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President Obama Must Free Leonard Peltier!

Society & Culture  (tags: Indians, Native Americans, American Indians, AIM, Leonard Peltier, obama, government, GoodNews, ethics, cover-up, propaganda, americans, corruption, crime, constitution, freedoms, culture, society, ethics, freedoms, interesting, humans, politics, rights )

- 3432 days ago -
The welcome news that President Obama is taking steps to shut Guantanamo and right other Bush-era human rights abuses must quickly be joined by a proclamation of freedom for Leonard Peltier...

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kat yazzie (400)
Friday January 23, 2009, 11:16 am

President Obama must free Leonard Peltier
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
January 23, 2009

The welcome news that President Obama is taking steps to shut Guantanamo and right other Bush-era human rights abuses must quickly be joined by a proclamation of freedom for Leonard Peltier.

Peltier is the nation's best-known native activist and has become a global symbol of abject injustice and prison abuse. Imprisoned in the late 1970s for allegedly murdering two FBI agents, Peltier has never been given a fair trial. Federal authorities have quashed or destroyed thousands of pages of evidence that might have freed Peltier decades ago.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee points out that "Amnesty International considers Leonard Peltier to be a political prisoner whose avenues of redress have long been exhausted....Amnesty International recognizes that a retrial is no longer a feasible option and believes that Leonard Peltier should be immediately and unconditionally released."

The committee adds that" Documents show that although the prosecution and government pointed the finger at Peltier for shooting FBI agents at close range during the trial in 1976, for three years the prosecution withheld critical ballistic test results proving that the fatal bullets could not have come from the gun tied to Leonard Peltier. This trial also denied evidence of self defense."

The committee further states that: "the U.S. Prosecutor, during subsequent oral arguments, stated: "we can't prove who shot those agents. And that the Eighth Circuit 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 committee also says that "Judge Heaney, who authored the denial now supports Mr. Peltier's release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to gain Mr. Peltier's conviction."

Now 64 years old, Peltier is suffering from diabetes and a series of other serious ailments brought on by his decades in prison. He has great grandchildren he has never seen. His case is the centerpiece of the book IN THE SPIRIT OF CRAZY HORSE by Peter Matthiessen.

Reports from Betty Peltier-Solano, Leonard's sister, now assert that Peltier was severely beaten during a recent transfer to the Canaan Federal Penitentiary. According to Peltier-Solano, he has been held in solitary confinement and limited to a single meal a day, a serious threat to his health due to his diabetes.

Over the decades Peltier has been a model prisoner, concentrating on his art and writing. His commitment to native American rights has been consistent throughout the years, though he's been repeatedly denied media access.

Peltier is eligible for parole in the near future. His supporters fear this latest round of abuse may be designed to discredit him. The FBI recently sent a letter accusing Peltier of prompting this latest attack. Given Peltier's age, poor health, immanent parole status and long-standing political commitments canont be viewed as a calculated absurdity. His sister writes that "currently, the FBI is actively seeking support for his continued imprisonment."

The political involvement of the FBI is itself an issue the President must address. At very least Peltier should be freed on bail pending a new trial, with a concerted effort on the part of the new Department of Justice to unearth all suppressed evidence in this case.

Leonard Peltier has languished unjustly in prison far longer than those held in Guantanamo. It is time to set him free!

To find out more, contact the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee at

Past Member (0)
Friday January 23, 2009, 11:32 am

Why,based upon this evidence,is Mr. Peltier STILL being held? This is just not right....

John Bessa (305)
Friday January 23, 2009, 11:47 am
I strongly doubt that he can legally do this, and I wanted to say as much on the site you linked. What I think is that his conditions can be improved, and that by moderating the liberation position, Obama can respond and Peltier can be helped.

What the site lacks is a comments section, and if 2-way communication is missing, democracy is missing, and Peltier will be continually beaten. What I am trying to say, is that by giving blanket support to specific activists, you may be promoting repression. To be sure, many natives I have talked to talk about the endempic corruption of the Indian movement.

This is the point I make again and again and this point is not limited to the Internet. I experienced a complete dismissal of democracy for all my years as a poverty adovcate on the Lower East Side of NY.

Back then we as anarchists blamed communism and capitalism, but now I understand that there is a mental defect that keeps corruption in control, and this disease is across the board. In effect you can as easily create a vehicle for a repressor by simply supporting common causes without checking them carefully.

My advice to everyone is to look for the symptoms of the disease and marginalize it by avoiding it -- where 2 way communication is important. You need to filter out corruption by identifying

Past Member (0)
Friday January 23, 2009, 12:00 pm
The disease of this country is the hatred of Native Americans. The government still treats Natives as if they are going to take over single handedly. Leonard Peltier has spent thirty three years as a model prisoner. If he would have stole millions of dollars he would still be living in his pent house like people. Leonard has paid his price and needs to be free to live out his life with his family.

Past Member (0)
Friday January 23, 2009, 12:14 pm
I really just can't understand how such an ignorant,apathetic attitude toward indigenous people can still exist today....or how it ever existed at all...

Linda H (199)
Friday January 23, 2009, 2:18 pm
Noted and Signed! He needs to be free.Thanks,Kat.

. (0)
Friday January 23, 2009, 4:14 pm
I fear for his life for this too was a sit up to make him look bad too so he won't be able to get out. I signed a petition on line today for Obama to shut down the human righs tortue tactics today and this indeed was one of them, a sit up to make Leonard look bad. I Pray with that happen he will get out now for sure. Thanks Kat

Kathleen R (983)
Friday January 23, 2009, 5:16 pm
RE: "The disease of this country is the hatred of Native Americans."
In spite of everything, I believe that comment is quite exagerated because, in reality, there are millions of Americans who do not feel that way. The extent of compassion by the general public just is not realized by the general public.
Kat, Thank You!! This too will be shared in all my other networks.

