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No Parole Peltier Association
The Myth of Leonard Peltier
Response to the LPDC

May 25, 2000

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) Responds

On May 23, 2000, the LPDC posted its official response to the No Parole Peltier Association website. The NPPA was waiting for this official response to provide the following:

  1. A review of the LPDC response
  2. A comment regarding hate mail and Guest Book entries
  3. What is the NPPA?
  4. Placing In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse in perspective
  5. A final note on the LPDC position that the government does not know who killed Agents Coler and Williams
  6. LPDC "Final Response", May 31, 2000, 9:24 p.m.

PRELIMINARY COMMENT: The NPPA approach was based on a review of the words and statements made by the participants, drawn from primary references endorsed by the LPDC: "In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse" which immortalized Leonard Peltier, and the film, "Incident at Oglala". The information was presented in a public forum, with a repeated invitation for the concerned reader to come to their own conclusions about the falsehood of their alibi (Mr. X) and Butler, Robideau and Peltier's own accounts as to how the agents died.

A Review of the LPDC Response

The LPDC stated that the NPPA position was unclear about its opposition to Peltier's parole. The NPPA's message should have been clear enough to the LPDC. Peltier has been afforded every opportunity through repeated appeals to challenge and discredit the government's evidence against him. He did not prevail and should serve the remainder of his sentence.

"Correcting Wrongs of the Past" - The NPPA stated, "Anyone who has even a basic understanding of the history and plight of Native Americans recognizes their terrible treatment at the hands of the U.S. Government. That history cannot be altered. Nothing can change the broken promises and treaties and subjugation of the first people to inhabit this continent." From that sincere statement, the LPDC states, "It is here that the NPPA implies that supporters for Leonard Peltier are simply blinded by their sorrow for the U.S. Government's brutal past with Native Americans."

Nothing of the sort was implied. It is genuinely sad that the NPPA and the LPDC cannot even meet on this common ground.

There is a concept that the LPDC and Peltier's supporters are unable to warm up to: That people can have a deep and genuine concern for the history and welfare of Native Americans and still believe that Peltier should not be paroled.

"Agents shot in self defense," (NPPA, "The Shootout") - The LPDC challenges the claim that the agents only fired a total of five times. They state, "It would be hard to imagine agent Coler picking up three different guns, and firing each one once within a ten minute period, as the NPPA claims." Maybe not for the LPDC, sitting at computers in comfortable offices, but not for a reasonable person to consider the agents being taken under fire. The NPPA clearly established that the shooting ended well within ten minutes. Agent Coler was severely wounded, that alone would have slowed down his response and reaction time and certainly increased his panic and fear. With just a revolver with him, crawling back to the trunk to get his shotgun and rifle is only logical to assume. Agent Williams was wounded three times initially and was the one on the radio calling for help. The number of rounds fired was argued by the prosecution based on the results of the crime scene investigation.

Agents Coler and Williams only had their revolvers with them in their vehicles. The concerned readers are asked (if they do not already know for themselves) to discuss the use of revolvers with people in law enforcement they may know. Ejecting spent shell casings and reloading takes precious time even under training situations where the only enemy is the clock. They did not even have speed-loaders which allows rounds to be loaded much faster, but nothing close to the ability of more modern semi-automatic pistols with magazines. In those days Agents were issued bullet-pouches, a small leather case that slipped over a pant's belt and held six bullets. Agent Williams' body was found with his bullet-pouch, containing six rounds, still on his belt.

Taken under fire as they were, trying to respond and protect themselves and return fire, being wounded in the process, and trying to call for help, can certainly explain their limited ability to return fire, because the Timing is Everything.

