...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003
      ( 9:50 AM )
Not So Instant Karma
- But Karma Just the Same

Today William "Wild Bill" Janklow appears in court on manslaughter charges. If you hadn't heard by now, Janklow, a Republican Congressman for South Dakota, sped through a stop sign and hit a motorcyclist, killing the biker. There has been some commentary on the cable news and across some of blogdom regarding Janklow and his speeding record (He had been cited many times for speeding and even declared himself a fast driver when he was governor of S.D.). There are calls for him to immediately resign his Congressional seat, but so far he appears defiant.

If he is convicted and sentenced to the maximum time in prison allowed, it is still less than he deserves. But Mama, isn't that a bit harsh? you might be asking. No. Long before he took the life of an innocent motorcyclist, Janklow ruined the lives of too many of his own constituents. Why? Because they weren't white. Janklow fashioned himself as "Wild Bill" and called himself an Indian fighter from the time he was in the SD attorney general's office throughout his elected public life. Why the citizens of South Dakota find him so wonderful or popular is beyond me considering his outright racism, the indications that he was a rapist, his illegal actions against the Oglala Lakota Nation, and the way he long thwarted the law to act out his personal vengeance upon leaders of the American Indian Movement.

During his most nefarious days in the 1970's, Janklow declared, "the only way to deal with the Indian problem in South Dakota is to put a gun to the AIM leaders' heads and pull the trigger." He pandered to the prejudice against the Indian population, and he aided and abetted Dick Wilson's Goons in an effort to climb the political ladder. In one of many instances, he was responsible for imprisoning Sarah Bad Heart Bull, the mother of a boy who was murdered, for joining a protest against the state's failure to prosecute the boy's killer. The mother received a sentence of "1 to 5" years (they didn't specify what it would be) - and the killer never served one day in jail. He was complicit with notorious FBI agent Richard Held (of many acts of nefarious crimes against US citizens, including, but not limited to: the cointelpro murders of AIM members (including being SAC at Wounded Knee), some Black Panthers and Judi Bari, and the false imprisonment of Geronimo Pratt) in a host of actions against AIM members on reservations in South Dakota. Janklow is also infamously known for his personal vendetta against AIM's Dennis Banks, including the incident when California Governor at the time, Jerry Brown, would not extradite Banks to South Dakota. In a spiteful tizzy, Janklow declared that all violent prisoners in South Dakota should be paroled on the condition that they move to California.

Later, after the controversial (and horrible) murder of Anna Mae Aquash, amidst the heightened tension created by the COINTELPRO operations that were going on at the time, Janklow stated publicly to reporters that "Some of the best AIM members and leaders are our informants," implying that Anna Mae had been one among many. This not only aided and abetted the horrendous actions of the COINTELPRO provacateurs but seemed designed to cause more trouble for the residents of the reservations.

The truth about the controversy surrounding the incident at Pine Ridge is easily discovered by people who are interested (I highly recommend In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Mathiessen). Janklow was complicit in the FBI's subsequent cover-up, use of false evidence and manipulation of witnesses which ultimately led to the false imprisonment of Leonard Peltier. Interestingly, the day of Pine Ridge, Janklow appeared on the scene, with weapon in hand and was among the first to survey the incident. He then proceeded to declare loudly and widely to press and anyone who would listen that "it looked like an execution." He went on to make more self-serving statements to the press, information that was used to the benefit of the FBI. Dr. William Muldrow, an investigator for the Civil Rights Commission even noted that Janklow's statements were "false, unsubstanitated or directly misleading," but used handily by the FBI - the governor at the time was asked to reprimand Janklow for his statements (though Janklow also stated that he had observed Joe Killsright's body and it showed shotgun blasts to his back with blood spilling out of the back of his jacket - evidence that was never a part of the FBI's report, which declared that Killsright had been shot in the front of the head). Janklow used the tense times of Pine Ridge to elevate himself politically. By the time he was governor, he misused his office to even further usurp the law against Indians. He ordered the illegal extradition of Leonard Peltier from Vancouver, BC based on the coerced and later declared false testimonies of witnesses (including a mentally ill woman) he and the FBI had intimidated.

When Attorney General Janklow became Governor, he signed over 700,000 acres of state land to energy corporations. He had received the full support and financial endorsement of energy corporations during his candidacy. The support was led by his good friend, Jeremiah Murphy, who became the 1980 attorney for...Union Carbide (responsible for some of the worst abuse of the land of the Black Hills - not to mention the massacre of hundreds in India). In January 1979, in his first week in office, Janklow abolished South Dakota's Deparment of Environmental Protection and assigned its duties to the Department of Natural Resources, which sponsored energy development. He then issued an unprecedented gag order on any comment from state government employees on energy issues. In response, a coalition of Indians and white people formed the Blank Hills Alliance to fight the horrible rape of the Lakota territory and surrounding countryside by the uranium and energy corporations.

Janklow lived fast and "wild" with other people's lives. He hurt those who most needed advocacy and assitance. And he held no care for justice. It is long past time justice found him.

| -- permanent link