---What follows is a point-by-point response to the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee’s (LPDOC) blog entry concerning the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) blog on the subject of Leonard Peltier’s confession to the “Incident at Oglala.” Web logs, or blogs, are expressions of opinions, ideas and thoughts; they’re like conversations and an Internet chat mechanism. However, definitive statements concerning Leonard Peltier’s guilt are found in the Editorial Essays on the No Parole Peltier Association’s website, www.noparolepeltier.com.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods NPPA-Founder
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Former FBI agent falsely claims Peltier Confesses to "Incident at Oglala"
PELTIER CONFESSES TO “INCIDENT AT OGLALA”
The above headline was the sensationalistic title of a posting made by a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ed Woods. Director of the No Parole Peltier Association (with an apparent membership of one), Woods used the title on that organization’s blog on February 6.
---This blog, as all other communiqués from the LPDOC (and the former LPDC) is unsigned. Apparently those who speak on Peltier’s behalf aren’t willing to stand up for their own rhetoric.
“An apparent membership of one?” For the LPDOC’s information, I was honored when asked by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (a fraternal organization of former and retired FBI agents; numbering in excess of 8,000), and the FBI Agents Association (a non-governmental association numbering in excess of 12,000) to represent their interests at Peltier’s parole hearing at Lewisburg on July 28th, 2009. Add to that a thousand or more NPPA supporters and you may be able to understand why the LPDOC is a little off on this point. And, if there’s any doubt, please take a look at the previous NPPA blog entitled, Operation PayPal…A success.
What is clear to even the most casual of observers is that Woods used this title with Google indexing in mind, as well as Internet users’ short attention spans. His hope was that the posting would be widely circulated and that all folks would do is read (and believe) the title.
---That’s partially correct, but I give those Internet users more credit than just a headline and believe they would read the entry, ask more questions and go to the NPPA website for answers.
This likely was also a veiled attack on actor Robert Redford who was recently interviewed on Democracy Now! about the Peltier case and the documentary film, "Incident at Oglala," (produced and narrated by Redford). You can view the interview here.
---Likely…veiled? Sorry, did not know Redford was on Democracy Now. The term “Incident at Oglala” has been euphemistically used since the film came out as a generic description of the events of June 26, 1975 at Jumping Bull. Peltier and the LPDC had been using it for years and do not have an exclusive right to that phrase. But, the film was not a documentary, quite the contrary; it was literally a screenplay of Matthiessen’s, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. ITSOCH was a thorough but flawed work. Even the noted Alan Dershowitz said “…(and) not only fails to convince; he (Matthiessen) inadvertently made a strong case for Mr. Peltier’s guilt.” http://www.noparolepeltier.com/response.html#4
Scandalous. Shame on you, Mr. Woods.
---Scandalous? Let’s see.
It was scandalous to post Editorial Essay #8 “Compliments to Leonard Peltier” which said in part “It is hopeful that many will follow Leonard's advice, and that those who do research his case will at least take the time to explore both sides of the Incident at Oglala. Understanding all the facts concerning his conviction could be the basis of greater understanding and a mechanism for change and progress.” (Incident at Oglala; there’s that pesky phrase again, and this was posted on April 30, 2001; coincidentally the NPPA’s first anniversary.) Had Peltier done anything else noteworthy of praise it would have been brought to light on the NPPA website. Sadly though, that was it.
How about Editorial Essay #10 “Reign of Terror-Many More Victims: By Paul Berg.” Yes that Paul Berg, LPDC spokesperson; a consummate gentleman, a man of character, integrity and intelligence who understood first-hand what life on Pine Ridge was all about and probably one of the best things that ever happened to Leonard Peltier. But as with so many who have joined his cause, Peltier’s hubris eventually pushes them all away.
And then there’s the link. From day one, April 30, 2000, on the NPPA home page is a link to the LPDOC (a link that has been updated a number of times over the years to keep it current with the many changes in the Peltier network): With an invitation for concerned people to go to Peltier’s website, see what he has to say, to compare, then judge for themselves and come to an informed conclusion. Why the link one should ask? Because the truth is on this side of the issue and we’re not afraid to show it. It would be a cold-day-in-hell indeed before the LPDOC or Peltier would ever consider linking to the NPPA. And why is that? Because that way Peltier can continue to hide behind the folklore…
“Scandalous. Shame on you Mr. Woods.” No, but shame on me then for being so open-minded.
First? It’s generally accepted that if people write in all caps on the Internet, it means they’re shouting. How rude!
---But maybe that’s just how Blogger.com sets up the headings. I’m pretty sure the LPDC used to use the same system. Besides, take a look at the LPDOC caption for this blog; big and nasty and offensive in bold and bright blue, and underlined too! Really, don’t get so excited, it’s just a title.
We could ignore Woods’ lack of manners, but we won’t ignore the lies in his critique of Leonard Peltier’s February 6 statement.
We challenge you to read Leonard’s statement (here) and find any instance where Leonard confessed to killing the agents.
