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No Parole Peltier Association
The Myth of Leonard Peltier
The Debate Continues

The NPPA will respond to serious questions and challenges raised by Peltier supporters, as well as formal statements by Leonard Peltier and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.

In the Spirit of Coler and Williams

Any material from outside sources is reprinted under the "Fair Use Doctrine" of international copyright law. Full copyright is retained by the original publication.

  1. Placing "In The Spirit of Crazy Horse" in perspective
  2. "FBI Steps Over Their Line" -, December 31, 2000
  3. "No Justice for Peltier" - Cincinnati Post, January 12, 2001
  4. "Duty, Opinion, Peltier and the FBI" -, January 15, 2001
  5. "Day of Shame" - LPDC, January 20, 2001
  6. "Statement by Leonard Peltier" - January 29, 2001
  7. NPPA Response to Ward Churchill - April 8, 2001
  8. Compliments to Leonard Peltier - April 30, 2001
  9. NPPA Response to Rebuttal Statement from Congressman Don Edwards, Former FBI Agent - April, 2001
  10. "Reign of Terror- Many More Victims": by Paul Berg - April, 2001
  11. Indian Country Today; NPPA Response - June, 2001
    Peltier, McVeigh & Mumia: In Select Company
  12. The Case Against Leonard Peltier's Prison Writings - July 20, 2001 - by Jim Brazell, Ph.D.
  13. The LPDC concedes a major point in the Peltier debate: "Paragraph #5" - December 15, 2001
  14. Open letter to the Oglala Commemoration Committee (OCC), June, 2002; 27th Anniversary - April 28, 2002
  15. STANDING DEER, Mumia & Peltier: A Review of Standing Deer's Claims - August 20, 2002
  16. Indian Country Today Editorial: NPPA Response - September, 2002 "Leonard Peltier: man, soldier and symbol"
  17. Jack Coler, 1947-1975: Comments on the LPDC's "Until Freedom is Won!" campaign and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision, 12/12/02., January 5, 2003
  18. LPDC in Shambles, Peltier alleges government conspiracy. Tax-deductible Charity? Review of Peltier 2/28/03 statement. March 15, 2003
  19. Bob Free, Chairperson LPDC: Clemency the linchpin? Reign of Terror & "Transparent" finances. March 29, 2003
  20. NPPA 3rd Anniversary: LPDC woes continue: Kathy McCarthy, Bob Free, April 30, 2003
  21. Peltier Gets It Right: "Whether they pulled the trigger or not," Peltier Statement, 12/5/03 re John Boy Graham: January 1, 2004
  22. Leonard Peltier...Nobel Laureate?
  23. NPPA Fourth Anniversary: Agents Coler and Williams deserved to die: Robert Robideau. Additional reasons why the NPPA is successful, necessary and will continue, April 30, 2004
  24. Peltier Donations: Scam? Fraud? May 15, 2004
  25. Self-Defense & Leonard Peltier: The Bright Line. February 6, 2005
  26. Media Manipulation & Peltier's Legal Team: Uncontrollable Paranoia
  27. NPPA 5th Anniversary Statement: April 30, 2005. The NPPA remains successful in honoring the memory of Agents Coler and Williams, further clarifying Peltier's guilt, and continuing to uncover the folklore surrounding Leonard Peltier.
  28. M. Wesley Swearingen: No longer supports Leonard Peltier: May 30, 2005
  29. 30th Anniversary of the murder of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams; June 26, 2005
  30. "Just after noon..." June 26, 1975. Jumping Bull property, Pine Ridge, SD; Identity of Mr. X. An artist's rendering. NPPA, June 26, 2005
  31. "Redner...NYC...Lewisburg and beyond: after the rhetoric and folklore, nothing remains," NPPA November 15, 2005"
  32. Incarcerated 30 Years: Leonard Peltier: February 6, 2006
  33. NPPA 6th Anniversary Statement, "Posted by Leonard," April 30, 2006
  34. Peltier and the LPDC: Status Check 2006: "Protector of the Woods" November 1, 2006
  35. Robert Robideau, Literary Critic "The Sanctioned Memo": Peltier's most vocal ally and his greatest burden, December 1, 2006
  36. "Dances with Peltier," Michael Blake, David Geffen, Chief Leonard, NPPA March 15, 2007
  37. NPPA 7th Anniversary Statement, April 30, 2007
  38. Thank you Robert Robideau? (Gone for now but he left plenty of damage behind for Leonard Peltier): NPPA June 15, 2007
  39. "From a youth into an elder" Peltier's Ultimate Guilt: September 12, 2007
  40. Prison Writings: A work of fiction; NPPA September 30, 2007
  41. Delaney Bruce v. Leonard Peltier: "Cease and Desist Immediately! Or else?: NPPA; November 22, 2007
  42. Write-A-Thon: Senator Leahy; IPF/LPDC: NPPA December 10, 2007
  43. Factual Guilt and Actual Guilt - Leonard Peltier: NPPA January 12, 2008
  44. Pardon Me, Harvey Wasserman: NPPA, January 15, 2008
  45. Peltier: A Legal History Review: NPPA, January 1, 2009
  46. "My Plea for Clemency; Leonard Peltier" NPPA, January 20, 2009
  47. "Robideau Dead at 61", NPPA, February 21, 2009
  48. "Dear President Obama" No Clemency for Peltier, NPPA: March 14, 2009
  49. Leonard Peltier: A Concise History of Guilt, NPPA, April 18, 2009
    • "A Concise History of Guilt" is a compilation of previous editorial essays that summarize the central elements of Peltier's guilt in one ready-reference document.
    • For a PDF version of the essay, click here
  50. Mission to Lewisburg: July 28, 2009 - Parole Denied
  51. The Smoking Gun: NPPA, January 1, 2010
  52. Peltier confesses to "Incident at Oglala," February 6, 2010
  53. "10 Years" NPPA, April 30, 2010
  54. Peltier's nearly finished...Blogging towards the end: NPPA: July 28, 2010
  55. Critical Witnesses against Peltier: NPPA; November 17, 2010
  56. NPPA 12th Anniversary: FBI Minneapolis Dedication
  57. Dear President Obama: No Clemency for Leonard Peltier; 1/21/2013
  58. Financial Disclosure: No Parole Peltier Association
  59. FBI Memo, 11/29/2000, Re: RESMURS, Minneapolis Division
  60. NPPA Thirteenth Anniversary, April 30, 2013
  61. Ed Woods Unmasked: coAIMintelpro; Tactics for the Defeated
  62. 14th Anniversary
  63. Peltier: Finally Comes Clean

As appeared in

FBI Steps Over Their Line
December 31, 2000
by Nokwisa Yona, NAV Contributing Editor


Should federal officers be allowed to not only disregard federal laws but also flaunt their actions in cyber-space? Note:

The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries (United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8) - The Constitutional Provision Respecting Copyright

According to the various sections and subsections of "Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code Circular 92," it is deemed unacceptable and illegal to pilfer or steal the written works of another.

It's law.

One would expect federal officers, paid to uphold and enforce the law, to both abide by it and respect it.

Apparently, that is not the case with FBI Agent Ed Wood.

Agent Wood, in his pursuit to keep Leonard Peltier incarcerated, has crossed the line from provocateur to criminal.


A most recent addition to Wood's misguided site,, was not borrowed or on loan. It was a direct theft and accordingly in violation of copyright laws.

The materials url (It has since been removed.) was <>. It was not paraphrased, quoted, cited or referenced. The article was instead lifted/stolen, code and all from Jordan Dill's First Nation site - in its entirety

Federal Copyright Law, Title 17, Section 106 recognizes the exclusive rights by the owner of a copyright. Though subsequent sections recognizes fair use, it also qualifies the use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

This section does not authorize or justify the reproduction of a work in its entirety.

Agent Wood is not an educator but a man with a mission; a mission that directly conflicts with the philosophy of the man he is stealing from.

Agent Wood is in accordance with federal guidelines guilty of infringement and most conspicuously so.

What of the ethics in regards to an agent of the federal government, pursuing activities in conflict with the law?

Agent Wood's site espouses integrity and so-called justice of its member officers:

"The NPPA is made up of those who have a personal connection to the vicious death of two FBI Special Agents. Secondly, men and women who carry a badge and gun and are willing to place their lives on the line to protect the safety and rights of every citizen, the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, Parents Of Murdered Children, those who believe in justice, and, finally, concerned people who are willing to consider all sides of an issue."

Those that "believe in justice!" Was the theft personifying justice or truth, honesty and the law?

FBI Director has well defined opinions regarding the ethics and actions of his agents.

According to "A Report to the American People on the Work of the FBI, 1993 - 1998" by Louis J. Freeh, Director, from Chapter 1:

"Nothing is more important to the present and future success of the Federal Bureau of Investigation than the ethics and integrity of its Special Agents and other employees." "If the rule of law is to prevail, law enforcement must be fully supported by the public--and the public will ultimately support only those law enforcement officers who are completely law-abiding."

Director Freeh goes on to state that he has "placed a top priority on:

"Development of a more effective ethics program through creation of an expanded Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate allegations of employee misconduct and provide appropriate sanctions against those who break FBI regulations."

The report specifies the need to maintain core values, including uncompromising integrity.

"The FBI rejects the false notion that an FBI Agent can have two sets of core moral values--one for on the job and another for his or her personal life."

Mr. Freeh goes on to state, "I believe in the basic truth that lying, cheating, or stealing is wholly inconsistent with everything the FBI stands for and cannot be tolerated."

Other essential points outlined in Mr. Freeh's report:

"Clear procedures have been created to process complaints and FBI management officials will promptly investigate such incidents. Disciplinary action will be taken against such misconduct, and the discipline can range from an oral reprimand to dismissal."

"Ethics is the golden thread which runs throughout our training. It often is the difference between correctly applying the awesome power of law enforcement and conduct that "

"Compliance with the highest ethical standards is essential for all law enforcement officers because one of history's darkest lessons teaches us what happens when the law is subject to the most horrifying misuse by police. The place was Nazi Germany and the time was the 1930s. The Nazi terror began not by breaking the law but by using the law, as the Holocaust Memorial so graphically shows us."

This seems an ironic comparison considering the history of the First People.

Call For Investigation

The site in question has already been noted in a previous ethics complaint - its owners must be called to accountability not only from an ethics standpoint but also from a criminal one.

A man that preaches justice, paid to be unbiased and law-abiding, must be called when he loses perspective and is blinded by emotion and political motivation.

A federal agent does not have the right to disregard the law.


Our fundamental freedom of free speech is protected, but not necessarily absolute when it rises to the level of fighting words, dangerous words (like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater) or slander and libel without a factual basis. Ms. Yona's piece reaches that level by calling this writer a thief and unethical. But let's set that aside for the moment. This is stated in the NPPA website but it bears repeating here to make a point. Of course I remember when Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams were murdered, but Peltier did not come back to my personal attention until I met Jack Coler's son who was only 1 1/2 when his father was murdered. Our meeting was almost coincidental and we never even talked about Peltier. As it turned out we have other common interests separate and apart from this issue. I did learn though that Peltier was coming up for a parole review. That evening, more out of curiosity than anything else, I logged onto a search engine and simply typed in the name "Leonard Peltier," and the rest, shall we say, is history. I couldn't believe the volume of sites calling for the parole, pardon or clemency of "political prisoner," Leonard Peltier. I reviewed each site, downloaded the central one,, and began reading. It was apparent that if readers and researchers stopped there it was no wonder they came to the conclusion that Peltier may be innocent. But I wanted to learn more and took Peltier's and the LPDC's advice. The next day, I bought the book that "immortalized Leonard Peltier" (In the Spirit of Crazy Horse), rented the "documentary" (Incident at Oglala) and dove into the issue. It wasn't long before Peltier's and the LPDC's version of the incident didn't add. More research (locating Peltier's other public statements), and enlisting the assistance of a webmaster and other experts on Internet, website, and copyright issues, led to the creation of and the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA).

One of the first things we learned after the site was launched was that Peltier supporters, many of whom hide behind aliases and Indian sounding names, have their own definition of racist; that being, anyone who thinks Leonard is guilty, and that if they don't like the message; kill the messenger.

This is what angered Peltier, the LPDC, and his supporters the most:

1) That for many years, they were the only voice in town. They had their way within the public forum, this was the first time they were challenged, and they did not like it.

2) That the NPPA conclusions concerning Peltier's guilt were based on Peltier's own public statements as well as material touted by the LPDC. Peltier supporters did not like being reminded about what he has said.

Instead of a healthy debate on the issues it became a mud-slinging contest that took us all away from the true history of the case and only served to widen the breach between the two camps. The NPPA provided an opportunity for discussion and debate. The Guest Book was closed after several months (though not as one rabid Peltier supporter claimed; who actually posted on a Native network that she was successful in hacking into the NPPA site and closing down the Guest Book; that is unlawful, and a silly thing to say in a public forum). But the truth is, that the debate-forum attempt was necessary, but futile, and it became obvious why the LPDC didn't have a guest book or forum either. It wasted time, accomplished nothing, and that time could be better spent in other more productive areas.

And, the NPPA is not an FBI site, it was created on personal time and expense. There was no need to restate either what the FBI or the LPDC offered in the public forum, and that is exactly why links to those sites were provided on the home page with a repeated encouragement for the "concerned reader and researcher" to go further.

Offering the legal history of Peltier's case: For this very reason, the NPPA early on provided the text of each and every legal decision. All ten judicial reviews are available to anyone who is concerned. The LPDC does not do this; they only offer isolated excerpts taken completely out of context. And why not? Because it is within those decisions that each and every allegation and assertion of wrongdoing made against the Government's case is reviewed and answered. The LPDC does not provide the entire story because it only hurts their cause. Taking things out of context is their primary approach to inflame and be disingenuous to their followers. Further, as a practical matter, it is OK to debate the facts and circumstances, but nothing can change the legal course of his case. Peltier had ten opportunities (twelve if you include the trial and subsequent 1984 ballistics hearing) to challenge and dismantle the case against him. He did not prevail and that's why we are now entrenched in parole and clemency issues.

Thievery: Ms. Yona attempts to make an issue that the NPPA website somehow stole copyrighted material. In this regard she is fundamentally wrong and ignorant of the provisions of Title 17 United States Code, Chapter 4, § 401 and 107. She attempts to criminalize this issue when it is not a criminal issue, but a civil one. I invite her to do some serious research, no, better yet, consult with an attorney versed in copyright matters to see that I had a right to use that material in a public forum.

When I was contacted by an attorney for the individual who felt aggrieved by my use of the Dino Butler interview (by E.K. Caldwell), my position was that I had a legal right to use those statements, sourced it within the NPPA site, and that it was both relevant and material to the issue at hand. I did agree, so as not to further anger that person, to remove the "mirrored" interview from the NPPA site, but not the specific quotes from Dino Butler, because this interview was also published in a book and available on other sites. Rather than create any further conflict I agreed to simply remove the "mirrored" reference. This was the end of the issue but it did not address the fact that there was no proof by the complainant that he had the legal right to "copyright" some else's copyrighted material.

The Dino Butler interview is critical because it is so obvious: When one of the three main participants in the deaths of Agents' Coler and Williams calls Leonard Peltier a liar, in public, it is more than just significant. Peltier is shown as a liar on such a crucial and important issue: Who killed the agents? He said for years that it was "Mr. X" who killed them and drove off in the red pickup truck. Doesn't anyone remember this? Leonard lied to all his loyal supporters, and Dino Butler said so! If Peltier can lie for so long on such a basic issue, then why should those who are undecided believe his claims of innocence? It just stands to simple reason and logic that if he were innocent his version of the facts surrounding that day should never have changed. They should have been crystal clear, unwavering, and consistent over the years. Instead, every time he opens his mouth and makes public statements, he either puts his foot in it, or changes (lies) about what happened. Remember, he said he was having a wonderful breakfast of pancakes when the shooting started. Yet in his own autobiography, he never mentions Mr. X or the red pickup but offers another totally outrageous and unsubstantiated excuse for what happened that day--a preplanned paramilitary assault on Pine Ridge. Ridiculous.

And, why is it that Peltier supporters forget Robert Robideau?

Robideau, one of the three main protagonists, with his whinny effeminate voice, pointing to an open field in "Incident" and describing (in great detail) where he last saw "Mr. X," (whom they all knew, he said), kill the Agents and drive off in the now infamous red pickup. Dino Butler called him a liar also. But Peltier supporters are too close to the issue to see what is so obvious.

Clemency: As this is written, there are but days before January 20, 2001. And, as we all know, the sole Constitutional authority for granting "reprieves and pardons" rests with the President. Whichever he may choose to do. So be it. If Peltier remains at Leavenworth, the next issue will be the subsequent parole review. It will not be a day of celebration for either side. Leonard, his family, friends, and supporters will be very disappointed. The Coler and Williams families will not have their sons back either, but for those who understand Peltier's guilt, justice will continue.

If Peltier is released, he will no doubt go on the speaking circuit proclaiming his innocence, no doubt changing his version of the events even more, and acting as a wonderful role model for young Native Americans.

Another matter that the LPDC and Peltier supporters have to wrestle with is the overall reaction to the Clemency issue. They did not recognize that this is not just an FBI issue, but a law-enforcement one. An issue that affects every man and woman in this nation who carries a badge and a gun and is willing to place their lives in danger to protect the rights of all its citizens.

Ethics, Free Speech: Ms. Yona liberally quotes from the FBI Director's guidelines and statements concerning ethics of Bureau employees. What she does, quite well, is show that FBI Agents are held to a higher standard than the average citizen. A standard that I accept and have personally followed, notwithstanding attacks over a strong belief in Peltier's guilt.

Ms. Yona makes reference to a letter written by LPDC spokesperson, Ms. Jennifer Harbury, dated June 26, 2000, to U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno. That letter is simply a rehash of the tired rhetoric she and Peltier supporters have been repeating for years. It adds nothing new. There are statements in that letter that are simply incorrect, for whatever reason, and offer what I consider only 10% of the truth while ignoring the entire legal history of Peltier's case. On December 15, 2000, Ms. Harbury was quoted repeatedly in the media concerning the gathering by FBI Agents in Washington, D. C. She turned a peaceful expression of solidarity on a very important issue into "armed forces marching on the White House." That kind of bias and spin only serves to create more and deeper division. She ignored the fact that each person there was a citizen, taxpayer (and that many were veterans), who were exercising their right to free speech.

Ms. Yona and Ms. Harbury would exercise their First Amendment right to assembly and free speech but deny it to those who oppose them. Fundamental fairness and rights belong to everyone, not just Peltier supporters.

Blinded by emotion and political motivation: No, what Ms. Yona fails to recognize is passion. Passion that she feels for Leonard Peltier and passion that she cannot see from those who know that he is guilty.

The Myth of Leonard Peltier: Reviewing the entire history of this case and Peltier's public statements and everything written about him, points to one inescapable and obvious conclusion: The real Leonard Peltier was lost in the fray long ago. The person of Leonard Peltier is nowhere to be seen and has been replaced by what he, perhaps unwittingly, and others, perhaps blindly, have created; something that exits only in folklore and imagination. A Myth.

Back to top

Cincinnati Post, January 12, 2001

(It is noted that this letter was posted on the LPDC web site, but not the rebuttal that also appeared in the Cincinnati Post on January 15, 2001.)

No justice for Peltier
Guest Column by Kevin Matthews

Before he leaves office on Jan. 20, President Clinton faces one last controversy - one, this time, not of his own making.

The controversy centers, instead, on Leonard Peltier, an American Indian who was convicted of the murder of two FBI agents in 1975. Clinton must decide whether or not to commute Peltier's sentence.

Peltier's case has attracted national and international attention. An organization opposed to his release, the No Parole Peltier Association, is based here in Cincinnati.

Depending on your viewpoint, Peltier is a cop-killer, or he is an American Nelson Mandela - a man whose conviction rests on, at best, dubious evidence. As it happens, Mandela is among those who have called for Peltier's release. Other supporters include actor Robert Redford, country singer Willie Nelson, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In Congress, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has campaigned for a pardon for nearly 10 years.

On the opposite side stands the FBI. In an unprecedented public display, nearly 500 current and former agents marched on the White House on Dec. 15 to protest Peltier's possible release. In a Dec. 5 letter to Clinton, FBI Director Louis Freeh described Peltier as a ''vicious murderer'' undeserving of mercy.

The trouble with Freeh's letter is that the prosecutors of this case freely admit that they cannot prove that Peltier actually killed anyone.

Everything about this case is disputed. On June 26, 1975, FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler drove onto the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to arrest an Indian teenager named Jimmy Eagle. Freeh claims that Eagle was a bank robbery suspect. But the FBI's Minneapolis office contradicts the director. According to Amnesty International, Eagle's alleged crime amounted to the theft of a pair of used cowboy boots.

In any event, a gun battle ensued between Coler and Williams and more than 30 Indians. When the shooting stopped, both men and an Indian named Joe Stuntz lay dead.

Such an incident can only be explained by the reservation's violent atmosphere. Between 1973 and 1976, at least 69 members of the American Indian Movement or their supporters were murdered in a dispute with tribal council chairman Richard Wilson and his private police force known as the ''GOON Squad.''

According to a U.S. Civil Rights Commission report at the time, people on the reservation lived in a state of ''fear and tension.'' Acts of violence were commonplace, and the commission received ''numerous complaints'' about FBI activities at Pine Ridge.

These facts were crucial. Of the four Indians indicted for the deaths of Coler and Williams, two were found not guilty.

An all-white jury agreed that they had acted in self-defense. Charges against the third defendant, Jimmy Eagle, were dropped so that, according to an FBI memorandum, ''the full weight of the Federal Government could be directed against Leonard Peltier.'' Evidence used to argue the self-defense claim was excluded from this trial, and Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison.

However, the government's case against Peltier is anything but compelling.It hinges on the prosecution's claim that he shot Coler and Williams at close range with an AR-15 assault rifle. However, the FBI's own firearms expert reported that the alleged weapon was so badly damaged that it was impossible to link it with any of the bullet casings found by the agents' bodies. Nor, for that matter, has it been established that Peltier possessed the weapon.

These discrepancies are themselves disputed by the No Parole Peltier Association. Speaking at the FBI agents' Dec. 15 march, Eddie Woods, a special agent from Cincinnati, said that this is ''an issue of murder, plain and simple.''

Were that true, Clinton's job would be easy. But the more you look at this case, the more uneasy you become. The government continues to withhold 6,000 documents in whole and another 5,000 in part dealing with this case. Officials say their disclosure would harm ''national security'' or might disrupt ongoing investigations, claims that are hard to credit given that this case is 25 years old.

Ideally, Peltier would be given a new trial so that the truth could be established once and for all, and not just for Peltier's sake. A new trial, for instance, might discover why Coler and Williams were sent onto Pine Ridge with no back-up at a time when tensions were so high. For that matter, why were two FBI agents sent to arrest a teenager accused of stealing a pair of boots? Appeals courts, however, have repeatedly turned down this request.

That leaves Clinton. In America, we are taught that there is ''justice for all.'' But for Peltier, those words have a hollow ring.

Kevin Matthews teachers history at Northern Kentucky University.

Response: Cincinnati Post, January 15, 2001
(As published in the Cincinnati Post on January 15, 2001)


In response to Kevin Matthews' guest column (The Post, January 12, 2001, No Justice for Peltier:

Mr. Matthews, a history teacher, regrettably only repeats what the public has been offered by Peltier and his supporters both in the media and over the Internet.

Repeating the refrain that "the prosecutors of this case freely admit that they could not prove that Peltier actually killed anyone" is not only misleading, it is wrong. In 1993, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed this very issue and stated "Peltier's arguments fail because they are fatally flawed," and that, "The Government's statement at a prior oral argument, upon which Peltier relies, WAS NOT A CONCESSION." But Peltier supporters repeat this out-of-context remark as if it were a valid point. The legal history of this case states otherwise (all ten court decisions are available at, but not on Peltier's site,

Mr. Matthews does not offer the correct sequence of events when he states, "When the shooting stopped, both men (Coler and Williams) and an Indian named Joe Stuntz lay dead. Stuntz (who was armed and wearing the dead agents FBI raid jacket) was killed hours later by a BIA officer at a distance. FBI and other law enforcement agencies responded to the emergency radio calls from Agent Williams and were met by later gunfire as Peltier and others made their escape from Pine Ridge.

The contention that the AR-15 assault rifle was not linked to Peltier as the murder weapon is also flawed; testimony established that Peltier was the only one in that group with such a weapon and who, along with Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, went down to the agent's vehicles where the fatal final shots were fired. And, In October 1984, Peltier attorneys had an additional three-day evidentiary hearing where all the ballistics evidence was reviewed, again, and upheld by the District, Appellate, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

One key issue that Mr. Matthews' ignores is the simple observation that if Peltier were innocent of this horrible crime, his story should not have changed. Yet, over many years, his version of the facts have changed repeatedly. For many years he blamed the killings on "Mr. X" (whom they all claimed to know, who was allegedly "interviewed" in a book and "appeared" in a movie) which he now totally denounces, and along with his supporters, has tried to distance himself from this phantom person and obvious lie.

Was the Peltier case perfect? Perhaps not. Did Peltier have competent counsel to argue his case before the courts? He certainly did. Did Peltier have ten opportunities to appeal his case (plus an additional three-day evidentiary hearing), three times reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, only to have his guilt upheld? Yes.

Peltier should serve the remainder of his two life sentences, plus the seven additional consecutive years he received for an armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary in 1979. Another fact that Peltier supporters choose to ignore.

Even given the circumstances of the Agents' deaths, Peltier (during a CNN interview, 9/10/99), claimed that the agents were killed in self-defense.

Peltier is a remorseless killer and should be shown as much compassion as he gave FBI Agents' Coler and Williams.

Ed Woods
Cincinnati, Ohio

Back to top

As appeared in
Duty, Opinion, Peltier and the FBI
January 15, 2001

by Nokwisa Yona, NAV Contributing Editor

Historian, Charles Austin Beard warned, "You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. "

That said: "...the people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...and what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance." ...Thomas Jefferson

Disagreeing with government action is not anti-American, un-American or extremist. It is not only the right of the citizenry but their responsibility according to the "forefathers of this nation" to monitor the activities of the elected and appointed. And in turn, TO SPEAK OUT!

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience" ...Samuel Adams

The government was and is intended to be representative, not dictatorial or totalitarian. Neither it nor its members are to be considered above question, reproach or the law.

If one is to believe the continued rhetoric (supposed-independent and personal opinion) of certain FBI agents and no-clemency-for-Peltier supporters, pro supporters err in judgement; they are un-American, anti-government and potential threats to the well-being of democracy and freedom.

"If you want to free Peltier than you are an enemy of this nation," we are told. I believe that opinion and relevant action on behalf of one issue has no relationship to the totality of one's beliefs. Calling a government agency to task, asking for justice or responding to a plea for clemency has no relevance to anything more than that one issue. It doesn't relate to being anti-government or anti-law enforcement or anti-anything.

Consider that Don Edwards, a retired Congressman and Former FBI agent, supports the cause of freedom for Peltier. Was his entire service then a farce? Has he in his older age been politically and morally corrupted?

Many of the points raised by dissenters are critical of "certain" government activities or actions; pointedly, the actions of the FBI in relation to their participation in events leading up to and during Wounded Knee II and the shootings at Pine Ridge. Then there is the matter and manner of so-called evidence gathering and presentation during the trial of Peltier. These matters have been called into question by both national and international leaders.

Are these figures, (Joe Kennedy, Daniel Inouye, etc.) then un-American or enemies of the state? For calling actions into question does not necessarily lead to a conclusion that all government is bad, nor its members (though some might consider the barrel and the bad apple!). It also doesn't lead one to conclude that all law enforcement agents, whether local, state or federal, are idiots that fail to act responsibly, take responsibility for their actions or are blind "followers."

While some First Nation activists and supporters strongly support the sovereignty of the Nations, that too, in turn, does not indicate a total lack of respect for the laws of the U.S.

Another point of contention from the anti-Peltier faction is that disagreement with the anti-Peltier agenda or opinion should be regarded as an infringement on freedom of speech.

Every man woman and child in this country is entitled to the right to speak their opinion, even federal officers.

But, when federal officers in a position of "authority" underline their "position" and take a public stand on a point, it can be construed as an official action, sanctioned by their superiors - that my friend is another ball-game. Many individuals in this country still look to "authority figures," expecting them to be a bit more upright and honorable than the rest of us. Lets face it: much of the citizenry still look to the enforcement-elite as potentate heroes.

They're the guardians of right, right? For there have been many times, cases when the federal machine, the FBI in particular has offered just that image.

Ask the victims present after some of the more major catastrophic incidents of this century past. Ask students from the University of Birmingham dorms that slept or prepared for class when an explosion outside a nearby women's clinic shattered their reverie the morning of January 29, 1998. What were their opinions of the care and treatment doled out by the local, state, ATF and FBI agents over the following weeks?

Ask a family member of one of the patients at a nearby Children's Hospital one that was temporarily residing at the Ronald McDonald House, close to the milieu of that fateful day. Its doubtful a negative word could be found.

But, would those individuals support or approve the use of doctored or exaggerated evidence?

What would they think of agents protesting en masse to deny a man clemency in spite of overwhelming evidence and testimony indicating deliberate and calculated wrongdoing on part of the FBI?

Being grateful for treatment or respecting the law isn't relative to the issue of granting clemency, except to perhaps support it.

The enemies of the state are those that would corrupt the right and good of it. According to Abraham Lincoln, "We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts - not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution."

It is the duty of every one that deems to support the Constitution or the Republic to not simply observe but to actively involve themselves in the carriage of justice - and to decry injustice at every turn.

NPPA Response

Ms. Yona offers a quote, without any attribution. The statement, "If you want to free Peltier then you are an enemy of this nation." This is not a tenet of the NPPA or ever suggested as such. If this statement was made by someone who opposed Peltier's release, it is akin to holding the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) responsible for every statement made by every Peltier supporter. The NPPA has stated, in comparing the tone and position of the LPDC to that of the NPPA, that the LPDC is more "anti-government than pro-Peltier," which is by no means suggesting that pro-Peltier supporters' opinions are any less valid, their passions less important, or that they do not have every right to voice their support for his cause. Never has it been the official position of the NPPA that "disagreement with the anti-Peltier agenda or opinion should be regarded as an infringement on freedom of speech." This could not be further from the truth.

Ms. Yona implies that Federal Agents are held to a higher standard, expecting them to be "more upright and honorable than the rest of us." She proves this by quoting a "Former FBI agent," who, "supports the cause of freedom for Peltier." Had former Congressman Don Edwards been otherwise she would not have emphasized this particular aspect of his background. Perhaps a little research would put this into its proper perspective: Don Edwards served only a few months in the FBI in 1941. When he attempted to reapply after Pearl Harbor, his reinstatement was denied. Draw whatever inferences necessary from this, but essentially he is not qualified to speak with authority as a former FBI agent, and perhaps Ms. Yona is correct when she asks the rhetorical question: "Was his entire service then a farce."

December 15, 2000, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Yona makes a valid point suggesting that when federal officers take a public stance on an issue, it could be construed as an official action. Acknowledging, as she does, that even federal officers, as every man and woman and child in this country is entitled to the right to speak their opinion, she adds a "but."

The agents who expressed their opinion on the Peltier issue did so in a dignified and meaningful manner. They were there on their own time and expense. There were no shouts, slogan or signs, except for a banner and photographs of Jack Coler and Ron Williams. The national media reported favorably on this event and saw it for what it was, an expression of solidarity on a very important issue and efforts to bring the public's attention to the Peltier case. Yet, many Peltier supporters do not acknowledge that each person there was also a U.S. citizen, they were all taxpayers, and many were veterans, expressing a right that some would deny them; the right to peaceful assembly and the concurrent right to speak freely. None of those present surrendered those rights when they accepted the responsibilities for their chosen profession. And nor should they have.

Whether or not the Washington, D.C. rally can or should be considered a political event is one of perspective. By the very nature of the Constitutional authority of the President to grant pardons, he alone must be the person who is aware of the feelings of everyone on both sides of the debate. What the rally did was make the Peltier clemency issue a public matter, it brought a great deal of sunshine to the debate, and ensured that no matter how the President decided, he would hopefully consider the facts, irrespective of public opinion. That public opinion had been one sided for too many years and at least on that one day, voices from the other side were heard.

It is disingenuous, as suggested by Ms. Yona, for Peltier supporters to exercise their own First Amendment right to free speech and in the very same breath deny it to anyone else who may oppose them. Everyone should be heard.

Some Peltier supporters have suggested that the December 15, 2000, Washington, D.C. rally, somehow intimidated and coerced President Clinton into capitulating to the pressure and denying Peltier clemency. This position is absurd. Anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention over the past eight years has seen that President Clinton cannot be either bullied or intimidated. Just look at the firestorm created by some of the pardons he did grant, certainly adding Peltier to the list would not have bothered him in the least. Then, and Peltier supporters will certainly disagree with this conclusion, President Clinton must have made his decision on the merits and legal history of the Peltier case. After all, he has a law degree and was the President of the United States; he knows and understands the law and the application of this very singular Constitutional authority. President Clinton must have also believed that Peltier is factually guilty, remorseless, and should serve out the rest of his sentence.

Fundamental Differences:

There are but a very few differences when considering the case against Leonard Peltier.

1) Peltier supporters view the events of June 26, 1975 in the historical context, somehow imparting to FBI Agents Coler and Williams the historical guilt and culpability for broken treaties between American Indian tribes and the U.S. Government.

Peltier detractors view this incident as an isolated and violent criminal act. After being critically wounded and unable to defend themselves, the agents were then brutally murdered.

2) The intent of the NPPA and its web site was not to restate the legal history of the Peltier case but to challenge the LPDC in the public forum by using their own recommended resources, public statements by its spokesperson, and Peltier's own statements as further evidence of his own culpability and actual guilt. Unlike the LPDC, the NPPA offered all the legal decisions and not just isolated statements taken completely out of context from the record. There was no valid reason not to offer the entire legal history of Peltier's conviction to the public.

3) That people can believe in Peltier's guilt and not be racist.

Ms. Yona does well to quote Thomas Jefferson, a man among men, who possessed the wisdom and foresight to help create the greatest Democracy and Nation on Earth.

"We make to [the Indians] this solemn declaration of our unalterable determination, that we wish them to live in peace with all nations as well as with us, and we have no intention ever to strike them or to do them an injury of any sort, unless first attacked or threatened."

Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, 1807.

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Public Statement Regarding Denial of Clemency:
January 20, 2001

We were both shocked and saddened by President Clinton's decision to deny executive clemency to Leonard Peltier. During the last few days world support for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Peltier had reached remarkable levels, with calls and letters arriving from such renowned human rights and religious leaders as Coretta Scott King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Amnesty International, Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, amongst many others. Grassroots support from people across the country had swamped the White House phone and fax lines for months. Native nations and organizations made their support known again and again in powerful messages. Thousands of concerned citizens walked and prayed in the streets of New York on International Human Rights Day. Yet somehow none of this was enough.

Why? The question remains for William Clinton to answer. The fact that so light a penalty attached to the perjury charge in the Monica Lewinsky case raises disturbing issues. We would like an explanation.

For many weeks now President Clinton had called for national reconciliation and racial unity in this country. He has called for "One America" and emphasized the great racial disparity and discrimination so evident in our criminal justice system. He has called again and again for respect and equality for all races. He has stressed the need for righting historical injustices and healing long festering wounds inflicted upon people of color. He has insisted that the United States takes its place as a world leader of human rights affairs. He has personally visited Pine Ridge Reservation, the site of the tragic shoot out at Oglala a long and bitter quarter of a century ago, and called for greater respect and justice for our first citizens.

Yet in this last and most critical test, President Clinton has betrayed his own goals and ideals. Again we must ask why?

Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for 25 years without ever receiving the benefit of a fair trial. The FBI forced Myrtle Poor Bear to sign a false affidavit, then committed fraud upon the Canadian government by presenting her statement to their courts of law. Three teenaged boys were terrorized and coerced into giving false testimonies to the grand jury and at his trial. A ballistics test reflecting his innocence was concealed from the defense and the FBI expert gave distorted testimony to the jury. No consequences for these illegal acts have ever attached. Today even the United States Attorneys admit that no one knows who fired the fatal shots. Yet Leonard Peltier was denied a new trial on a technicality, with the judge admitting that a strong doubt was cast on the prosecution's case. Even that judge now supports clemency. Meanwhile Mr. Peltier himself is long overdue for parole and receives human rights awards for the remarkable human rights work he carries out from behind bars. He is now in failing health.

Most disturbing still is the fact that Leonard's highly controversial conviction is deeply rooted in one of the most grim chapters of recent American civil rights history, specifically the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror. Between 1973 and 1976, FBI backed vigilantes terrorized, battered and assaulted scores of Lakota traditionalists and AIM supporters throughout the reservation. Houses burned and entire families were wounded in drive by shootings. While the FBI stood by, some 64 AIM members and supporters were murdered, their deaths never properly investigated or vindicated. Civil rights organizations excoriated FBI abuses again and again.

It can hardly be said that the history of our government's dealings with the first citizens of this country have been tragic at best, and oftentimes shameful. It is difficult to imagine a case more crucial to national reconciliation and healing than the case of Leonard Peltier. Yet a door, instead of opening, has been slammed and locked. Our society will pay the price.

Today will be remembered as but another day of U.SS. government shame and betrayal of Native people.

NPPA RESPONSE: Unethical Advocacy

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) offered a public statement entitled "Day of Shame" to describe President Clinton's denial of clemency to Leonard Peltier.

The unsigned public statement apparently does not come from Peltier himself but is presumed to be authored by Ms. Jennifer Harbury, an attorney. It was the same Ms. Harbury who characterized the December 15, 2000, rally by FBI employees in Washington D.C. as "armed forces marching."

Without question or qualification, Ms. Harbury is a selfless and untiring advocate for a person and cause she deeply believes in and is commended for the strength of her convictions. However, Ms. Harbury's campaign, under the banner of the LPDC, prevaricates a continuing fatal flaw; altering the truth of the matter to fit the ultimate goal, and offering only a portion of the facts in such a manner as to distort their proper context and meaning.

Clemency: Ms. Harbury twice demands an explanation from the President. Neither Ms. Harbury nor Leonard Peltier are entitled, or in a position, to demand anything from the former President; they assume a stature to which they are not entitled.

President Clinton was the LPDC's single focus for the past year and every effort was made to bring Peltier to the President's personal attention, and they were successful. President Clinton said in the weeks before the inauguration that he had the application and would make a decision one way or the other. And he did. As a lawyer and U.S. President, he knows the law very well and had access to the entire record. He apparently believed that Peltier was factually guilty, notwithstanding all the notoriety surrounding his case. Another important consideration was whether Peltier deserved the forgiveness that clemency implies. In that regard perhaps the President did not believe so when he heard that Peltier had publicly insulted him.

Ms. Harbury goes even further. In a separate email on January 20, 2001, she stated that the LPDC's efforts to secure clemency were "…somehow…not enough to outweigh the outright terror the FBI was able to instill in our government leadership." Apparently, Ms. Harbury must have been too preoccupied over the last eight years and failed to notice that there was one aspect of President Clinton's personality that was consistent; nobody intimidates Bill Clinton. If Ms. Harbury paid the least bit of attention to the Clinton years she could have answered her own argument: If Bill Clinton was terrorized, or pushed around by anyone, he would have pushed back, and if that were the case, he probably (notwithstanding the facts of the Peltier case) would have made his decision out of spite, and freed Peltier. It was no secret that he was not happy with the FBI Director's challenge to the Attorney General regarding the special prosecutor issues, and clearly Bill Clinton is very well liked and favors the Hollywood crowd; two very real reasons why he would have granted clemency. But he did not. The logic is that he made his decision on the facts. Peltier is guilty, and the President saw it himself.

Ten Percent of the Truth: If Ms. Harbury were simply repeating what her client told her, her public statements (through the LPDC and elsewhere) would at least be understandable. However, she repeatedly makes statements which she must intellectually understand are incorrect and offers not just a slanted recitation of this case, but by twisting the truth as she does, proffers inconsistent distortions which in some instances border on outright lies and unethical advocacy:

"…then committed fraud on the Canadian Government…"

Ms. Harbury rehashes an argument that has been through the Canadian Courts as many times as the U.S. courts. Ms. Harbury is content to interject her experience and wisdom for that of the Canadian government and its Minister of Justice:

In a four page letter dated October 12, 1999 (not ancient history, but recent to the Peltier debate), from A. Anne McLellan, Canadian Minister of Justice to U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno, she reviewed the entire Peltier extradition matter and concluded, once again:

"As I indicated above, I have concluded that Mr. Peltier was lawfully extradited to the United States."

"The record demonstrates that the case was fully considered by the courts and by the then Minister of Justice. There is no evidence that has come to light since then that would justify a conclusion that the decisions of the Canadian courts and Minister of Justice should be interfered with."

"Three teenaged boys were terrorized and coerced into giving false testimony."

But they were old enough to understand right from wrong and were following the orders of the older leaders of their small group. And they saw, and the jury heard, that it was Leonard Peltier, Dino Butler and Robert Robideau--the thirty-year olds--who went down to the Agents' vehicles where the final fatal shots were fired. One of those witnesses made public statements as recently as the October 17, 2000 in the A&E special, Murder on a Reservation. Norman Brown clearly stated that it was his own People who turned against him for giving any testimony against Peltier; this alone was enough motivation for him to recant his statements.

"A ballistics test reflecting his innocence was concealed from the defense and the FBI expert gave distorted testimony to the jury."

Testimony to the JURY! Ms. Harbury refers to the 1977 jury trial and fails again to address that this issue was the subject of considerable later debate, and was resolved.

Peltier learned about the October 2, 1975 FBI teletype as a result of documents received through the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the District Court to conduct an evidentiary (ballistics) hearing, which occurred between October 1-3, 1984. Peltier appealed again, and the Eighth Circuit Court denied his motion for a new trial for the second of four times (1978, 1984, 1986, 1993). The arguments Ms. Harbury makes, offering only a fraction of the entire history of this case, are as deficient now as they were in the beginning, but Ms. Harbury fails to recognize or even acknowledge this.

"Today even the United States Attorneys admit that no one knows who fired the fatal shots."

That same argument made before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in their 1993 decision is as invalid today as it was then. That argument is based on a "fatally flawed" premise and Ms. Harbury, unless she is completely out of touch with the legal history of this case, knows this, yet she blindly repeats it as if it were true. Ms. Harbury can repeat this a million more times and it will still be wrong. She again alters the truth to fit her version of the facts.

"While the FBI stood by, some 64 AIM members and supporters were murdered, their deaths never properly investigated or vindicated."

There is no doubt that life at Pine Ridge during this period was dangerous and difficult, but Ms. Harbury is wrong. This allegation of "murders" and FBI complicity is irresponsible and has been disproved. These "murders" Ms. Harbury claims, were addressed with a list released by the FBI in June, 2000, where it was shown that these deaths were all properly investigated:

Ten are not even named by Ms. Harbury or the LPDC; of the remaining, the deaths included: child abuse 3, domestic violence 4, alcohol related 5, robbery 2, fights/personal disputes 14, vehicular homicide 4, accidental shooting 2, health reasons 2, suicide 1, accidental 1, no record of death 1.

And of those; 21 resulted in FEDERAL convictions, one was prosecuted locally, 22 were investigated but did not result in convictions for a number of valid reasons, at least one remains pending, and 11 were not even within the FBI's jurisdiction. That's the "64 Murders" to which Ms. Harbury refers. Her assertions are irresponsible, bordering on slander, and are unsubstantiated allegations coming from an Officer of the Court who is supposed to uphold the truth.

Instead of perpetuating this baseless claim, Ms. Harbury should challenge the FBI's findings on these "64 Murders." But instead, Ms. Harbury is content to not just twist the facts, but completely destroy them. In this regard then she offers not the truth of the matter, but a distortion bordering on a lie.

"Even that judge now supports clemency"

Yes he does, and in retirement he is entitled to express his opinion. That is his right. But when shouldered with the responsibility of upholding the law, then Judge, Gerald Heaney, along with two other judges, unanimously, and even with Judge Heaney himself authoring the 1986 decision, denied Peltier a new trial. Why? Just as he stated in the film, "Incident at Oglala," his decision was based on the application of the law. He said that it was a difficult decision but he has never said that his decision was wrong! Nor have the other two Judges, Ross and Gibson come forward to speak on Peltier's behalf, further reaffirming the correctness of that decision. As an attorney, Ms. Harbury should understand that simple concept.

Mr. X and actual guilt: If Peltier was indeed innocent as he has claimed, his statements of what happened that day at Pine Ridge should have been simple, straight forward and unchanged over these years. But instead he has altered his story as if searching for the scenario that most would accept, and along with Robert Robideau and others, created the phantom killer who drove off in the red pickup truck. Now that Peltier and the LPDC have distanced themselves from this obvious fabrication, all Ms. Harbury can say is, "Mr. X, has long been a controversial topic, by both supporters of Leonard Peltier and those who oppose his release." No kidding, Ms. Harbury?

This is such an obvious lie, perpetuated for the better part of two decades, that the LPDC cannot sweep it away or ignore it. It is another glaring example of Peltier's guilt.

Recommendation: Since the tactics of hate, confrontation and division have not worked so far, Ms. Harbury's and the LPDC's time and efforts would be better spent capitalizing on whatever it is that Leonard Peltier has accomplished. It is time to demonstrate that he is both repentant and rehabilitated and no longer a danger to society. They should show his real accomplishments, not just broad statements of alleged successes, but the specifics of what his time in prison has achieved for those he pledges to represent and those he acknowledges are most in need. Peltier should not be abandoned but it must be recognized that he is not the catalyst for altering any historical injustices to Native Americans. Without a fundamental change in the approach to the Peltier situation, he will only remain a cause for division.

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January 29, 2001

Greetings Friends and Supporters:

January 20, 2001, was a sad day for all of us. I know that this denial of clemency has affected many of you as much as it has affected both my family and myself. It is a terrible feeling and disappointment knowing that this nightmare has not ended and will continue for many months to come.

When I received the news, I felt my stomach curl and a feeling of nausea rolled over me. It took a while for me to refocus. For some reason I had thought I might be having dinner with my family that night. It was an especially disappointing day for all of us.

What Bill Clinton did to us was cruel. For eight years he ignored my clemency petition despite the major campaign that was waged. Then, just months before leaving office he publicly promised to make a decision on my case, one way or the other. He said he was aware of its importance. The White House gave my attorneys indications that there was a good chance for my clemency to be granted. I had to prepare myself for being released because there was no sign that my petition would be denied.

The LPDC bought me clothes, my grandson prepared his bedroom for me to sleep in and other preparations were made for my homecoming. My friends on Pine Ridge began plans to build me a house. We were literally forced to get our hopes up because we did not want to be unprepared if I was suddenly set free.

January 19, came and still, they kept us in nervous anticipation saying the more difficult clemencies are still being worked on and would be announced the next morning. Then January 20 came and went! The White House never even told us what the decision was. We had to find out through the press that my name was not on the list of clemencies. To leave a person's life and so many peoples' hopes hanging in the balance like that is truly hardhearted.

Since that dark Saturday, I have managed to get up and dust myself off, and begin to lift my spirits once more. I am just as determined now to fight for my freedom as I was on February 6, 1976 when I was first arrested. I will not give up. This is the second time in the span of my incarceration that I made it to the top of the hill and saw that freedom was in view, only to be kicked right back down to the bottom again.

The first time was in 1985, when the evidence used to convict me was impeached and I was denied a new trial, despite Judge Heaney's finding that I might have been acquitted had the jury been presented this evidence. To be denied a new trial after such a finding shocked our network and me just as much as this denial of clemency has. However, we never lose a battle without making some major gains in the overall struggle.

I want to compliment and thank my staff at the LPDC and all of you grassroots supporters who stood beside me and fought so tirelessly for my freedom. You put on one of the strongest and most memorable campaigns I have experienced. Years from now people will read about the accomplishments you made. People from every walk of life worked on this campaign. People from every denomination and belief prayed from every corner of the Earth. Although it feels like our sentiments were shooed away like an irritating fly by a president who did not want to face the consequences of his own mistakes, I believe we put up a serious challenge. We can see who was granted clemency and why. The big donors to the President's campaign were able to buy justice, something we just couldn't afford. Meanwhile, many political prisoners continue to languish unjustly, proof that this nation's talk about reconciliation is nothing but empty rhetoric.

We now have a number of strategies to continue this struggle for my freedom. These ideas are in the early planning stages. I ask you to remain with us while we regroup and develop a thorough plan. We must carefully consider every option and make sure the strategies compliment each other in order to have the best effect. The LPDC will release strategies as they are developed. Some will be released this week.

I also have my own personal plans. I will continue doing artwork and will be looking at ways to make it more available to the public. I will also be working with my friends, Fedelia and Bob Cross, to build a grade school in Oglala. Before my clemency was decided, I began to dream of the different projects I would like to work on in Pine Ridge if I were free. Now that I have been denied, Fedelia and Bob have said they will take the initiative to begin the projects themselves, with my input. Soon, we will be establishing a board and non-profit status.

Bob and Fedelia are schoolteachers and lifetime Oglala residents, and they have the land on which to build the school. They have told me of the desperate need for an improved school in Oglala. The existing school is severely under funded and inadequate and does not provide the kids with the quality education they need and deserve . We have the highest drop out rate of all ethnic groups in the country and part of the reason is the lack of stimulating and challenging programs for the youth.

Another idea I would like to develop is building a small recreation center for Oglala. As most of you know Native health conditions are also probably the worst in the country. We want to change that, beginning with this center. We want the center to have modern exercise equipment, a kitchenette, and card tables. As everyone gathers here to socialize, have coffee, gossip, and play cards, we can encourage them to try the equipment and to begin getting in the habit of exercising and eating healthy foods. I believe it would be a nice place for people to spend time and a good incentive for them to get into better physical condition and stop the trend of diabetes on the reservation. The reservation currently has no facility like this.

If we are successful in establishing these two services, I believe that the community of Oglala will truly benefit. We will then be able to move on to other projects that will bring people together and raise the quality of life. For example, one day I would like to rebuild Jumping Bull Hall so that there will be a drug and alcohol free place where people, especially youth, can gather. We could set it up for a movie theatre and bring in video games. People can watch movies, hold meetings, have birthday celebrations, community meals and dances here. Right now, our youth have no place to go to socialize and I believe this facility could help prevent the hopelessness and despair too many of our young people feel. I would hope that word of these projects would spread to other reservations and others like Fedelia and Bob Cross will be inspired to take on similar ideas which we could help support.

Your ideas, input, and support are welcomed. If you know people who would donate supplies (books, wood, cement, hardware, etc), make financial contributions, or donate their skills and labor, please get in touch with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.

In closing, I want to thank you again for your support and ask that you stand with us in this struggle. I believe that one day in the near future we will succeed. But it can't be done without your support.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

NPPA Response:

Leonard Peltier appears again to speak for a much broader segment of the Native American population, casting himself as something he certainly is not, but yet offers several very important and significant observations and projects for those in need at Pine Ridge, S.D.

Leonard Peltier responded to the denial of clemency from President Clinton by describing him as "...a president who did not want to face the consequences of his own mistakes," and then complaining that "...big donors...were able to buy justice." Peltier then again places this issue and himself in the category of a political prisoner.

Clemency: There could have been any number of reasons why Peltier's clemency application was denied, but one of them certainly was not that President Clinton was afraid to face consequences for any of his decisions, no matter how they are perceived. Anyone, particularly Leonard Peltier, who has paid any attention at all to the past eight years, knows full well that no one either bullies or intimidates Bill Clinton. He makes his decisions, period. Then why no clemency? One reason could be that he did not believe that Peltier was innocent; Bill Clinton has a law degree, was a U.S. President, and certainly understands the law. He had access to the entire legal history of this case and made his decision on the facts, confirming once again that Peltier is guilty. The President could also have considered whether Peltier himself was worthy of pardon and forgiveness. But, perhaps the President also knew of Peltier's infamous "sleazebag" statement; with this, Peltier showed his disdain for the President and the political process, which was not a smart thing to do when you are asking for significant relief from the only person who could grant it. And whether President Clinton pardoned anyone else who may have also been a Native American is immaterial to this self-proclaimed political-prisoner.

Political prisoner: Still confused about the legal history of his own case, this is where the man and Myth part company. Peltier continues to make his incarceration a political issue when only he, and those he has convinced to follow him, see it that way. Peltier maintains that he was arrested, tried and convicted because he was an Indian, and an activist: But he was convicted and continues to serve his sentences because he is a murderer who now remanufactures himself into something he never was. He forgets that he came late to the cause.

Only Peltier-the-Myth could mischaracterize Judge Heaney as he does. Why doesn't Peltier criticize, instead of quote, Judge Heaney? He was one of the judges on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, who unanimously (along with Judges Ross and Gibson), made the decision to deny Peltier a new trial in the first place. Judge Heaney, who wrote the decision himself, came to this conclusion based on the law. Peltier cannot accept that this decision was made on the application of the law but instead tries to convince us that it was done because he was a political prisoner. If that were true, that makes retired Judge Heaney part of Peltier's grand and ongoing conspiracy.

Peltier ties reconciliation to his freedom, apparently meaning that his release would somehow correct wrongs of the past, but fails to understand that he is only a lightning rod for emotions in both camps. And there are a number of Native Americans who do not believe in his or the LPDC's cause as evident by the recent meeting (January, 2001), of a dozen Native Nations in the Black Hills where none of the elders wanted to stand up for Peltier or even talk about him.

What next?: Is Leonard Peltier repentant? By his own admission, certainly not.
Is he rehabilitated? Perhaps.
Is he genuinely concerned for the welfare of his People? It sounds that way.
Are his concerns genuine or self-serving? That remains to be seen.

But he has finally capitalized on whatever good can come of his incarceration. His initiatives for his adoptive Pine Ridge are laudable; improving health and educational standards and providing outlets for the energies of the young people, are not just commendable, they are crucial. For the sake of everyone in need at Pine Ridge, for the futures that successful lives may generate and uplift later generations, the NPPA, and I, wish him success.

Ed Woods

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Analysis and Refutation of the FBI's "Accounting" for AIM Fatalities on Pine Ridge, 1973-76, by Ward Churchill (referred to below as, "Analysis and Refutation," as appeared in the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee web site)

NPPA Response to Ward Churchill
April 8, 2001


For a number of years there has been a list of names of people who died on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The number of people on the list varied, usually ranging between approximately 56 to 70 or more, depending on which entity was arguing the validity of the listed names. The implication by those who offered the list was that the FBI was somehow culpable of contributing support to the elected tribal government and a group known as the Guardians of the Oglala Nation, or Goons. The period of approximately 1973 to 1976 was referred to as the "Reign of Terror."

In July, 2000, Douglas J. Domin, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Minneapolis Division (which also covers Pine Ridge) released a booklet entitled "Accounting for Native American Deaths, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota." (Referred to below as "Accounting.")

Mr. Ward Churchill is certainly qualified to address this important issue. As a "person of indigenous descent," a published author and a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he is both personally and professionally qualified to speak on matters concerning the government's history and relationship with Native Americans and Indian Nations. Mr. Churchill's passion and experience are self-evident, but he also believes, among other things, that "We are and have been a police state since at least 1950…" (Interview, 1995). Clearly unmistakable in his writings is a deep-seated and all consuming hatred of the FBI, although, his cynicism and mistrust provide no allowance for whatever positive accomplishments and successes have been made by federal law-enforcement, particularly the FBI. His focus on this issue has only one side.

In his most recent review, Mr. Churchill makes some valid and defensible observations while dismissing "Accounting" as "hogwash." Instead of searching for a solution he begins and ends with acrimony and confrontation and then neglects to mention, and lays no blame or even shared responsibility, at the feet of the militant American Indian Movement (AIM) faction as a root cause for the conflict, tension, and violence at Pine Ridge. He views AIM, the Black Panther Party and the Puerto Rican terrorist's organization (FALN), as legitimate political groups exercising their basic freedoms. Mr. Churchill berates even the timing of the FBI's "Accounting" as no more than a continuing campaign against Leonard Peltier.

Reign of Terror

No one, who has even a minimal understanding of the circumstances surrounding this period at Pine Ridge would conclude that life there was anything less than tense and horrible. Conflict and violence was commonplace as the two factions, traditional and non-traditional, vied for control; on the one side, control of their heritage and as well as their future, and for the other, control of the present. By most accounts, the tribal leader, Dick Wilson and the Goons, created some of the conflicts they sought to solve. Whether Wilson was lawfully elected is also problematic. AIM factions, taking an obviously militant approach to their problems, were seen as a threat to established law enforcement. Caught in the middle were those who just wanted peace.


The FBI's booklet responding to the list of Pine Ridge deaths does not provide all the documentation and information available on each individual. It makes no claims other than to answer the basic question (or, allegation) as to weather an investigation was conducted, whether perpetrators were identified, and if there were any convictions. It also does not assert that either the FBI exclusively, or jointly with other agencies (local police and the Bureau of Indian Affairs-BIA), conducted the particular investigations. This document is a brief summary designed only to respond to the list of deaths at Pine Ridge. Apparently, in his fervor, Mr. Churchill missed this very basic and obvious point.

"Analysis and Refutation"

Mr. Churchill's premise is that Pine Ridge consisted of essentially two classifications of people, AIM members and supporters, and Goons, and that in each instance this division was at the heart of the "murders." He also contends that the FBI was assisting the Goons in their vigilante activities (either directly or by omission of action) and finally, that no matter what the FBI claimed, it is either covering up or wrong in its conclusions.

No matter how aggressive his review, Mr. Churchill inadvertently supports the "Accounting" by repeating and verifying that investigations were conducted and many of the perpetrators were brought to justice. Mr. Churchill can complain and argue about the sentencing of many of the perpetrators, but until he compares those sentences, on average, to other areas across the country, his complaints are shallow; because, there would be little difference in comparable crimes and sentences. But, that issue lies with the courts.

Mr. Churchill criticizes the FBI for not responding sooner since he himself produced the "list" of deaths in "1988, 1989, 1994 and 1996." Although, it should be noted, for instance, in Churchill's 1988, Agents of Repression (1990, "Corrected Edition") he offers a handful of incidents related to crimes allegedly caused by Goons and details of only a few deaths. Within Mr. Churchill's 1990 publication, The Cointelpro Papers the "list" is relegated to a footnote (p. 393) which consists of no more than names and dates. But it is also within footnotes that Mr. Churchill carries on his most egregious editorial comments and personal attacks.

For example: It is within footnotes that Mr. Churchill makes his most outrageous claims, based on nothing more than fantasy and conjecture; specifically, his idea of a preplanned paramilitary assault on Pine Ridge. This allegation is so outlandish that it must be the topic of a separate response at a later date.

Mr. Churchill viciously attacks one of the agents who was very much involved in the Resmurs investigation, J. Gary Adams. Although his comments are disjointed in the book, Mr. Churchill offers the following to spell out his brutally personal attack in The Cointelpro Papers:

"Using .22 caliber squirrel rifles, the youngsters shot out the tires of the first two backup cars-driven by SA J. Gary Adams and Fred Two Bulls, a BIA policeman and known GOON. Confronted with these meager potshots, Adams and Two Bulls promptly retreated, abandoning Coler and Williams.(p.265)" "(Adams)…spent a considerable period of time hiding in a ditch once his tire had been shot out." "…Adams and his colleagues simply turned tail and ran for cover, refusing to move for several hours. It was perhaps a personal sense of guilt over his own conduct on the morning Williams and Coler died which motivated Adams to behave with brutality during his subsequent interrogations of the AIM teenagers mentioned above, as well as Norman Brown, another 16 year old." (p.396, footnote 141)" (Emphasis Added)

Mr. Churchill, although he mentions the name, fails to quote (albeit deliberately), one of the main witnesses from that fateful day, Norman Brown. If Mr. Churchill paid any attention, he would have heard Norman Brown describe, in the Robert Redford film "Incident at Oglala" that he did have the opportunity to kill the responding agents, but chose not to.

"I had him in my sights, you know. I had the figure of his head. Basically I was aiming right at him, you know. But I couldn't do that. I couldn't shoot him. So, I shot his front tire out." (Norman Brown)

Another important aspect of what Norman Brown has said about the shootout concerned his recanted testimony at Peltier's trial. During the October 17, 2000 Arts and Entertainment (A&E) special entitled "Murder on a Reservation," this is what Brown said when he was brought in to testify against Peltier:

They marched me in. This whole crowd of native people. As I was walking down the isle there, I heard words spoken to me. "There's that sell out." "There's that pig, there's that little asshole, " and you know, "That's him." "Hey asshole," like little whisper.

It is clear from this comment that Norman Brown, although he blamed his change of testimony on his interrogation by the FBI, was clearly in fear for his safety, and perhaps even his life, from his own People, particularly AIM members and supporters.

Although he claims to have "…spent a year in Southeast Asia in combat," (Agents of Repression, footnote, p.438), Mr. Churchill offers some strong language, for an academic, from the safety and security of a warm classroom or snuggly behind a computer screen. It would be easy to predict his reactions under similar circumstances. He would run, as did Leonard Peltier--the coward of Pine Ridge--who bravely murdered two defenseless and wounded human beings and then ran for the hills, all the while whining his oft repeated phrase, "We got to get out of here. We got to get out of here." It was Peltier, and the two other thirty-year-old-Indians, who left the younger ones momentarily behind, as he, Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, went down to the Agents' vehicles to finish them off. Mr. Churchill does not understand, since he is so enamored with the likes of the former Black Panther Party, FALN and AIM, that a sixteen year old (like Norman Brown) or a twenty-one year old (like "Little Joe" Stuntz) can kill you just as dead with a .22, as with any other weapon. Mr. Churchill would be the last one to volunteer to stand up and take a .22 for his cause; his integrity, character and bravery are called into question. Apparently he does not share these same qualities as his namesake.

For example: Since Mr. Churchill is obviously very passionate about this issue, and if his intent had been focused, what he should have done was publish all he knew about these deaths. Instead, by his own admission, he produced a flawed list of names. As a former leader of AIM (which he now denounces as "…an appendage of the liberal aspects of the federal government of the U.S." [Interview, 1995]), he should have been more precise, but now goes even further to contaminate his own thesis. He provides instance after instance of unnamed phantom witnesses who, being conveniently dramatic, saw exactly what he claims in many of the deaths. This information should have been specific, and an integral part of his assertions in 1988 and beyond. He should have compiled the information and published it all for scrutiny instead of hiding behind vague and unproven allegations. Even when he does provide names, these witness-accounts are still based on conjecture, opinion, and rumor.

Supplying the same flawed logic, wrong information and awkward and faulty conclusions as he does IN MOST OF THE DEATHS ON THE LIST, Mr. Chruchill said the following regarding "Joe Stuntz Killsright:"

The report states that Killsright was killed during the FBI's RESMURS investigation. He was in fact killed during the June 26, 1975, firefight which also resulted in the deaths of RESMURS. Cause of death is indicated as being a single long range gunshot to the head, fired either by an FBI or BIA police sniper.

The fact that two eyewitnesses - journalist Kevin McKiernan and South Dakota Attorney General William Delaney - state that the victim's torso had been riddled by an automatic weapon fired at close range is unmentioned. This is perhaps because of the implication that Killsright might have been summarily executed by an FBI agent enraged over the deaths of his colleagues. Be that as it may, the Bureau relies upon yet another autopsy performed by W.O. Brown to "confirm" its version of Killsright's death. (Emphasis Added)

There is no proof to support these claims and even, for the moment, setting aside the autopsy results describing a single gunshot wound to the head, Mr. Churchill grossly misses the mark as he engages in previously discredited accounts and rumors. As will be shown, these witnesses, who were wrong in their conclusions, did not even say what Mr. Churchill attributed to them, but has added his own skewed conclusions to the mix:

Mr. Churchill cannot even get the name right: Joseph Charles, a Coeur d'Alene Indian, born in 1954 was adopted by a wealthy white family. "Little Joe" Stuntz, as he was called, was given the name Killsright, posthumously, by Leonard Peltier as he and others made their escape from Pine Ridge after the Agents' had been murdered. (Peltier, "Prison Writings" p.129.)

Mr. Churchill tries to convince us that Stuntz and "also" Agents' Coler and Williams, were killed in the same skirmish. This is not the case and any competent review of the timing of those deaths belies and exposes his claim. Stuntz, after visiting the dead Agents' bodies and raiding their possessions, engaged the responding law-enforcement officers with sporadic gunfire and was killed (while wearing Agent Coler's FBI jacket) much later (and at a distance), by BIA Officer Hill: But, "The Indians do not believe that Hill killed Joe; they believe he was killed by SA Gerard Waring, drilled through the forehead by the only man in Hughes squad with a sniper scope, and that the FBI gave Hill credit for the kill-he boasted of it to Gary Adams-because, from a public-relations point of view, it looked better to have that Indian killed by an Indian." ("In The Spirit of Crazy Horse" p. 552). But again, even as Leonard Peltier himself knew; "…Joe Killsright Stuntz, a twenty-one-year-old dedicated AIMster, (was) shot in the forehead by a bullet from an unknown assailant's gun…" (Prison Writings" p.129.)

Numerous witnesses all gave the same account of Stuntz's death and head wound, yet Mr. Churchill bases his argument on rumor and speculation from those who have already been discredited and seems almost to mimic someone he also liberally quotes, Peter Matthiessen. But Mr. Churchill fails to offer Matthiessen's own characterization of Stuntz' death and conveniently fails to tell the readers; "The epidemic inaccuracy of most of the accounts is exemplified in those that concerned Joe Killsright's body." ("Spirit" p.197). Matthiessen totally dismissed the multiple shots issue for what it was, pure speculation.

Even the web site link to Kevin McKiernan's name (provided by the LPDC in Churchill's essay) adds no validity to the claim because it does not even address the condition of Stuntz's body. In his recent letter concerning the Peltier situation, McKiernan only states, "…whose body I photographed afterward." Had this been a real issue, McKiernan would certainly have mentioned it in his very recent, May 17, 2000 letter.

