The following story ran in the March 21, 2003 issue of Alt:

The Seneca Casino Gaming Pact has been allowed to stand, despite evidence presented to lawmakers at all levels that at least one of the parties involved in crafting the agreement, Seneca Tribal Councilor Arthur “Sugar” Montour, Jr., has been associated with an organization that has received direct funding from Libyan leader and known terrorist supporter Col. Moamar Qadhafi.

So much for the “war on terrorism.”

Here in our own backyard, the Mohawk Warrior society, a.k.a. Mohawk Sovereignty Security Force, of which Montour and his father have been long-time members, continues to grow in strength. The group sent three members to Tripoli, Libya, to receive a quarter of a million dollar grant from Qadhafi in 1991, as reported by a Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and by The New York Times.

National Security Directive Number 205, which President Ronald Reagan’s administration issued in 1986, explicitly states that “the policies and actions in support of international terrorism by the government of Libya constitute and unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” It further prohibits “travel-related transactions” and a “total ban” on both service contracts and trade.

The participation in Qadhafi’s Libyan Human Rights Committee awards ceremony served the propaganda needs of both parties.

“Among other charges Qadhafi leveled at the United States were that it mistreated both its African-American and Native American citizens and that prisoners in American jails were subject to exploitation. Americans were less free than Libyans, he (Qadhafi) alleged, because they faced travel restrictions, including a travel ban to Libya,” according to In Search of Sacred Law: The Meandering Course of Qadhafi’s Legal Policy, by Ann Elizabeth Mayer.

Clearly, Qadhafi was seeking to redirect criticism for harboring suspects involved in the terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988.

A news program broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., titled “Witness: The Dark Side of Native Sovereignty,” exploring the origins and controversy surrounding the Warrior Society, also included footage of an event that could indicate why representatives of the Mohawks decided to participate in Qadhafi’s demonstration against the government of the United States.

April 24, 1990: “The Night Of Terror”

The Mohawk Warriors were founded in an environment of criminal activity, despair, and resentment on the Akwesasne Reservation, which straddles the international border between the United States and Canada on the St. Lawrence River.

The Warriors banded together under a banner of sovereignty, rallying many of their brethren who were living in deep poverty on the reservation. The group’s major assets included the Nation’s exemption from paying taxes to the governments of Canada and the United States, and also the group’s leaders’ ability and willingness to protect their import and export activities by force of arms.

A major confrontation erupted between the traditionalists, who were suspicious of the motives and ambitions of the Warriors, when the Warriors opened a casino. The CBC report claimed that much of the gaming equipment was supplied by Las Vegas-based operators who were associated with Mafia chief John Gotti, and it became clear that there was disagreement between whether these types of activities should be regulated by the Tribal Council or whether the sovereignty of the nation extended down to each individual and his right to do as he pleased.

The traditionalists set up blockades with their cars to prevent non-natives from coming on to the reservation to gamble. The Warriors responded with what has gone down in modern Mohawk Nation history as “the night of terror.”

Mike Francis, a U.S. Army veteran who was caught on the wrong side of the conflict, recounted to CBC News: “I had family and friends that had to run for their lives. I’ve done tours overseas, y’know, and I was never under fire like that.”

Footage taken during the attack showed numerous bursts of gunfire. The Warriors used CB radios to broadcast intimidations and threats to their adversaries. And the CBC obtained tapes that demonstrated the campaign’s viciousness. Miraculously, by the time it was all over, only two persons were killed.

After the funeral ceremony, when victims’ families sang John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance,” an exodus from the reservation began. The result was that an estimated 1,000 people were forced from their homes.

Neither Canadian nor American authorities heeded calls by the refugees to intervene on their behalf. No aid or support was given either. Instead, the terrorist campaign was rewarded with unquestioned control of the reservation. Since that time, the Warriors have expanded their power and influence greatly.

Import Export Business: “You Call it Smuggling; I Call it Free Trade.”

As taxes on Canadian cigarettes skyrocketed in the early nineties, the Warriors profited tremendously. Wholesalers delivered cigarettes to the reservation, which were then “exported” to various parties on the Canadian side, free of the onerous taxes that the government had imposed on them to cover the health care costs associated with smoking-related cancer and heart disease. The profit margins were such that Warrior leaders were able to set up cigarette manufacturing plants on reservations.

In summing up the leadership’s individual business empires, the CBC report stated, “All (members of the leadership) support or helped support the heavily armed Warrior Society, created to overcome opposition on the reserves and keep Canadian and American law enforcement out.”

One of the original Warriors, Tony Laughing, said on camera, “You call it smuggling; I call it free trade.”

CBC described another cigarette plant owner, Peter Montour, as follows, “He’s been convicted on drug charges for running a marijuana smuggling pipeline from Mexico to southern Ontario.”

Speaking about the criminal element associated with the Warriors, Montour said, “There’s a lot of us natives with criminal charges… I’m not trying to rationalize it, but I think a lot of it has to do with, we don’t accept your authority. You can throw us in jail, you can do anything you want, but we do not accept your authority.”

This sort of anti-authority stance was echoed in another CBC documentary aired on the news program, “The Fifth Estate,” wherein a youthful Sugar Montour told reporters on camera about his involvement with the Warriors. Sporting a slick, designer Six Nations Warriors jacket, and a mullet hairdo, the youthful Montour gave an outline of how he got started in the family business. He said that he started “runnin’” or transporting goods, making five hundred dollars or more a day, when he was sixteen. By the time he was seventeen, he had more than $100,000 saved. “It’s better than flipping burgers,” he said, laughing.

At one point, however, federal agents stung Montour for selling them a small amount of cocaine and restricted weapons. Asked if this would make him wary of running illicit merchandise in the future, he was anything but repentant.

“Why not?” he said, “I can trade whatever I feel I can trade through the Mohawk Nation. It is my right to sell any product that I can.”

Analysis

While many feel that respecting native sovereignty is the least that can be done, given the shameful history of this country’s treatment of its indigenous peoples, allowing a free wheeling, heavily armed group that came to power through intimidation to expand its scope to “save” downtown Buffalo is a notion that deserves more scrutiny than it has received thus far.

Before converting prime real estate in Buffalo to a Native American casino, it’s important for the community to understand who will be involved in such a venture, where they are coming from, and what they will expect to take from it.

Buffalo News Looks at Criminal Involvement in Casino Buffalo

By John McMahon

The Buffalo News ran a story today (8/13/03) about the criminal background of Seneca Tribal Councilor and Gaming Compact negotiator, Arthur “Sugar” Montour. The article failed to note, however, his involvement with the Mohawk Warrior Society, an organization with links to terror and organized crime.