On Peltier’s website (under ‘publications’) is a tri-fold brochure that can be downloaded and used as a propaganda tool to convince the uninformed about the plight of Leonard Peltier. The brochure (updated, June 26, 2010…an inauspicious 35th anniversary date) is typical LPDOC boilerplate, but two bullet-points (no pun intended) stand out beyond the rest of the tired rhetoric:
“Years later, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, it was documented that:
● the FBI had been closely surveilling AIM activities on & off the reservations & had even been preparing for “paramilitary law enforcement operations” on Pine Ridge one month before the shootout.
● the two agents had possessed a map that highlighted the Jumping bull Ranch & labeled the family’s storage cellars as “bunkers.” (Minor correction; it was a farm, not a ranch.)
The first point was repudiated long ago; please see NPPA Editorial Essay #35, http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#critic
“Possessed a map?”
PELTIER SUPPORTERS (exclusive, of course, of the incorrigible and rabid followers who refuse to be either civil or confused by the facts*) need take a moment to consider how significant “the two agents had possessed a map” would have been to Peltier’s defense. Try adding just an ounce of common sense with a sprinkling of logic and really examine this (outrageous) claim.
If…and this is an incredibly major IF…this were factual, then all…yes, all, of Peltier’s claims of a wrongful conviction would have been, by default, validated:
I am guilty of only being an Indian. I can’t believe that the FBI intended the deaths of their own agents…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. It seems they thought they’d barge in on that phony pretext, draw some show of resistance from our AIM spiritual camp, then pounce on the compound with massive force. I could smell the wonderful smell of those pancakes and…cupfuls of scalding hot black coffee. But suddenly this beautiful morning was cut short by the staccato sound of gunfire. Were we surrounded and about to be slaughtered? I fired off a few shots above their heads, not trying to hit anything or anyone, just to show that we had some kind of defense…unannounced interlopers who had come roaring onto Jumping bull property without warning…we realized that the drivers of the two shiny cars were apparently already dead, slouched besides their vehicles in pools of blood. I didn’t see their agents die, hand no hand in it. (And, certainly, from the film Incident at Oglala), “This story is true” Peltier opines for the camera, confirming Robideau’s story of someone they all knew, Mr. X, who had driven to Jumping Bull that day in the infamous red pickup to deliver dynamite to the camp and who then engaged the agents, shot them both dead and drove off into the distance.** (Of course, Dino Butler called both Robideau and Peltier liars on that story). And there’s certainly a lot more.
If “the two agents had possessed a map,” it would have been jumped on at every opportunity by the defense team to support Peltier’s version of events and his alleged innocence. It would have been the proverbial “smoking gun” countering the government’s case against Peltier. It would have been his ticket to freedom.
(Of course the FOIA material was after-the-fact, after the trial, so it’s no surprise to anyone that nowhere in the 3,343 pages and over a million words of trial transcript that the word bunker(s) is ever mentioned.)
So where did this incredible “fact” (read, actually ‘fiction’) come from?
For Peltier follower’s sake, let’s dig a little deeper.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1992): Matthiessen mentions “cellar” twice, “storage” four times but each in the context of what they really are, no references at all to Agents Coler and Williams possessing a map of Jumping Bull. Nope, not there.
Prison Writings, My life is my sun dance (1999): Peltier’s ninth-grade-level reader makes many allegations but never mentions “the two agents had possessed a map.” Nope, not there.
Court decisions and appeals:
Direct appeal, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 9/14/78: Nope, not there, but the Court did state “The direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt was strong…”
§ 2255 Motion for a new trial, United States District Court, 12/29/82: Nope, not there, but the Court did state: “It is noted that the defense utilized during the trial the services of nine attorneys, many of which were vastly experienced in criminal defense.”
§ 2255 Motion based on newly discovered evidence (Freedom of Information and Privacy Act), District Court, 12/30/82: Nope, not there, but the Court did state: “Petitioner was tried, however, on the theory that he was guilty of aiding and abetting in the murders of the agents.”
Appeal from the District Court Ruling; Eighth Circuit, 4/4/84: Nope, not there, but the court did state “…we remand to the district court for an evidentiary hearing…relevant to the meaning of the October 2, 1975 (FBI) teletype…”
Evidentiary (Ballistics) hearing October, 1984, District Court decision 5/22/85: Nope, not there, but the Court did state “Because the October 2, 1975, teletype, evaluated in the context of the entire record, would not have affected the outcome of the trial, and does not create a reasonable doubt which did not otherwise exist…” and, “Defendant had an independent firearms expert present in the courtroom at the hearing, but he was not called to testify.”
Appeal of hearing decision, Eighth Circuit, 9/11/86: Nope, not there. The Court did state, “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…” “Yet we are bound by the Bagley test requiring that we be convinced from a review of he entire record, that had the data and records withheld be made available, the jury probably would have reached a different result. We have not been so convinced.”
§ 2255 Motion, based on “a change in the theory of the government’s case,” Eighth Circuit, 7/7/93: Nope, not there. The court did state, “Peltier’s arguments fail because their underlying premises are fatally flawed.”
Rule 35 Motion (second), Eighth Circuit, 12/18/02: Nope, not there. The Court did state, “In this case, a simple comparison of the sentences to the relevant statue reveals that the district court had the discretion to impose consecutive or concurrent sentences, and Mr. Peltier’s sentences are not therefore ‘illegal’ under Rule 35(a).”
Habeas Corpus: Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas (Leavenworth) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 11/4/03: Nope, not there either. The Court did state, “But whether the Parole Commission gave proper weight to this mitigating evidence is not a question we have the authority to review. Our only inquiry is whether the Commission was rational in concluding Mr. Peltier participated in the execution of two federal agents. On the record before us, we cannot say this determination was arbitrary and capricious.”
And there are others, but by now even Peltier supporters should get the point. Or not.
Peltier supporters should (but are afraid) to ask Leonard where that allegedly damaging piece of information came from.
Peltier should provide some proof, anything of substance to support the claim—that the two agents had possessed a map that highlighted the Jumping bull Ranch & labeled the family’s storage cellars as “bunkers.”
Otherwise it’s just another lie destroying his shallow claims of innocence.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
*Among those are the Cornish’s, Herten’s, Randolph’s, Robideau's, Ninham's, Swearingin’s, Neame’s, MeYFaN’s, Sampson’s, LaBlanc’s, Rawson’s, Liesner’s, Stabile’s, Savoy’s, Kosky, Ellison, Frodsham’s and the Wild Horse’s, the "wannabe's," and others who are exactly the kind of supporters Peltier wants and needs. Mouths open and wide-eyed, digesting all the folklore from the Peltier camp and never understanding the facts. Not bright enough, at times, to see the contradictions in Peltier’s fables and unquestionably not courageous enough to challenge him about them either.
** Please, Peltier supporters, watch the darn film Incident at Oglala will you? It’s on the website for crying out loud. Just click on it for Pete’s sake, that’s what it’s there for, and watch Bob Robideau (1948-2009) yak on for two minutes and fifty-two seconds describing what is one of the biggest lies in the Peltier folklore. The next scene, (and watch Leonard’s eyes as they flit back and forth), and stumbles with an explanation after he pronounces, “This story is true.” It is as much a lie today as it ever was but Peltier supporters through blind indolence just don’t get it.