Russell Means Dies, Lifelong Leader of American Indian Movement (AIM)

Russell Means dead at 72: Indian activist, actor remembered


Obit Means Baid Russell Means dead at 72: Indian activist, actor remembered

In a Jan. 31, 1989 file photo, Russell Means, who heads the American Indian Movement, (AIM) testifies before a special investigative committee of the Senate Select Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Means, a former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, reveled in stirring up attention and appeared in several Hollywood films, died early Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 at his ranch Zzxin Porcupine, S.D., Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Solomon said. He was 72. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Russell Means spent a lifetime as a modern American Indian warrior. He railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land and even took up arms against the federal government.

A onetime leader of the American Indian Movement, he called national attention to the plight of impoverished tribes and often lamented the waning of Indian culture. After leaving the movement in the 1980s, the handsome, braided activist was still a cultural presence, appearing in several movies.

Means, who died Monday from throat cancer at age 72, helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee — a bloody confrontation that raised America’s awareness about the struggles of Indians and gave rise to a wider protest movement that lasted for the rest of the decade.

Before AIM, there were few national advocates for American Indians. Means was one of the first to emerge. He sought to restore Indians’ pride in their culture and to challenge a government that had paid little attention to tribes in generations. He was also one of the first to urge sports teams to do away with Indian names and mascots.

“No one except Hollywood stars and very rich Texans wore Indian jewelry,” Means said, recalling the early days of the movement. And there were dozens, if not hundreds, of athletic teams “that in essence were insulting us, from grade schools to college. That’s all changed.”

AIM was founded in the late 1960s to demand that the government honor its treaties with American Indian tribes. The movement eventually faded away, Means said, as Native Americans became more self-aware and self-determined.

Russell Means’s fought for American Indians

Obit Means Baid1 Russell Means dead at 72: Indian activist, actor remembered

In a Feb. 4, 1974 file photo, American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Russell Means, who is challenging incumbent Oglala Sioux Tribal President Richard Wilson in Thursday’s election on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, laughs at news report which quoted Wilson as saying he will give AIM 10 days to get off the reservation after he is reelected “or else”, in Pine Ridge, S.D. Means, a former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, reveled in stirring up attention and appeared in several Hollywood films, died early Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 at his ranch in in Porcupine, S.D., Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Solomon said. He was 72. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

There were plenty of American Indian activists before AIM, but it became the “radical media gorilla,” said Paul DeMain, editor of News from Indian Country, a national newspaper focused on tribal affairs.

“If someone needed help, you called on the American Indian Movement, and they showed up and caused all kind of ruckus and looked beautiful on a 20-second clip on TV that night,” DeMain said.

Means and AIM co-founder Dennis Banks were charged in 1974 for their role in the Wounded Knee uprising in which hundreds of protesters occupied the town on the site of the 1890 Indian massacre. Protesters and federal authorities were locked in a standoff for 71 days and frequently exchanged gunfire. Before it was over, two tribal members were killed and a federal agent seriously wounded.

After a trial that lasted several months, a judge threw out the charges on grounds of government misconduct.
Other protests led by Means included an American Indian prayer vigil on top of Mount Rushmore and the seizure of a replica of the Mayflower on Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Mass.

“The friendship between Russell and I goes back almost 50 years,” Banks said late Monday night. “I lost a great friend. But native people lost one of the greatest warriors of modern-day times. Truly, he was a great visionary. He was controversial, yes. But he brought issues to the front page.”

But Russell Means’ constant quest for the spotlight raised doubts about his motives. Critics who included many fellow tribe members said his main interest was building his own notoriety.

Means said his most important accomplishment was the proposal for the Republic of Lakotah, a plan to carve out a sovereign Indian nation inside the United States. He took the idea all the way to the United Nations, even though it was ignored by tribal governments closer to home, including his own Oglala Sioux leaders, with whom he often clashed.

For decades, Russell Means was dogged by questions about whether the group promoted violence, especially the 1975 slaying of a woman in the tribe and the gun battles with federal agents at Wounded Knee.

Authorities believe three AIM members shot and killed Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge reservation on the orders of someone in AIM’s leadership because they suspected she was an FBI informant.

Two activists — Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham — were both eventually convicted of murder. The third has never been charged.

