Featured Post

HONORING THE FALLEN

Dear Supporters: Every year FBI field offices and FBI Headquarters hold a Memorial Service to honor those in the FBI who were killed in...

Monday, May 28, 2018

HONORING THE FALLEN

Dear Supporters:

Every year FBI field offices and FBI Headquarters hold a Memorial Service to honor those in the FBI who were killed in the line of duty as a result of adversarial action; those who died during the performance of law enforcement activities and the men and women in law enforcement agencies across the nation who died protecting the rights of residents and the safety of their communities.

The FBI Hall of Honor, displayed in every field office, includes a photograph and the details of those who died as a result of adversarial action. The exhibit begins with Edwin C. Shanahan (1925) and ends with Samuel S. Hicks (2008). The list, of course, includes Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams who were both brutally murdered on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on June 26, 1975.

Of those killed in the line of duty, the perpetrators were either killed during the commission of their crimes, convicted and executed, have long since died or remain imprisoned. Only one continues to be an issue today.

Recent additions to those who died in the performance of law enforcement duties included a number of FBI personnel who responded to the 9/11 crime scenes searching for remains and evidence, some for weeks or even months.  As a result, many of these first responders developed cancer directly related to their exposure to toxic environments. 

The FBI’s memorial service recognizes and honors all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to uphold the laws of this great nation.

Memorial Day 2018: We honor those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve America’s strength and freedoms.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods 

Monday, March 26, 2018

THE REDSKINS ISSUE

Dear Supporters:

Setting aside the Leonard Peltier matter for a moment, there is a recent development at a local Cincinnati area high school.

The Issue: In 1937 the School Board decided to change the name from the bland “Comets” to the Anderson Redskins.

Much later, the name provoked controversy for its potential racism and in 1999, apparently after much debate and emotion on both sides, the School Board decided to keep the name. However, out of respect for Native American religious beliefs the Board later modified the school mascot and removed the Peace Pipe and Tomahawk from its logo.

The issue has resurfaced and on March 19th there was a well-attended School Board meeting. The matter of the school name was not on the agenda but the Board did allow some community comment.

I had no desire or intention to begin the debate; I was there only to support an eighty-year tradition. I placed my name on the roster believing that I would be one among many given a few minutes to voice an opinion on the issue to change or not to change the school’s name. It didn’t go as planned, and I was the first one to broach the Redskins issue. I had been doing more research during the day and prepared a brief statement.

Background: There are a few fundamental facts that need to be understood or at a minimum aired for community awareness.

There is no doubt where I stand when it comes to Native American history and rights. Prominent on the home page of the NPPA website since its inception on April 30, 2000 is the following:

Correcting Wrongs of the Past : Anyone who has even a basic understanding of the history and plight of Native Americans recognizes their terrible treatment at the hands of the U.S. Government. That history cannot be altered. Nothing can change the broken promises and treaties and subjugation of the first peoples to inhabit this continent. (Footnote 1)

Two young people spoke passionately in support of changing the school’s name. One mentioned a number of abuses including the infamous Trail of Tears.

There are many fundamental facts relevant to early North American history and the First Americans. There is often a misconception that before the arrival of the white Europeans that in some way the continent was a peaceful place, a Valhalla where the various tribes lived in harmony with their neighbors. History shows otherwise. Before the Pilgrims arrived there was ample inter-tribal warfare where some tribes destroyed or enslaved others. This was no different than what was happening during this same period, and throughout history, in Europe, Asia and elsewhere around the world—quite simply the result of human nature.

As heinous as the Trail of Tears was, it’s also important to remember that the displaced Cherokees brought with them their own African slaves. (Fn.2)

It is undeniable that American history is replete with white supremacy. Theodore Roosevelt wrote that Indian “life was but a few degrees less meaningless, squalid and ferocious than that of the wild beasts who seemed to the White settlers devils and not men,” and that “Nineteenth-century democracy needs no more complete vindication for its existence than the fact that it has kept for the white race the best portions of the new world’s surface.”

