Monday, October 14, 2019

PELTIER: UPDATE OCTOBER 2019

Dear Supporters:

Messages from the Peltier Committee (ILPDC) have been a bit scarce lately but a recent one brings out some interesting issues.

Doing his time:    

Peltier is complaining because of a system lockdown that may continue until December. Certainly the warden has good reasons for the lockdown.* “It’s hard on his health to have no exercise and the lighting is so weak that reading and writing are hard on his eyes.” 

Allegedly, at least according to the recent Peltier message, even the“Elder Unit is confined to their cell 24/7 and allowed a half-hour to shower every three days.” Peltier wants complaint letters written to the warden.

Certainly not an ideal way to spend one’s life, but consider the alternative: Alive and confined, even if not under great conditions, or, being attacked, severely wounded and having his face destroyed at point blank range with an AR-15 wielded by an unrepentant cold-blooded murderer? Peltier would likely choose the former.

Trial Transcript:   

Peltier is posting a trial transcript search tool on his website. The trial laid the foundations for his conviction but the real answers to all the spurious and erroneous allegations from Peltier and the Peltier camp are found in the extensive and detailed appellate decisions where all those nagging Peltier conspiracy theories and bogus claims are answered and thoroughly exposed and discredited. 
(Footnote 1)

Our legal fund which is sad at this time.”    

Peltier’s Committee is doing all they can to raise money “to bring financial help for Leonard’s legal fund,” but there is an illusory catch here. They claim that they are researching legal documents so that they “hope” Peltier’s lawyers can file a legal brief that will have “…the possibility of getting Leonard back into court.”

It’s not difficult to discern the subtle inference of this call-for-cash agenda. It’s purpose is to give Peltierites some “hope” that there will be a legal process that will free Peltier while in the meantime keep them on the emotional financial hook in the expectation that the money will keep coming in, (as thin as it has been), and that the “legal fund” won’t dry up altogether.  (Their effort is transparent and made shamelessly.) 

This baiting of Peltierites is creating the mirage of future success, but in reality the chances of success border between none and zero, especially on the legal front.

The Committee message mentions Facebook, Amazon Smile and PayPal, but there’s no mention of “tax deductible” donations. Wonder why? (Fn. 2)

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

Footnotes:
1) Court decisions that can be searched: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/court.html
Concise history of guilt, 2009: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#concise
2) Tax deductible:
*On August 6thone inmate was killed and several wounded in a gang related incident. This blog is being posted, only coincidentally, on Columbus day 2019 and it is well recognized how Native Americans feel about this day. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

PELTIER: NATIVE AMERICAN SUPPORT?

Dear Supporters:

In the section of Peltier’s website whoisleonardpeltier.info under Resources; Peltier Supporters; Native American and Tribal Leaders, there is a list of 46 entries of various descriptions. (Footnote 1)

What follows is a review of this list and summarization as to whether Peltier’s claims of widespread support within Native America is valid:

The list contains three individuals, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Chief Wallace Dennison and Shawn A-in-chut Atleo (Canada)

(Any Canadian support for Peltier must be ignored. It is a matter of record that Peltier was lawfully extradited from Canada as was officially confirmed by the Canadian Minster of Justice. Fn.2)

There is one Association; First Nations School Association whose stated mission is “promoting education in British Columbia (Canada).” Once again, another foreign entity that has no legal authority or rights under American jurisprudence. 

 There are two Committees: 

Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee, which according to its website consists of nine elected members who govern the Nez Perce Tribe. A search feature available on this website showed no results for Leonard Peltier.

Prairie Island Indian Committee: Although no reference was found regarding a committee on the website, the Tribal Council consists of five elected members who govern the tribe.

There is one ‘Assembly:’ Assembly of First Nations of Canada, an “Advocacy Organization Representing First Nations Citizen’s in Canada.”

Honor the Earth is a Native American non-profit for environmental justice. 

The listing of the National Congress of American Indians has a special note to “see the historic 2011 resolution here.” According to the NCAI website it was “organized as a representative congress of American Indians and Alaska Natives that serves to develop consensus on national priority issues that impact tribal sovereignty.” In other words it is an umbrella and advisory organization on Native issues and doesn’t actually represent or have authority over its constituent members. 