---Leonard, as always, will receive a hard copy of everything posted to the NPPA website because it was apparent in the past that his network was not keeping him up to date. Posted soon will be Editorial Essay #52 entitled (yes…) Peltier Confesses to “Incident at Oglala.” In that essay there will be no doubt how and why this is Peltier’s (probably unintentional) confession.
Native American activist Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in 1977 on the basis of fabricated and suppressed evidence, as well as coerced testimony. The United States Courts of Appeal have repeatedly acknowledged investigatory and prosecutorial misconduct in his case. The ballistics evidence withheld by prosecutors and the FBI alone should have mandated Peltier’s release from prison—at minimum, a new trial.
---Not even close to the facts…isolated statements without understanding the entire record has been the bedrock of Peltier folklore.
“Repeatedly?” No, actually there were two, and both followed with rebukes against Peltier;
1) "The use of the affidavits of Myrtle Poor Bear in the extradition proceedings was, to say the least, a clear abuse of the investigative process by the F.B.I." (Which was a footnote by the way); “This was conceded by counsel on the hearing in this court. It does not, however, follow that the testimony of this obviously confused and ‘unbelievable witness’ should have been permitted under any theory advanced by Peltier as hereinbefore set forth.” And, no less ironic and tucked away in the court record was Peltier’s own attorney’s opinion of Myrtle Poor Bear when they believed the Government would call Poor Bear as a witness. They characterized her as a “…witness whose mental imbalance is so gross as to render her testimony unbelievable.”
(The Canadian government, however, had the final say on the extradition issue: http://www.noparolepeltier.com/court.html)
2) This 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision was not on the merits of the case against Peltier, but Peltier challenging his record before the U.S. Parole Commission. “Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in its prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed.” This same court went on to say "Previous federal court decisions provided the (Parole) Commission with ample facts to support its conviction that Peltier personally shot Agent Coler and Williams." And further, "While Mr. Peltier, asserts 'the Commission identified no plausible evidence that [he] shot the agents after they were incapacitated,' this statement is simply not true.”
Ballistics evidence withheld? Then shouldn’t we remember the three-day evidentiary hearing? (A curious fact always conveniently omitted by Peltier, his supporters, and the LPDOC.) And what did the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals say about that ballistic evidence? “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.”
And in yet another round of appeals the 8th Circuit said, “Peltier’s arguments fail because their underlying premises are fatally flawed.” The court of appeals also said, “…the direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong.”
And there’s a whole lot more, but then it requires the LPDOC to get into the details and they really don’t want to go there. http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#concise
Currently imprisoned at the U.S. penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Leonard maintains his innocence, as he has for 34 years, but Mr. Woods uses this quote from Leonard’s February 6th statement as his alleged proof of a confession:
“I never thought my commitment would mean sacrificing like this, but I was willing to do so nonetheless. And really, if necessary, I’d do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do.”
Let’s be clear. Leonard merely affirmed that he would—then and now—stand up for the survival of his People and fight for Indigenous Rights regardless of the consequences (known or unknown).
---Please see Editorial Essay #52 when it’s posted to the NPPA website. Everyone will receive an email at that time.
That is warrior way. Mr. Woods clearly knows little of Indigenous culture, despite his claim to the contrary.
---Perhaps not, but certainly more than some Peltier supporters I’ve dealt with over the past decade: The wannabe’s. I’m not a wannabe, never was or will be, even though my great-grandfather was a full-blood; what that provides me with is a greater sensitivity to Native American history and issues. But, please take a look at the NPPA home page, from the very first day, April 30, 2000, there has been a most important and prominent statement about “Correcting Wrongs of the Past” and Editorial Essays have restated this many times.
It’s also American way. Our liberties are always worth defending, we’re told.
“It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” (Samuel Adams)
Mr. Woods has always made outrageous claims, but his current approach is downright insidious.
---Fine then, if that’s the LPDOC’s opinion, then please, be specific: Exactly where are the outrageous claims? Every Editorial Essay is sourced and footnoted appropriately and provides specific quotes. Conclusions are clearly identified as such. That’s one area where the little battles with Peltier supporters end; when pushed to get down to the details…the argument is over and they leave.
Former agents’ new stratagem is to save Leonard’s soul—bring him to God, so to speak. Woods and others literally evangelized at Leonard’s July 2009 parole hearing. Woods did the same in this latest blog posting. These are men, remember, who were once sworn to defend the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps they never read the First Amendment. They clearly have no respect for the spiritual beliefs of others—well, at least Indians.
---What was suggested is that one day Peltier will face The Creator (the entity, and The Pipe, he often invokes for sympathy), and it will be on that day he will answer for his lies and actions at Jumping Bull. And as for the specifics of July 28th, please see “Mission to Lewisburg.”
We notice that Mr. Woods refers to us as “our Indians” [emphasis added] in those newsletters of his, too, usually while bragging about “taking care of” our People on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Such comments remind us of those of former agent Norman Zigrossi who, in documentaries that have been made about Leonard’s case, has stated outright that the Indigenous Peoples of North America are “conquered people”.