Also in 1975, murder charges were filed against Means and Dick Marshall, an AIM member, in the shooting death of a Sioux man at a saloon in the town of Scenic, S.D. Marshall served 24 years in prison. Means was acquitted.

Russell Means activism goes beyond US tribes

His activism extended to tribes beyond the United States. In the mid-1980s, Means traveled to Nicaragua to support indigenous Miskito Indians who were fighting the Sandinista government.

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Means grew up in the San Francisco area and battled drugs and alcohol as a young man before becoming an early leader of AIM.

With his rugged good looks and long, dark braids, he also was known for a handful of Hollywood roles, most notably in the 1992 movie “The Last of the Mohicans,” in which he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis’ Hawkeye.

He also appeared in the 1994 film “Natural Born Killers,” voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas” and guest starred in 2004 on the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Means also ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian nomination for president in 1988 and briefly served as a vice presidential candidate in 1984 on the ticket of Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.

Russell Means always considered himself a Libertarian and couldn’t believe that anyone would want to call themselves a Republican or a Democrat.

“It’s just unconscionable that America has become so stupid,” he said.

Russell Means often refused interviews and verbally blasted journalists who showed up to cover his public appearances. Instead, he chose to speak to his fan base through YouTube videos and blog posts on his website.

Means recounted his life in the book “Where White Men Fear to Tread.” He said he pulled no punches in the autobiography, admitting to his frailties but also acknowledging his successes.

“I tell the truth, and I expose myself as a weak, misguided, misdirected, dysfunctional human being I used to be,” he said.

Russell Means died at his ranch in Porcupine, S.D. He announced in August 2011 that he had inoperable throat cancer and told The Associated Press that he would forego mainstream medicine in favor of traditional American Indian remedies.

Means’ death came a day after former Sen. George McGovern died in Sioux Falls at the age of 90. McGovern had traveled to Wounded Knee with then-Sen. James Abourezk during the takeover to try to negotiate an end to hostilities.

“I’ve lost two good friends in a matter of two to three days,” Abourezk said Monday. “I don’t pretend to understand it.”

Oglala Sioux Tribe spokeswoman Donna Salomon said wake services for Means’ will be Wednesday on Pine Ridge, and his ashes will be scattered in the Black Hills on Thursday.


Source: Dirk Lammers/ Kristi Eaton/ Associated Press

Russian Press Reports Chemical Weapons Used Against Beseiged Qaddafi Loyalists At Bani Walid

Libya Report: U.S./NATO backed regime using chemical weapons against civilians

Pro-Gadhafi town of Bani Walid under siege by U.S./NATO backed regime


Pro-government militias intercept food, fuel and medicine and use grad rockets and gas weapons against Bani Walid, a man whose family remains in the town told RT. He claims the daily shelling of the town is Misrata militias’ attempt to eliminate it.


Several hundreds of Bani Walid natives marched to the seat of the national parliament in Tripoli on Sunday to protest the assault on their home town, which has been continuing for over two weeks. The protesters demanded a peaceful solution to “the tribal war that is happening in the town.”  The demonstrators, however, failed to enter the parliament, being dispersed by guards firing rounds into the air.

Pro-government forces and militias besieged the hilltop town of Bani Walid following the death of former rebel Omran Shaban. Shaban is credited for capturing the country’s ex-leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011. The Warfalla tribe controlling Bani Walid has been accused of kidnapping and torturing the former rebel.

Libya’s government has been empowered by the congress to use force to arrest those suspected of killing Shaban. Since the rebel was a Misrata native, Misrata militias joined the assault on Bani Walid.

The joint forces have been shelling Bani Walid almost non-stop since early October. At least 26 people died and over 200 more were injured in Saturday clashes alone, according to AFP. Gunfire and sporadic blasts continued into Sunday, and an AFP photographer says he saw hundreds of people were fleeing the besieged town.


Stolen Booby-Trapped Car May Be Key to Hasan Murder Investigation

Col. Wissam Hassan, the ISF intelligence chief who was Hariri's chief of protocol at the time of the bombing. CBC

Col. Wissam Hassan, the ISF intelligence chief who was Hariri’s chief of protocol at the time of the bombing. CBC

“His alibi is weak and inconsistent…a possible suspect in the Hariri murder.”  (SEE:  SPECIAL REPORT CBC Investigation: Who killed Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri?)