A review of the referenced “2011 resolution” lists approximately six factual errors as it welcomes the opportunity to develop a “strategy” to meet with then President Obama for consideration of clemency. The resolution also states that Peltier had been “nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth consecutive year.” (Being nominated or a Nobel Prize [and Peltier for the ‘Peace’ Prize] is an ongoing yarn. A joke of sorts that is even recognized as such by the Nobel Committee itself, which has stated, “…so being proposed for the prize is no distinction in itself.” (Tell that to Peltier supporters.) (Fn. 3)

The list includes 18 Councils that we can assume for the moment may have passed some type of resolution providing support for Peltier. If Council members voted to provide support for Peltier that in no manner suggests that members they represent collectively endorsed the resolution.  

Peltier’s list includes 15 Native tribes and nations, from small groups like Duckwater Shoshone Tribe with 288 members to entire Nations like the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Navajo Nation consisting perhaps of tens of thousands of Native American tribal members, which begs the question: If the leadership of those Nations passed some sort of resolution supporting Peltier does that mean that every member of the Nation also supports Peltier?

To assume that every member of all these Tribes and Nations supports Peltier—or perhaps even know who he is, is sheer folly. It’s a predictable Peltier ploy and absurdity that he would expect us to believe that he has complete support from every tribal member when, in some instances, the council or leadership agrees on some support for Peltier. Are we to expect that tribal leadership took a survey of all tribal members and received a hundred percent agreement? That would be a senseless conclusion. Many Native Americans have recognized that the American Indian Movement has done little for the benefit of Native American culture. To the contrary, many have recognized that Peltier and AIM created more conflict than any benefits they ever claimed. Even a casual review of AIM’s tumultuous history and leadership would support their conclusions and that fact.

* * *

Nevertheless, let’s give Peltier the not wholly deserved benefit of the doubt and for the sake of argument allow acknowledgment for all “46” on the “Supporters” list, even including the foreign entities from Canada and Native support, cultural, environmental and non-profit organizations. Let’s give him temporary credit for the whole thing.

Nevertheless, the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs indicates that there are five hundred and seventy three (573) registered tribes in the United States.

Even if, for the sake of debate, we were to credit Peltier with all 46 on the list of Peltier Supporters this would represent only eight percent (8.3%) of the total number of recognized and registered tribes. Hardly a significant number to write home about.  (Removing the foreign Canadian and other non–Tribal organizations would reduce this percentage to an even more embarrassing level.)

The inference, notwithstanding Peltier’s claims of extensive Native American support to the contrary, places this list on par with the rest of the Peltier myth.

Peltier’s claims of widespread Native American support has as much validity as his claims for his questionable fund raising and alleged philanthropic activities. (Fn.4)

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods
ADDENDUM: More Supporters?

On Peltier’s website the list of “Supporters” continues with ten additional categories of 206 individuals and entities ranging from “Nobel laureates” to “and more.” (Fn.5)

It would be a complete waste of valuable time to vet the entire list, however, it’s not difficult to identify the ones that are just too obvious to ignore or not challenge. The low hanging fruit is very easy to pick.

Under “Foreign Parliaments and Commissions” Peltier wants supporters to believe that the entire “European Parliament” supports him and his bid for clemency. That’s quite a bold claim, but not so fast. 

There is a ‘written declaration’ dated 10/24/16 (with an “elapse date” of 1/24/17; that’s a total of about three months!). According to the official entry the declaration was signed by “29 signatories” and submitted under “Rule 26.” This written declaration contains two glaring factual errors as it calls for Executive Clemency: The same glaring errors that are commonplace in Peltier folklore and challenged repeatedly by the NPPA.

So what does this actually mean?

The European Parliament is made up of 28 member States of the European Union and 751 members elected for five-year terms.

In real terms with the 29 signatories who signed on to support Peltier and with 751 Parliament members, Peltier’s support among the European Parliament is a staggering (with obvious sarcasm) 3.86%. Four percent hardly provides bragging rights. Although it does suggest a significant misrepresentation of the truth.

But that’s just the obvious part. More significantly, stated at the bottom of the ‘Written Declaration’ is the following; “…is published in the minutes with the names of the signatories and forwarded to the addressees, without however binding Parliament.”

In other words, simply a meaningless Peltier claim.

Peltier, as he has done for so many years, is playing the “Hey, look over here” game when there is nothing of substance in many of his claims. There is no there, there.

Noble Laureates: Nine are listed. There are currently 935 total Nobel recipients, so for Peltier this represents less than one percent (0.96). As referenced above with a footnote, there is a pattern to all this.