Peltier's co-conspirator, Dino Butler had this to say about Joe Stuntz's wound: "Joe was laying there, he was shot. There was a bullet right through his forehead, like that (gestures with a single finger to the middle of his forehead). ("Incident at Oglala").

Adding further to Mr. Churchill's degradation of the truth, in his book The Cointelpro Papers, he further quotes McKiernan; "blood was leaking from the jacket sleeve-and added that the corpse was wearing an FBI field jacket."

But then Mr. Churchill plugs in this editorial, and erroneous comment:

"(suggesting the possibility that agents had covered their handiwork by adding the field jacket after the fact)." (p.397, footnote 144.)

So sure is Mr. Churchill of his "facts" and logic, that he embarrassingly failed to consult the one and best source to dispel such a flagrantly inaccurate accusation. The truth of how and where Stuntz came to be wearing Agent Coler's field jacket comes from none other than Leonard Peltier himself;

"I seen Joe when he pulled it out of the trunk and I looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile," Leonard remembers. "I didn't think nothing of it at the time; all I could think of was, We got to get out of here!"" (Spirit, p.552)

Mr. Churchill, the academic, engages is such notoriously inaccurate polemic (to use one of his favorite words), knowing full-well that there is no avenue for misunderstanding what the real truth is; yet, he offers skewed and sophomoric conclusions anyway. His own hateful motivations and paranoia aside, he becomes but an obvious dupe and no more than a lap-dog for Jennifer Harbury, and a mouth-piece for the LPDC.

Mr. Churchill casually dismisses his own mistakes as "…there's bound to be a margin of error," but then goes on to thank the FBI for providing corrected information in almost a dozen of the deaths. Mr. Churchill admits his mistakes, but by claiming, for instance, that Michelle Tobacco (age 9 months), Yvette Loraine Lone Hill (age 7), and Floyd Bianis (age 16 months), (who were all tragic victims of child abuse), were AIM supporters killed by "unknown persons" in the heat of the "Reign of Terror," is not only disingenuous, but fraudulent. Mr. Churchill's approach to the problem has not changed but only worsened with added convenient claims and outrageous additional facts. Facts, given his academic background, he must make up, and twist, as he goes along.

Mr. Churchill adds nothing to the discourse except more convoluted and unsubstantiated rumors and provides Peltier supporters with only an essay of hate peppered with anti-government rhetoric. Shamefully, he destroys any meaningful efforts for dialogue or common ground. Nothing of what he has now added validates the "list."

But perhaps this is where we can return to Leonard Peltier. It was the idea of the Reign of Terror that prompted Peltier to claim that Agents' Coler and Williams were killed in self-defense by Mr. "X", who then drove off in the infamous red pickup truck. Perhaps these phantom witnesses can also provide Mr. Churchill with the identity of "Mr. X." No, they can't do that either, Peltier already said he lied about that as well.

To illustrate the depths to which conspiracy theorists can descend, Mr. Churchill links the murders of agents' Coler and Williams with the defeat of General George Armstrong Custer at the Little Big Horn, ninety-nine years earlier. FBI personnel (including stenographer Linda Price) in the Rapid City Office overheard Agent Williams's call for help and assistance.

"The statements she (Linda Price) attributes to Williams correspond very well to the frantic appeals for help addressed by Major Marcus Reno to Captain Frederick Benteen during the battle of the Little Big Horn almost exactly a century earlier". (Agents of Repression, footnote 30, p. 437).

"Reno is quoted as sending the frantic message, "For God's sake, Benteen, help me. I've lost half my men". (Agents of Repression, footnote 34, p. 414).

Just what does Mr. Churchill imply with a connection like this?

Perhaps the pre-planned attack scenario again? Or maybe this is where fantasy comes close to the truth; it goes to motivation. It can be asked, what was Peltier thinking at that moment? Seeing both agents mortally wounded but knowing that they have also seen him (and Butler and Robideau) up close. It could be that Peltier had regressed to his ancient native roots and saw this as the Little Big Horn revisited; Custer and the 7th Calvary, and he, now for his People, was killing the dreaded "yellow hair" again, and maybe for the last time. But giving Peltier this much credit is flawed. Peltier saw exactly what the situation was and came to the only conclusion his cowardly persona could muster - that dead men make poor witnesses - and then killed them both. But there is more; Peltier, Butler and Robideau were then joined by the younger Indians who raided the dead agents' bodies and possessions. And later, responding law enforcement personnel found Agents' Coler and Williams lying face down in the mud. Touching the vanquished, counting coup, turning their enemy to face the ground rather than the sky so they would not be able to face their maker, could have been thoughts and actions by Peltier and the others. But probably not; the motive is simpler and less of a conspiracy; they couldn't look at the faces of the men they had just murdered.

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Compliments to Leonard Peltier:
Future Leaders...A Message


(As appeared in the LPDC website.)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I want to begin by thanking the Dine' Club for including my case in the agenda for tonight's event. I am always happy to see Native youth take the initiative to reach out to their peers and inspire them to be socially conscious and active. Each and every one of you should understand and embrace your ability to make a difference for our people. You have already begun, just by taking the important step of getting your college education. I want to encourage you to stay in school and graduate so that you can use the skills you gain for bettering your communities and your own lives.

I also want to encourage you to learn about the struggles of our recent history, which have brought about some positive changes for our people. When I was your age, having pride in your culture, in being Indian, was not popular at all. Nor was the teaching of our history in schools, available or documented. Many of the positive social programs that exist today, including those that help Native youth attain higher education, were virtually non-existent. These changes were not handed to us. Of course, we still have a very long way to go before justice for First Nations is truly achieved. The fact that I have written you this statement from a prison cell is evidence of that. However, it is important that as young people, you not take for granted the progress we have made. This progress was made by the sacrifice and struggle of our people in the late 1960's through the 1970's. The American Indian Movement and other Native groups of that era, were made up of ordinary people like your mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles; people who committed themselves to making life better for you, the future generations. If you learn about this recent history, both from the obstacles we faced, and the positive accomplishments that we achieved, you will be better prepared to work for social change.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to write to me about the realities that you are facing today. Your perceptions and ideas are important to the future of our people. Also, communicating with those on the outside is an important way for me to stay in touch with the current state of affairs in Indian Country, and see if there are ways that I can help.

In closing, I want to tell you how proud I am of each of you. Whether you choose to study business, social work, teaching, ecology, art, or history, I believe you will be a gift to our people.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier


A compliment is offered to Leonard Peltier for the above letter. By reaching out to the young, extolling them to become educated, wise to their history and involved now and for the future, he offers a most significant message. Leonard's tone and delivery are measured and sincere and he had no doubt weighed his words carefully to meaningfully support his message. He avoids any hateful rhetoric and makes only passing reference to his situation, saying that he is pleased that his case was selected for discussion but that he writes from prison.

Although Leonard mentions the American Indian Movement, there was one element he could have added in his call to the young: To use restraint and act within responsible and established bounds. It is understandable that young, educated and informed activists, politically astute and capable of organizing into meaningful movements can accomplish much, with harmony and nonviolence.

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.

Leonard Peltier is correct, that this generation, informed and educated, and properly motivated, "…will be a gift to our people." What can also be added is that they will be a gift to all people.

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Rebuttal Statement from Congressman Don Edwards, Former FBI Agent

[Rebuttal statement given Friday, 14 December 2000 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. by former Rep. Don Edwards of California to the FBI's statements against clemency for Peltier. Rep. Edwards served 16 terms in the House of Representatives, is a former FBI agent himself, and was the longtime chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights which oversaw the Bureau.]

(As appeared on the LPDC website)

Hon. Don Edwards
P.O. Box 7151
Carmel, CA

As a former Congressman from California for over thirty years, a former FBI agent and a citizen committed to justice, I wish to speak out strongly against the FBI's efforts in opposing the clemency appeal of Leonard Peltier. I served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I took a personal interest in Mr. Peltier's case and became convinced that he never received a fair trial. Even the government now admits that the theory it presented against Mr. Peltier at trial was not true. After 24 years in prison, Leonard Peltier has served an inordinate amount of time and deserves the right to consideration of his clemency request on the facts and the merits.

The FBI continues to deny its improper conduct on Pine Ridge during the 1970's and in the trial of Leonard Peltier. The FBI used Mr. Peltier as a scapegoat and they continue to do so today. At every step of the way, FBI agents and leadership have opposed any admission of wrongdoing by the government, and they have sought to misrepresent and politicize the meaning of clemency for Leonard Peltier. The killing of FBI agents at Pine Ridge was reprehensible, but the government now admits that it cannot prove that Mr. Peltier killed the agents.

Granting clemency to Mr. Peltier should not be viewed as expressing any disrespect for the current agents or leadership of the FBI, nor would it represent any condoning of the killings that took place on Pine Ridge. Instead, clemency for Mr. Peltier would recognize past wrongdoing and the undermining of the government's case since trial. Finally, it would serve as a crucial step in the reconciliation and healing between the U.S. Government and Native Americans, on the Pine Ridge Reservation and throughout the country.

Don Edwards (D-CA), ret.
Member of Congress, 1963-1995

April 20, 2001

Nothing the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) does is accidental or haphazard. Their position and approach to the Peltier issue is consistently aggressive and grounded in a deep-seated distrust of any government actions.

Prominent on the home page of the freepeltier website is a link to a January 12, 2001 Cincinnati Enquirer article. With many newspapers carrying articles about Peltier, and especially during the flurry of activity concerning their efforts to convince former President Clinton to grant Peltier clemency, the LPDC chose to display this particular article. The question is why? And the answer should be obvious: One strong voice in opposition to the slanted presentation they have offered in the public forum originated, and continues, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Another conspicuous element on the LPDC homepage concerns the value they attach to being a former FBI agent. Either they recognize the additional credibility that service in the FBI brings, or they are being disingenuous by using this for their own anti-government agenda.

Former U.S. Congressman Don Edwards has been a champion of social change. He is an intelligent, well educated, successful businessman, self-described as a liberal first and a Democrat second, who admirably represented his Northern California constituents for three decades, so much so that in 1986 he garnered 71% of the vote. While in Washington he continued his support for civil rights legislation enhancing the rights of death row inmates and opposing efforts for a constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning. As a self-appointed guardian of civil rights and chairman of the Civil and Constitutional Rights Subcommittee, he carefully plotted a course to oversee one of his favorite targets in civil rights matters, the FBI. He chaired a lengthy subcommittee investigation into the FBI's premiere undercover public-corruption case, Abscam, claiming that he found, "widespread deviation from avowed standards, (resulting in) substantial harm to individuals and public institutions." (Congressional Directory). Later, though, several appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld those techniques and convictions. Edwards apparently took every opportunity to scrutinize FBI activities while calling for greater congressional oversight of their investigations. A question that can be asked is why Mr. Edwards was so aggressive and vehement in his pursuit of the FBI? Was it his long-standing dedication to liberal causes or something else?

Mr. Edwards, at almost every turn in his political career, emphasized a key aspect of his background and within a mere ten words into his "Rebuttal Statement" mentions the fact that he was "a former FBI agent," signifying for the reader that this credential alone provides him with additional credibility, and insiders view, to emphasize the points he makes concerning the Peltier matter. Yet, even given his own experiences in this area, he blatantly offers statements that are simply not true. He echoes the LPDC line that, "...the government now admits that it cannot prove that Mr. Peltier killed the agents." This is not true now, nor was it when the federal prosecutor made an unartful statement during oral arguments before an appeals court. Everyone, except perhaps the LPDC and Mr. Edwards, can read for themselves that this is not what the prosecutor meant, so much so that every single court review, especially the one that labeled this argument as "flawed," clearly stated that this was not a concession by the government. Whether Peltier pulled the trigger himself, or if the final fatal three shots were made collectively by Peltier, Robideau and Butler, it was firmly established from the very beginning; Peltier was indicted, charged, tried, convicted, and appealed on the issue of Aiding and Abetting in the murders of Agents' Coler and Williams. But Mr. Edwards wants the reader to believe that Peltier was somehow altogether innocent. Peltier's lies alone can prove his guilt to any reasonable person. To Mr. Edwards, freeing Peltier would "...serve as a crucial step..." toward reconciliation between the government and Native Americans. This fails to address that there are many more Native Americans who see Peltier not as a cause for healing but as a catalyst for dissent and festering hatred. He is not a unifying force. A free Peltier would do nothing to correct historical injustices. And even among Native Americans the concept of reconciliation has diverse and varied meaning.

A December 19, 2000 NPPA letter to Mr. Edwards challenging the accuracy of his statements went unanswered.

What causes Mr. Edwards to fight so openly for Peltier? A love of Peltier himself? Perhaps, but Leonard Peltier is not an altogether lovable character. A continued commitment to civil rights causes, again, perhaps, based on his long career in this area, but maybe also, a little retribution. What was it in Mr. Edwards FBI experience that soured him so early in a very brief career. Mr. Edward's resume lists his FBI service as 1940-41, and service in the U.S. Navy, 1942-1945. Curious dates indeed considering the world stage at that point in history. Rumors aside, contact with a number of people who were also in the FBI during those periods brings with it some additional factors concerning Mr. Edward's FBI service. He may have entered in 1940 but was out in 1941. Why? Some suggest that it was poor timing on his part; leaving what was a military-deferred occupation prior to December 7, 1941 left him open for the draft as the U.S. entered WWII. Some also say that Mr. Edwards did try to re-enter the Bureau after Pearl Harbor; the FBI certainly could have used the talents of a young Stanford educated lawyer who had been a former agent, but turned him down anyway.

Mr. Edwards then entered the U.S. Navy in 1942 and until the end of the war served in "Naval Intelligence and as a gunnery officer." But whether his tour was stateside or not, is missing from his resume. So what was it in his early years and brief months of service in the FBI that helped create his life-long crusade against the Bureau? Perhaps, given the timing of these events, he just could not cut it as an agent and was forever embittered by not being able to continue with the FBI.

On February 7, 2001, by simply calling directory information, I was able to obtain Mr. Edwards' home telephone number. He was very pleasant as I politely challenged some of the statements he has made in support of Peltier. His incredible reply was to refer me to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee! "They have everything," he said. I also asked, "I understand you were an FBI Agent, when was that?" His answer, with a sound of pride in his voice, "I served from 1940 to 41."

So here it comes full circle; a retired liberal Congressman, who's major claim to fame was that he was a former FBI agent for a few months (barely enough time to even learn what the job is all about), who vociferously challenged and attacked the FBI at every opportunity, leans on the LPDC for his own credibility. Mr. Edwards is no more qualified to speak as a former FBI Agent than, let's say, the LPDC's Jennifer Harbury. If Mr. Edwards relies on the LPDC for his incorrect facts, then certainly someone is being used. The LPDC is exploiting Mr. Edwards for one purpose, a not-so-subtle inference to further malign the FBI, which appears to be their central agenda.

Edward Woods
Cincinnati, Ohio

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"Reign of Terror- Many More Victims": by Paul Berg
(Letter to the NPPA from Mr. Paul Berg, reprinted with permission.)

8505 Mendenhall Loop Road
Juneau, Alaska 99801
March 28, 2001

No Parole Peltier Association
P.O. Box 404
Cincinnati, Ohio 45201


In your web site "Response to the LPDC," after listing the reported deaths, the summary contains the following: "Although excessive for any community, many of these deaths were the result of the normal course of human events, and not endemic of a "Reign of Terror" as the LPDC tries to suggest." If, by this statement, you are implying that a number of these killings would have taken place on the Pine Ridge Reservation regardless of the state of tribal politics, I am sure that you are correct. If, however, you are implying that the "Reign of Terror" is a rhetorical invention with no basis in fact, your conclusion is inaccurate. Whether it is called a "Reign of Terror" or designated by some other term, 1973-76 were terrible years for people on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

During the summer of 1975 a group of 18 mission workers, teachers and parents from the village of Porcupine sent a letter to President Ford appealing for direct Presidential intervention on the Reservation. The letter stated that there had been an epidemic of violence on the Reservation since the siege of Wounded Knee, that the tribal police were politicized, that a paramilitary group called the GOONs (Guardians of the Oglala Nation) were openly intimidating and beating people, and that the FBI was ineffective at preventing violence on the Reservation. The letter asked the President to assign Federal Indian police from around the country to be sent in without their families to help control the avalanche of violence. This letter prompted and enquiry from the White House to the South Dakota Congressional representatives, Rep. Abner and Senator Abouresk. Their staffs determined that the contents of the letter was accurate and provided verification to the White House. Both Rep. Abner and Senator Abouresk endorsed the recommendation concerning Federal Indian Police. By August of 1975, Federal Indian Police officers from several reservations around the country were assigned to Pine Ridge. They were tough, related well to local people, fair, politically incorruptible, and (without their families present) not subject to intimidation. The assignment of the Federal Indian Police is an historical fact and the above mentioned communications are a matter of record.

As one of the signers of he letter, I can assure you that neither we, nor our Congressional representatives, nor the White House staff, nor President Ford interpreted the events on the Reservation at that time as "normal." The years 1973 through the first half of 1976 were a terrible time for many traditional Lakota people. The death list that you present in your web site is the tip of the iceberg, a very incomplete picture of the violence. The GOON squad operated openly. There were many drive-by shootings that did not result in death. Intimidation and beatings were commonplace occurrences. Of our 110 children at the mission school, two were shot during this period; Delphine Red Shirt (survived) and Sandra Wounded Foot (tortured, raped and murdered by Fed. Officer Paul Duane Herman, who I am told was allowed to plea on a manslaughter charge and received probation). Many homes and buildings were burned to the ground. There was an attempt to fire bomb our mission school. There were strange "accidents" especially involving young people, like the young teacher in Porcupine who was shot through the stomach with a .357 magnum in 1975. She lived for 26 minutes.

There was also a dramatic increase in unusual psychological phenomenon. We had instances of spontaneous group crying among the 6th-8th grade students, which we later learned was a symptom of post-traumatic stress. There was a marked increase in traditional ceremonial practices. Private Sun Dances were held with deep piercing. People talked openly about paranormal experiences. I have since come to the conclusion that the events of the early seventies brought the Reservation to the brink of cultural hysteria, a well documented cultural phenomenon which the Sioux had historically experienced. (The Ghost Dance of 1890.)

"...the normal course of human events..." I don't think so!

As the decade continued, churches, schools, and traditional Lakota leaders strove to bring about reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. The process continues today.

Paul Berg

NPPA Response to Mr. Paul Berg:

P.O. Box 404
Cincinnati, Ohio 45201
April 4, 2001

Mr. Paul Berg
8505 Mendenhall Loop Road
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Dear Mr. Berg:

Thank you very much for taking the time to write concerning the NPPA statement about the living and social conditions at Pine Ridge, SD. Your letter was both intelligent and sincere. To answer your initial question concerning the statement; "Although excessive for any community, many of these deaths were the result of the normal course of human events, and not endemic of a "Reign of Terror" as the LPDC tries to suggest," you were correct, that it does suggest "...a number of these killings would have taken place on the Pine Ridge Reservation regardless of the state of tribal politics..." The NPPA statement was meant to respond to the LPDC accusation that the FBI was largely responsible for this turmoil, although it's responsibility was primarily investigative. The NPPA was reacting to the validity of the list itself and it's use by the LPDC to improperly further their own anti-government agenda, ostensibly in support of Peltier, not the underlying social issues. Certainly, child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol related crimes, and accidents, which made up a large number of the names on the list, occur frequently in other areas, albeit too high for such a small population.

This has been a learning experience, especially for me. Peltier aside for the moment, I am continually reading and researching the issues related to the June 26, 1975 incident, and the experiences you describe make that period on Pine Ridge all the more real in very human terms. As you so eloquently describe, there were many more victims than those on the list.

Thank you again for taking the time and sharing your experiences, and please accept my deepest respect for your obvious commitment to helping those in need. In closing, I have a request, with your permission I would like to post your letter on the NPPA site as a link to the above statement. I believe that your experience and message furthers a critical element of the debate as well as efforts by concerned people to continue moving towards reconciliation and healing. Please let me know if this would be acceptable.

I remain

Ed Woods

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"FBI misconduct in Peltier's case must be remembered in the interest of justice"
Editorial as appeared in Indian Country Today, May 22, 2001

The recent FBI boondoggle in Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's case is indicative of a pattern of prosecutorial abuse going back decades.

In case after case, withholding of evidence, intimidation of people under investigation and other questionable practices have made national commentators as well as Washington politicians call for a thorough review of the agency founded, and highly politicized, by J. Edgar Hoover.

New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer, citing numerous other cases where FBI misconduct has become obvious, requested that President Bush appoint a special commission to examine the nation's primary federal law enforcement agency. Attorney General John Ashcroft already is investigating.

Critics have recalled the case of Joseph Salvati of Boston, freed in January after serving 30 years for murder. A judge concluded in that case that the FBI, to protect an informant, hid testimony that would have cleared Salvati.

Then there was the botched investigation of Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist accused of 59 criminal counts and held for nine months in solitary confinement. After a horrific public disclosure campaign against him, Lee was cleared of all but a minor charge and released.

So have critics recalled the case of Richard Jewell, targeted in the bombing at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics. The intense, no-holds-barred investigation and, again, devastating public disclosures, nearly destroyed a man who had rushed to help the victims and was the actual hero of the day. Jewell was lucky; he was exonerated after only three months.

Others have pointed to cases of apparent excessive deadly force (Ruby Ridge, Waco), botched evidentiary science, and even simple incompetence, as in the case of TWA Flight 800, where the FBI never passed on to the National Transportation Safety Board crucial evidence that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms uncovered early on.

But no one in the national media seems to have remembered Leonard Peltier. So we again wonder, what about the case of Leonard Peltier?

In McVeigh's case, the most horrific of terrorists gets a reprieve of 30 days while more than 3,000 pages of evidentiary information are belatedly handed over to his defense team to study.

But consider Peltier, who has served 25 years for the 1975 killing of two FBI agents. In his highly controversial case, the FBI continues to hold secret more than 6,000 pages of information, claiming national security reasons. This despite clear indications of misconduct, including falsification of evidence and intimidation of witnesses by various FBI officials, which forced the American Indian Movement activist's conviction.

This much is known. In the climate of violence against traditional American Indians that characterized Indian country in the 1970s, FBI agents were all over the place, en masse, often in combat gear, constantly raiding the remote home compounds of traditional people who sympathized with the issues raised by AIM.

The FBI's closest collaborators, the so-called Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONS), known for their night raids and drive-by shootings that left many wounded and some dead, were actually given arms by the federal agents. It was in that context that a young Leonard Peltier signed on to help defend elders at the Jumping Bull compound in Oglala district, where the FBI raid took place that would result in the deaths of one American Indian man and two federal agents.

Judge Heaney of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, who heard an appeal in Peltier's case (denied on a technicality) wrote in a 1991 letter to Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii: "The United States government overreacted at Wounded Knee. Instead of carefully considering the legitimate grievances of the Native Americans, the response was essentially a military one which culminated in the deadly firefight on June 26, 1975 ... The United States government must share responsibility with the Native Americans for the ... firefight ... the government's role can properly be considered a mitigating circumstance." Judge Heaney, in this letter, recommended clemency/commutation of sentence for Mr. Peltier as part of the healing process.

We know that Peltier was extradited from Canada, where he had fled, on the basis of an affidavit signed by Myrtle Poor Bear, who claimed to have witnessed Peltier shooting the agents. Poor Bear later recanted and testified to being intimidated by FBI agents, who confronted her with photographs of the murdered body of Anna Mae Aquash.

At Peltier's trial, FBI ballistic expert Evan Hodge testified he was unable to perform the best test, a firing-pin test, on certain casings found near the agents' car, because the rifle in question had been damaged in a fire. Instead, he stated that he conducted an extractor-mark test and found the casing and weapon to match. But years later, an FBI teletype obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showed that in October 1975, a firing-pin ballistic test had indeed been performed on the rifle said to have belonged to Peltier and that the results were clearly negative. The jury never heard this crucial information.

Considering the critical nature of the materials later disclosed, such as the ballistic tests, the approximately 6,000 FBI documents still being withheld in their entirety as well as 5,000 partial documents could very well contain evidence that would establish Peltier's position. A government attorney actually conceded in one appellate hearing that, "We had a murder, we had numerous shooters, we do not know who specifically fired what killing shots ... ." But Peltier, the government insisted, could still be guilty for aiding and abetting, a complete change of theory from that mounted at his trial.

It is a crucial moment to remember Peltier. The national media must be made to remember his case among the numerous other cases of FBI misconduct resulting in the incarceration of innocent people. Clearly, the FBI's culture of concealment and sense superior purpose, which have led the agency into such transgression, must be challenged.

Peltier's trial and subsequent intense campaigns by the FBI to deny him any relief must be reconsidered in light of the emerging pattern of abuse now revealed. Tell all the media; tell the U.S. Congress; Indian country demands justice for Leonard Peltier.

NPPA Response: Peltier, McVeigh & Mumia: In Select Company

June, 2001

The Indian Country Today (ICT) editorial of May 23, 2001 entitled, "FBI misconduct in Peltier's case must be remembered in the interest of justice" raises a number of issues. ICT implies that allegations made against the FBI in recent cases also relate to Peltier's conviction for the murder of two FBI Agents in 1975. Many of the issues are too broad to be properly addressed here within a limited space, however, others need to be reviewed and corrected. Although on at least two fronts we are in complete agreement.

It is with an incredibly precise choice of words that ICT lays out its case against the FBI and in favor of Peltier, but to suggest that what is happening today is a "boondoggle," i.e., pointless and unnecessary work, is inappropriate and perhaps not exactly what the Editor(s) meant. This is very serious business and we all recognize that. But even more so, to ICT's credit, they have properly characterized Peltier's guilt and placed him in entirely appropriate company.

FBI Problems

ICT starts by mentioning the recent matter in the FBI's Boston office where retired FBI Agents are accused of having an inappropriate and criminal relationship with organized crime. They do not mention names, but former Agent John J. Connolly, Jr., is under indictment for serious crimes. If what has been brought out in the media is accurate and true, and apparently much of it is, then Connolly must be held accountable for his actions. He must first though be entitled to due process and his day in court. Not mentioned by ICT, but certainly a recent media topic is former Agent Robert Philip Hanssen who is under indictment, for of all things, spying. Again, if much of what has been portrayed in the media is true, Hanssen violated more than just a sacred trust.

But an important question to be asked is why are we even discussing these Agents at this juncture? The answer is simple, because FBI Agents are held to a higher standard; higher than the average citizen, and by most accounts, above that of other law enforcement. And so they should be. They reach a standard that many would not care to maintain for themselves or others. Regrettably, only a handful have damaged the reputation of many loyal, dedicated and professional public servants. It can easily be proven that the record of the approximately eleven thousand current Agents, and the tens of thousands of former and retired agents who have served honorably over the past ninety-four years, exceed the performance of any other organization; in law enforcement or not. The percentage of those who have not met this extraordinarily high standard is almost too small to measure and is barely a fraction of the total. But the actions of a very few who cannot conform to the highest standards demanded does not condemn the entire organization. The standards for entering the Bureau are arguably the highest of all public or private sector jobs. If there is any doubt about that claim; pick up an application. Yet, there is no shortage of those who are willing to join.

The Media

There are those who would like nothing better than to dismantle the FBI. They smell blood in the water and are in a frenzy for headlines. But with all the negative press, what is lost in the process are the countless accomplishments and thousands of successful investigations and prosecutions every year that the public is not reminded about. There are far too many to even begin listing here. And even through all this turmoil, the FBI is still doing its job, and doing it very well.

A paramount example is the Oklahoma City Bombing case itself. This investigation, arguably the most significant domestic case ever, was handled professionally from beginning to end as revealed by the massive amounts of evidence and thousands of leads and interviews that were handled properly and expeditiously resulting in swift justice for America's most notable mass-murderer. On this point, ICT and the NPPA, as well as the vast majority of Americans from all corners, are in full agreement; categorizing McVeigh for what he was, "the most horrific of terrorists." Although, as with Peltier, we must ensure that due process is followed to the letter, even as we all agree unequivocally on one point, McVeigh is guilty.

Peltier and McVeigh

So what exactly is the connection between McVeigh and Peltier?

ICT suggests that the failure to locate all the documents somehow parallels Peltier's case, as sort of: "There see, they did it to Peltier, now they are doing it to McVeigh!" It will no doubt be shown over time that those documents were irrelevant to either the guilt or innocence of McVeigh and have only served to muddle what was otherwise a textbook investigation. Nonetheless, these documents should have been located among the millions of others and turned over earlier. Whatever the reasons were for this apparent lapse: relevant to difficulty in record keeping and retrieval (during the height of the OKBOMB investigation the FBI was in the midst of changing to a new and completely different records management system), requests to the various field offices that may not have adequately specified exactly what types of documents were needed, an overly broad and difficult discovery agreement, or any number of other explanations may seem like no more than excuses. But in the middle of this, those who would dismantle the FBI, and the media who feeds them, ignore the fact that it was the FBI (in what those involved recognized would be a most painful admission) that brought this matter to the public's attention. The accusations of sinister motives rings hollow when it is recognized that it was the FBI that uncovered the error and brought the problem forward.


There is no shortage of those who persist in repeating statements that have been fed them by the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) and Peltier himself. For some people it is almost impossible to separate the man from the Myth.

For example, (this is only limited to those presented by ICT):

--"...that a young Leonard Peltier..." Peltier was thirty; hardly a youngster, who in his early days was looked upon as not much more than what he was, a petty crook, and according to a major Native American organization, "He was pretty much a minor bully and a womanizer." (This organization, which shall remain nameless at this point, also believes that Peltier is innocent.)

--"Judge Heaney of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, who heard an appeal in Peltier's case (denied on a technicality)..."

It would be understandable to claim that Peltier lost his bid for freedom on a technicality, if for instance, he filed a late appeal, did not include necessary exhibits, didn't have the requisite number of copies, applied to the wrong court, or any number of other technical reasons for appeals to be denied, but in Peltier's case there was nothing technical about it. He was denied based on the law, and ironically, by the very same person whom ICT cares now to quote.

It was Judge Gerald Heaney who ruled against Peltier based on the application of the law. And how do we know this? Because, it is in the court record and Judge Heaney was one of those appearing in Robert Redford's film, Incident at Oglala. He was, and no doubt still is, an honorable man who set aside his personal feelings and carried out his duties to interpret the law. As was evident from the filmed interview, it was a very difficult decision for him to make. The fact that in retirement he calls for healing and perhaps clemency or commutation does not alter Peltier's guilt.

--"The jury never heard this crucial information."

ICT makes a very valid point with this conclusion but ignores one of the most significant elements in the legal history of Peltier's case, and in doing so is being less than honest with its readers.

ICT's summary of the ballistics issue may not be entirely accurate but the background is that in November 1980 Peltier received many pages of documents under the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIPA). Included among these was an October 2, 1975 FBI teletype. Peltier's attorneys appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that this new evidence proved that there was not a match between the .223 caliber shell casing found in Agent Coler's trunk and the "Wichita AR-15" rifle connected to Peltier. The appeals court agreed and sent the case back to the district court in October, 1984 for a three day evidentiary hearing.

Peltier's attorneys had an additional opportunity to challenge what they believed was an FBI effort to conceal this evidence. After the hearing, the district court concluded, as a finding of fact, what the word "different" in the October teletype meant, and that the timing of those communications from the laboratory created an impression that the shell casing had been eliminated when, in fact, it had not. The district court also noted in its ruling, "Defendant (Peltier) had an independent firearms expert present in the courtroom at the hearing, but he was not called to testify."

Peltier again appealed this decision but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals denied his application for a new trial: That decision was made by Judge Gerald Heaney.

So Peltier and his attorneys were wrong in their assertions, as any reasonable effort to review the record would prove, but ICT, because they have been fed this folklore and misinformation by Jennifer Harbury and the LPDC, believe it, and repeat it as though it were a valid argument.

--ICT states, "A government attorney actually conceded in one appellate hearing that...But Peltier, the government insisted, could still be guilty for aiding and abetting, a complete change of theory from that mounted at his trial."

ICT repeats the folklore, and is either lying on this point or dreadfully misinformed. This assertion was wrong when Peltier's attorneys initially made the same argument, as it is today, yet it keeps being repeated nonetheless.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals stated in 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 that if he had not done so, then he was equally guilty of their murder as an aider and abettor."

What part of fatally flawed, equally guilty, or as an aider and abettor does ICT, the LPDC and Peltier not understand?

Repeating the same claim a hundred times, or a hundred times a hundred will still not change the facts or make it miraculously true. The record, from the indictment of Peltier onward is clear no matter how often ICT, the LPDC, or Peltier try to claim otherwise.

In Select Company

Although not mentioned by the ICT, it does bear mentioning here the position the LPDC has taken on these recent issues:

In May 2000 the LPDC wanted to "...strike while the iron is hot and hook Leonard Peltier's story into all the revelations of FBI misconduct..." As well they should, momentum is a very important element in any conflict. But they also added and enjoined their supporters to help with the "...launching of a world wide 'month of action' for Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier." And, "...demanding Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal be released from prison."

(For those who may not be familiar with Mumia Abu Jamal: During the early morning hours of December 9, 1981, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was alone and arresting a motorist who then resisted. Mumia, as he is known today, shot Officer Faulkner in the back. Officer Faulkner, although wounded, was able to shoot Mumia in the chest. While on the ground, and still conscious, Mumia fired at point-blank range hitting Officer Faulkner in the face. He died instantly. Mumia, according to several witnesses who never left the scene, including the motorist himself, who happened to be Mumia's brother, testified that Mumia remained there also. Recovered next to Mumia was the murder weapon, a .38 caliber revolver, which was registered to him. According to the prosecutor the only thing they didn't have as evidence for the local (not Federal) prosecution was a videotape of the murder. Mumia was convicted and sentenced to death and in some perverse way has also become a darling of some celebrities. For additional details see, (In another ironic twist there have been claims that Officer Faulkner was killed by a mysterious stranger who fled the scene. Perhaps-with obvious sarcasm-this mysterious stranger is the same person, Mr. X, who Peltier claimed killed Agents Coler and Williams.)

If all this sounds painfully familiar, it should.

Then there it is, clear and unequivocal, Peltier and the LPDC place Peltier in the same very close and select company as Mumia and McVeigh; cold and remorseless killers. They are now connected, rightfully so, for an even greater reason, they are all miserably guilty.

Innocence and The Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIPA)

ICT again uses incredibly precise language when it states (in regard to the remaining pages being withheld from Peltier) that these, "...partial documents could very well contain evidence that would establish Peltier's position."

A very basic question that needs to be answered here is why the word, position? Would it not have been more logical and appropriate, as the thrust of the ICT argument centers around alleged FBI misconduct, to say that these documents could contain evidence that would establish Peltier's innocence? Of course ICT did not, because they could not. Even they, while attacking the FBI and the case against Peltier, could hardly believe he is not guilty.

But we are in full agreement on the FOIPA issue.

ICT states "...the FBI continues to hold secret more than 6,000 pages of information, claiming national security reasons."

ICT is not correct in this claim, which has also become fundamental to Peltier folklore:

Subsequent to Peltier's trial and initial appeals he applied under FOIPA and received 13,799 pages of documents; some of which Peltier attorneys used as the basis for a second round of appeals and the October 1984 Ballistics Hearing. In an FBI letter dated June 24, 1988 (available on Peltier's website) it is noted;

"The FBI withheld 6,589 pages of documents, including information about the shoot-out between local and state law enforcement officers and Mr. Peltier in Oregon and Mr. Peltier's fugitive status based on anticipated future prosecutions (Title 5, United States code, Section 552(b)(7)(A) as well as other exemptions."

The documents do not relate to Peltier's conviction for the murders of Agents' Coler and Williams at Pine Ridge. However, since twenty-one years have passed since Peltier first received the FOIPA material, there appears to be no real reason why all of that material should not be turned over as promptly as possible. This would be the final resolvable issue in the ongoing debate between Peltier and his supporters and those who are convinced of his guilt and continued incarceration. Perpetuating the Myth of Leonard Peltier needs to be brought to a close.

Ed Woods
Cincinnati, Ohio

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"...the special pleading of a guilty convict."
July, 2001 Jim Brazell, Ph.D

Dr. Brazell is a Professor in the English Department at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey. Peltier's "Prison Writings, My Life is My Sundance," was selected for the summer reading curriculum for incoming freshmen. Dr. Brazell conducted his own independent research and submitted the following statement to his colleagues in opposition to the use of this book in the program. Dr. Brazell's review follows:

The Case Against Leonard Peltier's Prison Writings
Jim Brazell, English Department, The College of New Jersey
July 20, 2001

Dr. Brazell is a Professor in the English Department at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey. Peltier's "Prison Writings, My Life is My Sundance," was selected for the summer reading curriculum for incoming freshmen. Dr. Brazell conducted his own independent research and submitted the following statement to his colleagues in opposition to the use of this book in the program.

Leonard Peltier is currently incarcerated in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is serving two consecutive life sentences for murdering two F.B.I. agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in June of 1975.

Leonard Peltier's Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sundance (St. Martin's, 1999) has been selected as this year's summer reading for the incoming freshmen at The College of New Jersey.

At first glance, the choice appears to fit right in with one of the main questions our students are asked to consider in their first-year experience: What does it mean to be ethical and just? A blurb on the back cover of the book quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu saying that Peltier's story represents "a gross miscarriage of justice," and Peltier himself writes: "This is the twenty-third year of my imprisonment for a crime I did not commit" (8). Judging solely by the book itself and its bubble-wrap of laudatory blurbs and front matter-which is all our freshmen have to go on-a reader might conclude that Peltier was railroaded into prison by the F.B.I. and that he has languished since 1977 as a political prisoner of the United States.

My own research has led me to a different conclusion. I now believe that Peltier received a fair trial, that the guilty verdict the jury rendered in 1977 was justified, and that President Clinton was correct in refusing to put Peltier's name on the list of those to whom he granted executive clemency in January of 2001. And because it is impossible to take the book seriously unless one believes in Peltier's innocence, I will not be a discussion leader for the summer reading. It will be the first time since the program was inaugurated that I will not be involved. But I want to explain in detail my reasons for believing that Leonard Peltier's Prison Writings is little more than the special pleading of a guilty convict.

The story of Leonard Peltier the political martyr began in 1983 with the publication of Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse: The Story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI's War on the American Indian Movement. Matthiessen's account, which is filled with conspiracy theories-the F.B.I. against the American Indian Movement (AIM), corporate interests scheming to wrest control of uranium deposits from the Indians-received generally glowing reviews when it came out, and subsequent TV and film treatments of Peltier's story were largely based on it. In 1991 60 Minutes did a segment narrated by Steve Kroft, and in 1992 Michael Apted, a colleague of Robert Redford, directed Incident at Oglala: The Leonard Peltier Story, a documentary that Redford narrated, and Thunderheart, a film starring Val Kilmer.

But not everyone accepted Matthiessen's version of events. Reviewing In the Spirit of Crazy Horse in The New York Times Book Review (March 6, 1983), Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote: "Mr. Matthiessen is at his worst when he becomes a polemicist for his journalistic clients. He is utterly unconvincing-indeed embarrassingly sophomoric-when he pleads the legal innocence of individual Indian criminals." As to what Dershowitz calls "the real question" of whether Peltier was framed by the F.B.I., he writes that "Mr. Matthiessen not only fails to convince; he inadvertently makes a strong case for Mr. Peltier's guilt. Invoking the cliches of the radical left, Mr. Matthiessen takes at face value nearly every conspiratorial claim of the movement, no matter how unfounded or preposterous. Every car crash, every unexplained death, every unrelated arrest fits into the seamless web of deceit he seems to feel was woven by the F.B.I. and its cohorts." In a further exchange of comments on March 20, 1983, Dershowitz said that when he was asked to review Matthiessen's book "I was prepared to believe that F.B.I. agents may have framed Leonard Peltier, since my predisposition is neither in favor of prosecutors nor adverse to AIM." But he emphasized that his reading of material Matthiessen obtained through the Freedom of Information act "did not raise serious doubts about Mr. Peltier's involvement in the murders."

Peltier's version of what happened on the fateful morning of June 26, 1975, is that he was justifiably defending his fellow Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota against an armed incursion by the F.B.I. He describes an armed attack on the peaceful camp that began when he was lying in bed daydreaming of pancakes as he heard "the women laughing and gossiping outside as they prepared breakfast on the open campfire" (123). Suddenly gunfire erupted and "bullets were zooming from every direction. I could hear them flying past my head, just inches away" (124). He ran to a nearby shack to warn the children, "then I made a beeline out of there to draw the gunfire away from the house and the kids inside it" (125). He then saw two cars "parked askew from each other in a field out toward the road, maybe a hundred and fifty yards away. That's where the first shots I'd heard had been coming from, but now there was the sound of gunshots coming from all over, behind me, ahead of me, seemingly from every direction. 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 so they didn't just roll in and slaughter us. A few other brothers were doing the same with the few rifles we had. Like me, they fired their rifles, mostly .22s and .30-30 deer rifles, every so often from a distance at those two unknown and unannounced interlopers . . . ." (125). Evidence from other sources contradicts nearly everything Peltier writes in "That Day at Oglala," the crucial chapter of his book. The best account is given by Scott Anderson, an award-winning investigative reporter who wrote a lengthy article entitled "The Martyrdom of Leonard Peltier" that appeared in Outside magazine in July, 1995, the twentieth anniversary of the event. Anderson writes that the F.B.I. agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, were following at a distance a red-and-white vehicle they thought belonged to a man named Jimmy Eagle, who was wanted on charges of torturing and robbing two Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In fact, the vehicle belonged to Leonard Peltier. F.B.I. agents listening to their radios heard Williams report that the vehicle had stopped and that several men armed with rifles had gotten out. Williams's voice became urgent: "It looks like these guys are going to shoot at us!" Then they heard the sound of heavy and sustained gunfire.

In the shootout that followed, Coler and Williams were pinned down in the middle of a field some 250 yards away from their assailants. Armed with only their service revolvers and a shotgun and, in Coler's trunk, a .308 rifle, they managed between them to fire a grand total of five rounds. The fusillade directed against them sent 125 shots through their cars. Leonard Peltier's AR-15 assault rifle, a civilian version of the M-16 used in Vietnam, fired 114 rounds that morning.

Coler and Williams died horribly. When Jack Coler attempted to get his rifle from the trunk, a bullet passed through the lid, flattened out, and nearly tore off his right arm. Ron Williams, also wounded by then, crawled over to his colleague and attempted to stanch the bleeding by tearing off his own shirt and making a tourniquet. What happened next, according to three eyewitnesses at Peltier's trial, is that Peltier and two other men walked down to the wounded men and executed them at point blank range using Peltier's AR-15. Three fingers of Ron Williams's hand were blown off, indicating that he reached up to touch the barrel. The bullet entered his face from a distance of less than two feet and blew the back of his head off. The gunman then shot the unconscious Jack Coler twice, in the head and the throat. The bodies of the dead men were then turned over so that their faces were in the dirt. Jack Coler, 28, was married and the father of two children; Ron Williams was 27.

Peltier managed to escape from the Pine Ridge Reservation that day; he also eluded capture in November, when an Oregon trooper stopped the RV that he was driving. Inside the van, police found Jack Coler's service revolver in a paper bag marked by Peltier's thumbprint. In February, 1976, Peltier was finally arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and later extradited in handcuffs to the U.S. to stand trial. Evidence presented at the trial placed Peltier at the scene of the killings and also provided a motive: he thought Coler and Williams were coming to arrest him as a fugitive from an attempted murder charge in Milwaukee.

Although Peltier was tried and sentenced in 1977, his case continued to attract outside attention, especially after Peter Matthiessen's book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, appeared in 1983. The case received a bizarre new twist when Matthiessen's book was reissued in 1991 (after libel suits against it had been dismissed): there was now a Mr. X who confessed to the killings. Scott Anderson writes: "The first public glimpse of Mr. X-his face concealed by sunglasses, his head wrapped in olive-colored bandages-came in a 60 Minutes segment on Peltier in 1991, followed by a cameo in the documentary Incident at Oglala. As 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft noted, 'the man behind the mask seems intimate with every detail of the shoot-out.'"

In light of the known evidence, Mr. X's story turns out to be demonstrably false. Mr. X's account of shooting the two F.B.I. men at a distance of a few yards cannot be reconciled with the nature of their bullet wounds, which were received from a distance of a few feet, and the dynamite he supposedly delivered was never found and was certainly not taken by the fugitives as they fled from the reservation. Peltier only gives further proof of his guilt by going along with the hoax and pretending that Mr. X was real.

Scott Anderson points out "one more unsettling detail to the Mr. X story. Neither 60 Minutes nor Robert Redford actually interviewed the mystery gunman; rather, both obtained a tape of an interview conducted by Peter Matthiessen. That interview was . . . taped by Oliver Stone, who owns the film option to In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. And despite the 60 Minutes reporter's assertion that Mr. X seemed 'intimate with every detail of the shoot-out,' it was the same intimacy that anyone could have developed from reading Matthiessen's book. No matter. Watched by 26 million viewers, the 60 Minutes broadcast further cemented the image of Peltier as a tragic symbol of injustice."

Anderson criticized Crazy Horse for its "casualness toward documentation that bordered on the cavalier." He also pointed out a relevant fact that Matthiessen omitted: "In October 1980, before signing with Viking Press, Matthiessen entered into a financial agreement that gave half of his advance and future royalties to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee in return for exclusive access to Peltier." Crazy Horse is a book of political advocacy.

Peltier makes the following statement in Prison Writings: "Since you can never believe anything the government says, it's impossible to trust a single piece of their evidence" (127). For my part, I don't believe what Peltier says, and I doubt that our students' reading of Prison Writings will do much to further their understanding of justice. At the very least, we ought to consider countering what I believe is a biased account by giving students copies of Scott Anderson's Outside magazine article and Alan Dershowitz's book review.

The plight of Native Americans, their tragic history, and their multifaceted culture are worthy and complex subjects. I write to deplore the choice of Peltier's book as an introduction to these topics.

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The LPDC concedes a major point in the Peltier debate: "Paragraph #5"

"...were ("then") surrounded..."

(Webster's International Dictionary: Then (adverb); Soon after that, immediately after that, next in order of time.)

Background: When the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) web site was launched in April, 2000, one of the key issues raised was the treatment by the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) of the circumstances surrounding the actual shooting which occurred on June 26, 1975. The LPDC position offered by attorney Jennifer Harbury in the "Statement of Fact" section, paragraph #5, was criticized for ignoring the record of that event and the timing involved in the incident.

The LPDC has conceded that it was wrong about their statement by since rewording paragraph #5. They did listen to the criticism of their errors and corrected them. But they have also added some additional editorial comments which are equally without merit and fatally flawed:

The question now is what do the key words; CROSSFIRE, SOMEONE, ADMITS and THEN, really mean to the LPDC?

(What follows is a line-by-line comparison of the original and current version of paragraph #5. Note: Previous version in black, current version in blue, key words in bold, and web site links are red.)

"The FBI's version of what occurred that day is dramatic and imaginative, however, not the least bit documented." (Quote from the LPDC)

On June 26, 1975, two FBI Agents, Mr. Jack Coler, and Mr. Ron Williams, entered the Jumping Bull Ranch, private property.

They allegedly sought to arrest a young Native American man they believed they had seen riding in a red pickup.

A large number of AIM supporters were camping on the property at the time.

They had been invited there by the Jumping Bull elders, who sought protection. Many non-AIM persons were present as well.

A shootout began, (between the two vehicles) trapping a family with small children in the crossfire.

From throughout the ranch, people screamed that they were under attack, and many hurried to return fire.

When the skirmish ended, the two FBI agents were dead.

They had been wounded, and someone had shot them at close range through the heads.

Today, the United States Attorney admits that no one knows who fired the fatal shots.

The red pick up truck escaped from the ranch and was never found or identified.

The more than thirty men, women and children present were (then) surrounded by over 150 FBI agents, SWAT team members, BIA police and local posse members, and barely escaped through a hail of bullets.

When the gunfight ended, a Native American named Joe Stuntz lay dead shot through the head by a sniper bullet.

His killing was never investigated.

NPPA review of the LPDC's current paragraph #5:
"...trapping a family with small children in the CROSSFIRE."

The best place to begin explaining exactly what happened is with Peter Mattiessen's book, "In The Spirit of Crazy Horse," which, according to the LPDC, "immortalizes" Leonard Peltier.

Anyone willing to pursue this should look first at the map on page xvii of "Spirit."

Please note: Agent Coler's vehicle (1972 Chevrolet Biscayne, white vinyl over golden tan-shown on the map as the white and tan car) is depicted where the agents were first fired upon, and the "Y-fork" where Peltier, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz first stopped, took cover and began firing at the agents. (Agent Williams' vehicle, the 1972 green Rambler Ambassador is shown where it was moved to the AIM camp after the agents were murdered.) Note also the distances between the various locations shown on Matthiessen's map.

Norman Brown provided the following to Matthiessen:

From the green house in the compound, looking downhill to the west, Norman Brown saw two cars and two white men well over a HUNDRED YARDS AWAY; a gold and white car was parked behind a green one, both aimed in the general direction of the camp. The trunk of the gold-white car was open, and its driver was behind it, a rifle or shotgun at his shoulder; the other man, using a handgun was crouching and shooting next to the green car. Brown recalls seeing LEONARD PELTIER LYING DOWN BY A ROW OF JUNKED CARS NEAR THE WOODS, RISING UP TO FIRE, LYING PRONE AGAIN. (Spirit, p.156) (Emphasis Added)

Norman Brown was in a good position to see exactly what was happening: Look at his vantage point on Matthiessen's map; the green house (depicted as a green shack on the map) allowed Brown to join in the shooting at the agents in what can only be described as a crossfire situation. There is nothing stated or noted by Brown that places anything other than open ground between him and the agents' vehicles: No family trapped in a crossfire; nothing at all except a clear line of fire between Peltier and the others, and the agents stranded on a dirt road in an open field. Recall also the scenes in the Robert Redford film "Incident at Oglala," showing brief snippets of the area and especially Robert Robideau's description of the shooting as he points to where it happened; an open and empty field.

Angie Long Visitor:

Up the hill to the northwest, perhaps FOUR HUNDRED YARDS AWAY, the Long Visitor Family was using the white house (depicted on the map as the Jumping Bull House), since Grandpa and Grandma Jumping Bull had left at daybreak for a steer auction over in Nebraska. Angie Long Visitor heard "firecrackers or something" while washing dishes, and because her small children were playing outside, she walked out onto the BLUFF to have a look. Two strange cars were parked in the pasture meadow west of the compound and below, down toward the HORSE CORRAL, at the edge of the creek woods. One of the white men--she assumed they were lawmen because of the radio aerials and the good condition of the cars--was removing a gun case from the trunk of his car; the other was kneeling and shooting IN HER GENERAL DIRECTION with a handgun.

(Long Visitor then went back into the house with her children.)

"They (Long Visitor and her family) fled SOUTH along the edge of the plowed field, then cut across toward Highway 18. On the way, they met a few of the AIM Indians from the camp down in the woods, who were running uphill toward the houses. (Spirit, p.155) (Emphasis Added)

During an interview Angie Long Visitor also provided the following:

When she, her husband and the children, fled down the hill behind the house to safety, she noticed a white over red Chevrolet Van parked on the dirt roadway in the gully approximately 100 yards from the two other vehicles. She did not see anyone around this van at that time but knows that this van belongs to Leonard (Peltier). (Spirit, p. 205) (Emphasis Added)

Angie Long Visitor also provided sworn testimony:

At the grand-jury hearing in Rapid City in November 1975, Angie Long Visitor had testified that when she went outside at the sound of shots, she saw Joe [Stuntz] and Norman [Charles] (she knew none of the last names of the outside Indians) "just laying there" by the woodpile west of her little green cabin, and that Bob [Robideau], wearing his brown cowhide vest and a dark-blue stocking cap "ski mask" with eye holes, was standing by the old wrecked station wagon nearby. In her appearance at Peltier's trial, she said, "We seen a red-and-white van" that she recognized as a car belonging to Sam Loud Hawk and used by Leonard [Peltier], who had repaired it; this van was parked at theY-FORK in the pasture road just uphill from the line of junked cars from which (Brown and Anderson had said) Peltier, Robideau, and Butler had fired at the agents. She also said, that she saw one of the agents kneeling by his car and shooting. "Me and my husband and kids RAN ACROSS THE FIELD and went DOWN TO THE LITTLE ROAD that goes to the highway. There were a lot of cop cars going by." (Spirit, p. 332) (Emphasis Added)

(There is no small wonder why the crime scene investigation located one hundred and fourteen (114) .223 shell casings [accounting for a large number of the 125 bullet holes in the Agents' vehicles] which were matched to Peltier's "Wichita AR-15." Thirty-nine of these were introduced at trial as part of the Exhibit 34 series of evidence. This also included shell casings found in Peltier's own 1967 Ford Galaxy, one from the 1966, red and white, Chevrolet suburban in which Peltier was driving when he was followed by the Agents, and the .223 shell casing found in the trunk of Agent Coler's vehicle.)

Let this point be unmistakable: With absolute certainty, Angie Long Visitor, her husband Ivis, and their three children were frightened and in a potentially dangerous situation, but her best description was that there was firing "IN HER GENERAL DIRECTION" "FOUR HUNDRED YARDS" in the distance as she then sees Indians from the AIM camp firing at the Agents.

But the LPDC and Peltier translate this into "TRAPPING A FAMILY" in the crossfire "between the two vehicles." There was nothing of the kind. Look at the map again: Long Visitor saw AIM members firing at the agents from at least two positions. Her house and family were not caught between either of these positions. She and her family escaped to the South, away from the firing and left the shooting of the agents' behind them.

The LPDC is being far less than disingenuous with Peltier supporters; they are lying about what really happened.

But if there is any doubt as to whether someone was caught in a crossfire situation when this incident began, listen to the words of one of the people who were caught in it:

SA Dean Hughes, still going north toward Rapid City with his prisoner, heard "something like, 'Get to the high ground' "---a more likely version, since there is no "high hill" within rifle range of the spot---and then "Hurry up and get there or we are going to be dead men." Previously, he had heard Williams say, "We are being fired on. We are in a little valley in Oglala, South Dakota, PINNED DOWN IN A CROSSFIRE BETWEEN TWO HOUSES." Agent Edward Skelly at Rapid City headquarters heard Williams say, "If someone could get to the top of the ridge and give us cover, we might be able to get out of here." "...The last thing Hughes heard was Williams's voice saying "very vaguely, 'I am hit.' " (Spirit, p.174) (Emphasis Added)

"..and SOMEONE had shot them at close range through the head."

How can Ms. Harbury and the LPDC continue to foist this myth on Peltier supporters?

They would like nothing more than for everyone to suddenly suffer from collective amnesia. They would like everyone to forget that Leonard Peltier told us all exactly who killed the agents and drove off in the infamous red pickup. "It was Mr.X," he said; more times than he cares to remember, and over as many years.

But for Leonard Peltier, Ms. Harbury, and those Peltier supporters who have forgotten, they can review it all here:

Mr. X The Movie ,
Mr. X The Interview
Mr. X The Lie

"Today, the United States Attorney ADMITS that no one knows who fired the fatal shots."

This has been a rallying cry for the LPDC for some time; the only problem is that it is absolutely wrong. They continue repeating this out-of-context issue and ignore that this was an erroneous and fallacious argument when Peltier's attorneys' first made it before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court stated "Peltier's arguments fail because they are fatally flawed." The entire premise of this argument was not only legally insufficient, but also factually incorrect. Ms. Harbury and the LPDC do themselves a disservice by continuing to argue a point that was lost long ago.

A simple question to ask here is:

"What part of fatally flawed don't they understand?"

"...women and children present were THEN surrounded by over 150 FBI agents... "

Ms. Harbury and the LPDC finally got it right. They recognized the importance and meaning of one little word: then.

The LPDC claimed, for a considerable length of time, that a firefight ensued and the agents and an Indian were killed in the exchange. Their meaning was clear as to the sequence they wanted people to believe, but now they have corrected that deception and admitted to the true and accurate sequence of events. The addition of this one small adverb completely changed the meaning of their claims, and the truth comes out.

This major concession, based on criticism from the NPPA, finally sets the record straight.

But what can really be said at this point is that Peltier's version of what occurred that day is dramatic and imaginative, however, not the least bit documented.

[click on image to enlarge]

[click on image to enlarge]

Edward Woods

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Open letter to the Oglala Commemoration Committee

In anticipation of the third annual Oglala commemoration on June 26, 2002, an important question needs to be asked:

Is everyone included in the call for "national" healing?

It is so important to remember and honor those who have died, but when shrouded in a mantle political activity, it looses effectiveness and excludes too many others from the process.

If the assuredly laudable goal of the OCC is a "national healing," then there must be efforts to remove the nearly impenetrable barrier that exists--the heated and politically charged debate over Peltier--and replace it with a search for common ground.

There is a common ground that suffers when nearly fighting words like "...fiercely persecuted by unseen governmental forces to a point where escalating animosity continues," are used. This strategy places others on guard, making them either overly cautious or often skeptical. Then, which does it become; a call for healing, or with all the links to the LPDC, just another political fund-raiser? Also, the thrust of the event seems to be directed at the young: Would it be better to not anger them but create an atmosphere of understanding, growth, maturity, and tolerance of others? And when the OCC states, "the healing efforts that must begin so that we may move forward as Indigenous peoples," there must be little confusion about who the "we" are. Does it mean that everyone should come together for healing? One would hope so. It's long overdue.

There is a great deal of common ground; more than many would hope for or imagine, especially in today's tumultuous world. The U.S. sends billions of hard-earned tax dollars to countries that barely pay lip service to their American benefactors. How wonderful it would be if just one of those billions was spent right here at home on a campaign to up-grade every Native American school in need. Bring, for instance, Pine Ridge education to the highest possible standards and provide qualified teachers with the most modern and best educational tools available. Spend the money on those who deserve it. Pay attention to the need of the First Americans.

The ground near Jumping Bull is sacred for others as well, the family, friends, associates and supporters of two young federal agents who died a vicious death in the line of duty.

It is important to step back from the abyss of LPDC-style political rhetoric and hatred and find a genuinely effective mechanism for change, by reaching out to everyone to honor the deceased and look toward the future with understanding and true healing.

Ed Woods

STANDING DEER, Mumia & Peltier: A Review of Standing Deer's Claims - August 20, 2002

At certain periods in the ongoing saga of Leonard Peltier there have been memorable milestones: July 4, 1978, U.S. Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois, was one of those events: Peltier meets STANDING DEER for the first time and learns of a murder plot.

Background: The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) web site directs concerned readers to a statement and web site of STANDING DEER (true name, Robert Hugh Wilson). The site is sparse by most standards with links to political and anti-government statements and references to Peltier and others, but avoids explaining why this convicted felon served twenty-five years in high security "supermax" prisons. What STANDING DEER says though is compelling as he draws a much-needed reminder and parallel between Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal.

But more on that in a moment.

One avid Peltier supporter was not the least bit reticent to explain STANDING DEER'S background and also provide a reasonable basis for concluding that STANDING DEER can neither be trusted nor believed. Peter Matthiessen (In the Sprit of Crazy Horse, Penguin Books, 1991), as he consistently does, provides all the ammunition to disprove the claims he makes within his own text.

For the readers to recall, STANDING DEER, then known by his true name, Robert Hugh Wilson, was the one allegedly enlisted by prison authorities at Marion Penitentiary to murder Leonard Peltier.

STANDING DEER'S contribution to mankind was predictable, but in deference to him he was the product of abusive, controlling, and by his own admission, "crazy" parents who denied him his cultural heritage instead of nurturing it. So this young Indian with a penchant for reading, and with no doubt a potential for far greater things, became a career criminal who could neither cope on the outside or inside of prison walls. Although, STANDING DEER does stand heads above Peltier in the character department; at least STANDING DEER, unlike Peltier, is willing to admit his criminal misdeeds. But he did ultimately become a man who would make this incredible statement:

"I have killed men before and there is nothing in my personal code that prohibits killing."

So it is no small wonder that this unsuccessful multiple felon would eventually cross paths with Leonard Peltier.

It is with this backdrop that STANDING DEER, along with Peltier's greatest fan, Peter Matthiessen, wants people to believe that prison and federal authorities (strongly suggesting that the messenger was from the FBI) convinced STANDING DEER to agree to kill Leonard Peltier. They want us to believe that a career criminal whose voluminous prison file reflected that he had, "assaulted every officer who has ever attempted to apprehend him, and is considered to be the most dangerous individual apprehended in this [Chicago and northern Illinois] district;" was approached with such a scheme.

STANDING DEER'S motivation to cooperate was supposedly the granting of medical care and the dismissal of seven felonies stemming from a prison escape, bank robbery, auto theft, and the wounding of an Oklahoma City police officer.

And what proof does Matthiessen offer to bolster any of the claims from STANDING DEER? Typical of Matthiessen's style for failing to provide factual foundations, he provides this little gem:

"But treatment (of STANDING DEER) with drugs, hot packs, and liniment began that very afternoon, and on May 24, the Marion records control supervisor was notified by the Oklahoma County Sheriff that the state had removed detainers on Wilson (STANDING DEER) and that the warrants in his case (the seven felonies including the wounding of the Oklahoma City police officer) should be returned.(2)"

This statement would seem to prove STANDING DEER'S claim that an agreement to kill Peltier had indeed been struck. But what's most significant about this statement is not the claim itself, but the footnote. Footnote number #2 reads as follows:

"The records control supervisor was Bonnie Streed; the Oklahoma County sheriff was Lieutenant Larry Hayes."

So, instead of providing the reader of In The Spirit of Crazy Horse with some tangible proof or documentation that this event actually occurred, perhaps referencing or providing a copy of a relevant document, or at the very least, attributing the event to someone through believable quotes, instead simply tells us who two people were in these positions. Matthiessen provides us with information that was clearly a matter of public record and which lends no support or validity to either his reporting or STANDING DEER'S outrageous story.

But, lets assume for the moment that those serious Oklahoma charges were dismissed (and they were), Matthiessen, as he consistently does, provides the basis for invalidating his (and STANDING DEER'S) claims.

A more plausible explanation for the dismissal of the Oklahoma City charges was that STANDING DEER had just received "three life sentences for crimes he committed in (Houston) Texas." Facing that kind of sentence, why would Oklahoma City authorities want to waste taxpayers' money on trials that would probably result in either concurrent sentences or additional life sentences? A better explanation would be that there would have been nothing more at stake, for instance, if the death penalty applied, which would have made the effort to try him for these crimes more understandable. With three new life sentences now added to his resume, STANDING DEER would not be going anywhere or become a threat to the good citizens of Texas for quite some time.

STANDING DEER goes further and sweetens the alleged murder scheme story by adding a proverbial red herring to the plot. The mysterious blonde haired stranger also claimed to STANDING DEER that another Indian inmate would be watching him to make sure he followed through with the plan.

"He (the blond haired stranger) said the Indian I would meet in Lompoc (Penitentiary) enjoyed their complete trust, and he would also be watching me to be sure I performed."

If there were another allegedly trusted inmate, and if this story was anything but a fabrication, why would they even need STANDING DEER in the first place?

Matthiessen, as he repeatedly does, hints at his own lingering doubts about Peltier's innocence and the alleged plot to kill him. Instead of describing Peltier as an innocent man persecuted because of his penchant for fighting for his people, instead says "Whatever the degree of his guilt or innocence, Leonard Peltier had the "Crazy Horse spirit" and seemed to inspire it in other people, even a tough, sly convict such as Robert Hugh Wilson (Standing Deer)." It is worthy to note that even Matthiessen describes STANDING DEER as "sly." As even the easily swayed and influenced Matthiessen recognized, STANDING DEER was skillful at trickery and deceit and a crafty and wily convict.

Even the whiny and effeminate Robert Robideau had to chime in and comment on STANDING DEER'S veracity. Robideau was one of the three, along with Dino Butler and Peltier, who went down to the severely wounded and dying FBI agents that June day in 1975:

"He's kind of a loner," says Bob Robideau, who was in Leavenworth when Standing Deer turned up in early 1979. "He never associated with anybody much except his partner there, Steve Berry. Berry's a white man, big, over two hundred pounds, who broke him out of jail back in Oklahoma, but Standing Deer is the leader, you see that straight off..." "Later I thought it was kind of funny that he never told me about the plot, never even mentioned it, although Leonard must have told him I was okay; maybe he just didn't see where talking would help." (Emphasis added.)

Really, Bob? A career convict with such blockbuster information talking to one of three people in the entire world who was closest to the deaths of FBI Agents Coler and Williams and an integral part of the case involving Peltier, yet, STANDING DEER remains mute on the plot to murder his do-defendant and long-time friend. This silence casts a long dark shadow of credibility over STANDING DEER and his alleged plot; and even the likes of Bob Robideau recognized it.

And the saga continues:

"On December 21, Standing Deer was sent to Leavenworth, as promised. The journey aggravated his bad back, and on Christmas Day, following a dispute over his medication, he threatened one of his new guards. At a disciplinary hearing two days later-which he could not attend because a wheelchair was denied him---he was sentenced to solitary confinement in the Marion control Unit." (Emphasis added.)

So again, STANDING DEER and Peltier guru, Matthiessen, still want us to believe that the plot to kill Peltier continued after STANDING DEER does what he knows best, creating problems within the system, threatening another guard, and being sentenced to solitary confinement. STANDING DEER had an established record as a barely controllable inmate who created problems in every institution and probably had a reputation as a hard-nose who would not buckle under threats and certainly could not be trusted.

Closer to the truth is that no matter where in the penal system STANDING DEER was placed, each warden and staffer had to deal with him, so no amount of logic or even a modicum of common sense could validate STANDING DEER'S fable that he was allegedly approached with a scheme to murder Peltier. The scheme was his and his alone for whatever pedestrian motives he may have had at the moment. STANDING DEER, an inmate of almost notorious reputation was even prompted to ask himself what would ultimately be a self-serving, even silly, rhetorical question " could I know that they would keep their end of the bargain." His sentiments ring hollow, as does his credibility, and no amount of bolstering by Matthiessen makes it any more believable.

