The U.S. government’s historic abuse of Native Americans has many chapters, including modern ones, such as the standoff at Wounded Knee in 1973 and today’s protests against a pipeline in North Dakota, reports Dennis J Bernstein.
By Dennis J Bernstein
A new front in the historic struggle of Native Americans to force the U.S. government to respect their rights is the protest against a pipeline that would go through the territory of a small tribe in North Dakota.
This protest has drawn the support of Dennis J. Banks, the co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who sat down for an interview in San Francisco after helping out with the growing resistance to the pipeline in North Dakota.
Banks was born in 1932 on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. In 1968, he co-founded A.I.M., “which was established to protect the traditional ways of Indian people and to engage in legal cases protecting treaty rights of Native Americans, such as treaty and aboriginal rights to hunting and fishing, trapping, and gathering wild rice.”
In 1972, AIM organized and led the Trail of Broken Treaties Caravan across the United States to Washington, D.C., calling attention to the plight of Native Americans. Banks led a protest in Custer, South Dakota, in 1973 against a judicial process found a non-Indian innocent of murdering an Indian. Banks also participated the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973.
His activities led to his arrest, along with 300 others. Banks was acquitted of charges stemming from his participation in the Wounded Knee takeover, but was convicted of riot and assault stemming from the confrontation at Custer. Refusing to serve time in prison, Banks went underground but later received amnesty from Gov. Jerry Brown of California.
Banks’s autobiography, Sacred Soul, was published in Japan, and won the 1988 Non-fiction Book of the Year Award. He had significant roles in the films “War Party” (1988), “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), and “Thunderheart” (1992). Banks was in San Francisco, as a part of a multi-state tour as a 2016 Vice Presidential Candidate on the Peace and Freedom Party when I interviewed him on KPFA.
Dennis Banks: First of all I want to say thank you to KPFA for allowing for us to come on. We have, when I say we, Native People, we needed Standing Rock, and we needed the people to support us there. As you know, they’re trying to run the pipeline roughshod through a lot of our territories, and we’re scrambling; we thought they were going to win totally, but now, it’s been about nine weeks ago that I first was made aware that there was going to be an encampment going on.
And I kind of followed it at first to see what was going on. It developed, there was 200 people that showed up and made the encampment, and then I was telling my children, I said “Hey, we gotta get involved in this. I don’t know what’s going to happen but we’ve got to get up there.”
Well, my daughters went first, and then they reported back to me, and I realized that something big is going to happen. But I thought at first that the big thing would be that the confrontation would begin quickly, coming to push and shove. But I noticed that the tribal council of Standing Rock had taken a firm, legal action against Dakota Access right away, and that’s when I felt that we could win.
Looking at the brief, looking at the strategy that was going to develop, I thought, “Oh man, this is going to get big.” And I want to say from now, there were 400 people when I first came there, to now seeing on Labor Day weekend, it rose to about 10,000 people. Some say it was 9,500 but we are now listed as the 13th largest village in North Dakota.
And the camp has become a community. And I’ve never seen this kind of support. You know, the struggle with Wounded Knee ended up being a confrontation with the FBI and the U.S. marshals, and weapons and guns. But this one is, oh my God, I’ve never seen and I probably will never see this kind of support again for a really small tribe.
DB: Well, tell us what you saw and more about what moved you?
Banks: Well, first of all, when we reached over, almost close to 1,000 people, the people started to create some learning sessions for a lot of the children that were there. And there was about 15 horses that came there, young boys and girls were riding them. There was a lot of happiness, there was a lot of good feeling. The cooking started to grow, from one big major station, cooking station, where we now have 10 major stations, where they feed the 6,000 – 7,000 people, we’ll feed them within an hour and a half. And that’s how we’re getting it down.
And, also, the children, the learning situation became really vital. And it began to show and become clear that we’re not there just for a couple of days. We’re going to be in it for the long run. Knowing that the teachers–some are retired, some are active teachers in other colleges, universities–they came there to teach for a week. Now some of them have been there for four or five weeks. It’s growing. It’s growing with a sense of huge love. I’ve seen tractor trailers coming in there with logs, with food and warm clothing, and recently, just a lot of warm clothing, and a lot of big tents.
