Apart from being a remorseless convicted murderer, over the years Peltier has said and done many pretty outrageous things. But aside from some of his incredibly self-incriminating public admissions and statements, fabrications and outright lies, releasing or allowing his attorneys (Garbus, Dunne and Nadler) to release his Clemency Petition was not a smart move. If they thought it would be of any benefit, they are sadly mistaken. The Petition is replete with falsehoods that collapse under even casual scrutiny. Like this old canard about “paramilitary operations.”
On page 19 of the Petition and in footnote 15, Peltier states:
“On April 24, 1975 the FBI began preparing to conduct “paramilitary operations” on the Pine Ridge Reservation particularly against the AIM.” The footnote stated: See April 24, 1975 Memorandum, Gebhardt to O’Connell. “the use of Special Agents of the FBI in Paramilitary Law enforcement Operation in Indian Country”
This was the allegedly infamous “Sanctioned Memo” that was addressed in detail by the NPPA in 2006 in an Editorial Essay debunking claims by another AIM thug and lowlife, the now deceased Bob Robideau.[i] Peltier also made this ridiculous claim in his ninth-grade reading level autobiography, Prison Writings.[ii]
There’s no surprise that Peltier and previous attorneys, and Robideau, would only see want they want to see in the memo, but it is surprising that Messrs. Garbus didn’t take the time to vet Peltier’s bogus claims about the meaning and significance of this very straight-forward memorandum. So much for thorough research and pitifully weak advocacy.[iii]
According to Robideau’s previous faulty logic, “There has been an ongoing effort for the past 30 years, without success, to get congress to investigate the Reign of Terror and culpability of the FBI as sanctioned in a memo entitled "Paramilitary activity in Indian Country" which was issued because of the 1973 Wounded Knee confrontation with the United States Government.” (Emphasis added)
It would be too kind to say that Robideau at the time, was just honestly mistaken regarding his characterization of the purpose of this memorandum because he had alleged this before, as had the LPDC and Peltier. This has become one of the cornerstones of Peltier folklore. Peltier, and now his misguided attorneys, deliberately misrepresent the purpose and meaning of this memo in their pathetic cries for clemency. However, any reasonable person (current legal scream team notwithstanding) who takes the time to read and comprehend the memo would easily understand that Peltier is wrong (kind assumption) or deliberately lying (a reality) about this fatally flawed claim.
The purpose of the April 24, 1975 internal FBI memo,[iv] "The use of Special Agents of the FBI in a paramilitary law enforcement operation in the Indian Country," is stated in the very first sentence;
“…to brief the Attorney General…on the role of the FBI in the event of a major confrontation in Indian Country…"
The memo clearly states the problems the FBI encountered while coordinating the American Indian Movement (AIM) siege of Wounded Knee in February 1973 by still attempting to establish a clearly defined chain of command structure and decision making process. The memo shows that no less than a dozen agencies: Department of Justice attorneys, United States Attorney, White House officials, Department of the Interior, FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Marshal's Service, Public Information Officers, Community Relations Service, Department of Defense, U.S. Army, Tribal Police, in addition to church and social groups and the media, all contributed to a situation that FBI officials regarded as detrimental to resolving what was first and foremost a hostage situation.
Conflicting directives emanated from a lack of continuity, divided authority, and an indefinite command structure that fostered confusion during the seventy-one day siege. The FBI wanted, but did not secure: the operational direction and leadership role it desired, to remove any political influence and considerations from what was essentially a tactical law-enforcement operation.
This position paper was reviewed by a number of FBI officials as evident by the eight (8) sets of initials at the end of the memo. In addition, a handwritten notation at the bottom of the cover page, and a date of August 11, 1975, clearly shows that there were still questions about control and accountability even after the murders of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams in June, 1975.
Can Peltier and The Three…Stoo…attorneys, grasp that distinction? Evidentially not. Or more likely, they just ignorantly evade it in the hopes that everyone one else does also. (The USDOJ Pardon Attorney, the Attorney General and the President certainly won’t.)
Without restating the entire memo (which concerned readers are encouraged to read for themselves), some of the more relevant points follow:Problems confronting the FBI:
-Throughout the operation there was a definite lack of continuity as each senior representative replaced another.
-There was divided authority among the many agencies present at Wounded Knee…
-The senior Government representative, Departmental Attorneys, and members of the USA's staff issued conflicting instructions.
-The FBI was not equipped logistically to operate in a paramilitary situation in open terrain which ultimately ended in a 71-day siege.
-In essence…complete confusion existed as there were a number of DOJ (Department of Justice) representatives on the scene, each issuing conflicting orders.
-There was no coordination between the agencies other than that provided by the FBI, nor was there any advanced planning done.
-(DOJ officials) would fly back to Washington, D.C., presumably for conferences and would return with new policy of which FBIHQ (FBI Headquarters) was not aware.
-SAC Held (FBI Special Agent in Charge) at the time advised FBIHQ to have any success at Wounded Knee it would be necessary to withdraw the "political types" and make it an FBI operation under FBI direction and leadership.
-…there was a constant vacillation of instructions and policy which was devastating.
-It was necessary to constantly explain matters and give advice from a law enforcement standpoint.
-It should be clearly stated that the FBI does not desire to become involved in any political situations and definitely not participate in any discussion where it is obviously political in nature.
-All SAC’s recommended should we in the future become involved in another situation similar to Wounded Knee where Special Agent personnel are deployed that the entire operation be under the direction of FBI officials and when law enforcement personnel from other agencies are involved it should be clearly understood the FBI is in the decision making role.
-(The Attorney General should)…fully understand if such an incident occurs in the future or an incident similar to Wounded Knee and the FBI is involved, the FBI will insist upon taking charge from the outset…
* * *
If Peltier’s present clemency attorneys took the time to thoroughly read and understand this memo they would not be able to claim it was somehow a mandate for the government to sanction anything in Indian Country. Quite the contrary, this memo means exactly what it states; the folklore fabrications notwithstanding.So who is Peltier and his lawyers trying to fool anyway? Peltier supporters? Perhaps, and this is easily done. People who took the effort to properly read and understand what is a very straight-forward government position paper? Not hardly.
Garbus, Dunne, Nadler, Et. Al, thank you again for making Peltier’s clemency application public. It was really a dumb move.
We’ll end with a familiar refrain:
Dear President Obama:
It’s unlikely, but if Leonard Peltier’s clemency application should ever reach your desk, please weigh it in regard to just two of Peltier’s many public statements concerning the unprovoked attack and brutal murders of two federal agents, “And really, if necessary, I’d do it all over again because it was the right thing to do” (2010), and, “I don’t regret any of this for a minute” (2014). Peltier remains a remorseless and unrepentant murderer.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”Ed Woods
[ii] Leonard Peltier, Prison Writings (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999) 129
[iii] There may be positions open at the law firm of Boring and Leach, 118 NW. 4th St., Guymon, OK 73942
[iv] http://www.noparolepeltier.com/letters.html It should be noted that the hand-written underlining in this copy of the memo (provided for reference and educational purposes under the "fair use doctrine" from the original LPDC website), were made previously by someone in the LPDC. Concerned researchers are invited to compare those identified sections to the ones enumerated in the editorial essay, and then determine of the two which is the honest evaluation of the purpose and intent of this FBI memorandum.