ARLO LOOKING CLOUD AND THE BOB CONNECTION
These are the stories I wrote in defense of Arlo Looking Cloud, falsely accused by the FBI and U.S. Dept. of Justice, of killing the famed Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, AIM leader who was shot, and her body dumped in the badlands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Miraculously, a man, part Indian, (enough to be enrolled) by the name of Bob Ecoffey, investigated and discovered her murderer after 28 years of searching. Check out the the Bob page to read these related stories.
ARLO LOOKING CLOUD: PSYCHOLOGICAL LAMB ON WAY TO SLAUGHTER
What we have here is failure to communicate. More accurately, we have a total unwillingness to communicate. The real family of Arlo Looking Cloud were quite surprised to learn that Arlo’s request for a new attorney was turned down by the judge. They were quite surprised because they had to read it in the paper in order to know it had even taken place.
The Rapid City Journal refers to Arlo as “the slayer of Anna Mae,” while the Sioux Falls paper refers to Arlo as the “killer.” In other words, Arlo is stuck with court appointed lawyer, Timothy Rensch. Timothy Rensch, who was incapable of cross examining those 23 FBI Agents. Timothy Rensch, who allowed a videotaped “confession” by Arlo, while Arlo was drunk. Timothy Rensch, who allowed extraneous evidence to be planted against AIM, American Indian Movement, and Leonard Peltier.
I have just one question here: just who’s side is Mr. Rensch on? FBI or Arlo? Even I, who claim to no nothing of the law, could have litigated that case better than Mr. Rensch. And now Mr. Rensch is hanging on like a tick to a dog, aided and abetted by the racist South Dakota federal court, to make sure that Arlo goes quietly and silently to prison where he can rot along side Leonard Peltier, while the real criminals are riding high, are in charge.
Poor little Arlo is only a pawn. The Feds want to remove the only defense the Indians ever had in modern times: AIM. You know what the disgusting thing is in all of this? Everyone wants a piece of Arlo, just like a vulture, yet no one really cares about him except the real family of real Lakotas living here on the Pine Ridge Reservation. And they are so powerless to do anything. They are the real family. I know them. I talk with them.
I talked with Tony Black Feather, UN representative, supporting indigenous people not only here, but around the world. He said, “The elders told us not to trust the U.S. Government. Americans live by a corrupt system and corrupt laws which they consider to be normal. Every day a pychologically abused Lakota is led like a lamb to the slaughter. No crumb of justice will never justify his sufferings. And the conscience of my people is captive to the corrupt system that claims to be their benefactor. Bush and Ashcroft are using the wealth of my nation to hurt my Lakota people, and to hurt women and childen around the world. Bush and Ashcroft want to emasculate the men, damage their psyche, turn them over to alcohol with all it’s self-destructive madness. Bush and Ashcroft, who have legalized mass murder, are killing people around the world. America was always a criminal nation. I want Bush and his kind to leave my country. Stop hurting my Lakota people. Stop sentencing and imprisoning my warriors.”
Every day, I see those psychologically damaged lambs Tony was talking about. So hooked on alcohol, so incapable of harming anyone but themselves. I had a cook sale in Pine Ridge last week. Parked in the Sioux Nation and Billy Mills parking lot, I set up my table and sign. After coffee 50 cents, I put ‘free to AIM supporters.’ I had been inspired by Leonard Peltier’s words that we should get out and support AIM who sacrificed themselves that Indian people might enjoy the same civil rights as everyone else. In short, they were fighting for freedom and democracy.
Of course, this is 30 years later, but better late than never. I thought the least I could do would be to find out if there were any AIM supporters, and if there were, to at least offer them a cup of coffee. I realized too late my mistake. After awhile, a couple young guys came over and asked, “is this free?”
I asked, “Do you support AIM?”
“Well then it is free to you,” I said.
I couldn’t say anything, so they had hamburgers and cinnamon rolls. They left and soon more came over. After awhile a big old van pulled up and out piled a group of AIM supporters. They all lingered, talking, eating, laughing, and teasing, "Hey, I think this guy is a Goon supporter.” And for a brief time, relived the glory days, with some accountability, “What did you do back in 73? You just popped out and were in pampers.”
A good time. They came and went, but one stayed and talked with me about the recent murders, the 8 men in Rapid City, that racist Republican town, where Indians can be killed and no one cares. And the 2 Lakota men killed in White Clay, Nebraska, Hard Heart, and Black Elk. We talked about how no one remembers these murders, except for the Lakotas. The guy talking was a brother to Black Elk. We wonder why the FBI is so interested in Anna Mae rather than these alcoholic Lakota men. “Are we going to have to wait 28 years for justice? Then they will nab another Lakota and send him off.”
Time to pack up and go home. I took the 8 dollars I made and put in gas and headed home. I thought about how these guys will now be scheming for drinks and back to their daily life of nothing to do but drink. These guys wouldn’t hurt anyone. And not too long ago, Arlo was one of them.
I think about how U.S. Representative Janklow’s car hits and kills a man while the car is traveling over 70 mph on a gravel road and how the car fails to stop at a stop sign and Janklow is sentenced to 100 days, and I believe the car was given the death penalty. Whereas Arlo has already served over 200 days, was set up, and convicted of a murder he did not commit, labeled by the press as a killer and a slayer, condemned by 2 prosecutors, the States Attorney and the corrupt system appointed attorney Mr. Rensch.
I think about all those psychologically abused lambs on the way to the slaughter. All done in the name of the Bush/Ashcroft regime’s campaign on terrorists. Legalized criminality. That’s what Tony calls it. And we can count on Americans to rally round the flag, gun down terrorists, while celebrating freedom and democracy.
That is why I choose to live in poverty among real people on the Pine Ridge rather than that huge institutionalized asylum called America. And from this vantage point out in the hills of South Dakota I will continue to speak up for all these psychologically damaged lambs, who are real people who I am not ashamed of. As long as I have breath in my body, I will continue to speak up for them and pray that the truth will finally have its day in court and that some day justice will truly be served.
If you are wondering what you can do, you can start by getting your values in order. If you are Lakota or of another tribe, start practicing your traditions and values. Don’t know what to do? Get together with the oldest, wisest people. Ask them what to do. Then follow their advice. If you are non-Native, start looking up the real history of the Indian, the one you didn’t learn in school. Go to the reservation. If you are not Indian, please do not dress up and pretend to be Indian. There is nothing to be promoted by this self-massaging activity. Instead, start standing up to the corrupt system you live by. Find out who the real enemy is, who the real terrorist is. If you really wanted to do something, you might come to the reservation prepared to roll up your sleeves and go to work. Help plant gardens, help Indians to get back on their own land, how to market buffalo, fix fences, repair houses. And anytime you hear anyone marching for their rights, join with them. Always remember, when one person’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is threatened, so are we all. Any questions or comments, my e-mail is email@example.com, phone 701-294-2196
This is one of the first stories I wrote for Arlo, approximate date, December, 2004.
Arlo is Not Guilty of Killing Anna Mae
Arlo Looking Cloud is not guilty of killing Anna Mae or any one else. The family and relatives of Arlo asked me to tell Arlo's side of the story which I promised faithfully to do to the best of my ability. I live on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I am friends with the family. I know many of them personally. I know how decent and totally dedicated to justice they are. I have glanced at the news stories rolling off the presses world wide, all seeking an angle, a one-ups-manship. But I have something that no one else has: first hand knowledge.
The media would have you believe this is a simple story. It is not. It is as complicated and complex as the story of the Indian dealing with the first white man. The truth has not come out yet. Even Arlo does not know the whole truth, who was really behind the murder of Anna Mae.
To quote Arthur Miller as a starting point: "I cannot conceive of guilt as having an existence without the existence of injustice. And injustice, like death itself, creates two opposing interests--one more or less profits from it, the other more or less is diminished by it...The good and evil are not compartments, but two elements of the same transaction...Is it too much to say that those who do not suffer injustice have a vested interest in injustice?...[it gets down to] our individual relationships with injustice and violence....We do not have many wills, but only one: it cannot be continuously compromised without atrophy setting in altogether....We do, after all, live in the century when more people have been killed by other people that at any other period. Perhaps the deepest respect we can pay the millions of innocent dead is to examine what we believe about murder, and our responsibility as survivors for the future."--Arthur Miller from "Echoes Down the Hallway."