And then I’ve seen also from the first amount of flags. I saw it go from 30 flags, National flags, to now where I’ve seen over 250 flags flying right now, and we’ve got them in formation. It looks like the United Nations, better, bigger than the United Nations.
I rarely hear arguments. And you don’t hear arguments, and yelling and screaming. And we have curfews now because of the kids, the children going to school. And we’re very strict about that. There were some
people that came there, one or two people, and have been asked to leave because we understand that they had warrants for them, in other states. And we don’t want this to be a sanction. We didn’t want to get
involved in it.
DB: You would say that generally this is non-violent resistance with a growing permanence to it?
Banks: Oh yes. And I think that that’s why the support out there is overwhelming. I mean, not only support from the United States but we’re getting support from Japan. We’re getting support from people from Europe, from Brazil, people sending delegations, from the South Seas. We had a delegation of men and women singing songs from Tahiti, Hawaii, places like that. It is absolutely beautiful. I’ve never seen it happen in this way. And I’m lucky that I was chosen to be on some of the committees there.
DB: Tell us about the committees. You’re are on the entertainment committee now?
DB: Tell us about…that seems like a leap from Wounded Knee.
Banks: Yeah, it was interesting in how it came down. I was laughing at it myself. They said, “Well, Banks we’d like to have you on the entertainment committee because you know a lot of entertainers.” And myself and Robbie Romero, we’ve been on that and we’ve contacted people. And we had the chance to talk to Willie Nelson. I’ve known Willie for 30 years. But he said to me “Dennis, I’m just getting too god-damned old for this.” And I said, “Well, Willie can you do a video at home and just send that?” Because we’re going to be airing these things at our big conference hall over at the casino. And we’re bringing in hip hop artists.
DB: So, you’re on the entertainment committee and is there a lot of interest in that community? You mentioned Willie Nelson, are people caring at that level? Is this having reverberations in those sort of places, that have traditionally really supported your work?
Banks: Absolutely, well, Leonard DiCaprio has voiced his concern. He definitely wants to come. He said “I’ve got a tight schedule right now, but let me go over there, my schedule is loose so I can stay a few days.” And, of course, we’re getting Jackson Brown; he wants to come. Also, Kristofferson definitely is going to be there in February. He’s doing a tour. And now he’s going to do almost 3 – 4 months tour. We also need Santana; You know, he’s an old friend of mine.
FIFTEEN MINUTES FOR 15,000 YEARS OF HISTORY
DB: Let me jump in here Dennis. You have taken so many extraordinary actions to call attention to the ongoing genocidal attempt by the United States government to continue to get rid of the Native Peoples of this continent. What’s happening in North Dakota, with them trying to plow into sacred lands, this is nothing short of that. Right?
Banks: Well, yes. And I mean not only the U.S. government but the local states themselves encroaching on Indian land. You know, they’re the ones that agreed to this pipeline coming through. But the Corps of Engineers now they permitted…they gave the permits to North Dakota…And then the Dakota State people said they had consultation with Standing Rock Sioux tribe. And Standing Rock laughed at them and their use of the word “consultation.” The Corps of Engineers calls them up, talks them up for about 15 minutes.
DB: That’s the consultation.
Banks: That’s the consultation, and the tribe has laughed at that.
DB: Fifteen minutes to talk about 15,000 years of history?
Banks: Oh, man. So, that’s why Standing Rock decided to take the Corps of Engineers and Dakota Access Pipeline to court. And that’s where we’re at right now. But one thing which has surfaced since nine weeks ago is the Endangered Species Act. Right now there’s the Grey Wolf that’s in that area. There’s also the Black-Footed Ferret in that area. There’s two kinds of cranes there, Whooping cranes, and the Least Tern (that’s the name of that one), and then the Sturgeon and others have also been identified. The EPA said there’s a list which contains probably about four more [endangered species]. And we’re eventually going to have to consider filing an action under the EPA. Now, I say this because I hope it gets word out to them, I hope somebody knows this and tells these guys they’re are on the wrong side of history. And we’re not going to give into this.
And even though there are helicopters flying around, buzzing around, the APC’s running around there, the armored personnel carriers. And even though we see the military uniforms around there now, nobody is going away. And, as a matter of fact, they’re staying: people, men, women, and children. As I said this is a huge step. It was in the struggle of Wounded Knee, and the Longest Walk, and now in what’s happening at Standing Rock. We needed Standing Rock, we need Standing Rock. And when that thing started to build, and I first said to my children “Hey, we gotta get involved with this.” And we’re 5.5 hours away: We drove over there. Well, as I said earlier my daughters drove over first and reported back to me. They said, “Dad, we need you over Here.”