Now to return to the matter concerning STANDING DEER'S linking of Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier.

This is what STANDING DEER had to say:

"Mumia has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over 20 years for a crime that another man has confessed to! Please join us to demand justice for this freedom fighter!"

"For a crime that another man has confessed to!" Perhaps STANDING DEER should do just a little more research and soul-searching. If this weren't so pathetic of a claim, it would be almost laughable. The "man" STANDING DEER refers to is Arnold Beverly; and this is what Mumia's own attorney had to say about Mr. Beverly;

"I also wasn't about to embarrass myself by running with such a patently outrageous story on the most visible death-penalty case in the world." (Philadelphia Daily News, December 6, 2001.)

In May 2000 the LPDC and Peltier also joined ranks with the likes of Mumia, but for those who may not be familiar with Mumia Abu Jamal the following is offered as background:

During the early morning hours of December 9, 1981, Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was alone and arresting a motorist who then resisted. Mumia, as he is known today, shot Officer Faulkner in the back. Officer Faulkner, although wounded, was able to shoot Mumia in the chest. While on the ground, and still conscious, Mumia fired at point-blank range hitting Officer Faulkner in the face. He died instantly. Mumia, according to several witnesses who never left the scene, including the motorist himself, who happened to be Mumia's brother, testified that Mumia remained there also. Recovered next to Mumia was the murder weapon, a .38 caliber revolver, which was registered to him. According to the prosecutor the only thing they didn't have as evidence for the local (not Federal) prosecution, was a videotape of the murder. Mumia was convicted and sentenced to death and in some perverse way has also become a darling of some celebrities. In another ironic twist there have been claims that Officer Faulkner was killed by a mysterious stranger who fled the scene. Perhaps (with obvious sarcasm) this mysterious stranger is the same person, Mr. X, who Peltier claimed killed FBI Agents Coler and Williams.

If all this sounds painfully familiar, it should.

Now, thanks to the machinations of STANDING DEER, we can be grateful he reminds us that Mumia and Peltier share the very same close company as cold and remorseless killers. Whether Mumia is ever put to death is irrelevant, as long as he and Peltier remain incarcerated...

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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Peltier: An Appropriate Symbol? NPPA response to Indian Country Today

The Indian Country Today (ICT) editorial, "Leonard Peltier: man, soldier and symbol (complete text follows)," essentially offers Peltier as an icon of Native American struggles. But, any response to ICT must be tempered with a profound respect for those who died during one of the darkest periods in the long-troubled history of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There is a deep sense of compassion for all those who suffered and continue to suffer over those events.

There is little debate that ICT has been a meaningful voice and source of discussion on Native American issues. It has carried all-important messages faithfully to its readers who seek clarity and focus on the Native American experience.

But, ICT must also be true to its readers if it desires to maintain any sense of journalistic integrity along with it's goal of being the Nation's leading Native American news source, otherwise, it becomes not a newspaper to inform, but a newsletter to propagate one position. ICT must be faithful to the facts surrounding the deaths of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams and Native American, Joe Stuntz. If ICT is truly seeking to set the tone in the public discussion in this case, they must be open and willing to start from a common point; everyone must be on the same page in the Peltier debate.

ICT makes a few definitive statements, which need to be clarified and corrected:


Claiming, for instance, that an "FBI raid turned into a firefight" does absolutely no justice to the truth of what precipitated the shooting on June 26, 1975. Characterizing the event in those terms sadly reflects the type of distortion that Peltier and The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) has been hoping its followers would believe, and the unknowing public to accept. Aside from unproven rumors, there is not one scintilla of proof to support the idea that a raid of any sort precipitated the shootout. It was precisely the opposite. There were only two, young and relatively new FBI agents in separate vehicles, with no more than their government issued side arms (and a shotgun and rifle in one trunk), who believed they had the opportunity to arrest someone they had been seeking. It has been more than well established that the nearest help to the two agents was another agent and Bureau of Indian Affairs officer who were twelve miles away when the shooting began. Their arrival, perhaps too late (or perhaps not), was met with gunfire causing them to back off until others arrived. None of this, if ECT wants to be journalistically correct and true to its readers, constitutes a raid, or anything even close. The LPDC though, would like ICT and everyone else to believe otherwise.


ICT states: "To contend that Peltier is simply a murderer, or to further indict or criticize him with hearsay assertions, from interviews, taped or otherwise."

Without knowing precisely which assertions ICT refers to, the editors seem to misunderstand a simple premise; Peltier has said many things (written and taped) over the years directly relating to the events of that day at Pine Ridge and these statements have not been hearsay.

Perhaps there are several ways to interpret what ICT meant, but one of them cannot be that Leonard Peltier should not be held accountable for his public statements relating to the deaths of the agents. In a very real sense, since Peltier was wise by exercising his right and not taking the witness stand in his own defense, these post-incident statements have the weight of the testimony the jury never heard. He must remain responsible, and liable, for his own words; especially those within the public forum. This is one area where ICT and Peltier supporters have suffered from a collective amnesia. They want to forget that Peltier told us all who killed the agents. In at least one instance, thanks to the largesse of actor Robert Redford, Peltier can be both seen and heard verifying the story that Mr. X went down to the wounded agents, killed them, and drove off in the infamous red pickup truck. "This story is true," Peltier said, in the film Incident at Oglala, with all the sincerity the camera could capture. Watch also as Robert Robideau describes in androgynous tones while pointing a thin finger to the very spot where he too saw the person they all knew, kill the agents and drive off. Then too, one of the three most important people in this saga, Dino Butler, calls Peltier and Robideau liars for concocting this story. The chronology of Peltier's statements is clear, concise, unmistakable, and not hearsay.

Accompanying the ICT editorial is a political cartoon by Marty Two Bulls, which is at once both compelling and appropriate. Its import is clear, a question mark on the ground complimenting the puzzled or bewildered look on Peltier's face about the searing question; Who killed the agents? The portrayal of Peltier is accurate but not at all how he portrays himself in his own artwork, as a vanquished and imprisoned warrior. Perhaps the clownish look is more akin to panic and shock over what he had just done, but he is still appropriately gripping the weapon of choice, an AR-15; finger poised on the trigger. The problem with this cartoon is that the question mark should be replaced by an "X."

Editorial Concession

ICT states: "All involved did their duty that day--FBI agents, AIM activists, women and children..."

ICT forges new ground in the Peltier debate by making what amounts to the first public admission that justifies what happened that eventful day. ICT makes an editorial concession that the presence of the agents at Jumping Bull was justified--contrary to Peltier and all his supporters to date--and at the same time mitigating the actions of all others present. Does ICT understand that the agents were carrying out their lawful duties that day to apprehend a suspect? Perhaps. Among law-enforcement circles there is a certain understanding of the risks involved. Inherent in the job is the ever-present degree of danger. So too, even if Agents Coler and Williams were not expecting to be fired upon, they understood the risks, and reacted accordingly. What separates this incident from most other line-of-duty shootings is that after they were both severely wounded and unable to defend themselves; they were then brutally murdered.

Then also, according to ICT, Peltier, Joe Stuntz and his teenage brother-in-law, Norman Charles did their duty by first stopping and firing upon the agents who where following them. Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, and others from the AIM encampment also did their duty, as they joined in the shooting and pinned the agents down in an open area until they were wounded to the point where they could no longer defend themselves.

Add to this also that young Agent Williams did his duty, heroically, by taking off his shirt, waiving it in a thwarted attempt to capitulate, and then using it as a tourniquet on his partner's mangled arm.

And what was Joe Stuntz's duty that day? Stuntz shared in the initial shooting at the agents but what he also did was follow the older Indians. Perhaps, in his desire to get closer to his Indian heritage, Peltier may have appeared to Joe Stuntz as an appropriate role model. But in deference to Joe Stuntz's surviving family and friends, is it ICT's editorial contention that Joe Stuntz did his duty by dying from a law-enforcement bullet? That seems to be another terrible waste. Remember too, that as Joe Stuntz followed Peltier that day he also witnessed something beyond the realm of duty and obligation, beyond even common decency. He witnessed the looting of the dead agents' vehicles and possessions and maybe also saw first-hand the mangled and exploded faces of two young men not much older than himself. What then possessed him to don the dead agent's FBI jacket? Peltier? For Joe Stuntz, Peltier was the wrong role model at the wrong time. In a real sense, Joe Stuntz was another Peltier victim.

Symbol and Icon

ICT editors are staunch in their desire to maintain Peltier as the focal point of that troubled period and a symbol of the injustices of all time against American Indians. But in their search for a legitimate symbol they must not rely on such a divisive individual. Peltier is a continuing source of the conflict he created and a catalyst for division, not healing. ICT must be certain they have the right icon to fill that role and not rely on the folklore and myth that surrounds him. The Peltier saga serves no one in a search for common ground and understanding because there are many more appropriate and better deserving individuals who can, and should be, symbols of Native American struggles.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

Indian Country Today, August 2, 2002, Editorial Leonard Peltier: man, soldier and symbol

Some Native observers have lately jumped on the federal bandwagon to demean the condition of Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement (AIM) activist imprisoned for double life sentences in the killing of two FBI agents in South Dakota in 1975. Peltier was the only person convicted of the killings in what was from all accounts a horribly unfortunate incident that also caused the death of Joseph Stuntz, a Native man. The violent incident came in the midst of hundreds of acts of violence, a dozen or more murders of American Indians and major political mayhem on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the 1970s.

It is easy now to diminish the Peltier case. Perhaps it provides just the right positioning for any Native pundit seeking a trendy "devil's advocate" label. Or maybe it provides an easy way to ingratiate oneself with federal agencies. But it is not right. It is less fair at this time in history than even the trial that Peltier received in 1977. That prosecution process and trial was as blatant a railroad as has ever been produced by American law enforcement and allowed by the legal system. As a result, Peltier is going on some 26 years in federal prisons, with very long stretches in solitary confinement and harsh physical conditions that have impaired his health. At the mere possibility of a pardon or parole, FBI agents and their relatives march by the thousands to oppose it, so prediction is against the likelihood of the world's most famous American Indian prisoner ever going home to his family.

Peltier is hugely well-known -- at home, in Europe, Japan, Russia, Africa -- because his particular case illustrates well the issues surrounding the virtual state of war that existed between American Indian defenders supported by many Native and non-Native professional people, against some powerful institutions including several federal agencies. In general, this was an explosion by Indian communities and emerging professionals against deeply entrenched corruption and paternalism which continued to impose themselves on Indian life. It was a scream of pain and defiance and brought forth commitments from all kinds of people throughout the world -- not a few who have since gone on to help rebuild Indian country.

To contend that Peltier is simply a murderer, or to further indict or criticize him with hearsay assertions from interviews, taped or untaped, conveniently ignores the sordid history of FBI abuses at Pine Ridge. It was during that time that infamous raids were conducted against the homes of elderly Lakota and the homesteads of many traditional people whose only crime had been to hang on tenaciously to their language and spiritual culture and to seek a better way forward. Many traditional elders also supported the young men and women who had taken to the barricades against the many perceived injustices taking place in the 1970's.

While liberal romantics feasted for a decade on the heroics of AIM, particularly in its fight against the administration of Richard "Dickie" Wilson and the BIA at Pine Ridge, seasoned Indian observers are quick to point out the foibles and mishaps of AIM. Nevertheless, all agree that FBI agents on the reservation during those years behaved reprehensibly, seriously mistreating Indian people in their persecution of AIM leadership and its rank-and-file. The FBI directly backed the infamous "Goon Squads" that instigated and directed a lot of the violence. Not a few AIM people, of course, also instigated incidents of violence, but the federal agency was acting within the government's "Garden Plot" program, with a mandate that included illegal "dirty tricks" against so-called "subversive" social movements. AIM, with its penchant for brandishing weapons, soon qualified. To put down the "subversives," federal agencies supported and distributed weapons to semi-deputized groups of toughs. When push came to shove, in trial after trial, FBI heavy-handed tactics were exposed. The 1974 so-called "Wounded Knee leadership trial" of AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks, flagship of the government's prosecution, ended in dismissal of all charges, with the presiding judge scathingly tongue-lashing the FBI for manufacturing of witnesses, tampering with evidence and other misdeeds.

Leonard Peltier stepped into that time. Many who knew him then recall his quiet, serious demeanor and his willingness to work for elders. Like most leaders and participants in the American Indian Movement, he came from the hard-knocks school. He pledged as a soldier at a time when events were exploding. Indian country was under severe political and economic pressure and for many hope was but a fleeting idea.

The fateful events of June 25, 1975, at the Jumping Bull Homestead, when an FBI raid turned into a firefight and cost the lives of three men, disrupted the personal histories of many people. No one can but mourn for all the victims. All involved did their duty that day -- FBI agents, AIM activists, women and children who fled to safety through ravines and arroyo creeks, medical personnel. Two other AIM activists, Robert Robideau and Dino Butler, also brought to trial on the death of the two agents, were freed on grounds that they had acted in self-defense. A great deal of evidence seriously damaging to the prosecution in Peltier's case was suppressed out of hand. Incorrect ballistics tests, recanted testimony that originated under duress, an extremely hostile judge -- all coalesced to force the case on the shoulders of the last possible suspect, Leonard Peltier.

The case is complex, and many were the victims of the time and its circumstances. Three men are dead; one is encased by steel. Four families mourn. The hearts of people and peoples, and a piece of American justice, lie shattered on the ground. It is cruel form for those who now, 26 long years later, kick this one around and look for salt to be rubbed into Peltier's wounds. Despite the mode of deconstruction popular these days, most American Indian people have a clear memory of that time. It is that common memory about this particular case, at Pine Ridge and throughout, that sees Peltier as a symbol of the injustice of that time, and, of all times, against American Indians. In that context, Peltier represents a Native resistance to conquest, even to a recent era where repeated attempts at direct repression of American Indian sovereignty could easily spawn strident advocacy and resistance. Certainly he is all that. And like the two agents, Jack Coler and Ron Williams, like Joseph Stuntz, Peltier is also a victim. He too lost, big time, while so many others from different sides, equally involved in actions and tumults and violence from those days, walk in freedom today.

We wish the best of health and strength to Leonard Peltier, his family and relatives. We wish the best of spirit and health as well to the families of the lost agents, and to the relations of Joseph Stuntz. May healing forces and peaceful reconciliation, rather than obfuscation, hostility-making and hatred, prevail to set the tone in public discussion of this case.

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Jack Coler, 1947-1975: Comments on the LPDC's "Until Freedom is Won!" Campaign and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision, 12/12/02., January 5, 2003

January 5, 2003
On Birthdays Not Celebrated

On January 12, 2003, Jack Coler would have celebrated his fifty-sixth birthday.

Jack had two young sons at the time of his death. The youngest perhaps only remembers warm hugs and kisses, the oldest, still then just a toddler, may remember the first adult male he knew as his father. Had Jack not died a horrible and violent death, along with his partner Ron Williams, he may now be enjoying retirement, the benefits of a productive public service career, and his grandchildren. Peltier on the other hand is alive, and although confined, can still communicate and look forward to occasional visits from his own grandchildren. Jack Coler met his maker and made peace with his own short life. Peltier though still has time to contemplate his final judgment and ill deeds. He may have been successful convincing many here on Earth of his innocence, but the ultimate judgment will not rest with them.

Peltier knows who killed Jack Coler and Ron Williams and it certainly wasn't the Mr. X Peltier asserted for years, then reneging on that claim hoping that all would be forgotten. His supporters must suffer from collective amnesia. Exactly five people know who killed the agents that day. Two of course are dead, while the other two dodged a major legal bullet and headed for the hills and other scrapes with the law. Whether Peltier pulled the trigger himself three times is almost immaterial at this point. Whether each of them took one shot at the then dying men is also immaterial because Peltier was convicted for aiding and abetting in those murders; an important detail he conveniently ignores.

Peltier is there, in Leavenworth, Kansas, because he was there at Pine Ridge. He participated in the murders of two young agents and denied Jack Coler the opportunity of celebrating his future birthdays.

Recent renewed efforts by the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. The LPDC "Until Freedom is Won," and denial by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 12/12/02

The LPDC's new, "Until Freedom is Won" campaign has seemingly reinvigorated its core group with efforts to free Peltier, albeit with desperate and redundant legal maneuvering. Their new language is emboldened and more animated but still characteristic of their usual approach; never provide the full history of the Peltier case. Yet, one cannot help but admire their enthusiasm and continued dedication.

It was last year about this same time that LPDC official DEBRA PEEBLES contacted the NPPA. Her inquiry was sincere and in response to a NPPA statement. Ms. Peebles was provided with a response that pointed out a number of fallacies and misquotes in her message. She did not respond to challenges of her accuracy.

LPDC Statements, November 26, 2002:

"...At Leonard's 1976 trial, the FBI produced approximately 3,500 documents and indicated that these were all the documents that existed."

The assumption that during the discovery process of a criminal trial the government would contend that the documents turned over were all that existed is a patently silly assertion. That is not what trial discovery is about, it is about what the defense is legally entitled to. Even if it were arguable that certain non-discoverable material should have been turned over, they ignore the history of this case and that this same issue went through the district court, to the court of appeals, and back to the district court for a three-day evidentiary hearing in October 1984. The matter went again to the Court of Appeals and that court denied the motion, a decision authored by the Honorable Judge Gerald Heaney.

"The FBI, under the guise of "national security interests," purportedly withheld 6,000 documents, stating that that was the extent of the documents in the Peltier file."

The LPDC claims that Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIPA) documents are being withheld for "national security interests," yet all the references on the LPDC web site to "national security interests" are their own statements; including those by Peltier attorney, Jennifer Harbury. This is another one of those much-repeated Peltier myths perpetuated by those in command, while ignoring their own very public assertions and records.

Within the LPDC web site is a June 24, 1988 letter from the FBI's FOIPA Section to then Senator Robert Dole explaining why additional records were not being released. Nowhere in this letter are "national security interests" mentioned. If the LPDC has proof of this spurious claim, they should make it available.

This is similar to other efforts by the LPDC to change the record of events in the Peltier case.

"...the government will be forced to address the allegations, which involve outrageous and extreme behavior by current and former FBI agents."

(An obvious reference to the December 15, 2000 peaceful procession to the White House by hundreds of off-duty FBI agents and law-enforcement personnel.)

The LPDC effort to squelch obviously protected free speech from the other side is apparent. They would deny this to the opposition, yet at the same time publicly advertise a federal Judge who wrote to a U.S. Senator on behalf of Peltier.

"Long-time Peltier foe, US Attorney Lynn Crooks, came out of retirement to argue against Leonard."

As the LPDC is wont to do, they engage in mischaracterization. Retired AUSA Lynn Crooks is the most knowledgeable person on the Government's side, having been part of the original prosecution team and by responding to Peltier's numerous appeals and frivolous legal maneuverings.

If that is how the LPDC sees Mr. Crooks, then what of those long-time hangers-on in the Peltier camp? Bruce Ellison and Jennifer Harbury should then be classified as Peltier apologists.

The LPDC has been strangely silent on one aspect of this issue, or perhaps the Peltier camp thought they knew more than they let on. They did not mention one other person - who came out of retirement - to engage in the renewed Peltier legal battle, the Honorable Gerald Heaney.

"We are still awaiting decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals with respect to the appeal of Leonard's Motion to seek a reduction of sentence."

This issue, arguably more than any other, was the most tempting item on Peltier's legal plate.

Honorable Gerald W. Heaney, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

Circuit Court Judge Gerald Heaney is truly a member of America's Greatest Generation. At the outbreak of World War II, as a young lawyer, he could have avoided the heat of battle and probably used his legal talents in a safe stateside assignment. Instead, he sought a U.S. Army commission and became a young infantry officer participating in the D-Day invasion and several significant battles leading to the end of war in Europe. His courage can be neither denied nor ignored.

(This writer proudly shares a small part of Judge Heaney's background, having also graduated from the United States Army, Officer Candidate School, Ft. Benning, Georgia, although twenty-four years and several conflicts later.)

Judge Heaney is a jurist of impeccable reputation and experience. His character is irreproachable and unquestioned, and we know this because of a very specific example from the Peltier case.

By way of brief background

Judge Heaney was a member of the court during a 1984 appeal and wrote a subsequent 1986 opinion denying Peltier's appeal based on the application the federal Brady and Bagley legal tests. This decision was the result of Freedom of Information Act material provided to Peltier that became the basis for a three-day evidentiary hearing (on ballistics evidence) in the district court in October 1984.

Throughout this period Judge Heaney obviously held some very strong feelings concerning the historically unfair treatment of Native Americans in general, and the government's handling of the events leading up to the take over of Wounded Knee (February 1973) and the later subsequent killing of the two FBI Agents in June 1975.

His feelings about these issues and the history of Peltier and related cases moved him to write an impassioned letter in April 1999 to U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye during the term of then President George H.W. Bush - this presumably when Judge Heaney was either retired from the bench or in senior status. This letter, along with a subsequent one to Senator Inouye dated October 24, 2000 (in which he reaffirms his previous letter), during the final weeks of the Clinton administration, were written not as an ordinary citizen, but on United States Court of Appeals stationary, making them at once, personal and official correspondence.

Judge Heaney's first letter listed several mitigating reasons why he believed Peltier should be afforded some consideration of leniency: "At some point, a healing process must begin," he said.

Judge Heaney added, "My thoughts on these other aspects result from a very careful study of the records..." but throughout this letter Judge Heaney never suggested that Peltier was innocent. Quite the contrary, he had this to say on the issue of Peltier's guilt:

"Third, the record persuades me that more than one person was involved in the shooting of the FBI agents. Again, this fact is not a legal justification for Peltier's actions, but is a mitigating circumstance." (Emphasis added)

Judge Heaney himself would be needed to expound on this point, whether he considers the initial wounding of the agents as a factor or that three people (Peltier, Robideau and Butler) went down to the wounded agents, and one, or all three, murdered the agents at close range.

No doubt, as Judge Heaney has done throughout his judicial career, he will set aside personal feelings and make his decision based on the proper application of the law as he did in 1984 and 1986.

And apparently he did.

Denial by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

In a unanimous decision, on December 12, 2002, the Court of Appeals, of which Judge Heaney was a member of the panel, denied Peltier's recent motion to reduce his sentence. Peltier's attorney's arguments, as we have seen, were untimely at best and based on issues that had been previously argued and rejected by the courts, even to the extent that former AUSA Crooks quoted one of Judge Heaney's own decisions during the proceeding.

However, Peltier's attorney Eric Seitz of Honolulu angrily and publicly stated that this ruling was "a disgrace" and further proof that "nobody who seems to care about Leonard is in a position of responsibility or authority."

(But, Mr. Seitz, someone most certainly is.)

Seitz added that he was not "...particularly optimistic that any of the judges now sitting have any compassion or willingness to do the right thing here." "They're inclined to let him rot in prison."

Seitz's last comment was directed at the U.S. Supreme Court, but by implication both comments are leveled squarely at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Heaney. Seitz would do himself and Peltier a service to remember that Judge Heaney was one jurist - "in a position of responsibility and authority" - who came down squarely on the side of Peltier, the Native American. Judge Heaney, as well as the other judges, saw the frivolousness of Seitz' arguments and ruled against Peltier based on the law. Seitz can whine and complain and throw around typical Peltier camp rhetoric all he cares to, since he has foolishly ignored one man who has plenty of passion on this subject, Judge Heaney. But thankfully, although abundantly passionate on the plight of Native Americans, Judge Heaney is a jurist of the highest caliber and knows that Seitz's legal arguments were flawed.

Yet Seitz, and those among the reenergized Peltier campaign, would want the Court of Appeals "to do the right thing here" and yield to passion in the face of frivolous legal maneuvers.

  • Reenergized or not, the tune and tone of the "Until Justice is Won" campaign is still the same. Make as much noise as possible but stay away from the revealing legal history of the case.

There are other aspects of the new campaign that warrant attention also; the additional FOIPA documents that they will no doubt contrive and massage into further allegations of wrong-doing by the government and begin an untold number of further bad-faith motions, the unsound civil suit and its intent to squelch free speech, and erroneous claims of government obstruction in the service of subpoenas.

  • Even Peltier's most recent December 2002 statement incites improper motivations as he wrongly holds himself up as a role model. He speaks of the "political climate" as if that had any real bearing on his own criminal actions in 1975. Shooting at pinned-down agents is not a political action, nor is riddling their wounded bodies with close-range bullets, a political statement. It was murder pure and simple, and Peltier, in all his delusions from Leavenworth - in those darkest hours when he surely relives the events of June 26 - must understand this.

Here's a unique concept for the new Peltier campaign: Get him to finally tell the truth. Forget about the Mr. X lies, and truthfully fess up to how the agents received those final fatal shots to the face. Robideau and Butler are home free, double-jeopardy insolates their culpability. Everything else has failed thus far, so maybe it's time for Peltier to tell the truth and try for the sympathy vote, and then at least maybe some of those in the middle on this issue may have some compassion for him.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) is in shambles; Peltier alleges another government conspiracy. Tax-deductible charity?

Leonard Peltier's statement of February 28, 2003 begins by assuring us that it comes directly from him, pointing out that some say he was not the author of many public and web site statements in the past. That wasn't necessary. This statement is vintage Peltier; self-centered, arrogant and angry, coupled with the outrageous and unsupported claims we have come to expect.

The disruption within the ranks of Peltier's closest supporters was predictable because of his hubris and lack of leadership. Even within his own circle he still serves as a lightning rod for dissent. For all his finger pointing and name-calling, at least Peltier is honest concerning one core issue: it's all about the money.


The NPPA has offered Peltier advice in the past. None of which was heeded of course. But rather than airing his pettiness and dirty-laundry in public, wouldn't it have been wiser for Peltier to state something like:

Dear friends and supporters; The LPDC is in the process of a re-organization. For many years, loyal and hard-working people have given unselfishly of their time and talents, quite often to the exclusion of their own personal needs. But some became discouraged or disheartened that the fruits of their labors have not been completely successful and have decided to return to their families and careers; to them I say thank you for your loyalty and support and I wish you all the best. And to my new inner-circle, thank you also for stepping into this temporary void. I know with your support the LPDC will achieve its goals for all indigenous Peoples. "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse." Leonard

This would have been a gracious statement, but expressing gratitude is not one of Peltier's strongest traits. He demonstrated this during the final push to convince former President Clinton to grant him clemency. While all those around him were working feverishly, he called the President a sleazebag.

Peltier's message is about him and his attitude of do it my way or else. His leadership traits are minimal because he has yet to learn that leading a band of teenage Indians on a Reservation is one thing, but convincing adults to give of their time for a losing cause is something yet again.


Central to this dilemma is an erosion of the Peltier myth. The fabric of the folklore is shredding and cannot withstand too much scrutiny. Perhaps those dealing with Peltier on a regular basis began seeing the cracks in his somewhat thin public veneer. During his pre-prison days Peltier had a reputation as a bully. He apparently hasn't learned that you cannot browbeat people into wanting to sacrifice for him, they need to be led; otherwise they'll walk away. As his own words provide, the staff and Board of Directors placed him on the proverbial pay-me-no-mind list; perhaps they, through exposure and experience, have recognized something Peltier has yet to see for himself. Maybe the result of twenty-seven years behind bars has had an effect on his stability.


How does Peltier explain this apparent disloyalty?

Peltier bellows from Kansas, "...I do not have to take that from my own people," They work "banker's hours." "Or was it just a few people who did not want to lose control of what was a good thing and were afraid of going out in the world and having to provide for themselves?" as if he is now a free market entity providing careers and benefits for his employees. How dare they question his authority? After all, he's Leonard Peltier, the myth, alive and well in Leavenworth.

But he does have an answer.

It couldn't possibly be that his own people have seen through him or that his antagonism isn't a panacea for leadership. It must be the government. Yes, that's it, and in an almost delusional, even comic way, he suggests, "Perhaps this is the work of cointelpro, or at least a cousin to this program."

Perhaps Leonard hasn't been paying close enough attention to his current status. As recent as December 12, 2002, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, very quickly handed down a unanimous decision denying Peltier's latest appeal. One of Peltier's adherents, the Honorable Gerald Heaney was a member of this panel.

The courts have spoken, Peltier isn't leaving Leavenworth, and the government, at this juncture, could care less about his ranting. Peltier no doubt will try for additional sympathy over the Freedom of Information Act releases, but these too will be disingenuous.

Peltier now displays just how callous he is by classifying those no longer in his favor as a "group of freaks". This is shamelessly unkind, because in the same breath he places his own children within that group.


Peltier claims he is not ignorant about the Internet and knows the value of his web site. He goes on to threaten his former web master, Dawn Hill, for not giving him what he demands, the rights to his former But a simple check of registration shows that Dawn DeVere-Hill, of Maryland, owns it. Not Peltier, not the LPDC, nor "the son of a brother, Bobby Castillo."

Peltier also believes that his site has attracted, "...a minimum of 400,000 hits a month." That's too much of a stretch even for Leonard Peltier; more folklore for the masses. If Peltier wants to be believed, he must have better information. Not even well-liked celebrities or government agencies get that kind of traffic. But at last count, the NPPA web site has had as many hits, perhaps even more now, than Peltier's, and has been operating for less time. (Although, the NPPA's third anniversary is rapidly approaching.)


Hopefully those who believe in Peltier's cause are paying close attention to what he is now saying. Peltier has revealed much about who he really is; he's the same person who violently reacted in total self-interest on June 26, 1975.

Peltier tells everyone his network is broke, yet there was a time when he boasted of having thousands of dollars while pleading for more.

But what is his real belief about any money he may bring in? He wants his loyal supporters to be impressed with this little revelation into his own self-preserving motives; "...even devoting royalties I had recently received from Prison Writings."

How generous he is. Supporters should ask him then, "Where else should that money have gone?" All these people are working hard for his release from prison and he throws this in their face. That's how he views those around him, with contempt; they serve his purpose when, and only when, they follow his rules. This message is all about Peltier, his constant theme of me, mine, I, and then throwing in, almost as an afterthought, oh yes, indigenous people also.

To make matters worse, Peltier supporters may have been misled, or even deliberately duped into believing that their donations are tax-deductible. Peltier makes claims to certain status that, according to long established regulations, he is not entitled to, and funnels incoming money through a third party organization. Does he make a public accounting of those funds, as the law requires? Peltier supporters are entitled to know where this money has gone over the years. Claims that these monies have gone to charitable efforts may be spurious and undocumented. The Peltier "Trust" is a thing of the past. The LPDC, Inc., a Kansas corporation created on 8/23/01, is a not-for-profit corporation, like for instance, Procter and Gamble, General Electric, and the Ford Motor Company. It is not a NON-PROFIT corporation because that would be illegal. Peltier supporters should ask the hard questions about how their "tax-deductible" donations are spent. They have a right to know where all that money has gone, and Peltier has an obligation to tell them. Peltier's finances should be published on his website. This will be watched closely in the future.

Other inmates at Leavenworth and elsewhere must be envious of Peltier's ability to manipulate those caught up in his celebrity. But that wave may have crested. Money raised in Peltier's name, which may have benefited those in need at Pine Ridge is a good thing, money claimed for charitable purposes that are for the sole purpose of getting him out of jail, is something else again.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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Reply to Bob Free, Chairperson LPDC: Clemency the linchpin? Reign of Terror & "Transparent" finances

(It certainly is not necessary to respond to every utterance from Leonard Peltier or the LPDC, but in instances such as Bob Free's February 27, 2003 statement, where he offers statements that cannot be substantiated, a reply is in order.)

Bob Free stated:

"Many believe Leonard Peltier was the trade off not to pursue President Clinton's possible criminal indictments."


It would be valuable for Mr. Free to identify the "Many" he refers to, because that would place this claim in its proper context. Whoever they may be, it's apparent that none of the "Many" paid the slightest attention to the eight years of the Clinton presidency or Bill Clinton himself.

It was no secret that Peltier supporters from all venues applied every amount of pressure they could to win Peltier clemency. They reached very high indeed, right into the Oval Office. It is known, first-hand, that at one of the White House Christmas gatherings several attendees were wearing Free-Peltier buttons. A bit tacky for such auspicious surroundings, but that was their choice. LPDC efforts were strong, continuous, and effective, because this was the last vestige of hope for Peltier. Based on President Clinton's track record in a number of personal and social areas, they had a very real chance of success. It is a certainty that Peltier was on the short list.

Leonard Peltier's recent interview with Daniel Yang provides some additional details as Peltier states;

"And it was a week after the denial, I think maybe, about a week after the denial, Clinton was quoted in The New York Times saying that David Geffen wouldn't speak to him no more because he refers to, he didn't grant Leonard Peltier. "I didn't grant Leonard Peltier clemency." So there was a lot of political maneuvering going on, power pulls, power structure and everything like that."

But the proper context of the post-clemency issue was:

"Clinton pleads bewilderment over it all. If he were trading pardons for money, he asks his friends, wouldn't he have helped out his DreamWorks buddies, who were pleading on behalf of jailed Native American activist Leonard Peltier? "David Geffen will barely talk to me!" he says." (CNN; Inside Politics, February 19, 2001.)

The "Many," Bob Free refers to did not pay close attention to the rift between FBI Director, Louis Freeh, and the Attorney General, Janet Reno, the Department of Justice, and the White House. Remember, President Clinton appointed Louis Freeh, making the Clinton Administration possibly believe that the Director, and the FBI, would do their bidding; Director Freeh's outstanding character and reputation notwithstanding. It didn't work out that way and the "Many" should remember the conflicts that arose as the FBI Director challenged the White House, the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Reno on a number of issues, even appearing before Senate committees to argue his case before the public. It was abundantly clear from numerous press reports that President Clinton did not like Louis Freeh, nor the FBI, because of investigations into possible wrongdoings.

Most citizens, whether they liked the President or not, recognized that Bill Clinton was not one to be pushed around and that he had no problems making decisions, whether popular or not, to satisfy his own interests and the current polls. Bill Clinton was smart, tough and not afraid of anyone.

As the eleventh hour of his Presidency neared, when the prize of absolute pardons and grants of clemency loomed, there would have been nothing to prevent President Clinton from getting back at the problems he faced with Director Freeh and the FBI than to give them one final and permanent slap-in-the-face; to hurt the Bureau and every current and former FBI agent and employee, by freeing Peltier. It would have been, as we all have seen, as easy as the stroke of a pen, an action that would have been permanent and irrevocable through the power of the Presidency.

Do the "Many" remember all the outrage over the Mark Rich pardon? Peltier would have been a no-brainer for a man who seemed to relish confrontation.

But he didn't free Peltier. Why?

The LPDC's Bob Free, and Peltier, suggests he was intimidated.

The December 15, 2000 dignified procession by hundreds of off-duty FBI agents, certainly brought the Peltier issue to the public's attention. And one would have to assume the President couldn't help but notice there were a number of people in front of the White House that day. But that would have only emboldened President Clinton, he could have easily said, "I'll show them who's boss."

But he didn't, because as we all know, or at least there are a few people who know for certain, that he did take a long hard look at the circumstances surrounding the murders of Agent's Coler and Williams, the legal history of the case, and definitely Peltier himself, and chose not to go that route. Peltier wasn't worthy of the ultimate gift.

Was it for fear of not facing any heat over this particular pardon? Not likely. Certainly, because of all the factors in the Mark Rich case, Clinton being a lawyer himself and obviously knowing what was at stake, he would have known in advance the level of outrage that particular pardon would generate--and it did. But that too passed, as would have any heat from granting Peltier clemency.

Many of the pardons and grants of clemency were viewed with outrage and even congressional hearings looked for any evidence of a quid-quo-pro. Forget not also, that a number of the Hollywood crowd, David Geffen being close to the top of the list, were also outspoken Peltier supporters. At a minimum, granting Peltier clemency would have guaranteed the President invitations to some swinging Hollywood parties. It would have been an easy deal, and except for law-enforcement circles, completely forgotten by week's end.

To believe, as Bob Free suggests, that Peltier, of all people, would have been the hidden deal-breaker is absurd. With all the investigations, special prosecutors, enemies the President had all over the place, the millions of taxpayer dollars spent looking into Whitewater, Travelgate, etc., had there been any evidence to support a criminal indictment--it would have materialized. Bob Free and the "Many" have to understand that Peltier was not a major chip in the endgame of the Clinton administration, because, if they don't, they're ignoring an awful lot of documented history from those eight years. Peltier was barely a footnote compared to everything else that was going on at that time.



As a follow-up to Leonard's vicious attack on his previous staff and board members, Bob Free added the following:

"Eventually a new wave of youthful supporters joined, some violated fundamental protocols of respect and gratitude due to deserving supporters."

The problem with that statement is that without some qualification it makes no sense at all. It's apparently a further slight to those who preceded Bob Free at the LPDC, but exactly what were these "protocols" he mentions? Respect to whom, and gratitude, again, to whom? Peltier? Based on Leonard's last message there was little respect or gratitude on either side.

But Bob Free's statement is much too broad and enticing to be left without further explanation. Perhaps he should weigh statements like this a little more carefully in the future.


Bob Free doesn't use the most recognized term to describe the worst period on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Anyone with any compassion and understanding would agree that conditions during this period were frightening and deplorable for those innocent residents. Paul Berg, a Peltier spokesman, knows this first hand.

But Bob Free does use the statistic that has been proven to be erroneous. The LPDC has used several numbers, Bob uses "70 unsolved deaths," and this is wrong.

But perhaps the final chapter on that period has yet to be written. There is no statue of limitations on murder.

There are no doubts that a number of people in the Pine Ridge area are running scared, believing that their day of reckoning may yet be coming for some of those crimes. The federal grand jury sitting in Sioux Falls, SD will hopefully, this time, hear sufficient evidence and testimony, return indictments, and bring to justice those responsible for the death of Native American activist, Anna Mae Aquash, and others. Time will tell.


The NPPA has previously suggested that Peltier's fundraising raises some serious moral, ethical and legal questions and proposed that any money issues be published on Peltier's web site.

The fact that Bob Free states, "Transparency regarding accounting and decisions will be posted on the web," suggests that perhaps more than just the NPPA had been asking the same questions about how the money is raised and spent.

It will be interesting to see exactly how "Transparent" Peltier's financial disclosure will be. We will anxiously await that information, but odds are, it won't be forthcoming.

BUT ALL THIS PETTY BICKERING takes us further away from the real issue here, not Peltier's freedom, but his guilt. On the matter of the recently released Freedom of Information (FOIPA) material, does Peltier really believe he is going to find some incredibly exculpatory evidence? From the confines of Leavenworth has he deluded himself into believing that those FOIPA documents will reveal a confession by the real killer, Mr. X.? But that, of course, could not be true because Peltier told all his loyal supporters that he had lied to them about Mr. X.

There is however a Mr. X in Kansas--his name is Leonard Peltier.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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NPPA 3rd Anniversary: LPDC woes continue: Kathy McCarthy, Bob Free

On April 6, 2003, LPDC board member, Kathy McCARTHY, provided her own signature to a public statement. For several years the LPDC has made its anti-government, anti-FBI statements as if emanating from some amorphous entity in Lawrence, Kansas. Ms. McCARTHY's conclusions are wrong but she is lauded for her willingness to personally stand by her public statements, even as she provides yet another example of why and how the LPDC insults and ignores Leonard Peltier. The LPDC is also losing perhaps one of its most promising new leaders, ROBERT FREE. His organizational skills and experience would serve the LPDC well; he's been in the fight for a very long time. Bob's tenure at the helm of the LPDC was short-lived and provides another instance of Peltier's inability to manage his failing regime. This suggests that Bob Free's goal of a "transparent" process, especially in the financial area, was more than Peltier's inner circle could tolerate.

As a postscript to this sordid soap opera, Ms. McCARTHY has publicly called Bob Free a liar and worse. In a recent communiqué from the LPDC she vilifies Bob Free claiming that he was actually fired by Leonard personally and backdated his website posted resignation which was only a "cruel retaliation to Leonard's directive." According to Ms. McCARTHY, Free is in "…persistent violation of the Board Bylaws and Leonard's personal directives…"

Of course Bob Free fired back claiming "libelous accusations" emanating from a lone board member since all others have resigned and that Ms. McCARTHY is the one who is deceitful about Free's departure. Her qualifications too are called into question as suspect and that she has been discredited among the Native communities.

So who is telling the truth? Historically the LPDC has had no problem promoting skewed self-interest and avoiding truthful statements, so here it is difficult to tell. But it really doesn't matter; there is no difference and remains pitifully reminiscent of poet Hilda Doolittle's famous quote.

But one genuine truth did spring from this heated exchange:

"It is very troubling that she (Ms. McCARTHY) is suggesting that Leonard himself is directing a Non Profit organization while still incarcerated. This is potentially a legal problem for Leonard and the LPDC."

It certainly is…more on that later.

"…twist words, tell lies…"

Ms. McCARTHY states:

"…the NPPA and Ed Woods epitomize the Federal Bureau of Investigation's signature ability to twist words, tell lies, and promulgate misinformation with the idea that, if it is repeated enough, people will accept it as truth. Of course, as we are led to believe as well, the NPPA site claims no affiliation with the FBI whatsoever."

Ms. McCARTHY keys in on a crucial concept, and the very reason why the NPPA was created. For many years the LPDC's version of what happened at Pine Ridge and with Peltier's case was the only version available. Once on the Internet, many other sites began to mimic the same information without any challenge to its veracity. Peltier, and the LPDC, helped along by Peter Matthiessen and Robert Redford, created the foundations of the growing Peltier myth and folklore.

In the public forum they offered convoluted arguments, out-of-context statements, and obvious fabrications, not the least of which related to: What the Peltier prosecutor allegedly said, the Old Cowboy Boots story, Indian murders never investigated, the Myrtle Poor Bear affidavits and an outright falsehood, the alleged "crossfire" situation. This was so egregious that the LPDC (when challenged) actually changed their version of the facts hoping no one would notice. It was noticed.

So, In the "…signature ability to twist words, tell lies, and promulgate misinformation with the idea that, if it is repeated enough, people will accept it as truth…" department, the LPDC is an expert.

Still, the offer remains; we can agree to disagree, but we cannot dispute the inconsistencies and outright false statements made by the LPDC and Peltier. That's the purpose here, not to re-try the case; the record speaks for itself-it's all available on the NPPA site--not like the isolated excerpts offered by the LPDC. If something is not correct, challenge it.

ON THE SECOND POINT Ms. McCARTHY is wrong, but explaining it again would only fall on deaf ears. Ms. McCARTHY and the others choose only to believe what they want to, the facts of the matter notwithstanding. There were no secrets from the beginning; this was all spelled out from the day the NPPA web site was launched. Honoring the sacrifice of two young FBI agents, while Peltier sullied their memory, was but one purpose, how and why it was created was obvious, and only personal time and money went into the creation of the No Parole Peltier Association.

"…harassing Leonard Peltier…"

Ms. McCARTHY also said:

"Were you also aware that Mr. Woods engages in personally harassing Leonard Peltier by mailing NPPA articles to the U.S. Penintentiary (sic) at Leavenworth? However, he does this under the guise of communications from the LPDC. He kindly omits his own return address in yet another signature FBI tactic."

Harassment? First, let's not forget that Peltier has placed himself, his case, and his cause, in front of everyone, garnering money and support wherever he can. No one can dispute that he is a public figure, whether famous or infamous. That status subjects him to additional attention and scrutiny.

With this comment Ms. McCARTHY segue's a simple act into yet another grand scheme and conspiracy to keep Peltier behind bars and at the same time bolster's Peltier's personal complaints that his own organization seems not to pay him much heed.

It would not be overreaching to suggest that Ms. McCARTHY is actually calling Leonard Peltier stupid.

The purpose of using the LPDC return address was to simply ensure that if Peltier did not receive the messages, then the LPDC would. There are ample statements from Peltier indicating that the LPDC has kept him in the dark on many issues and ignored his requests on many others-hence, it is important to keep Peltier up-to-date on all recent developments, good and bad alike. Shouldn't we assume then that Leonard is smart enough to recognize a postmark that is not from Lawrence, Kansas? No mystery there.

The NPPA has listed its mailing address on the web site home page since its inception. So, to avoid any suggestion of another grand conspiracy or silly accusations of harassment, the NPPA return address will be listed on all Leavenworth-directed mail. At least this way Leonard can make an intelligent choice to be informed and the LPDC won't be able to "filter" (Bob Free's word) important things from him in the future.

But a better example of harassment would be:

Intimidating and harassing calls to the NPPA webmaster, hate mail and email-sometimes threatening in nature, numerous late night complaint calls to the former FBI employer, efforts to create problems with the NPPA internet service provider, letters of complaint to the former FBI Director and the Attorney General, a federal civil rights lawsuit, etc., etc., all designed for one purpose, to shut-down or shut-up, the NPPA.

Opposition to Peltier is not tolerated by his supporters, and according to the ongoing derision within the Native American "journalistic" community, Fair Play is only in the eye of the beholder.

But this was all tolerable harassment because it demonstrated that the NPPA's message-focusing on Peltier's and the LPDC's erroneous public statements-was having an effect.

Obviously, something is terribly wrong within the Peltier camp; the infighting and power plays, lack of direction, and Peltier's frustration with not being obeyed by his minions, may all be systemic, but the real problem is one of timing. Peltier's time has come and gone. The campaign has already peaked, probably during the mid 1980's, and those days are over. People who cared to take a careful look at the history of this case are now realizing that Peltier is a divisive issue who contributes nothing to the much-needed healing and understanding necessary for correcting the wrongs of the past. Among most Native American communities, Peltier is a non-issue.

April 30, 2003

On its 3RD Anniversary has the NPPA been successful?

Peltier is still in Leavenworth and his prospects of leaving any time soon are slim.

The NPPA has removed much of the luster from the Peltier myth and folklore.

In that regard the NPPA has been largely successful.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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Peltier Gets It Right

Leonard Peltier recently made what could be considered his most relevant statement to date about his own case.

Peltier responded with a public statement concerning the arrest of John Boy Graham in Canada. Graham, aka John Patton, is a suspect, along with Arlo Looking Cloud, in the 1975 kidnap and murder of Native American activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash near Wamblee, SD. Looking Cloud will stand trial in February in Rapid City while Graham will no doubt undergo a lengthy extradition process from Canada. Enter Peltier...

Peltier begins with a series of analogies concerning alleged government misinformation which may explain, to some outsiders, why there has been so much infighting and derision within the Peltier camp; everything must be the government's fault and certainly no responsibility of his or his own people who cannot stay on board for any length of time. It's no mystery why the myth of Leonard Peltier has lost its luster.

The Peltier case: It is understandable - through differing perceptions - to recognize how reasonable people can draw such diametrically opposed conclusions from the same basic facts. The reality is, of course, that only some of the facts are agreed upon. So much is disputed and believed to be the absolute truth by some, while others believe just the opposite. This disparity results from a number of factors because each side is entitled to its self-serving narrative so long as it recognizes that the other may interpret the facts somewhat differently. Sometimes the dispute is about definition of terms rather than interpretation of facts; and this transpires as social and historical memories harden, eventually replacing some of the facts. As it has been said, there are facts and there are true facts, but even more so - everyone, including Peltier and his supporters are entitled to their own opinion; they are not entitled to their own facts.

Peltier provides his take on Anna Mae's death with this:

"Anna Mae was a victim of the oppressor - any person who had part in her death likewise, in some form is and always will be a victim; for what person can ever feel good about the death of a beautiful young Indian woman, mother and activist for her people?"

The problem with this assessment is that it makes little sense, except, predictably, for Peltier to refer to Anna Mae's killer - as a victim. He seems to suggest that Anna Mae, and those responsible for her death, were all victims of the oppressor, the government, who placed them in such dire straights to begin with. This also implies that the perpetrators the government has charged are the correct ones, namely Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham. But perhaps Peltier knows more than he's willing to admit at the moment. He believes Graham and Looking Cloud will not get a fair trial, but we should wait and see exactly what the government's evidence is against these two, and whether, or whom else, may be implicated. Peltier is trying desperately to distance himself from the event, but time will tell...

Perhaps during a momentary lapse about his own background, or a message for those involved in Anna Mae's death, peltier sums it all up with his most meaningful and truthful statement since June 26, 1975:

"Those responsible for her death, whether they pulled the trigger or not, must surely suffer strongly from their own fears as to want someone as her no longer among the living."

This bears repeating: "Whether they pulled the trigger or not."

For too many years Peltier and the LPDC even denied that "aiding and abetting" was part of the initial charge and indictment against him, but he finally admitted it in his own book. In "Prison Writings," he described this legal theory as,"not for some vague crime of "aiding and abetting."" Could this have been a flashback of sorts to his own actions and the events at Jumping Bull? We don't know. But now perhaps he finally understands the concept; like those who murdered Anna Mae, or his own participation in the deaths of Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, "whether (he) pulled the trigger or not," Peltier is still just as guilty. It's interesting to see that Peltier finally gets it right.

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Leonard Pelter...Nobel Laureate?
February 15, 2004

Apparently, there are efforts to re-nominate Leonard Peltier for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize; but one question remains, was Peltier ever actually "nominated" for the NPP previously, and if he was, does it really matter?

There were reports, dating back as early as 1994 that Peltier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, even making it into some print media including the scathing rebuke of Peltier's credibility in Outreach Magazine (July 1995). But little else is known about the specifics except for the repeated claim by Peltier and his supporters. They never chose to identify the nominator.

Not to minimize the significance of the Nobel Prize itself, its history is rich in recognizing the world's best and brightest in several areas of human endeavor, but the nominating process is embarrassingly flawed. As it turns out, just about anyone can nominate just about anyone. There is a long, albeit not very discriminating list, of those who can submit names to the Nobel committee; the theory perhaps being that the committee did not want to limit its choices, allowing it to receive potential recipients from the widest possible field of candidates. But, along with this broad nominating process is their self-imposed requirement that the nominations are sealed for fifty (50) years. That's good and bad; good for the committee that it doesn't have to waste time divulging names or being distracted from their ultimate goal of weeding out the most deserving; bad for Peltier detractors because it will take another forty years to find out if someone really did nominate him.

However, the real problem is that a nomination is not nearly the same thing as winning a Nobel Prize, or being chosen as a finalist, or even having a nomination taken seriously by the committee. A nomination seems to take on a life of its own - well beyond the proportions of the process and can be misconstrued to have more significance than it really has, or for that matter, any significance at all.

But how important is this to Peltier? It was very important to Peltier supporters and the LPDC who mentioned it at every possible opportunity and also to Peltier's attorneys. In their 1995 petition to the court of appeals they stated:

"The Commission makes no mention of the excellent record maintained by petitioner for the past twenty years, or his major contributions in the field of human rights for which he has won numerous awards, and honors, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for the artistic skills he has developed that have made him an internationally known artistic painter." (Emphasis added)

(As an aside, Peltier's attorneys, Carl S. Nadler, Lawrence W. Shilling, and the notoriously infamous Ramsey Clark engage in classic lawyer-speak. "...for the artistic skills he has internationally known artistic painter?" Were they not individually or collectively aware that the Nobel Prize is awarded solely for accomplishments in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economics? Or did they know that artistic painters, no matter how accomplished, are not awarded the Nobel Prize for peace or any other discipline. They probably did, but continued to foster the Peltier ruse of innocence by providing the court with a poorly worded and misleading statement. As to the merits of the legal arguments, the court has already spoken: Denied.)

However, whether Peltier's contributions were major, numerous or actual honors is arguable, but the Nobel reference is undisguised and transparent for its intended effect; to elevate Peltier far beyond what he deserves.

In order to attempt to substantiate the claim, the No Parole Peltier Association wrote a number of letters to likely individuals who would have been in a position to nominate Peltier, one of the most obvious being Nobel Laureate and Peltier supporter Rigoberto Menchu Tum. The NPPA letters were cordial and simply asked if that person nominated Peltier; the premise being that someone who felt that strongly about Peltier, and would have the ability to honor him in such a way, would no doubt be willing to admit it. Apparently the wrong list of possible nominators was chosen. No one replied.

The most recent nomination efforts come from a related European entity, the International Forum of VIPs for Leonard Peltier (IPF) under the direction of KOLA (the Lakota word for friend), a self-described grass-roots South Dakota human rights group which is "a completely independent, non-lucrative organization without political, religious or any other 'color.'" An admirable goal to be sure, but it may be non-political with the necessary caveat that excludes discussion about Peltier.

Recently the Belgium IPF contingent solicited its membership to frantically meet the February 1, 2004 deadline to find someone to nominate Peltier for the peace prize. This is puzzling because one of the individuals involved here is a long-time Peltier supporter, an honorable person who believes strongly in Peltier and has done more to promote his situation than most. Then, why couldn't they have just re-contacted the original nominator and asked him/her to either re-nominate Peltier or help them find someone else who could? Or did they forget about the previous time? The fact that they didn't reach out for this person, as evident by the text of the communication, only lends more credence to the possibility that the original nomination was just another facet of Peltier folklore. But, if the IPF's purpose was as altruistic as their mission statement, nothing more would need be said. Instead, their effort is shameless on several levels. Their goal, which is apparently not to determine whether Leonard Peltier is a legitimate candidate for such recognition, is really to pursue a broader agenda which at its core has an anti-American bias. What they cared to do was:

"...hopefully take a shot at thoroughly embarrassing the US Justice system's prejudice against North American Indians..."

Continuing the effort to remind everyone of the shameful treatment of First Americans, as it is equally important to continuously remind the world about the holocaust, is admirable and must be pursued, but their motives are twisted; not to remind everyone of an important issue, but to embarrass; not to educate, but humiliate; not to inform, but politicize; in a word, to propagandize. Their effort then takes on a clearer purpose, a translucent agenda to further attack the U.S. from abroad. The IPF's efforts further the en vogue attitude of America-bashing by utilizing Peltier. If these people are so interested in American history then we should tritely remind them of the obvious - the thousands of American servicemen who died to liberate Europe which now avails them of the freedoms they so easily and ungratefully abuse.

But what of Peltier himself? What of Peltier the individual? He's nowhere to be seen. Peltier has become, as has been witnessed more often recently, only a tool of those who deign to the plight of Native Americans while continuing their efforts to foster anti-Americanism. Peltier is being repeatedly used, and may not even be aware of it. He has become a pawn in too many circles.

The IPF evidentially did have some success before the deadline by finding three individuals, two from Europe and one from Texas who were willing to submit a nomination to the committee. Commenting recently on the 2004 nominations, Nobel Committee secretary Geir Lundestad stated that, "thousands of people, including members of any national legislature or government and many university professors have nomination rights, so being proposed for the prize is no distinction in itself." He added that it is "easy to get nominated for the prize, but very hard to win," and "There is a common misunderstanding. The fact that someone is nominated is in no way a form of endorsement from the committee." Mr. Lundestad's comments further sustain the notion that anyone can nominate just about anyone else.

At this juncture Peltier could be simply asked, who nominated you the first time? There would be nothing to hide; the nominator - unless he or she has fallen out of favor with the Peltier camp - would probably be proud enough to reaffirm their previous commitment.

But then, does it really matter? The answer is no. Being nominated for a Nobel Prize has no legitimate significance, a fact even recognized by the Nobel committee itself by deliberately burying those nominations for five decades. Only the public and media hype makes this more important than it need be.

This discussion of Peltier and the Nobel Prize may appear mean-spirited but is tempered with genuine concern for those involved. This writer's former professional connection to the fallen agents is undeniable and the fact that his great-grandfather was a full-blood only adds to the concerns for those innocents who suffered, and continue to suffer on substandard reservations. Having those connections does not bestow this writer with any special rights in the Peltier debate, but does strengthen the sensitivity attached to this very important issue.

However, the problem still lies with the idea that Peltier is not the right symbol to either seek long-term reconciliation and healing, or true reparations. Peltier is a lightning rod for confrontation and dissent, not a catalyst for positive change.

Notwithstanding the Nobel issue, the Peltier debate will continue as long as Peltier continues to denigrate the memory of the murdered FBI agents by proclaiming that June 26, 1975 was a planned paramilitary assault on the Pine Ridge reservation. Nothing could be further from the truth, and Peltier knows it, even as he occasionally pays lip-service to the agents' families. Whether Peltier pulled the final trigger himself is immaterial, because three people, Robideau, Butler and Peltier, went down to the then wounded and defenseless agents, and murdered them. But now, even as Peltier has finally acknowledged and admitted, he understands that whether he pulled the trigger or not, he still aided and abetted in their deaths.

As more light shines upon Peltier folklore, the myth steadily erodes. Eventually, there will be nothing left but a remorseless killer serving the remainder of his sentence at Leavenworth.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

ADDENDUM: February 6, 2010 Please see Editorial Essay #52: "Peltier confesses to "Incident at Oglala"

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April 30, 2004
Coler and Williams deserved to die: ROBERT ROBIDEAU

Dear supporters:

The No Parole Peltier Association has reached its fourth anniversary.

The NPPA's stated mission has remained steadfast and focused; to respond to erroneous statements from the LPDC, analyze statements made by Leonard Peltier, which further indicate his guilt, provide interested readers with another important view of this matter and continue to honor the memory of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams who gave their lives in the line of duty.

The NPPA has not focused on Robert Robideau or Dino Butler but only mentions them relative to their parts in what happened on June 26, 1975 at Pine Ridge. Certainly Dino Butler, calling both Robideau and Peltier liars over Mr. X is significant. The NPPA goal remains to focus on contradictory statements made by Peltier and the LPDC, but even as there is a steady exodus of those who choose not to support Peltier and emotionally and vocally withdraw from his network, certain statements are more significant than others.

Not much has been said about Robideau except to point out his lies before the camera in "Incident at Oglala," however, in a February 13, 2004 public statement Robideau resigned as an international spokesperson for Peltier (his reasoning was too disjointed and confused to spend time addressing the specifics here). Robideau did also give his full support for justice for Anna Mae Aquash and called for the punishment of those who executed her; this is odd considering that the final chapter on Anna Mae's murder has yet to be written. Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted but some of the testimony was very damaging to Peltier, and John Graham is still awaiting extradition from Canada. Graham's trial may uncover further links to those who ordered her execution. Maybe Robideau is not worried about this outcome but certainly Peltier has concerns.

Robideau stated:

As far as I have ever been concerned the killing of the agents was justified, they were warriors acting out the orders of their superiors, shooting to kill. They were shot in the head at close range, but they were killed honorable (sic). Because we too were warriors fighting in defense of our people and land I have no remorse for the actions WE took against our enemies in the heat of this defensive action. A jury agreed with our actions, and rightly they should. (Emphasis added)

In other words on June 26, 1975, Peltier, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz were justified in initially shooting at Agents Coler and Williams; Robideau, Butler and others were justified in joining in and pinning the Agents down in the open - mortally wounding them, and then Peltier, Butler and Robideau were justified murdering them. These are chilling words from someone who was right there when the Agents' died and who previously admitted, "...they both had been hit by my gunfire." The "we" Robideau refers to is not the collective "we" in this instance. He seemingly takes just one more step away from the lie he told in "Incident" by ignoring the entire fallacy of Mr. X. The "we" he refers to here are himself, Butler and Peltier. (See, Chronology)

Robideau's words are those of a common coward.

Robideau is correct though about the outcome of the Cedar Rapids trial, but that result was skewed for at least two very important reasons.

While many search and desire reconciliation, others, like Robideau only provide greater incentive to ensure that the Debate Continues concerning Peltier.

The NPPA will continue its successful efforts, even now as the latest frivolous lawsuit by Peltier, which attempted to squelch criticism of his false statements has been dismissed.

In the near future the NPPA will release an exposé, which will devastate even the most ardent Peltier supporters.

In the meantime, thank you for all your continued support.

I remain,

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams,"
Ed Woods

Back to top

Peltier Donations: Scam? Fraud?
May 15, 2004

At this juncture in the long history of the Peltier debate several serious questions must be asked concerning Peltier's finances, especially considering that a credible and reliable source has advised the No Parole Peltier Association that last year one of Peltier's paintings sold for $50,000 and Peltier's fundraising exceeded $5,000,000.00 in the year 2000.

Were the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee's efforts to raise what they termed "tax-deductible" donations through a third party organization legal and legitimate?

Considering there has been no public accounting for either the total amount of money raised or how it has been spent, how much of this money allegedly went to a charitable foundation - which is no longer in existence?

Is it illegal for Peltier and the LPDC to act as a Political Action Committee by stating "All proceeds fund the public awareness and legal efforts undertaken on behalf of Leonard Peltier?"

And finally, has Peltier, an incarcerated felon, been operating an illegal business from a federal penitentiary?

Tax deductible and third party
Peltier supporters should have noticed that the LPDC no longer advertises donations as "tax-deductible." Supporters should ask Peltier what would have made those contributions suddenly not tax-deductible? This is not an insignificant change. Were Peltier supporters being misled or lied to, or were Peltier and the LPDC breaking the law - or both? Since those who contributed in the past could have claimed a tax deduction on their personal income taxes was Peltier then placing them in violation of the law as well? This then prompts a straightforward question for Peltier and the LPDC: why the change?

Although for several years the LPDC solicited donations claiming they would be tax-deductible, their recent website no longer makes reference to this, however, there are no less than a dozen buttons dedicated exclusively to soliciting money from supporters.

For a considerable period of time the LPDC asked its supporters to send their tax-deductible checks to another entity, "Global Exchange," further claiming that this organization was their "501(c)3 sponsor." But the law just doesn't work like that; either Peltier or the LPDC are entitled to be tax-deductible charities or they are not. Was any of this money accounted for, reported to the IRS for tax purposes, and were those who donated money legally entitled to claim a tax-deduction? In the real world, funneling money through a third party sounds suspiciously like money-laundering, which is also against the law.

Could it be that the IRS did have a legal issue with the LPDC? If they did, neither the LPDC nor Peltier ever mentioned this to all those who thought they were providing legitimate tax-deductible donations.

PAC issues
The law clearly states that Political Action Committees are not entitled to tax benefits afforded to legitimate and recognized charities. Peltier is not a charity case and neither he nor the LPDC could be an approved 501(c)3 organization. The LPDC's clearly defined efforts taken from their own "plan of action" promotes these unmistakable political activities as "lobbyists" with "lobbying strategies," use of the "media," and "political campaigns."

To further support this contention:

On July 4, 2004 the LPDC made the following statement to its supporters responding to "PAYPAL's" (eBAY) suspension of services for violating their "offensive material" policy:

The modest funds raised through the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) and selected support group Web sites are used for public education programs, political and lobbying actions, and legal strategies undertaken on behalf of Leonard Peltier.

Designating Leonard Peltier as being "notorious for committing murderous acts," PayPal has now deprived us of our online fundraising capability. Our accounts have been closed preventing us from receiving donations electronically and we have been told that our funds collected through the online service may be frozen for up to 180 days.

PayPal also clains to have done an exhaustive evaluation of the LPDC and Boston sites for "offensive" material. What did they find? (Emphasis added)

It is unmistakable that the LPDC defines itself as a lobbying effort and political action committee.


Subject: Boston group calls for boycott of PayPal and parent company eBAY
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 23:41:31 -0400

On this day of celebration of "freedom" and "democracy," the Boston area - Leonard Peltier Support Group is calling for a boycott of PayPal and parent company eBAY.

The modest funds raised through the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) and selected support group Web sites are used for public education programs, political and lobbying actions, and legal strategies undertaken on behalf of Leonard Peltier. We do these things to keep Peltier's hope for freedom alive. While such activities are likely inconvenient for the U.S. Government, they are not illegal. On the contrary, these activities represent free exercise of our constitutional rights.

We've come to expect interference with our Web-based services over the years, i.e., interruption of service at critical times, for example. However, last week, both the LPDC and the Boston support group received notification from PayPal (our Web site credit card verification and payment processing service) that we are in violation of its relatively new Acceptable Use Policy. Designating Leonard Peltier as being "notorious for committing murderous acts," PayPal has now deprived us of our online fundraising capability. Our accounts have been closed preventing us from receiving donations electronically and we have been told that our funds collected through the online service may be frozen for up to 180 days.

What is PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy? Read it for yourself:

Please note that PayPal doesn't monitor Web sites but depends on "members of the community" to bring alleged violations to its attention. We can only speculate as to who those "members of the community" were in this case.

PayPal also claims to have done an exhaustive evaluation of the LPDC and Boston sites for "offensive" material. What did they find?

  • The announcement of Leonard Peltier's nomination for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize
  • The legal updates concerning Leonard's case, including information on Peltier's recent victory over edictor Paul DeMain in a defamation lawsuit filed in 2003
  • The position paper submitted by the Peltier legal team to the Committees of the Judiciary of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on official misconduct in Indian Country, in particular that against the American Indian Movement and Leonard Peltier
  • Material to mobilize support for the release of hundreds of thousands of documents still withheld after 30 years by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, despite repealed Freedom of Information Act actions brought by Peltier's attorneys
  • Announcement of Leondard's presidential nomination for the Peace and Freedom Party in California
  • Political action materials as regards the upcoming presidential election, in general, and encouraging indigenous and other U.S. votes to use their votes to help win Leonard's freedom, in particular

We consider this policy and PayPal's actions to be an attack on our political belief, interference with our right to participate in the "democratic" political process, and an intentional effort on the part of PayPal and its parent company eBAY to interfere with our (and your) constitutional rights. Such corporate actions - as taken at the behest of the U.S. Government, or not - are an affront to activists everywhere and threaten our basic freedoms.

We will NOT go away! Join the LPDC/BA-LPSG boycott of PayPal and its parent company eBAY. Spread the word to friends, family, colleagues and co-workers:

  • Don't use the PayPal service on Web sites you own or manage. (Note: Alternative resources are listed below.)
  • Don't donate to or purchase from sites that use the PayPal service.
  • Don't buy or sell/auction items using eBAY

Send them the message that we find THEIR policy and actions "offensive."

An online petition also will be available for your signature in a day or two.


