"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"
Day to Remember Leonard -- 25 Years of Unjust Incarceration -- Protests Planned
This Tuesday marks the 25th year of the unjust imprisonment of Leonard Peltier. Please respond to this injustice by contacting Congress and asking your Representative to investigate inappropriate actions by the FBI and the Prosecution in the case of Leonard Peltier.
The telephone number to reach the
Congressional Switchboard is (202)224-3121.
Specifically ask your Representative for help in the declassification of the 6000 documents pertaining to the Peltier case still being withheld by the FBI. Supporters believe these documents contain evidence that will further expose misconduct in the gaining of Leonard Peltier's conviction. Their disclosure, they say, could lead to Peltier's acquittal. 12,000 FBI documents were released in the early 1980's pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a ballistic test reflecting Peltier's innocence and prompting the Eighth Circuit to conclude: "There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case."
From: Paul Burton
To: Jonathan Mark,
Date: Mon, Jan 29, 2001
RE: Letter from Cong. John W. Olver
here is text of letter Olver sent me.... I've misplaced the original letter but I think the date was 1/24 or 1/25. I think it shows we are having an impact and Olver knows LP has a lot of supporters in our region. We should get R. Neal to get on board and check with Boston LPSG re: other Mass Congressmembers who could present a united front in the effort re: declassification of documents, hearings, etc. Also called Kennedy and Kerry several times over the last two months but got no written response.
Thank you for contacting me with your support for the plight of Leonard Peltier.
As you are aware, prominent human rights activists and government officials have called for a retrial and even amnesty for Leonard Peltier. I fear that due to the chaotic nature of the moment and radically different perspectives of those involved, we may never know the truth about what happened the day two FBI agents were killed in Oglala. What is clear is that the circumstances surrounding Mr. Peltier's conviction reflect very badly on the FBI, and should not be tolerated in a free and equitable society.
Though I respect the feelings of law enforcement officials after losing two of their comrades, I am extremely disturbed by the tactics they used to secure his conviction. I also believe that the political lobbying campaign that the FBI has undertaken to ensure that Peltier stays in jail is entirely inappropriate. Sadly, Mr. Peltier has lost his appeals and is left to await either a presidential pardon, or a parole hearing in 2009.
Please know that I am sympathetic to your concerns. I have lobbied the Justice Department in the past on behalf of Mr. Peltier, and I will continue to look for any opportunity to address the inequities highlighted by his case with your views in mind.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please feel free to contact my office if vou have any further questions or concerns
John W. Olver
Member of Congress
-------------------- End Forwarded Message --------------------
STATEMENT BY LEONARD PELTIER
Greetings Friends and Supporters:
January 20, 2001, was a sad day for all of us. I know that this denial of clemency has affected many of you as much as it has affected both my family and myself. It is a terrible feeling and disappointment knowing that this nightmare has not ended and will continue for many months to come.
When I received the news, I felt my stomach curl and a feeling of nausea rolled over me. It took a while for me to refocus. For some reason I had thought I might be having dinner with my family that night. It was an especially disappointing day for all of us.
What Bill Clinton did to us was cruel. For eight years he ignored my clemency petition despite the major campaign that was waged. Then, just months before leaving office he publicly promised to make a decision on my case, one way or the other. He said he was aware of its importance. The White House gave my attorneys indications that there was a good chance for my clemency to be granted. I had to prepare myself for being released because there was no sign that my petition would be denied.
The LPDC bought me clothes, my grandson prepared his bedroom for me to sleep in and other preparations were made for my homecoming. My friends on Pine Ridge began plans to build me a house. We were literally forced to get our hopes up because we did not want to be unprepared if I was suddenly set free.
January 19, came and still, they kept us in nervous anticipation saying the more difficult clemencies are still being worked on and would be announced the next morning. Then January 20 came and went! The White House never even told us what the decision was. We had to find out through the press that my name was not on the list of clemencies. To leave a person's life and so many peoples' hopes hanging in the balance like that is truly hardhearted.
Since that dark Saturday, I have managed to get up and dust myself off, and begin to lift my spirits once more. I am just as determined now to fight for my freedom as I was on February 6, 1976 when I was first arrested. I will not give up. This is the second time in the span of my incarceration that I made it to the top of the hill and saw that freedom was in view, only to be kicked right back down to the bottom again.
The first time was in 1985, when the evidence used to convict me was impeached and I was denied a new trial, despite Judge Heaney's finding that I might have been acquitted had the jury been presented this evidence. To be denied a new trial after such a finding shocked our network and me just as much as this denial of clemency has. However, we never lose a battle without making some major gains in the overall struggle.
I want to compliment and thank my staff at the LPDC and all of you grassroots supporters who stood beside me and fought so tirelessly for my freedom. You put on one of the strongest and most memorable campaigns I have experienced. Years from now people will read about the accomplishments you made. People from every walk of life worked on this campaign. People from every denomination and belief prayed from every corner of the Earth. Although it feels like our sentiments were shooed away like an irritating fly by a president who did not want to face the consequences of his own mistakes, I believe we put up a serious challenge. We can see who was granted clemency and why. The big donors to the President's campaign were able to buy justice, something we just couldn't afford. Meanwhile, many political prisoners continue to languish unjustly, proof that this nation's talk about reconciliation is nothing but empty rhetoric.
We now have a number of strategies to continue this struggle for my freedom. These ideas are in the early planning stages. I ask you to remain with us while we regroup and develop a thorough plan. We must carefully consider every option and make sure the strategies compliment each other in order to have the best effect. The LPDC will release strategies as they are developed. Some will be released this week.