---“our Indians?” Please find the source for that quote. It’s not correct. On the other hand, Mr. Zigrossi is entitled to his opinion but I do not share his views or the manner in which he expresses them.
Here are a few excerpts from what has been written on this subject. It would do the LPDOC well to analyze their own rhetoric and discover what someone really feels and stands for before they start pointing a finger in the wrong direction.
From just one Editorial Essay, Pilgrimage to Pine Ridge: “Backtracking I found a sign and then realized that on top of the hill I'd overlooked was the cemetery and marker for Wounded Knee. The massacre at Wounded Knee in the winter of 1890 was the defining event in the First American's long and painful history with the white man. It's significance no less crucial to later America than Pearl Harbor and 9/11. It sprang from a growing hysteria that the reservation-confined Indians were engaging in ceremonial activities that would lead to more bloodshed. The hatred on both sides from the Indian Wars was still simmering…On the same spot where I now stood a battery of army Hotchkiss cannons and Gatling guns were poised to force the surrender of the old and ill, Chief Big Foot, and his Miniconjou band of men, some elderly, and women and children. The prevailing belief is that the conflict started by accident, a misunderstood gesture or accidental discharge of a weapon, but it was all that was needed for the surrounding army to lay waste to everyone: When the killing ended, by later official government reports, 290 lay dead, including 200 women and children. A number of these were buried in a mass snowy grave…For those, especially in the mass grave, their frozen silence marked the end of most efforts to escape Reservation life. The government's efforts to contain the Indian once and for all seemed to be accomplished…The mass grave and its marker are surrounded by a fence and an archway of stone, brick, and wrought iron. The stone is decayed, chipped and defaced with graffiti, the wrought iron rusted, and the road leading to the top of the hill, rutted, and with the rain, now muddy. It was indeed a sad testament to such sacrifice…Driving back towards Pine Ridge the melancholy of the day and what I had just seen added to an already deep sense of compassion for those who struggled to survive at Pine Ridge. I also knew the statistics; the poorest county in the nation, the highest average unemployment rate at 80% plus, rampant poverty, endemic alcoholism and everything that disease fosters, and a general malaise and hopelessness of many of its residents… Ingrid's comment about Calvin still stuck with me. She seemed quite proud that Calvin taught college. It was abundantly clear to me that there should be every opportunity for education on the Reservation, that's the very least the taxpayers owed these residents. But here was Calvin, a college professor, living in what could not have been more than a two or three room home, a home that was much smaller than a detached garage in suburban neighborhoods back east. It just seemed unfair that he couldn't be rewarded more for his labor. But maybe he's happy and pleased with what he has; and who am I to judge him on material things anyway?...The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 established an enormous tract of land as the Great Sioux Reservation which included the most sacred place in Indian folklore and religion, the Black Hills. The Paha Sapa was where the Indians believed their ancestors came from, the birthplace of the Lakota Nation. Now it would be theirs, for all time, in perpetuity; their sacred, most holy place, was preserved as the Great Father in Washington had promised. Forever anyway, that is, until white men found gold; "the yellow metal that they worship and that makes them crazy" called off all bets; the U.S. Government and the Calvary would see to it. But at least Uncle Sam was consistent, of the 371 treaties with the American Indians; all were either broken or annulled. The Fort Laramie Treaty had a provision that excluded whites entering without permission and any land sold needed the consent of three-fourths of all adult Indian males. Unsuccessful in persuading the Indians to sell, the government did the next best thing and declared all those who refused to cooperate as "hostiles," and ordered them to surrender. The U.S. Army had their mission; Custer and the Little Bighorn just made it personal. The whole process essentially ended at Wounded Knee…As I was leaving I spent a little time perusing the granite carved list of the four hundred men who worked on the fourteen-year project. I didn't notice any Indian names. But then I wasn't surprised either…We level off at a few thousand feet and turn west. Below I see the now familiar Highway 79 leading south, Interstate 90 and the valley running north to Deadwood. I see all of Rapid City and the surrounding open plains…The RJ pitched-up again and slipped gently into the thickening overcast. South Dakota gradually faded from view, but not from my thoughts.”
Make no mistake about it. These sentiments are at the very root of everything that occurred on the Pine Ridge reservation in the 70s. Clearly not a great deal has changed since then. It’s the white man’s way or no way?
Whether merely thought or spoken, these are oppressor’s words. Mr. Woods would have us accept them.
---No, I would not; these are not my words but the spin the LPDOC and Peltier would like people to mindlessly believe. There has never been one instance where anything but a genuine and sincere concern for the history and welfare of Native Americans has been presented on the NPPA website or blog, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.
Our freedom is a blessing from Creator, not of men... We must therefore respectfully decline.
We’ll do things Indian way, thank you very much.
We will never give in. We will never yield to force. We will never yield to apparently overwhelming might.
We will never be “conquered people”.
And we will survive.
---And that’s indeed fine; but don’t miss the point again. This isn’t about Native history, that’s part of the myth of Leonard Peltier he would like everyone to swallow: it’s about cold-blooded murder and Peltier’s uncompromising guilt. "In the Spirit of Coler and Williams" EW
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee