Saturday, January 16, 2021

PELTIER: DEAR PRESIDENT BIDEN

Edward Woods

January 20, 2021

 

President Joe Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

 Re: Leonard Peltier

 Federal Inmate #89637-132

  Clemency Denial Request

 

Dear President Biden:

 

I am writing regarding a very serious matter that you may be called upon to consider in the coming months, but first, congratulations on your election.

 

Leonard Peltier was convicted in April 1977 for the brutal and cold-blooded murder of two already wounded (by Peltier and others), FBI Agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams. 

 

Line of Duty deaths:

 

The court record and facts determined that the Agents were victims of an unprovoked attack while performing their lawful duties on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. They were caught in a deadly crossfire and were both wounded. There is absolutely no dispute concerning how the attack began. Agent Williams was overheard on the FBI radio describing exactly what was about to happen—that they were to be fired upon by multiple individuals. Agent Coler received a devastating wound to his right arm. Agent Williams, wounded three times, waved his shirt as a sign of surrender, (this was ignored by Peltier and the others), which he then used as a tourniquet on Agent Coler’s severely injured arm. The Agents were then approached and shot in the face at point blank range by Peltier with an AR-15. We pray that Agent Coler may have been unconscious when he was shot in the forehead while a second high-powered bullet tore away his jaw. However, Agent Williams was alive and faced his attacker. He had defensive wounds as his fingers were blown through the back of his head. 

 

cc:

1-Hon. Rosalind Sargent-Burns, Acting Pardon Attorney, USDOJ, 145 N St. NE, Room 5E.508, Washington, D.C. 20530

1-Hon. Jeffrey A. Rosen, Acting U.S. Attorney General, USDOJ, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20530-0001

1-Director Christopher Wray, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20535

1-Hon. Drew H. Wrigley, U.S. Attorney, District of North Dakota, 655 First Avenue North, Suite 250, Fargo, ND, 58102-4932

1-Hon. Ronald A. Parsons, Jr., U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota, PO Box 2638, Sioux Falls, SD 57101-2638

1-Senator John Hoeven, Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs, 838 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510

1-Congressman Brad Wenstrup, 7954 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45255

1-Mr. Louis J. Freeh, 3711Kennett Pike, Ste. 130, Wilmington, DE 19807-2156

 

 

After fleeing to Canada Peltier was extradited and then convicted of murder and aiding and abetting and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. He later received an additional seven consecutive years for an armed prison escape. In addition to the armed escape he has not been a model inmate, having served—by his own account—over five years in solitary confinement along with possibly a disciplinary transfer to another federal facility. 

 

This attack on law enforcement is not unlike last year’s September 19, 2020 attempted murder of two Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs who were both ambushed and shot in the face while sitting in their police vehicle.

 

Your public response regarding that appalling attack was genuinely sincere and appropriate, “This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice. Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.

 

Peltier has made many unsubstantiated claims of innocence and of his alleged wrongful conviction, all of which have been dismissed and discredited. 

 

Through nearly two-dozen appeals, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, Peltier’s conviction and his specious allegations have been examined in minute detail and

not once has his conviction or sentence been altered. For example, these are just an illustration of the many legal findings made by federal courts:

 

“The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “…Peltier’s contentions of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.” 

[Direct Appeal; 8thCircuit Court of Appeals, 9/14/78]

 

“The record as a whole leaves no doubt that the jury accepted the government’s theory that Peltier had personally killed the two agents, after they were seriously wounded, by shooting them at point blank range with an AR-15 rifle.”

[Rule 35 Motion, 8thCircuit Court of Appeals, 12/18/02]

 

There are many more similar findings of fact throughout the appellate record.[i]

 

Mr. President, to be absolutely clear, Agents’ Coler and Williams were not just murdered, they were summarily executed.

 

The closest Peltier came to some semblance of compassion for his victims and their grieving families concluded with a statement that both families found disturbing and offensive: “I cannot see how my being in here, torn from my own grandchildren, can possibly mend your loss. I swear to you, I am guilty only of being an Indian. That’s why I’m here.” 

This is just one of many examples of Peltier’s contrived innocence. 