Report: Owner of Stolen Booby-Trapped Car May Be Key to Hasan Murder Investigation

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية

by Naharnet


Interior Minister Marwan Charbel revealed that investigations into the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan is making “speedy progress”, revealing that they have reaching important information in the case, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Tuesday.

Security information revealed that the owner of the stolen car that was booby-trapped in the bombing that killed Hasan on Friday has been identified.

Security sources told the daily however that the owner of the car is unlikely to be linked to the murder, adding that thief has several arrest warrants against him.

After stealing the car, the thief then may have sold it to whoever committed the assassination, said the sources.

The thief himself may have been involved in the crime, they added.

The stolen car, a Toyota RAV4, was owned by a resident from the town of Qabrshmoun in Mount Lebanon and was reported to have been robbed about a year ago.

After it was stolen, the owner received several telephone calls from the culprit demanding money in return for the car, but he refused.

The thief told the owner that if he ever changed his mind, he should contact him through the phone number that he has been calling him from, which is a Lebanese line, added the daily.

The Central News Agency reported on Monday that Hasan had arrived in Beirut from Berlin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

He made a stop in Paris where he visited his family before returning to Beirut.

He had not informed any members of the ISF of his France trip.

Upon his arrival in Beirut, he contacted Charbel to discuss security matters.

Hasan then headed to his apartment in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district using a rented car, while a decoy convoy headed to the ISF General Directorate.

The assassination took place on Friday afternoon when Hasan decided to leave the apartment using the same rented vehicle.

The booby-trapped car had been parked in the area hours before he left the apartment.

A widely-informed source meanwhile told As Safir newspaper Tuesday that the Intelligence Bureau has obtained the telecom data over the phone calls that Hasan conducted hours before his assassination.

They include the moment he arrive in Beirut on Thursday and until the time of the bombing shorty before 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Soon after the blast, the source said that ISF chief Ashraf Rifi had ordered the Intelligence Bureau to provide him with the information about the bombing to determine whether anyone had been targeted.

He then tried to contact Hasan who was supposedly still in Paris with his family and he took the slain security chief’s closed line as a sign that he was in fact still abroad.

At around 4:00 p.m. however Rifi received a telephone call from former Premier Saad Hariri who asked him if he had inquired about Hasan’s safety after the blast to which the ISF head replied that he was abroad.

Hariri then revealed that Hasan had in fact contacted him on Friday morning, informing him that he was in Beirut.

Rifi immediately sent the team charged with Hasan’s security to the scene of the Ashrafiyeh blast in order to determine if he was targeted.

The team returned shortly before 5:00 p.m. with Hasan’s wristwatch, which confirmed that he was the target, said As Safir.

The source told the daily that Hasan was likely not only being monitored in Beirut, but in Berlin and Paris as well.

Investigations are now focusing on the people he communicated with by phone, it added.

Rifi meanwhile denied claims that two blasts took place at the scene, saying that the booby-trapped car was parked at the side of the road and it was remotely detonated as soon as Hasan’s car passed by it.

A security source told al-Liwaa newspaper Tuesday that “loopholes” existed in Hasan’s security precautions, which made his assassination possible.

It said that his security could have been breached through the discovery of his Ashrafiyeh apartment or his rented car or his arrival in Beirut on Thursday.

On the blast itself, the source said that the remote detonation of the bomb indicates that the criminal was not too far away from the scene, adding that such an operation requires three or four people, not 20 as some reports said.

A large number of people involved would raise suspicions over their activity, the source told al-Liwaa.

In addition, it ruled out the possibility that Hasan’s car was booby-trapped, saying that the blast was caused by a car parked on the side of the road as indicated by the crater created by the bomb.

On the reasons for the assassination, the source said that Hasan had become a target for his role in the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri in 2005, the discovery of terrorist and Israeli espionage networks in Lebanon, and the arrest of former minister Michel Samaha in August.

Samaha was arrested on charges of forming a criminal gang aimed at carrying out attacks in Lebanon at Syria’s behest.

Upon the arrest, Hasan and Rifi received intelligence reports that they had “crossed red lines” in their acctions, said the source.

“The two security officials responded by saying that red lines to them are the Lebanese people’s security, meaning that they reject the warnings,” it added.