Arlo has been tried and found guilty without evidence, without witnesses for the defense, including himself, was not allowed to testify. The State ramrodded through the verdict that is grossly inadequate both to Arlo and to Anna Mae. However, the State was successful in putting AIM on trial--their chief objective, unstated, of course.
I propose that we give Arlo another trial, this time in the court of public opinion. I have, at my fingertips, almost all of the key players in this intriguing drama. I pass by Wounded Knee two or more times every week. I am friends with many of the AIM Indians who remember '73 vividly. Many of them have told me their story of Wounded Knee. I shall call as many witnesses as necessary to get at the truth. I shall start with Arlo's story of the strange 2 days that led to Anna Mae's death.
Like many Lakotas, Arlo like to drink. As a matter of fact, he already had a drinking problem back in '73 when he was only 18. In 1975, the year of Anna Mae's death, he was 20 years old and looking for another drink. Sure, he liked AIM and what they stood for. Back then, you were either AIM or you were GOON. AIM meant that you were on the side of Indians fighting for land and for justice for Indians and for Indian pride, which had reached its lowest point since the beginning of the reservation. Usually you were full blood. GOON meant that you were part of the puppet government, BIA, corrupt, and bought off. GOOM meant Tribal police, Tribal government, BIA, and FBI. They were all working hand in hand. To read the misinformed news, one would think that Arlo was in on top level AIM plans and a key player. Nothing could be farther from the truth. At most, we could say, he was AIM because he is full blood. But like a full blood, he was and is shy. He was more interested in the next drink rather than any political deal. Full bloods shy away from political deals.
Someone here is guilty. Anna Mae is dead. These are facts. The someone or ones, are shadowy figures. They do not seek the light of publicity. They have secret agendas. This was beyond Arlo. We had a rigged trial, complete with rigged "justice." Arlo's attorney would not call witnesses for Arlo. He refused to except help from expert attorneys. He was rude to the family. He wouldn't even talk to Arlo. He refused to ask for a continuum so that Arlo could receive medical attention and he refused to prepare an adequate defense. Right now, the family is desperately seeking a new attorney to appeal the decision. Any volunteers? We have just 7 days to file an appeal.
What I propose to do is to tell the story of Wounded Knee. Why things had so deteriorated on the Pine Ridge Reservation that people were willing to take up arms to defend their last little piece of ground from government takeover. We must set the state for the story. Otherwise you will not understand, not really. Also, this is not the rush job. Since the lawyer failed to adequately represent his client, we, the people, must now represent him. Give him a fair trial in the court of public opinion.
Every day, I will call forth witnesses and background. After all, the trail is a little cold, the murder having taken place 30 years ago. Tomorrow I will tell you the events that led up to the standoff at Wounded Knee, and why it was necessary. In the meantime, if you have any evidence you would like to present, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org phone 701-294-2196, or Lucy Bull Bear at 605-455-1138.
THE TRIAL OF ARLO LOOKING CLOUD
I have a couple of disclaimers. First, I have been asked by Lucy Bull Bear and Arlo Looking Cloud to tell his side of the story. I have known the Bull bear and American Horse Family for 12 years and I am a good friend of Lucy. Secondly, I do not speak for anyone else, including the daughters of Anna Mae who have their own opinions and statements which they will present for themselves. As I do not know the family of Anna Mae, I would not be able to speak for them. I respect their wishes.
It has come to my attention that some people, unknown to the family of Arlo, claim to be representing him. This is not true, and for these reasons: Arlo is not associated with John Graham. Graham was not a friend of Arlo’s. Arlo never knew him. I can say nothing about Graham, because we do not know who is he. That does not mean we think he is guilty. His guilt or innocence is up to a fair minded court devoted to justice, to find out. Thirdly, we do not have a close association with AIM. Although, generally speaking, we are sympathetic to AIM and believe in what it stands for, a true warrior society. Arlo was never a member of AIM, much less to know any of the inner workings. Fourthly, Arlo knows nothing of the incident of 2 FBI agents being shot in Oglala. And furthermore, he was not there at that time.
Seems like everyone wants to be an Indian these days. Yet no one is willing to live the life of poverty and misunderstanding, that is the Indian’s life. Some people like to jump in to try attract importance to themselves by saying things that are not true. This kind of behavior is not helpful. At the same time, we deeply appreciate those of you who have come forward with information and advice. Those of you who have sent e-mails and letters to Arlo, have been very much appreciated. Arlo Looking Cloud and Indians in general have always been placed at an extreme disadvantage when attempting to find justice from the U.S. government, who claims to be the protector of Indian rights, land, natural resources and property. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is a little bit like the fox now guarding the hen house.
For anyone who has reviewed the transcript of the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud, one could only conclude that Arlo was convicted of first degree murder with no evidence presented by the State. Arlo was convicted by the prosecuting attorney, McMahaon, with 23 FBI agent testimony and a couple of documented paid snitches. Although there were eye witnesses, they were never called to the stand. The State appointed attorney, Rensch, did not offer any defense for Arlo. He never called any AIM members to testify, although AIM leaders during the ’73 Wounded Knee stand off, Russell Means and Vernon Belcourt were present during the trial. Rensch never rebutted any of the FBI testimony. An important witness for the defense, someone who had first hand knowledge of Anna Mae leaving Denver of her oun free will, was told by Rensch that she needn’t be at the trial. Rensch failed to inform Arlo of his legal rights, his right to choose his own attorney. In fact, Arlo fired Rensch in August of 2003 because Rensch refused to talk to Arlo, refused to talk with the family. Later he refused expert legal expertise of Terry Gilbert from the Center For Constitutional Rights, and refused expert legal assistance from Bentley Hogmongous, attorney for Leonard Peltier.
Rensch astutely reported to the Rapid City Journal that he had left the case, but later said differences were mended and he would defend Arlo. When in fact, he never defended Arlo. Arlo’s own words were used against him.
Agent Ecoffey scooped up Arlo on the streets of Denver, his home, in March of 2003. While Arlo was drunk, Eccofey videotaped a so-called confession, meaning Agent Eccofey told the concocted story, after Arlo had been badgered and manipulated into signing a Proffer Agreement, designed by Bob Ecoffey and U.S. Attorney, Karen Schreier. Arlo was drunk while Agent Eccofey meticulously read Arlo his miranda rights. The trial lasted only 3 days (actual testimony) because there was no defense. Arlo's own words were used against him in a devious plot hatched by the FBI and the Department of Justice to gain legal access to the Reservation. To accomplish this, they had to kill a couple of FBI agents in order to justify the continuing presence of the FBI on the Reservation. Then they had to blame this unto an AIM member, someone who was actually investigating the murder and mayhem going on, someone like Leonard Peltier.
Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a devoted AIM leader, discovered the FBI plan and the FBI plants and infiltrators. So they snitch-jacketed her, and planned how to have her killed by the jealous-hearted Lakota women, who were fearful that Anna Mae was sleeping with their men. A story had to be devised to cover their tracks, and protect the guilty, the ones who really killed Anna Mae. And most of all, they had to frame up someone for the murder of Anna Mae, someone like Arlo Looking Cloud, who didn't really know what was going on and had a drinking problem--two factors that made him an ideal candidate for the frame job. Let's take a look at the trial transcript, at Bob Ecoffey's testimony. Afterall, he is the one responsible for setting Arlo up to be sent off:
Testimony of Robert Ecoffey in the Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud February, 2004
THE COURT: Bring in the jury, please. (Jury Enters).
THE COURT: Call your next witness.
MR. MANDEL: The United States would call Bob Ecoffey, Your Honor.
ROBERT ECOFFEY, called as a witness, being first duly sworn, testified and said as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. MANDEL: Q. Sir, would you please state your name?
A. My name is Robert G. Ecoffey.
Q. Where are you from?
A. Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Q. Is that where you are originally from, sir?
A. No, I am from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Q. What is your occupation?
A. I am the Deputy Director for the Office of Law Enforcement Services for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Q. How long have you held that position, sir?
A. Approximately three years.
Q. Can you give me a recap of your law enforcement background and training, sir?
A. Yes. I have approximately 28 years in law enforcement starting back in 1975, and I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Chadron State College, graduate of FBI National Academy. I have hundreds of hours in terms of investigative homicide courses, in terms of forensic homicide investigations, crime scene investigations, and sex crimes investigations.
