Magazine article Insight on the News

Lone Voice Confronts the Peltier Myth. (Washington in Brief)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Lone Voice Confronts the Peltier Myth. (Washington in Brief)

Article excerpt

As previously reported in INSIGHT (see "Indian Murders Still Beg the Question of Justice," July 1, 1996), the dust long has been settled in the shooting of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. It was back in June 1975 that agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams were wounded while on a surveillance mission and subsequently shot and killed at point-blank range. Since then Leonard Peltier, currently serving two life sentences for murdering the young agents, has obtained a substantial following of counterculture fans who want him freed. Evidence of the clamor is clear in any search on the Internet, where Peltier fan sites abound.

Current and former FBI agents, as well as many others familiar with the case, feared that in his final days in office former president Bill Clinton might cave to demands of those who promote Peltier as a "political prisoner" whose guilt or innocence hardly is a factor. About this time last year, agents gathered petitions and marched in protest of possible clemency. But Clinton showed his priorities in a flurry of pardons that ignored the counterculture hero, even asking at one point, "Who is Leonard Peltier?"

The clamor for clemency hasn't died down, though. …

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