Thursday, February 05, 2009

Leonard Peltier: Still Threatening the FBI after 33 Years

"May death be upon you FBI."--Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier is in prison for the 1975 murders of Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, two young FBI agents who served on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Evidently, Peltier is still stuck on stupid because he reportedly has penned a fatwah to his dwindling followers that begins, "May death be upon you FBI."

Below, I am re-posting "Who Is Leonard Peltier?" (2-4-09) as originally posted on AIM Myth Busters. For more information about this sociopathic murderer, see the website of Joe and John Trimbach, American Indian Mafia. The Trimbachs are the authors of American Indian Mafia: An FBI Agent's True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM), the authoritative account of the history of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who is Leonard Peltier?

Hint: His Handlers Do Not Want You To Know

“May death be upon you FBI.” So begins a threat posted a few months ago on a Leonard Peltier blog site and attributed to the incarcerated felon himself. Peltier was convicted in the 1975 shooting deaths of two wounded FBI Agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams. Both men were shot in the face at point-blank range. Recently, Peltier and his lawyers launched a new charm offensive with the goal of persuading President Obama to grant him his freedom. But surely a convicted murderer who is trying to ingratiate himself to a new President should sound a bit more conciliatory. One would think someone must have advised Peltier that a defiant reference to the crime he was convicted of committing is not the best way to win friends and influence parole boards. Nor do Peltier’s terroristic rants help his chances of being granted a pardon from a newly-pressured President. Perhaps Peltier should explain that the death wish was inserted by one of his propaganda surrogates and claim—as he did during his trial for double murder—that he was not involved. Should that assertion be likewise refuted, Peltier might concede that, okay, he may have authored the heading, but a “political prisoner” who’s had to put up with over 30 years of prison life is entitled to a little payback. In any event, issuing murderous edicts against the FBI from the confines of a federal penitentiary is the act of a real knucklehead, which is why it seems likely Peltier authored the message. Like every other miscalculation he has made, beginning with his decision to become a “cop killer,” this one will surely backfire.

In fact, like all the contradictory alibis Peltier and his lawyers have conjured up over the years, this latest outburst, delivered with the usual malice, only underscores his unmitigated guilt. Look for his next parole board to conclude, with more certainty than ever, that Peltier is undeserving, that Peltier is unrepentant, that Peltier is unquestionably guilty. Hence, his lawyers must press for the last-ditch ploy of Presidential intervention. What they may not want their client to know, however, is that President Obama is unlikely to pardon a vindictive killer-turned-victim who spouts fatwahs from his prison cell. Peltier must hope that the Commander-in-Chief, charged with keeping us safe from terrorists and killers, would risk letting a terrorist-killer go free. Moreover, President Obama would be opposing the judgments of Presidents Clinton and Bush, both of whom were convinced of Peltier’s guilt, and both of whom Peltier now holds in contempt for seeing through his routine. If this is the best strategy this felon and his lawyers can dream up, perhaps he should seek new legal counsel.

The most reasonable conclusion is that Peltier’s ugly missive merely telegraphs his true feelings, as he has been known to do in his defense fund newsletter, now posted under the revamped feel-good title, “Who is Leonard Peltier?” Hint: his handlers do not want you to know the answer. They would have you buy into his pious sermons of self-devotion and an assortment of martyrdom claims his misinformed followers have been trained to disassociate from his crimes at the Jumping Bull compound. Sadly, the Peltier faithful are programmed to deny the reality of a cause célèbre that represents the extreme opposite of true Indian bravery and sacrifice. The required ignorance is truly astounding and no doubt attributable to Peter Matthiessen’s highly falsified Peltier story, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, and Robert Redford’s documentary, “Incident at Oglala.” As described in the book, American Indian Mafia, these accounts were produced by people unmercifully duped by Peltier’s lies.

For many years, Peltier’s number one alibi was that the murders were committed by an apparition known only as Mr. X. The X story was widely promulgated by the aforementioned propaganda pieces, each of which used the X ghost as the centerpiece of Peltier’s defense. None of the people who produced these deceitful stories, by the way, have ever been called to account for their misleading efforts, even after the offending productions were exposed as a series of fabrications. The first clue that something was awry was that Peltier often spoke glowingly of the mysterious phantom who executed two disarmed and injured men. (See Mr. Peltier assured us that Mr. X was a very brave fellow, basically a nice guy, and always respectful of others. The problem was that Mr. X did not exist. Once the X angle was exposed as a complete hoax (by one of Peltier’s accomplices), Peltier had to change his story. And he’s been changing his story ever since. Today, he would tell you he has no idea who committed the murders, although he admits shooting at the Agents and—minutes later—viewing their dead bodies. (The murder timeline places Peltier at the scene, at the exact moment the killing shots were fired.) Every now and then, Peltier lapses back into his alibi alter-ego and alludes to the brave spirit he imagines he once was. Peltier has said he feels very close to this X dude, understandable given their common surroundings in federal prison. Who knows, maybe X wrote the opening line. How else to explain the stupidity of announcing to the world the desire to become a repeat offender?