PO Box 583
Lawrence, Kansas 66044-0583

Thank you.

Disclaimer: This list is provided for information only and does not mean to imply endorsement.


Charitable activities
In a "Press Release" as recent as February, 2004 the LPDC continued to promote Peltier's charitable activities:

He has piloted the Leonard Peltier Health Care Reform Package whose intent is to fundamentally alter health care delivery on reservations throughout the US. Peltier has established a scholarship at NYU for Native Students seeking law degrees, has implemented job creation/job training programs and is the sponsoring father of two children in ChildReach. Peltier has sponsored clothing, emergency food and toy drives and distributes to Head Start, halfway houses and women's centers. Peltier serves on the board of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and donates his artwork to several human rights and social welfare organizations, including the Leonard Peltier Charitable Foundation. He has been widely recognized for his efforts and has won several human rights awards, including the North Star - Frederick Douglas Award.

Sounds impressive, but not convincing because very little holds up to scrutiny. Since these claims have been offered for some time, perhaps they are just old news and offered as the LPDC is wont to do; providing old news as if it's something new and valuable. The central question remains; exactly how much in real dollars has Peltier contributed or donated to any of his claimed charities? Certainly some are noble philanthropic activities, if they are true.

  • Health Care Reform Package: This matter relates to other claims made by the LPDC:

"(Leonard Peltier) Has worked with Dr. Steward (sic) Selkin of New York (ear, nose, and throat specialist) on efforts to restructure health delivery systems on reservations. A pilot program on Rosebud was undertaken in order to document needs and requirements for delivery and care. This is known as the Leonard Peltier Health Care Reform Package, and the ultimate intent is to fundamentally alter health care delivery on reservations throughout the US. Substance abuse programs are an important part of this program."

Dr. Stuart Selkin of Long Island, NY, was sent a reasonable and personal letter on March 8, 2004 soliciting information about this program. He never responded.

  • Scholarship at NYU: A search of NYU and related websites, including the School of Law located no information concerning a scholarship in the name of Leonard Peltier related to Native American students seeking law degrees, or any other degree. An email sent to the Native American Law Students Association went unanswered. A search of the six Native American related scholarships/internships and awards programs also proved negative for any reference to Leonard Peltier.

So the question for Peltier supporters to ask is: Did Peltier establish a scholarship, when was it, how long did it last, how much was it for, and how much did Peltier or the LPDC contribute to this program?

  • ChildReach: An email message to ChildReach (PlanUSA) went unaswered, which is understandable considering possible privacy issues. It was determined, however, that a child can be sponsored for $24 per month.

The question for Peltier supporters to ask is: What are the children's names, when did he start sponsoring them and is he still a sponsor? This sponsorship amounts to $576 a year, yet it was reported that just one Peltier painting sold for $50,000.

  • Peltier has sponsored clothing, emergency food and toy drives and distributes to Head Start, halfway houses and women's centers: The important question is; Who, What, When and Where, and most importantly, how much did either Peltier or the LPDC contribute to these activities?

During a June, 2002 Commemoration Auction the LPDC clarified just how monies raised would be distributed: "Any and all proceeds from the Commemoration, and auctions, above and beyond operating costs, go directly to charities on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at the discretion and under the direction of Leonard Peltier."

So the question Peltier supporters need to ask is: Just how much discretion and direction did Leonard Peltier exercise, above and beyond operating costs, to those in need at Pine Ridge? Exactly how much did the needy receive, and how high and what exactly were those operating costs?

  • Rosenberg Fund for Children: This is true, Peltier is listed on the "advisory board." According to its website, since 1990 RFC has made contributions for "the educational and emotional needs of children of targeted progressive activists, and youth who are targeted activists themselves."

However, this isn't exactly the message Peltier is trying to project. He attaches his name to a group that makes it sound as if he's a benefactor of children. Fact is, without documenting what, if anything he has contributed to this group, his affiliation is in name only.

  • Leonard Peltier Charitable Foundation: Peltier and the LPDC, in February, 2004, are still crediting Peltier with his philanthropic support of the Leonard Peltier Charitable Foundation. Perhaps they should point out to Peltier supporters that this entity is a thing of the past. The NPPA exchanged emails two years ago - in May 2002, with the former Executive Director who stated that "The LPCF has long 'concluded,' dissolved." The LPCF's goals as described by the Executive Director were certainly noble and altruistic; to help those in need at Pine Ridge. However, the organization as such was short lived and the Executive Director did not provide any specific accounting of monies Peltier may have raised or contributed to the Foundation. Instead, she referred questions to the LPDC and Peltier.

So, Peltier supporters should ask Peltier and the LPDC exactly how much of their hard earned donations were provided to this foundation.

  • North Star-Frederick Douglas Award: An Internet search turned up several references to Peltier and the North Star-Frederick Douglas Award. Not unexpectedly, they were all on the LPDC's website. According to the LPDC:

    The North Star Fund was founded in 1979 with a view to creating a permanent financial base for funding progressive social change in New York City. Since its founding, millions of dollars have been granted to more than a thousand community-based organizations. The grants are not large, often quite small, and cover a wide range of social activity, including: anti-racism, women's rights, housing, disabled persons, and immigrants' rights. In addition to its focus on progressive causes, it is also unique in trying to operate a partnership between donors and activists. Donors are encouraged to be more than providers of funds, rather to become activists in the grassroots organizations they support.

An email sent to North Star asking simply if Leonard Peltier was, in fact, a recipient of any kind of an award, went unanswered. This continues as a curious trend; if Peltier has been associated with various groups and individuals and uses that in order to bolster his own credibility, then why don't they acknowledge their relationship with him?

This award may not represent any specific charitable activity by Peltier, however, if there is such an award, why not post it on the LPDC website?

Violating prison rules
Peltier's activities are no doubt apparent to the administration at Leavenworth. Peltier has been involved - while perhaps claiming some undeserved special status, as the focal point of an illegal prison business.

Bob Free, who resigned from the LPDC, was engaged in an ongoing conflict with another LPDC official, Cathy McCarthy. During a heated exchange Bob Free had this to say:

"4) It is very troubling that she is suggesting that Leonard himself is directing a Non Profit organization while still incarcerated. This is potentially a legal problem for Leonard and the LPDC."

And Bob Free was correct, but without belaboring the issue, he was also completely wrong about any such claim to a "non-profit" status. Bob Free and the NPPA recognized it, even if apparently Cathy McCarthy did not; Peltier's activities are illegal on a number of counts.

This is not an isolated incident; Leonard Peltier understands this problem as evident in an exchange from an individual selling Peltier's artwork on the Internet:

Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2004, 16:56:07 EST
Subject: hello from

just to let you know if you would be interested in helping sell Leonard Peltier's prints please contact me you will be able to buy them at wholesale prices The proceeds to go to the LPDC as he cant run business from prison. This is what he has asked me to do.
Teri Headrick

Peltier, even as an inmate is required to file personal income tax if he has any income. It would be interesting to see, considering all the money raised by Peltier selling his artwork and receiving donations from unsuspecting supporters, whether he has made the required IRS filings. It would be perfectly appropriate for Peltier to make that information available to his supporters.

Transparency? Not Likely
The NPPA had already made this suggestion, but Bob Free perhaps said it best (and there is little doubt there was some serious discussion among Peltier's inner circle about finances, otherwise Bob Free would not have been prompted to make it an issue). Bob Free suggested:

"Transparency regarding accounting and decisions will be posted on the web."

That was quite some time ago; yet still there is nothing.

* * *

The immediate future for Leonard Peltier remains bleak. His last serious legal efforts concerning actions of the parole board were denied and then ignored by the U.S. Supreme Court, indicating that Peltier's attorney's arguments were not valid constitutional issues. Also recently, his federal suit against a number of FBI agents was dismissed. That suit was recognized for what it was, a frivolous and contrived attempt to quiet those who have seen through the Peltier myth.

For now Leonard Peltier must await his public parole hearing in 2008. Although some time off, that gathering promises to be a spectacle and as Peltier and his remaining supporters gear up for that event, so will the NPPA. In the interim the Peltier issue remains, especially in light of a recent abhorrent statement by Bob Robideau, which provides even more incentive for those who see through Peltier folklore and are inspired to continue. Robideau proved once again that those associated with Peltier and the events of June 26, 1975 are not candidates for fostering reconciliation on any level.

As Peltier stares blankly at recent correspondence, awaits his turn to make a daily collect telephone call to Lawrence, Kansas and ponders the space between concrete walls, the Debate Continues. The NPPA will continue to challenge any and all false statements from Peltier and the LPDC and now raises the timely question of whether Peltier finances are a scam or a fraud.

A familiar refrain from the NPPA is that five people know exactly what happened that day; two, of course, are dead. Dino Butler called Bob Robideau and Peltier liars about what happened that day. The coward Robideau has admitted his participation and all but said the agents deserved to die; but also that " Indian was guilty that day." Peltier has changed his story many times and he too admitted that he had lied about those events. The NPPA will let reasonable people decide the truth.

But in the meantime, perhaps Leonard Peltier can do one honorable thing; be honest with his supporters and tell them exactly how much money he has raised and where and how it was spent. Otherwise, he has no right to attempt to bolster his credibility by claiming philanthropic activities that cannot be supported.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams,"
Ed Woods

Addendum: November 1, 2006:
Updated from Editorial Essay #34: Peltier and the LPDC: Status Check 2006: "Protector of the Woods" November 1, 2006

A review of Peltier's latest mechanism to squeeze money from his supporters comes from the Freedom Walkway which provides some amusing insights and prompts further questions about Peltier's fundraising.

The Routier's anteed-up a respectable $500, Robideau, big on words and admissions of guilt, but short on cash, a paltry $20. Given that, one has to wonder who's footing the bill when he departs his hiding place in Spain and heads for the U.S.

It appears that the entire Bachrach family are contributors, but yet nothing from attorney Michael Kuzma. Perhaps Mr. Kuzma sees some conflict of interest in donating to causes he is championing in the courts. But in their defense (no pun intended), the amount of hours they personally donate to Peltier's cause is far more valuable than the ten dollar donations. Gerry Foley, forked over ten bucks, or was that in shillings? Elsie Herten could only afford $10 (or Euros?), evidentially not putting her money where her mouth is; and with that mouth, it should have been millions. Lt. Col. Daniel Marvin of NY: $10. Not much considering that he said "To a true warrior and a man of courage. We are strongly behind you as we will achieve your freedom." Harvey Arden, $30 (but he does a lot of side work for Leonard). The LPDC, $50. Wonder where all that other money is going? NYC Jericho Movement, $50. Guess they don't believe in the cause that much either. And, Dame Vivienne Westwood only $20, but at least she came up with the offensive Peltier campaign button that the LPDC was afraid to put on their website. But you get the picture; lots of talk from Peltier supporters, but not that much support.

As of October 23, 2006 the site claimed 620 stones for a total of an odd amount of $6,203 (since the stones are $10 each). Not an impressive amount considering the length of time it's been operating. In theory, one wishing to donate to the cause moves the cursor to the prison wall (presumably, Lewisburg Penitentiary), retrieving a stone and placing it on the walkway-and following the prompts-submits a credit card payment and is awarded a stone for each $10 donated (repeat donators are awarded feathers). The problem with this metaphor is that the prison walls do not come crumbling down and the walk can be used in either direction. It also raises the same questions as in the past: Who pays the taxes on this income; Leonard or the LPDC? Since neither is a legitimate charity, someone must claim these donations as income; which raises again the issue of how much do they actually bring in, who accounts for the money, and how is it spent?

The real question for Peltier supporters-if they even care to ask-is whatever happened to all those years of "tax-deductible" donations? All of a sudden that LPDC claim disappeared from the radar scope and it seemed like no one but the NPPA (and perhaps the IRS) was watching.

And for a small, but significant piece of LPDC history; remember when former LPDC Director Bob Free was unceremoniously booted from the club? What Bob Free was calling for several years ago was:

"Transparency regarding accounting and donations will be posted on the web."

Guess not Bob, they weren't listening then, and they still haven't made the connection to fiscal honesty and responsibility with their constituents. Posting the stones isn't exactly accounting for supporters' donations.

The funding issue is a constant source of frustration for the LPDC and may help explain why they are still in El Paso instead of Lewisburg. Their online store is filled with hackneyed and uninteresting flea market items except for one puzzling piece of artwork entitled "Protector of the Woods." 2 The painting is uninspiring, even confusing; it's difficult to tell exactly what's hiding behind that white birch. But the real problem with this particular piece is that the original is owned by the one person who is an anathema-the antichrist-to every American serviceman and servicewoman, prior, present, living and deceased; Hanoi Jane3, aka Jane Fonda.

Addendum: September 12, 2007:
Updated from Editorial Essay #39:: "From a youth into an elder" Peltier's Ultimate Guilt: NPPA September 12, 2007

Peltier's finances continue to run at an embarrassing pace. The stones on the Freedom Walkway stumble along (no pun intended) and are increasing at a marginal rate, barely over $12,000 in two years with just over six hundred stones (at ten bucks each) a year. But knowing what other money is taken in or how that money is spent continues to be a dark Peltier secret. Bob Free, the exiled former LPDC Chairperson, called for some sunshine to illuminate the shady path by posting it on the website. That never happened and Bob disappeared.

But there is a hint that something is rotten in Denmark (or Brussels) regarding the donations for stones or other sources of money for Peltier.

On November 14, 2006 at 7:59am (Central European Time), Ms. Els (Elsie) Herten of KOLA/IPF provided an email with the following insight;

"See, most people just bought one or two stones, because the names on the list were more important than donating money through that website "thingie". The real donations were sent to the LPDC bank account instead. For example: I donated half the donations we received. Vivienne Westwood just sent a huge donation (to the bank account)." (Emphasis added)

Whether or not there's any kind of fraud in this process will be up to Peltier supporters or the IRS to decide.

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The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) web site in the section entitled, COUNTER FBI ATTACKS IN THE MEDIA, states:

They (FBI) are also submitting a dear editor letter to numerous papers. In the midst of new revelations about the FBI's shameless efforts to cover up important details regarding the WACO catastrophe, it is no wonder that they are now feeling so threatened as to launch a costly campaign to cover their tracks in regard to Leonard Peltier's case as well.

The incident at WACO was indeed a tragedy, and anyone concerned with researching the true facts about April 19, 1993 will understand that some Branch Davidians were killed at very close range by some of their own numbers and the multiple fires were started within the compound. The FBI's position from the very beginning was that no shots were fired by FBI agents on that day and during the final entry into the compound.

On March 19, 2000, a test was conducted at Ft. Hood, Texas utilizing Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology. The tests were ordered by the Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas in order to determine whether flashes that appear on the FBI's video tape from April 19, 1993 could have been caused by government gunfire. The implication by the defense in the wrongful death suit is that government shooting would have prevented Branch Davidians from escaping from the raging inferno. The tests were supervised by an independent company with protocols agreed upon by the Office of Special Counsel, the Department of Justice, and the attorneys representing the Branch Davidians.

Concerned readers should await the final results of those tests and judge for themselves whether the FBI was truthful to the American people in its accounts of that tragic day.

By invoking WACO, without having all the facts at their disposal, the LPDC does itself a DISSERVICE.

Cincinnati Enquirer 4/25/00

WACO Test Suggests Flashes Weren't Gunfire

St. Louis: - A simulation of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege showed that flashes caught on videotape were most likely sunlight reflecting off debris, not government gunfire as claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a preliminary report. Vector Data Systems, the firm that conducted the March 19 simulation in Texas, submitted its report this month to U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, Jr., who is presiding over the Branch Davidian lawsuit.

July 14, 2000

WACO, Texas (AP) - Five jurors deliberated for 2½ hours in the $67.5 million wrongful-death lawsuit filed by surviving Branch Davidians and relatives of those who were killed. The trial, which lasted nearly a month, brought out emotional testimony recounting the standoff from both sides.

To bolster their defense, government attorneys played audio tapes made inside the compound in which unidentified Branch Davidian's were heard asking "Start the first?" and "Should we light the fire?"

WACO, Texas (CNN) - A five member advisory jury on Friday found the federal government not liable in the deaths of some 80 Branch Davidians in the 1993 seige of the religious sect's compound outside Waco.

The jury found that...and that the FBI agents were not guilty of starting or contributing (to) the fatal fire on April 19, 1993.

Separate from this case, Attorney General Janet Reno last September appointed former Missouri Sen. John Danforth as special counsel to resolve unanswered questions about the final hours of the standoff.

WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI Director Louis Freeh elaborated. Freeh said he considered the loss of life at Waco "tragic." But he also said that "as the jury heard, there were FBI agents who risked their lives to save the life of Branch Davidians."

ST. LOUIS (AP), 7/21/2000 - The blame for the catastrophe at Waco that killed 80 people rests solely with cult leader David Koresh, a former senator said Friday after a 10-month independent investigation. It was the second time in a week that the government was exonerated.

John Danforth concluded "with 100 percent certainty" that federal agents did not start the fire or shoot at members of the Branch Davidian cult during the 1993 inferno. The government also did not improperly use the military, and did not engage in a major cover-up, Danforth said.

"The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of David Koresh," Danforth said. He added, "This is not a close call."

(Senator Danforth's final report is not expected until about November, 2000)

The LPDC is more than guilty of its own rhetoric against others, its tactics and agenda are clearly evident:

Far more important is the fact that many of the statements are false, intentionally misleading, or omit highly relevant information with the intent of deceiving the reader." (LPDC letter of ethics complaint to Attorney General Janet Reno dated 6/26/2000).

The LPDC makes sweeping accusations which are repeatedly based on only partial information and ignore any valid follow-up or intelligent balance of the argument. Through attacks like these, the LPDC arguably becomes more of an anti-government than pro-Peltier cause.

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Self-Defense & Leonard Peltier: The Bright Line1
February 6, 2005

"...they died like worms."

"They were shot in the head at close range."

"I killed the agents." "Those FBI agents would be dead again." (NYC; 10/23/05)

Robert Robideau

"To create this lie to show that someone else pulled the trigger."

Dino Butler

"So the deaths of those agents are not murders?"
"Not in Indian, not in Indian people's eyes."
"What are they?"
"Self defense."

Leonard Peltier

In the matter of Leonard Peltier the issue of self-defense has been widely discussed and debated as it relates to several areas: What actually happened on June 26, 1975 on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, the acquittal of Dino Butler and Robert Robideau during their trial for the killing of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, the NPPA's review of the meaning of self-defense, and most critically, Robert Robideau's relevant statements regarding those killings.

The concept of self-defense is rooted in common law and includes the right to protect one's person, or members of one's family, and to a lesser extent, one's property, from harm by an aggressor. There must also be no convenient mode of escape by retreat or by declining the combat, and there must be present impending peril, either real or apparent so as to create a bona fide belief of an existing necessity. Whether or not retreat is required depends upon the jurisdiction and the circumstances.2

Through Ron Williams' eyes...3

"Jack! Jack!" Ron rolled further on his side, digging an elbow into the earth while being cautious not to expose any more of himself to the gunfire. After it first happened there was little pain, more like someone had punched him hard, but the comprehension of being shot at and hit gradually succumbed to the reality that he was severely wounded and in real trouble. His left side burned, but most of the pain came from a severely wounded foot. He imagined splintered and smashed bones, that he'd probably have to walk with a limp for the rest of his life, and was certain he wouldn't be able to stand up now anyway. His left arm was now paralyzed with pain from a bullet that had gone completely through and into his side.

He stretched far enough to see Jack sitting in the dirt, motionless, propped up against his gold Chevrolet several yards away. Jack's eyes were open but he didn't respond. His shirt was covered in crimson and it seemed eerie that Jack's right arm hung down further than it should. Ron brushed more glass from his hair and face; the last bullet ending the shooting from both directions hit a side window and sprayed glass all over him. It wasn't like in the movies, or how he'd imagined it would be. Bullets slammed into his car with the deafening whack of metal and breaking glass. He imagined the other side of his Bureau car riddled with bullet holes.

At least the shooting stopped. He thought about reaching again for the microphone and radioing Rapid City but was certain they heard him when it all started in what seemed like an eternity ago. But he knew it couldn't have been more than minutes since they were first fired upon from the vehicle they followed, and then from another direction. He prayed that the office understood him and that Agent Gary Adams wasn't too far away and could hopefully figure out where they were pinned down. "Why are they trying to kill us?" he probably thought, "We're just here to make an arrest. But they stopped, got out and started shooting at us." It wasn't supposed to happen like this. During his radio calls Ron heard Jack firing briefly, first his revolver, then a blast or two from a shotgun and rifle. Then Jack dropped to the ground.

"Jack! Jack!" No response. Ron knew he had to act quickly for the both of them. He thought about his empty gun. He had extra bullets but knew he was in no position to continue to defend himself or Jack anymore; besides, Ron was left-handed, and reloading a revolver with his one good hand, he knew, would be difficult.4 He hoped the Indians shooting at them would soon flee into the woods when any police or agents arrived.

Ron stayed close to his own vehicle and pushed himself forward in the dirt and mud, cradling a useless arm against his chest. A growing circle of red spread over his shirt as the pain intensified with each lunge. Ron held his breath and moved as quickly as he could between the two government vehicles hoping that being exposed in the open wouldn't invite more shooting. The Indians used rifles and were deadly accurate. He grabbed Jack by the leg and shook him gently; nothing.

Ron could now see Jack's devastating wound, his right arm nearly severed, hanging limply at his side by strips of muscle and sinew exposing shards of white bone. Ron had never seen such an injury and was mentally assaulted by lingering doubts about his own mortality. He felt that he could vomit. Jack's eyes were open but didn't blink; he stared blankly into space, an empty and forlorn look on his face. Ron carefully unbuttoned his own shirt, painfully working his shoulder back and forth managing to remove it from his bloody left arm. He became light-headed at the sight of his own bullet hole and blood. He tried not to concentrate on the pain, especially from his foot, but to focus on Jack who he knew was in worse shape and needed immediate help. Ron believed the shooting was over and that the Indians could easily see they were both badly wounded and couldn't defend themselves any longer. Ron thought they had to understand now that they needed help and would surrender; if that's what it would take to end this. He pushed himself up further against the fender, balancing himself next to Jack's limp body, and forced himself onto one knee. Clutching his bloody shirt, he raised it above his head, waved it several times back and forth in the direction of the vehicle they first followed and then towards the ridgeline where the other shooting came from. The truck they followed was still there and Ron thought he saw movement nearer some small houses, or maybe it was just heat waves rising from the surface, wandering around like premature ghosts on the prairie. He was convinced the Indians saw the gesture and would understand that it was over.5 He silently cursed and hoped if they did flee the area at least other agents would find them soon enough.

Ron realized he could hear more rifle fire not too far in the distance, closer to Highway 18. He hoped the Indians weren't shooting at those coming to rescue them.

He slid back down the fender, and summoning up as much strength as he could stretched out his shirt with both hands, working it under Jack's mangled arm. Ron found some additional strength believing that his own wounds were not nearly as bad as Jack's and were at least survivable. He carefully looped the shirt in a knot and using his teeth and good hand pulled it as tightly as he could hoping to stop the flow of blood. "Jack!" Nothing: His eyes were closed now but Ron could still feel him breathing. Ron gently lowered him to the ground. Jack looked deathly pale.

Ron mentally distanced himself from what had developed so quickly. Other thoughts reached him through the pain, about how much he didn't like this assignment, not liking the working conditions and living in motels, and being in this desolate and forbidding part of the country. He missed the bustle and activity of his native L.A., the weather, the beaches, the night life. This isn't what he expected when he became an FBI agent and hoped he would be able to continue with plans to get back to the coast and pursue a law degree. Ironically, he remembered a conversation just a few nights before among agents having a few beers at the Black Forest Inn, typical cop-type talk about getting involved in a shoot out. He remembered someone quipping about how many shootouts you can be involved in before your luck runs out. Every one, they said, except the last one. Now the humor was gone. Ron thought that he didn't want to die in this God-forsaken place. He began hating the land and everyone around him even more; he didn't deserve to be here like this, he wanted to end up an old man with grandchildren. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. Just this morning he'd spoken to his girlfriend, Rota. She was in Denver and they had plans to meet and go on to Los Angeles to party and have a good time, away from the depression of Pine Ridge.6 He was convinced that this land brutalized everyone who walked it.

The throbbing in his foot brought him back to the moment. It was as if some giant ugly hand was grabbing it and squeezing, causing spasms of pain radiating in every direction. The flow of elevated blood pressure pounded in his ears.

He suddenly realized how stiflingly hot it had become. The overnight rain clouds had dissipated, yielding to the high-noon sun which now beat down, further robbing his strength. He shook with a chill, probably from the onset of shock, he thought, as rivulets of sweat trickled down his bare back. He grabbed Jack's motionless hand and gave it a supporting squeeze, "We'll be OK, just hang in there. They'll be here soon." Ron wasn't sure if Jack understood him. Somewhere in the distance a hawk screeched.

Ron heard something and realized they weren't alone. He raised his eyes, squinting into a blinding sun. Before him were three dark, silhouetted figures, two large and one short and thin. They carried rifles…

There are a few fundamental facts that Peltier or his supporters would be hard pressed to refute:

  • That Agents Ron Williams and Jack Coler, driving separate government vehicles entered the Jumping Bull property following an individual they believed to be Jimmy Eagle. They did not start the initial shooting; they engaged in a shootout with then unknown individuals. They were both wounded. We know this because Ron Williams made a series of radio calls for assistance to the FBI's Rapid City office and to any agents who were nearby.
  • Testimony at Peltier's trial showed that Peltier, Robideau and Butler went down to the agents' vehicles after the initial shooting ended. There was never any indication that while they did this there was a continuing exchange of gunfire from the agents.
  • Agent Coler received contact range wounds to his head and jaw. Agent Williams received a defensive wound to his right hand which was also a fatal wound to his face. We know this from the autopsy photographs.
  • No other actual individual was responsible in the final killing of Agents Coler and Williams. We know this because Peltier's long-standing alibi that Mr. X killed the agents and drove away in the infamous red pickup truck was later admitted to be a lie by Dino Butler.7
  • Leonard Peltier was indicted and convicted for Aiding and Abetting.8
  • At least one individual involved, Robert Robideau, has admitted killing Agents Coler and Williams.

Comparing the trials:

Robert Robideau/Dino Butler: Cedar Rapids, Iowa; June-July, 1976:

  • there was no direct testimony indicating that those involved in the shooting were aware that Agents Coler and Williams were law-enforcement. The defense relied heavily on the issue of self-defense.
  • important government witnesses, Angie Long Visitor and Michael Anderson were both unavailable to testify.
  • the trial judge allowed testimony concerning activities on the Reservation beyond the scope of the shooting of the agents which related to a climate of fear, (the commonly referred to Reign of Terror9 ), which further supported the notion of self-defense.
  • the government was prohibited from introducing evidence that shell casings from Agents Coler and Williams' handguns were located in and near the residence where Dino Butler was arrested.
  • the jury was not sequestered and there was no gag order. This resulted in the jury being exposed to publicity unfavorable to the government.
  • at the conclusion of the government's case, the trial judge recessed for ten (10) days to attend a judicial conference.
  • the jury deliberated for five (5) days, twice reporting they were deadlocked.

Leonard Peltier: Fargo, North Dakota; March-April, 1977.

  • the trial judge allowed testimony that was relevant to the guilt or innocence of Peltier.
  • (For a further review of the specifics of the Cedar Rapids and Fargo trials, please see The Trials section.)

The differences between the two trials were significant, however, as Peltier and his supporters revel in the acquittal at Cedar Rapids so must they accept the decision of the Fargo jury. The reality is that no matter what Peltier, his supporters, and the LPDC believe, everything in Peltier's trial has been validated through the words of Robert Robideau.

Peltier's ultimate guilt:

To remove ANY DOUBT about Peltier's ultimate guilt, and the validity of his trial, all we need do is carefully listen to the words of Robert Robideau, and answer the following question:

Why should we pay even the slightest attention to anything Robideau has to say?

Answer: Because he was there.

In a telling series of emails, Robideau tries to make himself into something he certainly is not, an honorable person or a hero, but then, through glaring contradictions tells us what really happened.

To understand the context of what Robideau has claimed it is first important to review the map of the Jumping Bull property as provided by Matthiessen "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse," (follow this link to the map at the bottom, click on the map to enlarge it for greater detail).

Note first the distances involved between where the agents were pinned down in the open field and the directions from where Peltier and others were firing at the agents. By every account this was a clear field of fire approximating one hundred yards or greater of open area.

In his emails to the NPPA, Robideau makes two glaringly erroneous statements:

1) Regarding the pathology and autopsy results: "I would advise caution when viewing the pathologist reports; and I would venture to say that any conclusions made on them alone is fool hardy."

2) "Your agents were not executed, they both had their proper guns in hand before they died. I don't recall that the government ever showed that they were executed either in my trial nor that outrageous spectacle that took place in Fargo, North Dakota."10

In an attempt to re-write the record of both trials, Robideau wants us to believe the autopsy photographs of the destroyed faces of Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, and Ron Williams' shattered right-hand defensive-wound, were not authentic representations of their devastating fatal injuries.

And, the government's argument during the trials, and on each and every appeal where this point was relevant, was that the agents' were executed at point-blank range. This is not in dispute.

Robideau goes on to describe the final action through these statements:

"As far as I have ever been concerned the killing of the agents was justified, they were warriors acting out the orders of their superiors, shooting to kill. They were shot in the head at close range, but they were killed honorable (sic). Because we too were warriors fighting in defense of our people and I have no remorse for the actions we took against our enemies in the heat of this defensive action. A jury agreed with our actions, and rightly they should." (Emphasis added)

"I am "Mr. X" (which is no lie) and I did kill them with honor befitting a warrior, but they died like worms."

"I thought that I already told you that I killed the agents, who were killed in self-defense…"

"I have never shot at an unarmed man in my life: and certainly no one that was unconscious or near death. Sorry Ed, you are wrong on that point….your friends were really gong ho (sic) green berets. You would have been prod (sic) of them with guns blazing away…..real John Wayne types."

"…these two went by the book, there were real warriors, you would have been prod (sic) of them."


"But they died like worms," as Robideau claims at first, would imply to any reasonable person that somehow Agents' Coler and Williams died a less than honorable death. The "worms" reference suggests that perhaps something happened during those last minutes when Robideau, Butler and Peltier arrived at the agents' vehicles, that something was said or done which would disparage them, making them something less than human.

On the other hand, Robideau goes on to suggest that the final moments were something out of a wild-west movie, with the wounded agents-guns still in their hands, blazing away until the final shots were exchanged.

Before believing this second scenario the reader is asked again to look at the map of the Jumping Bull area. In addition to the well-established fact that after the agents were wounded they did not return any more fire, there was also nothing to indicate that Robideau, Butler or Peltier were wearing, for instance, bullet-proof vests or protection of any kind. On the contrary, according to testimony Robideau was wearing a brown cowhide vest and dark blue ski mask with eye holes.11

To make it painfully apparent to Robideau and everyone else even minimally familiar with this matter;

At no time during the testimony at either trial, in Matthiessen's treatment of the case in "Spirit," nor by Peltier's attorneys in any of the many subsequent appeals, nor any other statements made by those personally involved, or by those who have reviewed the details of the shootout, nor in Redford's Incident at Oglala, was there even the slightest hint or suggestion that after Agents Coler and Williams were wounded, that they continued shooting.

So again, to make Robideau's claims crystal clear, he wants us to believe that he traversed these hundred or more yards of open field-perhaps ducking and zigzagging like Audie Murphy-to reach the agent's vehicles while Coler and Williams fired back "with guns blazing away" like "John Wayne."

Not hardly.

This claim is no more valid than the lie he told in "Incident." Readers are encouraged to watch Incident at Oglala and observe Robideau preening for the camera, pointing off into the distance, and proclaiming,

"…(Mr. X)…fired and killed both of them. Shortly after that the individual got back into the driver's side of the pickup, and the pickup left, and made its way up along this tree line up here (Robideau still pointing) and past the green house, and I never saw the red pickup again."

Quite the contrary. After the agents were wounded and down, they ceased returning fire and the shooting from them stopped.12 Then, Peltier, Robideau and Butler went down to the agent's vehicles.13

Concerned individuals need only ask Robideau which version of his story we should believe.


However, Robideau's contribution to the Peltier debate is significant. By making these claims at all, by reaffirming his presence and placing himself there at those critical moments, even through convoluted and conflicting accounts, he validates the testimony and verdict at Peltier's trial.


The Bright Line:

Sometime past noon that day, after Jack Coler and Ron Williams were seriously wounded and no longer able to defend themselves, a bright line was drawn between the agents, and Peltier and the others.

This was a line that should never have been crossed because the whole concept of Peltier, Robideau and Butler's claim to self-defense, now ceased to exist. At those distances, Jack Coler and Ron Williams could no longer be perceived as a threat to anyone; especially to those who had wounded them. For Peltier or the others there was no impending peril.

No matter how the Cedar Rapids trial stretched the concept of self-defense, no one at that point was in peril, especially Peltier and the others, who were at a significant distance from the wounded Coler and Williams. Peltier could have immediately retreated into the hills, as they eventually did, leaving the agents to either succumb to their injuries or be rescued by responding agents and police. But instead, as testimony showed, they crossed that bright line-forgoing any shred of decency-and descended upon the prostrate agents like jackals. No matter what their final motivation was, the agents were murdered; and as the remorseless Robideau clarifies for all of us, they were "shot in the head at close range."

As the NPPA has previously stated, at this point it matters little who made the final, fatal shots to the faces of the injured agents; whether it was Peltier, Robideau and Butler each taking one shot apiece, or more likely, Peltier killing the agents himself. They were there, as further verified by Robideau's recent statements, as he foolishly pretends to re-write the trial history but clearly verifies what they had done; they aided and abetted each other in this final ultimate cowardly crime.15 No reasonable person, no matter how ardent a supporter of Peltier, could consider these actions justifiable as self-defense. Whether the three initially had murder, or larceny, in their hearts, they had to believe that dead men make poor witnesses. But the dead speak to us, from those horrid autopsy photographs of their final injuries and Ron Williams' voice overheard on the Bureau radio. Ron Williams' is pointing a finger at each of them from the grave.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
No Parole Peltier Association

Addendum: January 12, 2008
Please see the following NPPA editorial essay:
Factual Guilt and Actual Guilt - Leonard Peltier

1 The term "Bright Line" is borrowed from a concept offered by former FBI Director, Louis J. Freeh. Director Freeh coined this phrase to emphasize that when it came to matters concerning the fidelity and integrity of the agent population that there was no confusion regarding what is the right course to follow and proper action to take. In this instance that bright line clearly separated Agents Coler and Willilams from the actions of Peltier, Robideau and Butler.

2 Steven H. Gifis, Law dictionary (New York: Baron's Educational Series, Inc., 1975) 190.

3 This possible narrative is based on all the available information surrounding the shootout and murders of Special Agents' Jack Coler and Ron Williams, June 26, 1975, at Pine Ridge, SD.

4 Trial of Leonard Peltier; Summation by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Crooks: "He (Agent Williams) still had lots of ammo, ammo in the front seat of the car, several boxes of it. The defense themselves brought that out. He had plenty of ammo." For a further discussion of the initial shooting, please see:

5 Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Penguin Books, 1991) 157. Throughout his extensive research, Matthiessen had the benefit of being able to interview most of those involved in this incident. It is reasonable to assume from his reporting that Agent Williams' attempt to surrender ("Perhaps he waved it [his shirt] as a white flag of surrender…") was related to him during at least some of those interviews. Had this not been the case, noting that Matthiessen reported most of what he was told, it would not have been included within the text. It is reasonable to conclude that this-waving of the shirt, did, in fact, happen. This was not a random inclusion of facts by Matthiessen, it had a purpose. For a further discussion of the initial shooting, please see:

6 Rota (Last name omitted), personal interview at Scottsdale, AZ., November 11, 2004. This individual, a girlfriend of Ron Williams, provided information concerning Ron's personal feelings about his Rapid City assignment as well as his immediate and future plans.

7 Jim Messerschmidt, The Trial of Leonard Peltier (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1983) 39. (Author's note: This book was actually a reprint, containing an afterward updating it to 1989.) Messerschmidt's treatment of the Peltier trial is sophomoric, displaying a fundamental lack of understanding of investigative process and the criminal justice system. Messerschmidt repeatedly supplants his own judgment for that of not only the government, but every witness, the jury, judges and the entire appellate process. There are many examples, too many to discuss here; however, Messeschmidt sets the tone and bias of his research by stating at the outset, "This book is written for Leonard" and, in each instance where he reviews any government evidence or testimony categorizes that information as "alleged." (However, Messerschmidt has since received a Ph.D; perhaps Dr. Messerschmidt may now have a better understanding of the process since his 1983 Peltier treatise, although, his bio does not reveal any practical experience or endeavors beyond the academic setting.) Messerschmidt devotes considerable text to the trial issue of the red pickup truck that became what amounted to a defense tactic, a diversion. Certainly, as Messerschmidt points out repeatedly, there were conflicts in the statements concerning the exact description of the vehicle Agent Coler and Williams followed that day, and other possible similar suspect vehicles that were in and around the Jumping Bull area that morning. (Please see the end of this section, for a further discussion about the description and appearance of this vehicle.) It is understandable that during times of duress, witnesses, even experienced police and investigators, may not hear or see things exactly the same, which accounts for some minor differences. (Would it have not been out of the ordinary if each agent's and BIA officer's account of what they saw or heard, was identical? That indeed would have been highly suspect.) What is most glaring about Messerschmidt's research is what he omitted, deliberately perhaps, and whether, to paraphrase his own words-it did not fit conveniently into his case against the government. Granted, at the time of the initial printing of this book in 1983, perhaps Messerschmidt did not know about the Mr. X alibi offered by Peltier and Robert Robideau, but certainly by 1989, while offering readers the afterward for this edition, the details were well known and spreading quickly. Yet, Mr. X, a blatant lie offered for years by Peltier, is never mentioned. But if Messerschmidt did not know the Mr. X story by 1989, it would be interesting to see how he would handle explaining that lie today. (This is not unlike Peltier's own treatment of the infamous red pickup truck and the murderous Mr.X in his own book, Prison Writings. Peltier handled it by never mentioning either of these two very important details.)

8 Please see, excerpted here: There are several specific examples on the issue of aiding and abetting, but as late as June 2000 Peltier granted a number of interviews with the media prior to his upcoming parole review hearing. He stated, for public consumption, "Then they claimed I was in prison for aiding and abetting but I was never prosecuted for aiding and abetting, I was prosecuted for first degree murder. Well that's what the eighth circuit court of appeals is now saying, yes. But again, I was never prosecuted for aiding and abetting, so how can I be serving time for aiding and abetting?"27 Yet, the legal history of Peltier's case has repeatedly proven the contrary. He was indeed, indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, tried in Federal Court, convicted during a jury trial, and ultimately sentenced for federal violations that included aiding and abetting. On appeal, he was even chided by the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, which stated that his arguments on this issue were "…fatally flawed."28 (Footnote 28 follows) The government's case against Peltier includes (many) court decisions, an indictment, trial, and an evidentiary hearing. The issue regarding a statement made by the federal prosecutor in subsequent oral arguments before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was challenged on the argument that the government had conceded that it had abandoned one of the two base's of Peltier's trial conviction. The decision addressing this issue is contained in PELTIER v. HENMEN, cite as 997 F. 2d 461 (8th Cir. 1993), page 485, section II, paragraph 2: "Peltier's arguments fail because their underlying premises are fatally flawed. (A) The Government tried the case on alternative theories; it asserted that Peltier personally killed the agents at point blank range, but that if he had not done so, then he was equally guilty of the murder as an aider and abettor." The complete text of this and the remaining decisions are available at Further, readers are invited to view the FBI's wanted poster, Identification order #4681, dated December 3, 1975: Clicking on this poster to enlarge it, clearly reveals that Peltier was being sought for Aiding and Abetting.

9 The climate on Pine Ridge during this period was the result of many cultural, historical and social issues, each converging in what can arguably be called a Reign of Terror, which left many innocent people caught in the middle. For a detailed review of the deaths attributed to this period, please see:

10 Trial of Leonard Peltier; Summation by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Crooks: "What other explanation is there as to how these people got up on this man who was trained in firearms and killed him at point blank range unless he surrendered?"

11 Matthiessen 332.

12 Trial of Leonard Peltier; Summation by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Crooks: "Special Agent Coler was out of commission, but Special Agent Williams wasn't completely. He still had his pistol. He still had lots of ammo, ammo in the front seat of the car, several boxes of it. The defense themselves brought that out. He had plenty of ammo. He has got three, four firearms, got one good arm, the arm that Leonard Peltier destroyed at the time of the killing. He still had one good arm, could have fired at least the pistol. What other explanation is there as to how these people got up on this man who was trained in firearms and killed him at point blank range unless he surrendered? There is none. It is in an open area. You have seen the mock up . You have seen the diagram. Nobody could have gotten close to him. Perhaps he was completely distracted, that's possible, but I think it is more likely to assume that at that point, with his friend dying, seriously disabled himself, he can't run, he simply surrendered. There is no indication that anybody was shot as they came down the hill to finish the deed.

13 Testimony of Michael Anderson at Peltier's trial: (Q) All right. Now, did you have an occasion to at a later time look down to where the two men at the bottom of the hill were? (A) Yes. (Q) And what did you see at that particular time, the second time you looked down the hill. (A) One of them was hit. (Q) Do you remember anything about the looks of the two? (A) One had no shirt on. (Q) One of them had no shirt on. You said one of them was hit. How do you know one of them was hit? (A) I don't know. I guess the guy with the shirt off was trying to help him, bandage him up or something. (Q) Were both men standing at this particular time? (A) One was… (Q) (By Mr. Hultman) Now when is the next time that you looked down to where the agents' cars were? What did you see at the next time you looked down to the agents' cars? (A) Nobody. (Q) Was anything going on at that time? (A) No. (Q) Did you see any individuals down at the agents' cars at any time? (A) Yes. (Q) And tell us who it was you saw at the agents' cars. (A) Butler, Robideau and Peltier. (Q) And did they have weapons with them? (A) Yes. (Author's note: There has been considerable debate and discussion by Peltier, his supporters and the LPDC about the credibility of government witnesses. But readers are reminded that at no time had Peltier criticized the abilities of any of the attorneys who had represented him over the years. Quite the contrary, Peltier had a capable, experienced and aggressive defense team every step of the way. What this means is that these attorneys had every opportunity to challenge, before the jury, the credibility of each government witness. They had every chance to discredit or impeach these witnesses so that the jury could decide how much veracity and weight they would attach to the sworn testimony. It was up to the jury to decide which statements or versions of events they chose to accept as fact. After hearing all the testimony, they decided Peltier was guilty.

14 The crime scene photographs of the bodies of Agents Coler and Williams, as they were initially discovered (and which will not be shown on the NPPA website), indicate that the agents were probably moved at least a short distance to perhaps be hidden behind Jack Coler's Bureau vehicle, and were placed side-by-side in the mud, face down. This may have been either a final insult to the murdered agents, as in Indian folklore that a defeated warrior is turned face down to the Earth so he will not meet his maker in the afterlife, or, Peltier, Butler and Robideau did not have the guts to continue to view their blood-deed as they stole the agents' weapons and ransacked their vehicles.

15 Peltier further clarified that he understands the meaning of Aiding and Abetting. In a December 5, 2003 statement concerning the upcoming trial of Arlo Looking Cloud for the 1975 kidnapping and murder of AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash, he stated "Those responsible for her death, whether they pulled the trigger or not, must surely suffer strongly from their own fears as to want someone as her no longer among the living" (Emphasis added). Peltier does understand, that whether (he) pulled the trigger or not, he's still just as guilty.

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Media Manipulation & Peltier's Legal Team: Uncontrollable Paranoia
April 3, 2005

On February 25, 2005 Leonard Peltier's Legal Team published an essay entitled "Injustice against Leonard Peltier: The role of media manipulation."

Peltier's Legal Team's (PLT) thesis is to prove that the government and the FBI are manipulating the media to prevent any reasonable efforts to gain Leonard Peltier's freedom. They begin with a cursory review of the 1970's Church Committee as it related to the then defunct Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). They provide specific examples of that program, but oddly enough, none of which relate to either the American Indian Movement (AIM) or Peltier; their historical examples fail to support the contention that there is a "continuing media manipulation." They also, without any personal knowledge, draw flawed conclusions about certain events; events about which this writer does have personal knowledge.

One would think that if the PLT had specific references to AIM and Peltier in relation to that program, they would offer it to their supporters.

The PLT wants outsiders to believe a link still exists between recent criticism of AIM and negative press reports about Peltier to a program that ended on April 28, 1971,1 and that according to them "…this tactic continues to be used against Peltier today." But they fail to offer any genuine or specific facts to support this claim as they then leap ahead some twenty-plus years to President Clinton and the clemency issue to help make their case.


The singularly central premise of the power to grant clemency or pardon on the federal level belongs exclusively to one person, the President, and no one else, as uniquely granted by Article 2, Section 2(1) of the U.S. Constitution. The President, as the founding fathers envisioned, was granted exclusive power of extending mercy to citizens who, in his judgment, had paid their debt to society. This power is absolute and not subject to judicial or congressional review. The mechanism for review by the U.S. Department of Justice Pardon Attorney is to accept the applications, gather pertinent facts and provide them, along with a recommendation to the President. During his first term, President Clinton made it clear he would not necessarily follow that normal process by announcing "…he might depart from the consistent practice of his predecessors of relying on the Attorney General's advice in clemency matters."2 Which he undoubtedly did: Just ask Leonard and a fellow named Marc Rich.3

The PLT uses words like intensive, bizarre and alarmingly to describe certain events:

"In 1999-2000, an intensive campaign was launched - supported by Native and human rights organizations, members of Congress, community and church groups, labor organizations, luminaries, and celebrities. The Peltier case became a national issue." (Emphasis added)

Not quite a national issue as they would have hoped, but it was a newsworthy item nonetheless, as clemency became more acute closing in on the President's final days in office. They are correct, the campaign was intensive, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) pulled out all the stops and made no secret about it, garnering every type of influence they could muster. Not that they were heading in the right direction all the time with whom they were trying to impress, although, they were still trying to make their case with the same tired folklore that had surrounded Peltier for the past two decades; all the myths and fabrications were still there. They were faced though with one serious hurdle; when President Clinton had earlier visited Pine Ridge and saw people holding signs, he was prompted to ask, "Who's Leonard Peltier?"4

All this effort, obviously, was directed at one person, and one person alone, Bill Clinton. No one else really mattered, although it was apparent, through eight years of his tenure, that the President did pay attention to public opinion. Whether he listened to that advice, or how much of it he took into consideration, is a matter for the history books.

The Peltier campaign was having its effect though; at least a couple of people at the White House Christmas party that December were wearing "Free Peltier" buttons.5

The PLT provides some broad complaints against public statements opposing clemency from government (particularly Department of Justice and FBI) personnel and highlight two significant events; a newspaper ad and a gathering in front of the White House.

They describe a November 3, 1999 advertisement in the Washington Post as "…intended to mislead the public and obstruct full and fair consideration of Peltier's parole and clemency requests with statements that were inappropriate, inaccurate, deceptive, and inflammatory." The PLT doesn't specify what those distortions may have been, but the entire article can be read here. Interested readers can judge for themselves.6 They also accuse the No Parole Peltier Association of the same tactic by claiming that the NPPA is "…dedicated to denying a fair consideration of Mr. Peltier's requests for parole." That's an odd statement coming from attorneys who may really believe that the U.S. parole authorities would actually care what the NPPA, or the LPDC for that matter, publishes on the Internet about Peltier or anyone else. What the PLT fails to grasp, however, is that since April, 2000, the NPPA's "…central focus (has been) to review and analyze public statements made by Leonard Peltier which further indicate his guilt, and to provide interested readers and researchers with a another view, long missing from the public debate, of this very serious matter." And in that mission the NPPA has been very successful.

Then the PLT uses another strange word:

But nothing was more bizarre than the event of December 15, 2000. In an unprecedented event, over 500 FBI agents marched in front of the White House to oppose clemency for Leonard Peltier. The agents claimed to be exercising their First Amendment rights and argued they were acting as private citizens on their own time despite the fact that this march took place during standard business hours. FBI agents are law enforcement officers, it should be remembered. As such, they are generally considered to be always on duty. They also are officers of the court and on ethical grounds should have refrained from out-of-court communication, verbal or otherwise.

We have to wonder which of the first year law classes the PLT attorneys missed in order to arrive at these irrational conclusions, unless of course, they are speaking metaphorically; which doesn't appear to be the case

First, a minor point; there were more than five hundred; estimates placed the number closer to eight hundred, and it wasn't unprecedented. On the same day as the December 15th assembly, some three hundred agents and law enforcement officials gathered at the behest of the Mayor of Miami to dedicate that day to the memory of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Both mothers of the fallen agents spoke over a telephone speaker connection to those gathered to thank them for their continued support for the memory of their murdered sons.

Furthermore, there was no "claim" by the agents to be exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and free speech. They were in fact doing just that, just as the U.S. Constitution grants to every citizen, whether law enforcement, attorney, or otherwise. Even if, for instance, the PLT tried to make an argument that the agents were violating the Hatch Act, they would fail there on legal grounds as well.7 This wasn't a political gathering; it was, as it had been for every Peltier supported assembly, the right of citizens to express their views in public on certain issues. Everyone was there legally and no one was subject to disciplinary action. (As for this writer, he took annual leave, purchased an expensive airline ticket and proudly was permitted to walk at the very front of the line.) The procession, by the way, was more than dignified. Men and women is business attire, many of them veterans, no chanting, or ranting or bizarre signs of the type that accompany Peltier demonstrations, but a silent procession to the White house where petitions with thousands of signatures were left for the President.

But the real problem with the PLT analysis is to invoke that the agents in attendance that day were "officers of the court," and based on that premise were prohibited from being there on "ethical grounds" and "should have refrained from out-of-court communication, verbal or otherwise." Perhaps the PLT should reexamine what was happening that day: Remember President Clinton? He was the person who needed to hear that there were two sides to the Peltier story beyond the folklore rhetoric bantered about for two decades and countering Peltier's fabrications and lies about what had happened at Pine Ridge. So the question for the learned attorneys is this; what "court" exactly are they talking about? Certainly no judicial body, remembering again that clemency is an exclusive right of one person, the President, and not subject to review by the courts or congress.

But there was a court of sorts; the court of public opinion, and that's what this was all about and why Peltier supporters were so shaken by this event. It was also with some small irony that President Clinton proclaimed December 15, 2000 as "Bill of Rights Day," and as the PLT is aware, the beginning of that document is the First Amendment.8 For the first time, other citizens were standing to be heard. And heard they were. That night the NPPA website had over 5,000 visits.

But therein lies the distinction and the heart of the PLT's analysis: It's permissible, according to the PLT, and by extension, the LPDC, to conduct an "intensive campaign" to voice, in public, their opinion on the Peltier matter. However, those who oppose Peltier in public are suddenly scorned and criticized and acting, in some odd fashion, illegally.

It is at least comforting to see that the PLT did not invoke the same absurd arguments as a previous Peltier attorney during the clemency period. That attorney actually referred to December 15th as "armed forces marching" as if there were a coup in progress, and instilling "outright terror" in "our government leadership." 9

But it's here that the PLT goes beyond any logical reasoning and slips slowly into a kind of paranoia that is difficult to understand. The PLT claims that the December 15th event received air time on "all the major television networks," but then go on to say "There appeared to have been a news blackout, however, with regard to the event five days earlier when THOUSANDS of people marched in support of Leonard Peltier in front of the United Nations building in New York City."

A "news blackout"?

Just imagine what the PLT is suggesting; that some massively insidious conspiracy was working to prevent any reporting of that particular event. Actually there was press coverage, but perhaps the PLT is just pumping up the Peltier myth and grossly exaggerating the event.10 Or would it be of any minor significance to the PLT that December 10, 2000 just happened to be the widely recognized International Human Rights Day? Or even that their own President, whom they were trying desperately to sway in Peltier's favor, also proclaimed December 10th as Human Rights day in America? But the PLT would like us to believe there were thousands at the United Nations demonstrating for Peltier. Not likely, but perhaps a handful of pro-Peltier signs. Or maybe we can just add this to the Peltier folklore.

The PLT believes "all the above tactics proved successful." But, they're wrong. All that aside, the reality is that only three people know exactly why President Clinton decided not to pardon Peltier and it had nothing at all to do with any of the valiant efforts of Peltier supporters or of agents who believed in Peltier's guilt and were willing to exercise their rights and voice an opinion. It was far less dramatic, more subtle, and not at all melodramatic. The President, an attorney himself, listened to reasoned counsel and understood the facts. He recognized Peltier's guilt and decided that he was not worthy of clemency.

Of course, a frustrated Peltier, when not granted clemency, called President Clinton a sleazebag.

Peltier's chances for executive clemency are now close to nonexistent with President Bush.12 Other legal avenues have all led to proverbial dead-ends, and now the last remaining vestige of hope, a public parole hearing in 2008, promises to be a spectacle.


But these examples are merely a prelude to an immense leap of faith the PLT expects from its adherents. They excoriate the federal prosecutors in last year's trial of Arlo Looking Cloud who was convicted for his participation in the gangland style murder of AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash in December, 1975. They complain that the trial was more about the denigration of AIM and Peltier than it was about the specific facts relating to Looking Clouds' complicity. Much of the testimony resulted in media attention that they believed was unfavorable to AIM and Peltier.

Perhaps the PLT unintentionally segued past the basics as they present a sophomoric analysis of a criminal trial: The government presents its case, for better or worse, the defense presents its case and attempts to shatter the government's testimony and evidence, and then the jury sorts it all out; the jury places more weight on some evidence and testimony than others, and then renders a decision. Perhaps the jury saw the bigger picture, and certainly recognized Looking Cloud's guilt. And, while all this transpires, the press reports to the public what was happening. But in this instance the PLT believes that the media coverage sounded "alarmingly similar" to those media reports leading up to the Clinton clemency period. But what the PLT fails to do is either be rational or specific. Again, they offer no examples, but sweeping, meaningless, unsupported-bizarre-allegations.

Perhaps, and finally, the AIM luster, created by those who attribute warrior status to overt criminal activities in the name of their People, and the convoluted trail of Peltier's feigned innocence, has reached the breaking point. People, and even the media, may finally be seeing through the smoke screen.


One has to wonder who the PLT's target audience is supposed to be with essays such as this one. It would appear to be the myopic, extremist fringe element who accepts the Peltier myth as if it were the Gospel according to Saint Peter (Mattiessen).

If the ranting of all the members of Peltier's legal team on this issue really point to some multifaceted conspiracy to "destroy support for Peltier and prevent his release on parole in 2008," they failed to prove their case. These obviously mature, experienced, and educated attorneys have careened down the slippery slope of uncontrollable paranoia (while perhaps surrounded in their offices by dark shadows), but neglected to bring with them some facts.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

1 Athan G. Theoharis, The FBI: A comprehensive reference guide (New York: Checkmark Books, 2000) 374.

2 Statement of Margaret Colgate Love [Pardon Attorney, 1990-97], Hearing on Presidential Pardons, Senate Judiciary Committee, February 14, 2001. University of Pittsburgh School of Law,

3 Not to overly politicize this issue, but the Marc Rich pardon was, in this writer's opinion, the low-point of the Clinton presidency. Marc Rich was indicted in the Southern District of New York on multiple counts for evading $48,000,000 of corporate taxes on $100,000,000 worth of domestic crude oil income and running illegal oil deals with Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis. He fled to Switzerland where he was a fugitive for seventeen years. He was never brought to justice to face the charges against him. His former wife Denise Rich, a Clinton confidant and benefactor had been documented as donating large sums of money to both the Clintons ($450,000 for the Clinton library, $70,000 to Hilary Clinton's senate campaign) and $1,000,000 to the Democratic Party, etc. She also lobbied heavily for Marc Rich's pardon and was reportedly a frequent guest in the Lincoln bedroom. President Clinton subverted, in the worst possible way, the very foundations of American jurisprudence. Even the dignified former President, Jimmy Carter, characterized this act as "disgraceful." Sources:,,8599,99302,00.html.

4  Quote from Leonard Peltier, Boulder Weekly, March 9,2000.

5 Told to this writer by a reliable source who cannot be divulged.

6 For those even remotely familiar with the facts surrounding the murder of Jack Coler and Ron Williams, the Washington Post advertisement simply states, in narrative form, the salient facts surrounding their deaths.

7 "The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government, District of Columbia government and some state and local employees who work in connection with federally funded programs. In 1993, Congress passed legislation that significantly amended the Hatch Act as it applies to federal and D.C. employees (5 U.S.C. §§ 7321-7326). (These amendments did not change the provisions that apply to state and local employees. 5 U.S.C. §§ 1501- 1508.) Under the amendments most federal and D.C. employees are now permitted to take an active part in political management and political campaigns. A small group of federal employees are subject to greater restrictions and continue to be prohibited from engaging in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns." (Emphasis added)

8 Excerpt from President Clinton's Human Rights Proclamation: "NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 2000, as Human Rights Day; December 15, 2000, as Bill of Rights Day; and the week beginning December 10, 2000, as Human Rights Week. I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate these observances with appropriate activities, ceremonies, and programs that demonstrate our national commitment to the Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and promotion and protection of human rights for all people."

9 (Portions excerpted here) The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) offered a public statement entitled "Day of Shame" to describe President Clinton's denial of clemency to Leonard Peltier… The unsigned public statement apparently does not come from Peltier himself but is presumed to be authored by Ms. Jennifer Harbury, an attorney. It was the same Ms. Harbury who characterized the December 15, 2000, rally by FBI employees in Washington D.C. as "armed forces marching." Clemency: Ms. Harbury twice demands an explanation from the President. Neither Ms. Harbury nor Leonard Peltier are entitled, or in a position, to demand anything from the former President; they assume a stature to which they are not entitled. President Clinton was the LPDC's single focus for the past year and every effort was made to bring Peltier to the President's personal attention, and they were successful. President Clinton said in the weeks before the inauguration that he had the application and would make a decision one way or the other. And he did. As a lawyer and U.S. President, he knows the law very well and had access to the entire record. He apparently believed that Peltier was factually guilty, notwithstanding all the notoriety surrounding his case. Another important consideration was whether Peltier deserved the forgiveness that clemency implies. In that regard perhaps the President did not believe so when he heard that Peltier had publicly insulted him.

Ms. Harbury goes even further. In a separate email on January 20, 2001, she stated that the LPDC's efforts to secure clemency were "…somehow…not enough to outweigh the outright terror the FBI was able to instill in our government leadership." Apparently, Ms. Harbury must have been too preoccupied over the last eight years and failed to notice that there was one aspect of President Clinton's personality that was consistent; nobody intimidates Bill Clinton. If Ms. Harbury paid the least bit of attention to the Clinton years she could have answered her own argument: If Bill Clinton was terrorized, or pushed around by anyone, he would have pushed back, and if that were the case, he probably (notwithstanding the facts of the Peltier case) would have made his decision out of spite, and freed Peltier. It was no secret that he was not happy with the FBI Director's challenge to the Attorney General regarding the special prosecutor issues, and clearly Bill Clinton is very well liked and favors the Hollywood crowd; two very real reasons why he would have granted clemency. But he did not. The logic is that he made his decision on the facts. Peltier is guilty, and the President saw it himself.

10 For the past five years, since April 30, 2000, the NPPA has been following reports by the LPDC of every demonstration related to Peltier. At no time were there ever, thousands, of people gathered to support him. To the contrary the groups have been rather small and diverse. The annual rally in Tacoma, Washington appears to be the largest event, consisting of perhaps a hundred or more, not thousands. And as has been observed at many other Peltier demonstrations, it's not just about Peltier. There are always signs in support of other fashionably notorious individuals, including the other infamous murderer, Mumia Abu Jamal. The PLT's reference to the United Nations demonstration is exaggerated. Even in a city the size of New York it would be a task to find thousands of people who have even heard of Leonard Peltier, let alone who would demonstrate on his behalf. The United Nations is a popular target for demonstrations relating to any number of world social issues. If there were thousands there that day, they were not all there for Leonard Peltier.

11 "Excerpt from President Clinton's Human Rights Proclamation: NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 2000, as Human Rights Day; December 15, 2000, as Bill of Rights Day; and the week beginning December 10, 2000, as Human Rights Week. I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate these observances with appropriate activities, ceremonies, and programs that demonstrate our national commitment to the Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and promotion and protection of human rights for all people."

12  President Bush has only granted thirty-nine pardons and commutations since taking office, far less, on average, than other Presidents. Source: Although this writer is not a proponent of capital punishment (albeit for different reasons), we should remember the case of Carla Fay Tucker who then Texas Governor Bush allowed to be executed in the run up to the 2000 election. Tucker, a troubled, drug dependent teen in the clutches of an older manipulative sociopath, participated in the brutal murder of two innocent people. In the intervening seventeen years she had been completely rehabilitated and was making considerable contributions to the moral support other female inmates who came from similar troubled backgrounds. In this writer's opinion, her life should have been spared.

No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) 5th Anniversary Statement: April 30, 2005

Dear NPPA Supporters,

The first five years have passed rather quickly.

Although there are isolated pockets of support for Peltier, the past few years have seen a steady erosion of that support, a desertion of many of those responsible for his network, Robideau resigned as an international spokesman and for some odd reason, signed on again. Surprisingly, Peltier even had him back - a reflection perhaps of desperate measures, especially since Robideau, (willing as always to say exactly what's on his mind - no matter how damning it may be to the cause), has provided even more proof of Peltier's (and his own) ultimate guilt.

Some supporters are more vocal than others, but no more effective. Foreign factions claim signatures of somewhat marginal celebrities, which in the grand scheme of things has no real effect on the conduct of universal public opinion or legal proceedings in the United States. Their problem is a failure to recognize that no one, except fringe groups, cares about those efforts.

The NPPA set the record straight last year over the LPDC's fabrication of the "old cowboy boots" story by verifying exactly what happened, provided greater scrutiny of Peltier's finances and examined the Peltier Legal Team's personal view of alleged media manipulation.

The fact remains that mainstream Native America could care less about Leonard Peltier. They recognize Peltier offers nothing to further any gains by the Native American community. Peltier is an anathema, a symbol of what didn't work and they understand that they can be far more effective by working intelligently within the system to create meaningful change.

On the legal front, Peltier's dauntless attorneys engage in evermore redundant, often frivolous, legal machinations.

Although Peltier's fifteen minutes of fame lasted longer than expected, it ebbed long ago, even the brief resurgence in the period leading to Bill Clinton's departure from office and the clemency issue, quickly passed. In the real world, Peltier has become a cliché and is steadily vanishing into his own myth. Only the fringe elements pay him any mind at all.

I remain,

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams,"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

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M. Wesley Swearingen: No longer supports Leonard Peltier: May 30, 2005

(See June 20, 2008 updated addendum below: "Why does anyone have to know who actually fired the fatal shots? "I can assure you that if I had been in such a shoot-out there would have been a hell of a lot of dead Indians." "Peltier is a joke, as is Bob Robideau.")

A dialogue between the NPPA and M. Wesley Swearingen was precipitated by a quote that appeared on the Peltier Legal Team and Leonard Peltier Defense Committee websites. The quote stated that Leonard Peltier was "wrongfully convicted."

By way of a brief background, Wes Swearingen served two years in the United States Navy, 1945-46, graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Business Administration and entered the FBI in May, 1951 at the fairly young age of twenty-four. After completing the FBI Academy he served in several field offices: Memphis for one year, Chicago, July 1952 to January, 1963, with a break in service between June, 1960 and May, 1961, Louisville, including the Paintsville and London Resident Agencies between 1963 and 1968, New York, 1968 to May, 1970, and Los Angeles from May, 1970, (with an assignment to the "racial squad" between December, 1971 through August, 1973), until his retirement on May 20, 1977.

In 1995, his book, FBI Secrets; An Agent's Exposé was published, within which he severely criticized the FBI and its Counterintelligence Program (Cointelpro).

A careful review of Exposé occasionally raises more questions than it answers, however, in deference to Wes Swearingen, he stated that the publisher, South End Press, reduced his manuscript from 400 to 200 pages and "literally butchered" his book by removing important details and deleting vital information. He also wanted to have Ward Churchill's introduction removed from subsequent reprints of the book.

As severe as his criticism of the Bureau may be, there is a significant difference however between Wes Swearingen and the many others who attack the FBI; unlike them, he speaks from personal knowledge and experience which lends validity and credibility to his claims.

But the nexus of our discussion was the history of Peltier's case.

A lengthy dialogue began on February 1, 2005 with a series of letters and emails as we discussed various aspects of the Peltier case and the murder of two young FBI agents. We focused on much of the folklore which enhances the Peltier myth and significant public statements made by Peltier, Dino Butler and Robert Robideau. For the moment we were able to set aside Bureau issues and concentrate on the matter of Peltier's guilt and culpability.

That dialogue ended with a request for him to reconsider his previous quote and perhaps ask that it be removed from the Peltier supported websites.

After, no doubt, careful consideration of the facts, he did just that, no longer lends his support to the campaign to free Peltier, and believes that Peltier should remain in Leavenworth for his participation in the brutal murders of Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

Wes Swearingen has proven himself to be a gentleman and a man of his word.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

ADDENDUM: UPDATE June 20, 2008
As stated in the editorial essay above, the process that led Swearingen to properly explore the facts surrounding Peltier's guilt began in early 2005 with a series of letters and emails discussing various aspects of the Peltier case and the murder of Agents Coler and Williams.

However, in May 2008, with what began as a simple gesture to wish Swearingen a happy birthday and asking a simple question regarding a completely unrelated* matter, he replied with a disjointed tirade and segued back to Peltier, which was not the issue at hand.

Swearingen was attempting an about-face on his conclusion concerning Peltier's guilt by stating:

It is quite possible that Peltier was no where around and that Peltier was framed just like Geronimo Pratt was framed...