Q. Over the course of years what law enforcement positions have you held?
A. I first started my law enforcement career on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975 as a law enforcement trainee working for the Tribe under the SETA program. I was assigned to work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs police department there in 1975. 1976 I started my official career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a supervisory guard at the Pine Ridge jail. From 1976 to 1977 I worked as a guard. From 1977 to 1981 the Oglala Sioux Tribe contracted the program there, I switched over from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, went to work for the Oglala Sioux Tribe where I served as the training officer and captain of police. From 1981 to 1983 I was a Special Agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Devil's Lake Sioux reservation in Fort Totten, North Dakota. From 1984 to 1986 as a Special Agent again on the Pine Ridge Reservation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, stationed there. Then from 1986 to I think 1989 I was a Special Agent with the United States Forest Service on the Black Hills National Forest and the Nebraska National Forest. Then in 1990 I got out of law enforcement for a couple of years, I went back to work on the Pine Ridge Reservation at the Pine Ridge agency as administrative manager for two years. Then in 1994 during President Clinton's first administration I had the opportunity to be appointed as the first Indian United States Marshal in the history of the Marshals service. I served in that position for two years. 1996 I left that position, returned back to Pine Ridge, and served as agency superintendent for five years on Pine Ridge until taking this job as the, originally was the Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Services until about two months ago the Bureau of Indian Affairs went through a reorganization and changed the title to Deputy Director.
Q. In terms of your current job, Mr. Ecoffey, do you supervise BIA law enforcement on reservations throughout the United States?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Have you, yourself, personally been involved in homicide investigations over the years?
A. Yes, I have. I have testified hundreds of times in Federal Court proceedings concerning homicide investigations throughout Indian country. Majority of those cases were on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Q. In particular did you become involved in an investigation into the death of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Can you tell us, sir, what your first involvement in that investigation was?
A. My first involvement in the investigation actually began while I was stationed up in Devil's Lake, North Dakota. I got a call from the FBI and was asked for their assistance. They had picked up some information, or some leads, I led them down into the Denver area. I was asked by the FBI to come along and to assist in interviewing potential witnesses because of my expertise in dealing with Indian people and dealing in the area of homicide investigations.
Q. At that time did that pan out at all?
A. No, it didn't.
Ecoffey testified that he picked up some leads in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, but he doesn't say what those leads were, and Rensch doesn't ask. Ft. Totten is a long ways from Pine Ridge, even longer to Denver, two scenes mentioned in trial as to where Anna Mae had been. Devil's Lake was not mentioned. Could it be that Leonard Peltier has relatives living on Spirit Lake Reservation? Ecoffey states that his lucky break comes in 1993:
Q. When did you next get involved in the investigation?
A. Actually the information that really got me involved was in I believe in 1996, September. Look at my note here for a minute.
Q. That's fine. A. My actual involvement was in 1993 when I really got involved in the case when information came forward when I was the administrative manager at the Pine Ridge Agency. [BIA Superintendent, who has access to all files on Indians, both criminal and land records]
Q. What type of information came forward at that time?
A. Individual by the name of Gladys Bissonette came to me at the agency, [Gladys Bissonette was a stauch supporter of AIM back in 1973. Jimmy Eagle is her grandson, the one who led the FBI, Coler and Williams, into the AIM Compound on Jumping Bull property near Oglala, over the alleged theft of a pair of cowboy boots, along with 150 more FBI and State malitia. What were the FBI doing on the Reservation? Looking for boot theives? The 2 agents ended up dead, Jimmy Eagle, and others, including Leonard Peltier, ended up accused of the murder of the 2 agents. Eagle was released, later to be charged with something else and sent off. Peltier was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of the two agents.] I was friends with her, had been friends with her for a number of years. She was heavily involved with the Wounded Knee occupation and with the American Indian Movement. [Could it be that Gladys sold out to save her grandson?] I worked with her on some issues there at the agency, and then I had asked her if she had any information pertaining to the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. At that point in time she provided me with the name of an individual that would likely cooperate with me and come forward and provide additional information.
Q. Who was that individual?
A. Al Gates.
Q. Who is Al Gates?
A. Al Gates is a elderly gentleman who lives in Denver, Colorado. He was a family relative of Gladys Bissonette. He came forward, it was actually on June 11 of 1993 when Gladys came forward with the information. Then on June 18 I had asked her, I said will Mr. Gates cooperate with me and provide information about Anna Mae's murder? And she said yeah, I think he will. That was on June 11, 1993. On June 18, 1993 he showed up at my office at the Pine Ridge Agency.
Ecoffey is just an all-over kind of guy. What is not mentioned in all the stories is the proffer, and how Ecoffey, with the help of U.S. Attorney Karen Schreier, got Arlo to testify against himself.
From the transcript:
Q. I want to move onto the time -- sir, at the time you met with Al Gates, did the discussions you had with him lead you to another suspect in the matter?
A. Yes, it did.
Q. Who was that suspect?
A. It actually led us to the defendant here, Mr. Arlo Looking Cloud, John Graham, John Boy Patton, and Theda Nelson, Theda Clark.
Q. Specifically as to the defendant Arlo Looking Cloud, did you take some actions to attempt to obtain information from him?
A. Yes, I did. [See the Proffer Agreement]
Q. Can you tell us initially what you did in that regard, sir?
A. My initial interview with him was conducted at the Denver County jail. I had contacted detective, or Detective Abe Alonzo from the Denver police department had contacted me and said that Mr. Looking Cloud was in custody on some local charges, and that he was being held. And at that point in time I had learned information through my investigation that Mr. Looking Cloud was either an adoptive relative of Theda Clark, Theda Nelson, in an Indian way that she at some point in time had said that she had adopted him and that he might have some information pertaining to the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.
Q. Did you make contact with Mr. Looking Cloud?
A. Yes, on September 6, 1994 was my first interview with Mr. Looking Cloud, and that was conducted by myself and Detective Abe Alonzo at the Denver County jail in Denver, Colorado.
Q. Mr. Looking Cloud was in custody at that time?
A. Yes, he was.
Q. Was he informed of his rights?
A. Yes, he was. [Did he understand those rights?]
Q. Did he talk to you regarding this incident at that time?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. Can you tell us what the conversation was, what you asked him and what the responses were?
A. Basically I introduced myself to Mr. Looking Cloud, I introduced Detective Abe Alonzo. I told him I was the United States Marshal for the Federal District of South Dakota, that I was conducting an investigation into the murdered of Anna Mae Aquash. I told him that the information had been obtained that he might have some knowledge as to, and some involvement pertaining to the case, and that I would like his cooperation in resolving the matter.
Q. Did he agree to speak to you? [Did all this questioning take place without his lawyer present?]
A. Yes, he did. He said that he didn't know anything about Anna Mae Aquash. I told him that the murder occurred around the first or second week of December in 1975. He said he didn't know Anna Mae Aquash. Matter of fact, he said that he wasn't in Denver at the time, that he thought that he was in Florida during December of 1975. At that point in time I told him that I had information that I had seen at the Denver police intelligence section where police officers had stopped him outside of Troy Lynn Irving's residence on the night of September 13th, 1975. At that point in time he said he didn't know anything about it. I said if he was willing to cooperate, that maybe the local prosecutor would be willing to drop the local charges on him. He said that he would take it under consideration.
Q. That was the extent of that first discussion?
Q. I want to jump ahead a bit [but we forgot about the Proffer Agreement] and ask you if you had another discussion with Mr. Looking Cloud at a later date that resulted in a trip up to South Dakota?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. If you could, can you tell us first of all how that contact came about, what happened?