"Mr. X" - The LPDC glosses over the fallacy of Mr. X but remarkably does make a surprising concession. "Mr. X has long been a controversial topic, by both supporters of Leonard Peltier and those who oppose his release." The NPPA believes that it made a compelling case, based on the statements of those involved to prove that Mr. X is a lie. If Mr. X is a lie, then so is Peltier's alibi and his assertions that he only shot at the agents in self defense. Instead of attacking this conclusion, which is a focal point of the NPPA's offer to concerned readers, the LPDC segues onto ground that they are most comfortable with, rehashing issues that have been decided in the courts repeatedly over two decades: Myrtle Poor Bear, and the repeated refrain that the government does not "know who killed the agents". This will be addressed below, but first consider the following regarding the Poor Bear affidavits.

Myrtle Poor Bear and the Canadian extradition: After that material was reviewed, the NPPA wondered about the arguments made by the LPDC. The LPDC claimed the FBI fabricated those (three) affidavits from a coerced witness. If the FBI did not believe her (and her story that obviously got better each time she was interviewed), and if they were hell-bent on getting Peltier out of Canada no matter what, why, then, THREE (3) affidavits? If that was the case - if the FBI conspiracy was that thick - there would have been only ONE affidavit. Is this concept that difficult to understand? The LPDC and Peltier supporters constantly yell about conspiracy and cover-up. Well, if there was one on the Poor Bear matter, then no one would have known about any other affidavits.

In a final review of the extradition of Peltier from Canada, Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, in an October 12, 1999 letter to U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno, states, "In short, after reviewing this matter, I have concluded that Mr. Peltier was LAWFULLY EXTRADITED to the United States."

The LPDC comments about the ballistics, firing pin test, and court cases, and simply repeats what they have said in their web site. This still does not alter the fact that all these arguments have been made over almost two decades in the courts with Peltier's conviction being upheld. No matter how many times they rehash these issues, it still does not alter the court's decisions.

The LPDC concludes, in part, by referring to Peltier's excellent conduct in prison. The reader's are directed to, Prison Writings: My Life is my Sundance, by Leonard Peltier, to read, from his own words, whether Peltier has been a model prisoner.

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A comment regarding hate mail and guest book entries

The NPPA had considered responding to negative guest book entries and emails but chose to respond here instead. The assaults on the web designer were unnecessary and cruel and those who engaged in those attacks should be ashamed of themselves. The NPPA apologizes for having placed her in this position. The guest book has become a forum for many who either repeat what they have only read on the LPDC web site or delve into unrelated and irrelevant issues. Even those who have made positive comments have reported receiving hateful email for their efforts. But this is part of the benefit of the public forum - to hear both sides - and let the others decide where they stand on the matter.

There was one entry, however, that after considerable reflection, demands a reply. To JULIAN:

JULIAN, I do apologize, up front, if this sounds harsh, but this is either a joke entry or you must do your homework, otherwise, you embarrass yourself and Peltier's supporters.

JULIAN said, "For years I had wondered where all the out-of-work propagandists for "PRAVDA,", that SOVIET bastion of truth according to the oppressive ruling class, had gone with the collapse of their empire." (Emphasis added, but it goes on further).

JULIAN, where do you think this quote came from?

"The signatures of TWELVE MILLION SOVIET CITIZENS have been sent to the White House demanding clemency for Peltier..."

Answer: (In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse, Peter Matthiessen, Penguin Books, 1992, pages 572-573.)

To further answer your question, a recent ad in George Magazine, (June, 2000) advertised the sale of Peltier's art work. The ad also proclaimed the support of JANE FONDA, and by doing so attached her fame to the cause for Peltier's parole:

JANE FONDA is the same person who sat atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, posing and smiling for the press, while U.S. servicemen were being killed or tortured. That weapon, that she so proudly mounted, had but one purpose - to shoot down American pilots - to either kill or imprison them. The LPDC has no problem using her fame on Peltier's behalf.

Please, let's be very clear about this - you brought up the label, no matter what you thought then (if you were old enough to even think about that war), or what you may think about it now, what she did was TREASON and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. She should have been prosecuted. Her half-hearted "apology" to Barbara Walters in 1988, claiming that she was used and thoughtless, means nothing. Using her fame and notoriety for Peltier cannot rest well with middle America and those who have given their blood in defense of this Nation.

