Friday, December 31, 2010

Rakaa (Dilated Peoples) Free Peltier Album Signing Event



LPDOC Oakland Chapter, PCG Productions, and Block Report Radio present...

Rakaa (Dilated Peoples) Free Peltier Album Signing Event

This event features special guests Rakaa of Dilated Peoples & Arievolution signing copies of the new album, Free Leonard Peltier: Hip Hop's Contribution to the Freedom Campaign. There will be a listening party for the new album, as well as food and drinks available.

Supporters are invited to voice their support for Leonard for a new documentary; filming will occur during the event. Also, the Free Peltier Album will be available for sale.

Monday, January 3, 2011
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Jinga Jinga
3347 1/2 43rd Place
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Friday, December 24, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Request for Prayers


Grandmother Roselyn Jumping Bull is in the hospital in Rapid City. Complications due to her diabetes. Her sugar level has dropped and has kidney complications.

Please remember her in your prayers.

You can send her a card:

Roselyn Jumping Bull
PO Box 207
Oglala, SD 57764

Friday, December 10, 2010

Prosecutorial Misconduct

CNN's Anderson Cooper and his panel take a look at a recent study on prosecutorial misconduct in California.

Federal prosecutors likely to keep jobs after cases collapse

Seal of the United States Department of Justice An article in USA TODAY's series "Misconduct at the Justice Department" uncovered 201 cases of federal prosecutorial misconduct since 1997 and found that federal prosecutors are unlikely to be fired when they commit misconduct.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who took over the Justice Department in 2009, has said the agency is moving to make sure it can more effectively prevent misconduct and better train prosecutors about the complex rules they must follow.

...

For years, however, says Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., the bottom line was that the government allowed lawyers "who should not be federal prosecutors to continue in that role. The record on discipline is very, very poor. The history of serious discipline is basically non-existent."

Almost two years after a baby girl near Tampa vanished, federal prosecutors charged her parents with conspiracy and lying to investigators. The prosecuting attorney told the grand jury that there were recordings of the girl's mother telling her husband: "The baby's dead and buried. ... The baby's dead no matter what you say - you just did it." But, everyone who heard the recordings quickly concluded that those statements were never uttered.

Although charges were dropped against the missing girl's parents and a Justice Department investigation concluded that the prosecutor broke rules and mishandled the case, he was allowed to continue with the agency to work on civil cases. He ultimately quit and relocated to Tallahassee where he works as a defense attorney.

Department records found during the newspaper's investigation suggest that similar mistakes usually result in a slap on the wrist and leave attorneys' records untarnished. Since the Justice Department can conceal its own prosecutorial misconduct investigations from the public, it's hard to know the full extent of the problem.

The Office of Professional Responsibility is tasked with investigating findings of prosecutorial misconduct, but most of its investigations have resulted in no punishment, with the agency concluding that misconduct was unintentional. And even when OPR learns of prosecutorial misconduct in a case, it doesn't necessarily look into the prosecutor's other cases to determine if it's a one-time occurrence or if there is a precedent for misconduct.


"Government lawyers are likely to view the conduct most favorably to other government lawyers," says Ellen Yaroshefsky, the head of Cardozo Law School's Jacob Burns Ethics Center in New York. She said an outside watchdog is needed. "It's human nature that you're going to give the person the benefit of the doubt, because it could be you next. There just needs to be an independent evaluation of allegations of misconduct."

Without stronger safeguards, this pattern of prosecutorial misconduct without consequences will continue.

Read the full article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-12-08-prosecutor_N.htm

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Friday Call-In for Leonard Peltier

A year ago today, President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Today's prize winner did not attend the ceremony -- human rights advocate Liu Xiaobo remains in a Chinese prison -- and Obama is pressuring China to release him.

Walk the talk, Mr. Obama. Release Leonard Peltier.

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or -1112. Or call ...the switchboard at 202-456-1414 and ask to be connected to the comment line.

Do it and keep doing it until Leonard Peltier is released!

Barack Obama, 10 December 2010:

One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize -- an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice. Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was.