I also have my own personal plans. I will continue doing artwork and will be looking at ways to make it more available to the public. I will also be working with my friends, Fedelia and Bob Cross, to build a grade school in Oglala. Before my clemency was decided, I began to dream of the different projects I would like to work on in Pine Ridge if I were free. Now that I have been denied, Fedelia and Bob have said they will take the initiative to begin the projects themselves, with my input. Soon, we will be establishing a board and non-profit status.
Bob and Fedelia are schoolteachers and lifetime Oglala residents, and they have the land on which to build the school. They have told me of the desperate need for an improved school in Oglala. The existing school is severely under funded and inadequate and does not provide the kids with the quality education they need and deserve. We have the highest drop out rate of all ethnic groups in the country and part of the reason is the lack of stimulating and challenging programs for the youth.
Another idea I would like to develop is building a small recreation center for Oglala. As most of you know Native health conditions are also probably the worst in the country. We want to change that, beginning with this center. We want the center to have modern exercise equipment, a kitchenette, and card tables. As everyone gathers here to socialize, have coffee, gossip, and play cards, we can encourage them to try the equipment and to begin getting in the habit of exercising and eating healthy foods. I believe it would be a nice place for people to spend time and a good incentive for them to get into better physical condition and stop the trend of diabetes on the reservation. The reservation currently has no facility like this.
If we are successful in establishing these two services, I believe that the community of Oglala will truly benefit. We will then be able to move on to other projects that will bring people together and raise the quality of life. For example, one day I would like to rebuild Jumping Bull Hall so that there will be a drug and alcohol free place where people, especially youth, can gather. We could set it up for a movie theatre and bring in video games. People can watch movies, hold meetings, have birthday celebrations, community meals and dances here. Right now, our youth have no place to go to socialize and I believe this facility could help prevent the hopelessness and despair too many of our young people feel. I would hope that word of these projects would spread to other reservations and others like Fedelia and Bob Cross will be inspired to take on similar ideas which we could help support.
Your ideas, input, and support are welcomed. If you know people who would donate supplies (books, wood, cement, hardware, etc), make financial contributions, or donate their skills and labor, please get in touch with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.
In closing, I want to thank you again for your support and ask that you stand with us in this struggle. I believe that one day in the near future we will succeed. But it can't be done without your support.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Reminder: You can help expose the injustices and support Investigative Hearings by helping to distribute the Peltier May 2000 Congressional Briefing video for community access TV and to share with your family and neighbors. Send $15 per tape to the LPDC:
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC)
PO Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044
To subscribe for LPDC E-mail updates,
send a blank message to < firstname.lastname@example.org >
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
International Day of Protest for the Arrest of Leonard Peltier
This February 6 marks the 25th year of the unjust imprisonment of Leonard Peltier. Human rights leaders and organizations around the world are organizing to respond to the recent denial of Executive Clemency by President Clinton. Many are calling for members of the U.S. Congress to hold investigative hearings regarding violations of Leonard Peltier's Human and Constitutional Rights.
Documented FBI and prosecution misconduct includes terrorizing Myrtle Poor Bear to sign a false affidavit, then committing fraud to the Canadian government by presenting her statement in the Extradition process. They also terrorized and coerced three teenaged boys into giving false testimonies to the grand jury and at the trial. They concealed a ballistics test reflecting Peltier's innocence from the defense, and the FBI expert witness gave distorted testimony to the jury. Yet, they denied Leonard Peltier a new trial on a technicality, with the Judge admitting that a strong doubt was cast on the prosecution's case. Most disturbing is that Leonard Peltier's highly controversial conviction was deeply rooted in one of the most grim chapters of recent American civil rights history, specifically the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror. Between 1973 and 1976 FBI-supported vigilantes terrorized, battered and assaulted scores of Lakota Traditionalists and AIM supporters throughout the Reservation. They burned houses and entire families were wounded by drive-by shootings. With high FBI presence during 1973 to 1976, not one of more than sixty murders was investigated. Why?
In his book, Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance, Leonard Peltier wrote, "Someday the true reasons for their ill-conceived assault, what really was going on, will come out. The answer or answers, if they haven't already been shredded, may lie in those 6,000+ FBI documents they admit having withheld to this day, both from us and from the American public, on grounds of "national security." Lately, I understand, they claim those documents have been "lost." Certainly it was no accident that the day before the gunfight at Oglala, the head of the nontraditional tribal government was signing over to the federal government one-eighth of the Pine Ridge reservation, an area reputedly rich in uranium deposits. Many of us believe that the shoot-out at Oglala was specifically intended as a diversion to conceal that illegal deal, which wasn't revealed to the public for nearly a year. The public furor over the death of the two agents also scotched a planned Congressional investigation of what had happened at Wounded Knee Two in 1973 and the subsequent Reign of Terror on Pine Ridge that led to the Oglala firefight on June 26, 1975."
On this International Day of Protest for the Arrest of Leonard Peltier, February 6, supporters are again demonstrating around the world. The Boston Area Leonard Peltier Support Group will hold a protest at the Government Center from 3 to 6:00 P.M. In Springfield, MA, Arise for Social Justice, Independent, American Indian Movement and the Leonard Peltier Support Group of Greater New England are facilitating a legal demonstration at the Federal Building on Main Street from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Everyone is invited to join this effort for the freedom of Leonard Peltier, which represents truth and reconciliation with the first Americans and the U.S. government. Supporters are encouraged to call the Congressional Switchboard (202) 224-3121 to speak with their Representatives about reviewing the Peltier case, in urgency, due to its importance for human rights, environmental protection and Constitutional freedom for all Americans. For more information reply to email@example.com or contact the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee Tel (785)842-5774 http://www.freepeltier.org
"In the Spirit of Crazy Horse - Free Leonard Peltier"
Artwork by Lahri Bond, $10 lithographic prints available