 

Peltier has offered many unsubstantiated—bordering on outrageous—claims concerning the events of June 26, 1975 at Pine Ridge, that include, among others; that the agents’ were sent in, alone, to provoke a confrontation; that there were hundreds of law enforcement and SWAT teams in the surrounding area; that the June 26thevents were pre-planned by the government, and as an alibi for nearly two decades was that someone else, the phantom “Mr. X,” killed the Agents. The Mr. X alibi was eventually and publically rejected by one of Peltier’s own attorneys. These deceptive claims have been disproven as misinformation and falsehoods. There is ample proof to discredit Peltier’s illusory fabrications. 

 

Moreover, there is no disagreement that the historical treatment of Native Americans has tarnished our collective national history. However, as a Native American, Leonard Peltier is the last person to correct any wrongs of the past. 

 

It bears noting that none of your predecessors, when they were presented with a clemency decision, found it justifiable to commute Peltier’s sentence. The latest being President Obama. It is a logical assumption that previous Presidents understood the facts and gravity of Peltier’s murderous actions, his lawful conviction, and recognized this for what it really was, a wonton and appalling criminal act. These killings had absolutely nothing to do with Peltier’s Native heritage. Granting Peltier a commuted sentence would only serve as an affront to dedicated law enforcement men and women throughout this great nation as well as the multitude of law abiding Native Americans.

 

I would respectfully urge you to fully review the legal history of Peltier’s conviction, his discredited claims, and not the myth he has created in an attempt to shroud and deny his heinous cold-blooded actions, and deny his clemency petition. 

 

Leonard Peltier should be given the same degree of mercy he showed to Agents’ Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and that would be none.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration in this most import matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Edw. Woods

Edward Woods




[i]Significant court decisions: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/court.html

  A concise history of guilt: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#concise

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SA JACK R.COLER: END OF WATCH, June 26, 1975

Dear Jack:

 

Another year has quickly passed.

 

Your family and grandchildren, friends and fellow Agents, past and present, will never waiver in their commitment to honor the bravery, dedication and sacrifice In the Line of Duty of you, and your partner Ron, on that fateful day at Pine Ridge. (Footnote 1)

 

The Bureau has always honored its Service Martyrs with annual field office memorial services, and an incredible biographical video.* And here, for more than twenty years we have added to that tribute. (Fn.2)

 

We believe that you are able to see what the past year has brought to your family and the nation. A pandemic that has in one way or another affected everyone, along with, rising crime, incessant turmoil, rioting and destruction and many in law enforcement making the ultimate sacrifice at the hands of those who have lost any and all sense of civility.

 

Had that fateful day at Jumping Bull turned out differently, today you would have turned seventy-four and certainly looking back at a productive and rewarding career and wonderful times with family and friends.

 

Nevertheless, as we all realize, birthdays are mere earthly events as one day simply passes to the next. Our collective belief is that you and Ron are ageless and still the vibrant young dedicated professionals we remember.  

 

Jack, as you have over these too many years, please continue to look after us mortals and especially those willing to serve and place themselves in harms way to protect the values of this great nation that is facing very challenging times.

 

Your Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity will never be forgotten.

 

Ed

 

Footnotes:

1) Details that cannot be ignored: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2013/01/jack-r-coler-1947-1975-rest-in-peace.html

2) Lest we never forget: Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, video tribute:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozhEumzwgKA

* End of Watch: https://www.odmp.org/officer/3262-special-agent-jack-r-coler

Special Agent Jack R. Coler, January 12, 1947 - June 26, 1975. Rest in Peace

Friday, December 25, 2020

2020 Holidays & New Year

Dear Supporters:

 

All the best to everyone, supporters and detractors alike, as we struggle through these very difficult times and a holiday season no one will forget.

 

Be safe.

 

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

PELTIER: 20 YEARS LATER

Dear Supporters:

 

On Friday, December 15, 2000, approximately 700 FBI Agents and law enforcement from other agencies gathered for a dignified procession to the White House. Ahead of the procession was a banner with photos of Special Agents' Jack Coler and Ronald Williams with the words, NEVER FORGET.

 

And we certainly will not.

 

Peltier justly remains incarcerated serving two consecutive life sentence and an additional seven years for an armed escape. Over two-dozen appeals can attest to that reality.

 

The folklore and myth surrounding Peltier is nothing more than a sham; his many public and written statements confirm that. The self-proclaimed public figure and political prisoner are the foundations of decades of falsehoods and misinformation.