There, JULIAN, is the other communist for whom you were looking.

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What is the NPPA?

What is the NPPA? First, it 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.

The NPPA realizes that nothing it can say or do will change the minds of those who believe that Peltier is not guilty of murder. But that was not the purpose. The purpose was to provide those who have not made up their minds with something else to consider, for the concerned reader and researcher to go further and explore for themselves (not just relying on the presentation of the LPDC), and decide what they feel about Peltier's guilt (and the fallibility of Mr. X). It was designed for those who are at least willing to scrutinize all sides of a very important issue before casting a ballot one way or the other.

Neither can the NPPA respond to those who see shooters on the grassy knoll, have not taken the time to get all the facts, for instance, about WACO, who think that Mumia Abu-Jamal is a misunderstood journalist, or believe that Timothy McVeigh was a freedom fighter. To those, the NPPA can only offer its understanding, but concedes their right to those opinions.

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Placing "In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse" in perspective

THE DEBATE WILL CONTINUE, tearing at all the facts from all directions, but the NPPA has relied not on name-calling and rhetoric but on the words of Peltier, Robideau, and Butler, as its web site suggests. Even Peter Matthiessen, the cornerstone of Peltier's immortality, and yes, even Peltier's own defense attorney, William Kunstler himself, believed that Peltier was guilty!

It must be embarrassing for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee to learn that someone of the stature of ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ, the distinguished Harvard law professor (and by his own accounts a liberal and no friend of either law-enforcement or big government), states that Matthiessen "is utterly unconvincing - indeed embarrassingly sophomoric - when he pleads the legal innocence of individual Indian criminals. The American Indian Movement - like every militant fringe group - contains its share of violent criminals who seek to glorify their predatory acts under the flag of the movement." "...(and) not only fails to convince; he (Matthiessen) inadvertently makes a strong case for Mr. Peltier's guilt." (The New York Times, book review, March 8, 1983.)

Dino Butler, in a 1995 interview, derides Matthiessen for not consulting with him regarding the lie of Mr. X.

"It is totally false that I had knowledge of who that person was and knew that person was going to come into our camp that day to deliver dynamite. I felt like me and my family were put in danger. I lost a lot of respect for Peter Matthieson as a writer and as a person I could trust because he didn't verify this, and it put me and my family in jeopardy. He never made any effort to contact me and ask me if this was true."

"I'm not going to go out of my way to cause a scene over this because I can't divert my attention away from what is the real truth here. Peter Matthieson was victimized by that too. Whatever made him do that separated him from seeking out the truth. That's the important thing to me, not who's telling the biggest lie. What I represent is what I have to be concerned with and I have to be focused on the direction I am going in all the time. I cannot allow myself to become distracted by other things that do not represent the truth."

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The LPDC repeatedly maintains that the government has admitted that it does not know who killed the agents. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE, and is not based on either the statements of the prosecutors or the court record.

This allegation, perhaps more than any other statement made by the LPDC, is the most egregious.

The LPDC states:

"At the appellate hearing, the government attorney conceded 'We had a murder, we had numerous shooters, we do not know who specifically fired what killing shots...we do not know who shot the agents.'" (LPDC web site, Statement of Fact section.)

"Although Assistant United States Attorney Lynn Crooks now admits that no one knows who actually pulled the trigger and fired the fatal, close range shots at the two agents..." (page 8, LPDC letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, 6/26/00)

The LPDC's obvious intent and purpose of these statements is clear enough.

Peltier appealed again to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that because of the prosecutor's statement the government had changed its theory of the prosecution.

But, what AUSA Lynn Crooks actually said was:

"Well, undoubtedly it wouldn't but I have no doubt whatsoever that we still would have convicted him. I think the best precedent that one can point to is the recent murder of our two marshals. We have exactly the same kind of situation. But we can't prove who shot those agents. (8th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1993.)