In order to set the record absolutely straight and avoid any and all confusion, the link below sets out all the correspondence between the NPPA and Swearingen as he is finally made aware of the facts of the case and came to his own conclusion that Peltier was in fact serving the sentence he deserved for the murder of Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

The reader is invited to come to his or her own conclusion about Swearingen's initial change of heart regarding Peltier's guilt. Swearingen was even provided with Editorial Essay #28, which he endorsed, before it was added to the NPPA website. This was done to make it abundantly clear that he was coming to his own independent judgment and conclusion about Peltier's guilt and continued incarceration.

Please see the entire exchange here.

(Please note that certain personal and third party information, unrelated to the Peltier issue and Swearingen, has been redacted; certain key statements have been highlighted for easy reference.)

(Please also note that one of Swearingen's opinions is blaming the FBI for culpability surrounding the deaths of Agents Coler and Williams. Swearingen is entitled to his opinion in that regard but it does not alter the facts surrounding the deaths of Agents Coler and Williams.)

*The 'unrelated matter' mentioned above concerned a book that Swearingen had recently completed and was available on Amazon.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

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30th Anniversary of the murder of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams: June 26, 2005

Thirty years-three decades-have passed since FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams crossed paths with Leonard Peltier in an isolated corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota.

What happened in those final moments, although the subject of intense scrutiny and judicial review, remains mired in emotion and is only known with absolute certainty to five people. Leonard Peltier insists he didn't kill the agents, but has altered his account too many times to be credible. Robert Robideau said he killed the agents, but all he really did was establish that he was there. Dino Butler has remained relatively silent. Jack Coler and Ron Williams are dead.

Much of the public attention since that eventful day has come in brief waves of publicity, cresting in the lead up to President Clinton's departure from office as one issue or another brings Peltier to the public's attention. But those days are past and Peltier has had his allotted fifteen minutes of fame, and perhaps just a few more. His network is in shambles, they are nearly out on the street in Lawrence, Kansas, the websites remain nearly dormant or shut down, legal maneuverings remain ineffective, a recent Washington D.C. rally garnered just a handful of fringe loyalists, and what Peltier passes as artwork doesn't sell. His own statements have been infrequent and ineffective to attract any additional support. Instead, he remains a lightning rod for conflict and dissent and a reminder to most that his kind of tactics, in the long run, do not work. Peltier is no longer newsworthy within Indian Country, Hollywood causes, and especially in Middle America.

The "Oglala Commemoration Event" began ostensibly as a solemn occasion to recognize the loss on both sides from that turbulent period at Pine Ridge and to perhaps seek understanding and move towards continuing reconciliation. Instead, this year's event has turned into a Peltier pep rally and a shameful example of misdirected interests.

Peltier's thinly veiled support network in Europe can be seen for what it really is, a continued effort at America-bashing, all the while using Peltier as the straw dog.

Peltier wisely (no doubt on the advice of counsel) waived his parole review hearing last year. He didn't want any more negative publicity during the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. But the final chapter in that saga remains to be written once John Graham stands trial. Whether this deed ultimately leads back to Peltier remains to be seen. The next review hearing in 2006 will doubtless be a non-event. The public hearing for 2008, however, may generate some additional attention; and the NPPA will be there.

As long as Peltier remains even a minor issue, and for whatever amount of time that may take, the NPPA will respond to Peltier and the LPDC's distortions. Their every word defames the memory and disparages the loss of two young men who were brutally murdered in the line of duty.

Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

Media Coverage: 30th Anniversary. Please see the following links:

Denver Post - "30 years after Pine Ridge killings, Peltier case becomes 'dead issue.'"
Forest Hills Journal - "I know all the other issues involved. I'm an avid Native American rights advocate, and I make that clear...but I'm not an advocate of murder."
BBC Website - "It's sad and personally I would like to see some of the money we send overseas being spent on the reservations."
Associated Press - "Darlene Nichols also told jurors she was with Aquash when Peltier bragged about killing the two FBI agents."

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Redner...NYC...Lewisburg and beyond. After the rhetoric and folklore, nothing remains, November 15, 2005

Now that the dust has settled, the finger-pointing is over, and Leonard Peltier is serving the remainder of his two life sentences (plus the seven-year consecutive sentence for his armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary in 1979), we can return to the matter of Peltier's guilt and the viability of the of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. The LPDC support structure dwindles to even lower levels as its leadership remains clueless that their efforts offer more harm than good for Peltier's future.

Of the recent flurry of LPDC "press releases" only a few bear repeating and have any meaningful significance to the ongoing Peltier debate. These statements, and certainly similar ones to follow, will ensure that only those on society's fringe pay any mind at all to Peltier's situation.

Russ Redner, the latest iteration of "National/International Executive Director" made one of the most offensive, albeit telling statements in recent years concerning the murder of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. But more on that in a moment:

Two other statements come from Robert Robideau, who is widely discredited within Indian Country; one statement from safely ensconced behind a computer keyboard in Spain (of all places), and the second from his own thin lips at a gathering in New York City.

It would be unfair to call Robideau ignorant of the facts of the Incident at Oglala; by both testimony and his own recent words he was there, but in a nearly self-delusional state he must believe that people (even the small number of Peltier supporters) must suffer from collective amnesia or a massive brain-vacuum to not remember what he has said from year to year.

In a September 28, 2005 statement Robideau attacks the editor of the publication News From Indian Country, within which, among other oft repeated and unsupported claims, Robideau echoes phrases like the "60 murdered Oglala's," and "…more than hundred fifty of the SWAT FBI agents," and then comes up with this gem referring to the murder of Agents Coler and Williams;

"… (they) were shot in the head by a still unidentified native person(s)."

"Still unidentified?" Robideau brags repeatedly that he was the one who killed the agents, pretending to be some sort of a hero that day. (Please see the exchange of emails with Robideau where his claims of bravery are dispelled and unsupported by what actually occurred.) He said he did it1 , and now offers that the killer is "still unidentified?" Simply stated, Robideau must be confused about even his own identity. However, he does get a little more specific:

On October 23, 2005, at a small gathering in New York City2 Robideau made significant public statements: "I killed the agents," and if he were in the same situation "Those FBI agents would be dead again," but better still, and with prophetic insight he states what everyone in that tiny room, and those out there in Indian Country and the real world already know:

"Today people have forgotten about Leonard Peltier's case."

Russ Redner: In the many recent communiqué's from the LPDC suggesting a grand governmental conspiracy to transfer Peltier from Leavenworth, we now have the confrontational tone and maddening rhetoric of its newest leadership. Redner parrots the usual folklore but only one item had any meaningful significance.

In his statement of July 21, 2005 Redner engages a realm of historical disconnect which proves only that he is well-versed in Peltier mythology. For instance, there is not one scintilla of proof that there was "a carefully planned paramilitary operation," or that "The downed agents highly trained in counterterrorism and tactical operations, were carrying out a "recon by fire" mission." Even Peltier's biographer, Peter Matthiessen disagreed with that ridiculous premise3 . But Redner goes on to end with perhaps the most degrading comment from the Peltier camp on the brutal murder of the wounded and defenseless Jack Coler and Ron Williams:

"They (FBI and BIA) did not arrive in time to prevent the Oglala Akicitas and their allies from counting coup on them."

To the uninitiated counting coup is an Indian term signifying the bravery of Indian warriors by touching a vanquished enemy. But what Peltier, Robideau, Butler and the others did was to drag the lifeless bodies closer to Jack Coler's car to better hide them from responding agents, and then roll them over to face the Earth (another Indian belief to prevent the dead from meeting their creator). The reality however, was that they could not stomach to look at their horrible deed and witness the mangled faces of two dead human beings. They were acting as predicted; cowards to the end.

Peltier's fifteen minutes of fame has passed and this is not the Viet Nam era where a ground-swell of opposition rose from small groups of anti-war demonstrators and ended with most of America eventually realizing that something had to be done.

For all the surrounding misinformation perpetuated by the likes of Redner, Robideau, the LPDC and others, they will continue to be successful in only legitimizing Peltier in the minds of the uninformed, those who float along the fringes of society. They don't convince even the doubters, just the curious and confused.

The LPDC is invited, welcomed actually, to continue down this path of hatred for America which will only bode no good for Peltier or his future beyond the bars of Lewisburg. It only harms Peltier and makes his plight less appealing to the well-informed and marginalizes further those who rally to his self-proclaimed cause. They all forget just how late Peltier came to the movement.

This is not a vast and complex issue, or convoluted conspiracy, and thankfully the vast majority of Native America and middle-America itself has, and continues to recognize the cold-blooded murderer, Leonard Peltier. They are not convincing the doubters, let alone those who are intelligent enough to take an honest and serious look at the facts surrounding Peltier, Jumping Bull and the murder of Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

Besides, public opinion at this juncture means little or nothing. Witness Robideau's ridiculous presumption that the conviction of Arlo Looking Cloud and indictment of John Graham for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash is just another plot to prevent Peltier's release. Unless Peltier is indicted for conspiracy, or aiding and abetting in her murder (a familiar enough charge for Peltier), none of this will have any affect on whether Peltier is granted parole during his anticipated 2008 public hearing. The right side of justice and the memories of Jack Coler and Ron Williams will be heard loud and clear.

The LPDC's rhetoric only hurts Peltier and after debunking the myth and folklore, nothing remains.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

1 Although Robideau lays claim to the murderous deed, and because of his protection against double jeopardy he can state this without legal recriminations. However, as the NPPA has stated previously we still believe that Robideau and Dino Butler were aiding and abetting the final act of Peltier brutally murdering FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

2  In a city of over eight million, a scant twenty-five people were present in a dusty, cluttered and disorganized second floor office on the lower eastside of Manhattan for an "Afternoon in solidarity with Leonard Peltier." The event, held in the offices of the International Action Center and sponsored by the New York City Jericho Movement * advertised that Robert Robideau and Peltier's lead attorney Barry Bachrach were to speak about Peltier. Although the flyer's proclaimed "an afternoon of political discussion" and that "No one (would be) turned away," it was apparent that the "discussion" had to conform to the room's prevailing political bent, and although no one would be turned away, they were not necessarily welcomed either providing no specific questions were asked which contravened the established agenda.

(Sadly, attorney Barry Bachrach did not attend. Mr. Bachrach has remained one of Leonard Peltier's most dedicated, intelligent, and staunchest supporters both inside and beyond the courtroom. Mr. Bachrach's presence would have no doubt contributed to a more stabilized and intellectual discussion of the facts and minimized the uncontrollable emotions and paranoia attendant at this gathering.)

It was disturbing to witness a roomful of people who so hated Amerika (with a k) gathered in one place, yet at the same time comforting to see that the numbers were so small; especially when it became evident that not everyone was there for Peltier anyway because many had their own agendas. The walls were cluttered with stickers, flags, banners and posters spanning the broad range of way-far-left-thinking (extremist) anti-government activists. From the posters acclaiming Che Guevara, Mumia, Et. Al. to a wanted poster charging President Bush for crimes against America: The purpose of this room and group was clear enough, but not at all intimidating for the average New Yorker.

After an almost hour delay due to a technically challenged audio/visual coordinator, Robideau began what can only be described as painfully disjointed and embarrassingly simpleminded ramblings and at times was lost in his own vague thoughts trying to explain the latest Peltier issues.

Robideau began with, of all things, the Bill Clinton clemency issue. A dead issue by all accounts but offered that supposedly Clinton was facing criminal charges and that the FBI had made a deal with him to drop the charges if he did not release Peltier. Although extreme in thought, let it be clear that there were some in this crowd who were politically astute and well-informed and didn't buy Robideau's silly presumption.

A young lady with a thick Irish, perhaps Boston accent, challenge Robideau on that point stating the more believable premise that Clinton offered clemency to the FALN prisoners in an attempt to pander favor with the rather large New York City Puerto Rican voting block to support Hillary Clinton's bid for New York's U.S. Senate seat (to the exclusion of course of the minimal numbers of Native American voters). And the young lady was correct, judging by the nods from the audience and Robideau's lack of audible and informed response. An African-American gentleman in the back wanted to continue the thought when he believed the issue had not been sufficiently resolved before the small gathering.

Another attendee, to the approving nods of many there, pointed out the obvious to Robideau that Bill Clinton, although he had appointed FBI Director Louis Freeh, hated Freeh at that point because the FBI was investigating Clinton and many of his administration's nefarious activities. In light of those Clinton did disgracefully pardon, this is still old news and Robideau, Peltier and the others still don't have a clue why Clinton didn't free Peltier. There are a few who do know for certain though.

Not too ironically, even some of those in room #206 saw through Robideau's key point that the conviction last year of Arlo Looking Cloud for the contract-style murder of Indian activist Anna Mae Aquash was just another ploy by the FBI and U.S. government to sway public opinion and lessen Peltier's chances for parole.

Ask Anna Mae's family and friends and mainstream Native America just how ludicrous that theory is.

Many in this politically astute crowd recognized that what the public at large believes about Peltier is irrelevant. Only, if Peltier is somehow indicted or charged with conspiracy or adding and abetting in her murder would the parole board even entertain the issue, but in reality, if Peltier were charged, the government would start the process for another trial.

Robideau shot himself in the foot (or more precisely without vetting his own ramblings), shot Leonard in the foot once again. By stating that John Graham (also charged with Anna Mae's death and awaiting extradition from Canada) has "made several statements implicating Leonard Peltier in the murder of Anna Mae." In other words, even by Robideau's account, the final chapter on Peltier's personal involvement in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash has yet to be written.

Overall, Robideau displayed the logic of a bewildered sycophant who believes that glass and air are the same thing because they are both transparent.

*The Jericho Movement website states in part:

There are hundreds of people who went to prison as a result of their work on the streets against oppressive conditions like indecent housing and inadequate or complete lack of medical care, lack of quality education, police brutality and the murder of people organizing for independence and liberation. (Author's note: No doubt some of these are laudable social and political goals.) However, their website continues with: "These people belonged to organizations like the Black Panther Party, La Raza Unida, FALN**, Los Macheteros, North American Anti-Imperialist Movement, May 19th, AIM, the Black Liberation Army, etc., and were incarcerated because of their political beliefs and acts in support of and/or in defense of freedom. (Emphasis added)

**On a individual note, this writer knows little of these organizations from personal experience except for a brief brush with the activities of the FALN. However, although my own experience as an FBI agent for 30 years dealt exclusively with the traditional criminal violations, bank robbery, extortion, interstate theft, organized crime, etc., on January 24, 1975, as a fairly new agent, I happened to be in a position to be the first federal agent on the scene of the bombing of arguably the most significant American landmark in the United States, Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl Street, in the Wall Street area of lower Manhattan. Although the building itself has changed a number of times its location is central to the foundations of American democracy and liberty and was obviously why it was a logical target for those whom the U.S. meant anything but. At that point I knew little of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional Puertoriqueña or that they would quickly claim credit for the bombing which killed four innocent New Yorkers and injured fifty others. Nor did I know of their master bomb maker, William Morales, with whom I would coincidentally cross paths briefly a few years later while lodging a bank robber in the U.S. Marshall's lockup in the Manhattan Correctional Center. Morales, I noted, had little remaining of his hands after one of his own bombs detonated prematurely during construction.

(As an aside, fugitives, William Morales, Black Panther Party faithful, and multiple cop-killer, Joanne Chesimard, and FBI Top Ten, Victor Manuel Gerena are enjoying their fugitive status as guests of Fidel Casto's communist government. Ironically though, Gerena, a successful thief only by happenstance, had to pay Fidel a "rent" of $4 million of his ill-gotten gains for the privilege.)

That January day, although only a couple of blocks away, I did not hear the explosion, but with all the fire and police response to the area decided to contact the FBI office and ask if I should respond to see if they were in need of any FBI assistance and to report back on what may have happened. This was early on and although the FALN would be eventually linked to more than a hundred bombings it was possible that it could have been a gas main explosion, fire, or some other natural disaster. On the scene I identified myself and was allowed close to the blown-out and destroyed back wall and stairwell area of this historic location. There was a lot of activity but based on my own experience in the Green Berets I came to an immediate and inescapable conclusion. I walked back across the street to a pay phone and called the office again. Even though a new agent I felt it was important to speak immediately with upper management. I asked and was connected to one of the Special Agents in Charge of the FBI's largest field office, Jim Ingram. I politely explained that if no one else has said it thus far (it had only been about twenty minutes since the explosion), that based on my military experience I believed that it was a bombing. The smell of nitrates was heavy in the air of the dust and rubble. In short order a large task force was created to pursue this and other FALN extremist criminal activities. I too was assigned for a few months to the "FALN Special" before returning to my original squad and assignments chasing down traditional law breakers.

For the concerned readers and NPPA supporters, they are invited to learn more about these groups and decide for themselves whether their actions had anything to do with the "defense of freedom" as the Jericho Movement claims.

3 Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, p.544. "On the other hand, the evidence suggests - to me at least - that Coler and Williams had indeed been chasing one or more vehicles, and that whether or not those being pursued stopped at the Y-fork above the junked cars (not wishing, apparently, to lead the FBI cars either down toward the camp or up into the compound), the agents pulled up in that vulnerable place down in the pasture because they heard a warning shot or came under fire; if there is another persuasive explanation of the location and position of their cars, I cannot find it."

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Incarcerated 30 Years: Leonard Peltier: February 6, 2006

February 6, 2006 will mark 30 years of incarceration for Leonard Peltier.

On that date in 1976 Peltier was arrested by the RCMP for the murders of Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Much has been said about Peltier's extradition from Canada, but reading the final word on that event from the Canadian government should remove any doubt that the removal was lawful.

This is not a time to celebrate, Peltier is aging and ill, but he is paying back a debt for his involvement in the unnecessary deaths of two young men who were brutalized while in the performance of their lawful duties. Peltier shall remain where he is until there is a change, either natural or administrative.

The parole review hearing for the summer 2006 will doubtless be another non-event. The public parole hearing scheduled for the summer of 2008 may be of slightly greater significance, but probably not much more.

These 30 years of incarceration were not however continuous. Peltier was involved in an armed escape with a Mini-14 rifle from Lompoc Penitentiary. On July 20, 1979 Peltier and another inmate had "…found excuses to leave an Indian meeting in the prison auditorium, then started fires in their cells to distract attention from their escape" (Spirit, p. 384). But Peltier's freedom was short-lived, barely a day, and early the next year he was convicted and received yet another sentence; seven years, consecutive to his already two consecutive life sentences. So no matter what happens in the summer of 2008 Peltier will still owe an additional seven years; a small detail Peltier and his supporters conveniently ignore. But, no doubt the parole board will not.

Even though the LPDC argues in response that Peltier has been an ideal inmate over the past two decades, that claim is also in question. Peltier, because of his passing notoriety, makes claims to special treatment to which he is not entitled.

Peltier's transfer last year from Leavenworth dislodged the longstanding LPDC office in Lawrence, Kansas. To date, a new headquarters has not been established in the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania area and there have been other significant changes within the diminishing Peltier network as well.

Peltier's own statements at this time in his life are more than telling. They continue to portray his self-centeredness and inability to face the realities of his crimes without even a hint of remorse or sincerity, or exhibiting for that matter, any gratitude for those who were willing to return and support him; in particular, Russ Redner.

In an October 14, 2005 statement Peltier excoriates the government and nearly everyone else as he also mentions the efforts of Russ Redner, his new LPDC director, who had recently returned to the Peltier camp. But this is how Peltier rewards loyalty when apparently Russ Redner runs into personal difficulties:

"Due to severe emotional and mental problems Russ has submitted his resignation as Director of the LPDC. I have accepted his resignation and ask everyone to pray to Wankan Taka or his Allah to restore his mental health, so that he won't have to be hospitalized."

"Severe emotional and mental problems?" Thanks, Leonard, for the gratitude and understanding of someone who was willing to continue to work hard for you. Peltier's attitude towards those who no longer do his bidding has been a constant source of derision within Peltier's inner network. Peltier has, if nothing else, been unfailingly malicious and consistent towards those who leave the fold. (For additional examples please see NPPA editorial essays, 18, #19, and #20: That period, 2003, can be considered as the official end of the Peltier era.)

But that's not all. Just two days later, on Christmas Day, December 25th, at 8:17pm CST, the LPDC sent out this message:

The LPDC would like to provide a clarification on a statement recently released regarding Russ Redner's resignation.

Russ Redner resigned as LPDC Director due to personal reasons.

We, at the LPDC would like to express our appreciation to Russ Redner and his wife Paula for their work during the past six months and wish them the very best in their future endeavors Thank you, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

"A clarification?" Not hardly, but lets view it for what it really was. Someone-maybe just one person at the LPDC-recognized the insensitivity of the original statement and sought to correct it. Too late, the damage was already done to Russ Redner's reputation and his efforts on behalf of Peltier. This is just another explicit example of Peltier's and the LPDC's lack of organization, direction, purpose and support. It's another pathetic indication of the fallacy that Peltier is anything more than a hardened criminal serving his justly deserved sentence.

What follows now will only foretell continued decline in any real support for Peltier beyond the fringe elements as demonstrated by those who attended a gathering in New York City last November 15th. Robert Robideau's painfully disjointed presentation on Peltier's behalf at that small gathering, as sad a commentary as it was, pales in comparison to his latest efforts to create some clever diversion and a shallow attempt to foster feigned sincerity on Peltier's behalf. In a series of emails to the NPPA, Robideau stated:

12/4/05: Mr. Ed Woods, I am taking this opportunity to personally thank you for all the work that you have contributed to keeping the Leonard Peltier case debat (sic) alive and before the public. I want you to know that I very much appreciate your contenued (sic) interest and expressions that further the awareness of this struggle before for true justice us. Oppossing (sic) views are importand (sic) for the proper understanding in the interest of clearity (sic) and justice.
Yours truly, Bob Robideau, Co-Director, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

The specious insincerity aside, Robideau must have penned this missive during one of his less lucid moments (one can only imagine what kind of condition he was in at the time), and this being the first response to a fairly scathing NPPA editorial essay covering the NYC gathering at which he spoke. No comment on that though, as he continued with:

12/11/05: Thank (sic) again Ed, I (sic) is good to know that you will always be with us in carrying the debate foreward (sic). As I wrote in my last e-mail I, as the new Co-Director of the LPDC (sic) want you to know that the central board of co ordinators (sic) for the LPDC also agree with my position in regards to your good work. Further, you are always welcome to contact me with any good questions that will help carry both sides of the debate to the concerned public.
In the Spirit of True Justice for All, and ultimate Freedom of Leonard Peltier Bob Co-Director LPDC

With Robideau perhaps at the LPDC helm, Peltier and what remains of his network are in dire straights indeed.

But we should also consider Peltier's words directly from his own mouth, (as recorded on the LPDC home page), sounding strong and committed but nonetheless revealing even more about what Peltier is not:

I am everyone who ever died, without a voice, or a prayer, or a hope, or a chance. Everyone whoever suffered for being an Indian, for being human, for being indigenous, for being free, for being committed. I am every one of them, every single one.

Peltier's Indian heredity is not disputed but the fact remains that he came very late to the Indian cause, just two years before the Incident at Oglala. His prior existence was no more than that of a drifter and a petty criminal.

Considering the history of all this, one has to wonder if Peltier, given the opportunity to go back in time, would have taken the same actions as he did on June 26, 1975. Having benefit of that hindsight would he act otherwise and not participate in the cold-blooded murder of two human beings.

Living with those memories Peltier obviously does not like any of the recollections of Jumping Bull, has pushed them out of his memory, and replaced them with yet another crime; that of claiming to be for his people through his fabricated myth and buying into the folklore that has long been disproved. His ruse is self-serving and deceptive with only one goal, to convince enough sincere people of his innocence. Well, he has failed, and so has the LPDC.

Now that fleeting martyrdom has passed him by he's left with only the memory of that June day. A day he would no doubt relive differently had he the chance. His grip on reality and chronology has slipped away.

As to the dwindling support; the smart ones, those who recognize that Peltier's criminality did absolutely nothing to further the cause for Native rights, here or anywhere else, have deserted. The fringe elements though (including the avowed America haters and communists within our midst who only use Peltier as a propaganda tool1 ) are free to hang on; they always need something to cling to.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

1 On 1/14/06 the LPDC website posted an article from the People's Weekly World. The article contains the usual amount of exaggerations and misrepresentations and isn't worth the effort to review it line by line, but it is important to note that the PWW states on it's website that "We enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views." Enough said.

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No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) 6th Anniversary Statement, "Posted by Leonard," April 30, 2006

Dear Supporters,

April 30, 2006 will mark the beginning of the NPPA's seventh year. We have carefully followed the activities of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, other supportive organizations and the LPDC messages allegedly authored and posted to the Internet by Leonard Peltier himself.

We left off last year by debunking the LPDC fabrication that the Incident at Oglala began over the theft a pair of "old cowboy boots" and then witnessed a few significant events and milestones. Milestones in the sense that for some reason the media and the general public are attracted to round numbers.

  • Leonard made the uncomfortable trek from Leavenworth, Kansas to his new permanent home in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Many Peltier supporters saw this as a punitive move by the Bureau of Prisons instead of a realignment of prison classifications and inmate populations.

  • Peltier's legal maneuverings continued without success.

  • A longtime FBI critic and Peltier supporter reassessed what he had believed was the truth surrounding Peltier's alleged innocence and after a careful review removed himself from the list of Peltier supporters.

  • Two significant milestones where reached, the 30th anniversary of the murder of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams (and portraying the identity of Mr. X), and Peltier reaching his 30th year of incarceration. Although, it was noted that Peltier's 30 years were not continuous, considering his armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary for which he received an additional consecutive seven (7) year sentence. This is a not so minor detail that the LPDC, Peltier, and his supporters conveniently prefer to ignore.

  • NPPA founders attended a gathering of extremist-minded America-haters in NYC and listened to the disjointed ramblings of Robert Robideau. Robideau, who is widely discredited within Indian Country, was even challenged on his facts by those in attendance.

  • LPDC Director, Russ Redner resigned, and for his loyalty Peltier announced publicly that he left due to "severe emotional problems." Although Peltier tried to retract this comment, it was too late, the damage was already was done. But this was typical of how Peltier dispatches those who no longer do his bidding.

  • And then there was the infamous flying penis button.

The European contingent of Peltier support was at it again, this time participating in a Paris fashion show by an eccentric designer. The logo they designed (which was also displayed on T-shirts, scarves, skirts, leggings and the show's invitations) was defended by KOLA with silly references to "good luck and Greek and Roman cultures." The ill-conceived (no pun intended) illustration must have garnered many snickers and humor at Peltier's expense. It wasn't just the NPPA and its supporters, and countless other people, but Peltier himself and the LPDC who evidently saw the design as inappropriate, stupid and distasteful. When the LPDC reported the event they did not display this offensive button but instead posted a harmless button that looked as if it were drawn by a child. But perhaps though, this is yet another example of how the LPDC hides the truth from its supporters.

Beginning several years ago, when it became apparent that Peltier's inner circle and LPDC leadership were withholding certain developments from Peltier, the NPPA made it a practice of forwarding to him any significant postings on the Internet. This was to ensure that he was fully aware of what was happening in his name and on his behalf. (For the history of this please visit the Debate Continues section and Editorial Essays #18, #19 and #20.)

It is not surprising that Peltier didn't respond to the NPPA note which included a photo of the offensive KOLA button, but he did respond to another one concerning the events leading up to February 6, 2006 and the ad hoc activities surrounding his 30th year of incarceration.

That curt note pointed out that one of his supporters was planning to get a tattoo of "#89637-132" (Leonard's inmate number). The comment related to the kind of role model this mother made for her twelve year old daughter.

Leonard responded.

Leonard's note provided a lesson in body art, which wasn't the point. But that kind of activity, separating it of course from historical, cultural and ethnic body painting (and the fads that come and go), is a matter of personal choice. But if Leonard were able to ask all those people, years hence, whether they regretted getting them, the list would be long indeed.

Let's hope that the mother thought better of it and didn't get that particular tattoo.

Leonard also commented on the issue of to whom and what to pray for; which again is a matter of personal choice, but leads to the heart of the continuing debate over his innocence and what information he and the LPDC offer to their supporters.

Leonard said we should "Please pray for the families of the over sixty murders on Pine Ridge that have no convicted murderers along with loved ones of Joe Stuntz and Anna Mae."

Speaking to this issue (the murder of sixty Native Americans at Pine Ridge) with Peltier, the LPDC, or Peltier supporters is an exercise in futility; instead, this is directed not at those who know Peltier is guilty, but anyone who wants to get to the heart of the matter. This issue has been around since the beginning, thirty-plus years, and is simply not true. Please see the names for yourself and what became of those cases and make your own judgment as to whether this belongs in the category of fact or Peltier fiction.

Perhaps Leonard Peltier has forgotten also that Anna Mae's family is finally finding justice.

The bottom of this note, as do all LPDC postings, contains yet another Peltier lie: "Posted by Leonard."

These messages cannot be "Posted by Leonard" because previously at Leavenworth, and now at Lewisburg, Leonard Peltier and the other inmates do not have, repeat, do not have, Internet access. So if the LPDC was being honest with its followers and said the piece was forwarded by Leonard, that would be accurate, or written by Leonard (which would also be a stretch in many instances), it could be closer to the truth, the truth that Peltier and the LPDC continues to hide from their supporters.

To the uninformed, Peltier continues to hide behind his myth and the fallacy of his alleged self-defense on that infamous day at Jumping Bull.

The debate continues as long as needed to ensure that those who are interested in hearing the entire story of the Incident at Oglala, will hear it.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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Peltier and the LPDC: Status Check 2006: "Protector of the Woods" November 1, 2006

Leonard Peltier's final parole-review hearing has passed and he is still two years away from his first public hearing in nearly two decades (December 2008). Looking back, it's been thirty-plus years since his incarceration, twenty-nine since the loose creation of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) and twenty-seven since his conviction for the armed escape from Lompoc penitentiary for which he was convicted and received a consecutive sentence. The reality of December 2008 is that no matter what the outcome he will still have to serve an additional seven years imprisonment for that crime.

Closing in on the end of 2006 perhaps it is an appropriate time for a status check on the failures of the LPDC, a review of recent statements made by Peltier and his attorneys, meetings and activities on his behalf, and taking another, closer look, at Peltier's finances.

A review of Peltier's 62nd birthday activities was uninspiring. There were many who said they would be sitting around watching the widely disclaimed film, Incident at Oglala, based on the equally criticized book by Peter Matthiessen. How could anyone at this point listen to the lie about Mr. X again?

Peltier's September 12, 2006 birthday statement engaged in the same tired rhetoric but was unashamedly honest explaining exactly why his cause has failed. He still feigns innocence even more blatantly than in the past but would not dare comment on the admissions made by his co-conspirator, Robert Robideau; Peltier laments that his only failing is being unable to reach the "masses." He also makes the obvious even more evident by stating "…most of those good peoples are from Europe." Peltier is correct; they are from Europe for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a prevailing anti-U.S. bias. But to offer a relevant cliché; they don't have a dog in this fight.

Peltier also believes that the majority of people do want to help him because "We sense this from the ones we are able to reach." That's not quite the case in the real world (more on the Jericho Movement in a moment).

Leonard claims there were "constitutional violations" in his case (if there were he would have been released long ago), and that astonishingly "The courts continue to cover up the continued criminal acts of (his) conviction committed by (his) prosecutors." That's a pretty broad accusation, claiming that the entire judiciary (up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court) is in collusion to keep him in prison. A claim however, that his own attorneys do not share. Instead, they continue to work pro bono within the system and try to dredge up yet another excuse to argue for Peltier's release. Their valiant efforts (even if misguided at times) have gone for naught.

Peltier claims he made an historical accomplishment by having 55 members of congress "sign a letter for a new trial or (his) release." There may have been 55 signatories but it's probably a great exaggeration to claim it was anything close to an historical precedent (more likely fodder for Peltier folklore). It may be closer to the truth that Peltier has set a record of sorts, by being perhaps the one inmate who has had more bites of the appeal-apple than any other.

And as we have seen countless times before, Peltier's statements end with the same familiar refrain "Give what you can."

Bucknell University is a highly rated and well respected private liberal arts college with proud roots in antebellum America. Its pristine, postcard-perfect campus adjoins historic Lewisburg on the western fork of the Susquehanna in predominantly rural central Pennsylvania. By all accounts Bucknell is a first-rate school in a very livable American town. But what the travel brochures and websites don't mention is one of the important government entities located just west of downtown; the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, and the latest home of inmate #89637-132, formerly of Leavenworth Kansas.

On Saturday, September 30th, there was a gathering that was supposed to raise the collective consciousness of this community (and the rest of America) to the plight of Native American "political prisoner" Leonard Peltier. However, there were several problems along the way that caused it to be a non-event.

It was sponsored by the Bucknell Department of Sociology and Anthropology along with the infamous Jericho Movement (more on them in a moment) and held in the auditorium of the Elaine Langone student center, although, they didn't need that many seats. It was poorly advertised, with posters haphazardly scattered around campus, even though the event drew heavily on the inner guard of the Peltier camp; defense attorneys, Barry Bachrach and Michael Kuzma, confessed murderer Robert Robideau, and with a sense of satire, Michael Blake, the author of the book, Dances with Wolves, made more popular by the movie staring Kevin Costner.

All told, there were less than 75 people in attendance, perhaps as little as 50, and something that Peltier and the LPDC (and the Jericho Movement) should have noted-there were but a handful of Bucknell students in the auditorium. The students may have had more interest in author Blake than the stated purpose of the gathering; America bashing and inmate Peltier. Perhaps Mr. Blake should have been flattered, and the LPDC dismayed, that most of the students left when Mr. Blake finished. And certainly, Mr. Blake wouldn't share with those in attendance the amount of criticism the film received from real Native Americans. Those other, non-students in attendance, resembled more the crowd that gathers for Jericho Movement meetings in Room #206 on Manhattan's lower east side; burnouts and America-haters.

Consider the logic of holding an event like this on such a prestigious college campus. Wouldn't Peltier want to open the minds of the capable and talented student body and engage them in a dialogue to convince them-since they are now in the heart of Peltier country with the prison so close by-that Peltier should become their cause célèbre and muster all the academic and financial support they could from this target-rich student environment. Well, they failed there too… Bucknell students are savvier about these kinds of things and certainly want to have all the facts before they choose sides.

But perhaps the organizers were really smart after all and recognized that on the Peltier issue they were engaged in a completely uphill battle. Maybe that's why they didn't open the forum to questions and answers; because when it comes down to the specifics of the Peltier case (and factoring out the myth, folklore and emotion), they have a tough time defending Peltier's deed. Cutting off debate is a familiar tactic of the likes of the Jericho Movement.

If their hope was to reach the student populace, they failed miserably; further signaling the erosion and sorry state of affairs of Peltier's dying campaign.

And as for the Jericho Movement (See footnote #2 in this link), and all it exemplifies, one need only peruse their websites. They spell Amerika with a K; they hate the United States and all it stands for; they decry everything about it but still enjoy the freedoms and benefits this country has to offer. Yet they are still here, comfortable, and only mildly threatening in their own sad way. No one has to take our word for it, just listen to them, or better yet, concerned people are invited to attend one of their Central Committee meetings and judge for themselves.

The NPPA will once again offer its .02¢ worth 1 of advice to the LPDC, Messrs. Bachrach and Kuzma, and anyone else who cares about Peltier's future: "The Jericho Movement is only hurting your cause."

But in yet another touch of irony, during Robideau's tired monologue, the "Free Leonard Peltier" banner fell off the wall. This was duly noted by several there as perhaps just another prophetic omen of Peltier's futile efforts to reach the "masses."

Neither the Bucknell event (nor Leonard Peltier) was mentioned on the university website and garnered just two local news articles (only one of which appeared on the LPDC website).

It is not known whether the article in the Daily Item by John Finnerty, entitled "Activists have reservations about verdict" was a play on words or not, but it quoted heavily from the Peltier side of the story. Robideau made the same claim again that even the LPDC backed away from when they were challenged by the NPPA. Robideau rephrases the event by saying "…white guys in suits were shooting in the direction of the houses." This harkens back to the old "Paragraph #5 issue" where the LPDC and Peltier made claims of families being "caught in the crossfire." The LPDC distanced itself from this fabrication five years ago. Robideau has to keep his facts (and LPDC admissions) straight; the agents were not wearing suits and they were the ones caught in the crossfire.

Peltier attorney Barry Bachrach brought up the ballistics evidence but quite naturally failed to mention that there was a three-day hearing on the matter and once again, based on the evidence and the law, the courts ruled against Peltier. Bachrach also mentioned Peltier's extradition from Canada as being "controversial." Maybe so, to some, but the Canadian government's final word on the matter paints a different picture.

This article also states that Peltier has "…become a leader in social causes, chiefly aimed at improving living conditions of American Indians on reservations." This couldn't be further from the truth and runs headlong into the burgeoning Peltier folklore. His claims of philanthropic support for "his people" do not stand up to any scrutiny (see "Charitable Activities" in this link); it only further perpetuates the myth.

The Standard Journal article by Mike Tishio hit very close to home with; "Robideau never said Peltier didn't shoot anyone, but he did say that the FBI's version of the events that day is a lie. Robideau's proof - he was there." And that is absolutely correct, and by implication, Dino Butler and Leonard Peltier didn't just happen to be elsewhere either. A follow-up question by Mr. Tishio could have dispelled the entire self-defense issue as the sham it was.

A review of Peltier's latest mechanism to squeeze money from his supporters comes from the Freedom Walkway which provides some amusing insights and prompts further questions about Peltier's fundraising.

The Routier's anteed-up a respectable $500, Robideau, big on words and admissions of guilt, but short on cash, a paltry $20. Given that, one has to wonder who's footing the bill when he departs his hiding place in Spain and heads for the U.S.

It appears that the entire Bachrach family are contributors, but yet nothing from attorney Michael Kuzma. Perhaps Mr. Kuzma sees some conflict of interest in donating to causes he is championing in the courts. But in their defense (no pun intended), the amount of hours they personally donate to Peltier's cause is far more valuable than the ten dollar donations. Gerry Foley, forked over ten bucks, or was that in shillings? Elsie Herten could only afford $10 (or Euros?), evidentially not putting her money where her mouth is; and with that mouth, it should have been millions. Lt. Col. Daniel Marvin of NY: $10. Not much considering that he said "To a true warrior and a man of courage. We are strongly behind you as we will achieve your freedom." Harvey Arden, $30 (but he does a lot of side work for Leonard). The LPDC, $50. Wonder where all that other money is going? NYC Jericho Movement, $50. Guess they don't believe in the cause that much either. And, Dame Vivienne Westwood only $20, but at least she came up with the offensive Peltier campaign button that the LPDC was afraid to put on their website. But you get the picture; lots of talk from Peltier supporters, but not that much support.

As of October 23, 2006 the site claimed 620 stones for a total of an odd amount of $6,203 (since the stones are $10 each). Not an impressive amount considering the length of time it's been operating. In theory, one wishing to donate to the cause moves the cursor to the prison wall (presumably, Lewisburg Penitentiary), retrieving a stone and placing it on the walkway-and following the prompts-submits a credit card payment and is awarded a stone for each $10 donated (repeat donators are awarded feathers). The problem with this metaphor is that the prison walls do not come crumbling down and the walk can be used in either direction. It also raises the same questions as in the past: Who pays the taxes on this income; Leonard or the LPDC? Since neither is a legitimate charity, someone must claim these donations as income; which raises again the issue of how much do they actually bring in, who accounts for the money, and how is it spent?

The real question for Peltier supporters-if they even care to ask-is whatever happened to all those years of "tax-deductible" donations? All of a sudden that LPDC claim disappeared from the radar scope and it seemed like no one but the NPPA (and perhaps the IRS) was watching.

And for a small, but significant piece of LPDC history; remember when former LPDC Director Bob Free was unceremoniously booted from the club? What Bob Free was calling for several years ago was:

"Transparency regarding accounting and donations will be posted on the web."

Guess not Bob, they weren't listening then, and they still haven't made the connection to fiscal honesty and responsibility with their constituents. Posting the stones isn't exactly accounting for supporters' donations.

The funding issue is a constant source of frustration for the LPDC and may help explain why they are still in El Paso instead of Lewisburg. Their online store is filled with hackneyed and uninteresting flea market items except for one puzzling piece of artwork entitled "Protector of the Woods." 2 The painting is uninspiring, even confusing; it's difficult to tell exactly what's hiding behind that white birch. But the real problem with this particular piece is that the original is owned by the one person who is an anathema-the antichrist-to every American serviceman and servicewoman, prior, present, living and deceased; Hanoi Jane 3 , aka Jane Fonda.

Suddenly, the specter of the Jericho Movement doesn't seem quite that bad.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

1 Also contributed to Leonard Peltier's commissary account.

2Although the title selection was a nice touch, perhaps it should have been called Protector of the Forest.

3See "A comment regarding hate mail and guest book entries" in this link.

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Robert Robideau, Literary Critic "The Sanctioned Memo": Peltier's most vocal ally and his greatest burden, December 1, 2006

Robideau proves again he is willing to offer an opinion while failing to understand his own references and further damaging Peltier's campaign.

In an October 23, 2006 statement entitled "The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country - A Book Review by Robert Robideau," Robideau takes us on a twisted journey by labeling everyone who doesn't conform to his myopic version of the history of Pine Ridge as informants and provocateurs. Robideau accuses everyone of spreading "regurgitated stories and false accusations" yet goes down the same path by raising again the easily disproved folklore about the "60 murders," that the government "made public that they could not prove Peltier shot and killed the agents," or worse, that the conviction of Arlo Looking Cloud (for the murder of Anna Mae Aquash) "real purpose was of retrying Leonard Peltier for the killing of their dead agents (sic)." This is a ridiculous presumption for anyone familiar with the criminal justice system to make, as certainly the felon Robideau is. 1

Robideau references people like Ward Churchill, who has been so widely discredited within and beyond Indian Country, that his name should no longer be mentioned during discussions about Native American issues. He also refers to "noted author Peter Matthiessen." This is the same Peter Matthiessen who characterized Robideau as having a "lidded ex-con look that reveals nothing" and that "He (Robideau) gives the impression of bare honesty even when to protect others he is not telling the truth; that you suspect he may be lying does not bother him." 2

Robideau excoriates the author of Unquiet Grave but doesn't back up his criticism with anything but his own hubris. However, for the final chapter concerning Anna Mae's murder we need only remind Robideau of something he said in NYC on October 23, 2005: John Graham is awaiting extradition from Canada as the second person to stand trial for Anna Mae's murder; Robideau said that Graham 3 "has made several statements implicating Leonard Peltier in the murder of Anna Mae." It is puzzling that Robideau would make such an admission against Peltier's interests; it will be even more interesting to hear exactly who Graham may implicate in her murder. Peltier may not be out of the woods just yet on this one.

Robideau continues with his rambling and tired rhetoric but proves one point very well; that he fails to read, or if he did read it, then failed to understand one of his key references.

Robideau states:

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 "Para military 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 is just honestly mistaken regarding his characterization of the purpose of this memorandum because he has alleged this before, as has the LPDC and Peltier in Prison Writings. 4 This has become one of the cornerstones of Peltier folklore. Robideau deliberately misrepresents the purpose and meaning of this memo for his own questionable purposes. However, any reasonable person who takes the time to read-and understand-the memo, would easily see that Robideau is wrong or deliberately lying about this claim.

The purpose of the April 24, 1975 internal FBI memo 5 entitled "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 siege of Wounded Knee II 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. 6

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.

Without restating the entire memo (which concerned readers are encouraged to read for themselves), some of the more relevant points are as follows:

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. 7

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 SACs 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 Robideau took the time to intelligently read and understand this memo, he would not be able to claim that it was somehow a mandate for the government to sanction anything in Indian Country, quite the contrary; this memo means exactly what it states, Robideau's fabrications notwithstanding.

So who is Robideau trying to fool anyway, Peltier supporters? Perhaps. People who took the effort to properly read and understand what is a very straight-forward government memorandum? Not hardly. But more likely then, just himself, and Leonard Peltier.

The confessed murderer 8 Robideau, with all too familiar tactics, encircles Peltier with increasingly false, unsupported and foolish claims. He remains, as always, Peltier's most vocal ally and his greatest burden.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

1 Peltier would have to be charged, indicted, tried and convicted as a separate offense with Anna Mae's murder. It is fundamentally ignorant for Robideau to even suggest that because of the Arlo Looking Cloud conviction that Peltier could be tried again for the murders of Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Robideau, more than most, should understand the principle of double-jeopardy.

2See paragraphs 8 & 9:

3See footnote 2, paragraph 11:

4See paragraph 17:

5 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 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 above editorial essay, and then determine, of the two, which is the honest evaluation of the purpose and intent of this FBI memorandum.

6Susan L. M. Huck, "Renegades, The Second Battle Of Wounded Knee," American Opinion May 1973 (This reference is offered to provide a more timely perspective of the 1973 event) 6 "Hostages were taken and held at gunpoint; residents were robbed at gunpoint. A federal marshal and an F.B.I. man were shot by A.I.M. gunmen. And, for the purpose of "negotiating," one ranking Justice Department official after another has submitted to search and "escort" by hoodlums brandishing their weapons for the cameras." 8 "Mrs. Gildersleeve, the seventy-year-old woman whose family had run the trading post for fifty years, pleading pathetically for help. Mrs. Gildersleeve then became one of A.I.M.'s official hostages!* (*Most hostages were over sixty years old. One was only twelve. They were "freed" when South Dakota Senators McGovern and Abourezk choppered to Wounded Knee and waved magic wands at their fellow radicals of A.I.M.)"

7 Huck, 14. "Reporter Dave Beeder of the Omaha World-Herald did a feature story on the federal "roadrunners," as the C.R.S. (Community Relation Service) boys are called, which contains some illuminating points. Beeder calls it "an ironic twist" that the Justice Department has "set up a blockade and returned the militants' gunfire while at the same time allowing food and other essential supplies to be shipped into the Indian stronghold." Associate C.R.S. Director Gill Pompa, a lawyer, recounted to Beeder: "I once tried to describe CRS and its role in (The Justice Department) to a fellow passenger on a plane. He said it sounded like a conflict of interest."

8Robideau has repeatedly admitted murdering Jack Coler and Ron Williams (Please see and, Whether those claims are just cowardly bravado is immaterial, as Robideau continues to lean heavily on the double-jeopardy protection afforded him by the U.S. Constitution. The NPPA still believes that Peltier is the one who took the final shots at the faces of the wounded agents. And whether that is correct or not, based on Robideau's many admissions that he was there, and testimony during the 1977 trial in Fargo, ND, all three, Robideau, Butler and Peltier where present when the agents where killed. They clearly aided and abetted one another in this horrendous crime. There is nothing to refute the facts that place Butler, Robideau and Peltier at the scene of the crime; except for the long-standing fabrication of Mr. X, which has long been proven a lie. (Please see )

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"Dances with Peltier," Michael Blake, David Geffen, Chief Leonard, NPPA March 15, 2007

One evening in late December I was channel surfing and paused to see what was on C-Span's Book TV, a program I watch quite often. I recognized the speaker and was, of course, familiar with Michael Blake from his recent support of Leonard Peltier. I listened intently to what he had to say. He appeared genuine, honest and heartfelt, offering an articulate presentation that candidly summarized his background, his recent work, Indian Yell and briefly reviewing Native American history. By using twelve well-known, and some not-so-familiar conflicts between American Indians and the government, Blake hoped to show how those events helped shape the history which he said still has an effect today.

As a not-so-casual viewer, I was actually taken with Mr. Blake's presentation, I found myself nodding and silently agreeing with his presentation of this part of America's history and his description of his own personal struggles to succeed as a writer.

I did though have flashbacks of him speaking at recent Peltier gatherings sitting next to Robideau, but now I found myself enjoying his lecture and being won over by his talent; that was, right up to the moment at the end of the program when he picked up the book and read the afterword which he had entitled One Last Thing. My growing interest and compassion for Mr. Blake came to a screeching halt, and my initial reaction was to wonder why someone seemingly so intelligent could be taken--in to the extent of pinning all his credibility as a successful writer to the likes of Peltier. He was attempting to convince his audience that Peltier is the modern-day nexus to the travails of the past for Native Americans and "the greatest example of injustice applied to an Indian individual." Without actually verbalizing it, Mr. Blake got into bed with the conspiracy theorists by placing "law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges" in the mix against Peltier. If that's true then, in Mr. Blake's view of things, perhaps we should all forego the rampant folklore, Peltier's repeated changes of his version of the facts, Robideau's admission of guilt and Peltier elevating himself beyond the myth to Chief status. But more on that in a moment.

In his book, Mr. Blake even included a photo of Peltier in that defiant (mostly forlorn) pose looking out a prison window, but ends, as he does other chapters, without footnotes but instead with recommended reading; in this instance the somewhat popular, but generally discredited, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

Hopefully, unlike Peter Matthiessen (the author of Spirit), Mr. Blake wasn't on Peltier's payroll when he wrote Indian Yell.

As Mr. Blake read his final passage, the cameraman at the Phoenix Art Museum started pulling back for a wider shot scanning the backs of the crowd, but you couldn't see their faces and thus were unable to gauge the audience's reaction at that moment. As Mr. Blake continued, I counted about twenty people in the mostly empty auditorium. Not much of a showing I thought. But it was on an established cable network channel.

Score one for Peltier.

The afterword also claimed "From the time the armed insurgency of their ancestors ended they have been left to rot as nobodies, flailing for purpose in life."

Rot as nobodies? Really? Perhaps it's a bit insolent of Mr. Blake to cast such negative aspersions on a significant portion of the Native American population. To demean so many good people in such a manner as they struggle for equality and better lives for themselves and their families is unkind. They have every right to be insulted by that remark and demand an apology.

But the reality is that many Native Americans do live in poverty. But not all Indians were created equal, or more accurately, blessed with equal locations. There are many examples, but for a brief illustration, the Seminoles of south Florida have their own corporate jet flight department, the Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay Nation, presumably from casino profits, are completing the $52 million renovation of their recently purchased U.S. Grant hotel in beautiful downtown San Diego. The Kummeyaay's abide by principles of providing for their next seven generations, which is certainly a noble goal. The list goes on. But let's try suggesting something else. How about an Epcot-like theme park just outside Wounded Knee, where there's plenty of available farmland, that could attract millions of visitors and revenue for the neediest of Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation? No, of course, that's not a practical idea and it's fairly evident that the tribes, who were blessed with prime (read, tourist) locations and the millions upon millions it generates, aren't anxious to share that wealth and good fortune with their less-fortunate brethren.

During his talk, Mr. Blake was candid about himself and told the audience that he had struggled for many years to find that crucial element of success as a writer. His book, Dances with Wolves, however, was a commercial failure; that was he said, until receiving a call from Kevin Costner. The project became reality and was embraced by Hollywood. Mr. Blake's screenplay of his own novel won him an Academy Award for the critically-acclaimed film. Hollywood and America geared up to return to the all but dead cowboy genre and in this instance, away from the denigration of Indians prevalent in the films of the 40s, 50s and 60s. Also, it's apparently not a bad thing having an Oscar on your bookshelf, which vastly increased Mr. Blake's professional and personal collateral; although, to his personal credit, he did sound genuinely humble and grateful for his success.

Dances is a terrific movie and tells an intriguing story from the perspective of its hero soldier turned Sioux warrior, Lieutenant Dunbar. It's sympathetic, showing the Indians first as human beings pursued by the steady encroachment of the white man, along with vicious Pawnee. But for all its sensitivity to the subject matter, it is not history, it is not a documentary, but as Mr. Blake wrote it, it's fiction.

So there's no confusion either. Dances was not written for Indians. That's why it was not well received within Native America.

Yell, on the other hand, is Mr. Blake's first non-fiction work that he tells us he worked on for thirty years.

According to a number of critics, Yell tries to cover too much ground and assumes that most citizens have a pretty broad knowledge of 19th Century American history. He paints a picture that provides the sanitized version of what most non-Native Americans assume; Indians were bad, cowboys were good, the army was doing its job and the government had to protect the settlers, etc., all at the expense of the Indians. But many tribes, especially the Sioux, were not particularly friendly to their neighbors and there was plenty of Indian-on-Indian conflict long before the white man started making matters worse. The collaboration of some Indian Nations with the government against other Indian Tribes and Nations is an important part of that history. Mr. Blake's presentation is but a very small part of a much broader scenario, and although informative, is merely a snapshot of that period.

Of course, Mr. Blake did make his political slant transparent both in the book and during other talks where he equates the American Indian "problem" to the current insurgency in Iraq, and like most revisionist historians proceeds to demonize the U.S. Government by further equating it to a "model of behavior." He has his own agenda, but to his credit, doesn't try to disguise it.

Perhaps Mr. Blake has gone beyond the folklore of Peltier and done some serious research himself. If he has and still believes Peltier is innocent, then how can he with any good conscience sit at a table next to someone of such low moral character as Robert Robideau? Maybe Mr. Blake hasn't heard first-hand Robideau's sickening braggadocio of why and how he killed agents Coler and Williams in cold blood. Next time, Blake should turn to Robideau and ask him why he and Peltier lied all those years claiming that it was the phantom Mr. X in the infamous red pickup truck who did the horrendous deed.

If Mr. Blake can only see an incredibly complex and widespread conspiracy to keep Peltier in prison, and since he begins and ends Indian Yell with statements from Peltier, then he should also remember that nothing, repeat, nothing, has removed the three of them, Butler, Robideau or Peltier from the scene of the murder of Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

David Geffen was at the center of a dust-up in the political arena recently that again unearthed former President Clinton's horrid misuse of pardon power. Geffen's prior personal and financial coziness with the Clintons (Bill and Hillary) was summed up in a terse comment that "Everybody in politics lies, but they (the Clintons) do it with such ease, it's troubling." Geffin's dismay at the former president for not pardoning Peltier led to him now being a big fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's Democratic primary rival, Barack Obama.

Geffen is miffed because in this instance he wasn't able to buy Peltier's freedom from the former president. Yet considering the pardons Clinton did grant (the most egregious ever of any President, i.e., Marc Rich), apparently there was a price for freedom, but Geffen didn't have the right kind of currency.

Whatever Geffen is, or claims to be in the Hollywood sphere, let's face realty: No matter whom the next president may be, whether it's a Democrat or Republican, during his/her first term, no president is going to take on a subject like Peltier; there are just too many political landmines either way. So that takes us to the year 2012.

The Clintons have already made their Peltier bed; if it's President Hillary Clinton, she's too politically astute to go down that trail again, and then there's the dust up with Geffen to add insult to injury. If it's President Obama, hopefully he will research the issue enough to not bend to any other pressure than the right of law. If it's a Republican, law and order Rudy Giuliani would unlikely even consider it. Even if it's John McCain, who is from Arizona and sensitive to Native American Issues, that's also unlikely.

These kinds of pardons generally come at the end of a president's second or last term; on the way out the door, so to speak. So if the next president is re-elected then the Peltier pardon issue won't be on the table until 2016. Twenty-sixteen is a long way off and whether Peltier, or those still very much concerned with him completing his back-to-back life sentences (plus the seven consecutive years for his armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary), then we can all wait patiently until that time is at hand.

Peltier's long-awaited public parole hearing will likely be after the next president is elected and Peltier will hardly be an important issue for the incoming president; and it's a sure bet that President Bush wouldn't give a Peltier pardon a second thought.

The timing will not be good for Peltier, but then again, Jack Coler and Ron Williams will still be dead and there will be plenty of people out there continuing to focus on justice being served and keeping their memory alive. They will continue to educate the uninformed, those relying solely on the folklore, myth and conspiracy theories surrounding Peltier.

2006 marked a low point in Peltier's struggle for notoriety. Over these past years Peltier has tried to transform himself from victim, to warrior, to martyr and now adding even greater insult to Native American's everywhere, to morph himself into Chief Leonard. In a wholly disgusting display of arrogance by perverting the history of genuine Native American chiefs and warriors, Peltier began hawking his likeness on T-shirts that added further to his legacy of fabrications and falsehoods.

Peltier is trying to sell a knock-off (and probably a copyright violation) of the original and popular T-shirt depicting Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Red Cloud, with Mt. Rushmore in the background bearing the caption "The original founding fathers."

Peltier's T-shirt is of such poor quality it's difficult to really know who it depicts, aside from the obvious resemblance of Peltier, he may be there with Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Chief Joseph, all of whom contributed to the storied and colorful history of their people.

Perhaps, since there are no likenesses of Crazy Horse, in some perverse way Peltier thinks he can fill those famous moccasins. Not likely.

Well then, perhaps that's where Chief Leonard has come to in reality; the T-shirt of the week.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

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NPPA 7th Anniversary Statement, April 30, 2007

April 30th marked seven years since the creation of the NPPA. Much has transpired and the original goal of honoring the memory and sacrifice of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, and to dispel the myths surrounding Peltier, have been largely successful.

  • Robideau proved that he is incapable of reading a straight forward government memo and that he thinks Peltier supporters are as easily confused as he is. Or is it just continuing deceit on his part? We'll let the readers decide.
  • David Geffen threw a temper tantrum realizing that he needed to switch his political alliances because he could not buy Peltier's freedom from former President Bill Clinton. Geffen didn't understand the process nor have the right currency to make it happen. But for those who know, the truth lies elsewhere.
  • Michael Blake, as much of a believer as he may be, couldn't pass muster with the savvy students at Bucknell University.
  • Peltier's legal and frivolous maneuverings plodded along unsuccessfully.
  • Peltier descended just about as far as he could go in perpetuating his myth by having his likeness on a T-shirt with genuine Indian Chiefs. His denigration of their memory should be an affront to every true Native American.

Please see editorial essays #34, #35 and #36 in the Debate Continues section for more details.

Nonetheless, the events of the past year amounted to no more than a few ripples in the nearby Susquehanna.

Next year, perhaps, there may be more significant activities, but that remains to be seen. There are, however, about twenty months to the real showdown. And the NPPA will be there.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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Thank you Robert Robideau? (Gone for now but he left plenty of damage behind for Leonard Peltier): NPPA June 15, 2007

On June 9th, the LPDC posted this message:

Thank you Robert Robideau: On behalf of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee we would like to express our appreciation to Robert Robideau for his work with the Leonard Peltier Defense committee and his commitment towards Leonard Peltier's freedom. We wish Robert Robideau the very best in his future endeavors.

That's just a little more than a strange message. Certainly Peltier learned his lesson from the awful way he dispatched previous directors and spokespersons, especially his insensitivity to the "severe emotional and mental problems" of Russ Redner.

But perhaps Leonard and the LPDC really do pay attention and understand good advice when they hear it. As Robideau drifted in and out of the Peltier network the NPPA has proven repeatedly that Robideau was, and will continue to be, Peltier's greatest burden.

In his most recent position of national/international spokesperson for Peltier and the LPDC, even as early as December, 2006, Robideau penned this incredible email response to a long-time NPPA supporter:

people that come to their own conclusions are fascist pigs…and don't know the meaning of justice…only fear.

Huh? What? Who can argue with logic like that, or more precisely, who can understand that kind of reasoning at all? Unless, of course, you consider the source and perhaps the level of stupor the murderous Robideau was in at that moment. Truth is, Robideau's train has been off the track for a very long time.

Whatever prompted this latest exit, it comes at a time that is arguably one of the most critical in the Peltier saga; the Clinton clemency issue being high on the list.

Perhaps Peltier and the LPDC finally realized that every time Robideau opens his mouth it only reinforces the guilt of himself, Dino Butler, and Peltier, and provides even more substantive evidence of their complicity in the brutal murders of Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

Whether Robideau was quietly pushed aside or his public and behind-the-scenes antics infuriated the believers, somebody made a smart move. It's for certain Robideau wasn't willing to step out of the limelight and away from stealing what's left of Peltier's thunder. He liked any audience, no matter how small, where he could say outrageous things ("They died like worms," They were shot in the head at close range," I killed the agents," "Those FBI agents would be dead again") that dug Peltier's hole just a little deeper. Those admissions are stuck to Peltier and there is nothing anyone can do to remove them. It also helps everyone remember that nothing in the entire history of this matter has removed Butler, Peltier and Robideau from the scene of the crime. Absolutely nothing.

It's not expected that Robideau will crawl off quietly into the night. He'll be back and we'll no doubt hear from him again; whether he's hiding out in Spain as a wannabe ex-pat or sponging off the largesse of some other fringe group, he can't help himself. He thinks he still has some time left in his 15 minutes of infamy.

But we are grateful for all his unwitting assistance; he has given more support to the NPPA than many others on this side of the fence. Goes to show, even murderous low-life felon's can contribute something.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

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"From a youth into an elder" Peltier's Ultimate Guilt: NPPA September 12, 2007

In a recent statement, Leonard Peltier lamented that some supporters were suggesting he break camp and head for the hills, implying a further broadening conspiracy against him, but at the same time offers yet another disingenuous factoid hoping that those remaining will continue to absorb the folklore without questioning its authenticity. (Disingenuous, of course, is the polite way of saying Peltier is lying once again to those who linger around the campfire.)

Peltier has the temerity (chutzpa, actually) to say:

"Behind bars I have aged from a youth into an Elder."


Did Leonard actually suggest he participated in cold-blooded murder when he was young, immature or adolescent?

This has a simple solution. Do the math. Peltier was born in 1944. On June 26, 1975 he was thirty, soon to be thirty-one; no kid, no misguided youngster by any definition but an adult who knew exactly what he was doing, and why.

Since Peltier himself has placed his case in the public forum, everything he and those close to him say is fair game. He did receive a fair trial, and if there is any doubt about that just take a moment (or several hours) and review all the appeals he has had (even twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court), and note that they have all been upheld; no constitutional violations. He has received perhaps more legal attention than most if not all other inmates, except perhaps those on death row. Every utterance made by him, Robert Robideau or Dino Butler is a litmus test of the veracity of any and all prior statements and claims to innocence he has made. They can be used to measure not just his legal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but his actual guilt based on his conflicting accounts of the murders. Peltier's co-conspirators further bolster that guilt.

Peltier suggests (as a "sad note") that previous supporters who now have seen the light of guilt shining on his face are part of a grand conspiracy of the government and the courts (presumably the nine Supreme Court justices as well) who have globally conspired to keep him in Lewisburg. What he fails to show is how and where all these varying entities gathered together to hatch this elaborate plot.

It should serve Peltier's supporters well to remember a couple of glaring and obvious issues:

Peltier's only alibi (that someone else did it) was destroyed by both his co-conspirators; Dino Butler calling Peltier a liar about the entire Mr. X and red pickup story ; Robert Robideau clearly and repeatedly admitting that he killed the agents, and that Peltier was convicted, for among other things, aiding and abetting. This makes the fallacy of the claim of self-defense all the more onerous.

Peltier's birthday events are more sparse and uninspiring than last year. It seems almost discomforting that the list is even posted on the website. Conspicuously absent are the formerly vocal Irish and Belgium contingents. Particularly the KOLA and IPF crowd who clearly foster an anti-America agenda at Peltier's expense (They could really care less about Native American rights as long as the United States gets bashed in the process).

Peltier's finances continue to run at an embarrassing pace. The stones on the Freedom Walkway stumble along (no pun intended) and are increasing at a marginal rate, barely over $12,000 in two years with just over six hundred stones (at ten bucks each) a year. But knowing what other money is taken in or how that money is spent continues to be a dark Peltier secret. Bob Free, the exiled former LPDC Chairperson, called for some sunshine to illuminate the shady path by posting it on the website. That never happened and Bob disappeared.

But there is a hint that something is rotten in Denmark (or Brussels) regarding the donations for stones or other sources of money for Peltier.

On November 14, 2006 at 7:59am (Central European Time), Ms. Els (Elsie) Herten of KOLA/IPF provided an email with the following insight;

"See, most people just bought one or two stones, because the names on the list were more important than donating money through that website "thingie". The real donations were sent to the LPDC bank account instead. For example: I donated half the donations we received. Vivienne Westwood just sent a huge donation (to the bank account)." (Emphasis added)

Whether or not there's any kind of fraud in this process will be up to Peltier supporters or the IRS to decide.

Peltier goes on about the documents he has yet to receive under the Freedom of Information Act and has previously stated that it would make no difference to determine the identity of the FBI's informants during that period. The fact that he has failed to make any connection between those allegations and his own case, to him at least, is irrelevant. Even if there were informants and whether they are still living or that their families would become known to others, they would be placed in jeopardy by some of the fringe elements surrounding Peltier. One need only look on the lower east side of Manhattan to see that there would be some concern for their safety. In either case, his fishing expedition continues but the identity of any sources should remain protected. His claims to the contrary notwithstanding, he has not proven any link of government sources compromising his case.

But Peltier proclaims that "indeed, a document recently produced by the FBI…" helps prove his point but this no doubt goes along with the same twisted logic and misinterpretation that Robert Robideau and Peltier tried with the notable "sanctioned memo."

Just happens: But returning to the definitive issue of proof of guilt beyond all doubt, review again with us just a few salient points:

What if it just happens2 that Norman Charles, who accompanied Peltier in Sam Loud Hawk's red suburban, was interviewed by FBI Agents Coler and Williams just the day prior to the shooting. That it just happens that Norman Charles was in Agent Williams' vehicle and would have recognized both Agents and their vehicles following them onto Jumping Bull. That it just happens there was trial testimony that it was known to everyone on the Reservation that white guys in civilian clothes driving new vehicles with antennas, were Feds. That it just happens that Peltier knew that at that moment he was a wanted fugitive for another crime3 . That it just happens that the shell casings recovered from where Peltier was shooting at the agents accounts for many of the bullet holes in the agent's vehicles. Or that it just happens that Angie Long Visitor testified to seeing both Peltier and Robideau shooting at the agents from a distance. Or that it just happens that Peltier had a capable defense team but that the jury heard testimony that after the shooting stopped and the agents were severely wounded, the three older Indians, Peltier, Robideau and Butler went down to the wounded agents. That it just happens Peltier's only alibi (that someone whom he knew did it; the fictitious Mr. X driving the infamous red pickup truck), was said to be a lie by one of the three participants, Dino Butler. That it just happens Peltier never even mentioned Mr. X or the red pickup in his autobiography. That it also just happens that Robert Robideau has repeatedly said he was there and that he killed the agents. That Peltier just happened to claim in Prison Writings (in 1999) that "(He) didn't see their agents die" yet also (in 1999) during a CNN interview4 Peltier admitted being at the scene of the agent's murders. For Peltier to be innocent then all of this (and much more) must be just some incredible coincidence of cosmic proportions.