The recent efforts to remove Confederate monuments are arguably a reaction against those early attitudes and perceptions. Many monuments were erected in the 1960s as a backlash to the Civil Rights Movement. But, as we know, many of our early Presidents and founding fathers were slave owners. Recently some, to the extreme, have even suggested renaming Washington D.C. Would it be beneficial to call it, for instance, D.C. Town?

But at what point do we stop? All the good, bad and ugly that built this great nation is integral to our collective history.

If one person is offended by a word that matters to them—a perceived slur—they   must be heard, along with all others who offer the same or differing opinions.

However, and without fostering a rhetorical premise, there are at least three Native American high schools in the country that proudly proclaim themselves as Home of the Redskins.*

Would it be appropriate to force the same standard on those schools and communities that have embraced the term as one of pride, honor, bravery, and their shared history and heritage?

At the school board meeting many people on both sides of the issue were wearing orange, the high school’s color. Some showed support to keep the school name, others also wore buttons with #wordsmatter. Certainly they do, but the color worn showed that people were concerned and passionate, regardless of their opinion. Does the connotation of certain words change with time? Certainly, and in that regard, context also should matter.

Eight decades ago when the School Board chose the Redskins name, its meaning and history—and unquestionably it did have a dual meaning—they apparently chose the one that represented all those positive traits of Native culture that they wanted to proudly represent their school. (Fn.3)

(Not altogether ironically, just the other evening (3/21/18) on the History Channel was a segment entitled, The Men who Built America/Frontiersmen, and at one point showed the storied Warrior Chief Tecumseh preparing for battle against the U.S. Militia by applying red paint to his face [not an uncommon practice]. That was the final battle he lost as his coalition with the British collapsed. Our collective American history is very complex.)

The School Board has formed a Committee that as of the moment is but a mere shadow of the previous one that contemplated the naming issue. That early Committee was broad and inclusive of many interests in the community. Half of the current Committee consists of School Board members that give the appearance that the Board will be making a recommendation to itself. Perhaps this may be challenged as a procedural issue or legal matter. The Committee undoubtedly should listen, unbiased, to all opinions, research the matter thoroughly and honor their mandate for due diligence and make a recommendation independently to the School Board. The Board will make the final decision but the entire community needs to be heard.

Please see the 2004 Editorial Essay, Pilgrimage to Pine Ridge. (Fn.4)

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

Footnotes:
3) As early as 1769 references to the term Redskin:

* Red Mesa High School, Arizona; Wellpinit High School (Middle school; Warriors), Washington State; Kingston High School, Oklahoma.

Monday, March 5, 2018

FBI Director makes historic visit to Navajo Nation

Dear Supporters:

On March 2nd Director Wray arrived in the tribal capital in Window Rock, Ariz., on Friday, March 2 and spoke with Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and other tribal and federal law enforcement officials, including FBI agents from New Mexico. FBI spokesman Frank Fisher says Wray's visit to the Navajo Nation was the first by a director.

FBI Director Christopher Wray met with tribal officials of the largest
Indian reservation in the U.S. this week, becoming the first head of the
federal law enforcement agency to visit the Navajo Nation.

His visit to the Navajo Nation was the first by a director and was intended
to allow Wray to introduce himself to tribal leaders during a visit to FBI
field offices, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said.

Wray visited the tribal capital in Window Rock, Arizona, on Friday and
spoke with Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and other tribal and
federal law enforcement officials, including FBI agents stationed in New
Mexico, the Gallup Independent reported.

The FBI investigates major crimes on tribal reservations and Wray said his
visit, which included a stop at a crime scene, helped give him a look at
law enforcement "on the front lines."

After the meeting, Wray said he was "very impressed by the partnership"
between Navajo and FBI officials.

The Navajo Nation reservation covers 27,000 square miles in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah, making it larger than West Virginia.

The visit to where a homicide occurred was intended to show Wray "the
remoteness of the Navajo Nation," said Nation Police Chief Phillip
Francisco.

Large areas of the reservation have little or no cell phone coverage and
have roads that are impassable in bad weather.

President Begaye said he was honored to have Wray in his office and glad to
hear him acknowledge the tribe's sovereignty. He asked Wray for his
agency's support and possible training to handle cybercrime, human and drug
trafficking, meth labs, and shooting threats against schools.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods


PELTIER: IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Dear Supporters:

There has been a slight delay in reporting on Peltier’s latest public statements; this is due in large part to several other NPPA projects that needed attention.

In the meantime it is important to remind Peltier supporters and detractors of just a few, but very crucial events, in the legal history of the Peltier saga:

The trial witnesses unanimously testified that there was only one AR-15 in the compound prior to the murders, that this weapon was used exclusively by Peltier and carried out by Peltier after the murders.” (Emphasis added) (Footnote.1)

Peltier’s arguments fail because their underlying premises are fatally flawed. (A) The government tried the case on alternative theories; it asserted that Peltier personally killed the agents at point blank range, but that if he had not done so, then he was equally guilty of the murder as an aider and abettor.”

The Government’s statement at a prior oral argument, upon which Peltier relies, was not a concession.” “In any event, this eight-word comment in response to Judge Heaney‘s statements, is a totally inadequate basis for asserting that the government conceded that it had not proved that Peltier personally shot the agents at close range…” (Emphasis added) (Fn.2)

“The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…” “…Peltier’s contention of manufactured evidence are far from convincing.”
[Direct Appeal; 8th Circuit, 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, 8th Circuit, 12/18/02]

“I believe he got a fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair trial.” [8th Circuit Court Judge Gerald Heaney]. Fn.3

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

Footnotes:
1) Eighth Circuit decision: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/800.html
After the three-day ‘ballistics’ hearing: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/609.html

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

PELTIER: FEBRUARY 6, 1976

Dear Supporters:

Today marks Peltier's arrest by the RCMP at Smalulboy's camp in Alberts, Canada, although Peltier's incarceration has not been continuous.

More to follow.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods


Friday, January 12, 2018

SA JACK R. COLER: 1947-1975 REST-IN-PEACE

Dear Supporters:

Husband, father, son, brother. Professional, dedicated, courageous. These are some of the words that come to mind when we remember Jack. Others are partner, friend and the unquestioned character traits of Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity. Jack left behind a loving widow and two young sons who may have only a faint memory of their devoted, caring and brave father.

On January 12, Jack would have reached his 71st  birthday. There is no way of knowing what these last decades of his life may have brought. But those who knew him could easily imagine a life rich in accomplishments and strong family ties. Retired from a long and productive Bureau career and with Jack’s commitment and dedication to law enforcement (former LAPD), he may have pursued another career as a Chief of Police. Or, with his sons and grandchildren continued his great love of the outdoors with deeper adventures exploring remote wilderness areas.

All the potential enjoyment, happiness, successes and challenges of a life that was to be, however, was robbed from Jack, his family, and many friends by the Cowards of Jumping Bull on that agonizing and tragic day in 1975.

With certainty, Jack Coler, looking down, knows that we will continue to honor his memory and sacrifice in the line-of-duty.

That reverence and commitment has no expiration date.

To see Jack as he was then, and to imagine meeting him today, please see the remarkable video produced by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI available on YouTube. There, you will learn about the incredible Jack Coler and his equally brave and courageous partner, Ron Williams: 
Added recently to this tribute is a heartfelt song written and performed by retired Agent Fernando Candelario:


“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

P.S.
On occasions of recognizing Jack’s and Ron’s birthdays, we don’t mention or comment on Peltier and the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee propaganda machine. However, the ILPDC’s 12/29/17 Press Release raises issues that beg for a response. https://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/general/end-of-year-ilpdc-letter/

Note to Peltier attorney David Frankel:

You may want to advise your clients that claiming donations to Peltier to “…use it as a tax write off on your 2017 Tax Return,” is in violation of I.R.S. laws. Felonies? Peltier is not a charity case, not a 501(c)3 (and can never be one…nor legally launder money through a shill company as they have done in the past), nor be in a position where the implication is that, as an inmate, he is running a business to raise funds from the unsuspecting, now under the guise of a “Peltier legal trust fund,” (whatever that may be). We will watch closely to see how all this fits together. These are pieces of a puzzle Peltier does not want supporters or the public to see what the final picture really looks like. But most already know.

