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Attack on Leonard Peltier

An Editorial

By Carter Camp

June 30, 2003

Ah-ho My Relations,

Over the years the case of the wrongful imprisonment of Leonard Peltier has been a unifying factor all across "Indian Country" and among our allies worldwide. All across our lands American Indian people have stood shoulder to shoulder in demanding freedom for Leonard Peltier for a reason..... he's innocent!

Independent investigations by authors, defense attorney's working for Peltier and not, and hundreds of journalists has shown without doubt that he did not get a fair trial. Within the American Indian Movement there has never been any doubt that Leonard was framed and used as a scapegoat by an FBI desperate to pin the guilt of their failed attack on someone from AIM, anyone, as long as they got a conviction.

After Dino and Bob were acquitted by a jury that was allowed to hear the truth, the FBI spent many hours in many meetings deciding how to convict Peltier. First they picked a "FBI friendly" judge who they could count on to help them bend the truth. He then refused to allow Peltier to use the only true defense he had, the one that had freed Dino and Bob, he ruled that Peltier could not use "self-defense" as a defense! In other words a federal judge ruled the truth of the shooting would not be allowed to be used for Leonard, so the trial was fixed from the start.

Then, because they had moved the trial to a state where hating Indians is as common as loving John Wayne, they got a jury predisposed against all Indians, gave them fabricated ballistic and other "expert" information, fed them outright lies from the witness stand by FBI agents and withheld pertinent information that would have given the jury any doubt. Thus Leonard Peltier was wrongly convicted..... but only of "aiding and abetting" the killing of the two agents.

Even the government has no idea who killed those attacking agents during the intense fight the Indian people were waging for their lives. And in the end I do not think it matters, no more than exactly who killed Custer matters. We know whose homes were being attacked and what people (Traditionals and AIM) were being killed by the FBI and their GOONs. We know it was an invited and welcomed AIM encampment, on a local Lakota family's homesite containing families from babies to grandparents, that was slated for attack by these same invaders. We may never know for sure but evidence points to these two agents "jumping the gun" on the attack and starting the fight before their backup was in place.

Unfortunately for them, but lucky for the babies, they jumped on a hornets nest and died for their foolishness before the helicopters and other reinforcements arrived. The ensuing fight and it's aftermath of a quarter century of wrongful imprisonment of Leonard Peltier has been well documented and is known worldwide.

Leonard Peltier is known as the prime example of an American political prisoner and millions of people around the world have asked for his freedom. The case has been investigated and litigated until even one of the appeals judges asked for his freedom, the facts of the governments case are known, at least what they have released, so we can say with confidence that if Peltier would have had a fair trail based on all the facts that have come to light, he would have been acquitted and be at home with his grandchildren right now. Instead his framing has been allowed to stand and Peltier remains a political prisoner of America's longest war.

We know for certain that the fight at the Jumping Bull home was a part of an FBI attempt to wipe out the American Indian Movement and that all who were there fought in self-defense. We also know the agents were not scalped. We know that Peltier told us that he and the other warriors, men and women, fought hard and desperately with real guns using real bullets to repel the attack. We know that the FBI has a different version, a version that has been put to the lie by responsible journalists, authors and all of ndn country. We know they will go to any lengths to keep the truth hidden and Peltier in jail.

In "Indian Country" we have a decided lack of newspapers or media to cover the many happenings around our nations and those we do have are only guided by their owners sense of what is good journalism and what is not. There are no repercussions for newspaper owners cum-reporters, editors and publishers all in one. They can, and do, report as news their own speculations and misunderstandings with impunity, you will never see one of them resign for ethical reasons as was done at the New York Times recently, so generally it's buyer beware journalism and we get used to it. After reading the various ndn newspapers we can tell where they're coming from and we pay attention to them accordingly. One of the newspapers ndns have rejected en mass is Paul DeMains "News of Indian Country" mainly because it's a "point of view" type yellow newspaper instead of an attempt at good journalism. But DeMain has learned that in America scandal sells so in order to drum up business this paper has made a habit of printing and reprinting every sort of story about the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. Mainly he has come down for the FBI version as put out in the first failed grand jury about her and rehashed by the FBI and their stooges ever since. Recently they have attempted to use our own culture against us, one cop named Eccoffy stupidly and falsely claimed he had had a "dream" or vision about her death which prompted him to seek her killer. Around the rez we all know the ex-Cop Eccoffy so we can laugh at his perversion of our ways, but people like DeMain think a cops dreams are evidence and print them verbatim.

This past year DeMain got so outrageous in his anti-AIM diatribes that Peltier was forced to file a lawsuit against him in an attempt to stop his untrue scandal sheet from grossly distorting the tragic death of Anna Mae. An arrest has been made in Anna's death and except for pure speculation DeMain knows nothing about it so he is desperate to get in on the story no matter the cost to truth.

