"News Fit to Transmit in the Post Cassini Flyby Era"
Demand Investigations of the FBI -- Including the Case of Leonard Peltier
"There can be no due process, there can be no such thing as an open government, there can be no real justice or democracy when an agency as powerful as the FBI can, decade after decade, break the laws it vows to uphold with no repercussions. The cases covered in the media lately are only the tip of the iceberg." Leonard Peltier
1) Demand Investigations of the FBI, including the case of Leonard Peltier
Recent revelations of FBI misconduct have prompted Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa to call for "top to bottom" investigations of the FBI. The :Leonard Peltier Defense Committee is appealing for your support for investigations and push for the inclusion of the Peltier case.
Write and call your local Representative and your two Senators, and send copy of your letters to Senator Schumer and Senator Grassley.
Following is a sample letter.
(If either Schumer or Grassley is one of your Senators, please adapt the letter by thanking them, encouraging them, and urging them to include Peltier in any push for investigations.)
Dear Senator/Congressman _____________,
I am writing to express my firm support for "top to bottom" investigations of the FBI as called for by both Senator Schumer and Senator Grassley. There is an obvious pattern of FBI misconduct involving the withholding of evidence and obstruction of justice which must be examined and halted. Such conduct puts in jeopardy our nation's concepts of democracy, open government, and equal justice.
I am especially concerned with the FBI's treatment of Leonard Peltier, the Native American human rights activist, who Amnesty International calls a "political prisoner" who should be "immediately and unconditionally released." Mr. Peltier has been imprisoned for over twenty-five years, following his highly controversial conviction of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents. During Mr. Peltier's trial, the FBI and U.S. Prosecutors emphatically swore that every FBI document had been handed over to the defense. Yet, years later a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit would force the release of over 12,000 FBI documents which had been withheld. Had the jury been able to consider much of this evidence at trial, I have no doubt that Mr. Peltier would be free today.
Critical to his case among those documents withheld from his defense and jury, was a formerly concealed ballistic test, which proved that the fatal bullets could not have come from the gun tied to Mr. Peltier at trial. The exposure of the test prompted the U.S. Prosecutor to admit during subsequent oral arguments, "we can't prove who shot those agents". Yet, a new trial was denied on technical grounds, even though the court found that, "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." The judge who authored the denial now supports Mr. Peltier's release.
To make matters worse, the FBI continues to withhold over 6000 documents pertaining to the Peltier case today. We are convinced that these files contain even more critical information.
We also note that Mr. Peltier's conviction is deeply rooted in the Pine Ridge "Reign of Terror." During this period, the FBI cooperated with vigilantes who killed over 60 members and supporters of the American Indian Movement and terrorized, assaulted and battered scores of others.
Given all of the above, I am asking you to press for a thorough and bi-partisan investigation of the FBI, which will include a comprehensive examination of the Peltier case, including the subpoena of 6000 FBI documents still withheld today.
Thank you for your actions and consideration to this urgent matter.
c.c. Senator Grassley; Senator Schumer
Senator Charles Schumer
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Senator Charles Grassley
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
For contact information to write to your Senators and Representative, visit:
You can call via the Congressional Switch Board: 202-224-3121.
2) Leonard Peltier's Statement Regarding FBI Abuses
Greetings Brothers, Sisters, Friends and Supporters,
I am writing this statement in the midst of controversy surrounding the FBI's withholding of 3000 documents pertaining to the case of Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing. This incident is only one of many revelations of grave FBI misconduct in recent weeks, all of which expose very serious violations of the Constitution and severe abuse of power by the FBI.
In Boston, what started with suspicions that FBI Agent, John Connolly was involved in money laundering and racketeering led to the exposure of much more. As it turned out, almost the entire Boston office was involved in a heavy scheme, which protected notorious gangsters, who were allowed to murder with impunity in exchange for information. That office even put two innocent men, men they knew were innocent and who they very purposefully framed, in prison in order to keep their informants free from prosecution. These innocent men served thirty years in prison and were only released after previously hidden FBI documentation was uncovered. What is worse is, it all could have been prevented. FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick says he reported the misconduct early on, and was ignored. How much time will the agents responsible serve in prison? What will be done to prevent this type of official criminal behavior from reoccurring? If history is any clue, not too much at all unless we take a firm stand against these types of FBI abuses.
Meanwhile, media coverage of Thomas Blanton's conviction for the racist murder of four young girls, which occurred some 38 years ago, is widespread. Since 1965 the FBI knew exactly who the murderers were, and they hid the information. They protected KKK members who murdered children. What will happen to these former agents? How will the FBI be held accountable for their complicit role in such heinous activities? These violations are most serious. There can be no due process, there can be no such thing as an open government, there can be no real justice or democracy when an agency as powerful as the FBI can, decade after decade, break the laws it vows to uphold with no repercussions. The cases covered in the media lately are only the tip of the iceberg.
There are many, many more well documented incidences of FBI abuses. It is up to the public to hold the FBI accountable. Clearly, no system of checks and balances is in place and the media rarely reports FBI misconduct unless politicians and judges condemn it first, in which case it is usually too little too late. Don't let these latest disclosures deteriorate into "flash in the pan" news stories. An effort must be forged to stop FBI abuses, and to gain recognition that these are continuations of an all too common pattern.
The FBI unfairly targeted Wen Ho Lee, withheld evidence about Waco, and botched its handling of the Ruby Ridge incident. In 1998 the Los Angeles FBI crime lab was exposed for it's routine tampering of evidence, especially in high profile cases. In 1997 Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt was released after 27 long years of unjust imprisonment - yet another FBI frame-up. In 1990 Judi Bari's car was bombed, and again, the FBI hid evidence proving the bomb had been planted. Instead of finding the perpetrators, they criminally charged the Earth First! activist, who was left crippled for life. (Find out more about this case at www.judibari.org).
Of course, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation the FBI allowed, and further supported, the murderous GOON squads. Year after year I sit through meaningless parole hearings where I am told that I must take responsibility for a crime I did not commit. All the while, the faces of my brothers and sisters who were killed during that era, loom in my head, as I suppress my bitterness over such blatant discrimination and injustice. One day I know, this too will be recognized and exposed as a result of the efforts of the people. Officials will likely act surprised and outraged, even though we have been telling them all along about what we have experienced and witnessed.
Friends, I am not writing this statement out of bitterness, but out of alarm. When will these kinds of abuses be stopped? When will we overcome our fear of the FBI and say, never again. Not one more innocent person in prison, not one more political prisoner, not one more unnecessary death? If the FBI thought that Martin Luther King was a threat to the "American way of life" then we must ask, what way of life do they defend, and do the American people want the FBI to act on their behalf?
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
For more information contact:
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044