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stated regarding this very issue:

  • "Peltier's arguments fail because they are fatally flawed.
  • "First, as the district court recognized in the section 2255 proceeding, it is unclear whether the references to "those agents" was to the "two marshals" mentioned two sentences earlier who had recently been murdered, or to the two FBI agents killed in this case. In any event, this eight-word comment in response to Judge Heaney's statements is a totally inadequate basis for asserting that the government conceded that it had not proved that Peltier personally shot the agents at close range, or that that was the sole basis upon which the government tried the case."
  • "It is impossible to conclude that, in all the circumstances, Crooks, who had participated in the trial of the case, intended by his unartfully phrased statement, "We can't prove who shot those agents," to abandon one of the two theories upon which the government had tried the case and upon which the case was submitted to the jury."

Peltier's attorney's were wrong in their theory and conclusions and the Court told them so.

The LPDC certainly understands what the Court of Appeals said and meant, their language is concise and straight forward on this issue.

But the LPDC continues to deliberately mislead everyone on this very important issue.

The readers are asked to review (available here) the entire decision:

PELTIER v. HENMEN, cite as 997 F.2d 461 (8th Cir. 1993), which reads in part (at 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 their murder as an aider and abettor.

(B) The Government's statement at the prior oral argument, upon which Peltier relies, WAS NOT A CONCESSION that the Government had not proved that Peltier had not killed the agents personally, and that Peltier's conviction could be sustained only on an aiding and abetting theory.

(C) The evidence allegedly supporting Peltier's self-defense claim was improperly excluded, was correctly rejected.

The LPDC quotes the prosecutor as saying that the Government could not prove who killed the agents (implying that Mr. X did). This is just not true. What the Assistant U.S. Attorney said, which has been taken completely out of context, was that it couldn't prove who pulled the trigger. But as set forth in the above excerpt, convicted Peltier on the alternative theories that proved, aiding and abetting.

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LPDC "Final Response", May 31, 2000, 9:24 p.m.

A few words on the LPDC's "FINAL RESPONSE".

On May 31, 2000 at 9:24 p.m., the LPDC posted a "FINAL RESPONSE TO NPPA ALLEGATIONS".

LPDC: "This will be our last response to them..."

This will not, and cannot be the last time the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee responds to the NPPA. Why? Because up to this point, they have not been challenged in the public forum. Even their hometown newspaper, the Lawrence Journal World recognized that this battle has "erupted in cyberspace." When the author of this site first searched the Internet (on April 3, 2000), all the web sites overwhelmingly favored Peltier and his supporters, they were, up to that point, the major Peltier source of information. No more. The NPPA has challenged the LPDC by asking concerned readers and researchers to draw their own conclusions about things Peltier himself has said and particularly the lie that is Mr. X, and Peltier's sham alibi.

"PURE SILLINESS": The LPDC states that "Also, the NPPA's allegations that Peter Matthiessen and the late William Kunstler thought Leonard Peltier was guilty, is pure silliness." The LPDC should ask Harvard Law School Professor, ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ what he meant when he said:

"Why does Mr. Matthiessen go out of his way so frequently to make disclaimers such as "my personal opinion of his guilt or innocence (is) of no importance?" And why does he quote one of the AIM Lawyers as saying: "I know Bill Kunstler (another of the AIM Lawyers) thought they killed the agents, but he believes that they were innocent whether they did it or not?" (Emphasis added)

NOTHING NEW: The LPDC can quote all the exerpts from oral arguments and decisions they care to. This has been their approach (arguably more anti-government than pro-Peltier), but they still do not allow themselves to accept the fact, that at this juncture, none of that matters.

The NPPA will repeat again for concerned readers to understand, that Peltier had his day in court. All his arguments and allegations of government wrongdoing have been repeatedly reviewed in the courts. The only thing that matters are the final decisions of the appellate courts, who have without exception, upheld his conviction. And the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed, twice. The LPDC does not want to accept this fundamental principle.