Literary Artists, Musicians and Celebrities: Jane Fonda. 
Of all people, Leonard Peltier should not have accepted an endorsement from the likes of Hanoi Jane.  By Peltier’s own words in Prison Writings (p.17) his father, Leo “…served in World War II, getting machined-gunned (sic) in the legs for his effort; his brother, my uncle Ernie was killed in battle.” Fonda is an anathema to every family member of those who served their country, and the all too many who died defending democracy. 

Yet there was a time when Fonda was hawking Peltier’s prison artwork for sale. If Peltier had any reverence for his father’s wartime service and his uncle’s ultimate sacrifice he should have denounced Fonda for what she really is, a traitor who aided and abetted the enemy, smiling and clapping on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun that shot down, and resulted in American airmen being killed or imprisoned and tortured.  Fonda is a loathsome individual who should have been prosecuted for her treasonous actions. Why she wasn’t is a topic for another time and place. But, unsurprisingly, she’s in bed with Peltier.

Scholars: Ward Churchill. Really? Peltier counts among his ‘supporters’ the disgraced wannabe who fraudulently claimed Native American heritage and his stolen valor alleging to be an Army airborne Ranger who participated in long-range reconnaissance patrols in Viet Nam, when military records show he was trained as film projectionist and light truck driver. So much for disgracing Peltier’s Native heritage as well as his own father and uncle. But likely Peltier doesn’t recognize the irony of having support from the likes of the disgraced Ward Churchill.

Legal: Honorable 8thCircuit Court Judge Gerald Heaney (RIP). It’s ironic that Peltier invokes support from Judge Heaney without placing it within its proper context. Judge Heaney felt very strongly about Native American issues and did write two letters expressing his ‘feelings’ on Peltier and Native American issues. However, Judge Heaney, each time the Peltier matter came before the 8thCircuit Court voted against Peltier’s interests, not on any technicality as Peltier tried to claim in the past, but on the law. Judge Heaney never suggested that Peltier was innocent either, quite the opposite, and when interviewed Judge Heaney stated that Peltier got a “fair trial, not a perfect trial, but a fair trial.” (For more details see the following editorial essay, Fn. 6)

Peltier supporters come in several predictable categories:

-Those who have a genuine concern for the historic ill-treatment of First Americans; being forced from their native lands onto substandard and often desolate Reservations, decimating their lifestyle and culture and every treaty broken by the government. They can even sympathize with Peltier who did grow up on a Reservation but they ultimately fail believing that any consideration for the murderous Peltier will correct wrongs of the past.

-Those who use Peltier, without him recognizing it, for their own ego or notoriety.

-Those who either forgot, or deliberately ignore the years long phony alibi and the lie of Mr. X.

-How many of those on the list have ever taken the time and effort to go beyond the superficial Peltier, beyond the myth and folklore; reading the trial and hearing transcripts, the many appeals that answer all of Peltier’s spurious allegations of a wrongful conviction and shallow claims of innocence; his own public statements some of which support a notion of his guilt; his media interviews, press releases and his own book, and the list goes on. The number of those is very small and with only a few very minor exceptions; such as Judge Heaney and Peter Matthiessen, who obviously came to opposite conclusions, although Matthiessen provided some details that Peltier would sooner forget.  

            There is much more to criticize but the lists of Peltier supporters are nothing more than a red herring creating a sizeable gap between Peltier rhetoric and reality. But based on forty-four years of myth and folklore, none of this is surprising. 

Footnotes:
1) This is the same list on the website as the link to “selected statements of support.”
2) Canadian Minister of Justice, A. Anne McLellan letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, 10/12/1999: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/canadaletter.html
3) Background regarding the Nobel Peace Prize and Leonard Peltier:
Restriction against a nominee making a public disclosure:
4) A history of Peltier’s fund raising and alleged philanthropic activities, 2004, 2006, 2007: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#fraud
5) On whoisleonardpeltier.info is a section relating to the International Forum with signatures on a boilerplate petition and a ‘complete’ list of VIPs and supporters. The links to pages that do not go to ‘no page found’ reflect letters with the same tired rhetoric that is the bedrock of Peltier myth and folklore. In other words, supporters offering erroneous information and skewed facts. There are also some photos with not thousands or hundreds but only a handful of people with Peltier signs.

6) See the third section of this editorial essay regarding Judge Heaney’s involvement in the Peltier case: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html

Thursday, September 12, 2019

PELTIER: REALLY. MR. X IS BACK?