 

Peltier remains a remorseless cold-blooded murderer and nothing can or will alter that fact.

 

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods

 

Some of the reasons why Leonard Peltier is the worst:

http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2019/03/why-is-peltier-worst_8.html

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

PELTIER: UP ON THE ROOF

Dear Supporters:


 


No, this doesn’t hearken back to the glory days of Motown and the 1962 hit by the Drifters. 

 

A recent article in the San Francisco News, an online bay area news source, described a large-scale statue of Leonard Peltier sitting, literally, up on the roof of the San Francisco Art Institute. 

 

The twelve-foot high redwood and steel likeness, created by an accomplished artist, is based on Peltier’s self-portrait sitting forlornly and contemplating his forty-four year existence in federal prison (Footnote 1). The article emphasized the significance of Native American challenges but at least did not repeat Peltier’s shallow claims of innocence (Fn. 2). The article mentioned that Peltier has been incarcerated since 1977 (actually since his arrest on February 6, 1976, after fleeing to Canada), but fails to mention his conviction for the brutal murder of two already wounded FBI Agents, nor the initial unprovoked attack on the Agents by Peltier and other American Indian Movement members.

 

The Peltier effigy is deliberately placed to “gaze across the bay to Alcatraz, a pivotal place for the American Indian Movement.” (With no insignificant sense of irony Peltier did not participate in the seminal AIM event, the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969. Peltier also missed the takeover and destruction of the Pine Ridge village of Wounded Knee in 1973. Peltier was in jail at the time. However, he did participate in the “Trail of Broken Treaties” and the ransacking of the Washington, D.C. Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in 1972, and of course, the murder of two FBI Agents on June 26, 1975 on the Jumping Bull farm.)

 

Peltier is facing in the wrong direction.

 

Looking almost due North toward Alcatraz, he should instead be turned to the south-southeast facing Lompoc, California, and its federal prison. On July 20, 1979 Peltier was involved in an armed escape where guards were taken under fire. Captured five days later he received an additional seven years added to his consecutive life sentences.

 

According to the article the statue has removable feet that have travelled around the country and supporters have stood on the feet to show solidarity. This may be a metaphor to symbolically walk in Peltier’s shoes as Peltier, undoubtedly, wishes he could walk-back from the carnage at Jumping Bull and that he had taken a different path. One likely path could have been his artistic interests that were frustrated after being turned down for a Santa Fe art school scholarship. He lamented later that “I often wonder what my life would have been like if I’d have just gotten that scholarship” (Prison Writings, p.85). Peltier, perhaps another Rigo 23, would not be in the situation or the subject of discussion he finds himself in today.  

 

The article pointed out that at times the effigy has not been well received as when it was on display at the American University in Washington, D.C. and was “censored and taken down after complaints from the president of the FBI Agent’s Association.” 

 

The FBIAA is an organization dedicated to providing support and advocacy to active and former FBI Agents and challenged American University’s apparent endorsement, using public space, of Peltier’s criminal actions (Fn. 3). Further, that facts regarding Peltier’s conviction were being ignored by the university including, “through well-over a dozen appeals, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, every aspect of Peltier’s trial has been reviewed in minute detail and his conviction and sentence has been upheld in every instance” (Fn. 4). The manner in which Agents’ Coler and Williams were murdered was seen as an affront to law enforcement across the country as the FBIAA sought to continue to honor the sacrifice in the line-of-duty of two of their own.

 

American University thought better of its decision to display the effigy and stated, in part:

 

With the benefit of a fuller review, we have made a decision to remove the piece from this location.  The subject matter and placement of the piece improperly suggested that American University has assumed an advocacy position of clemency for Mr. Peltier, when no such institutional position has been taken.

 

            The San Francisco News states in their “Declaration of Principles,” that, “we promise,” “To allow commentary writers the freedom to express their opinions and views without interruption, censorship, or persuasion.”

 

Having pointed that out, this blog will be sent to the San Francisco News in the hope they will permit a response to the article, “Artist Rigo 23 Unveils New Statue In Honor Of Leonard Peltier.”