DB: Well, you know, I have to say this, and again, forgive me, but it’s an honor to have you in the studio, Dennis Banks. I want to say that Wounded Knee planted the seeds, and this is the tree growing. This is one of the trees growing out of that. I’m…I consider myself a tree of Wounded Knee because it was this incredible action that you led with extraordinary people like Leonard Peltier, that gave us hope and courage, and a much broader understanding of what was at stake, and what had happened to the Native Peoples. So that planted the seed.
BANKS: Well, you know, I was going to say, by the way, I know your name so I was going to say jokingly you know with your first name, my last name, we could go into business, you know T.V., or radio station. “Hello, good morning Dennis. Hello Dennis. How are you doing, Dennis?”
DB: I’d be happy to join you on that endeavor, Dennis. The Dennis and Dennis show..it wouldn’t be a Jew and a Sioux, would it?
Banks: Uh Ho!
DB: That’s me, the Jew, I bring that up because we have a lot of visits from Bill Means. You know he’s sort of a regular contributor here, and they all sorta gave me the nickname Burnstick, you know, like holds the light up to the stories that matter.
Banks: There’s a family guy named Burnstick.
DB: Oh, yeah? I guess it makes sense. I want to ask you finally about your work, and the way you have decided to do your work, which is to take, shall we say, long walks. You walk to call attention to that which you believe in, and are actively trying to effect change. Issues such as freeing Leonard Peltier, and crucial issues of health, having to do with diabetes, and the epidemic in the indigenous communities, and the restoration of Jim Thorpe’s medals. Could you talk a little bit about why you walk, how that works for all the commitments, all the things you’ve decided to fight for? Why do you walk?
Banks: I just finished my eighth walk across the country. But I feel that when you’re walking, of course, you begin to meditate, you begin to think there’s this person that needs help, that person, needs support, you know, so you offer your prayers for that person. And walking, and fasting, and running events are to me a form of meditation. And, you know, you’re in your deep, your own thoughts when you’re out there running or walking. No one is communicating with you and so you’ve got to then engage yourself into “what can I do while I’m walking?”
DB: And you tend to really tune into your own breath…
BANKS: Absolutely. And sometimes you realize what faults you have, and you know then you’ve gotta…you know, when I get through running today I think I’m going to call so-and-so and just say “I’m sorry for how I’ve acted all these years.” I’ve done that. I’ve done that many times. I drank in my life. I used to drink, not hard times, but they’d say “Banks are you drunk again?” You know, guys who I call. And [I] say, “Look I’m sorry how I acted.” I try to be not that person who is angry.
DB: But Wounded Knee, and the trial in particular, was certainly worth getting angry about? It made a lot of people angry–all the government corruption and intimidation of witnesses. And the trial was a huge wake up call for you and AIM, that carries you right into the present, to your current work at Standing Rock.
Banks: During the trial at Wounded Knee […] the judge asked each FBI agent, “What was your specific job at Wounded Knee?” And one of them–and I used to just sit there and just listen, not even, sometimes not listen–and then all of a sudden the agent said, “My job was to bring down Dennis Banks.” And that’s when I got up and looked up–I woke up.
DB: He got your attention.
Banks: Yeah. So the judge says, “Was your job to shoot Dennis Banks?” And he said, “No, your honor. My job was to bring down Dennis Banks.” He says, “Well, you didn’t mean to kill him?” And he says, “No, your honor, I meant to bring down Dennis Banks.” And the judge became very angry. And he says, “Well, obviously you failed to bring down Dennis Banks because there he sits today.” He says, “Yes, your honor, but I tried.” “How many times did you try?” “I tried seven times to bring him down.” And oh, this guy had me in his scope. And when he got off the stand while he was walking out of the courtroom, and before he got to the door, he just turned to me and says, “I’m sorry, Mr. Banks, but that was only a job I had.”
DB: The FBI agent apologized, just doing my job.