Dear Supporters:

There are important revelations of the Peltier saga that simply cannot be ignored or dismissed.

In early August one of Peltier’s attorneys, Larry Hildes of Bellingham, Washington, did a radio interview.

What follows are a few, of many other, direct quotes followed by factual responses challenging Hildes’s claims:

The claims: Somebody & the FBI admitted:

“And somebody apparently shot the agents from point blank range from a location where Leonard was not, with a gun that the FBI admitted he did not have or use.”“And they were killed by someone who apparently came up behind them in their vehicle. Leonard was a long distance away on the top of a ridge, nowhere near them and did not hit them with any shots that he fired.”

The Facts: Mr. X

Hildes is obviously referring to the years’ long lie of Peltier’s only real alibi, the fabrication of the fictitious Mr. X. For nearly two decades Peltier claimed that someone they knew was bringing dynamite to the AIM camp, was followed by the Agents onto the Jumping Bull property, engaged and wounded the agents, shot them at point-blank range and drove off in the infamous red pickup.

This episode was described in Peter Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and in Robert Redford’s film Incident at Oglala. In the film, AIM protagonist and participant that day was Bob Robideau who for six minutes and fifty-two seconds goes into great detail describing what he saw of Mr. X’s actions, and in the very next filmed sequence Leonard Peltier proclaims “This story is true.”

Well, it wasn’t then or now. And how do we know this?

In 1995 another AIM protagonist and participant that day, Dino Butler came out publicly in a Native American publication and said “That is totally false. Totally untrue. That never happened.” (Footnote 1)

It isn’t curious at all that in Peltier’s autobiographyPrison Writings, he offers all manner of excuses and explanations but—and not by accident, never mentions Mr. X. Wonder why?

And then there’s another—still current Peltier attorney, Michael Kuzma, who in a November 3, 2012 lengthy radio interview put the Mr. X lie permanently to rest, “From what I understand now its been determined that the Mr. X story was concocted.” (Fn. 2)

 “Concocted” is just another way of saying; yes it was a lie, a lie woven into the fabric of Peltier folklore. 

Peltier’s ‘defense committee,’ along with its website has changed a number of times and moved away from verbalizing the Mr. X fairytale. On May 23, 2000 the then Leonard Peltier Defense Committee stated “Mr. X has long been a controversial topic by both supporters of Leonard Peltier and those who oppose his release.” Controversial? A gross understatement for certain. Even today, the ILPDC’s most current website—of course with flagrant misinformation, has only this to offer regarding the killing of the agents:

“When the skirmish ended, the two FBI agents were dead. The U.S. Government claims they had been wounded and then shot through their heads at close range.”*

That’s it, no “somebody” who “came up behind them.” 

The Facts: FBI admitted

The FBI and government never stated that Peltier did not have or use the ‘’gun” (the Wichita AR-15) to kill Agents’ Coler and Williams.

To the contrary, the government contended at trial and on appeal that Peltier used the Wichita AR-15 to first fire at the Agents and that the bolt mechanism of this weapon was matched to 114 shell casings, thirty-nine of which were introduced as evidence at Peltier’s trial as part of the Exhibit 34 series. One of these was the bullet casing found in the trunk of Agent Coler’s vehicle (Trial Exhibit 34B). Further, the government stated in a brief that;

“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 Leonard Peltier and was carried out by him after the murders.” 

Based on a later released (after the trial) FBI Laboratory Teletype dated October 2, 1975, Peltier appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit claiming that this document contradicted other evidence, including a later October 31, 1975 FBI Laboratory Report (that was introduced at trial) as a possible ‘Brady’ violation. 

The 8thCircuit decision stated: 

We affirmed the conviction on September 14, 1978…In affirming we too accepted the government’s theory that both agents had been killed with a high-velocity weapon fired at point-blank range at a time when the men were seriously wounded and unable to defend themselves. We then held that the evidence was sufficient for the jury to find Peltier responsible for the murders.”

Nonetheless, the 8thCircuit remanded the appeal back to the District Court for an evidentiary (ballistics) hearing held in October 1984. The three-day hearing reviewed in detail the ballistics evidence concluding that the October 2, 1975 Teletype would not have affected the outcome of the trial. 

However, Peltier appealed that District Court decision to the 8thCircuit again. The 8thCircuit Court then further concluded:

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.”

The court also significantly added:

 “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 ballistics expert, it offered no contrary evidence.” (Fn. 3)

Clearly, the FBI and the Government never stated that Peltier “did not have or use” “a gun” (the Wichita AR-15).