Northern Distribution Network Will Never Be Hillary’s “Silk Road”

Putin Partners with British Petroleum In the Arctic, Other Oil Giants Left Out In the Cold

Russia ‘Off Limits’ to Big Oil After BP Wins Putin’s Approval

Although other explorers may yet strike deals to search Russia’s vast untapped reserves, none will be able to replicate BP’s “seal of approval” from Russian President Putin. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Russia Off Limits to Big Oil After BP Wins Putin Approval

By Joe Carroll and Edward Klump

Now that BP Plc (BP/) has partnered with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to oversee the world’s second-biggest oil industry, other international energy companies such asExxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) are facing dwindling access to one of the last untapped troves of crude.

BP’s agreement yesterday to sell its half of Moscow-based TNK-BP to Russia’s state-run oil company, OAO Rosneft (ROSN), for $12.3 billion in cash and almost one-fifth of Rosneft’s shares vaulted the U.K. energy producer to preeminence among foreign drillers in the Russian oil patch, said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in Houston.

Although other explorers may yet strike deals to search Russia’s vast untapped reserves, none will be able to replicate BP’s “seal of approval” from Russian President Putin, or match the London-based company’s access to powerful deputies such as Rosneft boss Igor Sechin, Molchanov said in an interview yesterday. Even as Exxon and Rosneft proceed with a $3.2 billion Arctic and Black Sea drilling venture signed last year, future contracts of similar scope are out of the question for outsiders, he said.

“For foreign oil companies seeking to expand production and reserves, Russia is now off limits,” Robbert Van Batenburg, head of research at Louis Capital Markets LP in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The BP accord “is probably scaring the others away.”

Tightening Control

Russia, which increased its crude reserves more than any other nation except Iraq last year, has been a magnet for investment by Western oil companies since the early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union loosened state control of oil fields from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Russia is the source of one of every eight barrels of crude produced worldwide, second only to Saudi Arabia, according to the BP Statistical Review, an annual compendium of global energy data.

Since 2004, Putin has been tightening the government’s grip on the Russian oil sector, moves that made it increasingly difficult for foreign producers to establish or maintain footholds in the country, said William J. Andrews, a fund manager at C.S. McKee & Co. in Pittsburgh. Buying TNK-BP from the London-based producer and the Russian billionaires who own the other half will transfer to Rosneft fields that accounted for about 25 percent of BP’s annual output worldwide.

“The Russians are nationalistic and are going to keep the oil reserves for themselves,” said Andrews, who helps manage $14 billion. “They don’t really have a legal system or a political system. It’s a dictatorship.”

Principal Partner

Under the terms of the agreement announced yesterday, BP will receive $17.1 billion in cash and a 12.8 percent stake in Rosneft in exchange for 50 percent of TNK-BP, a 9-year-old venture of the U.K. company and an entity known as AAR that is controlled by the billionaires. BP plans to reinvest $4.8 billion of the cash in the government’s share of Rosneft, boosting BP’s holding to 19.75 percent. BP also will receive two Rosneft board seats.

“By signing this deal, the highest levels of the Russian government, up to and including Vladimir Putin, are endorsing BP as the principal western partner of the Russian oil and gas industry,” Molchanov said. “This is a big, big seal of approval for BP by Moscow and it means no other company is going to have access to the corridors of power like BP does.”

Exxon, the world’s largest (XOM) energy company by market value, and other international oil companies have been struggling to reverse production declines as fields discovered decades ago peter out and access to state-controlled reserves is denied or made onerously expensive from Latin America to the Middle East.

Shrinking Production

Exxon’s global output slipped for a fourth straight quarter during the April-to-June period, reaching the equivalent of 4.15 million barrels of oil a day, the lowest in two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Exxon’s reserve growth slowed to 0.5 percent last year after jumping 7.9 percent and 8.9 percent in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Shell’s production has declined in eight of the past nine years, and The Hague-based company’s costs to find untapped crude more than tripled in the past half decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chevron Corp. (CVX)’s global output (CVX) dropped by 2.6 percent during the April-to-June period to the equivalent of 2.62 million barrels a day, the lowest second-quarter average since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The San Ramon, California-based company’s reserves are 4.5 percent lower than a decade ago.