank Blackhorse, rare arrest|
Blackhorse, on the other hand, never made it back to the States. His extradition, never happened.
The fact that there was an active warrant for Blackhorse. Pertaining to his alleged shooting of an FBI agent Fitzgerald. And a "no show" at his own trial. Is what keeps Kuzma pushing into the dark corners of all this. Kuzma wants answers. Blackhorse was never charged in the killing of the two FBI “Jumping Bull” agents, for which he had not been indicted, but certainly was listed on FBI communiqués, as a person of interest. According to continued Indian Country "moccasin telegraph" Blackhorse was not at Jumping Bull that day. But without public disclosure about this man, nothing about his whereabouts. Is certain.
|FBI Teletype naming Frank Black Horse as a Source: Nov. 1975|
For the killing of two FBI that day in June ’75. Right where it belongs.
|Nov. 1975: Anna Mae Aquash with Kamook Banks, |
in 2004 Kamook identity as Federal informant emerged
|Postcard created by Buffalo, Ny LPDOC|
Which named “Francis Black Horse” as a “confidential source who has provided reliable information in the past”. It was something Peltier wanted to take back to his cell with him. Perhaps to memorize and ease the surprise. Prison laws being what they are Kuzma couldn’t leave it with his client. He mailed it to Peltier when get got back to Buffalo. Helping Peltier be certain to have this tangible proof: however Black Horse had posed in the past, his mug shot cover was now, blown.
The wild card a U. S. Government never saw coming to the tables. For Leonard Peltier.
|"Burning Books, Wall" Buffalo, NY bookstore Feb. 2012|
(photo antoinette nora claypoole)
Comb through those and we will probably file a broader FOIA regarding Blackhorse.
|"Peltier Rally, circa 1979" John Trudell in foreground|
photo donated by Bob Robideau (RIP)
Perhaps it as simple as Kuzma’s counsel Peter Reese reflects: “In the end, under FOIA, you have to trust someone.” Perhaps that was also old AIM sentiments about the intense days surrounding the “shoot-out”: you gotta trust someone. And Peltier has paid the ultimate sacrifice, for that trust.
|"First Nations Day, Ashland Ore. 2008|
photo by a. nora claypoole
Special thanks to Kathy Smith and Barry Bachrach for additional source information in this piece.
To support Leonard Peltier's campaign for freedom, visit www.whoisleonardpeltier.info
Or purchase my new book Ghost Rider Roads (Wild Embers, 2012) 10% of all sales. Going directly to Peltier.
4. Peltier "official" website
05/04/75: A bond default hearing is held in the United States District Court, Rapid City, South Dakota before Judge Bogue. Blackhorse’s $10,000 cash bond is revoked. Exhibit B, p. 6.