PAROLE: Concerned readers can decide for themselves whether Peltier has been a model prisoner as the LPDC repeatedly states, by simply reading his book, "Prison Writings". Peltier, in his own words, describes his relationship with prison officials. And it has NOT been a good one.

CLEMENCY: This is now at the heart of the matter and has so enraged the LPDC. The LPDC has tried to shoot the messenger, but the message itself was provided by one of Peltier's most vocal supporters, Ishgooda. The LPDC can massage and spin Peltier's words every possible way they wish, but it cannot alter what Peltier himself said. From the interview in the Boulder Weekly, Peltier sums up his true feelings for the one person capable of granting him relief and in turn shows how shallow his gratitude is for all his loyal followers. In a very real sense, Peltier articulates for the entire world his questionable character.

The concerned readers are asked again to read Peltier's interview and conclude for themselves exactly what he said and meant:

"...Clinton asked him, "Who's Leonard Peltier?..."

Peltier says, "These politicians are such sleazebags that you just don't know." Peltier then, very specifically and deliberately, identifies one of the politicians he's referring to with TWELVE (12) SPECIFIC REFERENCES (plus a related quote) to the President of the United States.



Within the LPDC web site in the Statement of Fact section, the following is noted:

During this "Reign of Terror," some sixty-four local Native Americans were MURDERED. (See attached list). Three hundred were harassed, beaten or otherwise abused. Virtually all the victims were either affiliated with AIM or their allies, the traditional tribe members. The FBI had jurisdiction to investigate major crimes, and in fact the FBI to civilian ratio during this time frame was extraordinarily high. YET THESE DEATHS WERE NEVER ADEQUATELY INVESTIGATED AND NO PROSECUTIONS were brought (Emphasis added).

This statement raises a number of issues but its intent should be clear to the reader:

They ATTACK and RIDICULE the FBI and accuse it of not honoring its mandated responsibilities at Pine Ridge during this 1973-1976 period.

The list provided by the LPDC contains 56 named MURDERS and 10 unnamed. (The 10 unnamed cannot be addressed here. But, the disappearance of ten people who would have gone unnoticed by any law enforcement agency is beyond any reason and common sense. The LPDC does not detail this incredible assertion.)

In July, 2000 the FBI released a review of those deaths in an effort to counter this criticism. A summary of those deaths follows:

    (Total 21)
    Julius Bad Heart Bull (homicide, fight) (5)
    Phillip Little Crow (homicide, fight) (9)
    Dennis LeCompte (homicide-fight, acquittal) (15)
    Floyd L. Binals (age 16 months) (20)
    Yvette Loraine Lone Hill (age 7) (21)
    Leon L. Swift Bird (domestic homicide) (22)
    Stacy Cotter (homicide, fight) (24)
    Kenneth Little (homicide, fight) (31)
    Leah Spotted Elk (domestic violence) (32)
    Randy Hunter (homicide, dispute, acquittal) (36)
    Howard Blue Bird (homicide, fight) (37)
    James (Jim) Little (homicide, fight) (38)
    Olivia Binas (homicide, domestic violence) (39)
    Janice Black Bear (homicide, domestic violence) (40)
    Carl Plenty Arrows (homicide, dispute) (42)
    Frank LaPointe (homicide, dispute) (43)
    Byron DeSersa (homicide, Goons) (46)
    Sam Afraid of Bear (beating, homicide) (53)
    Kevin Hill (homicide, robbery) (54)
    Betty Means (vehicular homicide) (55)
    Sandra Wounded Foot (homicide, BIA Officer) (56)
    (Total 22)
    Frank Clearwater (Wounded Knee II shoot-out) (1)
    Buddy Lamont (Wounded Knee II shoot-out) (2)
    Clarence Cross (BIA brutality) (3)
    Priscilla White Plume (hit and run) (4)
    Melvin Spider (head trauma) (6)
    Pedro Bissonette (fugitive, armed) (10)
    Allison Fast Horse (homicide, shooting) (11)
    Edward Standing Soldier (homicide, robbery) (13)
    Roxeine Roark (accidental shooting) (14)
    Jackson Washington Cutt (homicide, fight) (16)
    Robert Reddy (homicide, stabbing) (17)
    Delphine Crow Dog (froze to death) (18)
    Elaine Wagner (exposure, alcohol related) (19)
    Jeanette Bissonette (homicide) (26)
    Richard Eagle (accidental) (27)
    Hilda R. Good Buffalo (carbon monoxide/alcoholism) (28)
    Ben Sitting Up (axe, personal) (30)
    Joseph Stuntz Killsright (Resmurs) (33)
    Andrew Paul Stewart (35)
    Michelle Tobacco (age 9 months, accident, relative) (41)
    Cleveland Reddest (hit and run) (49)
    Julia Pretty Hips (carbon-tech, pneumonia) (52)
    (Total 1)
    Hobart Horse (homicide, shooting) (48)
    (Total 11)
    Philip Black Elk (propane explosion) (7)
    Aloysius Long Soldier (suicide) (8)
    Edward Means, Jr. (alcoholism) (12)
    Martin Montileaux (bar shooting) (23)
    Edith Eagle Hawk (automobile run off road) (25)
    Jancita Eagle Deer (car accident) (29)
    James Briggs Yellow (health) (34)
    Lydia Cut Grass (alcoholism) (45)
    Lena Slow Bear (alcoholism) (47)
    Betty Jo Dubray (car accident) (50)
    Marvin Two Two (no record of death) (51)
    (Total 1)
    Anna Mae Aquash (homicide) (44)

    April, 2003, as a result of a South Dakota, federal grand jury indictment, Arlo Looking Cloud, 49, was arrested in Denver for the kidnapping and first-degree murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. The U.S. Attorney's office, Sioux Falls, SD would not comment on whether additional arrests are expected. Looking Cloud is expected to be removed to South Dakota to stand trial. If convicted he faces a mandatory life sentence.


Although the LPDC can argue the outcome of some of these deaths, they cannot ignore that what they have been alleging, is again, FALSE, and not backed by what actually occurred. The statistics can be viewed in many ways: this is just one possibility that the reader can contemplate:

The 56 named 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 2, No record of death 1.

Of these 56 named deaths:
21 resulted in Federal convictions and/or trials, 1 resulted in a local conviction, 22 were investigated but did not result in convictions for a number of valid reasons, at least one investigation remains pending, and 11 were not within the FBI's jurisdiction.

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. There were many factors present. The personal costs of many who were there, and the children who were affected by the events surrounding them, can be seen in a personal account from someone who was there. Analyzing all the history leading to June 26, 1975 would be a monumental task, and although painfully important, would not support the premise that this was a solitary and singular criminal act. The shoot-out, for however one-sided it was, could be attributed to those pent-up emotions and frustrations we know existed, but it was Leonard Peltier, knowing he was a fugitive and did not want to go to prison, who precipitated the initial assault on the two agents. And, going down to the agents and shooting them in the face at point-blank range, was horrible, criminal and totally unnecessary.

There are approximately 6 unresolved cases that are arguably contentious, but the point is that for the LPDC to make such a sweeping allegation against the FBI, without providing any factual basis, demonstrates that they were WRONG. The LPDC is either deliberately misinforming Peltier supporters or reluctant to pursue the results of these cases in order to continue its own agenda. The concerned reader is welcome to dispute the results for a number of these deaths, but the fact remains, they were ALL INVESTIGATED and many resolved through FEDERAL PROSECUTIONS.

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"It is not the critic that counts; not the man that points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat, and blood..."

Theodore Roosevelt

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