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elissa feit

As far as where you come down with regards to Peltier, you link to a site that states "AIM members and supporters believed there was a two year 'reign of terror'" . This carries the implication that there wasn't. However, COINTELPRO is widely known and their tactics were neither pretty nor acceptable. AIM was the target of at least a "2 year reign of terror" (that extended an additional 5).

In terms of the stand-off in which Peltier is involved, Wikipedia summarises as follows: "US Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Heaney concluded that Native Americans were partially culpable for the 1975 firefight in which Stuntz, Coler and Williams died, but that the federal government had "overreacted" during and after the 1973 Wounded Knee stand-off. Heaney said that overreaction created a climate of terror that led to the fatal shoot-out." Most of those arrested in fact had their charges dropped.

Furthermore, Peltier was not sentenced to death, so calling for his death is akin to my calling for yours. It's just not right. I'd have no moral standing and I'd certainly have no legal standing. Furthermore, Peltier has already served 30 years. His defense team claim that his sentence violated the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. If this is so, he's already served 12 years too long.


As far as Mumia, *sigh*. You are aware that most evidence points to Mumia being framed, right? What about the recent recantation of a key eyewitness or new ballistic and forensic evidence? How about the confession from Arnold Beverly (one of the actual killers of Officer Faulkner)?


Let's dispose of this quickly:

A) There was no "reign of terror" by the government. Even conceding that COINTELPRO got out of hand, no one was terrorized. AIM was the violent group, not the U.S.

B) Wikipedia is not a credible source. By the way, Coler and Williams were executed at close range while wounded; they did not die in a "firefight."

C) I didn't call for Peltier's death, though I'd be happy if it happened.

D) Mumia was not framed. I've seen a lot of affidavits, and Arnold Beverly's is even less credible than Wikipedia.


Hi CP,
I looked into these cases (Peltier, Mumia) deeper, and what they have in common is

(1) boy.... there's a lot of stuff written from both sides. It's really hard to wade therough. But you're right. The cases are a lot more complex than at first glance. [I rescind the statement about Arnold. I had walked into that one without doing enough research, and in light of what's been written, it seems ... dubious.]

(2) There is a similarity in both cases and that might just be the nature of political prisoners in the U.S.:

- both men were acivists before their alleged crimes. (Please don't interpret my use of the word "alleged" as implying innocence. I'm using it in the purer sense of "crimes attributed to them".)

- there were irregularities in each ones trial, including things like ballistic testings, measurements, etc.

- there was suppression of information from the prosecution's side in each

- neither is asking for clemency. Rather, they have called for "justice", in the legal sense. Mumia is asking for a fair trial. Peltier is asking that Constitutional law reharding parole be applied evenly.

(3) Justice is applied unevenly in the U.S. based on race, class, etc. Police regularly get light sentences. Crimes against police are punished
extremely harshly. (This means that we need to be especially careful not to favor guilty police and innocent bystanders.)

The legal system is based on a logical fallacy: that someone is innocent until proven guilty. Logically, someone is guilty if they are guilty and innocent if innocent. That much is clear. However, the best system we've come up with is that if we assume innocence and force ourselves to prove guilt, then we have the fairest system we can. And as soon as we cut corners based on personal likes/dislikes or political differences, we're all endangered a little.


I strongly disagree with "political prisoner," and a few other details, but I agree with your larger point that justice should be applied fairly, without regard to politics or preference, as much as we find possible.

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