This end-of-year Blog was supposed to be just a thank you and good wishes for the holidays and New Year, however, on December 18th, Leonard Peltier made such an outrageous public statement that a strong response is essential.
First though, to all those who have supported the cause for honoring the sacrifice of two young men brutally murdered in the line of duty and helping to ensure that their killer serves the remainder of his sentences, thank you for your continuing support.
A Merry Christmas to all those who celebrated it, and Happy Holidays to all, and a healthy and happy New Year to everyone. America is going through a very difficult time in its history and hopefully 2012 will see some positive hope for change.
Peltier says that his time in prison “is hell,” which should come as no surprise; he wasn’t sent to summer camp. His confinement is appropriate for his crimes.
But most predictably, living the folklore he created, Peltier has completely lost touch with reality—being totally clueless about the facts surrounding his conviction, making things up, and then thinking that repeating it enough times it magically becomes true.
Peltier continues: “On June 26th 1975 they attacked the village of Oglala on the Pine Ridge Reservation.”
“The village,” Leonard? You were there. Does the fact that all this happened a few miles away and on the Jumping Bull property, not in the village, mean anything?
“It started with two FBI agents in unmarked cars and unmarked clothing, firing into an enclave of dwellings.”
It was well known, and even came out during the trial (You did attend your own trial, right?), that white guys, in civilian clothes, driving late model cars with antennas, were Feds. Everyone knew that…especially Norman Charles who was with you that day when Agents Coler and Williams followed you from Highway 18 onto the Jumping Bull property.
“…firing into an enclave of dwellings?”
Really? Perhaps you should be reminded that you and the former LPDC kept claiming that “a family was caught in the crossfire” until challenged, and you dropped that from your website. (see footnote #1 below) (Coincidentally, that essay was dated December 15, 2001, ten years ago. Also, since it became apparent around 2003 that the LPDC was keeping secrets, you began receiving hard copies of everything posted on the NPPA website, and now the Blogs as well. Enclosed you’ll also find Editorial Essay #13, “The LPDC concedes a major point in the Peltier debate; Paragraph #5,” just to refresh your recollection.)
It was evident from your trial that the “critical witnesses” established for the jury where you and the others were firing from and where you stopped Sam Loud Hawk’s suburban and began firing at the following agents, stopping them in an open field. (Fn. #2) And, then joined by others from the AIM camp (including Robert Robideau and Dino Butler), catching—the agents—not a family, in a deadly crossfire. Angie Long Visitor, albeit reluctantly, helped establish where your suburban was during the shooting (trial transcript at 2687).
You say they, “attacked,” “it started,” and they were “firing.” Is that right Leonard? Then how does that explain Agent Williams’ radio calls for assistance overheard by many agents and law enforcement officials that they were about to come under fire? (Fn. #3)
Even your pseudo-mentor, Peter Matthiessen didn’t buy that scenario. “If there is another persuasive explanation for the location and positions of their cars, I cannot find it.” (Fn. #4)
No matter how much you to try to fabricate (mythologize) what happened, you cannot get beyond the “timing” and sequence of events of what happened that day. (Fn. #5)
Your extradition from Canada: “…they got someone to lie to bring me back from there.”
No surprise on the folklore front: Leonard, do you remember the irony from your trial that one of your own attorneys characterized Myrtle Poor Bear as “…a witness whose mental imbalance is so gross as to render her testimony unbelievable.” (Fn. #6) In other words they did not even want to use her to impeach her prior statements and the agents who interviewed her. Yet, also remember (however long ago you may have see it, or maybe in prison you never have; in the film “Incident at Oglala”), that Poor Bear sounded, at least, convincing. And, how can you ignore that the Canadian Government on October 12, 1999, had the final word on your extradition when they “…concluded that Leonard Peltier was lawfully extradited to the United States.” (Fn. #7)
“They ultimately got a conviction saying I was guilty of murder which was later amended to aiding and abetting.”
Well, not quite, Leonard. You tried this line before and it didn’t work then either. Quoting from the Eighth Circuit Court (1993): “Peltier’s arguments fail because their underlying premises are FATALLY FLAWED. (A) The Government tried the case on the alternative theories; it asserted that Peltier personally killed the agents at point blank range, BUT IF HE HAD NOT DONE SO, THEN HE WAS EQUALLY GUILTY OF MURDER AS AN AIDER AND ABETTOR.” (Fn. #8) Exactly what part of “equally guilty” do you have trouble grasping?
Even your FBI Wanted Poster, Identification Order IO #4681, dated December 3, 1975 (yes, that’s 19-7-5, and it’s on the NPPA website), clearly reveals you were being sought for “Aiding and Abetting.” (Fn. #9)
“Then later an individual who some called Mr. X, on tape admitted he was the shooter.”
OMG! Leonard, you must be going stir crazy to think for a nanosecond you can get any traction bringing back that fable.
Let’s remind you of what you said in “Incident at Oglala.”
After Robideau provides detail and pointing for the camera, how the person you all knew, bringing dynamite to the AIM camp, killed the agents and drove off in the infamous red pickup; in the next scene you said:
“THIS STORY IS TRUE. But I can’t and will not say anything about it. For me to testify against anybody, or even mention, or try to get somebody else in trouble is wrong. And I won’t do it.”
