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PELTIER: JUNE 26, 1975; 43 YEARS LATER

Dear Supporters: Forty-three years ago today, June 26, 1975, FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams were performing th...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

PELTIER: JUNE 26, 1975; 43 YEARS LATER

Dear Supporters:

Forty-three years ago today, June 26, 1975, FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams were performing their lawful duties on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation following who they believed was a fugitive. (Footnote 1)  What they encountered was an unprovoked attack by Leonard Peltier and other AIM members. One of the eyewitnesses to this attack, Ron Williams, was on the Bureau radio describing exactly what was about to happen. The Agents were caught in an open field and deadly crossfire. Severely wounded, both Agents were then summarily executed. 

Leonard Peltier escaped to Canada after a confrontation with Oregon State Troopers. On February 6, 1979, Peltier, then on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, was arrested by the RCMP and later extradited to stand trial in Fargo, North Dakota. Peltier was convicted and on June 2, 1977 was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. On July 20, 1979 Peltier participated in an armed escape from Lompoc federal prison during which guards were fired upon. He was arrested, convicted and received an additional seven consecutiveyears.  At an August 20, 2009 hearing, Peltier was denied parole and extended for an additional fifteen years until 2024. On January 18, 2017 President Obama denied Peltier’s clemency petition. (Fn. 2)

Over the years Peltier has maintained his innocence, claims to be a “political prisoner” and has made all manner of public statements that only reinforce his unrepentant and remorseless guilt. Peltier’s long standing and only real alibi, that the phantom Mr. X killed the Agents, was proven to be an unmitigated lie. (Fn. 3)

A simple solution to address Peltier’s claims is to thoroughly review the history of Peltier’s conviction and sentence: A conviction and sentence that has never been altered after numerous appeals, even reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Offering just a few of those facts, please see some important reminders. (Fn 4)

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

Footnotes:

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.