All of us have a responsibility to build a just peace that recognizes the inherent rights and dignity of human beings -- a truth upheld within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In our own lives, our own countries, and in the world, the pursuit of a just peace remains incomplete, even as we strive for progress.

This past year saw the release of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, even as the Burmese people continue to be denied the democracy that they deserve. Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta has continued his tireless work to build a free and prosperous East Timor, having made the transition from dissident to President. And this past year saw the retirement of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, whose own career demonstrates the universal power of freedom and justice to overcome extraordinary obstacles.

The rights of human beings are universal -- they do not belong to one nation, region or faith. America respects the unique culture and traditions of different countries. We respect China's extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want.

But Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible. I regret that Mr. Liu and his wife were denied the opportunity to attend the ceremony that Michelle and I attended last year. Today, on what is also International Human Rights Day, we should redouble our efforts to advance universal values for all human beings.
Today is International Human Rights Day. Mark the day by working for Leonard Peltier's release.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dec. 16 in DC: Vigil / Standout for Leonard Peltier

Seal of the U.S. Department of the Interior, f...
Peltier Vigil / Standout
Across the street from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the site of the 2nd White House Tribal Summit
Thursday, December 16 · 7:00am - 5:00pm

We'll gather in Bolivar Park at 1849 C Street, NW, across the street from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the site of the 2nd White House Tribal Summit.

Map: http://tinyurl.com/328ro7s.

We're planning a sunrise ceremony and drum, outreach to tribal representatives, and visible support for Leonard Peltier's release. So bring your signs and banners and join us.

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Leonard Peltier Denied Eighth Amendment Rights

Leonard Peltier Denied Eighth Amendment Rights
Wednesday 08 December 2010
by: Dan Battaglia and Preston Randolph, t r u t h o u t


The Eighth Amendment in the US Constitution prohibits, among other things, cruel and unusual punishment of prisoners. This prohibition is the grounds for a lawsuit filed by federal inmate #89637-132, Leonard Peltier, who is considered by many worldwide to be a political prisoner. In 1977, Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and remains incarcerated to this day, despite the fact that all evidence in his conviction has been debunked and proven fabricated.

Peltier has endured many hardships during his incarceration, but perhaps the most shocking and cruel is the inadequate medical treatment he has received at the hands of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The medical mistreatment affecting Mr. Peltier began in the early 1990s. Peltier had suffered from tetanus, and, consequently, from one of its known side effects – lockjaw.

It wasn't until 1995 that Peltier was referred to an oral surgeon by a dentist in the Leavenworth, Kansas US Penitentiary. Not soon thereafter, Peltier was transferred to a medical facility in Missouri where, in the first months of 1996, he was finally treated. It would take more than three surgeries to get Peltier to be able to chew and open his mouth to a certain extent. At one point, Peltier's mouth was frozen open by thirteen millimeters. Peltier's medical records clearly show that he was not supposed to return to Leavenworth until he was able to chew. Instead, Peltier was returned before he could successfully open and close his mouth. The premature transfer resulted in an enormous public outcry from his supporters worldwide. In addition, Peltier himself filed a lawsuit claiming that the BOP had violated his right to not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit was dismissed along with his subsequent appeal.

Peltier has also faced medical mistreatment with regard to his diabetes. It is common knowledge in the medical field that if more than one person uses the same electronic diabetes test kit, the results can be somewhat inaccurate. Peltier, now in his sixties, asked for permission to get his own testing kit. He was denied his request. This denial resulted in a massive uproar by Peltier supporters. Many, including myself, called the prison (Lewisburg USP) where Peltier was and still is incarcerated, demanding that he be allowed to have his own testing kit. We went as far as to offer to buy it for him, but our offer was also denied. It was only after a significant period of time had gone by, calls to the warden had been made and numerous other proactive actions had been taken that the BOP finally permitted Peltier to have his own private testing kit.