 

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods

 

Footnotes:

1) San Francisco News article: https://www.thesfnews.com/artist-rigo-23-unveils-new-statue-in-honor-of-leonard-peltier/68470

2) Anyone who has even a cursory understanding of the history of the unconscionable treatment of First Americans cannot ignore, or deny, that their treatment by the U.S. Government was tantamount to genocide. Correcting those wrongs: the broken treaties, the banishing to remote Reservations and the cultural dismemberment of a proud Native heritage cannot be ignored. Without question it is a complicated history that even God cannot change. In contrast, however, the events at Pine Ridge on June 26, 1975 by Peltier and others was a purely wanton criminal act.

3) FBIAA press release, December 29, 2016: https://fbiaa.org/fbiaa-press-releases-list/fbi-agents-association-calls-american-university-remove-leonard-peltier

4) Significant legal decisions re the conviction of Leonard Peltier:

http://www.noparolepeltier.com/court.html

A concise history of guilt:

http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#concise

Important reminders re Peltier’s conviction and guilt:

http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2018/03/peltier-important-reminders.html

Monday, September 28, 2020

PELTIER: PODCAST PART II

Dear Supporters:

 

(Please feel free to forward this blog.)

 

‘More of the same with some added misinformation’

 

What follows is a continuation of a review from the “Leonard Peltier Political Prisoner Podcast.”  (Footnote 1)

 

The podcast is pure boilerplate that originated in 1977 with the initial Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC), which morphed into the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC) that shape shifted into the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC). Along the way there were several large time lapses where the Peltier message was dormant or almost nonexistent. 

 

The LPDC began its mission hyping their primary sources: Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (Spirit), Redford’s (Michael Apted’s) Incident at Oglala (Incident), Peltier’s autobiography Prison Writings, and countless subsequent public statements by the ‘committees,’ Peltier, other protagonists and Peltierites. 

 

Even with all the later legal history the foundation of the Peltier Myth and Folklore began to grow, yet at the same time dissembled as the facts and bogus allegations were placed under the proverbial microscope and systematically discredited.

 

The Podcast simply repackages the same tired and skewed rhetoric and ignores the over forty-year history of the Peltier saga.

 

In the meantime the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) has addressed every spurious allegation made by the various ‘committees,’ Peltier and others, through a series of over 70 Editorial Essays and over 225 Blogs that provided references to primary and relevant sources dispelling the underpinning of the Peltier illusion.

 

This further review of the podcast will be limited to the more egregious claims or unsupported new assertions to the Peltier narrative. (This will avoid repeating—once again—lengthy research but instead provide those references in relevant footnotes.)

 

* * *

Season 1, Episode 2, June 26, 2020:


(Stated by a Peltier attorney): “Even people who want to support Leonard talk about this in the wrong way because everyone’s confused. ‘You know, he was convicted of shooting and killing two FBI agents.’ No he wasn’t. By the time it comes out that the ballistics test—what we’d refer to as exculpatory evidence—was hidden; it’s a Brady violation. It should be over.”

 

It is baffling to believe that after all these years Peltier, the committees, supporters and now podcasters have read the entire Peltier legal history. And if they did, why is there a continuing misrepresentation of the facts and issues that have long been addressed and resolved? Unless, of course, it’s for a transparent agenda.

 

No he wasn’t!” 

 

Really?  

 

            “…Peltier was tried by a jury, was convicted on both counts (§§ 2, 1111 and 1114; Aiding and Abetting and Murder) and was sentenced to life imprisonment on each count, the sentences to run consecutively.” “Secondly, the direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “The judgment of conviction is affirmed.”(See, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit {8th CoA}, September 14, 1978; Direct Appeal showing no Brady violation. {This court statement is restated in many subsequent decisions}.) (Fn. 2)

 

It’s a Brady violation!” 

 

Well no, actually it wasn’t.

 

Referencing a prior decision:“We then held that the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find Peltier responsible for the murders.” “There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government’s case. Yet, we are bound by the Bagley test requiring that we be convinced, from a review of the entire record, that had the data and records withheld been made available, the jury probably would have reached a different result. We have not been so convinced.”(8th CoA, September 11, 1986)

 

“…the ballistics test.”  

 

This falls under the dead-horse theory, or more accurately the matter of illusory truth as the myth purveyors believe a false narrative after nearly endless repetition.  Peltierites are yet to comprehend that the October 2, 1975 FBI Laboratory Teletype (the ballistics evidence) has been resolved and cannot mutate into anything else. 