But the real measure of Peltier's guilt comes down to the simple matter of Peltier having to re-invent his own history. He would need to go back to day one and somehow remove himself from Jumping Bull that June day. That he cannot do this, that everything in his case points to his participation in the initial attack on the agents and that he was there at the scene of the wounded agents along with Butler and Robideau leads to one inescapable conclusion; at a bare minimum, if he himself did not make the final killing shots to the agents faces, then he was equally guilty as an aider and abettor in their deaths, a crime for which he was charged, convicted and sentenced. Peltier was not magically in San Francisco or some other place that day. He was there and nothing can remove that or his ultimate guilt.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

1 A lie so bold and egregious his trial attorneys shied away from the fabrication that Mr. X did it. Even for them it wouldn't pass the smell test.

2 Vincent Bugliosi, Outrage (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996) 218. Concept of legal argument borrowed from Vincent Bugliosi.

3 It is immaterial what the outcome of those charges may have later been. It was Peltier's state of mind at that moment that matters; being followed by federal agents and knowing there was a felony warrant outstanding for his arrest.

4 CNN/Time Leonard Peltier transcript: Interview by Mark Potter, broadcast October 10, 1999: Peltier: "Don't know, just two people laying there. I mean, the car door-the car door was open and stuff."

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"Prison Writings" by Leonard Peltier: A work of fiction. September 30, 2007

(Editor's note: Nearly seven years ago, on November 14, 2000 the editorial essay "The Myth of Leonard Peltier" was prominently added to the NPPA website. That essay was a comprehensive review of Peltier's autobiography, Prison Writings. Peltier used this book as a basis for attempting to reinforce the folklore surrounding his case and creating what can only be described as the Myth Peltier perpetuates on his supporters (and those who are unable or unwilling to explore all aspects of his conviction) for his participation in the brutal murder of two severely wounded and defenseless federal agents. The essay systematically dismantled the fiction Peltier offered as fact. Since then, there have been many more critical statements by Peltier and Robert Robideau that firmly establish their guilt beyond any doubt. What follows is a review of Prison Writings, albeit long overdue, that was recently posted on

Prison Writings would make for a compelling story had Peltier included some truth to support his allegations surrounding the events of June 26, 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota.

By way of a brief background, Peltier was represented by capable and experienced counsel and during his trial the jury heard that FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams were following who they thought was another wanted person. They actually followed Peltier and two teenagers who began shooting at the agents who were then trapped and exposed in an open area. Peltier was joined by several others, including Dino Butler and Robert Robideau who also fired on the agents from another direction. Both Coler and Williams were severely wounded and unable to defend themselves. Peltier's jury heard that Peltier, Robideau and Butler went down to the wounded agents and shot them both in the face at point-blank range with a high powered rife. The jury believed the testimony they heard and Peltier was convicted for, among other things, aiding and abetting and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. He later received an additional seven year consecutive sentence for an armed escape from Lompoc federal penitentiary. (In a separate and earlier trial, Dino Butler and Robert Robideau were acquitted of the murders. However, this review relates specifically to how Peltier portrays the facts surrounding these events in Prison Writings. There is much more to the entire saga.)

It's important to place Prison Writings in its proper chronological context. Prison Writings was published in 1999. An important related book touted by Peltier and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) that "immortalizes Leonard Peltier," In The Spirit of Crazy Horse (ITSOCH) by Peter Matthiessen was first published in 1983 and in 1992. A film, Incident at Oglala (Incident), narrated by Robert Redford was released in 1991. Collectively, these sources, in addition to the many public statements made by Peltier, Butler and Robideau, demonstrate that Peltier is not only fabricating the history of his own case but knowingly lies about certain events.

There are many more, but for example:

The scene:
Peltier initially claimed he was in the AIM camp to the south of the Jumping Bull property, heard shots, responded and "I fired off a few shots above their heads, trying not to hit anything (p.125)." And also "I didn't see their agents die, had no hand in it…" (p.127). Yet in a CNN interview in October, 1999 Peltier admitted being there and told interviewer Mark Potter "I don't know, just two people laying there. I mean, the car door-the car door open and stuff."

The alibi:
For the better part of nearly two decades Peltier had offered only one alibi about who was responsible for the final killing shots to the agents' faces. He claimed that someone they all knew but would not identify (Mr. X), had driven to the reservation that day in a red pickup truck to deliver dynamite and that it was Mr. X who engaged the agents initially and then, once wounded and unable to defend themselves, killed the agents and drove off. In Incident Robideau is filmed pointing to the area where Mr. X murdered the agents and drove off in the red pickup truck. This claim was so far-fetched that not even Peltier's trial lawyers wanted to go near it, but they did their best to create confusion with the jury over the alleged red pickup truck. Matthiessen, although skeptical himself, spent a great deal of time on Mr. X in ITSOCH. However, in a 1995 interview with News from Indian Country, one of the three participants, Dino Butler, publicly said that the Mr. X story was a lie; "Well, there is no Mr. X. There was no man coming to our camp that day bringing dynamite." "To create this lie to show that someone else pulled the trigger." " That is totally false. Totally untrue. That never happened."

It should come as no surprise that Mr. X. and the red pickup are never mentioned in Prison Writings.

Aiding and abetting:
Peltier tries to convince the reader that the "vague crime of aiding and abetting" (p162) was somehow later added to the charge of murdering the agents. Yet, during one of the many appeals (one dealing with this specific issue in 1993), the appeals court stated that "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 that if he had not done so, then he was equally guilty of the murder as an aider and abettor."

Preplanned assault:
Peltier lays the groundwork for claiming that according to a document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the government "…had been gathering in the area for a preplanned paramilitary assault on the Pine Ridge reservation," (p.129) comprised of "…dozens, maybe hundreds…" (p.127) of law-enforcement personnel. The document (dated April 24, 1975) he refers to (the noted "sanctioned memo") says nothing of the kind and related to the 1973 takeover by AIM of Wounded Knee. Ironically this memo was still being circulated around FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. even after the murders of agents Coler and Williams with a date at the bottom of the memo of August 11, 1975. This memo is not even in the same universe as Peltier claims. This assertion was so outrageous even Matthiessen shied away from it by claiming after all his research that the initial shooting at the agents was spontaneous, neither a pre-planned government event nor premeditated ambush of the two agents. "…if there is another persuasive explanation of the location and position of their cars, I cannot find it." (ITSOCH p.544).

Further, it was well documented that when the agents were first pinned down in the open field, Agent Williams made desperate calls for help and assistance over his FBI radio. These transmissions were overheard by a number of individuals who all confirmed how quickly the shooting started and that the nearest agent was about twelve miles away. That FBI agent, Gary Adams, responded with a BIA officer, the first two to even reach close to the scene. They were also shot at and had to back away to Highway 18 and await more assistance. In the meantime, Coler and Williams were murdered and Peltier and the others escaped.

Robert Robideau who has been assimilated and rejected by the Peltier organization several times over the years has made damning admissions. Robideau stated publicly on numerous occasions, and in emails to this reviewer, that he's the one who actually killed the agents:

"As far as I have ever been concerned the killing of the agents was justified…" "They were shot in the head at close range…" "I have no remorse…" "I am "Mr X" (which is no lie) and I did kill them with honor befitting a warrior, but they died like worms." "I thought I already told you that I killed the agents."

Of course Robideau has the constitutional protection against double-jeopardy, but this reviewer believes he is even too much of a coward to shoot two severely wounded and incapacitated human beings. But whether he killed the agents himself is immaterial; the Peltier jury heard and accepted the testimony that the three older Indians, Robideau, Butler and Peltier went down to the wounded agents and murdered them by shooting them both in the face.

Of course, Prison Writings suggests none of this but hides behind fabrications and outright lies to further the folklore surrounding Peltier and perpetuating The Myth. What it does do however is firmly establish that Peltier did not remove himself from the scene of the crime.

Prison Writings is self-serving drivel and should not be used to document in any fashion what happened that June day at Pine Ridge. Anyone interested in going beyond The Myth should spend some time reviewing the very detailed appeals that cover every aspect of this case.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
No Parole Peltier Association - Founder

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Delaney Bruce v. Leonard Peltier: "Cease and Desist Immediately! Or else? NPPA: November 22, 2007

In a message dated November 16, 2007 Leonard threatens a former committee member, who like many others over the years has fallen out of favor with the Peltier camp.

To remind Peltier supporters where this all started, this is what Peltier said in 2003:

Another person who answered my call is Delaney Bruce. Delaney has an impressive resume and moved her whole family to Kansas from Maryland at her own expense. She was never offered a position at the LPDC but worked every day for six months as a volunteer -- folding papers and stuffing envelopes, licking stamps, and folding t-shirts. After about three months of this, I began to get upset and I asked why this was happening. "Give her a chance," I said. "Assign Delaney to a project so we can see what she can do."

"I have reopened the office too. At the moment, there is just one volunteer running the office-Delaney Bruce"

Well, evidently, according to Peltier and the LPDC, she didn't do all that well.

It would serve little purpose to review this matter in detail again because we have witnessed the failings of Peltier's leadership many times; how he treats those who do not do his bidding exactly as he dictates, even to the extent of referring to them as "Freaks."

Rather than engage in yet another examination of what a mess Peltier has created, please see the following editorial essays #18, 19, 20 and 38, which provide that history and how he excoriates those once loyal followers.

We can give Peltier credit for one thing though. He has remained entirely consistent with how he treats those around him, especially those who had the intelligence and ability to help him seek the one thing he wants most, his freedom. His former attorneys, who have donated considerable time and talent and who have also left the cause, know full-well the depth of Peltier's ingratitude towards others.

Jack Coler and Ron Williams, of course, also knew the extent of Peltier's rage.

Peltier has never been gracious or kind to those, who for fleeting minutes or years of loyalty, have left the fold. To a person, they left because, over time, they saw Peltier for what he really is; a cold-blooded remorseless sociopath who also happens to be an ungrateful, self-absorbed egotist. Perhaps another Peltier outcast, Patricia Benabe called it right by claiming Peltier was "stir crazy."

Leonard is also quoted as saying "I have to take that kind of disrespect from the other side, but do I have to take that from my own people?"

The "other side" of course would be from the likes of the NPPA and Peltier's many detractors. But talking about disrespect in this manner makes him sound more like a New York wiseguy than the icon he seeks to be. Perhaps he likens himself to former mob boss John Gotti. But then again, Gotti finished his life sentence in a Federal prison.

Now we can continue to just stand back and watch the antics and public displays of dirty laundry as Peltier's fate circles around the drain.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

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Write-A-Thon; Senator Leahy; IPF/LPDC: NPPA, December 10, 2007

In response to a call from the International Peltier Forum (Elsie Herten) and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (Toni Zeidan) to provide wholly inaccurate and misleading form letters to U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, the following NPPA letter was provided in response:

No Parole Peltier Association
P.O. Box 54667
Cincinnati, Ohio 45254-0667
December 10, 2007

Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Re: Leonard Peltier

Dear Senator Leahy:

Your office may be in receipt of some form letters (copy attached) concerning pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from convicted murderer, Leonard Peltier.

That letter, generated by the International Peltier Forum (IPF) and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) provides your office with a distorted history of Peltier's conviction while categorizing him as a political prisoner.

For example, they quote a 2003 Tenth U.S. Circuit Court decision (which however related to sentencing issues), "Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."

However, what the IPF and LPDC fail to mention was that the government vigorously disputed that singular assertion and that this court then denied Peltier's appeal by concluding:

Because we hold the Commission's principal finding that Mr. Peltier shot and killed Agents Coler and Williams was rational, we need not address the Commission's implication that the same disposition is supportable if Mr. Peltier only aided and abetted at the murder scene. As such, we affirm the district courts denial of relief.

On this particular appeal, as it had twice previously, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari without comment.

Peltier has been afforded no less than two dozen appeals and court reviews, including an evidentiary hearing, and no court in the past thirty years has found that Peltier's constitutional rights have been violated or that there was reversible error by the government.

The IPF/LPDC misrepresents the basis of Peltier's FOIA requests by connecting it to material turned over to Peltier's defense team prior to his trial. They do not understand the issue of discovery rules that applied during that period. The government did comply. However, after an initial FOIA request there was one teletype that arguably could have been turned over. Under the rules prevailing at that time, it was not, but it did result in a three-day evidentiary hearing, and a ruling against Peltier. This led to yet another appeal to the circuit court, which also ruled against Peltier on the facts.

The IPF/LPDC claim that some human rights organizations and individuals believe Peltier to be a political prisoner, but whether those entities fully understand the facts of this case remains to be seen. However, the government is following the rules established by the FOIA statutes to provide Peltier with what he is legally entitled. One significant request that the IPF /LPDC does not mention is that Peltier also demands the identities of any informant or source used during that period. Whether they exist in Peltier's case or not, the government provided an assurance that the identities of certain individuals would be protected. Releasing that information would place someone in jeopardy, assuming they are still alive, or if not, their family members. One need only explore the history of the American Indian Movement (AIM), of which Peltier still claims allegiance, to understand that concern.

There is no dispute that the tensions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the early 1970s was acute, in large measure due to the activities led by AIM leadership. However, none of that was justification for murder.

FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams were lawfully engaged in carrying out their duties that day; they were caught in an open field and taken under rifle fire from two directions. They were both severely wounded and by all accounts tried to surrender. Peltier's trial jury heard that Peltier, Robert Robideau and Dino Butler went down to the agents vehicles. Jack and Ron, wounded and defenseless, were then both shot in the face at point-blank range; Ron even having a defensive wound to his hand as he tried to deflect the muzzle blast. This was not a political act, it was, as the jury agreed, cold-blooded murder.

Leonard Peltier needs no relief from other sources as he serves his two life sentences and the additional seven-year consecutive sentence he received for an armed escape from a federal penitentiary.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to the other side of the Peltier matter.

Please accept my fondest wish for you and your staff and families for a happy holiday season and a healthy and productive New Year.


Edward Woods

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Factual Guilt and Actual Guilt - Leonard Peltier: NPPA, January 12, 2008

Leonard Peltier was convicted in Federal court and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for his participation in the murders of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Peltier had a capable and experienced defense team who had every opportunity to challenge the government's evidence and impeach prosecution witnesses. The jury believed the testimony they heard.

We can reexamine that trial but are in no position to retry Peltier based on those facts and testimony; that remained within the province of the appeals process, which has run its course. Again, throughout the appeals, Peltier had ample professional legal representation.


A crucial element of the trial testimony was what happened after the initial shooting when the agents were wounded and unable to defend themselves. It was at this point, the jury heard, the three older Indians, Leonard Peltier, Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, went down to the agents vehicles.

Evincing the painfully obvious one more time, only five people know exactly what happened at that point, and of course, two of them are dead.

There are those who have questioned his conviction but Peltier has received no less than a dozen judicial reviews, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Each court has upheld his conviction based on the law. There were no constitutional violations of Peltier's rights or reversible errors by the government.

Thus, Peltier's factual guilt was established beyond a reasonable doubt.


During the trial much was made by the defense team of a red pickup truck allegedly at the scene of the murders.

Although it was his right not to, Peltier did not take the witness stand and testify on his own behalf, however, in a very real sense each subsequent public utterance made by those personally involved on June 26, 1975 serve as additional evidence for consideration in the court-of-public-opinion. These statements lend further weight to the previous court testimony so the public jury can determine Peltier's actual guilt.

The Alibi: Mr. X did it.

Even though he has changed his version of the events several times, for the better part of two decades Peltier offered only one alibi; that someone else, someone whom they all knew but would not name, killed the agents. Mr. X is given considerable treatment in Peter Matthiessen's, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Penguin Books, 1991), and the 1992 Miramax film, Incident at Oglala.

In the film, Robert Robideau is seen pointing into the distance where the agent's vehicles once were, stating:

It was only a couple of years ago that I had an opportunity to talk to, with, the individual that was the individual that killed these two agents. He told me that he was coming to the Jumping Bull home to deliver explosives that we had asked him to bring here...That day I noticed a red pickup coming down from that white house (pointing) up there and whey they got on the other side of these cars, it stopped, an individual got out, of course I knew who he was. Well I heard several shots fired...Shortly after that, the individual got back into the driver's side of the pickup and the pickup left and made it's way up along the tree line up here and past the green house, and I never saw the red pickup again.

In the very next sequence, Peltier, on screen, affirms:

This story is true. But I can't and will not say anything about it. For me to testify against anybody-or even mention-try to get somebody else in trouble-is wrong. And I won't do it. Because it's against my belief, it's against my religion, my culture. It's against everything that we've fought for or stood up for. We were told by elders what a warrior society is all about.


But now we have to further examine what else Peltier, Butler and Robideau have said since Peltier's conviction:

--Dino Butler came out publicly and called both Peltier and Robert Robideau liars for fabricating the entire Mr. X story.

In a 1995 interview with E.K. Caldwell in News from Indian Country, Butler had this to say about Mr. X and the infamous red pickup truck:

Well, there is no Mr. X. There was no man coming to our camp that day bringing dynamite…To create this lie to show that someone else pulled the trigger. The final agreement in that meeting was that the Mr. X idea wouldn't be used because it was a lie…that was all totally false. Totally untrue. That never happened.

--In his autobiography, Prison Writings (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), Peltier said he was in the AIM camp to the south of the Jumping Bull property, heard shots, responded and "I fired off a few shots above their heads, trying not to hit anything" (p.125). And also, "I didn't see their agents die, had no hand in it…" (p.127).

Yet in a CNN interview aired on October 10, 1999 Peltier admitted being there and told interviewer Mark Potter "I don't know, just two people laying there. I mean, the car door. The car door open and stuff."

--Robert Robideau has repeatedly proven to be Leonard Peltier's worst enemy. His out-of-court statements have become the death knell to any claims of Peltier's innocence.

When Robideau publicly states (as he did personally in front of this writer in New York City), that "(He) killed the agents," and if he were in the same situation "Those FBI agents would be dead again." And in emails to this writer that "As far as (he has) ever been concerned the killing of those agents was justified…" That, "They were shot in the head at close range." That, "…(he has) no remorse…" and further, "(He was) Mr. X [which is no lie] and he did kill them with honor befitting a warrior, but they died like worms."

Robideau has single-handedly placed unalterable guilt firmly on the shoulders of himself, Butler and Peltier.

As a result of all of these public disclosures, Peltier's actual guilt has been established beyond any doubt.


Peltier has changed his version of the incident many times and his only alibi was repudiated by those who are most knowledgeable and were personally involved in the murders of Agents Coler and Williams.

As we have stated many times, it matters little whether Peltier pulled the trigger himself because he was convicted of, among other things, for aiding and abetting in the deaths of Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

The central element of Peltier's guilt is based on the participants' collective statements and nothing in the entire history of this case has removed any of them, Peltier included, from the scene of the brutal murder of two defenseless human beings.

Peltier's factual (legal) and actual (moral) guilt, to any reasonable person reviewing the history of this matter, has been established beyond all doubt.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

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Pardon Me, Harvey Wasserman: NPPA January 15, 2008

(Foreword: Harvey Wasserman's essay, Bringing Leonard Peltier to Iowa and New Hampshire originally appeared in on which he is listed as senior editor. On 1/5/08 an email was sent to Mr. Wasserman and Editor and Publisher Bob Fitrakes requesting the opportunity to respond to a number of important issues Wasserman raised that their readers should have the opportunity to explore further. There was no reply. A phone message however was answered and Editor and Publisher Bob Fitrakes seemed to indicate that the NPPA rebuttal to Mr. Wasserman's article would be posted on As of the posting of this editorial essay on the NPPA website it has not appeared on Any number of conclusions can be drawn from this, one of which may be that Mr. Wasserman and the LPDC continue to offer false information to Peltier supporters but are not willing to correct the record when challenged.)

Long-time social activist, anti-nuke and green-earth advocate, Harvey Wasserman waded into the Peltier debate with a recent essay posted to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) website: Bringing Leonard Peltier to Iowa and New Hampshire.

Harvey hit the mark on several points regarding the history of the Peltier matter but then segued into a fundamental misunderstanding of the political process, the U.S. Constitution, American jurisprudence and the criminal justice system.

The Peltier matter is not a political issue as he and others try to suggest. It was, by all accounts, a vicious criminal act. The murder of FBI agents Coler and Williams was not politically motivated but the frantic act of a few American Indian Movement (AIM) criminals. The agents were taken under rifle fire from two directions, severely wounded, unable to defend themselves, attempted to surrender, and were then both shot in the face at point-blank-range. Peltier, Robert Robideau and Dino Butler knew full-well as they approached the defenseless agents that they had stepped well beyond the law and morality; they also knew that dead men make poor witnesses. And for this they claimed self-defense.1

For an admittedly proud activist from the left side of the political spectrum, Harvey made a surprising admission (one not all that frequently heard even from the far right). At first it seemed perhaps a typo, but seeing it repeated indicated that this is exactly what he meant when writing "The Clintons are running for a third term…" and "As expected their first eight years in office…"

However the primaries may eventually shake out, Hillary Clinton's abstruse (and obtuse) accounting of her alleged leadership experience in the White House scarcely places her in any more stead than other First Ladies, save for her only noteworthy and singularly failed health care initiative. She was not granted a security clearance, never attended Security Council meetings, had no access to the president's daily intelligence briefing and did not play any mentionable role in international crises during President Clinton's two terms. And all her exposure to military matters has been limited to her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.2 She did though suffer the embarrassment of the Lewinski scandal, blaming it at the time on a vast right-wing conspiracy.

But this isn't about Hillary Clinton. Even if she were elected president she would not pardon anyone of notoriety until the end of her first term, and if re-elected, the end of her second term. And either way, that's a long way off. Besides, rhetorically: Would Hillary be willing to undo what Bill didn't do?

Bill Clinton on the other hand, historically had a lot to do with Peltier, at least according to some. Even Harvey calls it as he sees it, referring to Clinton's cowardice on the Peltier pardon.3 Peltier on the other hand called President Clinton a sleazebag.4 So for all the posturing in the run up to the infamous Clinton pardons, during his only visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, President Clinton (when he saw people holding Free Peltier signs) was prompted to ask "Who's Leonard Peltier?"5

That's not to say Harvey wasn't correct; Peltier supporters pulled out all the stops, yanking on every string that could possibly get the president's attention and sway him to pardon Peltier, so much so that even at the White House Christmas party that December there were a few partier's running around with Free Peltier buttons.6 Peltier and the LPDC knew this was their last hope at circumventing all the legal decisions supporting his conviction by continuing to foster-not the facts-but all the myth and folklore surrounding Peltier's case.7

As a practical matter, for those who care to go back and look at that period, it would have been a coup of sorts for Clinton to take one heavy and cheap last shot at the FBI and its director. The FBI had been investigating a number of Clinton White House scandals and dalliances and although FBI Director Freeh had been appointed by Clinton, at this point there was no love between them, even to the extent that Freeh personally met with the president only two or three times during his seven-year tenure as FBI Director.8 Louis Freeh was a man of honor, courage and integrity who stood up for what was right (both to the president and Attorney General Reno), but those noble traits were at odds with the president's. It would have been a simple and easy act-the literal stroke of a pen-as a final payback to Freeh and all his agents. But it didn't happen.

It remains that only three people know why Bill Clinton didn't pardon Peltier (notwithstanding the claims of some); but that's history now.

Harvey refers to the final Clinton pardons as "dubious" and "loathsome." These words are much too kind. Some were no doubt appropriate, but with the Mark Rich pardon in particular (and the Gregory's and Braswell and his half-brother Roger), Bill Clinton subverted, in the worst possible way, the very foundation of American jurisprudence.

Now Harvey wants to make Peltier the litmus test for the primary process. Isn't it obvious that all the candidates speak in generalities, never really pin themselves down on most issues, and when challenged just dance around the topic? Even if asked specifically they would certainly reply with no more than a mild commitment that they would look into the matter (except perhaps Dennis Kucinich…but then nobody is really paying attention to him anyway). The fact remains, regretfully, that Native Americans are not a significant voting block, and Peltier, like Mumia and others, are only a lightning rod for the allure of fringe elements. Another fact, contrary to what Harvey suggests, is that mainstream Native America has long ago recognized that Peltier's actions and the criminal activities of AIM did nothing to advance the social, economic, and political needs of those with native blood. Among the vast majority of those on and off the Reservations, Native Americans have marginalized Peltier and recognized him for what he really is.

Harvey is also mistaken if he believes that Peltier's activism has grown through the years. A simple review of the history of the LPDC would easily prove otherwise,9 as would Peltier's claim to legitimate fundraising and charitable and philanthropic activities.10 That area remains a deep, dark secret.

Harvey suggests that Peltier has been "frequently moved around---around." True, he was in Lompoc Penitentiary, from which he was involved in an armed escape, re-captured and sentenced to an additional seven-year consecutive sentence (added to his back-to-back life sentences); then five years at Marion, nineteen at Leavenworth and now Lewisburg. Hardly moved an inordinate number of times, and if he has been in solitary then it's another indication that he has trouble following even basic rules. But perhaps, as Harvey suggests, Peltier should be given Internet privileges and communications access to the outside world. And if Peltier is entitled, then so would be all the other inmates. That would be a wonderful solution-let all inmates have full access to the society they were supposed to be separated from in the first place. Hardly a good option.

And a further point Harvey makes-in case anyone missed it-Peltier's Nobel Peace prize nomination is an ongoing joke.11

Now we reach the point where one has to question Harvey's understanding of the U.S. Constitution. He didn't just suggest, he stated that President Clinton could have "…merely order(ed) that Peltier get a new trial," and that if there ever was to be a President (Mrs.) Clinton, that she too should "…at the very least grant Leonard Peltier a new trial…"

But that's not how the system works. That's just a superficially incorrect supposition and surprising from someone who has been so active in the political and social fabric of America for so many years.

The founding fathers created a deliberately efficient system of checks and balances based on the premise that there is a fundamental separation of powers so that no branch had unfettered authority to override the others. Each branch has it's delineated powers, and in the case of the power to pardon, one that rests solely with the president under Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, "…and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardon for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." A president cannot order a new trial as Harvey erroneously suggests.

So, should it matter at all to Harvey and the potential presidential candidates that Peltier is guilty as sin?

Yes, the LPDC has tried to play on two isolated negative comments by courts but then never mentions that each and every court has reviewed his case in the minutest detail, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, and all have ruled against him. There had been no violations of his Constitutional rights. Peltier's case has perhaps received more scrutiny and review than most, or perhaps all, other inmate's cases. Peltier's factual (legal; beyond a reasonable doubt) guilt, and actual (moral) guilt, to any responsible person reviewing the history of this matter, has been established beyond all doubt. 12

And it still remains that Peltier has abused and adulterated his Native heritage. He of course was born and grew up as an Indian but he came very late to the movement and has since only played on his growing (but now ebbing) folklore. Peltier is no more than a myth, and, realistically, if his name was John Smith or Pete Jones, we wouldn't be having any discussion about him at all; either at the moment, during the '08 primaries, or ever.

Presidential campaigners have bigger fish to fry. Peltier remains a minnow in a small pond and hardly worth the effort to lower a hook into the murky political waters. The prize catch here is the presidency, and the quest for it will in no way be tainted by the likes of Peltier. If Harvey thinks otherwise, he is fishing in the wrong waters.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

1 (Last accessed 1/7/08)

3Harvey refers to the former president's political cowardice (in this instance), but the same holds for his physical cowardice as well. Bill Clinton's 1969 letter to Colonel Holmes speaks volumes about his flawed character and loathing of the U.S. Military


5Quote from Leonard Peltier, Boulder Weekly, March 9, 2000

6Told personally to this writer by someone who attended the 2000 White House Christmas Party


8Louis J. Freeh, My FBI (New York, St. Martin's Press) 246

9Please see the following editorial essays:




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Peltier: A Legal History Review: January 1, 2009

As the Peltier Debate Continues1 we approach what arguably may be the most critical phase in Peltier's search for freedom; his first public parole hearing in fifteen years and the wishful prospects of a pardon from the new president. At this juncture it may be beneficial to briefly review the legal history of his case.

For a better understanding of Peltier's legal history it is important to highlight a few critical legal events that made their way through the courts during over two dozen appeals, legal proceedings, motions, reviews and decisions. It is fair to say that Peltier perhaps has had as many bites of the legal apple than most other inmates serving life sentences for serious crimes.

Without detailing all the facts held to infinite scrutiny by his defense counsel, the Government and the courts, there are a few significant matters to consider: The appeals, the adequacy of Peltier's legal representation, the only two negative statements made by the courts (but repeated ad nauseam and out-of-context by Peltier, his defense committees and supporters), and the fact that at no time has any ruling against Peltier been overturned.

In 2002 (by that time, twenty-seven years into the legal process), one court was prompted to describe this case as having a "…notoriously convoluted procedural history…" as it went on to provide all the pertinent details.2

No legal proceeding is perfect. The law, rarely black and white, is seriously debated and argued with passion and intellect by opposing counsel and judges. It is then presented to the jury as the trier of facts to weigh the evidence, but the law mostly regards varying shades of gray.

Peltier had his day in court. He did not like the outcome, but he was well represented by many attorneys. Some were compensated by the taxpayers (an important benefit for the indigent), or worked pro bono. These attorneys, whom for any number of reasons donated their considerable time and talents, did so because they either perceived an injustice, saw Peltier in the broader context of the historical treatment of Native Americans or chose to represent him for other personal reasons. An examination of the record during his trial and appeals demonstrated that Peltier's "…trial counsel were aggressive, capable, and informed, and engaged in sophisticated trial decisions on strategy." And further concluded that "Peltier was equally well-represented at trial and on appeal." 3

Throughout the voluminous record there have been but two instances where the courts have criticized the Government's actions (either the United States Attorney or the F.B.I.). Both criticisms have been broadcast widely by Peltier and his network, and have been taken out of context, or not quoted in their entirety. The defender's motives have been transparent, since providing the entire record would only do harm to Peltier's myth and folklore. 4

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."

Standing alone, and proffered by Peltier since it was first published in the denial of his direct appeal of his conviction in 1978, this is a damning statement and was used to incite Peltier supporters against the Government. However, they failed to finish the quote which placed it in complete context within the record:

"This was conceded by government 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 either theory advanced by Peltier as hereinbefore set forth." 5

No less ironic, and tucked away in the 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." 6

Or, in the final analysis on the matter of extradition, the Canadian government:

"…concluded that Mr. Peltier was lawfully extradited to the United States." 7

2) "Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in it's prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."

This oft repeated quote by Peltier and his supporters is the other castigating comment from the courts. This one comes from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 when Peltier filed a motion for a Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking immediate release on parole and challenged the record before the U.S. Parole Commission.

But just prior to this rebuke the same appellate court said:

"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. The evidence linking Mr. Peltier to these crimes is enumerated above. The most damning evidence, the .223 shell casing found in Agent Coler's trunk, may be more equivocal after the surfacing of the October 2nd teletype, but it has not been 'ruled out,' as Mr. Peltier contends. There is no direct evidence that Mr. Peltier shot the agents because no one testified they saw him pull the trigger. But as we stated above, and restate here, the body of circumstantial evidence underlying the Commission's decision is sufficient for the purpose of rational basis review." 8

So here, one court that was critical of the Government found again a rational basis to deny Peltier's claims and further support his conviction and sentencing. Those criticisms have all been microscopically examined in excruciating detail over the years and were determined to have not created any Constitutional violations of Peltier's rights; even after twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.

Finally, throughout the protracted course of Peltier's travel in the courts:

"Neither the conviction nor any of the subsequent court decisions have been overturned." 9

Peltier's protestations of unfair treatment ring hollow along with his alibis that his own co-conspirators have destroyed. The record is clear and convincing that Peltier participated in the murder of Agents Coler and Williams, either as a principal or aider and abettor and was not, magically, somewhere other than Pine Ridge that sultry June day in 1975.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder

3 (see Footnote 5)
5 (see Footnote 18)
6 (see II.B.2.i)
7 (p.4)
8 (see II)
9 (see II)

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Robideau Dead at 61, NPPA, February 21, 2009

On February 16, 2009 Robert Robideau reportedly died from a seizure in his American Indian Movement Museum in Barcelona, Spain. Some reports indicate that the seizure may have been a result of injuries suffered when the station wagon he was driving exploded on a Kansas turnpike in 1975. The vehicle contained weapons and explosives and had been described by U.S. courts as a traveling arsenal.1 In this vehicle the government located a critical piece of evidence, the "Whicita AR-15"2 rifle used in the murder of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams from which Robideau and others were still fleeing.

Although a member and former director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Robideau has created more controversy and has done more damage to Peltier's claims of innocence than all the Peltier detractors combined. He has consistently, especially in recent years, made statements against Peltier's interests and has been helping to solidify in the public mind his version of what happened that day on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

(Please see below for Editorial Essays concerning Robideau.3)

Robideau is survived by his current wife and two grown sons, Michael and Robert.

Robideau died at age sixty-one. Jack and Ron were twenty-eight.4

Ron was single, but Jack had two sons also; one three-years-old, the other, one-and-a-half at the time of the murders. Perhaps the oldest (not so ironically bearing the same name as one of Robideau's), has some recollections of his natural father, although the younger probably does not. Jack's widow went on to remarry and no doubt Jack's sons were raised well and admired their stepfather as they both grew into fine men. But they were robbed of their natural father by the brutal and criminal acts of Robideau, Butler and Peltier.

Robideau's legacy is what it is. He demonstrated that he had no respect for the dead and was a self-confessed murderer who took great pride in saying horrible things about his victims ("They died like worms").5 He contributed little to support genuine Native American's needs and issues, and like Peltier, he talked a good game but likewise was always more divisive and only amplified the turmoil. They are both inextricably linked to their crime.

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.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

1 U.S. v. Peltier, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 585 F.2d 314, 1978: U.S. App. Decision, September 14, 1978, Decided

2 U.S. v. Peltier, U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, 609 F. Supp. 1143, 1985 U.S. Dist. Decision, May 22, 1985: Findings of Fact: ¶ "the Wichita AR-15 rifle and the .223 casing..." and, ¶"Later examinations of the remaining .223 bullet casings..."


4 Ron Williams would have been twenty-eight within a few weeks after his death.

5Although Robideau has made these statements, it is the NPPA's belief that Peltier made the final point-blank, killing shots to the faces of the wounded agents. Please see the above Editorial Essays for specific Robideau quotes.

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Leonard Peltier: A Concise History of Guilt

What follows are the key elements concerning Leonard Peltier's conviction and guilt. All direct quotes from Leonard Peltier are italicized and appropriately sourced:

1) Background: Leonard Peltier was convicted in federal court in April 1977 and received two consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murder and aiding and abetting in the murder of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams.

During his trial the government presented evidence that on June 26, 1975, Agents Coler and Williams (driving separate late-model government sedans), followed a vehicle they believed contained fugitive Jimmy Eagle. Eagle and others were wanted for charges of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. The agents followed the vehicle onto the property of the Jumping Bull family on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Neither the FBI or Agents Coler or Williams knew Peltier was on the reservation at that time.1

Peltier had recently returned to Pine Ridge to join other members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) because of the turmoil between AIM, the Pine Ridge tribal government, full-bloods versus traditionalists and the government (FBI).

2) Milwaukee: At that time, Peltier knew there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Milwaukee for an attempted murder charge involving two off-duty police officers. He had served five months in jail but jumped bail and fled the state.2 Peltier, however, was later acquitted of those charges.3

3) The Shooting The government's evidence showed that Peltier had been driving a vehicle (a Chevrolet suburban with two young Indian passengers, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz), had stopped at a distance, began shooting at the agents while they were both in an open field about a hundred yards away, and that the agents began firing back to defend themselves. During the shooting, other AIM members from a camp in a nearby ravine also joined in and shot at the agents from another, higher, location.4 The shooting didn't last long and Agent Coler's right arm was nearly severed. Agent Williams was wounded three times. Witnesses testified that the three older Indians, Darrell Dean (Dino) Butler, Robert (Bob) Robideau and Peltier then went down to the wounded agents. The jurors were presented with many crime scene and autopsy photos showing that someone had shot Agent Coler in the head and then a second round blasted away his jaw; both at point-blank range.5 Agent Williams had a defensive wound because he had raised his hand to protect himself or deflect the rifle muzzle pointed at him. His fingers were blown through his face and the back of his head.6

4) Evidence/witnesses: The trial evidence linked the weapon used to kill the Agents, a Colt AR-15 (referred to as the Wichita AR-15) to Peltier because he was the only one among the AIM members with such a weapon. Extractor marks from this assault rifle were a match to a shell casing found in Agent Coler's open trunk as well as 114 others.7 The court of appeals later stated "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..." and, "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 Peltier and carried out by Peltier after the murders."8

The testimony the jury heard placing Peltier at the murder scene was from young Indian witnesses who were reportedly threatened and coerced by the FBI. The three critical government witnesses who placed Peltier, Butler and Robideau at the agent's vehicles after the initial shooting had ended testified on cross-examination that they were threatened, intimidated, or physically abused in the initial stages of the investigation about their knowledge of the murders. "However, upon further questioning at (Peltier's) trial by the government attorney, they stated that the testimony they gave at the trial was the truth, as they best remembered."9

Two other witnesses (who were called by the defense team to refute testimony against Peltier and to suggest that they were induced by the FBI to make false statements), later "...testified outside the presence of the jury that after their testimony at trial, they had been threatened by Peltier himself that if they did not return to the court and testify that their earlier testimony had been induced by FBI threats, thair lives would be in danger."10

5) Preplanned assault: Peltier has offered the following as one of his versions of the events of that day: I can't believe that the FBI intended the deaths of their own agents. Their sorry excuse has been that those two Agents blundered and trespassed onto the property that morning simply in order to arrest someone falsely accused of stealing a pair of used cowboy boots.11 They didn't even have a warrant for his arrest - nor does it jibe with the fact that scores, even hundreds, of FBI Agents, federal marshals, BIA police, and GOONS12 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.13

However, although that had been Peltier's contention, not even his biographer, Peter Matthiessen, believed it. Matthiessen said, "...they (the agents) heard a warning shot or came under fire; if there is another persuasive explanation of the location and postion of their cars, I can't find it."14

6) White flag: A crucial element, among many others, surrounding the agents' deaths was their attempted surrender. Peltier's biographer, Peter Matthiessen, wrote a national bestseller about his case and the FBI's investigation of the American Indian Movement entitled In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

Based on his extensive research and interviews of the participants, Matthiessen touched on an important aspect of the killing of the agents concerning Jack Coler's devastating arm wound. At trial, the government demonstrated that he had been at the back of his vehicle when a bullet passed through the open trunk lid and nearly severed his right arm. He went down, was bleeding heavily and was probably going into shock and unconsciousness.15 Ron Williams was the one using his radio16 to call for help and trying to explain where they were pinned down and being shot from, but he was also wounded three times and "...had thrown his gun down and stripped off his white shirt. Perhaps he waved it as a white flag of surrender; in any case, he apparently attempted to rig it as a tourniquet on the shattered arm of the downed Agent."17

Regretfully, Matthiessen's kindest words for the murdered agents were "in a few wild minutes, Coler had received that shocking wound, and Williams could not or would not desert him - the details, the degree of bravery, the precise order of events are lost."18

It would not be unreasonable to believe that Matthiessen's conclusion is correct: Ron Williams attempted to surrender, was wounded, his partner was gravely injured and his training hadn't prepared him for this type of situation.

After the initial shooting ended, the agents were then shot in the face with a high powered rifle. Most of the participants fled Pine Ridge. Peltier eventually escaped to Canada.

A massive federal investigation entitled Resmurs (Reservation Murders) ensued and Peltier was named to the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted List.

7) Butler/Robideau arrests: Dino Butler and Bob Robideau would be arrested separately in September; Dino Butler on the Rosebud Reservation (where the FBI located Agent Williams's service revolver19) and Bob Robideau in Wichita when the station wagon he was driving caught fire and exploded. In that vehicle were Agent Coler's rifle20 and the Wichita AR-15 (that trial testimony linked to Peltier and that had been matched to shell casings at the crime scene and Jumping Bull area.)

8) Oregon escape/shootout: While making his way north, on November 14th, Peltier was involved in a shoot-out with an Oregon state trooper when the motor home he was riding in was pulled over. Under the seat of the motor home was a paper bag containing Agent Coler's FBI handgun; the paper bag had Peltier's thumbprint on it.21

Because of all the weapons, ammunition, explosives, and hand grenades found in the station wagon that exploded in Wichita and the motor home from Oregon, the court described them as "traveling arsenals."22

9) Butler/Robideau trial: Peltier made his way to Canada but was arrested two months later by the RCMP, and while fighting extradition, Dino Butler and Bob Robideau were tried separately in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They were acquitted after arguing self-defense. Certainly, we also have to accept that jury's verdict; however, there were several significant differences between their trail and Peltier's: The trial judge allowed considerable additional testimony regarding the tension and conflicts at Pine Ridge during that period, beyond limiting it to the murder of the two agents. Two key witnesses could not be located in time for the trial, and after the government rested its case, the trial judge took a ten-day recess to attend a judicial conference which arguably provided the defense attorneys inordinate, unusual, and consierable preparation time.23

Even given that, however, the Butler/Robideau jury deliberated for five days and twice reported they were hopelessly deadlocked before finally reaching a verdict.24

10) Extradition: Peltiers' extradition from Canada was based partly on affidavits from an Indian woman, Myrtle Poor Bear, who claimed she knew Peltier and that he had killed the agents. However, as it later turned out, Poor Bear was deemed not to be a credible witness by both the government and Peltier's own attorneys and did not testify at his trial.25

The Poor Bear/extradition matter was finally settled in 1999 with a letter from the Canadian Minister of Justice to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno stating, "As I have indicated above, I have concluded that Mr. Peltier was lawfully extradited to the United States," and "That the record demonstrates that the case was fully considered by the courts and by the then Minister of Justice. There is no evidence that has come to light since then that would justify a conclusion that the decision of the Canadian courts and the Minister should be interfered with."26

11) Peltier trial: Peltier stood trial in Fargo, North Dakota in March 1978, but that judge limited testimony and evidence to the events and circumstances surrounding the shooting and murder of the agents. Peltier was convicted and prior to sentencing stated, "You are about to perform an act which will close one more chapter in the history of the failure of the United States to do justice in the case of a Native American. After centuries of murder of millions of my brothers and sisters by white racist America, could I have been wise in thinking you would break that tradition and commit to an act of justice? And I feel no guilt. I have done nothing to feel guilting about! I have no regrets of being a Native American activist."27

12) Appeals: A significant element of Peltier's appeal had been his interpretation of the basis of his conviction. He has stated...I was the last Indian left to railroad for the deaths of their two Agents and the Fargo jury had given me those maximum sentences specifically for supposedly going up and personally murdering those Agents at close range with a high-powered weapon, not for the vague crime of aiding and abetting.28

Although, the court of appeals clearly stated "...the direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier's guilt was strong..."29

Peltier also attempted to claim that the government in later oral arguments could no longer prove who shot the agents, but the court of appeals said that argument was "fatally flawed."30

13) Lompoc escape: By early 1979 Peltier was transferred to the U.S Penitentiary in Lompoc, California where he claimed he had learned of a plot by the government to have him assassinated and that he had no choice but plan an escape. One of the inmates was killed during the armed breakout.31 Peltier was captured days later in possession of a semi-automatic rifle that matched spent cartridges at the scene of the excape.32

Peltier received an additional seven-year consecutive sentence.33

14) "Incident" & "Spirit": By 1980 Peltier was serving time in Marion Penitentiary where he was contacted by the actor, Robert Redford, who had taken an interest in his case. Redford eventually produced and narrated the film, Incident at Oglala, which was based exclusively on Matthiessen's book.34

Since both the film and book have been the cornerstones of Peltier's claims of wrongful conviction (prominently posted on every website bearing his name, in books and periodicals and recommended to all potential supporters), it is significant to mention that at the time Matthiessen wrote In the Spirit of Crazy Horse he had a financial agreement providing half his advance and future royalties to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee in return for exclusive access to Peltier.35 Further, Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, stated that Matthiessen " at his worst when he becomes a polemicist for his journalistic clients. He is utterly unconvincing - indeed ebmarrassingly sophomoric - when he pleads the legal innocence of individual Indian criminals" and, "...Mr. Matthiessen not only fails to convince; he inadvertently makes a strong case for Mr. Peltier's guilt."36

15) FOIPA: After he was convicted, Peltier pursued additional material under the Freedom of Information Act.

Within the first release of FOIA documents was an October 2, 1975 FBI Laboratory teletype that his attorneys believed cast doubt on the key Government evidence against him (the Wichita AR-15 and the shell casing found in Agent Coler's trunk) and the trial testimony of an FBI laboratory examiner.

However, the trial judge believed that the prosecutor "...had no duty to disclose them to defense counsel"37 and did not violate the Brady doctrine.38 But, the court of appeals disagreed and although they said, "We do not mean to imply that the October 2 teletype establishes that the motive or actions of any FBI agent or government prosector were improper,"39 they did send it back to the district court for an evidentiary hearing.

IN october 1984 there was a three-day evidentiary hearing with the FBI Laboratory examiner as a witness. The judge again denied Peltier's motion stating that "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 that did not otherise exist, Peltier has failed to establish constitutional error."

It should be noted also that Peltier "...had an independent firearms expert present in the courtroom at the hearing, but he was not called to testify."40

This decision was also appealed and the court of appeals denied relief once again. They said that based on the "Bagley test," "…we cannot say that it is reasonably probable that (the jury) would have been sufficiently impressed by these possibilities to have reached a different result at trial."41

In 1978 and 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.42

16) Alibis: The issue of Peltier's alibis, which have changed over the years, is significant and further support the notion of his consciousness of guilt.

Peltier had originally said he'd been in the makeshift tent city on the Jumping Bull property eating pancakes...followed by several cupfuls of scalding hot black coffee, but that was cut short by the staccato sound of gunfire. He went to the area while bullets snapped at (his) heels as (he) ran and saw two cars, those shiny ones that always meant trouble for Indians…parked askew from each other in a field out toward the road, maybe a hundred and fifty yards away. (He) fired off a few shots above their heads, not trying to hit anything or anyone. He was joined by a few other brothers who also fired their rifles at those two unknown and unannounced interlopers who had come roaring onto the Jumping Bull property without warning.43

That's how Peltier originally described the initial events, and for many years, also claimed he and the others knew who actually killed the agents.

That individual, Peltier claimed, was on a mission for AIM to deliver dynamite to Jumping Bull that day. Peltier referred to him as Mr. X and that he was driving a red pickup that the agents had spotted and followed. Mr. X allegedly fired on the agents, other AIM members joined in, and after the agents were wounded, Mr. X. went down to their vehicles and shot them both in the face. 44

In Robert Redford's film, Bob Robideau described how he saw Mr. X shoot the agents at point-blank range and drive off in the red pickup. Also, while being personally interviewed in the movie, Peltier further 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-try to get somebody else in trouble-is wrong. And I won't do it. 45

But, in 1995, Dino Butler came out publicly and said "…that the Mr. X idea would not be used because it was a lie," and "That it was all totally false. Totally untrue. That never happened." 46

Further, in recent years, Bob Robideau changed his version as well and has-on many different occasions-claimed credit for personally killing the agents. He said "I am Mr. X…and I did kill them with honor befitting a warrior, but they died like worms."47 And "I killed the agents," and if he were in the same situation "Those FBI agents would be dead again." 48

Robideau's statements, of course, made it very difficult for Peltier because at his trial witnesses placed the three older Indians, Butler, Robideau and Peltier at the agent's vehicles after the initial shooting ended. They placed Peltier at the scene of the murders and he was also convicted of aiding and abetting.

(The government's argument at trial, however, was that Peltier was the one who personally shot the agents at point blank range.)

Because of the alibi that was destroyed by his co-conspirators, it is of little wonder why Peltier never mentioned either the red pickup truck or Mr. X. in his autobiography, Prison Writings.

It is also significant to note that the defense attorneys at the Butler/Robideau trial in Cedar Rapids knew about the Mr. X story but that "…it was decided that it was better to keep (Robideau and Butler) out of the area of the cars entirely, not only because of aiding and abetting [even minor involvement in the commission of a crime could invite prosecution on this charge] but because it might have been too hard for a jury to believe what really happened." 49

Peltier never had a viable alibi or affirmative defense for his actions that day.

17) Clemency: Peltier also petitioned former President Clinton, and when it appeared that President Clinton would not consider him for clemency, Peltier referred to him, and all politicians, as "sleazebags." 50

18) Procedural history: In 2002 (by that time, twenty-seven years into the legal process), one court was prompted to describe Peltier's case as having a "…notoriously convoluted procedural history…" as it went on to provide all the pertinent details.51

19) Fundraising: Although fundraising is not indicative of guilt, Peltier and the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (and previously the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee) have engaged in questionable fundraising activities for many years. By their own statements they clearly acted as an illegal Political Action Committee (PAC) and claimed that donations to the LPDOC would be tax deductible. Peltier and the LPDOC inform supporters that their 503(c)3 application (for recognized charitable and tax-deductible status from the IRS; e.g. an exempt organization) was "pending." It remains that the LPDOC cannot be a 501(c)3 exempt organization because it is illegal if those funds are "…for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator (Peltier) or the creator's family…" and that "No part of the net earnings of a 501(c)3 organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization." 52

Over a number of years Peltier has claimed many charitable and philanthropic activities in his name, however, these claims have not held up to scrutiny. 53

20) Negative court comments: Throughout the voluminous record there have been but two (2) instances where the courts have criticized the government's actions (either the United States Attorney or the F.B.I.). Both criticisms have been quoted widely by Peltier and have been taken out of context or not quoted in their entirety.

  • "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." 54

Standing alone, and proffered by Peltier since it was first published in the denial of his direct appeal of his conviction in 1978, this is indeed a damaging statement. However, Peltier failed to finish the quote which placed it in complete context within the record. No less significant is that the court chose to relegate this comment to a footnote within the decision along with further clarification:

"This was conceded by government counsel on the hearing in this court. It does not, however, follow that the testimony of this obviously confused and 'unbelievable' witness (Myrtle Poor Bear) should have been permitted under either theory advanced by Peltier as hereinbefore set forth."55

No less ironic and tucked away in the 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." 56

  • "Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in it's prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."57

This oft repeated quote by Peltier and his supporters is the only other castigating comment from the courts. This one comes from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 when Peltier filed a motion for a Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking immediate release on parole and challenged the record before the U.S. Parole Commission. This decision, also denied, was far beyond his criminal appellate process which had long since been resolved against him.

However, just prior to this rebuke the same appellate court said:

"Previous federal court decisions provided the (Parole) Commission with ample facts to support its conviction that Peltier personally shot Agent Coler and Williams."58 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. The evidence linking Mr. Peltier to these crimes is enumerated above. The most damning evidence, the .223 shell casing found in Agent Coler's trunk, may be more equivocal after the surfacing of the October 2nd teletype, but it has not been 'ruled out,' as Mr. Peltier contends. There is no direct evidence that Mr. Peltier shot the agents because no one testified they saw him pull the trigger. But as we stated above, and restate here, the body of circumstantial evidence underlying the Commission's decision is sufficient for the purpose of rational basis review." 59 (Emphasis added)

So here then, one court that was critical of the Government, found again a rational basis to deny Peltier's claims and further support his conviction and sentencing. Those criticisms have all been microscopically examined in excruciating detail over the years and were determined to have not created any constitutional violations of Peltier's rights; even after twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.

Peltier has changed his version of the shootings many times and his alibis were repudiated by those most knowledgeable and personally involved in the murders of Agents Coler and Williams; the courts have repeatedly reviewed his appeals and not once has there been any finding of a constitutional violation or reversible error by the government.

Peltier also had ample and capable representation throughout his entire legal proceedings.60

The central element of Peltier's guilt is based on the participants' collective statements and admissions and nothing in the entire history of this case has removed any of them, Peltier especially, from the scene of the brutal murders of two defenseless human beings, FBI Agents, who died in the line of duty.

Notwithstanding that Peltier and many of his supporters have had some success framing his conviction in terms of the historical mistreatment of Native Americans, Peltier is not the cause to atone for any perceived sins of the past. Peltier's factual (legal) and actual (moral) guilt, to any reasonable person reviewing this matter has been established beyond all doubt.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder


Please see "Critical Witnesses against Peltier" Editorial Essay #55

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Mission to Lewisburg: July 28, 2009
Parole Denied

Entering the hearing room it was difficult not to notice Leonard Peltier.1 Even for the first time meeting him it was surprising to see how heavy he had become.

Next to Peltier was his attorney Eric Seitz, both seated in front of a Government Issue table opposite the hearing officer. To their left was an empty seat for the witnesses and an FBI executive (Executive Assistant Director, EAD) who was permitted to sit through the entire hearing as witnesses appeared to provide unsworn testimony. This was not a public hearing in the usual sense because it was tightly controlled and by invitation only.2

As it turned out I would be the first of six on the government's side and three would appear on Peltier's behalf. After the witnesses' testimony the hearing officer reviewed Peltier's parole status, his history of incarceration, his Lompoc escape, and then heard from Seitz and Peltier himself. We would learn later at a debriefing by the EAD that the hearing proceeded pretty much the way everyone expected; witnesses explaining why Peltier should remain in prison versus Peltier's version, excuses and evasions.

I took the seat between Leonard and the EAD and prepared to offer my reasons why Peltier should not be paroled. The hearing officer asked me to introduce myself and to keep my comments as brief as possible. The parole commission had already received my fifteen page letter setting forth all the reasons why he should remain in Lewisburg and I'd spent a great deal of time editing and reducing my presentation down to the most salient talking points.

I began by stating that I was honored to represent the 8,000 members of the Society of Former Special Agents as well as the 12,000 members of the FBI Agent's Association. There was no need to discuss the legal history of Peltier's conviction or his many denied appeals because that record is complete and speaks for itself, and throughout the many appeals his conviction was never overturned. Besides, another witness would cover that ground thoroughly.

Instead, I offered that Peltier has made himself a public figure with websites, books, and press releases and that in a very real sense those out-of-court statements were his public testimony about the murders of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams. Reviewed for the hearing officer was Peltier's changes in his version of the events of that day; his initial statements, his alibi that Mr.X killed the agents (which was destroyed by one of this co-conspirators, Dino Butler); statements of the late Bob Robideau that further reinforced Peltier's guilt and presence at Jumping Bull that day; an outrageous excuse that the agent's deaths were part of a preplanned paramilitary assault on Pine Ridge; his extradition from Canada that was fully supported by the Canadian government; that after being wounded Ron Williams attempted to surrender before they were brutally shot in the face; the undisguised and transparent efforts to elevate Peltier far beyond what he deserves with the alleged Nobel Peace Prize nominations, and finally, by providing specific details why Peltier's alleged charitable activities border on fraud and cannot hold up to scrutiny. It was suggested that Peltier be asked simply to prove his charitable claims.

The conclusion stated the obvious:

"Peltier's shallow attempts at notoriety at the expense of two agents murdered in the line of duty is shameful. Peltier has only blamed the government for all his problems by couching them in terms of himself being a martyr and victim. Even Peltier's June 25th press release never even mentions Jack Coler and Ron Williams, two agents who were severely injured and brutally shot in the face and for which Peltier was convicted and serving his two life sentences at Lewisburg. Peltier has shown no remorse at all and everything he has said and done since his conviction has only reinforced his unequivocal guilt. Peltier has not paid his debt to society nor to the slain agents and has never taken any responsibility for his actions. I respectfully urge the commission not to consider Peltier for parole now or in the foreseeable future and also consider that no matter what his classification at this time may be, he still owes seven consecutive years for his armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary."

Admittedly, I was nervous, not because Peltier was present but because there was so much at stake. I would have preferred to debate the issue rather than just make a presentation that I felt was rushed. I didn't want to take any more time than necessary away from the other witnesses and wanted to verbally present the reasons why Peltier has not earned the right for release; instead, I read most of the prepared talking points and added additional comments.

As it turned out I was the only one that Peltier even acknowledged.


I had been contacted by South Dakota National Public Radio to do a live radio call-in show on the Peltier matter and agreed to stop during the drive from Ohio to Pennsylvania to call them. Bruce Ellison, Peltier's previous long-time attorney (who has also fallen out of favor with the legend) and American Indian Movement (AIM) defender and apologist would be the other caller with the moderator directing the dialogue. I was reluctant to go on the air for a number of reasons; I'm not a fan of NPR believing that their left-leaning slant didn't mesh with my own values and they rarely offer the other side an even voice. But I agreed because I believed that a half-hour program would at least give me the opportunity to make some important points concerning the history of Peltier's case, his guilt, and the mythology surrounding him. I had also gotten tired of hearing only Peltier's voices because they are always the loudest. But I should have thought it through some more.

I stopped enroute at the appointed time and had to listen to the introduction as the moderator allowed Ellison to ramble on, unchallenged, listing about a dozen points that I had neither the time nor opportunity to respond to. During his obviously planned and marathon responses I tried to butt-in but was left again not being able to address Ellison's spewing folklore and paranoia. I found it incredible that he even brought up points as if they were new, interesting and valid, but which had been argued in the courts years ago with Peltier and his attorneys being chastised and on the losing end every time. But that was Ellison's main thrust, one gigantic government conspiracy, courts included. The thirty minutes passed much too quickly. Perhaps I'll have to respond to Mr. Ellison with a separate point-by-point editorial essay.


Arriving at the hotel in Lewisburg early Monday evening I met with my contact for the hearing, Special Agent (SA) Jones.3 We walked outside for a "briefing" and was also introduced to the Special Agent in Charge (SAC), her Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) and the Senior Resident Agent responsible for this portion of the FBI's Philadelphia Division which included a number of surrounding counties and both Lewisburg Penitentiary and Allenwood Correctional. It didn't take but a few moments to realize that the Bureau was taking this event seriously.

I also met for the first time retired SAC Joe Trimbach who was the SAC of the Minneapolis Division during the AIM takeover and ransacking of the village of Wounded Knee in 1973 and during the difficult dealings with AIM leadership and subsequent trials and court proceedings. He was there also during the early stages of Resmurs, the investigation into the brutal murders of SAs Jack Coler and Ron Williams. At Joe's side to help him get around because of his failing eyesight, was his airline captain son, John, who coauthored his father's definitive first-person history of AIM's tumultuous and destructive years in American Indian Mafia. Their book pulls no punches and lays out all flaws of AIM's leadership, warts and all.

Joe was to be a witness at the hearing along with an Assistant U.S. Attorney from North Dakota who had already provided the commission with a lengthy and detailed letter of the entire legal history of the Peltier case.

There would be a total of six witnesses including the EAD and Jack Coler's two sons who were but one and half and three when their father was murdered. I met the younger son on April 3, 2000 and that encounter led to the creation of the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) and its website.

We would spend most of the day in the Warden's conference room discussing the case and making small talk as we waited our turn to testify and for the hearing to be over.

At our hotel the first night it was a little surprising to see someone who apparently was there to support Peltier. The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC) had announced that they were getting a good rate at another hotel so I didn't anticipate seeing any Peltier supporters until the following morning, if at all. This fellow, if you'll forgive the stereotyping, was the prototypical American Indian. Although the great Chief Crazy Horse was never photographed, this gentleman with his deep complexion, sharp features, dark pulled back hair, purposeful gait and adorned with silver bracelets could have easily been imagined in the Lakota leader's likeness. He didn't notice me but we would acknowledge one another later.


We were instructed to assemble the next morning in front of the hotel for the short trip to the prison. Getting dressed in a suit and tie, that I hadn't worn much since retiring, and glancing into the hotel parking lot I saw a large group of agents getting their final briefing for the day's events and recalled how many times I'd been in a parking lot in the early morning hours preparing for arrests or searches. By the end the day, looking back on my own thirty years in the Bureau, I was both proud and impressed at what I saw; the professionalism of those who continued the Bureau's mission was unmistakable; the men and women were dedicated and focused.

We loaded into a large SUV with agent escorts ahead and behind and entered the prison grounds by way of a rear entrance, processed through the security area and into the Warden's office and conference room. When it comes to penitentiaries popular culture evinces iconic places like Alcatraz and Leavenworth, where Peltier spent two decades, but Lewisburg is steeped in its own correctional history and is known as The Big House. Everyone at the prison was extremely cordial and attentive to those who had come to further honor the memory and sacrifice of fellow law enforcement.

While waiting in the conference room SA Jones kept us updated as another agent, the victim-witness coordinator, stayed close to Jack's sons. Joe Trimbach seemed to enjoy reminiscing about the Bureau and relating his actions and experiences after the murders. Although advancing in age and not in the best health his mind was sharp and his mannerisms engaging and personable. At one point it seemed how easily he slipped back into his former and comfortable SAC role. There was a question amongst us about determining flight information and the need to make a few telephone calls from the prison. Joe quickly offered that the secretary (the warden's secretary) could take care of that. I could see that Joe was a take-charge kind of guy and was a proud product from the mold of the old Bureau. I exchanged knowing glances with the other two agents in the room and we silently smiled and agreed that Joe Trimbach was still very much a Special Agent in Charge. It was also evident that the relationship between Joe and his son was more than traditional father and son, which implies a host of images. They were truly a team and we could tell they were very much in tune with one another.

Sitting across from Jack's son's it was almost unnerving to see the family resemblance.4 The younger son certainly had Jack's features but the older one was a near copy of his father. Later in the day while visiting the prison command center that had been set up to monitor the day's activities there were large photos of Jack and Ron on the wall. These photos had been their official credential photographs when they entered the Bureau. At one point the older son was standing just a few feet from the photo and it was as if I were looking at Jack himself. It was quite moving and later I choked up a bit when I tried to comment how much he resembled his father. I pointed out the resemblance to several other agents and they all agreed. Although I never met either agent, that day I felt I had come close to meeting Jack Coler and reminded myself that this is what it was all about; remembering and honoring their fidelity, bravery and sacrifice.


I reached the end of the day with mixed emotions. With great pride watching the Bureau agents function seamlessly with a singular purpose to ensure the hearing occurred with no complications and the attention provided to those who came to confront Peltier. Given the opportunity to offer the NPPA facts to the hearing officer again I believe it would be a smoother presentation, although the substance would not change. It was a little uncomfortable as a former agent to be discussing things that are out of the regular province of the Bureau. The Bureau does not get into the trenches but chooses its battles in the courts following long established legal procedure. Discussing some of the outrageous things Peltier has offered in the public domain and beyond his conviction and numerous appeals is not standard Bureau fare. But these were the most compelling arguments from Peltier's own lips that solidly support his unequivocal guilt and lack of remorse or acceptance of any responsibility for his actions and crimes. This then is the difference between conventional protocols and advocacy. Advocacy brings with it a whole host of challenges.

Also lacking was any interaction with Peltier's supporters or network. We had not come into contact with anyone and although the LPDOC later claimed there were "several hundred" supporters, that was just another fabrication and exaggeration from the Peltier camp. A claim which was more than belied through their own videos posted on youtube. Maybe there were eighty or so, which considering what was at stake was not a strong showing at all. Attorney Seitz addressed the Peltier group and said that "The FBI did not have anything new to say." Not quite, because the examiner heard sufficient detail concerning Peltier's conviction and denied appeals in addition to sworn testimony from the 2004 Arlo Looking Cloud murder trial where a former AIM member testified that Peltier admitted killing one of the FBI agents while the agent begged for his life.5 And, the NPPA presentation was all new material based solely on Peltier's own words and actions since his last parole hearing. Seitz also said that he presented "some additional evidence on Leonard's behalf to the board." Evidence? Hardly. Seitz also claimed "…they (the FBI and government) don't have any creativity, they don't come up with anything new. They don't have any greater ability to explain their justification for their position. It's a very wooden position, kill an FBI agent and live the rest of your life in prison. I don't think that's going to impress very many people who aren't already of the same opinion."

First, and we can overlook that he may have misspoke-it was two agents murdered, not one, but that aside, the government doesn't have to come up with anything "new" and to even suggest as much shows a fundamental lack of insight or professionalism on Mr. Seitz's behalf. All anyone has to do is spend a little time to see just how wrong Mr. Seitz and Peltier really are. This case has been under the proverbial microscope for thirty-four years and every aspect has been reviewed, more than once, and Peltier's attorney's with their oftentimes frivolous legal arguments have lost not because of some grand conspiracy, but because the facts are not supportive of any of Peltier's claims of innocence. And yes, brutally murdering two wounded FBI agents' does warrant spending the rest of one's life in prison.

It would have been interesting and rewarding to have been able to meet with at least one LPDOC leader, Wanbli, Peltier's national spokesman, with whom I've been corresponding for several months. We are on opposite sides of the tipi of course but our dialogue has been specific and meaningful for a continued intelligent debate on the Peltier matter. I was aware he was doing a broadcast but was unable to find the time to call him. It's really a shame we didn't meet.

At the end of the day and back at the hotel I was in the parking lot talking to SA Jones and a few other agents when the distinguished Indian from the day before was also leaving. He saw me and came to the obvious conclusion. His attractive blonde girlfriend lowered the window while he pointed to me and said. "Leonard?" I smiled, pointed to him and replied "You too!" She said, pleasantly, "Have a wonderful day." I smiled back and told them to have a safe trip. They were heading back to New York according to their license plate. It really was a shame I didn't get a chance to interact with some of the more level-headed and reasonable Peltier supporters that day.