Then it shouldn’t matter that one of your closest AIM confidants, present and participating in the assault on the agents that day, called you a liar.
In 1995, Dino Butler made it very clear that the whole Mr. X and red pickup was fabricated “To create this lie to show that someone else pulled the trigger.” He believed that “…nobody would use this Mr. X theory-that it would be shelved.” (Fn. #10) But you and Robideau did it anyway. And that lie didn’t work. Not even Matthiessen believed it, but reported it just the same. (Fn. #11)
Would it matter too that you had already backed away from the Mr. X fabrication? In the A&E program, “American Justice: Murder on a Reservation” (October, 2000) you said, “I don’t know who killed them. I mean, I can’t say anything about that. I just, I just don’t know who did it. I don’t wanna know.”
And finally, is it any coincidence that in your High School level book, “Prison Writings” (1999), miraculously you never mentioned one word about a phantom shooter in the infamous red pickup? No, but instead you offered the absurd, and easily disproven fabrication that this was all a pre-planned assault by the government to provoke a confrontation with AIM: An absurd and easily disproven fallacy. (Fn. #12)
So which Peltier version are we supposed to believe? Leonard, please tell us.
“Bob Robideau one of the original two men acquitted by reason of self-defense later told retired FBI Agent Ed Wood he was Mr. X and that he had shot the agents.”
First, one would think that after nearly twelve years of constant in-your-face involvement, Peltier would get the name right. It’s Woods, with an ‘s.’ But maybe he does that on purpose; perhaps I should refer to him as Pel-Tee A, instead of the Americanized Pet-Teer as he prefers. After all he does have a lot of French in him.
Yes, Robideau (more French…seems to be a pattern here...may he rest in peace…or maybe not) did tell me that he was the phantom Mr. X and that he killed the agents. He also said “they died like worms.” (Fn. 13)
And he ought to know…why? Because he was there. This was stated a long time ago that there were five people who knew exactly who made the final killing shots to the faces of Jack Coler and Ron Williams. (Although after nearly twelve years of research in the Peltier matter—and I have no specific proof—but I personally believe there were others at the agent’s vehicles in those final moments. Joe Stuntz would be high on the list). But, now three are dead, Jack, Ron and Robideau. Butler has remained relatively silent (perhaps the only one with a conscience), so that leaves Peltier putting the deed on Robideau.
But there’s a flaw in that theory as well. Personally, I think Robideau was too weak and feeble and not man enough to be able to shoot even wounded and defenseless men. The tough guy Peltier (in 1975, that is) is a different story, but as has been sarcastically asked a number of times; “Leonard, were you in Seattle that day?” No, you were at Jumping Bull along with Robideau and Butler in those horrifying final moments. Personally, I believe that you pulled the trigger, but even if by some stretch you didn’t (or perhaps you each took one final killing shot—unlikely, but possible), you still aided and abetted in the murder of two FBI agents and that’s why you’re sitting in that 6X8’ concrete cell you hate so much. And where you will remain until your back-to-back life sentences and the seven consecutive years for the armed escape from Lompoc are completed.
As for the final scene and your relationship in the later years with Robideau, I’ll simply repeat what was posted on this website when he died in February 2009: “Perhaps Peltier will not admit it, but he is probably grateful that one more thorn in his side has been removed. This death could also provide Peltier with yet another diversion from the facts surrounding the Incident at Oglala. It is reasonable to assume that Peltier may now dump all the blame on Robideau. But even if he does, it matters little, Peltier was convicted of aiding and abetting in the agents' deaths and nothing...repeat, nothing...removes the three of them from the crime scene.” (Fn. 14)
However, there is one question you can answer for us. After the agents were murdered (they were shot in the face at point blank range; so much for a self-defense theory), which one of you rolled them over, as they were later found, face down in the dirt? I know you can answer that one.
And there’s more. (I know this has been repeated many times, but it is so essential that Peltier supporters should be constantly reminded.) From your own words to your biographer Peter Matthiessen. After the murders you and others looted the agents vehicles. And you described one moment: “I seen Joe when he pulled it out of the trunk and looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile.” “I didn’t think nothing of it at the time; all I could think of was, We got to get out of here.”
So, smiling, Stuntz puts on the dead agent’s FBI jacket, as you all stole their weapons, while the two mutilated bodies lay at your feet. Quite a scene to imagine, and one you can’t deny.
You described perfectly the actions of yourself and the other cowards.
The folklore and myth are dying, along with any meaningful support you pretend to have.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Postscript : Editorial Essays vs. Blogs: All the approximately 60 formal Editorial Essays on the NPPA website deal strictly with the facts surrounding the trial, conviction, appeals and statements made by Peltier over the years (the exceptions are the Pilgrimage and Mission essays). They are factual and supported by appropriate footnotes and sources. Some have taken months of research and writing. Blogs, however, are more conversational in nature, less formal and essentially become a free-flowing dialogue, but specific references are provided as well. This would be the kind of conversation we’d have if I sat down with Leonard in the visiting room at FCI Coleman.
4) “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse;” p.544
6) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/585.html (see II.B.2.i)
7) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/canadaletter.html (p.4)