 

When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15.” (8th CoA, September 11, 1986. See also http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com Section 2)

 

Nevertheless, one podcast detail does have a ring of truth among Peltier supporters, “because everyone’s confused.”  That is, they do not want to be confused by the facts. 

 

* * *

Why Mr. X cannot be resurrected or altered

 

The narrators sought to provide context and background, albeit with a liberal quantity of editorializing without documentation. As well they should regarding the Peltier matter and the 1973 – 1975 period on Pine Ridge. (The podcast mentioned Angie Long Visitor, who will be discussed later.) (Fn. 3)


However, the Podcast rather quickly segues into the legacy of the phantom protagonist, the infamous Mr. X: The individual who, according to legend and Bob Robideau, murdered the agents and drove off in the infamous red pickup. This fable was detailed for about six minutes by Robideau in Redford’s Incident at Oglala. (Incident, by the way, was certainly not a ‘documentary’ as the podcast asserts, but simply a screenplay of Matthiessen’s book.) Following Robideau, as the podcast correctly recounts, is Leonard Peltier gazing forlornly into the camera; “This story is true!” Well, it wasn’t, not then or ever. Peltier was accurate though that it was a “story,” but a story that was publically refuted as a falsehood by another protagonist, Dino Butler in 1995, and even publically admitting that Mr. X was a lie by one of Peltier’s own attorneys. (Fn. 4)

 

(Much has been written exposing the fallacies of the Mr. X fable. Fn. 5)

 

In a borderline effort to blaze new ground in the Peltier myth the narrator offers this:

 

“There’s a lot more to the Mr. X story. In fact, we may dedicate an entire episode to him: who he is, or as Jean Roach just alluded to, whether he exists or not. But for now, it’s much less important to prove that Mr. X killed the agents, and much more important to show that Leonard was, quite, literally, framed by the FBI.”

 

What are the podcasters trying to do?  Minimize, soft sell, ‘delete,’ or pretend that in some perverse way Mr. X was a distraction to deceptively spin in some other direction? 

 

Not a chance. No matter what the follow-up podcasts may offer, this is a documented and provable lie that Peltier and his supporters must live with.

 

And why is that?

 

Because, it was Peltier’s only real alibi for nearly two decades.

 

These are just some of the explanations that are just too obvious to ignore:

 

1) An innocent man would not have to invent a fictitious killer or alibi. “This story is true,” he asserted. A simple truth would be easily remembered and repeated. If he didn’t lie he would never have to remember anything else or make up other fictions; and there were many others over the years.

 

2) None of Peltier’s attorneys would touch this fantasy because they couldn’t defend it. They knew better because it would not pass the smell test.

 

3) Peter Matthiessen, who wrote about and even interviewed the fully disguised Mr. X, didn’t even believe it and characterized Bob Robideau as having a “lidded ex-con look that reveals nothing” and that “He (Robideau) gives the impression of bare honesty even when to protect others he is not telling the truth; that you suspect he may be lying does not bother him (Spirit p. 547).

 

            Matthiessen, to his credit, offers the following which provides a great deal of context to the unprovoked attack on Agents Coler and Williams and the falsity of Mr. X: “…if there is another persuasive explanation of the location and position of their cars, I cannot find it. (Spirit p. 544) 

 

4) Redford himself bought into the Mr. X fantasy by including it in Incident, but even years later when the lie was evident, he ignored the fact that he had been conned by Peltier. So much for Hollywood credibility.

 

5) Peltier, in Prison Writings offered many outrageous claims nurturing his feigned innocence, but what he never recounted in his autobiography was his legacy alibi, Mr. X. Wonder why? 

 

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods

 

Footnotes:

1. http://leonard.buzzsprout.com The podcast is well organized and presented. The podcast team obviously put a lot of time and energy into their collective passion and cause. Providing a transcript of the podcasts is an efficient feature. (The original NPPA intent was to summarize all the podcasts in one blog, however, there was too much material to challenge and future blogs may address each podcast separately. See Blog re Season One, Episode Seven: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2020/09/peltier-podcast.html)

2. Peltier legal history and decisions: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/court.html

Peltier: Important reminders:

http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2018/03/peltier-important-reminders.html