The first telephone calls later that afternoon were to the leadership of the Society and Association to brief them the hearing.6

Peltier's scant three witnesses were an eclectic lot: Peter Matthiessen parroted his standard fare chronicled in his questionable reporting within "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse." That his tome is embarrassingly sophomoric and not only fails to convince but inadvertently makes a strong case for Peltier's guilt, mattered little.7 Matthiessen dug himself a deep hole and cannot climb out. Another witness spoke of philosophical benefits of the Peltier case bringing Native American issues into social consciousness-let alone that a double murder was the catalyst, and from the third that he has a Reservation home and a position as an elder waiting for him. The problem with this offer is that traditional Indian elders were looked upon as having grown to complete men, had accomplished much in life and acquired wisdom beyond their years. Instead, Peltier has hijacked that heritage and tradition by offering himself as a self-appointed noble warrior and becoming a false prophet of sorts; and genuine Native Americans understand that.

It was interesting though that when my testimony was finished, knowing full-well that Leonard Peltier was painfully aware of how much the NPPA had been in his face for the past nine years, that I was the only one he acknowledged. After thanking the hearing officer I got up and headed for the door when I heard something behind me. I couldn't tell if it was, "Hey Ed," or "Agent Woods," but I turned and saw Leonard smiling and waving goodbye. Perhaps it was his half-hearted attempt at humor or sarcasm. It didn't matter. I waved back, "Take it easy Leonard."


On August 20, 2009, the U.S. Parole Commission ordered that Peltier "Continue to a 15-Year Reconsideration Hearing in July 2024." Peltier will still be entitled to Statutory Parole Review hearings every two years starting again in July 2011.


The parole commission received a large number of letters on behalf of Leonard Peltier, however, most of these were website form letters. Perhaps most Peltier supporters couldn't take the time or energy to write a personal letter of support, or relied on their artificial belief that the one with the most letters wins; it's not a popularity contest no matter how much Peltier tries to make it so. Archbishop Desmond Tutu's letter was personalized and demonstrated that the Nobel laureate does not understand Peltier's case or the evidence against him.8 His sentiments were more about being anti-America and questioning our collective values than supporting Peltier, although, he did accept America's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom.9 It's a shame that someone who has promoted so much good in the world cannot ensure that his position is indeed based on fact.

By the end 1864, the once-vast Indian Territory had shrunk to what would one day become the state of Oklahoma. From the beginning, the basic intent of the 374 treaties signed during a ninety-three-year span was to acquire Indian land, and they had been an overwhelming success. Europeans by the tens of thousands joined the western cavalcade, sweeping across the land with plows and pitchforks, horses and harnesses, leaving robust fields of corn and wheat in their wake. The transcontinental railroad bound east coast with west, creating frontier settlements overnight and ready markets for the nation's fertile midsection. Soon, the holdout tribes came to be viewed as the final obstacle in the path of an agrarian-based democracy. Throughout the 1870s, annihilating the Indian food base became an instrument of government policy. For the remaining tribes, the sobering choice arrived quickly: accept reservation life and government rations-or starve.10

Who and what we are is shaped and influenced not only by the blood of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors, but also by their values, traditions, customs, and attitudes-and by the events they witnessed and experienced. How we view the world today, as well as our individual, racial, and societal circumstances, depends on what happened to our ancestors, on what they did or did not do, and on what they suffered or perpetrated. Therefore, in order to understand ourselves, we must endeavor to understand who and what our ancestors were. We must understand our past.11

However, none of this provides justification for Peltier's actions on June 26, 1975.

It was painfully apparent that while Peltier and his supporters attempted to make their case in the public forum for Peltier's innocence and release from prison, referring to him as a "political prisoner," they regularly justified the brutal murders and denigrated the memory of two young men killed in the line of duty. The primary goal of the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) became to honor their memory and sacrifice.

At this stage it would be unthinkable for Peltier to finally tell the truth, and as a result, his folklore will continue.

With certainty, Ron Williams, in his final moments did not face the same Leonard Peltier I met at the parole hearing. The angry Leonard Peltier at Jumping Bull, much younger and stronger, was not the same bloated figure in the Lewisburg hearing room. Perhaps Peltier is no longer the direct danger to society that he was in 1976, but that does not lessen his crime. Making the fateful decision to murder the agents that day carried with it the responsibility of a lifetime.

After the hearing attorney Setiz also said that Peltier is "…desperate to go home." As well he should, just as soon as he completes back-to-back life sentences-plus the additional seven years for Lompoc, or better yet, just as soon as Jack and Ron come home.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods
NPPA - Founder


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The Smoking Gun...and 23 reasons why it can't be true

If it were true - Peltier's allegation that agents were in position prior to the initial shooting at Jumping Bull, the radio communications transcript examined below would be the proverbial smoking gun and support Peltier's contention that the Inident at Oglala was a pre-planned government raid against AIM. But it wasn't, and there's ample proof that it could not have been.

What follows is an analysis of an allegation from Leonard Peltier.1

  • "Showing (the) presence of agents before the deaths of Coler and Williams, well before agent Adams claimed he had arrived," and,
  • "agent Adams seems to be quite familiar with the territory by naming one of the residents names, which is completely contrary to his testimony of not knowing how to even get to Oglala."


The document in question is a transcript of contemporaneous radio transmissions overheard in the FBI's Rapid City Resident Agency (RCRA) office and taken down in shorthand by stenographers.2 Also present in the RCRA were Senior Resident Agent (SRA) George O'Clock and agent John McCarty when they learned over the radio that Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams were being fired upon and needed immediate assistance.3


First, addressing the allegation of whether or not agent Adams was knowledgeable of the location of Oglala, SD and the Jumping Bull property:

Special Agent J. Gary Adams had been an FBI agent for seven and a half years when he testified at Peltier's trial in Fargo on March 17, 1977, and had been assigned to the RCRA that covers the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, for "just over three years." Certainly after three years he was well aware of the location of Oglala and other areas on the Reservation and within his assigned territory.4 It was never stated, implied, nor the subject of testimony that agent Adams had any difficulty knowing where Oglala was: only that he needed assistance locating Jumping Bull.

Agent Adams was not aware of the exact location of the Jumping Bull property but “knew generally (that) it was between Pine Ridge and Oglala”5 and learned specifically where it was from two Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police officers6 he met and responded with to Jumping Bull where their tires were shot out by Norman Brown.7


Let’s now explore the logic of agents being in place at Jumping Bull at 11:57am.

There is no dispute, based on the number of people who overheard agent Williams’ radio transmissions, that the shooting with Peltier and others, and their deaths, occurred over a short period and close to noontime on June 26, 1975.

The focus of the radio transcript indicating a conspiracy and pre-planned government raid on AIM that morning, rests with the following entry (portions are difficult to discern and the right side of the document is truncated and noted as XXX):


The term 10-20 is standard police code for “location.” Radio call signs at the RCRA were dependent upon their assignment; “X” indicated FBI, “2 “ indicated assignment in Pennington County (encompassing Rapid City), and the letter identified the particular agent who was assigned according to his initial arrival at RCRA and assignment of a radio call sign. X2R was the call sign of Agent J. Gary Adams. The notations of “ON GOV” and “ON LAW” refer to communications coming over South Dakota state government radio and a separate law enforcement radio frequency.

Based on the timing of the transmissions and how quickly the events unfolded there could have been an issue clarifying the question of 10-20 (location). X2R’s (Adams) reference to “We’re at Jumping Bull” could have indicated just that; that he and the BIA officers had arrived in the Jumping Bull area, were taking fire, had their tires blown out and attempted to retreat back toward Highway 18. It is also possible, based again on the rapidly developing, tense and dangerous circumstances, that perhaps the comment was indicating (since agent Adams had perhaps overheard more of agent Williams radio transmissions than other responders because in those final moments he was the closest to the scene) that the “we’re” was misunderstood in the RCRA and could have been “they’re” (referring to Jack Coler and Ron Williams) at Jumping Bull. However, the former is more likely.8

The reference to “behind the house at Little Bears” leads to the obvious question. Did the Little Bears live on the Jumping Bull property? No, they didn’t. The families associated with that property were Calvin and Ceclia Jumping Bull, Angie and Ivis Long Visitor, Wallace and June Little and Wanda Siers.9 So a reference to Little Bears, who lived a few miles away from Jumping Bull, was clearly a misstatement, or misunderstood or mistyped during the shorthand recording or transcription of these overheard conversations.

One final note supporting the notion that this was a spontaneous and not pre-planned event was that while enroute to provide assistance to agents Coler and Williams, agent Adams had to stop his vehicle to get his “bullet-proof vest” and “rifle” out of the trunk.10 Agent Coler, as we also know, needed to retrieve his rifle from the trunk of his vehicle after he and agent Williams were fired upon and that this was witnessed by Angie Long Visitor. 11

However, as Peter Matthiessen opined, “the details...the precise order of events are lost.”12 They may be indeed lost but reasonable inferences can still be made as to the meaning and context of those overheard conversations.

For anyone to accept Peltier’s premise that “We’re at Jumping Bull” means the agents were in position “before the deaths of Coler and Williams,” then all of the following must be true:

If agents were already at Jumping Bull at 11:57:21 that morning then they would have also been in a position to observe:13 Agents’ Coler and Williams (whom they certainly knew as friends and co-workers in the RCRA), in separate late model Bureau sedans, drive onto the Jumping Bull property from Highway 18 following a vehicle; that the vehicle stopped, individuals got out and began firing at them; that others from the nearby AIM camp joined in shooting at the pinned-down agents from another location; that Coler and Williams returned fire and were both wounded before the shooting stopped. Then, they watched as three Indians with weapons approached the wounded and immobile agents, shoot them both in the face, move their bodies, steal some of their weapons and property and drive off in one of the Bureau vehicles toward White Clay Creek to further their escape:

And they did absolutely nothing about it.

At a minimum, Peltier is offering an absurd supposition.

Peltier’s assertion defies common sense, but taking his illogical premise one step further, if, and it’s a tremendous “if,” Peltier was correct and there was a pre-planned event to draw AIM members out into the open or as an excuse to conduct either a raid or search of the AIM camp, then how and why would agents let their own go into harms way and be slaughtered? There are those out there, however, (Peltier, the LPDOC and others) to whom this makes perfect sense, but we’ll leave them aside for the moment.

So, given that, if this was anything but a spontaneous event and anyone is to believe what Peltier has said:

“(That he) 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.” 14

Then how did anyone even escape? The logic is lost on Peltier because according to him “(he) was the last Indian left to railroad for the deaths of their two agents.” 15 Regretfully, this is a fantasy that has been firmly ensconced in the myth of Leonard Peltier.

Yes, this is exactly what Leonard Peltier would like us to believe, but the facts of this case, and particularly the transcript of radio communications, do not back him up, and never will.

Peltier needs those who are willing to blindly follow his folklore, but any reasonable person taking just a few moments to look at the details, and applying only a little reason, common sense and logic, would see through Peltier’s veil of fabrications and smokescreen of lies.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

1 The statements are attributed directly to Leonard Peltier for the following reasons: As recent as October 2, 2009, in a press release, Betty Ann Solano (Peltier’s sister), Executive Coordinator of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC), stated that “We clearly outline our platform and our beliefs on our website and through officially released statements and press releases.” This then attributes an official connection between the material on the LPDOC website and Peltier. On the home page of the LPDOC website is a link to the “Friends of Peltier.” On the Friends of Peltier website (possibly the former is a link to “U.S. v. Peltier,” then a further link to “Incident at Oglala,” and then a final link to the above referenced radio transcript document. (Last accessed 12/26/09)

2 As Leonard Peltier, his network, and supporters have done repeatedly in the past, they have taken isolated facts and many times offered them either incomplete and/or out of context. The document in question provided by Peltier through the “Friends of Peltier” is not a complete document. Aside from being a little difficult to read and that the right side of the page is truncated, logic would dictate that there was more to this transcript than just the one page. It probably began prior to the 11:55:15 entry and certainly continued beyond this one page. In either case a formal NPPA request was made in October 2009 to Executive Coordinator, Betty Ann Solano, the LPDOC, and The Friends of Peltier, for a complete and better quality copy of this document. Not unexpectedly, and in consistent form when queried about specifics, no reply was received.

3 Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse; The story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI’s war on the American Indian Movement. (Penguin Books, 1992) 175.

4 U.S. v. Peltier, Fargo, ND, March 17, 1977; trial testimony of SA Adams at {56-57}.

5 U.S. v. Peltier, Fargo, ND, March 17, 1977; trial testimony of SA Adams at {73}.

6 U.S. v. Peltier, Fargo, ND, March 17, 1977; trial testimony of SA Adams, at {77-78}.

7 Incident at Oglala, The Leonard Peltier Story, , dir. Michael Apted, prod. Robert Redford, (Carolco Films 1988), Miramax Films release, 1992; Norman Brown “That’s when we saw the car coming in from the highway...I had him in my sights, you know, I had the figure of his head, basically I was aiming right at him, you know, but I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t shoot him, so, I shot out his front tire.”

See also U.S. v. Peltier, Fargo, ND, March 24, 1977, April 14, 1977; trial testimony of Norman Brown.

8 Detials provided from a retired agent who was assigned to the RCRA during that period; name withheld.

9 Matthiessen 155, 171.

10 U.S. v. Peltier, Fargo, ND, March 17, 1977; trial testimony of SA Adams, at {77}.

11 Matthiessen 155. “One of the two white men—she assumed they were lawmen because of the radio aerials and the good condition of the cars—was removing a gun case from the trunk of his car: the other was kneeling and shooting in her general direction with a handgun.” (For a further review of “shooting in her general direction,” See references at

See also U.S. v. Peltier, Fargo, ND, April 1, 1977; trial testimony of Angie Long Visitor.

12 Matthiessen 545.

13 See the map of Jumping Bull area at and further description at and

14 Leonard Peltier, Prison Writings (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999) 113, 114.

15 Peltier 162.

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Peltier confesses to "Incident at Oglala" February 6, 2010

On February 6, 2010 Leonard Peltier made a public statement celebrating the anniversary of his arrest in Canada and the beginning of his thirty-four year incarceration.

Peltier's statement serves as a confession to the murders of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams that occurred on the Jumping Bull property, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota on June 26, 1975; an event that has been casually referred to as the Incident at Oglala.

In order to understand the significance of this statement it is important to place it within its proper context.

There can be no argument with the fact that one of the "whole series of events" Peltier describes is the Incident at Oglala. By even mentioning Joe Stuntz he clearly makes the relevance of his comments in the context of that day.

Peltier laments Joe Stuntz, as well he should. The young Indian probably thought he was doing the right thing by following the older leaders but never realized Leonard himself was leading him down a dark path. After the agents were executed, young Joe Stuntz (who initially shot at the agents and perhaps even witnessed the close-up executions himself,) helped ransack their vehicles and stole and wore Jack Coler's FBI SWAT jacket. 'I seen Joe when he pulled it out of the trunk and I looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile."1 Stuntz then fired at agents and officers responding to Jumping Bull - until a law enforcement bullet stopped him.

One legal expert who is very familiar with the Peltier case challenged the conclusion that Peltier's statement is a confession to the murders, believing that it is only a repeat of Peltier's lament that he is a victim of a cause; the plight of Native Americans. There may be some basis for this because Peltier does refer to "500 years of oppression (sic)," "living up to commitment," and that "(he) never thought (his) commitment would mean sacrificing like this." Of course this self-serving drivel must be placed in the proper perspective that Peltier came very late to the movement (barely over two years before the Incident at Oglala2), and his alleged martyrdom only perpetuates the folklore surrounding the myth as he tries to convince anyone who'll listen that he's a victim of circumstance.

The legal expert also speculated that it could have been a Freudian slip.

"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."

Freudian slip perhaps, but that commitment-because it was the right thing, can be neither ignored nor removed from the events he's talking about, especially those at Jumping Bull. And since he'd do it all over again, he's telling us that he understands what the commitment meant to his life and the last thirty-four years. And perhaps even more significant, he's not excluding anything; he's offering no exceptions to his confession. It's all there.

Peltier, not the tough guy anymore, also whines like a baby, "it isn't fair," "I don't deserve this," "I have cried so many tears," and still can't comprehend that this is the price he paid for feigned hubris.

By also claiming he was willing to do all this "nonetheless," he's telling us he never gave any serious consideration to what his actions really meant. If his decisions were made "nonetheless," then they were made out of ignorance of the consequences, not unlike most common criminals.

Peltier telling everyone that he'd do it all over again clearly establishes one critical element of his crime for this moment in time, and every future parole hearing.

Peltier knows better than anyone that two human beings were brutally attacked, severely wounded and then summarily executed that day. That's what happened at Jumping Bull...and now, along with no exceptions, there are no other excuses from Peltier either. From his own words, gone is the lie of self-defense, and all that remains is an admission of complicity and guilt.

To reinforce the notion of unrepentant culpability, he assures us that given the same circumstances he would, " it all over again." What he fails to realize is that he's reinforcing the case that he is still a danger to society. He reaffirms there has been no rehabilitation for him over the past thirty-four years.

Every breath Peltier takes denigrates the sacrifice of two young agents who died a violent and horrible death in the line of duty. He raises money on their destroyed faces trying to convince the ignorant or enamored of some historic legitimacy as he maligns an otherwise proud Native American tradition. He is an affront to every genuine warrior from that rich past and when Leonard Peltier does meet The Creator, a judgment will be made as he answers for his crimes at Jumping Bull and against the proud heritage he's hijacked from the past.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

1 Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Penguin Books, 1991) 552.
2 Leonard Peltier, Prison Writings (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999) 225.

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"10 Years" NPPA, April 30, 2010
Much has occurred over the past decade and it would take several pages just to summarize those events. What has happened though, is that Peltier is where he belongs, and although as unrepentant as ever with very little likelihood otherwise, he will continue there for the remainder of his natural life for the crimes he committed at Jumping Bull.

There have been significant events over the past ten years, none of which have benefitted Peltier or made his claims of innocence credible. To the contrary, his words have only reinforced his unequivocal guilt and continued to diminish what is left of his standing in the Native American community. They have recognized how he has maligned and hijacked, for his own selfish purposes, an otherwise proud Native American tradition. Peltier is an affront to every genuine warrior from that rich past and remains the coward he and the others at Jumping Bull have always been.

The most significant events began just after the creation of the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA)with the denial of clemency from President Clinton. Peltier and his supporters were shocked, but the final chapter of that episode has yet to be written.

Between changing his alibis and explanations of his version(s) of what happened at Jumping Bull, all of those lame and sorry excuses have been systematically dismantled, not through rhetoric, but reliance on two things; the complete record of his conviction and appeals, and exposing the lies he has offered to create the Peltier folklore.

None of Peltier’s claims can withstand scrutiny, which is easily proven with a straightforward review of Peltier’s concise history of guilt.

The “Debate Continues” section of the website contains over fifty editorial essays, in addition to others (The Myth of Leonard Peltier, Pilgrimage to Pine Ridge, Mission to Lewisburg, Self-Defense, Mr. X, Donations; Scam? Fraud?, etc., etc.), that tell the entire story of Leonard Peltier; the cowardice, lies, warts and all.

That President Bush denied clemency came as no surprise and Peltier’s efforts to garner foreign influence and interest in his case has also fallen on deaf ears. Peltier isn’t smart enough to realize that those foreign supporters are using him in their own anti-America campaign.

However, there was one loss that Peltier was probably silently grateful for, notwithstanding his public claims of regret over the death in early 2009 of Bob Robideau. Peltier knew, more than anyone else, that every time Robideau opened his mouth he dug the hole-of-guilt just a little deeper for Peltier and the others at Jumping Bull that day.

Arguably, the most significant event was his long awaited public parole hearing in July, 2009. The Parole Commission essentially said they too were unconvinced about Peltier’s claims of innocence and would not deal with it again for another fifteen years. Which pretty much slammed shut the prison door on that issue.

Three things remain for Peltier:

  • The repetition of more lies and his willingness to “…do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do.” (That statement, tantamount to a confession, by the way, is one that Peltier will regret for many years to come.)

  • Efforts to raise money through highly questionable fundraising and alleged charitable activities, none of which have held up to scrutiny: The question will be answered and Peltier will be held accountable for the monies he’s taken in through illegal tax-deductible activities; money he raises on the destroyed faces of two wounded men. Peltier will be called upon—no forced—to publically account for every penny he scammed from unwitting supporters. Following the Peltier money-trail will remain a top NPPA priority.

  • Clemency is Peltier’s only possible avenue to allow him to walk out of Lewisburg. This President, as sensitive as he his to minority issues, is also mindful of law and order and a review of the legal history of Peltier’s conviction will assure him that Peltier should continue to serve his just sentences.

"In The Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

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Peltier's nearly finished...Blogging towards the end: NPPA: July 28, 2010

A recent blog response from the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC) to the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) reinforces the observation that his message to potential supporters continues to be, even on a good day, encumbered with half-truths that have proven to be the cornerstone of the Peltier legacy1 .

The July 2, 2010 LPDOC (“Ain’t Buyin’ What the G-Man’s Sellin’”) blog quotes the NPPA June 26th, 2010 (“Peltier’s confused history”) statement regarding the matter of genocide in Native American.

The problem with this quote, as with so many out-of-context and inaccurate quotes and conclusions from Peltier and the LPDOC, is that it is intentionally incomplete.

The entire quote from the NPPA follows (the italicized and underlined portions are what the LPDOC repeated):

It’s not difficult to separate truth from falsehood. It is totally irresponsible to state that the United States pursued a policy of genocide toward the Indians, to cite the Washita as an example. The United States did not follow a policy of genocide; it did try to find a just solution to the Indian problem. The consistent idea was to civilize the Indians, incorporate them into the community, make them part of the melting pot. That it did not work, that it was foolish, conceited, even criminal, may be true, but that doesn’t turn a well-meant program into genocide (Stephen Ambrose).

Missing, of course, from their quotation was the critical preamble which distinguishes truth from falsehood, and the all-important attribution to the original author, noted historian Stephen Ambrose. It must certainly be obvious (except perhaps to the LPDOC) that the Stephen Ambrose reference was there for a purpose; to appropriately source the noted historian’s conclusions concerning the perception of genocide. 2

However, the LPDOC’s anonymous author missed the key point; the reference from this noted historian places the matter in its proper historical context. No one, Mr. Ambrose, nor this writer, denied the history, quite the contrary, Mr. Ambrose recognized and acknowledged what had happened and clearly defined why. Finding a just solution was the goal; that it was carried out the way it was does not make it genocide.

But let me be clear. This writer subscribes to Ambrose’s conclusions; they are factual and accurate, based on years of intelligent research, and properly summarize the devastation of the Native American historical experience.


Another critical point, as Peltier has repeatedly done, the LPDOC is also not providing supporters with accurate details. Why is that? Simply put, because it is within the details that Leonard Peltier’s guilt is unequivocal. But, of course, they do not want to discuss the fine points.

But let’s do it here anyway.

Buried within the thousands of pages related to the Incident at Oglala is just one small sentence, twenty-seven words, that precisely defines Peltier’s complicity:

I seen Joe when he pulled it out of the trunk and I looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile.” (Leonard Peltier) 3

For those out there, even among the most ardent Peltier supporters, picture this:

On the Jumping Bull property there are two late model government sedans. Peltier, Joe Stuntz and others are gathered around stealing whatever they can from the vehicles. Stuntz grabs agent Jack Coler’s FBI jacket from the trunk, and as Peltier tells us, smiles as he puts it on. Laying close to one another next to the vehicle—face down in the grass, were two dead FBI agents. Two dead FBI agents with their faces blown away, who had just been shot at point-blank range. Jack Coler was probably unconscious from a devastating arm injury but we know Ron Williams, although wounded three times, was conscious (from his defensive wounds) and probably begged for his life. 4

Follow the logic of this scene if you will…the dead FBI agents were both shot in the face, yet are laying—face down. 5 How is that? This means that someone among the Peltier (AIM) group actually touched and moved their dead bodies, grabbing them, positioning them, and turning them over to face the ground. (We won’t dignify those actions with the concept of counting coup; that belongs to genuine Indian warriors of the past.)

Unmasked, Peltier’s raging guilt is unmistakable…his ramblings about his own connection to an otherwise proud and noble heritage is an insult to Native America.


As for the anonymous nature of the LPDOC, what very few there are left, please show the strength of your convictions and step out from behind the make-believe wall of the LPDOC. Have some courage and sign your name to your work. If you are incapable or afraid to doing that, then there is an alternate challenge for Peltier, a challenge that has been offered a number of times over the past ten years:

Since day one, April 30, 2000, the NPPA prominently posted on the home page a direct link to the LPDOC (and formerly LPDC) with an invitation for anyone interested to go and visit, Peltier, see what he has to say, come back, and then come to their own independent, informed and intelligent decision about his guilt.

If the LPDOC has nothing to hide, if they believe that the message is clear and unmistakable and Peltier is really innocent, then what do they have to hide? If the truth as you and Peltier claim is on your side, then demonstrate some moral fiber instead of repeating allegations and claims that have not, repeat—have not—held up to scrutiny over the past thirty-four years.

  • Link to the NPPA if you have any sense of conviction in the Peltier cause

Otherwise, the LPDOC’s and Peltier’s scheme of deceit, fabrications, falsehoods, fraud and theft, will continue to pollute the legacy of a proud Native American heritage that Peltier has hijacked from that storied past.

On a personal note, the LPDOC Blog also said “A former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ed Woods…has made it his life’s mission to prevent Leonard Peltier’s release from prison…” Life’s mission? Hardly. I have a wonderful wife of forty-three years, two grown successful children, a princess of a granddaughter (spoiled, but that’s my job), a beautiful home, a productive and rewarding post-retirement career, a very active and full life, a hobby (not Peltier) and other interests, thank you.

Granted, I have devoted a good amount of personal time to Peltier, although it has been far less over the past several years (except for the Lewisburg parole hearing last year) as the entire matter is drifting into the sunset, fading with the twilight. No one really cares any longer because Peltier’s nearly finished. Those with some stamina to do some serious research soon turn away from Peltier as well.

The purpose is not to keep Peltier behind bars, but that certainly is the result of ensuring that justice continues to be served. It’s a mission then of honoring the dedication and sacrifice of two young men I never met and who were unnecessarily and brutally murdered in the line of duty at the hands of lawless AIM cowards led by Leonard Peltier. This effort entails the demystification of the Myth, laying waste to the folklore, and highlighting Peltier’s unquestioned and unrepentant guilt.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

(Parole reconsideration hearing, July 2024)

1 Normally this kind of LPDOC statement would be ignored or at most the subject of a Blog response, but it demonstrates so clearly the failings of Peltier’s network that it became be the subject of an Editorial Essay.

2 Stephen Ambrose, Crazy Horse and Custer: The epic clash of two great warriors at the Little Bighorn. (Simon & Schuster, 1975) 323. The entire paragraph reads as follows: “But we can tell truth from falsehood. It is for example, totally irresponsible to state—as has so often been stated—that the United States pursued a policy of genocide toward the Indians, to cite the Washita as an example, and in the most extreme statements to claim that the Army actually did exterminate the red men. The United States did not follow a policy of genocide; it did try to find a just solution to the Indian problem. The consistent idea was to civilize the Indians, incorporate them into the community, make them part of the melting pot. That it did not work, that it was foolish, conceited, even criminal, may be true, but that doesn’t turn a well-meant program into genocide, certainly not genocide as we have known it in the twentieth century. Custer was many things, but he was no Nazi SS guard shooting down innocent people at every opportunity.”

3 Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse; The story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI’s war on the American Indian Movement. (Penguin Books, 1992) 552.

4 Looking Cloud Trial Transcript at 144-145; In reference to a statement made to the witness by Leonard Peltier: Prosecutor: “Exactly what did he say?” Witness: “He said the M----- F----- was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway.”

5 Evident from the crime scene photographs:

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Critical Witnesses against Peltier:

NPPA; November 17, 2010[i]


The purpose of this editorial essay is to provide a detailed summary of the critical witnesses against Peltier; those who placed him at the scene of the crime. (There will be no discussion concerning Peltier’s actual guilt, which has been extensively covered elsewhere and is beyond any doubt.) The witnesses are presented in the order of appearance at trial and the complete transcripts (approximately 493 pages) are available and linked as follows:  Michael Anderson, Wilford Draper, Norman Brown and Angie Long Visitor.


Also included for reference are the government and defense summations and the government’s rebuttal.


During the course of Peltier’s five-week trial (Fargo, North Dakota, March-April 1977 before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Benson) there were many witnesses who provided sworn testimony regarding the investigation into the murders of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams (Reservation Murders, or RESMURS) that occurred on the Jumping Bull property, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota on June 26, 1975.[ii]


The government’s evidence and testimony against Peltier covered a great many more details to support the elements of the charges against him, however, in this author’s opinion, the most critical evidence against Peltier was—in a manner of speaking—his own people, other Native Americans at Jumping Bull that day who helped provide the jury with a sense of the agents’ final moments.


Certainly the government presented other significant evidence in addition to testimony from both sides that either supported or refuted statements made by the critical witnesses.[iii]


Peltier’s defense team had but one mission; to create within the jury’s mind that the government had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Peltier was afforded the presumption of innocence and the defense had to impeach those government witnesses who presented the most damaging testimony. Most of the critical witnesses were hostile (not totally cooperative to one side or the other, or sometimes both), and as noted below, some of the exchanges between the attorneys were contentious.


The jury was the trier of fact and it is not known what weight they ascribed to the testimony of each witness and whether the government or defense arguments to otherwise bolster or destroy the witnesses credibility was successful or not. But, in either instance, a few fundamental facts remained for the jurors to individually and collectively consider as they reached a unanimous decision concerning Peltier’s guilt.


However, in the end, the jury had to wade through a mire of often-conflicting testimony to determine the truth, as they perceived it. Sometimes those perceptions are indefinable, merely faint expressions or glimmers of truth or untruth, which they may not be able to articulate or explain but still provide a conscious recognition from each witness of the events of that day.


The jury’s decision, of course, along with the conduct and presentation of the government’s case and Peltier’s sentencing, led to numerous appeals so that every facet of the trial was ultimately analyzed in painstaking detail. The results of that voluminous and intense appellate review validated the jury’s finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


The jury’s decision was final, but in the spirit of continuing debate it is now up to concerned readers to make their own judgment based on this review of the critical witnesses against Peltier.


“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods



Please note:

Transcript references are contained within braces e.g. {1234} to the closest preceding reference number.

Author’s notes, commenting on the details of the proceedings, are contained within footnotes with appropriate sourcing and references.

The normal sequence of a witness’s testimony (whether a government or defense witness) is first; direct examination, then cross examination, then possibly followed by redirect and recross questioning.

Where noted, references to “sidebar” discussions by the government and defense attorneys are outside of the presence of the jury. The jury is normally not privy to sidebar legal arguments but may overhear some of the initial discussion on a point of law or questioning.

Also included are the closing arguments by the government and defense attorneys regarding each of the four critical witnesses. Those summations are not testimony or evidence for the jury but the attorney’s characterization of the witnesses’ statements and credibility. At the conclusion of the trial, the final arguments, or summations, allow each side to make a final review of their best evidence proving either innocence or guilt and undermining (or impeaching) the other side’s evidence. The customary sequence—because the government has the burden of proof—is that the government begins its case, then the defense and then the government again in rebuttal.



Michael Anderson


Anderson was a government witness but was described by the defense as “…obviously a critical witness {825}.”


During his direct testimony it was established that Michael Anderson was sixteen years old, with an eighth grade education {825}, in June, 1975 and had previously met Peltier, Butler, Robideau and others at an American Indian Movement (AIM) gathering in Farmington, New Mexico. He then went to Leonard Crow Dogs and then to Jumping Bull at Pine Ridge along with Peltier, Butler, Robideau, Norman Brown, Wish Draper, Joe Stuntz and others settling in the AIM tent camp on the property {753-58}.


Anderson related that on the evening of June 25th, he, Wish Draper and Norman Charles went to Oglala to take a shower and while returning along Highway 18 were stopped and questioned by two FBI agents who were trying to determine if one of them was Jimmy Eagle. They provided “Indian” names and were taken by the agents to the Pine Ridge police to have one of the officer’s confirm that none of them was Jimmy Eagle. Another officer then dropped them off near the Jumping Bull Property {760-769}. (The two FBI agents were Jack Coler and Ron Williams driving late model, unmarked, sedans.)


When the three returned to the AIM camp Peltier questioned them about what happened and “We just got yelled at” and Peltier said that “We were dumb to get in the car {771-72}.”


Anderson described the “red and white van” he knew Peltier operated {772}.


On the morning of the 26th Anderson testified that he went to Wanda Siers’ house for breakfast and observed Peltier returning to Jumping Bull in the red and white van accompanied by Joe Stuntz and Norman Charles: “I was there and I went and ate breakfast there in the morning, and then they came back in the red and white van.” “They stopped over at Little’s place and started talking; and I was sitting on top of the roof and then those two FBI agents’ cars were coming. So they all hopped in the van and went down the hill.” “The FBI agents stopped over at June Little’s place and asked if Jimmy Eagle was around. Then they seen the van going down the hill and they followed it {774}.”


Anderson described that these were the same two FBI agents who had questioned him the night before: “Was that the same two agents.” Answer, “Yes {779}.”


Anderson indicated on trial exhibit maps where he saw this activity and that at one point early on “I was behind the house {774}.”


On several occasions during the direct testimony of Anderson, defense attorney Lowe objected to the leading questions from the government and his objections were sustained {776}.


Anderson, again indicating on the exhibits, stated that he “saw everybody hop out” and that although he did not see the exchange, heard gunfire and then “I just ran back around and went back down to tent city {778}.” Anderson picked up a .22 caliber single shot rifle and “…ran back up the hill {779}.”


Anderson described seeing Norman Charles by the white house, Joe Stuntz by the green shack and Norman Brown “I think he was at the white house too.” They were all carrying weapons and he too “started shooting” “down at the cars” while he was “By the green shack {780-82}.”


Describing the agents’ actions Anderson testified that “one guy was behind the trunk shooting a rifle, and the other one had a pistol,” clarifying that one agent was behind an open trunk and that “One of them was hit” because, “I don’t know. I guess the guy with the shirt off was trying to help him, bandage him up or something {782-84}.”


Anderson also stated that he fired at responding law enforcement as well “All right. Now, did you continue firing toward the cars that were coming into the Jumping Bull Property?” “Yes {784}.”


Anderson “…kept on running back and forth” “…between the white house and the log cabin…” during the exchange and indicated his actions on the government exhibit {786}, and that he had seen Peltier “In the tree line,” and when asked what Peltier was doing stated, “I don’t know {787}.” Anderson estimated that the time he was in the area of the green house and white house during the initial shooting was “About twenty minutes {813}.”


When asked if he had seen “…any individuals down at the agents’ cars at any time,” Anderson responded “Yes.” “And tell us who it was you saw at the agents’ cars.”  Answer, “Butler, Robideau and Peltier.” “And did they have weapons with them?’ Answer, “Yes {788}.”


Anderson then related that he “…ran back down to the camp” where he was told to “Load up the van” by Peltier, and that he was in the camp area for “About an hour {814},” before they fled on foot {792-94}.


After attorney arguments at a sidebar, Anderson was questioned regarding weapons and evidence as a result of the station wagon that exploded on a Kansas turnpike.


Cross examination:


The cross examination of Anderson by defense attorney Lowe began with a contentious sidebar argument with U.S. Attorney Hultman over Anderson’s refusal to submit to an out-of-court interview by Lowe. Over Hultman’s objection Lowe then stated in front of the jury, “I daresay it’s prejudicial if a witness refuses to tell the truth to counsel when a request for interview is made. I think that’s something the jury will properly weigh whether the witness is candid on the witness stand {832-33}.” [iv]


Lowe then went on to attempt to impeach Anderson’s credibility before the jury by raising the following:[v]


·      Anderson had nine individual charges pending against him {837}.


·      Anderson had asked for an attorney and had the right not to talk to the FBI agents during his initial interview in Wichita, Kansas {839}.


·      Anderson had withheld information during his initial interview with the FBI {840}.


·      Anderson refused to talk to the FBI agents initially and was threatened “Well, I was refusing to talk until Gary Adams said, ‘If you don’t talk, I will beat you up in the cell {841-42}.’”


·      That the questions asked during the interview were in the manner of coaching him for the answers they wanted {843}.


·      Anderson had a burglary charge against him that the FBI would help him with {845}.


·      That the charges pending against Anderson regarding the explosion of the station wagon on the Wichita Turnpike had been dropped {845}.


·      Regarding an interview with the FBI in Albuquerque “And did you tell them the truth then?”  Answer, “No.” “What you told them was true, just wasn’t all of it?” Answer; “It wasn’t all of it.”  “Now, to be sure, before I pass on, before, you indicated in Wichita that part of what you told them was not true. Was part of what you told them in Albuquerque also not true?” Answer; “Yes {847}.”


·      When Anderson, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz were stopped on the evening of the 25th by Agents’ Coler and Williams that he didn’t have any choice but to go with the agents to the Pine Ridge Police {853-54}.


·      Challenging whether Anderson knew the description of various weapons from his own knowledge or whether he learned that from the government {887-88}.


·      Anderson admitted shooting at the FBI vehicles but not at the agents: “The cars. You realize it would be pretty serious stuff if you were shooting at the people, don’t you?” Answer, “I don’t know {890}.”


·      Anderson admitted shooting at other responding police “Has anybody at any time, whether it’s Special Agent Adams or anybody else, suggested to you that you could be charged with attempted murder for shooting at those cars?” Answer “No {898}.”


·      Regarding Anderson’s testimony that he had seen or perceived one of the agents was wounded and that the other, who was not wearing a shirt at the time was either applying a tourniquet or bandage to the wounded agent: “And you have nothing you can tell this jury that would give them any idea why you would think there was bandaging going on?” Answer, “No, Just didn’t see the other agent {901}.” Implying that Anderson hadn’t seen this and may have learned this detail from the government.


·      That Anderson only shot at vehicles and not agents or law enforcement personnel that day “During this whole day you shot at only inanimate objects, not people; is that your testimony?” Answer “Yes {905}.“


In regard to Peltier’s relationship with Anderson and the AIM camp:


·      That Leonard Peltier had some “disagreements” over Anderson’s drinking and that Peltier was looking out for his welfare {849}.


·      That in the AIM camp they participated in sweat lodges which were religious in nature {856-57}, and that there was violence on the reservation {859}.


Anderson described the red and white van entering the Jumping Bull area while he was “…laying on top of the roof {872-73}” and, when the agents drove into Jumping Bull “I saw them in the house. When June went out and started talking with them, FBI, because they stopped in front of the house and they both got out and walked to the door and asked if they seen Jimmy Eagle around {876}.”


There was questioning by attorney Lowe and a heated exchange with Hultman over whether Anderson said he was either running or walking as he moved around the area and the houses and the AIM camp when the shooting started. Lowe had Anderson measure the distance using a ruler scaled to feet and questioned the amount of time it would have taken to cover those distances. At one point Lowe kept jumping back and forth questioning Anderson about when and where he was between the houses and the AIM camp and seeing Norman Charles, Joe Stuntz shooting in the direction of the FBI vehicles and the types of weapons they and Norman Brown had {879-887}.


Apparently proceeding from knowledge Lowe had that he may have been informed by Peltier and others or had just speculated, he questioned Anderson as to whether or not “The first time you appeared on the hill where the white house is, isn’t it not true that the agents had already been killed?” Answer, “No {894-95},” and, “Is it not true, Mr. Anderson, that about 11:30 that morning you were in the tent city preparing the noon meal, or preparing to eat the noon meal, when you first heard shots, and that you then grabbed your gun and ran up to the hill, isn’t that the truth?” Answer, “No. I don’t know what time it was {896}.”


During the course of the earlier cross examination Anderson was asked “And did they suggest to you that if you cooperated with them that it would be possible you might not be charged with the murders?” Answer “No.” “They did not suggest that to you?” Answer “No.” “Did you realize in your own mind if you succeeded in giving them information which satisfied them that you might not be charged with the murders?” Answer “No {836}.”


Regarding Anderson’s actions in relation to a government exhibit map and the location of the white house at Jumping Bull, at one point Anderson did not turn around to look at the map. He admitted that he had been shown a piece of paper with the map on it (Exhibit 71) and interviewed by U.S. Attorney Hultman the evening before for approximately two hours. “Two hours. Did he go over your story with you for that two hours?” Answer “No. I just told him what the truth was {870}.”


At one point during cross-examination there was a tense exchange about the timing of certain actions by Anderson; “What did you do next? Did there come a time when you turned away?” Answer “I just stood around for a while because I was scared {903}.”


Returning to the earlier question not asked by the government on direct examination about whether or not Anderson may have, or should have, heard gunfire from the pinned down agents in the open field, Lowe asked “Would you have been able to hear gunshots if you were looking at them and they fired their weapons?” “Yes.” “Do you know if they fired at all while you were looking at them?” “No {879}.” This line of questioning also related to not only the timing of Anderson’s actions but the sequence of events he testified about.


There was considerable questioning by Lowe reviewing the sequence of events regarding Anderson’s observations of Peltier and others, their location at different times and his movements around the shooting area and between the Jumping Bull houses and the AIM camp. There was a heated sidebar where Hultman challenged Lowe’s sequence of the four times Anderson had the opportunity to observe the agents being fired upon. The court ruled that the government could pursue that sequence of events on redirect examination of their witness {916}.


The vigorous and contentious cross-examination continued regarding the sequence of events with Anderson exhibiting confusion and lack of specificity; “Just a moment ago when I gave you the sequence and you said, no, you thought I was wrong, that the third time is when you saw the three men down at the cars and you said you saw Mr. Peltier in the tree line after that. How could you have seen Mr. Peltier in the tree line after that if he went back to the tent area?” Answer “I don’t know {918-20}.” Finishing that inquiry, Anderson’s answers to many questions was also “I don’t know {925-930}.”


At the end, Lowe established that Anderson believed in the religion of the pipe “And do you practice the traditional Indian religion?” Answer “No, not very much.” “And you told me when you—well, let me ask you this way: When I told you this morning we were going to be talking with you and you were asked whether you would take your oath on the pipe, weren’t you?”  Answer “Yes.” “You didn’t do that, did you?” Answer “No {931}.”


The government had no questions on redirect.


Government summation:


It was reviewed for the jury that Michael Anderson would have been a defendant in this case but that the government needed witnesses and he did not participate in the final killing of the agents {4975}. Anderson was fully aware of the purpose of the agents coming to Jumping Bull because he had been stopped and questioned by Agents’ Coler and Williams the evening before as they were searching for Jimmy Eagle for whom they knew a warrant was outstanding {4979, 4983}.


Radio communications overheard that morning corroborated Anderson’s testimony that Leonard Peltier’s red and white van entered the area first followed by the agents, and observed as Peltier, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz appeared to fire or getting ready to fire at the agents {4982}.


Anderson corroborated Angie Long Visitor seeing Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz lying down in front of her house beside the woodpile and Peltier’s red and white van {4988-89}. Anderson also corroborated Norman Brown that Long Visitor was seen fleeing the area about that time and when he and Brown retrieved weapons from the tent area and returned to see that both agents were alive and still firing {4990}.


Anderson testified that the agents were behind the vehicle with the trunk open corroborating Norman Brown {4991} and that Leonard Peltier had the AR-15 by the abandoned cars during the shooting {4995}.


Anderson, along with Brown, testified that they shot at Agent Adams as he was attempting to respond to Jumping Bull {4999}.


Addressing how Peltier or the others involved in the shooting were able to at one point beat him back to the AIM camp, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Crooks stated “At this point, or during the trial I should say, there was a question to Mike Anderson something to the effect of how did the agents beat you back, or the culprits beat you back to tent city. I think this is the obvious explanation. They drove the vehicle {5005}.”


Clarifying the weapons possessed by Joe Stuntz, Anderson testified that Stuntz started out with the .44 carbine and then switched to the 30-30 which was found near his body and that Anderson carried the .44 and fired it while fleeing the area {5010}.


And finally, regarding Anderson, AUSA Lynn Crooks  reviewed the weapons and people who were associated with the station wagon that blew up in Wichita; Robert Robideau, Norman Charles and Michael Anderson, who were all at Jumping Bull June 26th {5013}.


Defense Summation:


The defense focused on the following aspects of Anderson’s testimony:


·      That Anderson was not prosecuted in order to prosecute Peltier {5050}.


·      How did the vehicles get past Anderson (and Brown) when according to their testimony they were in a particular area of Jumping Bull {5051}.


·      That the government has argued that Peltier, Norman Charles and Stuntz got out of Peltier’s vehicle and fired at the agents “…but to say that Anderson said so, I suggest to you is a factual mistake {5052}.”


·      “Everybody except the witness Anderson who will be dealt with separately says everybody was in tent city {5068}.” [vi]


·      When Anderson was being questioned on direct examination he said “Well, I guess they seen the orange pickup going down the way and they followed it.”  And the next question from the government was “Now when you say orange pickup, is that the red and white van?” The defense summation ended with “What kind of a question is that? When someone says orange pickup they mean orange pickup, they don’t mean a red and white van {5103},” and, “Does that suggest to you why Gary Adams was dodging, why Hughes was evasive? {5103}.”


·      Anderson, when interviewed by the FBI was shown a photograph of Jimmy Eagle and said that he was in tent city that day with his girlfriend, Wilma, who was cooking, yet no one else mentioned that Eagle or Wilma were present in tent city, “How come nobody mentioned Wilma?” {5105-06} [vii]


·      Offering an alternative conclusion, the defense questioned whether Anderson was in a position to know who was at tent city preparing breakfast if he claimed to be on Wanda Siers’ roof: “He might have the capacity to lie, but he doesn’t have the capacity to fly {5106}.”


·      That Anderson was intimidated and threatened by Agent Adams and not provided with an attorney as he requested and then provided the information the FBI wanted {5118}.


·      That Anderson during the initial interview provided different information concerning the whereabouts of Peltier and first seeing the agents that morning, yet in a second interview “The interview in which agent Adams is present again.” Anderson gives a complete statement “He says that Leonard Peltier was down by the cars with Dino and Bob {5119}.”


Government Rebuttal:


Regarding the content and context of the overheard radio transmission when the shooting began, Anderson corroborated the initial events: “Now ain’t that the same thing that Anderson said, too? Now somebody’s lying. The agent was lying at the time he made the radio broadcast? Now as reasonable men and women I think it’s fair to conclude that that’s exactly what happened. And what was the next broadcast or words? ‘They’re firing at us.’” {5148}  And finally that Anderson corroborated Long Visitor and Brown regarding the location of Peltier’s vehicle {5150}.



Wilford “Wish” Draper



It was established during direct examination that eighteen year old Wilford Draper, also known as Wish, met Leonard Peltier, Dino Butler, Robert Robideau, Norman Brown, Mike Anderson, Norman Charles and others at an AIM gathering in Farmington, New Mexico and travelled to Pine Ridge where he spent a couple of days in the AIM tent camp at first, but moved to a white tent behind the home of Harry Jumping Bull: “Well, I left because Leonard Peltier was out there, and he was carrying guns around {1007-14, 1034}.” And, that he had received instruction in the use of firearms from Peltier and Butler {1016}.


Draper explained that on the afternoon of June 25th, he, Mike Anderson and Norman Charles went into Oglala to take a shower and were stopped by FBI agents who questioned them about the identity and whereabouts of Jimmy Eagle. Draper provided a false Indian name and the three were taken to the Pine Ridge police where it was determined that none of them was Eagle. They were then dropped off on Highway 18 in the vicinity of the Jumping Bull property.  When they returned to the AIM camp Peltier questioned them about the incident. {1016-24}.


On the morning of June 26th, Draper arose and made his way down to the AIM camp somewhere around “9:00, 9:30 {1025}” where he recalled initially seeing Jimmy Zimmerman, Norman Charles, Butler, Peltier and Neelock. It was sometime later that “…Until later on, after a while when I was down there, I heard some gunshots {1026}” describing for the jury where he was and locating where he was and what he was doing that morning on a government exhibit map of the Jumping Bull area.


Draper testified that he “…just stood around for a while and walked around the camp” and after a while saw Joe Stuntz, Norman Charles and that “I think they ran up to check it out.” Draper walked through the camp, into the woods and “…down the ravine away from the gunshots.” {1026-29}.


In response to a specific question it was established that Draper did not witness the initial shooting or killing of the agents in the Jumping Bull area, “So you don’t know anything that took place up here in any way as to what the events were from that point on, is that right?” Answer “That’s right {1037}.”


Draper described the activities in the AIM camp after the shooting ended as they prepared to flee the area, first loading up vehicles and then deciding to make their way out on foot. {1032-36}. Draper had a discussion with Peltier about him leaving alone, however, “He used to tell people that, like you run from your group or if you run from a firing group the leader of that group will personally shoot him.” “And is that the reason why you stayed in the group at that particular time?” Answer “Yes. In this case Leonard was the leader {1033}.”


Draper explained that Leonard Peltier was carrying an “AR-15” but that he did not know the correct name for that weapon until he later learned it from being questioned by the FBI, but that he was familiar with what the weapon looked like because he had seen it “…many times before.”  {1038-39}.


Draper related that while fleeing the Jumping Bull area he overheard a conversation among; “It was Dino, Bob and Leonard” indicating that “Well, they said something about a car, an agent’s; but I don’t recall, and they said something about moving him around. I really don’t remember {1056}.”[viii]


Hultman then attempted to introduce Draper’s prior sworn testimony on this point which led to an objection and sidebar and the Judge allowing the witness to read the question and response. Draper then read the following to himself “Now during this time that you were walking through the night, can you tell me whether or not there was any conversation about what happened to the agents? The Answer: “The night we were talking (sic) to Morris Wounded’s house, I heard Dino and Bob and Leonard talking about the agents. Leonard said something like this, ‘I helped you move them around the back so you could shoot them.’ Maybe he was talking about Butler or Bob. I don’t know who he was talking about that night {1058}.”


Draper was reminded that he was under oath during his prior statement and was asked whether that refreshed his memory but responded that “I can’t remember that much {1059},” which prompted another sidebar discussion where the judge permitted Hultman to essentially impeach his own witness by reading the specific question to Draper in front of the jury.


Draper admitted remembering making that response when he made that prior statement under oath, but now stated “I can’t remember. I just don’t place it {1062}.”


Draper was then questioned about his activities as he and others fled Pine Ridge, eventually going to Canada for five months, returning to Arizona and being contacted by the FBI {1069-1072}.


Towards the end of Draper’s direct testimony he was asked whether he was scared at the moment (while on the witness stand), to which he answered “No,” and that no promises had been made in exchange for his testimony considering previous charges against him. “Have you to the best of your ability told the truth as you now here in the courtroom today best remember the events?” Answer, “Yes.”  “And is that without any promises or any inducements or  threats on the part of anybody in any way having to do with the government?” Answer, “No. No threats. No promises.” {1072-1075}.


Cross examination:


Cross-examination began with establishing that Draper had been interviewed by defense attorney Lowe on two occasions; that Draper was a member of AIM,  discussions about the religion of the pipe, and that there were sweat lodges and purification ceremonies in the AIM camp participated in by Leonard Peltier and others {1076-1077}.


There were several objections and court rulings about a point of law concerning defense questions about what Evelyn Bordeau said to Draper about why they should go to Canada; an exception to the hearsay rule. The questions were allowed and Draper answered “She said ‘You guys would be charged with murder’” and that was one of the reasons Draper fled to Canada {1081}.


Draper described how he was stopped by the FBI and BIA in Arizona where he was first confronted at gunpoint and told that there was a Grand Jury subpoena issued for him to appear in Rapid City, SD. He was taken into custody, then transported to Gallup, NM, questioned by FBI agents about what happened at Pine Ridge, and then taken home. Within a week he was taken to the Grand Jury at Souix Falls, SD after first going with agents to Albuquerque, Rapid City, and Pine Ridge, including “Bear Runner’s place again and Morris Wounded’s house.”  “What did they tell you would happen to you if you didn’t cooperate with them?” Answer, “Well, they asked me you’ll get indicted.” “Indicted for what?” Answer, “Murder charge.” “Did that scare you?” Answer, “Yes, it did.” “Did it sound to you like Evelyn Bordeau had been right?” Answer, “Yes {1082-1087}.”


The defense established that Draper was told that if he cooperated he would be protected, given a new identity, get him “a job somewhere else,” get him “training or education” if he needed it, and take care of him financially {1087-1088}.


Draper was shown a seven-page document (his interview by FBI agents, known as an FD-302) where defense attorney Lowe pointed out that there was no mention of threats or promises made {1095}.


Lowe questioned Draper about the total number of hours he had been subject to interviews by various FBI agents and the United States Attorney’s office and that Assistant USA, Sikma provided him with a transcript of his Grand Jury testimony and FD-302s in preparation for his testimony {1096-1099}.


After another vigorous sidebar concerning the manner in which Lowe was cross-examining Draper about where Draper may have learned the nomenclature, or  the names of certain weapons in the AIM camp, the follow-up question was “Mr. Draper, you said that you knew two or three of the weapons in the Jumping Bull area. Isn’t it a fact that all the other names of weapons were given to you by the FBI or Mr. Sikma?” Answer, “That’s right.” {100-1106}.


After another lengthy and contentious sidebar where Lowe challenged the government’s motives in their prosecution of Peltier {1108-1114}, Draper’s prior criminal charges were reviewed again and he was asked “So it is possible as to some of the things you have told us here that you are referring to something that some agent may have told you happened rather than what you actually saw or heard yourself, is that possible?”  Answer “Yes, that’s possible {1114-1116}.”


Concerning the emotional climate on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Draper was asked “Now, let me ask you, was there, among the people in the Jumping Bull area, including the residences and the Tent City area, was there a fear that there might be an attack from the goons?” Answer “Yes, there was a fear, but they never came; and yes, there was fear among the people there.” “Would it be fair to say that there was an atmosphere of fear around the Jumping Bull area there with relation to being attacked?”  Answer “Yes, you could say that {1120-1121}.”


There was a contentious round of objections as Lowe first established from Draper that Leonard Peltier was not in the camp in the hour prior to the first shots being heard and establishing whether or not Michael Anderson was in the tent camp as well.  “Now, during this hour before the shots were fired, did you see Leonard Peltier? “ Answer, “No {1125}.  Lowe, referring to prior sworn testimony in another proceeding attempted to impeach Draper on this point where Draper placed both Robideau and Peltier in the camp “about 30 minutes to 45 minutes” prior to the shooting {1125}. Draper insisted that others were around but that he “…didn’t see them when the shots first rung out {1128}.”


Regarding Mike Anderson, Draper stated that after the first shots rang out that he “…didn’t see him at any time when he was excited and out of breath… {1129}.” But that “A minute. After that, Mike came back down, and then he went back up again. Then later Dino came, and Bob came, and they ran back up there; but I didn’t see the whole thing at the same time, but I was walking to the camp, walking from them away from them {1129}.”


Draper was asked and testified, “Mr. Draper, when you saw Mike Anderson returning up towards the Jumping Bull’s, let me ask you first, did he have a weapon with him? This is after the shots now.” Answer, “Yes {1133},” and that Draper walked into a ravine until the shooting stopped before he returned to the camp and that “…Mr. Peltier and other people (were) already there {1134}.”


Testimony continued to determine what type of weapons Draper saw in Peltier’s possession in the tent area after the shooting ended. “He had an AR 15 and, I don’t recall the other.” “Would it be fair for me to say he kept putting one weapon down and picking one up and putting one down and picking one up and just handling a whole lot of different weapons?”  Answer, “Yes.”  “Would it be fair to say you just have no way of knowing what weapon he had prior to your coming back up to the tent area?” Answer, “Yes {1135}.”


After extended sidebar discussions, Draper was questioned regarding a weapon he had misidentified as having been carried during the escape from Jumping Bull by Dino Butler and was challenged based on his prior sworn testimony. “Do you now know that that testimony was factually in error?” Answer, “Yes {1151}.”


Lowe reiterated that Draper could not be certain about who made the statements he overheard about “…the car and shooting the agents…,” “Could you tell the full content of the words that you heard spoken, or were you just taking what you remember?”  Answer, “I was just taking what I remembered.” “No. Could you recognize the voice or were you just guessing when you said it was Leonard Peltier?” Answer, “I was guessing {1152}.”


Draper’s cross-examination ended with Lowe establishing that Draper was testifying here and previously under a grant of immunity, would not be prosecuted by the government but that on January 13, 1976, at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he appeared before a Grand Jury and testified under oath. Lowe continued, “Would I be correct in saying that some of the testimony you gave was false?” Answer, “Yes {1157}  .”


Redirect examination:


Draper was asked by Hultman about the weapon Butler carried with him during the escape “…concerning a weapon a few moments ago, is it fair for me to conclude that you were honestly mistaken as to what your testimony was earlier?” Answer, “Yes {1157},” and “Have you told the truth in the courtroom today as you very best can remember the events at the time they took place?” Answer, “Yes {1158}.” 


Recross examination:


On the final recross examination Lowe ended with “Mr. Draper, as to the question that Mr. Hultman, just asked you about whether you have told the truth the best you can, is that true as to your cross examination answers as well as your direct examination answers?” Answer, “Yes {1159}.”


Government summation:


In regards to Draper’s testimony the government emphasized that “…if I recall correctly from Mr. Draper, that Mr. Butler carried out one of the agents handguns {5008}.”


Defense summation:


The defense repeated that the government gave up the opportunity to prosecute Draper (Anderson and Brown as well) in order to prosecute Peltier {5050}. Defense attorney Taikeff stated (in regard to the government’s inference that the attack on the agents was an ambush) that “Mr. Draper testified that when they heard shots where they were, they were in tent city. Well, unless you have a canon with a telescopic site on it and you want to murder an agent or two coming into the Jumping Bull compound, you don’t get up at tent city getting ready to eat breakfast or lunch, depending on what you call it if you get up late in the morning {5068}.”


And, referred to the interrogation of Draper “That was in the United States of America, that was not Berlin. That was in 1975, that was not in 1938. That was done by the FBI, not by the Gestapo…How did he learn the names of the weapons? He got them from either the FBI or Mr. Sikma he testified. Now he was clear about one thing when the shooting started because he was not particularly attracted to weapons, didn’t like them, didn’t know how to handle one. He went into the woods and stayed there and that was undoubtedly the truth. He probably knew very little of what went on. But that didn’t, that didn’t alter in any way the treatment he got {5118}.”


There was no government rebuttal regarding Draper.



Norman Brown


(NOTE: Norman Brown was both a government and a defense witness.)


Direct testimony: Government witness:


Norman Brown was declared a hostile witness by the government; “He is without any question a hostile witness if there ever was one {1389}.”


Initially there was concern about personal contact between Brown and Leonard Peltier “(Brown) approached the defendant, they embraced, shook hands. There was an exchange of words, lasted approximately five seconds or eight seconds or so, and they parted. And that was the extent of it {1388}.”


Brown was granted immunity thus protecting him from prosecution as long as he testified truthfully and the government couldn’t otherwise prove he perjured himself. He took his oath on the sacred pipe acknowledging that it was “…administered in a form calculated to awaken his conscience and impress his mind with his duty to do so {1392}.”


Brown was fifteen years old when the shootings occurred at Jumping Bull and had known Peltier and the others in the AIM camp for some time. Brown was from the same Nation as Mike Anderson and Wish Draper and characterized Draper as “….quiet and stays to himself. That’s about all {1406}.”


Establishing Peltier’s whereabouts on the morning of June 26, 1975, Brown testified that Peltier lived in one of the houses owned by the Jumping Bull family {1408} and when asked if he saw Peltier when he arose that morning said “No,” “No, not when I got up, no {1425}.” Brown equivocated under further questioning, however, stating that the first time he saw Peltier was; “No, it’s right, it’s right.” (identified on a trial exhibit map {1445, 1471,1506, 1596}), “He’s the first one I saw shooting {1597}” and that Peltier “Well, he was, he was laying down and he’d get up and shoot, and then he’d lay back down and get up and shoot, and lay back down,” from the vicinity of the “Y” intersection {1574}, as well as the type of weapon Peltier was using: “It was like the one—looked like an M16,” and that Peltier took it with him when they fled the area after the shooting {1413, 1446, 1472, 1527}.


Brown described in several areas of his testimony having seen the agents at their vehicles exchange gunfire with the others and he himself shooting at the agents; “And that’s when I started shooting back again” on three different occasions {1479, 1500-1504}. Regarding some of the actions of the agents, Brown testified “Yeah. He crawled through the front of the car and he crawled out. He was there for awhile, and then he crawled back {1495} out and got in the same place where he was at.”  Question: “All right. Did you see the second person at this time that you are talking about?” Answer; “Yeah. He was shooting away there. Question; Now, what kind of weapon did he have, what kind of gun?” Answer: “Handgun.” Brown also admitted shooting out the tires of two responding law enforcement vehicles {1488, 1495}.


Brown’s testimony concerning the red and white vehicle belonging to Sam Loud Hawk and operated by Peltier was cautious and vague but he acknowledged that this vehicle was not in the camp earlier in the morning, but that he saw it later during the shooting; “It was the first time when I was running up the hill.” {1514-1517—(Note: the transcript prior to {1516} appears to have at least one question and answer that run together, {1520}.


Brown stated he was involved in one manner or another in the events on the morning of June 26th; “It was about an hour, hour and a half {1499}.”


Cross examination:


Brown’s answers to some defense attorney questions were more precise than his direct testimony even correcting times he was interviewed by various FBI agents and the purpose of the AIM members encamped on the Jumping Bull property {1562, 1566-1568, 1584-85, 1586, 1589}. The defense was given latitude by the court to pursue that line of inquiry {1589}.


On a government exhibit map, Brown related where he saw Peltier, “When I saw him, way over there (indicating), he was right there in the circle.” Questioned by defense attorney Taikeff, “To the right on the chart of this “Y” intersection?” Answer, “Yes {1574}“.


Question; “You told us that you saw Leonard shooting from that place where the junked cars are and you also said you saw the agents shooting?” Answer, “Yeah.”  “Which did you see shooting first?” Answer, “I don’t know. I was just—I don’t know who shot first, but they were shooting at each other I could tell.” “Well, when you looked, which did you look at first and see the shooting?” Answer, Well, when I got up there I saw Leonard shooting. He’s the first one I saw shooting. And he back down and his shots were not very fast. Shots, just shots.” {1597}


(At sidebar, in order to allege or infer that Brown may have been intimidated or threatened by the FBI to provide previous false testimony before a federal grand jury, defense attorney Taikeff acknowledged that Brown had not provided false testimony during the trial {1608, 1613} but that it would be their intention to call Brown as a defense witness {1614}.)


Redirect examination:


Hultman’s redirect touched only briefly on Peltier’s location during the shooting and the weapons involved {1627} and ended with “Norman, I just have one more question. Have all your responses that you have given been on the sacred pipe?” Answer, “Right.” “And in every instance as far as the testimony you have given here today?” Answer, “Right {1629}“.


Recross examination: Was brief and did not relate to Peltier.


Direct testimony: Defense witness:


Prior to Brown’s defense testimony there was considerable sidebar argument concerning the scope of immunity he had been granted {4739-81}.


Peltier attorney Taikeff then attempted to establish Brown’s “state of mind” {4806} prior to, and when he testified at the grand jury. “Well, started asking me questions and I kept saying that I didn’t want to talk to them. First they were nice, kind of nice. Asked me if I wanted a cigarette and coffee. Told them, no, that I wanted a lawyer. So they started getting kind of mad because I wouldn’t answer their questions {4802}.”  “So that guy Victor Harvey says, “we can indict you,” he said, “for those murders,” and he said, “We even had a gun that you had, you know, that killed one of them.” He said that to me. And my mom, she was crying. She didn’t know what to think. Kept telling me to say something, talk {4803}.”


It was evident that Brown’s mother played an important role in that process. She was present during the FBI interviews and accompanied him to the grand jury (but not in the grand jury room when he testified). His mother encouraged him to cooperate throughout his interviews; “Right beside me here. I don’t know. She freaked out. She knew what was happening. She kind of tapped me and looked over there and she said, ‘Why don’t you tell them.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to tell them.’” {4803; and numerous other references).


Portions of Brown’s testimony before the grand jury was reread to him: That grand jury testimony was more detailed and specific than the basic premise of just seeing Peltier, Robideau and Butler down at the agent’s vehicles {4834-37}.


Regarding Brown’s interrogations by the FBI and whether he saw Peltier Butler and Robideau down by the agent’s vehicles after the initial shooting: “They told me, they said, ‘we know you saw those guys down there.’ Said, ‘Who?’ They said, ‘I don’t know.’ They said, ‘We know you know.’ They said, ‘somebody told us that you saw Bob, Dino and Leonard down there,’ and I didn’t know what to think after, you know, my mom, I just told them I saw them down there {4810}.”


Further, “When you testified before the grand jury that you saw Leonard and Bob and Dino down by the agents’ cars, where did you get that information from?” Answer, “FBI.” “Did you ever see that on June 26th, 1975?” Answer, “No {4812}.”


Cross examination:


On cross Hultman clarified whether Brown told the truth to the jury during his testimony as a government witness: “And there isn’t any question in your mind, sitting here now, that what you told them that day is the truth, is it?” Answer, “That day I was here?.” “Yes.” Answer, “Yes {4820}.”


Establishing Brown’s testimony at the grand jury and whether Peltier had an AR-15 (that resembles the civilian version of the military M-16), “All right. It was, you then said that it was an M-16 or looked like an M-16; isn’t that right?” Answer, “Well, that was after they told me that I knew who were down there. They asked me what kind of guns they were carrying and I - - they asked me about Leonard and I told them that he had one that looked like an M-16 {4830}.”


Hultman repeated Brown’s grand jury testimony regarding who he saw at the agent’s vehicles after the initial shooting, “All right. And do you recall an answer then which was substantially what you just said a second ago and in a little greater detail, “Well, I was sitting by the propane tanks. Then I got up, I was looking on both sides of the houses. That house then I saw two people go down. I think one was Peltier and the other was Butler this way.” That was what you said to the grand jury in response to that general question. “Would you tell the grand jury as closely as you can what you recall about what happened and who the individuals were that went down there?” Isn’t that a fair conclusion? That is what you said at that time?”  Answer, “Yeah. I guess so, yeah {4835}.”


