LETTERS: January 17

Macabre Arpaio

He’s national, he’s international, he’s notorious. Live from Maricopa County Jail, the inverted story of local boy makes good, on the TV “variety” show Late Night

with Conan the barbarian (www.nbc.com/Schedule/) featured the coward of Maricopa County, the Joke, the Payaso, the macabre, the ghastly, Joseph M. Arpaio.

Here’s a definition suited to Arpaio:

macabre (m-käbr, m-käb, -käbr) adj.

1. Suggesting the horror of death and decay; gruesome: macabre tales of war and plague in the Middle Ages. See synonyms at ghastly

2. Constituting or including a representation of death, macabrely adv.

Robert McElwain Via e-mail



Capitalism’s last dance?

Take heart, all! The collapse of the stock market and the disproportionality of Israel’s recent response bears out what I have long believed. To paraphrase the “Great Communicator”: capitalism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written. I believe this because the source of its strength in its quest for economic freedom is material, not humane. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately massacre those who would free their fellow humans.

Steve Brady Watsonville, CA



Buckeye State greeting

Brothers and Sisters, I am a third-generation trade unionist and member of Ironworkers Local 17, Cleveland. Keep up the good work. In solidarity,

Michael Kilbane Fairview Park OH



No benefit cuts for autoworkers

The American auto industry problems are not due to the wages, health benefits and pensions that union autoworkers have fought for through the UAW for many years. These benefits helped to create a broad, diversified and healthy working and middle class. They enabled millions of workers to raise and educate their families, unlike the benefits provided by the newer foreign-owned companies.

To enable the American-owned manufacturers to compete in the future, government assistance must include two major items:

1. The government should take over the automakers’ future payments to the auto industry health benefit plans, with no cuts in benefits or increased cost to present and future autoworkers. The plan should be governed by a board made up of UAW and government representatives. This would also be a big step towards health care for all.

In addition, foreign-owned automakers must immediately be required to either provide equivalent health benefits to their workers, or pay into the UAW-sponsored fund to provide benefits for their workers. The workers in the home countries of these automakers receive health benefits through social insurance paid for by general tax revenues; their U.S. workers should have the same benefits!

2. The pension liability of the U.S. auto companies should also be taken over by a government-assisted fund, again governed by a joint union and government board.

There must be no cuts in benefits earned by these workers.

Bill Morico Connecticut



Where are the FBI files?

In 1976, American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier was extradited from Canada to the United States to stand trial for the shooting deaths of FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams that occurred at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota on June 26, 1975.

Peltier was extradited back to the U.S. based in large part on the affidavits of Myrtle Poor Bear. On Oct. 25, 2000, in Toronto, Canada, Poor Bear testified under oath before former Quebec Court of Appeal Judge Fred Kaufman that she agreed to implicate Peltier in the shooting deaths of the two FBI agents only after she had endured months of unrelenting harassment and threats from other FBI agents. Among other things, FBI agents told Poor Bear that they would take her child away from her and that she would be charged with conspiracy and face 15 years in prison if she did not cooperate. FBI agents coerced Poor Bear into signing affidavits which indicated that she was Peltier’s girlfriend and that she saw him shoot Agents Coler and Williams.

In 1978, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit noted that, “The use of the affidavits of Myrtle Poor Bear in the extradition proceeding was, to say the least, a clear abuse of the investigative process by the FBI. This was conceded by government counsel on the hearing in this court.”

Myrtle Poor Bear passed away on Sept. 15, 2005, in Rapid City, S.D. On Nov. 14, 2006, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to FBI Headquarters for all records pertaining to her.

I was advised that the Minneapolis Field Office of the FBI might have records responsive to my FOIA request and I should submit a new FOIA request to that office if I hadn’t already done so. A FOIA request was submitted to that office on April 20, 2007.

In a letter dated Nov. 21, 2008, Mr. Hardy from the FBI claimed that, “A search of the indices to our central records system at FBI Headquarters reflected there were documents potentially responsive to your request. This office has attempted to obtain this material so that it could be reviewed for responsiveness. We were advised the records were not in their expected location and could not be located. Following a reasonable waiting period, another attempt was made to obtain this material. This also was met with unsuccessful results. Therefore, we are closing your request administratively.”

The question now is, where are these FBI files? Who has them? If they are no longer in the possession of the FBI, when and under what authority were they transferred to another agency or individual? Perhaps the records have been destroyed? If so, by whom and under what authority?

The public has a right to know what is in the FBI files relating to Myrtle Poor Bear. It should be noted that this is not the first time that the FBI allegedly has not been able to find records that could prove to be helpful to Leonard Peltier.

What is the FBI afraid of? Why does the FBI continue to fight to prevent the full release of documents that are over one-third of a century old? Could it be that these documents would reveal how FBI personnel as well as its informants and provocateurs set into motion the events that culminated in the deaths of Joe Stuntz Killsright, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams on that tragic day in June of 1975?

Michael Kuzma Buffalo, NY Michael Kuzma is the attorney for Leonard Peltier.



Help needed

For a biography of William Patterson, leading Communist during the era of the Scottsboro 9 and head of the Civil Rights Congress, I would appreciate hearing from readers with relevant memories, documents, correspondence and the like: please contact me at gchorne@email.unc.edu.

Thank you.

Dr. Gerald Horne Via e-mail