A. Around July 24th of 1975 I got a call -- [an interesting freudian slip--about this time, quite possibly Ecoffey was involved in planning how Arlo would be in the car with Anna Mae when she would be murdered, thus placing him directly at the scene of the crime]
Q. Excuse me, '95?
A. 1995, excuse me. I got a call from Detective Abe Alonzo, and I also at that point in time had a deputy, United States Marshal by the name of Rick Iannucci working with me on the case. Detective Alonzo said Mr. Looking Cloud was again in jail serving some time on local charges in Denver and that he was in custody. At that point in time I asked him if they would go talk to him and see if he would cooperate, and take part in a trip back up to South Dakota here and to show us what happened to Anna Mae Aquash, the places they took her, and the places they held her, and what route they took out to the crime scene where she was killed. Detective Alonzo and Iannucci at that point in time talked with the defendant here, Mr. Looking Cloud, Mr. Looking Cloud agreed to come up here to South Dakota. He came up on the 25th of July. At that point in time on the 24th of July, on the 25th we picked him up here at the Pennington County jail. At that point in time I advised him of his rights again, [which he did not understand]asked him if he had representation from any attorney. And he said no, that he didn't, [not realizing that he was the prime suspect, and that he was aiding Ecoffey in setting himself up to be charged with murder],but he said he was willing to cooperate and to show us where they had Anna Mae Aquash prior to her murder.
Q. Just to clarify a couple of things. When you say he came up, he was in custody when he came up, is correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. So he didn't come up on his own?
A. That's correct.
Q. Secondly, so we are certain, do you recognize Mr. Looking Cloud and see him in the courtroom today?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Could you describe where he is seated and what he is wearing?
A. Sitting right here with the sweater on and glasses.
MR. MANDEL: Ask the record reflect the witness has identified the defendant, Your Honor?
THE COURT: It may.
BY MR. MANDEL: Q. Now after you went through the procedure where you read him his rights and he agreed to cooperate with you, can you tell us what next took place?
A. Yes. After we talked to him at the Pennington County jail he agreed to cooperate. We read him his rights, I was in my vehicle which was the U.S. Marshal vehicle, Detective Alonzo and Deputy U.S. Marshal Iannucci. We loaded him up at the Pennington County jail and then took him around here. He agreed to take us around in Rapid City here and show us where they held her. We picked him up at the jail, he took us out in to North Rapid City at the Knollwood Apartment complex.
Q. You say Knollwood?
A. Yes. Apartment complex. He told us that he pulled up there with Theda Clark and John Boy Patton, that they had Anna Mae, that they had tied her up in Denver, Colorado, that they brought her up there, that they pulled in up at that apartment complex, and that at that point in time they went in to what was considered an apartment in which nobody was living at at the time, and they held her there when they got there.
Q. He take you to any other locations in Rapid City?
A. From there he said, well, we took her from there. And I asked him did you go to the Wounded Knee Legal Defense office here in Rapid City, and I told him that we had information pertaining to interrogation there of her, and he said no. He says that he wasn't involved in taking her to that house. Matter of fact, he said that he had left that apartment for a while and then he had returned.
Q. Did he indicate to you what happened after he had returned to the apartment?
A. He said Theda was very angry with him, screamed at him and chewed him out, wanted to know where he went. Then he said he stayed there for the rest of the day. And then he said that night when it got dark, then they left Rapid City, they tied her up, they put her in the back of the car, they left Rapid City and they took her down through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation up through Wanblee.
Q. Did he tell you about any other place they traveled to?
A. He said that they had stopped at a residence, they were getting low on gas. He said they stopped at a residence which was a relative of his at the Potato Creek Housing on the Pine Ridge Reservation, they had borrowed some gas, and then after borrowing the gas they went on up through Wanblee.
Q. Did you travel to Wanblee with Mr. Looking Cloud?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Who was present when you did that?
A. Myself, Detective Abe Alonzo, and Deputy United States Marshal Rick Iannucci.
Q. Was one of the purposes out there to take some photographs of the scene where this happened?
A. Yes. Mr. Looking Cloud agreed to provide basically a reenactment of what had happened with Ms. Aquash at the crime scene there. (Exhibit 1, 2, 3 & 15 marked For identification.)
BY MR. MANDEL: Q. I have handed you what are marked Exhibits 1, 2, 3 and 15. First of all, are those all photographs that were taken on that day?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. Who actually took the photographs?
A. Detective Abe Alonzo.
Q. They show various views of the crime scene?
A. Yes, they do. MR. MANDEL: I offer Exhibits 1, 2, 3 and 15, Your Honor.
MR. RENSCH: No objection.
THE COURT: Exhibits 1, 2, 3 and 15 are received.
BY MR. MANDEL: Q. Sir, first showing you Exhibit 1, can you tell us what that shot is, where it is shot from at the scene?
A. Exhibit 1 was shot basically from the roadway, which would show the embankment that was being walked to.
Q. And the time these photographs were being taken, did Mr. Looking Cloud indicate to you anything about what had happened that night when they arrived there at the scene?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. What did he tell you?
A. He said that they went to junction 73 and 44, that they drove about three miles north of that junction down into the bottom of the Bad Lands there. He said that they pulled over along side of the road, said that, I believe he said he was sitting in the front on the passenger side, that Theda Nelson Clark was driving, and that John Boy was sitting in the back seat, and Anna Mae was tied up in the back. He said that Theda pulled over on the side of the road there. He had us pull over right about this location, which was actually about a hundred yards from the actual crime scene itself.
Q. Is Exhibit 2 another photograph that you took out there?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Who are the three individuals pictured in the photograph?
A. The person in the front is the defendant Arlo Looking Cloud.
Q. That's in the white T shirt?
A. That's correct. I am in the middle and Deputy United States Marshal Rick Iannucci is in the back.
Q. That's heading over toward the scene?
A. Yes. He was basically reenacting saying we got her out of the car, we took her and this is how we walked.
Q. Sir, taking a look at Exhibit No. 3, can you tell me about that photograph?
A. That photograph there is actually right near the crime scene there. At that point in time the defendant, Mr. Looking Cloud, was explaining what had happened as they got her up to the scene.
Q. What did he explain?
A. He said that they, after they got her out of the car, they walked her through the ditch as exhibited in the other photo. When they got her up here he said Anna Mae said that she wanted to pray first. She said that when she said that, said that she started to pray. He said John Boy pulled out the gun, put it at the back of her head and pulled the trigger.
Q. Are you standing there at the location where that happened according to Mr. Looking Cloud?
Q. Then what about Exhibit 15?
A. Exhibit 15 is just a continuation of basically his reenactment. At that point in time he was telling the story, he said after John Boy shot Anna Mae in the back of the head, he said that he wasn't sure what was going to happen to him, so he asked John Boy for the gun. He says that John Boy handed him the gun, he thought he might be shot next, so he took the gun and he fired directly into the ground emptying the gun.
Q. Did he point to the location where he said he fired it into the ground?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. Where was that?
A. Just basically straight down. Not down where Anna Mae fell, but on the top of the bank where they were, where we were standing. He said I fired into the ground, emptied the gun and handed it back and we walked back to the car.
Q. So up there on the top of that Bad Lands wall there?
A. That's correct.
Q. At some point as part of your investigation did you go out to that same crime scene with a metal detector?
A. I didn't go out to the crime scene with a metal detector, but I had a couple of my agents go out with a metal detector. After he gave the story, had them go out and go through this whole area, the location, and the exact location where Roger Amiotte pointed out where the body was found to see if they could recover any of these bullets the defendant said he fired into the ground.
Q. Were they able to do so, sir?
A. No, they weren't.
Q. After you took the photographs at the scene, did you have any more discussion with the defendant regarding this matter?
A. I asked him, I said now Arlo, you are telling me that John Boy handed you the gun? And he said yes. And you are telling that you fired into the ground? And he said yes. So I asked him, I said or is it, aren't you just trying to explain why your fingerprints would be on that weapon? And he said -- I said isn't it a possibility that you are the person who shot her. And he said no, I didn't shoot her, but I just fired the gun into the ground and then I handed the gun back to John Boy. [Arlo would not have to say any of this, had it not been true]
Q. As far as the journey you made with the defendant on that day, did you also attempt to locate the weapon? A. Yes, we did. Enroute back to Rapid City he claims that they buried the gun underneath a bridge between Interior and Wanblee, and we stopped at a location where there was a bridge on the BIA route there. He said they buried the weapon underneath that bridge. We got out with him, we went down underneath the bridge, and looked at the area and different things, and he could not at that point in time point out where the weapon was buried.