3) (No one with any understanding of the treatment of First Americans can, or should, dispute their horrible treatment by the government. From the very beginning of the NPPA and its website, on the homepage since April 30, 2000, is a statement regarding ‘Correcting the Wrongs of the Past.’ All the history must be acknowledged. The broken treaties, the early belief that one needed to kill the Indian to save the man and events like the Indian Removal Act of 1830 that resulted in Native Americans being forced from their homelands, and the infamous Trail of Tears. But we should not forget either that before the Europeans landed and settlers steadily pushed westward that this continent was not a Valhalla. There was a great deal of Indian on Indian turmoil as stronger, more aggressive tribes killed, captured and enslaved weaker Nations. As dreadful as the Trail of Tears was, unarguably a stain on American history, the Cherokee left the south for Indian Country bringing with them their own black slaves. We simply cannot forget, ignore or erase any of our collective history. We cannot, or should not, turn back the historical clock but endeavor to understand the errors of the past and strive not to repeat them. )

4) Peltier attorney Michael Kuzma admits the lie of Mr. X:

http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2012/12/peltier-kuzma-closes-circle-much-more.html (It should also be noted that early on the LPDC tried to back away from the Mr. X. fallacy; that quote is available.)

5) Mr. X, the Movie: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/movie.html

    Mr. X, The Interview: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/interview.html

    Mr. X, The Lie: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/lie.html

    Really? Mr. X is back? http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2019/09/peltier-really-mr-x-is-back.html

    Really? Mr. X is back, Part II: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2019/10/peltier-really-mr-x-is-back-part-ii.html

6) There are many other falsehoods from Peltier that have been repeatedly addressed. To list just a few; the phony ‘Sanctioned Memo,’ that the Agents were deliberately set up by the government, that Jumping Bull was surrounded by hundreds of police and SWAT teams, that a family was caught in the cross fire, that the Agents’ came onto Jumping Bull firing their weaons, etc., etc. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

PELTIER & THE PODCAST

                            September 12, 1944*


Dear Supporters:

 

(Please feel free to forward this blog.)

 

Peltier has been the subject of a recent series of podcasts claiming he is the “longest- serving political prisoner” in American history. The fallacy of Peltier’s self-proclaimed notoriety and promotion by the podcast is easily dismissed along with years of myth and folklore. The murders had nothing to do with politics or political activities. There were no ‘political issues’ at Jumping Bull; only the criminal acts by Peltier and other AIM cowards.

 

To be absolutely clear, this is not an attack on the people running the podcast. They are dedicated and passionately support their cause. However, this is a criticism of providing disinformation to Peltier supporters and the general public. They deserve the truth. If the podcasters have issues with Peltier’s conviction then they can continue to challenge it. Nevertheless, they are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.

 

Responses to allegations from the podcast are readily available and need not be repeated yet again, but only now to address just a few of the erroneous comments made in the last segment of the first season and how simple and straightforward are the explanations to discredit Peltier’s and the podcast’s claims:

 

The following quote from the podcast cannot go unchallenged. This is beyond most previous Peltier fabrications and is devoid of any relation to the record and facts. It is not known whether the narrator is repeating what their attorney claimed, or has embellished the truth. In either case these claims are fatally flawed and if offered as facts, they are illusory. 

 

The podcast narrator made the following statement:

 

But here’s a quick primer on why (name omitted) believes that the federal government essentially framed Leonard. Leonard was convicted of murdering FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams in April 1977 largely on two pieces of evidence; a sworn affidavit of a woman named Myrtle Poor Bear claiming that she saw Peltier execute the agents and the testimony of an FBI ballistics specialist who performed tests on a .223 shell found near the agents’ vehicle. To the second point first, Leonard had access to an AR-15 which fired the .223 round, but the gun had suffered serious damage in a fire. It was impossible, the FBI’s expert testified, to test the weapon’s firing pin. However, he was able to analyze the weapon’s mechanism that discharged the spent casings. Markings on the shell found at the scene, the specialists alleged, could have only been ejected from Leonard’s rifle. Twenty-three years later though a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the ballistics expert had lied on the stand. He had in fact had been able to test the firing pin, and the impressions didn’t match Peltier’s gun. 

 

Now to the affidavit: Myrtle Poor Bear signed an affidavit claiming she’d been on the Jumping Bull ranch on June 26th1975 and had seen Leonard kill the agents. But by the time Leonard’s trial was scheduled to begin she reversed her story and began to claim publically that the FBI had pressured her into inventing her eyewitness account, but when she attempted to correct her statement Judge Paul Benson barred her, quote, “on grounds of mental incompetence.”

 

1) Myrtle Poor Bear

 

It should be no surprise that Poor Bear never testified, either at Peltier’s trial or during his extradition from Canada. 

 

After a thorough review of Peltier’s extradition, the Canadian Minister of Justice stated that the three Poor Bear affidavits, along with other submissions by Peltier’s attorneys had been considered by the Ministry of Justice and the Canadian Courts. The Canadian Minister of Justice A. Anne McLellan wrote to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno; “As I have indicated above, I have concluded that Mr. Peltier was lawfully extradited to the United States. In my opinion, given the test for committal for extradition referred to above, the circumstantial evidence presented at the extradition hearing, taken alone, constituted sufficient evidence to justify Mr. Peltier’s committal on the two murder charges.”(Footnote 1)

 

Further, claiming that Judge Paul Benson barred Poor Bear’s testimony at Peltier’s trial demonstrates either a fundamental unawareness of the facts or yet another effort to promote Peltier misinformation. This cannot be casually dismissed as an inadvertent misreading, a misinterpretation of the facts, or a lack of understanding of the trial and appellate record. The narrator’s statement is explicit and clearly given; there is no confusion on the points offered.  

 

So what really happened regarding Poor Bear?

 

It was not Judge Benson but Leonard Peltier, through his attorney, who threw Poor Bear under the proverbial bus.

 

From the 8thCircuit Court of Appeals, quoting the trial record:

 

Indeed, defense counsel, anticipating that she would be called as a witness for the government, described her in his opening statement as a “witness whose {F.2d 333} mental imbalance is so gross as to render her testimony unbelievable.” (Fn. 2) 

 

It was Peltier’s attorney John Lowe, not Judge Benson who chose to eliminate Poor Bear as a potential witness. (A curious but irrelevant question at this late stage is why they decided to do so.)

 

2) The .223 shell casing vis-à-vis the murder weapon; Peltier’s (the ‘Wichita’) 

AR-15:

 

The issue here relates to an October 2, 1975 FBI Laboratory Teletypethat Peltier later received under the Freedom of Information Act. The narrator erroneous claims that an FBI ballistics expert “lied” and that he had “in fact been able to test the firing pin and the impressions didn’t match Peltier’s gun.”  These “in fact” claims are false. 

 

In order for the podcast to have even a shred of credibility on this point, what follows is a review of the chronology of the crucial legal history of the shell casing and the 1975 Teletype.

 

    After receiving the October 2, 1975 Teletype Peltier appealed to the District Court which denied his motion noting an October 31, 1975 FBI Laboratory ‘Report’ (already in evidence) and concluded, in part, “Peltier’s allegation that Hodge gave perjured testimony is a clear misstatement of the record and is obviously without substance or materiality.” Peltier appealed the District Court denial to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, (It is vital that the narrator and podcast team not lose sight of the role of Judge Gerald Heaney during Peltier’s appeals, and thereafter.) After a review concerning issues related to the Brady legal test, the Court of Appeals decided to “…remand to the district court for an evidentiary hearing.” During October 1-3, 1984 an evidentiary (ballistics) hearing was held by the District Court. After lengthy testimony and review of the facts the Court concluded, in part, “On the basis of the foregoing, it is clear the October 2, 1975 Teletype does not evince perjured testimony.” Peltier again appealed this decision to the 8thCircuit. In another lengthy decision, the Court of Appeals denied Peltier’s appeal based on the law that Peltier had not proven a Constitutional violation of Brady v. Maryland or U.S. v. Bagley and noted, most significantly, as a finding of fact; “When all is said and done, however, a few simple but very important facts remain. The casing introduced into evidence had in fact been extracted from the Wichita AR-15. This point was not disputed; although the defense had it’s own ballistics expert, it offered no contrary evidence. Peltier raises general questions regarding the handling and examination of the .223 casing and the Wichita AR-15, but does not make specific allegations of tampering.” (Fn. 3) 

 

The narrator made an utterly unsupported statement: “He had in fact had been able to test the firing pin, and the impressions didn’t match Peltier’s gun.”

 

Nowhere within the perhaps thousands of pages of transcripts, motions and decisions in the Peltier case is there even a hint or suggestion (except for an allegation by Peltier) that Peltier’s ‘Wichita AR-15’ had a successful firing pin test. A firing pin test was not possible because of its smooth characteristics and thus the extractor markings on the .223 shell casing were the relevant and probative evidence. “He (FBI firearms examiner Hodge) was not able to reach either a positive or negative conclusion based upon a comparison of the firing pin impression on Q#2628 and the Wichita AR-15 exemplars, because he was not able to identify a sufficient number of characteristics in the firing pin impressions left on the exemplars.” For the podcast narrator to claim this was “in fact” not the case, abandons the very provable facts and obvious truth.

 

3) “…the sixty-some Aim activists and supporters killed on Pine Ridge in the 1970s.”

 

            This has been a familiar refrain by Peltier and his supporters. An early claim (2000 and before) by the prior Leonard Peltier Defense Committee stated, “Yet these deaths were never adequately investigated and no prosecutions were brought.” The facts, however, tell a different story: 

 

Of the then 56 named deaths, 21 resulted in federal convictions, 22 were declined prosecution by the U.S. Attorney, by ‘No-Bill’ after presentation to a Grand Jury, insufficient evidence or no proof of a crime, 1 resulted in local prosecution, 11 deaths were not within FBI jurisdiction and ‘one’ (at that time) remained unsolved.

 

Fifty-six of the named deaths included: child abuse 3, domestic violence 4, alcohol- related 5, robbery 2, fights/personal disputes 14, vehicular homicide 4, accidental shootings 2, health issues 2, suicide 1, accidental 2, no record of death 1. (Fn. 4)

 

However, that ‘one unsolved death’ was Anna Mae Aquash, the AIM member suspected of being an FBI informant. She was the one who the brave warrior, Leonard Peltier put a gun to her head to make her confess. If there is any doubt about this, just ask Anna Mae’s daughters. Anna Mae was not an informant but a loyal AIM activist who was nonetheless kidnapped, raped, murdered and dumped in a ravine. However, nearly three decades later two AIM members were convicted for her AIM ordered murder. 

 

* * *

 

Over the past twenty years every allegation contesting Peltier’s conviction has been addressed using primary and relevant sources; the trial transcript, the lengthy appellate process and decisions, Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Redford’s Incident at Oglala, statements by Peltier’s many ‘committees,’ and most certainly Prison Writings and Peltier’s public statements. Taken as a whole, these resources leave no doubt as to Peltier’s valid conviction and remorseless guilt.

 

The podcast is just a further sad, bordering on shameless, example of how Peltier and others have ignored, albeit deliberately it appears, the facts of his conviction. The podcast, with its glaring faults will be added to the dustbin of prior decades of Peltier myth and folklore. Peltier’s guilt is unmistakable as he denigrates the memory and sacrifice of two young men killed in the line-of-duty as well as what is otherwise a proud and noble Native heritage.

 

As the late Judge Gerald Heaney publicly stated, (even after writing letters essentially supporting Peltier’s release, but never suggesting by any means that Peltier was innocent), “Peltier got a fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair one.

 

On June 26, 1975 Leonard Peltier took a step from which there was no turning back.

 

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods

 

Footnotes:

1) Canadian Minister of Justice letter, October 12, 1994; http://www.noparolepeltier.com/canadaletter.html

2) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/585.html(see II.B.2.i)

3)-Peltier’s 12/30/82 appeal to the District Court, http://www.noparolepeltier.com/553_890.html

 -Court of Appeals orders that an evidentiary (ballistics) hearing be held in the District court, http://www.noparolepeltier.com/731.html

-District Court evidentiary (ballistics) hearing, http://www.noparolepeltier.com/609.html

-Court of Appeals final decision, http://www.noparolepeltier.com/800.html

4) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/response.html#7 (Response to murders claimed or alleged on Pine Ridge. July 2000)

http://www.noparolepeltier.com/usapressrelease.pdf (Mention of Arlo Looking Cloud and Peltier’s ‘M-F’ statement.}

 

*The date should be apparent. As a matter of full disclosure, this writer did not listen to the entire series, only the final episode of season one anticipating what Peltier may have said during a phone call with the narrator. However, Peltier mostly talked about health issues. As we know, Jack and Ron never had the chance to face the usual and expected infirmities of the aging process.

 

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            Peltier & November 3, 2020