Tom M (814)
Friday January 23, 2009, 6:38 pm
This travesty of justice has gone on far too long. This is like Guantanamo holding people for years with no proof of their guilt. Sadly, this kind of crap has been going on throughout the US prison system with countless innocent people framed by over-zealous prosecutors afraid that losing a case will short circuit their political ambitions. Planted evidence, crooked cops, incompetent public defenders, jailhouse snitches who lie to get favors - so much corruption. I hope Obama changes things for the better, and he can start by freeing Leonard Peltier!

Eternal Optimist (115)
Saturday January 24, 2009, 12:30 am
Noted and already Signed, thanks Kat :) My prayers are with Leonard Peltier. Thanks Serge for passing this on :)

Ester Hellen (228)
Saturday January 24, 2009, 1:29 am
the US has the most prison population in the world over 2000000 inmates.
It is well known that there is racism in the US and the legal system
About Leonard,it is getting sadder and sadder how the feds work on that case,most know here how Leonard was captured
Maybe we should ask the media of other countries to pay more attention to this..
Free Leonard Peltier!!

Kate S (114)
Saturday January 24, 2009, 7:45 pm
Trust that in the next 4-8 years you will get tired of seeing me type the following....
We have a President now who has expressed an interest in being contacted and a willingness to listen. I suggest you leave a note at or the white house site.

Charles D. J (11)
Saturday January 24, 2009, 8:15 pm
Noted and being pondered.

Lyta V (36)
Sunday January 25, 2009, 8:48 am
Yes Kate, there is a daily briefing site. Getting this issue in the top ten will get it into the Presidential daily briefing.

Past Member (0)
Sunday January 25, 2009, 12:44 pm

Barbara W (342)
Monday January 26, 2009, 11:38 am
January 21, 2009

I just placed a call 570-488-8000 to the Canaan Federal Prison, Pa. and at first all I got was a strange sound so I hung up and dialed again. This time, pushing the button to inquire about a prisoner! A man answered, I said I was Barbara Williams of the Dare To Dream Network, and he asked if I was inquiring about a prisoner. I answered yes! Leonard Peltier, and this man immediately told me that they have no such person there. I, being upset by this obvious lie, said what sort of fool do you think I am and hung up!

With that my phone rang, immediately, and when it was answered we heard that same odd sound I heard when I made my first call...Tracing US?

This is yet another reason why "We" Americans must do something to help Leonard Peltier before they finally kill this innocent man! Ask yourself: What are they afraid of? I received a lie from this man who answered the phone. It would seem that Canaan Federal Prison picked up my phone number for future; WHAT?

Please do what you can to make this Canaan Federal Prison 570-488-8000 understand that the American people will not tolerate this treatment of this man, Leonard Peltier, nor any prisoner!

No doubt this latest game plan has much to do with the recent push, especially on Obama's site, to have Mr. Peltier released! Please do your part to bring attention to this man who recently received a very bad beating when moved from one prison to another! Leonard is a diabetic and it seems that they will deprive him of food as well!

His sisters email is below...I "Dare" Dream that "We" Americans can do this! "We" must! The treatment of political prisons, given the last eight years, should be alarming to US all! Could someone you love wind up in one? Heads out of the sand! These are sorry times! Torture has become the norm!

Get in touch with your state and Washington legislators...
Canaan Federal Prison, Pa. 570-488-8000

Lyta V (36)
Monday January 26, 2009, 11:47 am
I wish I could afford to even though I don't have any long distance carrier, but my thoughts are with him, his family and all those who are trying to help. I've written all my legislators and the governor. I put it on the daily briefing page for Obama. Looked for each and every mention and added my assent. Thank goodness stamps are relatively inexpensive. :)

. (0)
Wednesday January 28, 2009, 7:30 am
Back in the beginning it was about greed for land and we were seen as ugly, unintelligent opposition to what was wanted from us and had to be destroyed so there was no one to say you cannot have what is not yours to take. Today it is all about covering up the ugliness caused so many years ago. That is what i think.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 28, 2009, 8:54 pm
Ignorance is not bliss in this case.It's that old but oh,so very true saying....Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.This vicious cycle cannot be allowed to continue.The truth must be faced and learned from.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 28, 2009, 11:05 pm
That's the sad truth of it, Joseph, yes....It's all too easy to diminish the value and intelligence of those who conflict with one's interests,however misguided or destructive...and it seems the true natives of this land have long...TOO long...been the focus of such abuse. It's ridiculous and just plain wrong.

Charles D. J (11)
Tuesday February 3, 2009, 5:15 pm
Could someone other than John V. explain what he wrote? If not, John V. would you please offer something clearer to those of us who would like to understand and to help in whatever would be the most efficient, result-oriented way?

. (0)
Thursday February 26, 2009, 8:07 am
noted thanks Kat

Kit B (276)
Thursday February 26, 2009, 8:15 am
For a country that claims we do not have political prisoners this is one that has been locked away for no other reason. I have written letters and signed petitions of support to release Leonard Peltier since all this began, so many years ago. This travesty of justice must end.

***I do believe that Leonard Peltier was moved from the Canaan facility some weeks ago.***

kat yazzie (400)
Thursday February 26, 2009, 9:04 am
Heya Kit! Yes, Leonard was moved back to Lewisberg after being attacked right after his transfer. In fact, I just got a letter and a picture this morning and he is now doing very well.

Kathleen R (983)
Thursday February 26, 2009, 11:31 pm
Thank you for the update, Kat!!!

BernadetteP P (72)
Thursday October 1, 2009, 8:26 pm
kat ihe shoud be freee thank for this update
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