Q. Was there any further discussion on that day relative to this?
A. No, there wasn't.
What sitting duck, a prime goose, Arlo was for the wiley Mr. Ecoffey, and the South Dakota Department of Justice. Ecoffey failed to mention how he threatened Arlo with life in prison if he did not confess. Ecoffey and South Dakota U.S. Attorney Karen Schreier kept threatening Arlo until he signed a Proffer Agreement written by Schreier. They promised they would not prosecute him in exchange for his testimony, a promise they never intended to keep. Reproduced here is the trial testimony and the Proffer Agreement:
Q. (Rensch) When you spoke with Arlo Looking Cloud on this videotape that we just watched, did you ever lie to him?
A. (Ecoffey) No, I didn't.
Q. Is it your practice to lie during an interrogation?
A. No, it isn't.
Q. You thanked him at the end for his cooperation, didn't you, sir?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And you meant it, didn't you?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Now not only did he speak to you on July 25th of 1995, and on the time in 2003 when we just watched up here on the screen,
but you in fact had spoken to Mr. Looking Cloud about these events in November of 1994, is that not so?
A. I am not sure whether I can mention that.
Q. I am asking you?
MR. MANDEL: I ask that we approach on this matter.
THE COURT: Very well.
Bench Conference in the Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud February, 2004
(Bench Conference) MR. MANDEL: Your Honor, this refers to an interview that took place pursuant to a proffer that was made. We agreed it would not be used against the defendant. We did not use it. For the defendant to seek to put this in, it is hearsay evidence, it is not admissible under any exception to the hearsay rule. We have steered clear of it, because it wasn't usable, we agreed not to use kind of a queen for a day thing, we agreed not to use it, but I don't think we can have that turned back on us. And as I say, this at this point is straight hearsay testimony. He is seeking to offer it, we didn't offer that and it doesn't fall under any of the exceptions to the hearsay rule.
MR. RENSCH: It's my client's statement, the hearsay rule does not apply to it, and it is exculpatory.
THE COURT: We are going to have a hearing out of the presence of the jury on this one. (End Bench Conference).
THE COURT: We are going to have a hearing out of the presence of the jury, it is time for an afternoon recess anyway. So don't talk to each other about the case, we will be in recess maybe a little over fifteen minutes, I have to deal with an evidentiary matter. Please stand for the jury. (Jury Leaves).
THE COURT: Please be seated. Alright. Does Mr. Ecoffey need to remain on the stand for this hearing.
MR. MANDEL: I guess that all depends what comes up, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Well, okay, sit tight then. The government asked for the side bar so the government may proceed.
MR. MANDEL: Your Honor, under the rules of evidence the United States has the ability to bring in the defendant's statement as admissions against interest. The defense does not have the right to bring in other statements, and in fact these aren't admissions against interest. The defense claims the statement it wishes to bring in is exculpatory. What happened was in 1994, the defendant, represented by counsel, came in and agreed to use a proffer. The terms of that agreement were that we would not use the statement against him, we would not do so, we didn't proceed on the basis of that statement. As part of that agreement at that time he also took a polygraph test, and frankly that polygraph test came back showing deception on the issue of whether or not he fired the shot. Now this is stuff that we didn't go in, we couldn't go in, isn't properly admissible before the Court. Now the defense wants to go in to it and offer it. Our position is very simple, as to the statement there is not the, any basis for the defense to bring it in. Doesn't fall under any exception to the hearsay rule, and the fact that it is the defendant's statement as he asserted doesn't make it admissible, and the fact it is an exculpatory statement by the defendant doesn't make it admissible. What the difference between the government bringing it in and the defendant bringing it in, the answer is simply this. For us it becomes a hearsay statement that suffers the same problem as all hearsay statements, and why they don't get in, not subject to cross examination. Stuff we choose to bring in that is inculpatory, or exculpatory for that matter, that's our right, but not the defense's right to enter those hearsay statements into evidence.
MR. RENSCH: First of all, they are claiming that the statements that they have admitted thus far of my client are admissible as admissions against interest. They have said in part that the statements that are admissions against interest are consistent with the statement that was given in 1994.
THE COURT: Wait a minute.
MR. RENSCH: Hold on.
THE COURT: I want to ask you a question, so just a minute. That's the only way I can learn things, Counsel. Hold tight, I want to ask you questions. How is he saying that because the '94 statement isn't in evidence, how are they saying it was consistent.
MR. RENSCH: The reason I tried to interrupt is they have taken the position in the extradition proceedings in Canada against John Boy Patton that Arlo Looking Cloud has made statements about this matter involving John Graham, and I believe the extradition matter refers to three statements and says those statements are consistent. Now the point I was going to make was that they are saying that what they are introducing now would constitute an admission against interest, and that would be an exception to the hearsay rule. To the extent the '94 statements are consistent to these admissions against interest that the government is now placing before the jury, they are likewise an exception to the hearsay rule. Even separately and apart from that, separately and apart from that, while they try to say that the statements are generally consistent, I am talking about the 2003 statement and the statement in July of 1995 where he went out there to the scene. They have talked also about some minor in inconsistencies and he has testified about some minor inconsistencies, so to the extent the 1994 statement would buttress the consistencies with these statements, it should be allowed in to support the statements from '95 and 2003. The same way if he were on the stand and they were to come in and say, well, you have made this statement and it is inconsistent at such and such a time, and I could then bring in a previous or a prior consistent statement to buttress it, it's the same theory, even though he is not taking the stand. When they put his statement on the stand in evidence, and there is a prior consistent statement in certain respects, inconsistent in others to the extent that it would be against interest, it should come in through the hearsay rule, it should come in through buttressing the existence of these statements.
THE COURT: Just a minute. I am not familiar with anything coming in through the hearsay rule. It comes in either because it isn't in the hearsay rule or an exception to the hearsay rule, the hearsay rule keeps things out.
MR. RENSCH: I meant to say through the exceptions.
THE COURT: Go ahead.
MR. RENSCH: That's my position. He made this statement with the government asking him a series of long questions back in 1994. It would be our position that to the extent they have attacked the statements of Mr. Looking Cloud that are in the record now, we are allowed to bring this up so that we can show that there is consistency. And to the extent that there is not consistency, so they are trying to say the statements are against interest, it shouldn't be admissible for that reason as well. If they talked to him in 1994 with this proffer agreement against him, but they won't use it, it doesn't mean he can't use it.
THE COURT: Do you have any authority, getting away from polygraphs, because that is something that I don't want to get in to. I just wanted to explore what does it mean, because I heard about it for the first time, but with regard to the statement position, do you have any authority you are urging.
MR. RENSCH: I don't have any with me, I would request an opportunity to look it up. My thinking is simply this, if it is a statement made by the defendant after being advised of his rights, then to that extent it would be admissible because of the statement of the government. The government, if -- oh, and another part of the proffer agreement was if he were to take the stand and testify, they would be able to utilize that for impeaching information. If they would be able to utilize it for impeaching information, and if they now bring statements that he has, they are going to claim in front of this jury they are inconsistent in certain respects, he should have the right to buttress his position with what was said to them back in 1994, but I do not have a case at my fingertips right now.
THE COURT: Thank you. I take it counsel for the government wants to say something before I rule.
MR. MANDEL: Start off with this, this is no surprise the defendant wants to use it, he knew it a long time ago, and he knew we weren't going to bring it in, that we couldn't use it because it was pursuant to that proffer. So it is not some big shock as we stand here today, and the rules of evidence as to hearsay are not because the defendant want's to put it in, or because it is helpful, or because the statement was given to a law enforcement officer that it then becomes admissible. Under rule 801 sub B sub 2, admission of a party opponent, the statement has to be offered against the party. Got to be offered by the opponents, he can't offer it himself. This is inadmissible hearsay. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Let me see the proffer agreement and the, I assume there was a proffer statement that was reduced to writing.
MR. RENSCH: I do have one, it is in a blue notebook. I have lost an entire notebook. I don't have it with me, I took it back to my office to work on it over lunch.
THE COURT: Well, the government would have copies.
MR. McMAHON: You want the transcript, the letter and this transcript?
THE COURT: Yes, both, please. Well, instead of looking at the top of my head, you as well as the people in the audience might as well have a.break. So we will be in recess for fifteen minutes until I read this. Thank you.
MR. McMAHON: Your Honor, can we approach?
THE COURT: Yes.
MR. McMAHON: I just wanted Tim to be aware that the only copy I have is one I have highlighted.
MR. RENSCH: I have copies that are blank.
THE COURT: Doesn't make any difference to me. I have got one, I will just read it.
( Recess at 3:35 to 4:00.)
THE COURT: So the objection is sustained, and I want to state for the record I reviewed the proffer agreement. The proffer agreement as well as the proffer itself in preparation for the ruling. Alright.
MR. RENSCH: At this point can I make an offer of proof? At this point if allowed we would have sought to introduce the transcript, and ask that it be marked and placed into the record as an offer of proof, and that I would have used it to try to fight the fact that the government is going to say and has said through their testimony that in 1994 when Mr. Looking Cloud was approached he denied being there, and then they brought in statements where he later said he was there and reenacted the events. And we would just request the Court utilize that as exculpatory hearsay, and that given the fact that that statement was made with the full knowledge and participation of the government, and with this man being subjected to questioning, and the fact it is consistent in a very good sense with the statements that have been offered by the government, that it would fall within the residual exception to the hearsay rule and would just request the Court reconsider its ruling.
THE COURT: So you want to have the proffer letter as well as the proffer made an Exhibit in the Court file?
MR. RENSCH: Just the transcript of the contents of the tape interview in 1994 when Mr. Looking Cloud told them essentially what he told them in 2003 so that there is some reference and I don't need to go through it all by way of an offer of proof. Not the proffer letter itself, the actual transcript of the event.
THE COURT: That's what I am talking about, because the proffer letter which is just two pages, that's the agreement, but then I read a cover sheet, and then I read 24 pages of transcript.
MR. RENSCH: Very well, I want to make sure that statement was included.
THE COURT: Yes, let's get a clean copy, because the one I have is marked up now.
MR. RENSCH: I have one here, I will give it to you so that you have it.
THE COURT: This doesn't have the proffer agreement.
MR. RENSCH: No, the Exhibit.
MR. McMAHON: Why don't you keep my letter of the proffer agreement. If I can just have my transcript.
THE COURT: I will attach the proffer agreement letter and then there is a cover sheet, so then this will become the Exhibit and you get your marked one back.
MR. McMAHON: Thank you.
THE COURT: Then I will give this to the clerk ultimately. This will be a defense hearing Exhibit, and of course one we don't send back to the jury. Alright, are we ready to proceed? (Exhibit F marked For identification.)
MR. RENSCH: Yes, Your Honor.
MR. MANDEL: Yes, Your Honor
Testimony of Robert Ecoffey (part two) in the Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud February, 2004
THE COURT: Alright. Bring in the jury, please. (Jury Enters)
U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
November 3, 1994
Mr. Henry N. Mulvihill
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 1111
Georgetown, CO 80444
Re: Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud
Dear Mr. Mulvihill:
This is to confirm our previous phone conversations in which you indicated that your client is willing to make a proffer of possible information and testimony that he could provide regarding the death of Anna Mae Aquash. The remainder of this letter constitutes the conditions under which this proffer is made and the aggreement of the parties to those conditions.
In order for the United States Attorney's Office to assess the credibility and value of the evidence, possible testimony and further cooperation of Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud, he agrees to provide a truthful and complete summary of all facts about which he is aware concerning his knowledge of the death of Anna Mae Aquash.
No statements made by or other information provided by Mr. Looking Cloud during the "off-the-record" proffer or dicussion will be used directly against your client in any criminal proceeding.
The government may make derivative use and may pursue any investigative leads suggested by any statements made by or other information provided by Mr. Looking Cloud. This provision is necessary to eliminate the nessity for a Fastiger hearing at which the government would have to prove that the evidence it would introduce at trial is not tainted by statements made by or other information provided by Mr. Looking Cloud during the "off-the-record" proffer or discussion.
In the event Mr. Looking Cloud is a witness at trial of this matter and offers testimony different from any statements made or any information provided during the "off-the-recored" proffer or discussion, the attorney for the government may cross-examine your client concerning any statements made or information provided during the "off-the-record" proffer or discussion. This provision is necessary in order to assure that your client does not abuse the opportunity for an "off-the-record" proffer or discussion, does not make materially false statements to a government agency, and does not commit perjury while testifying at trial.
It is further understood that this agreement is limited to the statements or other information provided at the time of the proffer and does not apply to any statements made by Mr. Looking Cloud at any other time, whether oral, written, or recorded. This United States Attorney's Office, as part of this agreement, is not obligated to make any specific plea offer regarding potential charges which may be brought against Mr. Looking Cloud as a result of his willingness to discuss matters within his knowledge that are relavant to the investigation being conducted by this office. This office has complete discretion to decide unilaterally, what if any, charges will be brought against Mr. Looking Cloud or whether immunity will be granted.
If you and your client are willing to provide a proffer to this office pursuant to these conditions, please affix your signatures to this letter and deliver it to the agent at the time of the proffer.
Karen E. Schreier
United States Attorney
Dennis R. Holmes
Assistant U.S. Attorney
cc: Robert Ecoffey
United States Marshal
Henry N. Mulvihill - Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud
They scared the hell out of poor Arlo, plied him with booze, and most of all, convinced him he needed an attorney. Left on his own, Arlo would never have signed such an outrageous document. By signing, he virtually guaranteed that he would be placed on trial for the murder of Anna Mae, without any defenses. And that is exactly what happened.
After the trial, Rensch said he would appeal. He told Arlo and the family that only he, Rensch could file the appeal, effectively blocking Arlo from obtaining competent legal assistence. One has to ask oneself, what was the point of this trial, this mockery of justice? (1) to manufacture evidence again AIM, American Indian Movement, (2) to have paid informant state that Leonard Peltier was guilty of killing 2 FBI agents, (this totally false and irrelevant evidence which was not refuted by Rensch), (3) to frame and blame yet another Indian to cover up crimes committed by the State.
It is the opinion of this writer, that we live in a Terrorist State run by huge corporations who want to control the world and all its resources. The number one obstacle to their goal is the American public, who must be stampeded into shredding the Bill of Rights. How can we get the public to do that? The right of free speech, of right to peaceful assembly, the right to trial, the right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, all these rights are beloved by Americans. What would make Americans trash the Constitution so that the corporations can have a clear path to the world’s resources and power? Terrorists!! That’s the ticket! The world is now abounding with terrorists, just as the medieval world was abounding with witches, and for the same reasons. Curiously enough, the Terrorists are headquartered on top of the world’s largest oil reserves. I just now heard on the news that President Bush said he will chase down terrorists wherever they may be, and to instill democracy throughout the world. At first blush, that sounds like an admirable goal until we start defining terms. Who is a terrorist? A terrorist is anyone who opposes violations of human and civil rights committed by the State. Members of such organizations as Greenpeace, anti-war groups, and AIM (American Indian Movement) are considered terrorist organizations by the State . Democracy, as defined by the State, are compliant puppet operations who will allow the huge corporations to have a free hand in stealing any resources they deem necessary to maintain the glutton that they are. Usually the U.S. government, controlled by corporate interests, will destroy the local, native, or tribal government, and install the puppet government that will do the bidding of the State.
Examples of this can be found around the world, starting right here in America with all the Indian Tribes. The U.S. killed off all the Indian leaders when the reservations were formed and then stole the land and resources. Not satisfied with this, the U.S. government tried to destroy the Indian culture, and continued to attempt to kill off the Indians by starving them and allowing them to die of disease inflicted upon them by the white man. This is the government’s definition of “bringing democracy” to other nations.
The upshot of all this is that Arlo Looking Cloud is not the target in the State’s quest for so-called ‘justice.’ Arlo is just collateral damage. The real target is AIM, just as it was back in 1973. Just what happened back in 1973? Why did not the FBI investigate the 60-some murders at that time? Why just focus on one murder? These and other questions will be answered in forthcoming articles. For right now, we must think about Arlo. He needs a retrial where all the evidence will be presented, where he can be represented by a lawyer of his choosing. Should you have any questions or information, you may contact me, Janis Schmidt, at email@example.com or Lucy Bull Bear at 605-455-1138.
ARLO: THE RAILROAD JOB
Arlo Looking Cloud is sitting in jail in Rapid City, awaiting sentencing for a heinous crime he did not commit. Tried and convicted for the murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aguash, with out evidence, convicted on hearsay, convicted with the help of court appointed attorney, Mr. Rensch, whom Arlo had fired, convicted with his letters to other attorneys never leaving the jail, convicted for a crime committed 28 years ago, a high profile case, convicted in less than a week’s time. This example of justice in American leaves more questions than it answers.
After 28 years, what’s the rush? Why were only FBI agents called to testify? Why was Arlo not told of his rights? The right to have an attorney of his choice? Why did Rensch lie to the newspapers about his firing? Why did Rensch not put Arlo on the stand? Why did Rensch instead use a videotaped ‘confession’ extracted from Arlo when he was not of sober mind? Why did Rensch play this for the jury when Arlo was sitting right there with a clear mind? Why did Rensch blow off expert legal assistance offered by Bentley Hogmongous, Leonard Peltier’s attorney? Why did Rensch tell the family and Arlo that they had no choice but to stay with himself (Rensch) , and that he would appeal? What is there to appeal, considering that no evidence was presented?
Arlo and the family have a lot of questions about the way Arlo’s trial was handled. The court has done everything possible to keep Arlo and the family misinformed as to what Arlo’s legal rights are. We live in very treacherous times, where we are being told that black is white, at right is wrong, we are in eminent danger of being attacked by an onslaught of terrorists, that we need to trust Bush to ‘rid the world of these evildoers,' that America is the home of justice and democracy.
I just want to say that I, Janis Schmidt, have lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation for 12 years, and in that time I have suffered the loss of a job, have had all my belongings stolen, have been detained by the police for no reason, in short, I have been treated like any other Indian. I have become friends with many of the Lakotas. Some who are close relatives of Arlo have asked me to write in his defense, since no one else is doing that. I do not have any political connections, nor am I a journalist. I am an artist, painter. As an artist, I promised I would do my best for Arlo, for justice, and that I would leave no stone unturned to find out the truth, no matter how long it takes. I will be taking my time. There is no rush job here.
I wish to thank everyone who has come forward with e-mails of support and information. Most of all, I want to thank the people on the Pine Ridge reservation, especially the unimportant people, the ones without the good jobs, the ones who are quietly upholding what little is left of the culture, the ones who have experienced the jails and the justice system, the ones who have been told to shut up and get out, that the justice system doesn’t have to listen to you. To these people, I say thank you. I am listening and in telling Arlo’s story, I realize I am telling your story, too, the story that the State and American history has swept under the rug, so as to sanitize the home of the free and the land of the brave, America, where the Indian has never been invited to sit at the table of justice.
Arlo’s story has really struck a chord with some of you readers out there. I wish to thank Barbara who sent me this following e-mail. I think this is a good example of how justice works in America. Barbara told me that she was not afraid to come forward, that she just didn’t care anymore about the trying to protect herself from the corrupt system. The corrupt justice system is a sham and intended to grind the poor person further into the dirt. The following are her words:
"I have been following the trial as much as possible and I am really concerned about the crookedness of this country. Living in America, a white female, I see it everyday. A judge comes to my home and threatens to lock me up for filing bankruptcy. (One of the businesses I filed on was his.) A man that raped his sister [I witnessed it, when we were kids] is a sheriff now. A judge threatened to lock me up for taking child support for the first 7 years of my daughters life, she is now 19, and she took her rich daddy back to court recently and she settled out of court because she was afraid I would get locked up for taking child support. He still owes her 100,000 dollars. The sheriff in my county was having an affair, his wife supposedly killed herself over it, and before the state investigator got there, the sheriff made prisoners in jail clean the scene up. A policeman is selling drugs out of his home and the chief of police knows it. A judge's grandson and the policeman take 15 year old girls to a house and show porno movies and get the girls drunk and have sex with them and the chief of police knows it. The FBI has been called and nothing has been and probably nothing will be done about it. I am one step from being homeless because I am disabled and can't find a home to rent. The Native Americans and poor white folks haven't got a chance. I sympathize with the Native Americans and wished I could help, but it's going to get worse I'm afraid."
Thank you, Barbara for coming forward with that story. You are a brave woman. By speaking up, you are giving voice to all the poor people in America who are being oppressed by the corrupt system. What is being done to Arlo, is being done to the poor and downtrodden. Because you are a poor person who has been kicked around by the justice system, you have a good idea of the kind of justice Indian people are receiving. We thank you for standing up for Indians and objecting to their continued mistreatment by the Federal government.
For the Lakotas living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Arlo’s conviction without evidence is very personal. Everyone has been put through the humiliation of having their rights denied by the very authority who is supposed to protect those rights. I was talking with Tony Black Feather, respected Lakota elder and UN representative about Arlo’s trial. He said, “I knew John Looking Cloud, his father. He was deeply involved in Indian rights and Treaty law. He was a good man. The U.S. is the world problem. Everywhere in the world, there is fighting. People are fighting each other, killing each other. Everywhere there is killing, the U.S. is involved. The U.S. is master at turning one group of people against the other. Then, while people are busy killing each other, pointing fingers, the U.S. is busy stealing their resources. They think they have a right to kill anyone. They enjoy killing. Arlo was put in jail so that the U.S. can kill some more Indians and steal their land. The U.S. wants to fight Wounded Knee again. The 7th Cavalry still want revenge for Sitting Bull having defeated the U.S. military.”
One big difference between Lakota culture and American culture, is the Lakota’s interest in relatives. It is very common for Lakotas to trace their ancestry back to prereservation days. Lucy Bull Bear told me that her grandfather, Thunder Bull, a medicine man, used to sundance with Sitting Bull. Thunder Bull is also Arlo’s grandfather. The family was always very important to the Lakotas, as it was to all Indian tribes. Aunts were considered mothers. Cousins were called sister or brother. All older relatives were called grandfather. Babes and children were sacred as were women, as was life itself. In the days before reservations, the Chief and his warriors would protect the Tribe, would provide for their needs. The greatest of warriors, did not kill his enemy--no, he touched his enemy, thereby showing that he could have killed him, but honored life more. How far would an American soldier get if he practiced this Lakota tradition? This and many other ways, make Indian tribes very different in their thinking from the American dominant society.
Because it was not in the nature of the Lakota to be a cold-blooded killer, it made him an easy target for the white man to almost succeed in totally extinguishing the Indian off the face of the earth . To quote from the book , WHY DO PEOPLE HATE AMERICA? By Sardar and Davies, p. 158:
"By the manipulation of old ideas, the New World could be brought within European conventions. The native peoples and their possessions could also be appropriated, subsumed and removed to create the actual, philosophic and legal space for the idea of America and its birth in innocence to be established. And then there was the most repugnant triumphalism of all. The pilgrim settlers soon found that native populations were dying at an alarming rate. The great pathogen invasion of new diseases-introduced by European settlers, a nd to which they had no natural resistance-devastated whole communities and peoples. Disease and death seemed to be opening up the country, making the land available. It was understood in the writing of the pilgrims as the Hand of Providence operating to advance the ‘zealous work’ of the ‘chosen people.' It has been estimated that at the time of first contact there were between 20 to 50 million native inhabitants of the land that became the United States. (Noam Chomsky puts that figure at 50 to 60 million.) By the 1890’s, at the end of the Indian wars and after the cataclysm of disease and the depredations of taming and settling the wilderness, the Native American population numbered 250,000."
Kind of makes Hitler look like a boy scout, doesn’t it? What Sardar and Davies left up to the reader’s imagination is that the white man has declared a continual war on the Indian and his culture ever since Columbus first arrived. At one time, the U.S. government even put a bounty on Indians. All one had to do was bring in a scalp as proof for payment. It didn’t matter if it was man, woman, or child’s hair. Settlers liked to mutilate Indian bodies by cutting off their private parts and displaying them as souvenirs. Hitler only killed 9 million, whereas America killed over 30 million and called it Divine or Manifest Destiny that the white race should kill off the Indians and steal his land and resources. No wonder Americans have such a fascination with Hitler. They share a lot in common.
If we are to understand anything at all, we must realize the American culture and Native culture are vastly different. There is no ‘melting pot’ possible here. And the sad truth is that America wanted to totally annihilate the Indian so as to steal his land and resources. When America couldn’t quite accomplish this goal, a massive attack was mounted against the Native culture. If all the Indians couldn’t be killed off, then the Native culture had to be assassinated until the Indian is finally assimilated into extinction, and American can finally lay that case to rest due to lack of evidence that the Indian even existed.