The Claim: Supposedly—guns blazing—at the compound

“He has been in federal prison now for forty-four years for supposedly shooting at two FBI Agents who stormed the reservation with guns blazing supposedly looking for a man who had stolen a pair of boots and was involved in a minor burglary ring.” “I mean, as you say to come in looking for Jimmy Eagle, who wasn’t there and a pair of cowboy boots that he supposedly stole, with guns blazing, firing at the compound where mostly AIM folks were staying and trying to kill people.”

The Facts: Supposedly

Well, that’s not quite how it happened. There was no “supposedly” in Peltier’s conviction. Peltier was tried and convicted and his conviction and sentence upheld through over a dozen appeals. 

Among other similar appellate conclusions was that: 

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]

The Facts: Guns blazing

It is well established that there was an eyewitness to exactly how the confrontation on the Jumping Bull property began. There is no disputing that Agent Ron Williams was overheard on the radio by personnel in the Rapid City Resident Agency and those within radio range as he was trying to describe exactly where they were and that those in the vehicle they followed from Highway 18 had stopped, gotten out and looked like they were about to fire on them. They heard Ron say that they needed help or they would be dead, they heard the gunfire, and Ron say, “I’ve been hit.” 

The Facts: firing at the compound…to kill people

First, to make a public statement that the Agents were there to kill people is disingenuous.  

Secondly, the AIM members were in a campsite (referred to as tent city) located along White Clay Creek in a wooded ravine a few hundred yards over rolling terrain from where the Agents were initially attacked and taken under fire.  It would be physically and geographically impossible for the Agents to have been “firing at the compound where mostly AIM folks were staying.”

* * *
In a letter dated January 15, 2016, among other issues, Hildes  stated:

“As you have done for far too many years, you have attempted to insert yourself into Mr. Peltier’s case, and first Amendment expression with patently untrue statements, incendiary characterizations, threats, and just plain lies.  In publishing your deliberately false statements to numerous third parties including government officials and the media, you have intentionally and maliciously severely harmed Mr. Peltier, and it is our intention to take legal action accordingly.”

It is clearly evident that Peltier has made himself into a public figure with all manner of public statements, media interviews, press releases, books, solicitations (for allegedly tax-deductible donations. Strangely, on the ‘donate’ page of Peltier’s website there is no mention of donations being tax-deducible) for his “legal defense” (a matter that has been long resolved) and scarcely documented charitable activities. As a public figure Peltier has acquired notoriety through controversy of his own making. His public pronouncements are subject to scrutiny to a greater extent than a private individual.

Offering opinions and analysis based on Peltier’s public assertions should be expected by public figures, especially when they contradict the legal record, prior statements, are obvious fabrications or perceptible admissions of guilt.

Untrue statements and incendiary characterizations?” Highlighting the many false statements and fabrications may sound incendiary to Peltier but we cannot ignore the fact that Peltier is an unrepentant convicted double murderer. Unrepentant because his few attempts at reconciliation to his victim’s families have been shallow and self-indulging (Fn. 4), and a convicted double murderer as the appellate record repeatedly affirmed. 
(Fn. 5)

Threats?” Peltier has never been threatened by anything published by the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA). 

Just plain lies?” Peltier would be unable to identify any lies within the hundreds of pages of editorial essays and blogs (that expose decades of myth and folklore and contain abundant footnotes and references to primary sources).

The NPPA has not “inserted” itself into the Peltier case but has acted from its inception on April 30, 2000 for two purposes; to challenge the fabrications emanating from decades of the Peltier fa├žade and his denigration of his victims but most importantly to act as a victim’s rights advocate by honoring the memory and sacrifice of Jack Coler and Ron Williams who were severely wounded in an unprovoked attack and then brutally murdered in the line of duty.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

Footnotes:
2) This is a lengthy and detailed blog/essay about Peltier attorney, Michael Kuzma’s radio interview: http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2012/12/peltier-kuzma-closes-circle-much-more.html
3) Appeal from evidentiary hearing http://www.noparolepeltier.com/800.html
4) Prison Writings, pp. 13-15 (as well at other similar statements)

*Yet in total contradiction of the facts and Peltier’s erroneous claims, the Peltier website absurdly has Redford’s Incident at Oglala available for viewing. 

September 12, 2019 Peltier turns seventy-five. Both Jack and Ron would have been seventy-two but they were robbed of their last forty-four years.