Banks: Yeah. […] But AIM has learned a lot from Standing Rock. And I think when this is over I think the pipeline will back away, and I think that they will realize that this is not going to go away, and these guys are here for the long run, and we are. And, you know, we’ll outlast these pipeline people. We’ll outlast the pipelines that are under our ground already, in our water. And we’ll be here. We’re in this for the long haul.
DB: I guess you’ve been here a long time. I keep hearing these words from the elders at Standing Rock: We are the land, we are the water. I didn’t move, here I am here.
Banks: Dennis, when I say that I am part mountain, they might not understand that. And when I say I’m part buffalo, and I’m part eagle, and I’m part rose, the flower, I’m part maple tree, oak tree maybe then they’ll begin to understand that we are part of Mother Earth, all of us. Whatever the ingredients are that make up Mother Earth, that’s us. We also have, even the little bit partials of gold, that is running through our system. And we are part sun, we are part moon, we are part Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon. And when people began to understand that kind of thinking then they will understand who we are, as Native People.
And, you know, we didn’t choose to be protectors of the water. We didn’t choose to be protectors of the Earth, protectors of water, protectors of the ground, protectors of the buffalo, and the species that have been endangered, the species that have been obliterated from this Earth, but we are. And we still carry on that responsibility.
Yes, some of us are lawyers, some of us are doctors, some of us are activists, some of us are ditch diggers. But when we go to bed at night we are still that person with those responsibilities and duties. And that’s what makes us who we are. And I am, as I was in Wounded Knee, I was proud, I was not afraid of the FBI or the bullets, or the marshals and their guns, and APCs. It only made me kind of stronger. Because I said “Wow, if Dennis Banks or if the American Indian Movement is that big [that] they’ve gotta quash us with all this hardware, military hardware, then we must be rubbing someone the wrong way.” And maybe they will finally see it in the end. But not our end. Maybe they’ll see it on their end.
DB: When they are threatened with their end.
Banks: Yep, so that’s why I tell my children, even today, “Stay away from the wood ticks, lunatics and politics.”
A PLEA TO FREE LEONARD PELTIER
DB: Obama could still do something extraordinary. He could free Leonard Peltier. [Peltier is a Native American activist who was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison for allegedly shooting two FBI agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.]
Banks: Oh, yes, absolutely.
DB: If he has the courage and the belief. He certainly has the legal background to understand exactly what the situation is.
Banks: I had some hope that he would do that. And I still have hope that as he leaves office that he could do this. The parole board said they don’t want to release him because he hasn’t shown remorse. How can you show remorse for something you didn’t do?
The real culprit in this is the manufacturing of evidence against Peltier that put him in prison. And even the federal judge, on the bench of the 8th Circuit Court wrote to the president, wrote to President Bush, the first, H.W. Bush, and said “Release Peltier, after all it was the government that started that fight.” And in the first, the jury, the first trial against the other two that were charged, they were charged with aiding and abetting. And they used the self-defense theory. And the judge allowed them to use it. And they proved that the government came in there shooting and the jury found them not guilty.
But the judge in the next case, against Peltier, ruled that they could not use…the self-defense theory[…]. And Peltier was charged with aiding and abetting. But yet he was prosecuted as if he was the shooter. And even at the end he says, “And so Peltier shoots, takes his rifle and shoots [FBI agent Jack R.] Coler, and he aims it at [FBI agent Ronald A.] Williams, and he kills them both.” He was charged as the shooter. And he was convicted of a double murder. And he sits in prison today for something that he did not do.
DB: Can I ask you too…we’ve got about a minute. If you were sitting with Obama right now and you’re making the case – it’s time to stand up and release Peltier. What would you say to him?
Banks: I would say, Mr. President, other presidents have left a legacy of greatness, and down through history people do certain things that bring greatness. I think one of those acts would be to set a man free, and let that be your legacy.
Dennis J Bernstein is a host of Flashpoints on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.
Thank you, once again, Robert Parry for hosting this discussion of one of our country’s greatest tragedies. The deceitful and violent treatment by our elected officials of Native Americans. And the further violence that this precipitated including Wounded Knee which I know exceedingly little about.
Native Americans have been cruelly and viciously victimized since the first landing of Europeans. And I learn from the comments here that young men working for the enforcement arm of our error prone “deciders” in our federal government were victims too.
I feel I will never know what really happened. But the comments by people here who mourn the death of the young FBI agents raise questions.
