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Geffen's Law Enforcement Agenda?
Thursday, 22 February 2007 22:53
by Larry C. Johnson
Normally I steer clear of the political back and forth but wanted to offer a perspective on the dust up pitting the campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton against that of Senator Barak Obama. Stuck in the middle is Mr. David Geffen. Maureen Dowd's column yesterday had this key observation:

They fell out in 2001, when Mr. Clinton gave a pardon to Marc Rich after rebuffing Mr. Geffen’s request for one for Leonard Peltier. “Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?” Mr. Geffen says. “Yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in. Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”
That boys and girls is the heart of the matter - Leonard Peltier. Geffen and other fans of Peltier pushed hard to get him a pardon. President Clinton, confronted with a strong FBI counter protest, sided with law enforcement. Personally, I'm with the FBI on this but I know this is a hot button item among some in the Hollywood Hills.

I asked an FBI buddy about the Peltier matter because I did not pay much attention to it back then. He wrote:
Peltier has stated that Clinton was offered a $30 million a year job by Spielberg and Geffen to be the attorney for Dream Works. When Clinton denied Peltier’s clemency, that job went away. Understanding that Peltier has a difficult time with the truth, I don’t know how accurate Peltier’s comment is.
If Peltier was telling the truth, this means that Clinton was not willing to sell off his integrity on this issue. My buddy went on to say:
The Leonard Peltier Defense Fund and similar organizations/groups have been quite active over the past decades. Likewise, the “No Parole For Peltier” organization (run by former FBI Agents) ( http://www.noparolepeltier.com/index.html ) has been very vocal in opposing his parole and in countering falsehoods spread by those who seek his parole. As you can imagine this is a very hot button issue with current and former Agents.

Peltier has many supporters in Hollywood, as well as with the more liberal associations of professionals and with Members of Congress. Some Members of Congress who have written to then President Clinton requesting clemency for Peltier include Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Jr., Constance Morella, Wyche Fowler, Edward Markey, Leon Panetta, Mickey Leland and Shirley Chisholm. The National Lawyers Guild and the United University Professions are two of the groups who also wrote to Clinton requesting clemency. Former Congressman, and former FBI Agent (UGH!!!), Don Edwards has criticized the FBI for opposing Peltier’s parole.
This makes for an interesting question Senator Obama has not yet answered - is he willing to pardon Leonard Peltier? If so it raises the specter of a Senator willing to bow to wealthy benefactors and will certainly raise major hackles in the law enforcement and national security community. If he says no he may face some new fund raising challenges. Let's see if anyone in the press has the stones to ask the question.

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Comments (1)add comment

a guest said:

Congressional Support for Peltier Overstated
While I cannot assess the accuracy of the other parts of the author's friends statements, I think that the statements regarding Congressional support are overstated. Rep. Mickey Leland (D-TX) died in an airplane crash in 1989, and therefore was not in a position to write Clinton at the end of his term in 2000 urging a pardon. Rep. Shirley Chisolm (D-TX)retired in 1983, and thus was also not in the House when the effort to get Clinton to pardon Peltier took place. Wyche Fowler served in the House from 1977 to 1986, and then in the Senate from 1987 until he was defeated for re-election in 1992. Leon Panetta was in Congress from 1977 until he became Bill Clinton's OMB Director (in 1993) Chief of Staff (1994-97). He wasn't in Congress at the end of the Clinton Administration, and I seriously doubt he got involved in the Peltier affair. In light of this, I would also be somewhat suspicious of the claims regarding the other listed Members -- Markey, Conyers, and Morella.
February 23, 2007
Votes: +0

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