There’s more. Peltier assures his followers that the carnage at Jumping Bull was a “sacrifice” that was “paid for with someone’s (his) life.” Never mind that he took two lives in the process of self-immortalization. Or that another life was taken in the shooting aftermath. The point we’re supposed to focus on is that Peltier sacrificed his freedom for the benefit of future generations. You see, it really is all about him. Peltier thus offers himself up as the symbolic poster boy for victimized Native Americans dating back to Christopher Columbus; therefore, he is not guilty. That he opened long-distance fire on two men armed with only pistols and finished them off minutes later at close range is of little historical significance; there were larger issues in play. Some Peltier supporters bolster this argument by saying that Peltier-style activism (read violence) is a necessary ingredient in service to Indian Country ideals. Sounds a bit like today’s Muslim fanaticism, doesn’t it? The fact is, most Peltier pushers are non-Indian radicals who simply use him as their political flunky.

Another debatable contention is how well the political prisoner myth has served the man. Had Peltier taken responsibility for his crimes and repented, he might not have spent most of his adult life behind bars. He could have been a free man by now, traveling throughout Indian Country and delivering a message of hope and salvation. Instead, he has frittered away his years presiding over a victimhood scam that merely exploits collective white guilt and rakes in atonement dollars for the sins of our forefathers. While it may have been difficult to resist buckets of money pouring in from all over the globe, Peltier’s quest for celebrity has been a fool’s errand. All the money in the world cannot change the facts. Furthermore, no one familiar with the truth can be happy that a small fortune that could have been used to alleviate genuine hardship on the reservations was shamefully wasted on a grand lie.

In the face of consecutive life sentences (plus seven years for an armed escape in 1979), Peltier can only seek comfort in the consolation prize of recent recruits: disaffected members of the socialist left and newbies culled from protected sanctuaries of academic fraud. Most people, however, are open to hearing the other side of the story. And when they have access to truthful information, they abandon the cause in droves, convinced that a guilty killer was rightfully convicted. Even Peltier’s former attorney, Barry Bachrach, ran for the hills when he realized that his client is an angry and patently guilty megalomaniac. Many of the original Peltier supporters have left as well, once they were forced to confront the reality of a man who says he feels “joy” in believing his “efforts were not in vain.” How long did they endure before these words made them ill?

What always gets lost in the propaganda are the actual heinous acts for which Peltier, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), refuses to take responsibility. Ron Williams and Jack Coler had worked hard to become FBI Special Agents. Dedicated to protecting the innocent and apprehending the guilty, they were murdered while attempting to carry out their sworn duty of serving Indians on the reservation. They left behind devastated young wives, parents, and fatherless children. They were each 28 years old. The deaths of these young men and the sad aftermath of AIM violence on the Pine Ridge reservation endangered Indian residents for years to come. Just six months after Peltier’s murderous rampage, his AIM leadership ordered the execution of fellow member Anna Mae Aquash, partly because they feared she had revealed to the FBI Peltier’s boast about executing Ron Williams as he pleaded for his life. AIM leaders had Anna Mae murdered and then made a martyr out of her, too. The extreme hypocrisy, typical of the AIM leadership, rivals that of Peltier’s claimed victim status. Add this to the list of revulsions from 1975: an AIM tough guy in his 30s shoved a loaded gun in Anna Mae’s mouth during one of her pre-death interrogations. His name? Leonard Peltier. Of course, his disciples must deny this reality as well because it so thoroughly exposes the underbelly of evil that comprises the heart of his propaganda machine, not to mention AIM’s legacy of destruction.

In the fight of good versus evil, one looks for signs of hope. Despite the recent inmate repackaging, open-minded believers have begun to notice that certain aspects of the myth do not add up, and the shocking depravity of a young, violent Peltier from long ago slowly sinks in. Former supporters resent being played for fools, all those years. The costumed performer who used to wow the crowds now stumbles and leaks sawdust across the stage, no longer convincing in the role of perpetual victim. Defense fund donations have slowed to a trickle compared to what they were in the 1980s, when America’s “prisoner of conscience” was often favorably mentioned by clergymen, statesmen, and Indian wannabes. One wonders if inmate #89637-132, in quiet moments of mandatory rest time, realizes that three decades of myth-making were all for naught. While his past lawyers may have been able to send their kids to college on the blood money they earned, none of their efforts have actually helped their client gain his freedom. Not even a little bit. Perhaps they believed that a sociopathic killer who could never be released was better used as a symbol of Indian persecution. If pity is due Peltier, pity him for having lawyers who don’t give a whit about his future and whose legal counsel has merely sealed his fate. Pity him for not being smart enough to figure that out, not even after 30 years of being exploited for purely political reasons. And so it is perhaps understandable that a frustrated, thickheaded killer might vent with a “death to the FBI” curse. For on June 26, 1975, Leonard Peltier certainly brought death to the FBI.

Posted by James Simon at 9:59 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever hear of Cointelpro etc. Please give it a rest as to the poor government "serving" us all. We are in a police state where many find it quite nice to cooperate with those who have the cash . . . websites like this one. Pathetic.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Police State? The AIM Lawyer Mark Lane had a relationship with the Soviet Intelligence Service, the KGB, and Peltier was a vicious murderer who massqueraded as an Indian activist. Mark Lane was exposed when a KGB archivist fled to the west with documentation from the KGB archives.

Ward Churchill writes propaganda for a KGB-sponsored publication.

Scroll down to see the Indian program Native View interviewing the Trimbachs.

4:47 PM  

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