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Bono Mack Campaign: Ruiz Knew About Peltier Letter

Congresswoman's camp reveals audio recording of challenger reading a letter of support to jailed Native American leader Leonard Peltier.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack's office has released what they billed at a press conference as "dramatic new information of importance to all voters" in the district.

The new information was audio of Dr. Raul Ruiz, then a college student, makring remarks in the 1999 National Day of Mourning.  During the remarks, Ruiz read a letter of support to Leonard Peltier from a member of a Mexican Libearation Army.  

During the debate between Ruiz and Bono Mack, the challenger said he "could not remember" reading the letter in 1999.  

The Congresswoman's camp said that "Raul Ruiz has said he does not recall reading a letter in support of Leonard Peltier, that he does not support Leonard Peltier, but this recording leaves no doubt that Ruiz read this letter,emotionally supporting a convicted killer of FBI agents,” according to Marc Troast, political director for the Mary Bono Mack campaign. “He proclaims support not only for Peltier, but for Mumia abu Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer.”

Late Thursday afternoon, Ruiz spokesman Patrick Boland told Palm Desert Patch, "Congresswoman Bono Mack finally seems to understand that voters are appalled by her record on the issues that matter to them like the economy and Medicare, so now she’s resorting to personal attacks that have no relevance to this race.

"There's nothing new in Congresswoman Bono Mack's personal attack today – Dr. Ruiz does not support Leonard Peltier, and he believes that anyone who kills an FBI agent should be punished to the full extent of the law. Dr. Ruiz attended a pro-Native American event because he feels passionately about the importance of Native American heritage, and while he does not remember reading the letter at that event, he must have been asked to do so, and was caught up in the moment.

"The Congresswoman's shameful attacks – calling Dr. Ruiz un-American for standing up for Native American heritage – are proof of how much she’s become part of the Washington politics of personal destruction. Instead of debating the issues that matter to voters, she’s resorting to smears about Dr. Ruiz’s days as a student. Her constituents – including many of the Native Americans she’s supposed to represent – are calling on her to stop her smear campaign. "

You can listen the to full remarks on Bono Mack's website.

Michael Harrington October 22, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Mr. Simon, when was this made public, the witness that overheard the confession?
David Rothmiller October 22, 2012 at 06:53 PM
The preponderance of witness coercion is too high to ignore. Of the 40 Native Americans and over 100 FBI agents in the firefight, only Peltier is in prison... Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada on February 6, 1976, along with Frank Blackhorse, a.k.a. Frank Deluca. The United States presented the Canadian court with affidavits signed by Myrtle Poor Bear who said she was Mr. Peltier’s girlfriend and allegedly saw him shoot the agents. In fact, Ms. Poor Bear had never met Mr. Peltier and was not present during the shoot-out. Soon after, Ms. Poor Bear recanted her statements and said the FBI threatened her and coerced her into signing the affidavits.
Robert October 22, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Mary Mack is stuck on some things that Raul Ruiz did in his college years. Mary Mack probably does not remember her college years...maybe she never had to protest against unjust practices, ideals, and so forth. Sometimes, young people do not make the best choices when it comes to protesting. People need to read why people protest at Plymouth Rock and other places. Ruiz was not the first to protest aganisnt the wrongs that had been done to Native Americans. People, research and read...become informed!!! read this article: National Day of Mourning 2010 http://www.openmediaboston.org/node/1561 In addition, read... "Every November since 1975, Indian people have gathered on Alcatraz Island on what is called "Un-Thanksgiving Day" to honor the occupation and those who continue to fight for Native American rights today" (http://www.pbs.org/itvs/alcatrazisnotanisland/activism.html) Should the Native Americans that continue honor this fight for rights be called 'un-American'?
James Simon October 22, 2012 at 09:09 PM
And thank God that's NOT how justice works in this country. Mob rule went out with the king and the gallows... and mass ignorance has no place in a court of law. As for coercion, the judges did find a reason why some of the witnesses who testified about Peltier wanted to change their testimony: “The two witnesses testified outside the presence of the jury that after their testimony at trial, they had been threatened by Peltier himself that if they did not return to court and testify that their earlier testimony had been induced by F.B.I. threats, their lives would be in danger.” United States v. Peltier, 585 F. 2d 314, U.S. App. Decision September 14, 1978 The evidence, not popular culture, points to Peltier's guilt.
David Rothmiller October 22, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Therein lies my belief that Dr. Ruiz should have immediately renounced Mary Mack's tactic of throwing a Red Herring into the ring. This is not the time to re-debate Peltier's case. What Ruiz did, or did not do, in college is not the issue. Otherwise, what was young Mary Whitaker doing in college? Should we send truffle pigs rooting through her history? There are likely a few truffles undug. The short story is: While in college, Raul Ruiz stood up for Native American rights through active protest. He should not apologize for it.

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