Reading through a bit in the links offered, I still don’t feel that I understand what happened.
Do we know for sure whether the 2 young wounded FBI agents were still alive when the other agents from the FBI arrived on the scene later?
There’s no good answers to this tragedy.
But once again we have decisions made in Washington on behalf of the people of this country without any public input whatsoever. Without any public discussion of policy. And secretive actions taken at the highest levels in government that are wrongheaded, destructive and that violate our highest constitutional ideals. Take for example Waco, which the Clinton administration handled criminally and the repercussions from that. Another horror story.
So this article is painful but welcome as an expansion to the extra ordinary coverage of foreign policy.
As was the recent article on police shootings in Los Angeles.
American citizens can’t be bothered right now…get back with you later…..maybe
Dennis Banks: Still fighting to keep from being indicted for condemning Anna Mae Pictou Aquash to death in November 1975.
Leonard Peltier: The man who put a loaded gun in Anna Mae’s mouth during one of her interrogations (about six months before John Graham put a bullet in her head) and who now finds it easy to con ideologues into believing his lies, his changing alibis, and the myth of his innocence. There is a reason why every single judge who reviewed his case concluded that inmate Peltier was fairly tried and fairly convicted, even without considering new evidence about his guilt and his boast. But don’t expect his supporters to be informed, or even factual. The rest of us are not fooled by the Bernie Madoff of political prisoners.
“… the greater probability is that you yourself fired the fatal shots… It would be unjust to treat the slaying of these F.B.I. agents, while they lay wounded and helpless, as if your actions had been part of a gun battle. Neither the state of relations between Native American militants and law enforcement at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation prior to June 26, 1975, nor the exchanges of gunfire between individuals at the Jumping Bull Compound and the law enforcement agents who arrived there during the hours after Agents Coler and Williams were murdered, explains or mitigates the crimes you committed…Your release on parole would promote disrespect for the law in contravention of 18 U.S.C….”
Leonard Peltier’s 1993 Parole Board, commenting on his aiding and abetting conviction.
This article seems to have attracted a flock of Mockingbirds. Butler and Robideau were acquitted. Peltier was convicted because he executed Coler and Williams after the firefight was over. As for if Dennis Banks “ordered” Anna Mae’s murder, an absolutist position that he did is suspicious in itself. I am not advocating Bank’s innocence in the matter because I do not know, and neither does “John Timbach”. A “snitch-jacketing” operation is used to both break morale and to conceal real informants. Who came up with the idea that the obviously guileless Anna Mae was an FBI informant? Could it be a real FBI informant? Who “gave the order” the night Anna Mae was murdered? Could it be a real FBI informant?
Ask anyone familiar with the situation at the time and they will tell you that no one could have touched a hair on Anna Mae’s head, the woman Banks had seduced, without his knowledge and consent. Banks, never the sharpest knife in the drawer, assumed that Anna Mae was responsible for the Marlon Brando motorhome bust. But of course the truth is, Anna Mae did not betray the AIM leadership. They betrayed her. Banks is on record as saying that back then, when he wanted to get rid of someone, he would say, “Take care of [that person]” and everyone knew what that meant. Two weeks after Banks took off in the motorhome, abandoning his pregnant wife and child and Anna Mae on the highway, she was delivered to Bill Means’ house beaten, raped and tied up with a note that said, “Take care of the baggage.” Like Peltier’s idiotic assumption that the agents were there to arrest him, Banks assumed that Anna Mae was some sort of secret agent. Peltier is answering for his crimes, but Banks still runs from the truth.
Many thanks to Robert Parry for publishing this article at this time. Thanks, as well to Dennis J Bernstein and Pacifica Radio for their excellent reporting.
I’m a big fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the very significant intellectual environment around Concord, Massachusetts during the lives of Mr.Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and as deeply as I respect their philosophy, they offered almost no commentary about the people beyond TheWalden Pond of their day. Likewise Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries imagined all that land to the West as simply uncharted and thus available. Even now, the indigenous people are largely a mystery to America. But if you carefully read this interview you’ll get a sense of Dennis Banks’ decency his “religion”and his wisdom. Clearly there is an important and timely environmental demonstration going on in North Dakota and it represents another opportunity for all of us to better understand our contemporary life in a way that our forebearers could not.