A new plan? Extradition, parole hearing, Habeas Corpus, investigators on the prowl?

The Canadian government spoke very clearly about Peltier’s legal extradition.

The parole board has spoken; flopped for fifteen years in 2009, for the second time. They obviously acknowledge Peltier’s conviction and otherwise have no tolerance for his shallow and fabricated claims of innocence.

Habeas Corpus generally has to be predicated on newly discovered evidence. Good luck there for the forth or fifth time, along with other failed renewed appeals; rule 35’s and 2255’s. Many, well seasoned and dedicated attorneys have been through every word of the Peltier case and have, unsuccessfully, made no headway. (Except for the October 1984 Evidentiary (ballistics) hearing that was further held against Peltier by the 8th Circuit….Hon. Judge Gerald Heaney: “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 its own ballistic expert, it offered no contrary evidence.http://www.noparolepeltier.com/800.html:

Investigators: Please feel free to have any one of them contact me. I would be more than happy to provide them meaningful documentation. Lord knows they could use it. Curious though, according to you, “The committee has retained the services of two investigators...” “Retained” implies, at least, payment for services, yet Peltier still has a pending judgment but at the same time claims indigency. Seems to raise a conflict here, money for questionable pursuits but not legitimate legal debts. But Peltier is entitled to an appeal, again.


You advise Peltierites that, “These efforts will require your financial support.” (There’s the money again.) Peltier, now with his attorney’s urgency, is always on the come as they say. Certainly billable hours do accumulate, and apparently every penny counts.

Monday, January 1, 2018

PELTIER: JAMES REYNOLDS, PART III, DANCING ON GRAVES

Dear Supporters:

What follows is a review of the NPPA letter sent to former United States Attorney James Reynolds on 11/6/17 along with a brief telephone call on 11/27/17. To be clear at the outset, Mr. Reynolds is entitled to exercise his First Amendment right to free speech, as are we to challenge his public statements.

The text of the telephone call is set forth below (Footnote #1).

By way of background and as a follow-up to the previous NPPA blog, Mr. Reynolds was sent a letter on November 6th asking specific questions concerning his public statements in an undated letter to President Obama and an interview with the New York Daily News. (Fn. 2).

The NPPA letter offered Mr. Reynolds the opportunity to respond to the following questions: (Fn. 3)

-His justification for believing that justice is served with Peltier only serving 20 ½ years, each, for the brutal murder of two already severely wounded FBI Agents.

-To clarify the critical statement to the New York Daily News that “we may have shaved a few corner(s) here and there” regarding Peltier’s conviction and appeals, and as a result, impugning the reputation of at least former United States Attorney Evan Hultman.

Reynolds should answer these questions for the following reasons:

1) “Reynolds claims to have ‘directed Hultman’s handling of the appeal of Leonard Peltier.’ This claim is a gross misstatement of the record.  The trial record being in Fargo, ND it was only logical that I be given primary responsibility for assigning and coordinating research projects with other members of the trial team and then preparing the first drafts of the Government’s responses to the murderer’s arguments.  In doing so I had numerous conversations with Mr. Hultman and all other members of the trial team, as well as my own United States Attorney.  Other than small stylish changes there were no substantial changes that I can recall being made to the agreed upon drafts which were prepared in this fashion.  I had no conversations of any kind with Mr. Reynolds.  To the best of my knowledge he contributed nothing what-so-ever to what went into the final brief on Direct Appeal or into any of the subsequent government briefs resisting Peltier’s numerous attempts to obtain Post Conviction Relief.”  Lynn E. Crooks, Retired Assistant United States Attorney, North Dakota.