Guess what? Now DeMain, like ole Bob Eccoffy, has had a new epiphany and has decided in his wisdom that our brother Leonard Peltier is guilty. And like ole Bob too he uses imaginary informants that whispered in his ear and convinced him, against all evidence new and old, that by golly, the FBI was right all along! Oh, he begins his "story" with many references to Pipes and "Pipecarriers", (a fictitious position btw) and other ndn sounding bs and he tells (brags) about how much he has read and studied Peltiers case. He even does some quoting from the case and various interviews, nonsensical stuff but things I assume he thinks bolsters his anti-Peltier conclusions, but in the end his whole story come down to this quote below.....

 DeMain says; "But in the end, while crossing back and forth over the issue of "without doubt," and crossing back again to wonder, it simply took a delegation of people who were tired of all the deceptions, lies and dangers to step forward and tell me the truth. "Peltier was responsible for the close range execution of the agents....." and that was the end of that. I have no reason to doubt the group of people, and others I have since conversed with, that they are now telling the truth. They are people who have agonized for years, grandfathers and grandmothers, AIM activists, Pipe carriers and others who have carried a heavy unhealthy burden within them that has taken its toll."

Notice what he put in quotation marks as coming from a delegation of our people. In my opinion this is a lie, either a lie or the FBI scout DeMain left out some very important words, such as, " I heard" Peltier was responsible" ect. We know the FBI and other governmental departments were engaged in a massive disinformation campaign (COINTELPRO) against AIM and rumors were abundant all over ndn country, everybody was in the know. But how many people were there that could say for certain what DeMain claims they did? Maybe a dozen or less in the entire world? And out of this dozen DeMain would have you believe a whole "group" of them sought him out to unburden themselves to! By telling him apparently their "heavy unhealthy burden" was lifted... and Paul gets a scoop of course. Without this mysterious, guilt ridden "delegation" to back up his far out story DeMain is caught for what he is; a lowlife liar who will say and print anything to have his moment in the sun and a pat on the head from the FBI and other assorted ndn haters.

Well my relations, I too know those old grandfathers, grandmothers, AIM activists and his vaunted Pipecarriers. They are friends of mine and although I do not get to visit with them very often the last I heard every single one of them continues to support Leonard Peltier and to work for his release. They all still continue to love and honor the warriors who fought that day to protect them and they still call for an investigation into the murders of their relations during the FBI reign of terror on Pine Ridge. There is no "heavy burden of guilt" at all in the community that I have ever detected, most of them are very proud of the victory that day and glad the invaders weren't able to carry out their plan. Why should any of us be ashamed of standing in defense of our people and fighting for our families?

The "burden of guilt" DeMain bases his lie upon does not exist, unbeknownst to DeMain the warriors of that fight earned and were awarded eagle feathers of honor by a grateful community. Indian Country still honors them all in song, dance and prayer as is our way when warriors fight and most of all we honor Leonard Peltier who also gave his life that day.

As a people we should not allow this DeMain character to get away with his smear campaign against our brother. I personally will never spend a dime for his unreliable rag and I hope all who read this will shun him too. There are some decent newspapers in ndn country that will carry our letters telling the truth and there are other ways to refute these lies such as the internet where we can explain to everyone that DeMains lies were prompted by Peltiers lawsuit against him for lying about Anna Mae not by anything this psudo-journalist has learned. He likes to use names like Richard LaCourse who was a real journalist, to make it seem like they agree with him. To my knowledge Richard was a Peltier supporter as so many journalists are in ndn country, DeMain cheapens his memory by linking him to his lies, but, cheap is as cheap does. He also likes to brag about some phony awards he has received for 'journalism', our people need to contact every one of these organizations to protest his yellow journalism as beyond the realm of decency. We may know that DeMain is an unimportant worm but how can non-ndn people know he is lying unless we tell them?

And have no doubt about it my friends, the attack on Leonard Peltier by DeMain is a part and parcel of the ongoing war against AIM, our sovereignty, and our freedom as a people. He, with a few sellouts and assorted cops, are engaged in an anti-ndn crusade because the FBI is desperate to keep the truth under wraps and they are using every weak minded ndn they can co-opt. This crusade began when the Peltier pardon effort was gaining ground and the cops raised vast amounts of money to keep him locked up. They know the release of Peltier might trigger an investigation into the rez murders of the 70's and cause some agents to take Peltiers place behind bars.

In the end my relations we must continue our thirty year effort to bring the truth to light. We must redouble our efforts to free Leonard Peltier from prison and we must continue to work to ensure that the anti-AIM crusade being waged by the FBI and their running dogs does NOT obscure our call for an independent international tribunal to investigate the FBI/GOON "reign of terror" that killed sixty or more Native people during and after Wounded Knee '73'. We must not let the smoke screen the FBI/DeMain group is putting out obscure the truth. Our brother is depending on those of us outside to protect his interests and to continue the fight. Our movement, our organizations and out tribeswomen and men may be divided on many things, but not this, we are unified in our knowledge that Leonard Peltier is being held illegally and we demand with one voice..... FREE LEONARD PELTIER!..... NOW!!!

 I am Carter Camp, Ponca Nation AIM