Sad. Uninformed. Almost criminally uninformed. You did not ask Banks about his part in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash Pictu. Why not? Or the other murders at AIM WK”. Why not? Or the destruction, defecations, robberies of American Indian homes at WK”. Why not? And leonard Peltier? Who has been convicted of, and sat through more than a dozen well-funded appeals and who remains guilty to this day of the cold murder of two young FBI agents. Why not? Of all the people on earth you could have interviewed about the Pipeline Protest, you went deep, deep into the sewer to find one Dennis Bank$. I don’t know if you should be ashamed of being so poorly informed or if you are just incompetent. Shame on everyone involved in this fantasy of an interview. Like Bank$, I am Ojibwe myself and no one around here wants to see him or hear from him. Ask him why he is an outcast in his own tribal nation.
H. Odayin, you say “I am Ojibwe myself”(not Ojibwa???), and you use the phrase “cold murder of two young FBI agents”? Perhaps your totem animal is “The Mockingbird”. You should be aware that Special Agents Coler and Williams were engaged in long term high-handed behavior by orders of their superiors that was so provocative it seems designed to provoke a violent reaction by AIM members(and I fault AIM for falling for it). Anna Mae Aquash’s murder was a reprehensible crime, but was the result of AIM falling for the FBI technique of “Snitch-Jacketing”(the Panthers, being young fell for it too). The AIM leadership was both too young and lacked the hierarchal command and control system neccesary for their operations. Banks was 43, to young for supreme leadership, and Peltier, under 30, was absurdly young for his position as Counter-Intel Operative. Counter-Intel under the conditions of a snitch-jacketing operation requires the supreme cool and slyness only a man in his 60’s possesses. AIM certainly was penetrated by FBI informants who were protected by the snitch jacketing operation, one(can’t remember his name) reached a very high position and was ejected publicly from AIM, not killed. So why was Anna Mae murdered when there was no evidence she was an FBI informant? The killers received their orders from a mid-level operative, who might have been a FBI informant himself, protected by an atmosphere of paranoia and “omerta”. Of course this is conjecture on my part, but something smells funny to me, not that I forgive Banks for his command failure, but I am not convinced he gave the “go-head” and I have been around too long to be fooled by appearances.
On Solidarity with Standing Rock, Executive Clemency and the International Indigenous Struggle by Leonard Peltier – http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/16/on-solidarity-with-standing-rock-executive-clemency-and-the-international-indigenous-struggle/ – This article has a link to help get clemency for Leonard Peltier.
Clemency for serial liar and murderer Peltier will NEVER happen. Anyone who is actually familiar with the real and actual facts of the case knows this. Don’t fall for the Peltier Myth Machine. He will die in prison, as he should. There is a sucker born every minute and Peltier prays for them daily. Try THIS LINK instead if you are interested in the truth: http://www.noparolepeltier.com
Thank you for presenting the other side. I’ll check it out and give it some thought. One of the problems for the FBI and their supporters in persuading the public to accept their version of this and similar incidents stems from the fact that in addition to having some of the finest citizens among its ranks the FBI also has opposites that severely tarnish its image and reputation. It is a common characteristic of many people that they will be more affected by the bad cops that provoke fear rather than being inspired by the good cops.
To Bill Bidden, and H.Odayin, the noparolepeltier site is excellent with the facts but ruins it with an overheated bias. Butler and Robideau were acquitted(self-defense), but the site pretends the verdict was somehow wrong, an absurd position to take while supporting Peltier’s guilt. What is ignored by Peltier’s supporters is he was convicted of the very close range(contact range) execution of the two wounded FBI agents, after the firefight had ended and Butler, Robideau, and Peltier were able to walk right up to them. Cartridge cases from Butler and Robideau were only found at their defensive positions. The two FBI agents were shot in the head at contact range by .223 bullets, three rounds. One 223 cartridge case was found in the trunk of an agents car. It is presumed the shootist recovered the other two but could not find that one. Only Peltier used an AR-15 that day, and an “extractor match” was made with the bolt of an AR-15 found in Robideau’s car. This is a thin but sturdy reed and will convict anyone. Remember, Peltier was not convicted of being in the firefight, but of the execution after, a critical distinction. Even soldiers in war can be convicted of murder in the same circumstances. Peltier could have been convicted merely by the presence of numerous 223 cases at his defensive position and the 223 headshots.