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Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Lionization of a ‘Cop Killer’ (Leonard Peltier) by a tax subsidized University (American University, Washington DC)



Most decent people hate to read stuff like this, much less think about it.  It sometimes seems hopeless.  What’s that?  Oh, the Leonard Peltier statue erected on the American University campus in Washington DC.  It’s an affront to all decent people, and American University should hear from us.  But, guess what, they couldn’t care less.

Ms. Rebeca Basu, Public Relations Manager for said University put forth the schools justification:
American University regards this statue as an exhibited piece of art and takes no position on the advocacy movement. As part of a major clemency push by supporters in the final days of President Barack Obama's presidency, a 9-foot-tall statue of Native American activist and prisoner Leonard Peltier has been installed at American University Museum to raise awareness for Peltier's plight and pardon request. Peltier, convicted and sentenced in 1977 in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, has maintained his innocence in the 41 years he's been imprisoned, and his conviction has been contested by leading human rights organizations in the United States and beyond.”
Ms. Basu (pictured above), who incidentally looks about 18 years old, has articulated the University’s position.  It sounds pretty harmless doesn’t it?  Did you notice how she frames her statement to illuminate (exaggerate) “Peltier’s plight” and to minimize the University's dubious motives.
Well, let’s see… ‘Peltier’s plight’ is that he is now serving a life sentence for the brutal execution style murder of two FBI Agents – which Ms. Basu passes off in a very sanitized way as “the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents.”  Almost sounds accidental, doesn’t it?  
Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams were working a federal case on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (South Dakota) – an inquiry that had nothing to do with Leonard Peltier.  As the Agents drove along, their car was ambushed from a distance by Leonard Peltier et al.  The Agents' car was quickly riddled with bullets and disabled.  Both Agents were wounded.  They tried to take cover behind their car and return fire, but all they had available were their revolvers and a shotgun.  They were outgunned and had nowhere to hide.  After sustaining numerous wounds and unable to resist any further, Peltier et al approached the Agents who were at that point unarmed and helpless.  The Agents were shot in the head at close range.  One Agent made an attempt to protect his face with his hand, an ineffective defense gesture of submission; but the bullet, of course, passed through his hand and into his face.

Here are the facts of which you should be aware…  A letter sent to American University’s President from the FBI’s Agents’ Association.  And, just who is the illustrious President (the principal decision maker) of said University?  He is Dr. Cornelius M. Kerwin, aka Neil (and pictured below).  I'm sure he is the one who gave Ms. Basu her marching orders.


December 29, 2016

American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016-8060

Dear President Kerwin:

I write today on behalf of the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), a voluntary professional association currently representing over 13,000 active duty and retired FBI Special Agents.

We write to express our concern regarding the decision by American University (AU) to proudly display a statue of convicted murderer Leonard Peltier in an outdoor area, and to announce that decision by repeating slanted and misleading claims about Peltiers’ murder convictions.

The message being sent by AU to FBI Special Agents and their families, past and present, and to all members of the law enforcement community, is both clear and troubling— AU has decided to advance the political arguments of activists with little concern for providing all of the facts or considering the views of law enforcement.

The fact that the display is a political statement, rather than simply a display of art, is made clear in the press materials released by AU in connection with the display.  The AU press release notes that the display is “part of a major clemency push by [Peltier] supporters” and that the installation is intended to “raise awareness for Peltier’s plight and pardon request.”

The press release from AU also includes misleading descriptions of Peltier’s case and a variety of hyperlinks to activist groups that have created a cottage industry dedicated to misleading the public about Peltier. The press release does not, however, mention the names of the murdered FBI agents, the circumstances surrounding their execution, or the exhaustive judicial process already utilized by Peltier.

The FBIAA believes that AU should remove the installation, and that AU has a responsibility to share additional facts with students and the public.

Relevant facts regarding Peltier and his convictions include:

On June 26, 1975, Leonard Peltier was involved in an unprovoked attack on FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams while they were searching for a fugitive on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Both agents were caught in an open field in a deadly crossfire by members of the American Indian Movement. Both agents were critically wounded and then summarily executed with rifle shots at pointblank range, killing them instantly and mutilating their faces.

Leonard Peltier was convicted of first degree murder and aiding and abetting in those murders and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. Through well-over a dozen appeals, twice reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, every aspect of Peltier’s trial has been reviewed in minute detail and his conviction and sentence has been upheld in every instance.

Peltier has been far from a model prisoner, and would never be considered a candidate for clemency but for his status as a political celebrity. Peltier has been punished numerous times for violating prison rules. In 1978, he was involved in an armed escape from Lompoc Penitentiary, during which shots were fired at prison guards. For this post-conviction criminal act, Peltier received an additional seven-year consecutive sentence.

Peltier does not have a credible argument for clemency. One of the requirements for Executive Clemency, as described by the U.S. Attorney’s manual, is that a prisoner has accepted responsibility “for his or her criminal conduct and made restitution to its victims” and that “A petitioner should be genuinely desirous of forgiveness rather than vindication.” Peltier’s supporters, and now AU, have decided to re-litigate the Peltier case rather than satisfy this requirement. AU has repeated the familiar mix of folklore, falsehoods and out-of-context statements that are designed to both exonerate and lionize Peltier in the eyes of the public, rather than show any true remorse regarding the murders of Agents Coler and Williams.

The FBIAA is committed to protecting the Constitution, and we appreciate the right to free expression. However, with that right comes a responsibility to consider the consequences of speech. AU should not use its property to celebrate the man convicted of murdering FBI Special Agents Coler and Williams.”


PS:  One more comment from me regarding ‘freedom of speech’ and the diversity issue on campuses that seems to supersede any semblance of commonsense.

American University is proud to display a statue of Leonard Peltier (convicted cop killer), but would they do the same for someone like General Robert E. Lee?  I don’t think so.  That would be just too controversial and politically incorrect.

To read more details of this case please refer to previous posts:


True Nelson