It must get kind of embarrassing for America to set itself up to be the leader of democracy, the protector of human rights, the beacon of justice, when other countries question, how did you treat your Indians? America has a lot of blood on its hands, hands that will never be washed clean no matter how many people they kill. Just like the way Arlo was convicted without any evidence, s o does America want to get rid of the Indian, put them away. T he real tragedy is that Native peoples had a true democracy, a fair justice system, a strong sense of family, a religion that respected everyone’s right to life. This, most of all, is what America wants to destroy.
Should you want to know how you can help, I say that you must first fight for your own freedom and dignity to live in peace upon this earth. Join civil rights groups. Don’t have one? Then, form one. It starts with 2 or 3 people getting together and asking themselves, what is the nature of a just society? Are my rights being violated? Invite more people to join you.
I am convinced that America is on the verge of a huge fall, and is now lashing out at everyone to prop up the corrupt system, the one that was flawed from the beginning. I would encourage you to protest, ‘justice for Arlo,’ ‘civil rights for Indians,’ 'civil rights begins with myself.’ Start having little house parties that spread into the streets. Start standing up for you rights, and the rights of others. Speak out against injustice.
Should you have any information about Arlo, or the Wounded Knee of ’73, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 701-294-2196 or call Lucy Bull Bear at 605-455-1138. I When I first wrote this article so many months ago, little did I know that I would end up the victim of a vicious attack on myself, and my writing in an attempt to prevent me from saying anything further about Arlo or to comment on the injustice that Indian people receive. I was arrested , jailed, banned from the reservation, and had all my property and belongings confiscated. This crime was inflicted upon me through laws and the justice system. All authorities can do nothing about this. I am just supposed to accept the loss of everything I own and move on. But I didn't. I was brought back to the Reservation by the Indians, to whom I have devoted my life to fighting for their lives, their culture, and their way of life. When I returned, I was beaten, and forced off the reservation.
The situation here is that BIA Tribal Police are setting up Lakota men, accusing them of a felony, taking it to the U.S. Attorney in Rapid City, who sends out the FBI to investigate, who just merely look at police reports, and suddenly another Indian is sitting Pennington County Jail awaiting sentencing for a crime he didn't commit, a crime that sometimes doesn't even exist. But the FBI has ways of making cartloads of "evidence" to prove a person's guilt. It is absolutely diabolical what is happening to the Indian today, and no one knows because of our controlled press. This is the main reason all you hear about Arlo Looking Cloud, are the lies perpetuated by the FBI so that once and for all, America can lay the huge sin of genocide and theft of land to rest, when they bury the last warrior deep within the prison system. To quote Leonard Peltier's attorney, Barry Bachrach, "White society is now eliminating the Native Americans using the criminal justice system. Isn't that great?!!
ARLO LOOKING CLOUD, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ANNA MAE?
The only time anyone is interested in Arlo Looking Cloud, is to kick him around like a political football, and abuse him. Now that John Graham is coming back to stand trial for the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aguash, Arlo is of prime interest to the FBI again. And they want to abuse him, brainwash him, threaten him, even kill him if he doesn't do as he is told, and just agree to Bob's dream about the little red car going all around the Reservation.
Arlo was used by the FBI to coverup the real killers of Anna Mae Pictou Aguash. I have studied the trial transcript and find that the facts that the Government brings out, have very little to do with Arlo. The trial was intended to manufacture evidence against AIM leaders, such as Leonard Peltier and Dennis Banks, to help the FBI prove them guilty of killing Anna Mae.
If Bob Ecoffey can mastermind a story for the FBI, then I can come in Arlo's defense and tell the story that really happened. First of all, we need to get our facts straight:
1. Arlo was not a member of AIM.
2. Arlo was not at the Farmington, New Mexico, AIM meeting, where plans were made to return to South Dakota to help defend Lakotas agains Wilson's GOON's who were terrorizing people.
3. Arlo did not know Anna Mae.
4. Arlo had no relationship with Dennis Banks, Leonard Peltier, Russell Means, Vernon and Clyde Belcourte, or Kamook Darlene Nichols.
5. Arlo grew up on the Reservation, but lived all his adult years in Denver.
6. Arlo was living in Denver at the time Anna Mae was killed.
7. Bob Ecoffey, U.S. Attorneys MacMahon and Mandel, have no evidence whatsoever that Arlo killed Anna Mae or was present when she was killed.
8. Bob Ecoffey made up the story of what happened to Anna Mae since he has no proof whatsoever to prove his dream which he introduced as evidence.
9. Bob worked on Arlo for 10 years, trying to get him to admit that AIM leadership ordered the death ofAnna Mae, but Arlo would not sell out, because he is a man of honor, character, and integrity, something that Bob is not.
10. Arlo did not kill Anna Mae, nor did he have anything to do with her death.
The question is, who had the motive, opportunity, and means of killing Anna Mae? Least likely, are Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham. Who last saw Anna Mae alive, that can be proven? Answer: the FBI, namely David Price. What was Arlo's motive for killing Anna Mae? The prosecutor said, because some AIM leader ordered him to do it. Said it in court. Newpapers and media picked it up and repeated it around the world: because AIM ordered him to do it. What kind of nitwittery is this? because AIM ordered him to do it. Would you kill the Preacher because the Church Fathers ordered you to do it?
What kinds of interrogation methods were used on Anna Mae? As you recall, the FBI was desparate to get their hands on Leonard Peltier, who had escaped to Canada after being accused of the murder of 2 FBI agents, Coler and Williams. Someone, quite possibly Bob Ecoffey, shot the 2 agents at close range to justify the presence of over 200 FBI's to come in and shoot up the Pine Ridge Reservation. Joe Stuntz was also killed that day. Why has no one been charged with his murder? Or did they even call his death a murder? Or if he was killed by the FBI, then it is not murder? The truth is that no one except the killer knows who killed Coler, Williams, and Stuntz. One thing for sure, Arlo Looking Cloud did not kill the agents.
During Arlo's trial, the prosecution kept bringing up Leonard Peltier, because the FBI wanted to blame Leonard. Anna Mae was caught in Oregon, traveling with Leonard Peltier, Dennis Banks, Kenny Loud Hawk, and Kamook Darlene Nichols. Dennis and Leonard escaped. The FBI thought they could get Anna Mae to tell them where Leonard was. They applied dirty interrogation tricks on her, like 'snitch-jackeding,' making her look like she is an FBI informant to her friends so they won't trust her.
Why didn't the FBI corner and question Kamook? As wife of Dennis Banks, surely she might know more. Kamook, a much more likely candidate for snitch than Anna Mae. Why Anna Mae? Because Anna Mae was a true AIM leader, loyal to fighting for justice for the Lakotas, and loyal to AIM. She was smart and had figured out who the FBI operatives were. Kamook hated Anna Mae, because Dennis preferred Anna Mae, had loved Anna Mae.
Bob Ecoffey wanted to help Kamook in her jealous fantasies. Afterall, he was a man prone to fantasies and dreams. And Bob just loved working with the FBI. It satisfief one of his fantasies. Bob just loved to investigate. What about Kamook? Maybe Bob did. Maybe Bob made Kamook an offer she couldn't refuse. One thing is for certain. Someone made Anna Mae an offer. Sher refused it, and paid the price.
Many times these investigations are not based on facts or the truth, but a vendetta or political reason to get rid of someone. Then, the poor Lakota is turned over to the Federal prosecutor who sends the FBI out to "investigate." They only go as far as the police and CI reports. If the U.S. Attorney feels he needs more evidence to convict, he will call for a Grand Jury, a place where witnesses are often intimidated into saying what the prosecutor wants to hear. Then the poor Lakota is charged with a serious felony, arrested and put in jail. He is assigned a public defender who immediately goes to work on him to get him to agree to give up his rights and plead guilty.
But Arlo refused to give up any rights because he wasn't guilty. He was threatened with life in prison if he didn't take the plea agreement. You must understand that most people know nothing about the law and believe that lawyers are working in their best interest. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is the constitutional duty of the defense attorney to investigate for his client and build a defense. The sad reality is that very few public defenders do this when it comes to a poor Lakota. Instead of being informed of their rights, they are frightened to death, and take a plea. The judges are often complicit in this abortion of justice. If anyone has any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the real killers, or if you want to testify to a crime, please call Robert Clifford at BHPNews, 867-2220 or Janis Schmidt at 867-2413 or Lucy Bull Bear at 455-1138.