Hultman continues, “This is after you had gone ahead and in response to that I do show the record fairly, that you indicated in response to a question that you said then: “I looked around again and the hood was up and then I saw three of them down there. And I don’t know who the other one was.” “Question: Did you at one time indicate who you thought it was or who it might have looked like?” and your answer: “yes.” And then the question to you: “Who was it?”


“Do you remember what your answer was to the grand jury?” Answer, “No.”


“Would you argue with me at all if I said the answer was: “I think it was Robideau.” Do you remember saying that?”  Answer, “Yes {4836}.”


Hultman further asked, “All right. Now, then I get to the question I just asked so that I wasn’t misleading anyone. The question was; “What happened at that time that you saw the three people down at the bottom of the hill by the agents?” Do you remember what your response was to that question?” Answer, “No.” “Would you argue with me if I indicated the answer, the record was: “I heard some shots, I think it was three, or was it? Two or three shots, it was three shots.” Answer, “Yeah, I remember {4836}.”


Hultman brought back the issue of how much influence Brown’s mother had on him, “Did your mother on that occasion, if you recall, make any complaints of any kind concerning any agents of the FBI?” Answer, “No. What she thought was after this, you know, she thought I wouldn’t have to go to jail, you know, after this. This won’t bug me no more is what she thought {4837}.”


The closing exchange between Hultman and Brown was contentious: “Norman, do you think that it’s important that we tell the things that we saw and we observed?” Answer, “Are you trying to tell me that I saw them down there?” {4838}  “No, no.” Answer, “That’s what you’re trying to say. I didn’t’ see them down there. I’m saying that because the agents said that they said we know you saw this, we know you saw that.” “My only question to you is just this if I might restate it to you.” Answer, “Yeah.” “It’s important that we honestly tell the things we saw and observed isn’t that a fair—“  Answer, “Yeah. I did, too. I told the truth.” “Would you now just please respond to my question. I’m just speaking in general terms. It is, and you feel strongly about that, do you not?” Answer, “Yes. It seems like, like you’re calling me a liar. It seems that way to me. And I swore on that pipe there, sacred pipe.”

Redirect examination:


If the intent of the defense questioning was to demonstrate that Brown was coerced into saying what the agents wanted him to say before the grand jury (other than Brown stating that the agents kept repeating the same facts and questions over and over), the extent of his admission of any fear, coercion, threats or intimidation was to the one question from defense attorney Taikeff: “Were you afraid of the FBI when you were before the grand jury?” Answer, “Yes.” {4841}[ix]


Taikeff’s last question and Brown’s final response led to an admonishment from the judge.


Taikeff:  “Finally, Mr. Brown, Mr. Hultman asked you about whether you believe that it was important for every witness who comes here to tell the truth and I think you said, “Of course I believe that, I swore on the sacred pipe.” When you testified before the grand jury, did you swear on the sacred pipe?” {4843} Answer, “No.”  Mr. Taikeff: “I have no further questions.”


Judge Benson then stated “Mr. Taikeff and counsel approach the bench,” and at a sidebar there was a discussion regarding an improper question and violation of Rule 610.[x]


Government Summation:


The government’s closing noted “…that both of our two most important witnesses, Norman Brown and Mike Anderson, would have been defendants in this case along with Leonard Peltier.” And as “distasteful” as it was to “…let these two off so that we can get the one who is most responsible for these deaths {4975-76}.” The essential facts surrounding Brown’s testimony were reviewed for the jury; including that he had seen Peltier’s van (belonging to Sam Loud Hawk) in the area of the shootings and that initially Robideau and Butler were in the Tent City AIM camp {4987-88} and the location from where Peltier was firing at the agents {4992}; Brown firing at responding law enforcement {4999} and where shell casings from Brown’s .22 were located from firing at the agents {5010}.


Defense Summation:


The summation regarding Brown reiterated their belief that he was a truthful witness “…but I think you have to go a long way to find somebody who is as truthful and sincere as Norman Brown. He didn’t hear any vehicle. He didn’t see any people {5051}.”  “How did those vehicles get past Anderson and Brown who, according to the testimony, were up here in this vicinity (indicating), “NB,” Norman Brown on guard duty {5051}.” (The implication being—that if—Brown didn’t hear or see something it’s truthful and that other witnesses who claim they saw or heard something must not be telling the truth.) And, “I trust that you find him to be a rather impressive young man in a number of ways. I also hope whether you like guns or not that you are at least impressed with his skill at being able to shoot out tires with a .22 caliber rifle at 200 yards not once but twice and possibly three times {5069}.”  “You cannot conclude that Norman Brown if he had murder on his mind could not have killed the people in those cars.” Implying that this is an example of why the AIM Indians were not a “blood crazed bunch” as the government alleged {5070}. 


In regard to Norman Brown’s grand jury testimony when he said he saw Peltier, Robideau and Butler at the agent’s vehicles after the initial shooting ended, defense attorney Taikeff summarized the intimidation of Brown by the interviewing agents as they served him with a subpoena; and although not under arrest took him to Pierre, South Dakota with his mother and was “…taken a long distance with your pregnant wife left behind.” That Brown had requested a lawyer and there were “Threats to him, threats to his mother, she sat there crying throughout the entire interview. You could just imagine what was going on in her head when that episode was unfolding.” And concluding that, “Is it any wonder that he went before the grand jury and said, “’I saw Leonard and Bob and Dino down by the cars {5121}.’” 


Government Rebuttal:


During rebuttal the government stressed the fact that people may observe things differently depending on their location at the moment, especially if there is a lot of activity and that the individuals within a group of witnesses would not observe an event in exactly the same way, and because they don’t, that does not mean that one of the other may be lying about what they actually saw. “Each of you would have seen and observed and reported the participant events that you made and if at one moment you’re on the hill you can see what’s going on at the cars and if three minutes later you’re back in tent city to pick up another weapon, then you’re just not going to see at that moment what somebody else is, or one of the six of the rest of you on the hill at that moment is observing what’s happening on the cars. Does that mean that we then conclude that somebody’s a liar, somebody’s come here and misstated? Oh, no. It means that unless it doesn’t square in some way, very significant, important, that that is in fact the way things really happened honestly and fairly {5127}.” 


And as a further example, “Now let me show you just one illustration, it was the last one that counsel vociferously said in effect that Waring is a liar or Brown’s a liar, and that astounded me because I believe he has said time and time again that if there is anybody here that you can believe it’s a 15 year old teenager at the time named Brown {5128}.” The government went on to display trial exhibit photos to the jury and concluded “…by looking at those two photographs if there is any question in your mind and that I might get up close enough that you might see that you can stand at those autos or stand at the corner or stand anywhere and shoot point-blank as Leonard Peltier this defendant did as the truthful witness, the only one evidently, Mr. Brown said he was doing {5129}.”


Nearing the conclusion of the rebuttal summation it was restated that the government believed Peltier fired the final killing shots to the agents, and whether he did or did not, he did aid and abet in their murders. “Maybe Leonard Peltier didn’t beyond any doubt pull the trigger with his AR-15 down at the scene; but I think as reasonable men and women you could conclude that honestly and fairly – but I don’t think there is any doubt in anybody’s mind that he didn’t aid and abet and participate in the killing, mercilessly of two FBI agents that day, because if you only would take the testimony of what may be, might be called or referred to as the Defendant’s witness, Brown, and what he said and what he observed, and with what else you know, I think as reasonable men and women you would have to conclude that he at least, when he got out of that vehicle with his gun blazing – and you remember what Brown said, he was down when he saw him and he was up, and he was down and he was firing – what way, what way could you claim that two agents with pistols at the beginning, that that is self defense, that that’s not aiding and abetting in cold murder. Then you draw whatever conclusion you have {5163}.”[xi]





Direct examination:


Long Visitor was a hostile witness to both the government and the defense. The defense characterized her, however, as a “critical” and “material” witness {2693, 2695}.


Long Visitor, the granddaughter of property owners, Calvin and Cecilia Jumping Bull (who were away the day of the murders), lived in the green house on the property with her husband Ivis and three children for the previous seven years. The Jumping Bulls lived in the white house, Wanda Siers and her children lived in another small house on the property. A log house, as well as a building referred to as Jumping Bull Hall, was unoccupied {2644-46}.


Long Visitor describe what was referred to as “tent city” and the individuals she knew including, Leonard Peltier, Bob Robideau, Dino Butler, Neelock, Jean, Lynn, Joseph Stuntz, Norman Brown and Norman Charles {2648-54}.


After hearing a “firecracker or something” Long Visitor identified two late model vehicles with “aerials,” along with their two occupants as FBI agents {2656-57, 2676-77}. “I looked over and I seen them two FBI cars standing there” {2656}. At one point one of the agents was in the “green car” and the other was “kneeling right beside his brown and white car” {2674}.


Long Visitor saw no one else leave the immediate area while she was there; “Do you remember seeing any persons leave the area during the time that we’re now talking about?”  Answer, “No” {2679}, and identified a red and white van belonging to Sam Loud Hawk that had been used by Leonard Peltier {2687}. She did admit to seeing several other people that day but not personally seeing Leonard Peltier {2727}, and that Robert Robideau was wearing a ski mask and firing at the agents, although, she denied her previous sworn grand jury testimony in that regard {2683-84}.[xii]


Cross examination:


Attorney Lowe reviewed several areas including the position of the agents’ vehicles {2729} and seeing others during the period of the shooting, including Anderson {2716}, Draper {2731-32}, and Norman Charles {2726}.


Lowe read portions of Long Visitor’s grand jury testimony related to her seeing Joseph Stuntz and Wish Draper and that, “They had guns and they were facing towards those two FBI cars,” and further, “All right. Now, on page 16 at Line 20, you were talking about, you just talked about the ‘Bob’ with the ski mask, and you were asked: How about the other Indian named Wish? Answer: I think I only heard one. Question: He fired one shot? Answer: Yeah.”  “Do you remember giving that testimony at that time?” To which Long Visitor responded, as she had done several times during her testimony, “No, I don’t remember.” {2732-34}


Long Visitor essentially repeatedly denied her previous grand jury testimony.


Redirect examination:


Hultman asked, “Who was it that, who were the two persons that were lying between the green house and the white house?” Answer, “Joseph Stuntz and Norman Charles.”

And, “Now you also mentioned that there was somebody with a ski mask; is that right?” Answer, “Yes.” “And who was that?” Answer, “Bob Robideau.”  “And, where was he?” Answer, “He was standing by the station wagon.” {2738}


Government Summation:


The government commented that unlike other witnesses, Angie Long Visitor had no involvement in the murder of the agents because she left with her family before the agents were killed {4975}. “The defense had implied through their cross-examination that the shooters, and including all the shooters, may not have known that these guys were FBI agents. Well, that of course is rather absurd in view of Angie Long Visitor’s testimony that she recognized FBI agents immediately” {4983} and her observation of Norman Charles, Joe Stuntz and Robert Robideau who on “…a hot sunny day in June he had on a ski mask.” {4988}.[xiii]


Defense Summation:


The defense used Long Visitor’s testimony primarily to place individuals she observed; Norman Brown, Joe Stuntz and Robert Robideau in certain positions around the Jumping Bull property during the initial shooting and before she fled with her family, and to establish the relationship between government evidence concerning where various weapons and shell casings that were later found around the property {5052-53, 5057, 5088}.


Government Rebuttal:


In response to the defense summation concerning the possession of Peltier’s vehicle, the government’s rebuttal concerning Long Visitor’s testimony related to the vehicle Peltier was known to operate; the “van” he repaired that belonged to Sam Loud Hawk, and other abandoned vehicles (“junkers”) around the Jumping Bull property {5145}.



[i] Thirty-five years ago, November 17, 1975, Leonard Peltier was indicted for the first-degree murder of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 1111, and 1114.


[ii] My own experience testifying and preparing witnesses for trial—finalizing or assisting in the completion of the official investigation and supporting the government attorneys with their preparation and presentation of the case to the jury—although not extensive, was substantial enough that I have a clear understanding of the process.


[iii] As an aside, reviewing the critical witnesses’ testimony—along indeed with the entire trial transcript, it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that there were more eyewitnesses to the murder of agents Coler and Williams than the government was able to present.


[iv] This highly prejudicial statement made by defense attorney Lowe to the jury—had it been made by the government—would have in all likelihood resulted in a mistrial. Characterizing any witness in such a manner was both highly unprofessional and inappropriate. Planting the seed in the jury’s mind that if a witness opted not to be interviewed by the opposing side that the resulting testimony would be untruthful was unconscionable.


[v] During cross examination Anderson was consistently vague regarding the timing of the actions he took during the shooting.


[vi] This is not an accurate conclusion from the trial testimony. Of the critical witnesses, neither Draper nor Brown, those who were in and around the AIM camp that morning, definitively placed Anderson in the camp when the first shots were heard from the Jumping Bull area. According to Draper, Anderson was “around,” “during the hour prior.”  Brown’s statements were contradictory as to whether Anderson was in the camp when the shooting started, however, it would be for the jury to decide exactly what the witnesses meant or implied during their testimony.

In regard to Draper’s testimony there was a contentious debate between Hultman and Lowe {1127-29} which continued with:

Q:  (By Mr. Lowe) “Let me ask you again, Mr. Draper, just prior to hearing the shots was Norman Charles and Mike Anderson there in the tent area with you?”  A:  “No. they weren't with me, but they were around.”  Q:  “They were right around in the tent area?”

MR. HULTMAN:  “Again I object.”

MR. LOWE:  “I am on cross examination. I think Mr. Hultman is trying to tell the witness what to say, and I strenuously object to it.”

THE COURT:  “Well, the objection is overruled. You may answer.”

A:  “They was around, but I didn't see them when the shots first rung out.”  Q:  (By Mr. Lowe) “But during the hour prior to the shots you did see them down there?” A:  “Yes, I saw them earlier.”

Q:  “And you saw them during the hour prior to the shots, didn't you?”  A:  “Yes.”

In regard to Brown’s testimony:

(Hultman) Q: “Now, where was Mike Anderson when you first saw him?” A:  “He was by, I think he was by that white house there, the Jumping Bull house.”  Q:  “All right. By Jumping Bull's house, all right.” {1445}

Q:  “Mike Anderson. Where was Mike Anderson when you saw him when you arrived?” A:  “By the white house.”  Q:  “He was also by the white house. And that's the same house you just talked about that's the Jumping Bull house, is that right?”  A:  “Yeah.”  {4171}

(Taikeff) Q:  “‑‑ just before the firing started Mike Anderson was in tent city with you and the other people? A:  “No, he wasn't.” Q:  “He wasn't?”  A: “No. This was a long time ago. This is the second time when they came to me.” {1567} Q:  “And as a general rule is your memory better closer to an event or far from an event?” A:  “Yeah.”  Q: “Yeah what?”  A:  “Yeah, my memory's good closer to the event.” Q: Is it possible Mike Anderson was with you in tent city?” A:  “Yeah, it's possible.”  {1567}


[vii] Because no one was asked: There was no direct testimony from the critical witnesses to support the defense conclusion, and Anderson’s statement to an FBI agent, that no one else mentioned that Wilma was present in tent city.  There was no testimony mentioning Wilma by Anderson, Brown or Draper. Regarding Jimmy Eagle:

Brown testified that: Q:  “Do you know anyone named Jimmy Eagle?” A:  “Yeah. That's the same person.”  

Q:  “Okay. You never saw that person at the Jumping Bull compound?”  A:  “No.” {1599}

Anderson’s testimony was:

Q:  (By Mr. Lowe) “Now, you have told us of a number of people who were at the Jumping Bull area on June 26th when the shooting took place. Isn't it also true that Jimmy Eagle was at Jumping Bull's on the 26th?”

A:  “I don't know. I didn't see him.” Q:  “You didn't see him?” A:  “No.”  Q:  “Do you remember telling one of the agents that he was there on the 26th?”  A:  “Yes.” {889}


[viii] During the cross-examination of Draper, attorney Lowe briefly brought up this issue, but avoided repeating the key statement (“I helped you move them around back so you could shoot them”) and only attempted to clarify whether he, Draper, was certain that Peltier made the statement. Draper said that he could not be certain {1152}.


[ix] There was much discussion about whether or not Brown was intimidated by the FBI to provide testimony. However, Brown did offer a public statement about his trial testimony that his own people intimidated him. In the October 17, 2000, Arts and Entertainment (A&E) television documentary, “Murder on a Reservation” Brown stated: “They marched me in. This whole crowd of native people. As I was walking down the isle there, I hear words spoken to me. “There’s that sell out. There’s that pig, there’s that little asshole,” and you know, ‘That’s him. Hey asshole,’ like little whisper.”


[x] The issue was whether the defense attorneys had the legal justification to ask under federal rules of criminal procedure, in front of the jury, in this instance of witness Brown, whether his testimony before the grand jury was less valid—i.e. less truthful—than during the trial. In the grand jury he was sworn and placed under oath in the usual manner, swearing on a bible. During the trial he took his oath on the Sacred Pipe. “The court (Judge Benson); I previously in these proceedings, Mr. Taikeff, called your attention the rule which I thought had been violated.”  “Rule 610 which provided “evidence of beliefs or opinions of a witness on matters of religion are not admissible for purpose of showing by reason of their nature the credibility is impaired or enhanced. I’m warning counsel because of two occasions which Mr. Lowe mentioned that I did not think was proper and I would like your explanation as to why you asked the witness questions?” … “I’m not going to pursue it any further. The record may show I consider it to have been an improper question, particularly in view of the previous ruling of this court.” {4644-45}


[xi] At the end of Brown’s testimony it was the jury’s decision, as the trier of fact, which version of Brown’s explanation (whether he actually saw Peltier, Robideau and Butler down at the agent’s vehicles after the initial shooting ended), was the factual one: Whether he only said in the grand jury that he saw the three of them (and that there were shots fired) because that’s what the agent’s said they believed he knew and expected him to say, or that he actually did either witness or may have comprehended that the three being at the agent’s vehicles and hearing shots fired actually was the murder of the agents by either Peltier, Robideau or Butler. In the written record, the raw transcript, there were no strong indications of fear or coercion by the FBI to make him testify one way or the other. But the jury had to make that determination concerning Peltier’s own witness regarding Brown’s conflicting statements and demeanor on the witness stand. Further, it is also very possible that Brown actually witnessed the final moments and murder of the agents but was unwilling, for many reasons, to admit that to the jury. Only Norman Brown knows what happened and what he saw.


[xii] Long Visitor may have seen much more than she was willing to admit, was intimidated by her surroundings, and was strenuously reminded several times by both the prosecution and defense of her previous sworn testimony before a federal grand jury in November, 1975 (at which she had initially refused to testify {2710}). The prosecution wanted her to reaffirm her prior statements while the defense wanted to negate the impact of that prior testimony against Peltier and impeach the testimony of other Indian witnesses. Her grand jury testimony appearance was five months after the agent’s deaths and it was established that her testimony and memory then was likely more accurate than at Peltier’s trial a year and a half later. It was now up to the Peltier jury to decide whether her previous grand jury testimony was more valid than her equivocation on the stand at Peltier’s trial. It was pointed out by the defense that her prior sworn testimony was before “probably nineteen” grand jurors {2707}. The Peltier jury then had to consider that Long Visitor had made those sworn statements to a roomful of people and whether those grand jurors could validate her prior testimony. The defense, more than the prosecution, reread crucial parts of her grand jury testimony to which Long Visitor repeatedly replied “No, I don’t remember” {2732-36}.


[xiii] The government clarified that Brown and Anderson saw that a trunk was open on one of the agent’s vehicles, however, could not recall during the closing whether “…if Angie Long Visitor said that or if she described that specific part.” (A review of the transcript reveals that that was not included in her testimony, however, in Mathiessen’s, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse p.155, relates from Long Visitor: “One of the two white men—she assumed they were lawmen because of the radio aerials and the good condition of the cars—was removing a gun case from the trunk of his car….” This supports the notion that she in all likelihood witnessed more of the unfolding events of the initial shooting, although, the jury had only her denial’s on the witness stand of her prior grand jury testimony in which to make a judgment about the how much weight to give to her testimony.


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NPPA 12th Anniversary: FBI Minneapolis Dedication

Monday, April 30, 2012 marked the twelfth anniversary of the creation of the

No Parole Peltier Association and the NPPA website.


In the past year the NPPA has continued to update the Peltier matter with monthly Blogs. The last and crucial Editorial Essay “Critical Witnesses Against Peltier (#55 in the Debate Continues section) provides an in depth analysis of the four witnesses who the jury had to rely on to come to their conclusion that placed Peltier, Butler and Robideau at the agent’s vehicles when the initial shooting ended—and the agents lay critically wounded—when the final killing shots were administered to their faces: Jack Coler, perhaps, and hopefully unaware of what was about to happen and Ron Williams, hand raised in defense, as Peltier shot him, and as later testimony quoted, “the …-… begged for his life but I shot him anyway.” So much for Peltier’s feigned bravery as an alleged “warrior.”


Last year’s Blogs updated a number of topics:


  • Destroying (compliments of “Feather”) the LPDOC’s  “Analysis of Constitutional Violations.” (Alleged violations, that is.)
  • The young would-be filmmaker, Preston Randolph, who’s film, “Wind Chases the Sun,” (if it ever is produced) will hardly be fair-and-balanced but more in the genre of Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (Preston could only pray to be that talented) and merely more Peltier propaganda for uninformed supporters. It will be only a minor challenge to destroy it factually.

  • Pointing out the conspicuous contradiction of Peltier folklore where in the film “Incident at Oglala” Robideau claims that their first intent was to “…capture these two agents” and then segues into one of the biggest Peltier lies, the fable of Mr. X.
  • “They attacked the village” blog goes into great detail and specifics of how Peltier, at this late stage is trying to reinvent the facts. It’s as if he has finally, as the expression goes, gone stir crazy. But some of the statements he makes go far beyond that. Now he’s just story telling. Please see the 12/27/11 Blog for some very real revelations about Peltier the fable-maker.
  • Thanksgiving: Some comments on what Peltier called genocide and a list of actual facts from the record of his case and conviction that cannot be disputed.
  • Peltier whines because he got the top bunk: The LPDOC uses a very dangerous word, “Lobbying,” in furtherance of the Leonard Peltier Political Action Committee (satirically, LEO-PAC), which is unlawful, along with their constant pleas for cash and refusal to document where any of those funds have gone. And comments on a couple of Appalachian State University students who haven’t used their research skills to discover the truth about Peltier’s guilt. One said he was “…prepared to sit out here as long as it takes to give him freedom.” That was November, and it would be logical to predict that he’s not still sitting there.
  • A review of Peltier’s clemency efforts and correcting the LPDOC’s continuous out-of-context quotes: They find the complete quotes to be pesky impediments to their ultimate purpose to obfuscate Peltier’s actual guilt. This was where Peltier made the statement that any parole board would love to hear to make their decision that much easier: “And really, if necessary, I’d do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do.” Yes, Leonard Peltier actually said that. Peltier’s petition for clemency, blindly signed by the unknowing, was a disgraceful fabrication of the actual events and facts. (Blog 10/22/11)
  • The NPPA offered Peltier a $1,000 donation in support of their constant plea for any money from anyone or anywhere. Peltier and his network essentially admitted they were broke. All he had to do was put his tax returns on his website and a check would have been willingly sent. Of course neither happened.
  • Peltier gets shot. Well, as the prison slang goes he got punished (a shot) and wound up in the hole (solitary) for six months. Around the same time he was transferred from FCI Lewisburg, PA to FCI Coleman, FL.
  • In a video, former Leavenworth Bureau of Prison’s guard Bruce Smith proves that his love affair with Peltier has nothing to do with the facts.

Imagine the horror, “Yesterday another prisoner was moved into Leonard’s cell.” So said the LPDOC. Peltier’s self-imposed privilege as allegedly America’s political prisoner carries little weight outside a small circle of fringe supporters.


Of Peltier’s greatest sins, first and foremost is the remorseless murder of two wounded agents, second is adulterating the legacy of brave Indian warriors. He has hijacked and cheapened a proud and storied past. But Peltier knows that mainstream Native America doesn’t support him and does understand that neither he nor the American Indian Movement contributed nothing but turmoil and anguish to their culture.




Tuesday, May 1, 2012 marked the dedication of the FBI’s newly constructed Minneapolis headquarters building named in memory of Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams.  The Minneapolis Division covers Minnesota, North and South Dakota, which, of course, includes the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Jumping Bull property and the site where Agents Coler and Williams were murdered in the line of duty.


The morning ceremony, attended by many including those responsible for completing the massive two-year project, elected officials, local law enforcement, representatives of the Department of Justice, current and retired FBI agents, and family members and relatives of the slain agents.


Later there was a formal dedication of the office recognizing five Minneapolis agents who had died during the course of their official duties; two in a plane crash and one by a drunk driver. The office’s executive conference room was named in memory of Special Agents Trentwith S. Basford, Mark A. Kirkland and Lee E. Morrow.


The new building was dedicated and named in honor of Jack and Ron.


Their memory and sacrifice will be forever immortalized in the Minneapolis Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

Ed Woods

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Mr. President: No Clemency for Leonard Peltier


Dear President Obama:


Congratulations on your re-election and inauguration for your second term.


At some point during the next four years you may contemplate a clemency application from Leonard Peltier who will be asking for a commutation of his sentence.


As a citizen, veteran, and someone who admittedly has a vested interest in the outcome, and has followed the Peltier matter very closely since April 2000, I would offer the following for your consideration:


The Crime:

On June 26, 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, while searching for a fugitive named Jimmy Eagle, FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams (driving in separate late model government vehicles), were taken under fire by Leonard Peltier and other members of the American Indian Movement (AIM). It was an unprovoked attack pinning both agents in a crossfire in an open field on the Jumping Bull farm. They were both mortally wounded. Then, according to trial testimony, evidence, and the government’s theory of the case accepted by the jury, Leonard Peltier summarily executed both agents with point-blank shots, destroying their faces. Their bodies were then moved (rolled over to face the ground), and their weapons stolen. Peltier and the others escaped; Peltier fleeing to Canada after a confrontation with an Oregon State Trooper. Peltier was extradited and convicted of murder and aiding and abetting in the murders of Coler and Williams and received two consecutive life sentences. His latest parole was denied in 2009 and extended to 2024. Parole is not a consideration at this time, only the possibility of clemency. (Footnote #1)


Motive and opportunity:

Motive: Aside from Peltier’s destructive and criminal activity while participating in several AIM anti-government actions, at the time of the Pine Ridge killings Peltier had absconded from bail for the attempted murder of an off-duty Milwaukee police officer. Peltier was later acquitted of that charge, however, a federal unlawful flight to avoid prosecution warrant had also been issued. Peltier knew he was a wanted fugitive at that time.


            “Peltier had reason to believe that the agents (Coler and Williams) were looking for him, rather than Jimmy Eagle. He (Peltier) stipulated at trial that there was an arrest warrant outstanding, charging him with attempted murder. Upon his arrest in Canada months later for the murders of the agents, Peltier remarked that the two agents were shot when they came to arrest him. He also made other incriminating statements” (U.S. court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 585 F.2d 314, 1978, U.S. Ap. Decision, September 14, 1978, Decided. p. 2)


Opportunity: After the agents were severely wounded, Coler’s arm nearly severed by a rifle bullet, and Williams wounded three times, Ron Williams took off his shirt and waived it as a white flag of surrender, to no avail, and crawled to his probably unconscious partner and used the shirt as a tourniquet around Coler’s mangled arm. Williams then waited for help to arrive (he had been broadcasting on the FBI radio for assistance before he was initially wounded), but then, according to testimony, Peltier and two others approached the severely wounded agents. Peltier had a choice to make, knowing that at least one of the wounded agents saw him and the others—and knowing that dead men make poor witnesses—both agents were shot in the face; Coler through the top of his head and then his jaw blown away, and Williams, who had raised his hand in defense, had his fingers blown through the back of his head: A cowardly and gruesome act indeed.


Peltier, or one of the others, then turned the mutilated bodies over to face the ground (in a gesture Peltier will have to explain, but has roots in Native American culture; that a vanquished enemy turned to face Mother Earth, will not meet his Creator in the afterlife). They then proceeded to ransack the vehicles and steal the agent’s weapons. This is what is known; a direct quote, beyond the trial record, from Peltier himself:


“I seen Joe (Stuntz) when he pulled it out of the trunk and I looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile.” (Fn #2)  


This is the scene; two dead human beings, federal agents, with their faces mutilated, surrounded by Peltier and other AIM members stealing their weapons, and one of them, Joe Stuntz, reaches into Agent Coler’s trunk, takes out the dead agent’s FBI raid jacket, puts it on, and gives Peltier a smile. The humor of Stunt’s grin at Peltier would be lost on any reasonable human being.


Conviction, Sentence and Appeals:

The fundamental facts of Peltier’s trial and conviction are self-evident and have withstood over three decades of intense scrutiny and review, several times through the court of appeals and twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Peltier’s conviction and sentence have never been overturned.


Peltier claims there were “many Constitutional violations” in his case, the fact remains, there were none; otherwise, this would not be an issue today.


As for Peltier’s legal guilt, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals made it patently clear:


“…the direct and circumstantial evidence of Peltier’s guilt is strong…” (U.S. court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 585 F.2d 314, 1978, U.S. Ap. Decision, September 14, 1978, Decided. p. 10)


Peltier was also later convicted for another serious felony (see below), (Fn 3).


Multiple discredited alibis:

If Peltier is innocent as he claims, his version of what happened that June day should have remained consistent over the years. Instead, he has offered a number of outrageous and unsubstantiated alibis. All these have been based on his premise that “I was the last Indian left to be railroaded for the deaths of their agents,” and that he is a “scapegoat” and a “political prisoner.” (Fn #4)   


For the better part of two decades he claimed (both in writing and in a personal appearance in a film; Incident at Oglala) that someone the AIM members knew, but would not identify (“Mr. X”), was delivering dynamite to the AIM camp that morning and was the one who first engaged and then executed the agents (Fn #5). This fabrication was later publicly denounced by one of the key AIM members at Jumping Bull that brutal day (Dino Butler) and most recently repudiated by one of his own attorneys (Michael Kuzma). (Fn #6)  


Peltier also claimed that the incident at Jumping Bull was a pre-planned government raid and that the agents were sent in to draw fire from the AIM members in the camp as “…scores, even hundreds, of FBI agents, federal marshals, BIA police, and GOONS, were all lying in wait in the immediate vicinity…”  “…(to) pounce on the compound with massive force.” (Fn #7) This amounts to a totally outrageous, fabricated and unsubstantiated allegation in light of all the evidence presented against Peltier and years of judicial review.


Further, relating to a 1975 AIM inspired murder, at a trial in South Dakota in 2004 an AIM member, (one of those who escaped from Pine Ridge after the murders), testified under oath that Peltier described the murders of the agents (regarding Agent Williams) stating:


 “...the m----------r was begging for his life but I shot him anyway.” (FN #8)


Peltier’s claims of innocence are weightless and embarrassingly devoid of substance.


Finances, the I.R.S. and alleged charitable activities:

For many years, and through two specific periods of time, Peltier has claimed that donations to his Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee-LPDOC (and formerly the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee-LPDC) were tax deductible and claimed 501(c)3 status as a non-profit, tax-exempt charity.


Peltier’s organization, a mechanism designed to collect donations, has also operated as a self-described (and illegal) Political Action Committee.


A review of I.R.S. records by the Pardon Attorney’s office will show, at a minimum, a series of letters of complaint about Peltier’s illegal and illicit fundraising activities and apparent actions taken by the I.R.S. to curtail those unlawful actions, because, Peltier has finally stopped making those claims.


Admittedly, Peltier is under no legal obligation to disclose the sources of the donations he receives or where any of the money went, however, by making himself a public figure as he has done, (and his constant barrage of pleas for funds), no accounting has ever been made. People in his own organization have called for transparency regarding his financial activities which have remained a closely guarded Peltier secret for many years. The point is, no one knows how much he has duped from gullible or well-meaning supporters or how that money has been spent.


During his trial (and along with the added great expense of daily transcripts) and throughout his appeals, his many attorneys were paid for at taxpayer expense. Since then his attorneys have acted pro-bono.


Charities and awards: Peltier has claimed to be responsible for many charitable activities that are conducted in his name and has allegedly received many valuable awards and recognition from various organizations. The truth is, however, little of his claims hold up to any scrutiny. For further details, please see the editorial essay entitled, Peltier Donations, Scam? Fraud? (Fn #9)


Prison record and armed escape:

Peltier’s prison record has been marginal at best, having been relegated to solitary confinement on a number of occasions for prison violations. This record is readily available to your office through the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.


In 1979 Peltier was involved in an armed escape from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary during which shots were fired at prison guards and one of the escapees was killed. Peltier was captured, convicted and received an additional seven-year consecutive sentence for this crime.


            Peltier’s justification for the escape was an alleged government conspiracy to “assassinate” him. (Fn #10)


Myth & Folklore:

Peltier has been somewhat successful in making himself into a victim and martyr. He has accomplished this by denigrating an otherwise proud Native American heritage by portraying himself as a brave warrior, who, in some perverse way, was defending his people with the cold-blooded, in-the-line-of-duty murder of two federal agents.


Peltier has consistently fabricated the factual record of his case; the actual record is available, unfiltered, through numerous court decisions. (Fn #11)


Peltier’s frequent post-conviction public statements only serve to further reinforce the courts’ decisions and his actual (moral) guilt. He has accepted absolutely no personal responsibility for the deaths of the agents (without preliminary excuses) and has persisted in trying to have it both ways; on the one hand that he is innocent, and on the other that there has been an elaborate governmental conspiracy by the FBI, Department of Justice, etc., and at every level of federal court that has reviewed his case.


Many of those who support Peltier do so out of a genuine concern for Native American history and rights, but regretfully very few have taken the time and effort to review the complete record or evaluate Peltier’s many alleged alibis and contradictory statements.


The myth and folklore surrounding Peltier has become legend but is devoid of the actual event and facts. (Fn #12)


Any thought of healing:

A free Peltier would do nothing to heal...the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Native Americans do not support Peltier and have recognized that Peltier’s murderous actions, and those of AIM, contributed nothing to the healing process.


Rehabilitation; Not even close...a distant fallacy:

A critical element in consideration for clemency would certainly include the matter of rehabilitation. In order to unmistakably establish that the past thirty-six years of incarceration has not contributed in any manner to Peltier’s rehabilitation, your attention is drawn to this most telling public statement made by Peltier on February 6, 2010 (on the 34th anniversary of his arrest in Canada):


“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.” (Fn #13)


* * *


Yes, Mr. President, the cold-blooded murderer of two mortally wounded FBI agents, who will seek compassion from you and to be set free, actually said he would “do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do.”


Peltier has demonstrated a total disregard for the law and the sanctity of life, remains remorseless for his crimes, feigns innocence while fabricating alibis, blaming the entire government and court system for a global conspiracy, has shunned any semblance of rehabilitation, scammed an untold number of people for a fictitious cause based on fabrications and folklore, and denigrated an otherwise proud heritage for his own personal self-serving narcissism.


Of all the applications you may be called upon to consider, Leonard Peltier is the least deserving. His freedom would be an affront to every man and woman in this country who willingly place themselves in harms way to protect and serve the citizens of this nation against criminal elements.




 “In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”


Edw. Woods

Ed Woods




2) Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Penguin Book. 1991) 552.


4) Leonard Peltier, Prison Writings (New York; St. Martin’s Press, 1999) 162-163. 140.

5) Incident at Oglala, the Leonard Peltier Story, dir. Michaet Apted, Prod. Robert Redford. (Carolco films 1988) Miramax Films release, 1992.


7) Peltier, p. 113-114, 127, 129.

8) Press Release, United States Attorney, District of North Dakota, (related to Peltier’s July 2009 denial of parole), August 21, 2009: In 2004 Arlo Looking cloud was tried in South Dakota for the late 1975 AIM related murder of Anna Mae Aquash. Witness Darlene Nichols testified that, in October or November of 1975, she was travelling in a motor home with Leonard Peltier, her husband, AIM leader Dennis Banks, Anna Mae Aquash, and others. On one occasion when they were in the State of Washington, Peltier admitted his involvement in the killings of the agents. Darlene Nichols testified that Leonard Peltier,  “...started talking about June 26, and he put his hand like this and started talking about the two FBI agents...he said the

m----------r was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway..”


10) Peltier, p.164-167




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Dear Supporters:

Please see the following affidavit regarding the No Parole Peltier Association's (NPPA) financial disclosure. The original notarized affidavit can be seen here. Copies of checks, invoices, and receipts can be viewed here.*

It can be clearly seen that the NPPA's goal and purpose has nothing to do with money or funding, only honoring the memory and sacrifice of Jack and Ron and dismantling the myth and folklore surrounding Leonard Peltier.

Peltier's finances have been their dirty little secret since about March, 1977. "All proceeds benefit Leonard's defense fund" (Betty Solano), and who else and how much? Peltier's trial and appellate attorneys were paid by the kindness of the American taypayers. The vast majority of money raised and spent by Peltier and the LPDOC (LPDC) was on anything but defense costs and attorneys fees.

So, Leonard, now it's your turn for a full financial disclosure.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

* A subsequent typo was noted in the following and attached original affidavit; the 3/18/11 donation to the FBI Memorial Scholarship Fund was listed as $25.00, but it was actually $50.00. Also, which should have been noted, none of the donations made in the name of the No Parole Peltier Association were claimed as tax deductible donations.


Affiant, Edward P. Woods, resident of Hamilton County, Ohio, founder of the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA,), an unincorporated organization, and its website,, under penalty of perjury, provides the following:


1) What follows is a complete accounting of all monies associated in any manner with the No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA) and related website since its inception on April 30, 2000.


2) Where indicated, “O-P” represents money spent “out-of-pocket” in support of the NPPA’s stated goals to honor the memory and sacrifice of Special Agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, killed in the line-of-duty on June 26, 1975:



Miscellaneous expenses


Webmaster                                                                                                      No cost

The NPPA webmaster created the website, April 2000, updated it in August 2000 and has made numerous changes and updates adding some 70 Editorial Essays and additional features. The Webmaster has been a victim’s rights advocate for many years and has donated her time, talents and expertise to the NPPA’s efforts. Much gratitude is owed to


Web Hosting                                                                                                   $1,950.00

O-P hosting costs of $150/year for 13 years


Lapel Pins (Purchase)                                                                                        $641.64

O-P 250 NPPA logo lapel pins including die charges from Business Innovations

Norcross, Georgia, 4/12/01


Lapel Pins (mailings)                                                                                        $71.00

O-P padded envelopes and postage ($1 each)


NPPA Plaques                                                                                                            $238.50

O-P five at $47.70 each; NPPA appreciation plaques for organizers of

December 15, 2000, Washington D.C. procession to White House




SA Lenny Hatton Memorial Fund                                                                 $150.00

O-P donation, 10/3/01


FBI Agent’s Association Memorial Scholarship Fund                                  $750.00

10/4/01. Entire proceeds from the sale of NPPA lapel pins



Salvation Army in Memory of Lloyd Williams                                             $25.00

O-P donation; father of SA Ronald A. Williams, 10/29/01


Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, SD                                                      $ 555.00   

O-P total donations, 10/1/04, 12/8/04, 1/29/05, 2/24/05,

7/4/06, 1/21/07, 4/4/07, 1/15/08, 7/14/08, 3/29/09


Society of Former FBI Agents                                                                       $25.00

O-P SA Nelson B. Klein fund; gravestone restoration, 4/19/08


Society of Former FBI Agents Foundation                                                    $25.00

O-P donation to memorial scholarship fund, 3/18/11


National Multiple Sclerosis Society                                                               $50.00

O-P donation for fund walk by injured FBI Agent Tom Hannigan, 3/11/13


3) Notwithstanding any allegations to the contrary, at no time did affiant or the NPPA accept, receive or solicit any funds from any other source. All monies spent by affiant on behalf of the NPPA, in support of its stated purpose, have been from personal income.


 Edw. Woods          3/23/13

Edward P. Woods               Date




Cincinnati, Ohio

March, 23, 2013

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NPPA Thirteenth Anniversary, April 30, 2013

Dear Supporters:

It’s been thirteen years since meeting Jack Coler’s youngest son (April 3, 2000), launching the No Parole Peltier Association and its website on April 30th, because, as one obsequious and servile Peltier panderer pointed out, “someone had to do it.”

Year twelve revisited many folklore topics, like the perennial ‘dirty-little-secret’ of Peltier’s finances, which was answered with a public NPPA financial disclosure along with a complaint to the I.R.S. for what certainly hinted at (another) money laundering scheme. (NPPA Blog 3/28/13 and 3/25/13)

Last year’s NPPA anniversary was concurrent with the formal ceremony of the FBI Minneapolis’s headquarters’ building dedication which was named in the honor, memory and sacrifice of FBI Agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, along with some speeches about Peltier and what really happened at Jumping Bull, and subsequently, to fairly large (and admittedly understanding) audiences. (NPPA Blog 5/6/12, 6/26/12)

There was still haggling over the Wichita AR-15, the family (not) caught in a crossfire, and Peltier’s ongoing attempts to play at once the poor-victim and brave-warrior scam. It’s apparent that whenever new personalities (and it happens often) rise to the LPDOC’s surface, they try to refloat tired fabrications that have been disproved countless times, believing that a new audience will ignore the past. They can’t grasp that recirculating old myths just doesn’t work, at least not for very long. The LPDOC also asked supporters “for something special,” they want them “to hand-write a letter or postcard” because “The electric petition medium has not proven very successful, for Leonard, and in ways easier to ignore.” Really “special?”

Peltier lamely tried to equate the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut to Manifest Destiny and the horrible treatment of Native Americans and the First Nations in the 19th century. Although, correctly, a homicidal coward was present at both Newtown and Jumping Bull.

And then there was the growth of other Blogs (Rezinate for one) that further lay waste to the social disaster called the ‘American Indian Movement’ while holding Peltier’s feet to the campfire.

We spent some time digging into a significant event that Peltier kept secret for many years, his first escape attempt. The cat’s out of the bag (no pun intended) and the final chapter will be concluding soon.

A major development, but coming as no surprise to either Peltier detractors nor supporters, was Peltier attorney Michael Kuzma, who proverbially really stepped in it big time, and admitted, publically, on the record, and forever emblazoned in the lexicon of Peltier mythology that...and here it is again...Mr. X, was a lie. Shocking, an alibi that never existed. Thanks Michael for clearing that up for everyone. (NPPA Blogs 12/5/12, 12/15/12)

And on April 11th the LPDOC started hawking a sideshow art sale to raise money (that they never account for) of “White Tiger,” Peltier’s latest creation. The Giclee reproductions will “help to contribute to many exciting projects we have going on currently as well as future events, but only those who purchase this will be eligible for the next offer we will have on another of Leonard’s amazing paintings.” The costs range from $75 for a tiny 8x10 to $175 for a large 16x20.

Of course these are unframed, shipped in a tube, and guess what, they’re not numbered or autographed by the artist. Would it be great though if Coleman authorities allowed him to actually sign these prints, who knows how much they could garner from avid collectors? Does anyone hear the calliope from the merry-go-round or the carnival barker yelling, “Hey folks, get ‘em while they’re hot, you don’t want to lose out on this great opportunity to line the pockets of…Well, I don’t’ know who’s pockets are getting lined because Peltier ain’t talkin’ about that stuff.”

This brings to mind one of Peltier’s statements. “Dreamer that I was, I wrote to an art school I’d heard of in Santa Fe and tried to get a scholarship. They said no but try again. I tried again a while later. Same reply: no. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I’d have just gotten that scholarship.” (Prison Writings p. 85)

Perhaps so, maybe Peltier could have become an accomplished Native American artist, which would likely have removed him from a life of incarceration and Jack and Ron would be enjoying retirement about now.

White Tiger.” The black and white blend goes well enough although the background is not balanced. Its face is distorted, out of proportion, head too small, a snout shaped more like a canine than a feline, with unrealistically drooping whiskers. Cat’s eyes (big cats down to domestics) are probably their most intriguing feature, but White Tiger’s are too small and lifeless. (Yes, everyone’s a critic.) Although, with plenty of practice behind him, perhaps Peltier would have done better with some formal art education. Which brings to mind a take on the old saw: One man’s art is another man’s garage sale item.

Of the many thousands of statements made by Peltier a few stand out and will haunt him forever, perhaps the most significant at this point being “And Really, if necessary, I’d do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do.” (2/6/10)

A public statement that the parole board, prosecuting attorney, Pardon Attorney, Attorney General, and most of all, the President, are aware of. This is the final nail in the clemency-coffin if Peltier thinks for a moment that he should be shown any more mercy than he showed Jack Coler and Ron Williams.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

The NPPA is fortunate to have many loyal supporters who not only support the cause to honor the memory and sacrifice of Agents’ Coler and Williams but go further. On the walk at the legendary motorcycle museum, Sturgis, South Dakota is a brick inscribed “In Memory of FBI Agents Coler and Williams 6-26-75.” Thanks, Dan.

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Dear Supporters,

Peltier, the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC), Peltier supporters (Pelterites) and the scant remnants of the American Indian Movement (AIM) find it impossible to defend Peltier with the facts; they lose at every turn. Instead, they engage in tactics that they themselves accuse the FBI and others of committing, their perpetual rallying cry is "Cointelpro," the FBI's counter-intelligence program that ended in 1971. Pelterites engage in their own brand of spreading deliberately false information, either publically or covertly (by planting false rumors), in order to influence the uninformed and hopefully shift opinion, that by some bizarre stretch of logic Peltier is innocent and an alleged 'political prisoner' who deserves freedom. Or, they obscure the truth, because the facts and the truth are their biggest challenge. They are unable to debate the facts, so they attack the messengers. They attempt to discredit targeted individuals using totally unreliable and uncorroborated sources as gospel, like a doggedly literal child accepting opinion as fact, possibilities as certainties. When it comes down to specifics, they change the subject, ignore the question, obfuscate, and fall back on the only defense they can muster; "It was Cointelpro."

(The FBI has recognized the shortcomings of that program: From its own website, "COINTELPRO: The FBI began COINTELPRO--short for Counterintelligence Program--in 1956 to disrupt the activities of the Communist Party of the United States. In the 1960's, it was expanded to include a number of other domestic groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Black Panther Party. All COINTELPRO operations were ended in 1971. Although limited in scope (about two-tenths of one percent of the FBI's workload over a 15-year period), COINTELPRO was later rightfully criticized by Congress and the American people for abridging first amendment rights and for other reasons.")

Peltier, Pelterites and the LPDOC engage in a mirror image of the same tactics, or coAIMintelpro, but their program continues to this very day.

Normally, the NPPA would not reply to such statements, however, this classic example clearly demonstrates Peltier's motives to alter history and marginalize his criminal acts. Below is a recent example, and in each instance the disinformation and fabrications are corrected with the actual facts and supporting documents.

Attacking the messenger with fabrications and disinformation is a hallmark of Pelterite's efforts to rewrite history, but their biggest failing, by accusing anyone else of Cointelpro practices, is that they have completely lost focus that Cointelpro was a COVERT program. Yet, obvious to almost everyone, (including Leonard Peltier who has been receiving NPPA updates and Blogs in the mail for many years), is that the No Parole Peltier Association's efforts, since its inception, April 30, 2000, have been OVERT.

No secrets, no phony Indian sounding names, no pretense. The NPPA has been hiding in plain sight. That was key to its mission of "Destroying the Folklore and Myth surrounding Leonard Peltier." Dismantling the myth that is eroding and crumbling, not by "slander and fabrications," but by the record of his conviction and most of all the many times he has proven, through his own self-incriminating statements, that reaffirm his guilt and the validity of his conviction, sentence and appeals.

June 26, 1975 had nothing to do with Conintelpro, but in reality the murderous acts of Peltier and other AIM cowards masquerading as woud-be warriors.

What follows is a review of a classic example of the ignorance and errors of coAIMintelpro, presented to provide those legitimately seeking the truth to separate credible facts from falsehoods, disinformation, fabrications and sometimes just making things up as they go along.

Ed Woods Unmasked


Cincinnati is truly a “charming” city. During the 1990’s, the Ku Klux Klan regularly erected a cross during the Christmas season in Fountain Square. It is a town where the late Marge Schott, former owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, not only directed slurs towards African-Americans, Jews, Japanese, and gays, but proudly proclaimed that Hitler was good when he came into power. In April of 2000, Cincinnati became the scene of largest urban disorder since Los Angeles riots of 1992. Four days of rioting ensued in reaction to the fatal shooting of Timothy Thomas, a 20-year old black male, by police. Cincinnati is the place retired FBI agent Edward P. Woods calls home. Given the political and social atmosphere of Cincinnati, Woods undoubtedly feels quite comfortable there.

The Facts:

People are transferred by their employers every day, oftentimes whether they choose to or not. Cincinnati is a great mid-west city and occasionally has had its problems. It was also voted the most livable city in America at one point. “Unmasked’s” theory though is like blaming all Chicagoans for living in the most dangerous American city. The Cincinnati riots in 2000 were nowhere near Los Angeles or other urban centers that faced similar social strife. This absurd approach of blaming anyone because they happen to live in a particular city is inane. What if Peltier blamed all the folks in Boulder for the brutal Christmas murder of JonBenét Ramsey? Certainly, reasonable people would agree that it’s an immature and shallow analogy to even attempt to discredit someone because of where they happen to live

Ed Woods, as he likes to be called, (probably, because that’s my name) is the person behind No Parole Peltier Association (NPPA). NPPA was launched on April 30, 2000 by Woods, with the help of his brother, “a seasoned private investigator,” to spread disinformation regarding Native American activist and political prisoner, Leonard Peltier. Peltier was wrongfully convicted in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota in 1977 for the 1975 the shooting deaths of two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

The Facts:

Well, there’s a mountain of evidence to prove otherwise, not the least of which is from Peltier’s own mouth: “I seen Joe when he pulled it out of the trunk and I looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile.” “And really, if necessary, I’d do it all over again because it was the right thing to do.” Get that? The right thing? That’s an admission of guilt and a mighty high hurdle to convince anyone that’s he’s a “political prisoner,” except, of course, Peltierites.

In 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recognized that, “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.” See Peltier v. Booker, 348 F. 3d 888, 896 (10th Cir. 2003).

Disinformation Alert! A classic example of a "half truth."

That statement would have some relevance if it had anything to do with Peltier’s conviction. It did not...the court was entitled to offer an unbinding opinion, but the issue before the court was a motion for a Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking release on parole and challenging the record before the U.S. Parole Commission, not, repeat, not…his underlying conviction for murder and aiding and abetting.

But, as so often conveniently ignored by Peltierites, through coAIMintelpro tactics, immediately preceding this statement the court said:

“"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. The evidence linking Mr. Peltier to these crimes is enumerated above. The most damning evidence, the .223 shell casing found in Agent Coler's trunk, may be more equivocal after the surfacing of the October 2nd teletype, but it has not been 'ruled out,' as Mr. Peltier contends. There is no direct evidence that Mr. Peltier shot the agents because no one testified they saw him pull the trigger. But as we stated above, and restate here, the body of circumstantial evidence underlying the Commission's decision is sufficient for the purpose of rational basis review."”

As evident as it is, Peltierites must ignore all the relevant facts, because with them, their arguments collapse.

Since that fateful day in April of 2000, Woods has churned out misleading information and half truths about Leonard Peltier and his case. The question to be asked is who is Ed Woods and why has he “become somewhat obsessed” with Leonard Peltier?

The Facts: "Obsessed?" in quotes?

It may appear to Peltierites that this is an obsession, but it is actually a dedication and commitment to honor the memory and sacrifice of Jack Coler and Ron Williams, whom Peltier dishonors daily. And, there are several other projects that take up my spare time; one is seeking a pardon for a wrongfully convicted inmate who’s case I worked diligently for two years to get him out of jail, and that was in 1998, and I’m still committed to his pardon today; the kidnapping and murder of a wonderful ten-year old and her death row murderer; still in touch with a bank teller who was shot in the chest and survived (her attackers got long prison sentences), and there are many others. So “obsessed?” no, just dedicated to ensure Peltier never sees the light of day. Besides, I also am fully occupied and keep very busy at my third, and final career. Actually, I have several book projects in the works and none of them include Peltier. I spend enough time on him as it is. So, so much for being branded “obsessed” by Peltierites and coAIMintelpro. They’re obsessed because they can’t handle the truth.

Woods had as he describes it, a “miserable childhood.” He had “no fond memories growing up” and “left home at 18.” Woods grew up in an all white Long Island suburb. Woods entered the army not long after high school and later became a Green Beret officer.

The rest of the story:

Apparently Peltier and Peltierites are uncomfortable with a little honest self-reflection. However, Peltier spoke about his own upbringing in Prison Writings; his abandonment by his father, and the love and reverence he shared with his grandparents. And yet, the NPPA’s gracious comment, deliberately avoided by coAIMintelpro, was:

“But for his birthright, Leonard Peltier should have been able to grow up in the 1950s post-war posterity, but was instead ensnared in the systemic poverty and continued discrimination of the Reservation. He was trapped, born into a greater society that shunned his native heritage and by a government that was compelling his assimilation. Reservation life was, and to a large degree still is, a cultural quagmire for many. The poorest reservations, not unlike the worst inner cities, allow precious few to escape. (Myth Essay, November 14, 2000).”

That’s an honest and fair assessment of Peltier’s upbringing, complementary even, but one that doesn’t measure on the coAIMintelpro propaganda scale. In other words; ignore the positive at all costs.

My father was a bricklayer with an 8th grade education who grew up with nine brothers and sisters during the depression in a cold-water walk-up flat in the Bronx. His father died when he was young so he was pretty much left to fend for himself. As a result of his upbringing he didn’t have the personal tools to be a great father; he raised his two sons pretty much the way he was raised. His early poverty didn’t hold him back though. He worked in the Civilian Construction Corps (CCC camps in Oregon as a young teen) and then lied about his age and entered the U.S. Navy at age sixteen and quickly rose in rank to Petty Officer 1st Class and a crew chief on PBYs in the South Pacific Theater during WWII. He was also highly decorated. For many years he was a bricklayer foreman in Manhattan (I still remember his alarm clock going off at 4:10 in the morning to make the long commute into the city), and later started his own, very successful, dock building and boat hauling business. What my younger brother and I did take from all this was an unwavering sense of law-abiding honesty, integrity, accepting responsibility for one’s actions, and an untiring work ethic.

Did it ever dawn on some Peltierites that, as a child, any child, they don’t have much of a say who they are born to, where they are born and where they grow up? They pretty much grow up where their parents live. Or, are we missing something here? Leonard Peltier was born and grew up on a Reservation. I happened to grow up on Long Island, but Peltier and some of his supporters are too dense to understand that simple concept unless it somehow suits their purpose to lamely use it against someone.

Thanks for recognizing a personal achievement though. See, sometimes they slip and don’t realize that what they say is actually a compliment and does occasionally make sense. Yes, entering the U.S. Army as a buck private, E-1 like all the rest; becoming a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, competing and qualifying for Officer’s Candidate School, where 250 started and 140 graduated and were commissioned. Considering an Army career and volunteering for Viet Nam seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but the efficiency of the Army had other plans, sending three, alphabetically, on another assignment, where, as a young and new 2nd Lieutenant, brave men, career soldiers, some who had fought in three wars, were calling me, “Sir.” It was a humbling, rewarding and formative experience. Yes, very proud to have been a Green Beret officer.


Woods spent 30 years with the FBI. Half of his career was spent in New York and the remainder was spent in Cincinnati. While assigned to the FBI field office in New York, Woods concealed information for well over a year from the New York Police Department (NYPD) regarding the death of Mr. Samuel Charles.

Disinformation alert: "concealed information"

On July 10, 1972, Mr. Charles, a black male, was brutally stabbed to death in the vicinity of 45th and Broadway. Prior to his death, Mr. Charles had been involved in an altercation with Alfred Ianniello, the owner of the Broadway Pub. Ianniello asked an individual by the name of Warren “Chief” Schurman if he would kill Mr. Charles. Schurman agreed to kill Mr. Charles. After murdering Mr. Charles, Schurman reportedly stated, “Nobody’s going to worry about that nigger, so I killed him, so what.” Special Agent Woods came into possession of information concerning the identity of Mr. Charles’ killer in December of 1982. In spite of this fact, he did not furnish this information to the NYPD for well over a year! At the time, Woods claimed that disclosure of the information would disrupt a “sensitive” undercover investigation. The reality was that Woods wanted to protect FBI informant, “Crazy” Eddie Maloney, who had been paid thousands and thousands of dollars for his snitching activities by authorities. Maloney, it should be noted, was involved in a wave of kidnappings that took place in New York City in the early 1970’s. Schurman, who is white, was indicted on June 14, 1984 for the murder of Mr. Charles and was subsequently convicted after trial and sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of from 25 years to life. Schurman was released from the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York on April 21, 2010.

The Facts: Beyond the coAIMintelpro spin and disinformation:

It’s ironic that Peltier and his minions would pick this of all cases. A career in the FBI or law enforcement brings with it some cases that one would never forget and be especially proud of. Ask anyone who carried a badge and a gun for the majority of their adult lives if there’s any mystery about that.

Eddie Maloney was a career criminal, and not a very successful one. When I met him, on July 16, 1982, he just turned forty and had been incarcerated twenty of those forty years. As a teenager he started off at the infamous Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, and later Leavenworth and other notable federal institutions, even including one escape, like Peltier’s, as well as forays into the “hole.” So Eddie was not a successful criminal or convict.

Fact: He was involved in only two abductions that weren’t all that successful. With countless hours (months actually) of debriefing and conversations, I know his own life story as well as he did because I heard it more times than I’d like to remember. The snatches did one thing for sure, once his identity was known to the mob he had a permanent target on his back. Warren “Chief” Schurman was a cohort, who Maloney always referred to as a “Dunsky.” So, on July 5, 1982, and only recently released from a long prison stretch, he was sitting at a bar in a Manhattan pub when someone from behind shot him twice, once in the back, and as he spun around, another in the head. Rushed to the hospital, he survived. At this point he knew his days in the street were numbered. He reached out for an agent who arrested him years before as a fugitive bank robber and told him he had some information about high level heroin traffickers and some mob figures, and that agent, who didn’t work these kinds of cases, asked if I would talk to him. “Sure.”

Eddie knew his options were limited. We sized each other up as I listened to what he claimed he knew and could offer. I was interested but he remained skeptical and had a lifelong hatred of “bulls,” as he referred to anyone in law enforcement. We started an initial debriefing on what, if anything could be done. I was feeling him out as to his value as a cooperating witness. That was the routine until early September. No real progress or agreement about what, if anything, we were going to do.

One evening on the town he had two women he recently met take him to a wiseguy hangout in Queens for a nightcap. It was an unannounced visit and someone quickly “dropped a dime” on him. About an hour later, a hired gun, whom he had known from the past, put eight more bullets into him.* The girls rushed him to a nearby hospital and took off. I found out about it the next morning. The tough Irishman survived, again, but now had, to use his term, “to live in the land of the Philistines” and cooperate with the Feds if he wanted to survive at all.

To say that Eddie made my life miserable for the next several years would be an understatement. It came down to a simple but necessary premise that those in law enforcement understand and have to deal with (and Peltierites are clueless about), that Eddie needed me to keep him alive, and I needed him to gather evidence, tape record conversations with major targets and testify once the cases were over, arrests made and the trials began. And cases like these took not months, but sometimes years to complete.

Once he was well enough to get around (still with a couple of bullets they couldn’t remove; one dangerously close to a major blood vessel), the full debriefing began and we started hitting the streets; he wired with a body recorder, me undercover as his partner from Boston. I had planned for about five months while making arrangements to get him into the Witness Security Program, or WSP. This was only one of many cases I was working on that were all interconnected to a very major investigation that another twenty or so agents were also working. (The result was many very long and demanding days; weekends off were a rarity, while missing valuable time with my wife and two young children. A few years prior, our only child at the time, TJ, died at age three from congenital heart problems.)

The facts: The Charles homicide.

This was an unsolved homicide, a cold case, in the NYPD for a decade: a poor black parking lot attendant stabbed to death; no suspects, no arrests, but Eddie told me the whole story. Ally Ianniello, who ran a Manhattan bar for his wiseguy brother, Matty the Horse, was ticked off at the parking lot attendant and it was “Chief,” who, on his own, went out and stabbed Mr. Charles to death…he then later met up with Eddie and also told the whole story to Eddie’s wife.

Flash forward about eleven years. Before going into the WSP, Eddie, who had not seen his ex-wife for years, (although they never got divorced because he had been in prison for the past almost ten years and they obviously did not stay in touch), pestered me about finding her. It did though present a challenging opportunity.

I located her in Atlantic City and we drove down there. Posing as a private investigator I told her I had been hired by Eddie to find her, and only if she agreed, that she was willing to see him again. As we talked I brought up Eddie and his past and particularly his friends, especially Chief. She told me all about the night Chief came to her apartment and told Eddie and her how he had killed a parking lot attendant.

I filed that very valuable information away, memorializing it in what’s called an FD-302 of our “undercover” conversation about the homicide. Since it was an unsolved case and there were many ongoing investigations, I couldn’t divulge anything until the time was right.

Flash forward again: Although not a federal case, I was very proud that I was able to contact the NYPD and hand them a subject, Warren “Chief “ Schurman, plus witnesses and testimony to put him away for homicide.

As noted above in “Unmasked,” and about the only thing that is accurate, Schurman was tried and convicted. And guess who the witnesses were? NYPD detectives, Eddie Maloney, Maloney’s Ex, and Special Agent, Ed Woods, FBI.

So, “Unmasked,” in classic coAIMintelpro fashion fabricates; “In spite of this fact did not furnish…for well over a year…claimed that disclosure would disrupt a “sensitive” undercover investigation…and the reality…protect…Maloney who was paid thousands and thousands…”

The answers to those fallacious coAIMintelpro suppositions are found in a letter dated February 12, 1986 from the Senior Trial Counsel, Manhattan District Attorney’s office to the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s largest field office, New York, which began:

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend to your attention the outstanding performance of one of your Special Agents, Edward Woods, currently assigned to your Brooklyn-Queens office.”

And ended with:

“In Summary, Agent Woods has displayed the utmost integrity, self-discipline and indeed all the attributes which I consider the makings of the quintessential investigator. He is to be commended for his abilities and expertise. You are indeed lucky to have such a man in your command.”

(See also, just a few of the news articles about one of those “claimed” sensitive cases.)

See also, a letter of Commendation (one of twenty-six career total, including performance awards, incentive awards, and within-grade raises), dated June 3, 1985 from the Director, FBI who was “…pleased to take this opportunity to praise you for your endeavors…which included the responsibility for approximately twenty separate spin-off investigations.”

So, contrary to coAIMintelpro disinformation, not only Maloney, but undercover work and (20) additional cases, pretty much explains why the timing had to be right to give the Schurman case to the NYPD.

As for the “thousands and thousands,” hardly, it came out in testimony that most of that money went for hotels, food, clothing, etc., to keep Maloney safe during the investigation.

Now, hearing the facts, doesn’t the “Unmasked” version of this episode sound rather senseless? But that’s the method of coAIMintelpro, twist the facts and avoid the truth at all costs.

To be continuted.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Ed Woods

*The subject who shot Eddie was also convicted for attempted murder.

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14th Anniversary

After fourteen continuous years the NPPA continues to successfully expose the muths, folklore, fabrications and lies promoted by Peltier and his dwindling network. For updates please see the NPPA blog available from the home page.

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April 30, 2015 (15 years and counting)

Dear Supporters,

After all the years of lies, fabrications, misinformation, myths and folklore, Leonard Peltier has decided to come clean and finally tell the truth about what happened at Jumping Bull on June 26, 1975, and beyond.

Please visit the newest Peltier websites for a revelation of the facts surrounding his admissions.*

Within the above Internet links, Leonard Peltier provides the facts surrounding what he has worked so doggedly to protect since his conviction in 1977.

See here as he tells us:

--His only real alibi, that someone they knew killed the agents and drove off in the red pickup, was all a lie, a contrived story that Mr. X was the murderer. i

--That Peter Matthiessen was right when he reported that one of the agents, Agent Williams, was taking off his shirt to aid Agent Coler, waived it as a white flag of surrender. And that it was ignored by Peltier and the others. ii

--That all the fundraising has been just one long scam to fleece the gullible into believing that all that money was going somewhere, and certainly not to the defense. iii

--That he joined with other like-minded killers: Wesley Cook, aka Mumia Abu Jamal, and Timothy McVeigh. iv

--That the testimony of the four critical witnesses against him were right, and the jury, as they should have, believed them. v

--That he really does believe all politicians are sleazebags. vi

--That he did mean it when he said, "And really, if necessary, I'd do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do." vii

--That even though the NPPA has been sending him copies of everything that's put on the website, he does read it all, but never writes back. viii

--That the NPPA has been a thorn in his side for fifteen years, April 30, 2000, until now, April 30, 2015, and beyond.

"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
Ed Woods

* Satire is a way of making a point by exposing Peltier's criminality and hypocrisy for all to see. The irony here will be lost only on Peltier himself and those who are too blinded by misplaced passion and often have either a mistaken or deliberate ignorance of the facts. Another satirical example is a 2009 letter to President Obama in which Peltier makes his case for consideration for clemency while accurately describing the truth and facts with relevant references to case history (Of course, since 2009, there have been many instances, all documented, where Peltier has completely reinforced his own guilt and contradicted the cesspool of fabrications he and his supporters still offer to the unsuspecting and uninformed. More to follow: Peltier's second biggest lie...)

viii (see footnote **)

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Dear Supporters:

As we reach the final moments of the Peltier myth and folklore and his only hope rests on January 20, 2017, the No Parole Peltier Association will continue in its efforts to ensure that justice is served and Peltier remains incarcerated for his heinous crimes. Please follow the NPPA blog for updates.

“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”

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