2) On December 7,  2017 former United States Attorney Evan Hultman was contacted and advised of the content of Reynolds’ letter and media interview. Because of a critical family matter Mr. Hultman advised that he would formally respond when able. However, his initial reaction concerning Reynolds was extremely negative.

3) Reynolds’ letter to President Obama appears as a “Press Release” on the Peltier website. (Fn. 4)  (Reynolds provides his authority to speak in favor of clemency as the former U.S. Attorney who allegedly “directed” the handling of Peltier’s appeals).

4) On the Internet, Peltier supporters have quoted Reynolds’ New York Daily News statement that “we may have shaved a few corner(s) here and there. 

5) Reynolds public statements to the media may provide the new Peltier legal team with an avenue to pursue regarding Peltier’s conviction and failed appeals.

* * *

We only have Mr. Reynolds public statements to hint at his motivation to become a shill for the Peltier camp. At what point he decided to support Peltier is unknown. Perhaps he ignored, forgot, or wasn’t knowledgeable of the voluminous legal proceedings and documentation in the Peltier case, but then conceivably became enamored and then sucked into the murk of Peltier myth and folklore.

However, Reynolds did take that step perhaps understanding he was going against his own conscience, best judgment, and fidelity to his former position and colleagues by stating  I know I’m going against company policy, as they say.”

Reynolds public statements called into question Peltier’s conviction and appeals by suggesting, “corners” were “shaved” and by doing so, assailed the integrity and reputation of the federal prosecutors and, by implication, himself as well. Which brings us back to the initial premise: If Reynolds had any information of this sort, where has he been for the past twenty-five or so years and why did it take him this long to crawl out of the woodwork? Peltier had other clemency and parole opportunities, but by all accounts, Reynolds remained mute.

Reynolds public position for Peltier can be viewed in two ways: supporting clemency (commutation of sentence) and the issue of Peltier’s guilt or innocence.

Claiming that it’s a matter of Peltier’s age and time served rings hollow.

Reynolds commented that, “But at this point, we’ve got 40 years on him, 40 pounds of flesh, maybe it’s time to let him go ... I don’t think keeping him in there will make society a better place."

Forty pounds may be a little generous and perhaps it is possible that the bloated figure I sat next to at Lewisburg Penitentiary in 2009 may no longer be a physical threat, but then there’s the matter of justice and society is always better served when justice is the final outcome. (Fn.5)

As for Peltier’s age and health, perhaps Mr. Reynolds should consider the alternatives. Facing, as we all must, the inevitable challenges of aging, with Reynolds now approaching his 79th year, or, at age twenty-eight being critically wounded and then having his face blown off? Doubtful Reynolds would choose the latter.

Calling into question the handling of Peltier’s conviction and appeals, by implication and inference, could suggest that Reynolds may also support Peltier’s spurious claims over the years. A few for instance:

            “I can’t believe that the FBI intended the deaths of their own agents…they didn’t even have a warrant for his arrest—nor does it jibe with the fact that scores, even hundreds, of FBI agents, federal marshals, BIA police, and GOONS were all lying in wait in the immediate vicinity.” A lie! (Fn. 6)

“There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of FBI, local lawmen, GOONs, and white vigilantes out there, suddenly appearing within minutes as if from out of nowhere…” A Lie! (Fn. 7)

            “I fired a few shots above their heads, not trying to hit anything or anyone…” A lie! (Fn. 8)

            “I didn’t see their agents die, had no hand in it, would have done anything to stop it had I only known in time…” A Lie! (Fn. 9)

            “…(Law enforcement) had been gathering in the area for a planned paramilitary assault on the Pine Ridge reservation…This raid had obviously been preplanned. Maybe they figured they could come in and finish us off after the two agents had drawn our fire, giving them the excuse they needed.” A lie! (Fn. 10)

            “This story is true.” (Peltier’s only alibi, that the phantom Mr. X killed the agents and drove off in the infamous red pickup.) A Lie! (Fn.11)

            And there is so much more.

* * *

Mr. Reynolds ended our brief telephone conversation with:

“Well you’re an interloper in this whole thing, dancing on these guy’s graves and I don’t think it’s very appropriate.”

Interloper? Apparently Mr. Reynolds doesn’t understand the meaning of the term.

By definition an interloper is a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

Reynolds alleged personal involvement in the Peltier case—as questionable as it may be—is at least a quarter century in the past. Where has he been concerning Peltier since the early 1980s and did he harbor any affirmative feelings towards Peltier when he allegedly had the opportunity and authority to say so? Reynolds, an interloper, now materializes at this point in time.

Here’s the difference: this writer was in the FBI for nearly three decades and after meeting Jack Coler’s youngest son and witnessing all the misinformation Peltier had posted on the Internet and in the public domain—that was unchallenged up to that point—something had to be done. Peltier’s denigration of the memory and sacrifice of two young Agents brutally murdered in the line of duty—for which he was convicted—prompted taking up the cause to honor their memory.

As fellow Agents, whom I never met, challenging and exposing Peltier’s years of fabrications and outright lies, Mr. Reynolds, is “appropriate.”

No, Mr. Reynolds, their memory here has been sustained. However, it is more telling that someone in your previous position and who publically supported clemency for a convicted brutal double murderer, makes you the one who is dancing on these guy’s graves.

And for the record, so perhaps you will remember, their names are,
Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

P.S.
Mr. Reynolds, take a few moments and meet Jack and Ron:
“Remembering FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams”
Video produced by the Society of Former Agents of the FBI

Footnotes:
1) Telephone conversation on November 27, 2017:
James Reynolds (JR):  Hello.
Ed Woods (EW): James?
JR: Yeah.
EW: Hi, this is Ed Woods, I wrote you a letter on November sixth regarding Leonard Peltier and I just wanted to make sure you received it.
JR: I did.
EW: OK, would you care to make any responses to the questions I raised?
JR: No.
EW: Well, you took a pretty strong stance for clemency for Peltier with your letter and your interview with the Daily News, so are you in a position to back up some of the claims that you made?
JR: I’m not going to discuss it with you; I don’t know why I should.
EW: Well, I think you should because as a former U.S. Attorney…
JR: Well you’re an interloper in this whole thing, dancing on these guy’s graves and I don’t think it’s very appropriate.
EW: Hello?
(From notes taken during the conversation and transcribed immediately thereafter.)
2) New York Daily News interview, Tuesday January 3, 2017.
(Press release with Reynolds’ letter; Last accessed 12/4/17: Peltier’s then attorneys Marty Garbus and Cindy Dunne offer the typically skewed version of the Peltier case, but two things stand out; for a not so apparent reason, while quoting James Reynolds, they make no mention of the elephant in the room (shaved a few corners…), and then they dredge up very tired old news about 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Heaney. Judge Heaney did offer his opinion about freeing Peltier, but they would dare not tell the rest of the Heaney story; http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2017/10/peltier-heaney-factor.html
6) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/timing.html Ron Williams calling for assistance on the FBI radio: Footnotes 6 through 10 quotes taken from Peltier’s Prison Writings.
8) Peltier admits for the first time in a televised 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft that he fired “at” the Agents. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xc9ofu (Last accessed 12/3/17)
9) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/judge.pdf Peltier’s conviction and review and details regarding Judge Heaney. http://www.noparolepeltier.com/585.html (Direct Appeal: note the names of Evan L. Hultman and Lynn E. Crooks)
10) The fallacy of a preplanned raid. The “Sanctioned Memo:”
11) The lie of Mr. X: Quote from Peltier in the film Incident at Oglala.

(Note: To all the loyal NPPA supporters, thank you, and even the Peltier supporters who are on the NPPA emails lists, best to all for a healthy and Happy New Year. )