Last year, Peltier began experiencing symptoms synonymous with those of prostate cancer. Due to his family's medical history, his new illness became an immediate cause for concern. After being urged by Peltier's attorneys to address these symptoms, the BOP finally agreed to perform a standard blood test in June of 2010. It took four months to get the results to Peltier. As it stands now, there is a chance that he may have prostate cancer. The cure rate is known to be high only if the patient was diagnosed early in the stages of the cancer itself. Peltier first began to see warning signs just over a year ago, but since it has taken the "powers that be" over a year to fully look into his condition, his health may now be in serious jeopardy. This negligence, combined with the extreme medical neglect he has experienced in the past, only furthers the position of those that have long held that this six-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee should be released immediately.

According to Dr. Norma Bowe of Kean University, who holds a Ph.D. in community health policy and has worked for many years teaching college level health education courses to inmates in New Jersey's state prisons, "There are standards of practice for care, and waiting a year when a person is symptomatic does not meet those standards. A delay of four months in the processing of lab tests in cases of prostate cancer can result in an increased chance of metastasis. Delaying these tests is nothing short of negligence."

On the other hand, it should be noted that not everyone within the BOP has been spiteful to Leonard Peltier. In the course of the vast research for our current film, "Wind Chases the Sun," we were able to contact various prison officials who have come to know Peltier over the past thirty years and have witnessed firsthand the mistreatment of inmates behind prison walls. Retired BOP official Bruce Smith acknowledges the wrongdoings toward Peltier within the correctional system. "There is no doubt that Leonard has received inadequate health care in prison. I've witnessed it," said Smith. "I have seen inmates let die because they have not been properly treated." Ultimately, the root of Peltier's health problems, according to medical professionals within the BOP, stems from lack of treatment.

Bruce Smith worked at Leavenworth Federal Prison for nearly twenty years and speaks fondly of Peltier. "It's a crime that this guy's in prison. He could be doing so much more for his people on the outside," said Smith. Smith said one of his most notable memories is of the day Peltier abruptly stopped a riot in the making between the Native American and African-American inmates. This act of peace, according to Smith, is one of the many admirable and noble actions Peltier frequently carried out. "I think the world of Leonard and pray he gets out," said Smith.

Another BOP official, now retired, who asked that his name be withheld, concurred with Smith's position. With regard to Peltier's incarceration, he suggested, "The FBI is out for blood because their agents were killed. If he ever does get out, they'll never leave him alone." The retired officer added, "I've had the opportunity to view Peltier's case files, and I too think he was set up. He doesn't deserve to be in prison." This is a reality Peltier has learned to accept; however, despite the grim outlook, Peltier and his millions of supporters worldwide refuse to stop fighting for his freedom. This battle will continue to be extremely difficult and may even seem unwinnable to some. In addition, Peltier's situation is further complicated by his current health status.

Former BOP Officer Smith concludes, "What's wrong is wrong and what's right is right. What is happening to Leonard is wrong."

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Peltier court record doesn't lie: "We don't know who shot those agents."


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06 December 2010
Contact: Delaney Bruce, Legal Team Liaison, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106, USA; Telephone: 1-701-235-2206; contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Peltier court record doesn't lie: "We don't know who shot those agents."

In three recent cases unrelated to the shooting deaths of two FBI agents in 1975, Darlene "Kamook" Ecoffey has claimed that she once heard Leonard Peltier say he shot the agents. Peltier denies the accusation and maintains his innocence. Wrongfully convicted, Peltier has been imprisoned for 35 years, currently at a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

"The lynchpin of the prosecution's case, the AR-15 rifle that caused the agents' fatal injuries, was found to be incompatible with the bullet casing found at the scene. That means Peltier wasn't the shooter. It also means the government manufactured a 'murder weapon,'" said a spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee.

Ecoffey's critics note that her uncorroborated testimony conveniently matches exactly the prosecutorial theory presented at Peltier's 1977 trial.

Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound.

Ecoffey, a resident of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, was paid over $40,000 for her testimony by the FBI. The average annual income on the reservation is roughly $5,000.

Over the years, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has been critical of the FBI's handling of informants and, in the notorious Deegan murder case, Congress found that the FBI tolerated and perhaps encouraged false testimony and protected informants from prosecution. The FBI had adopted an "ends justifies the means" approach to law enforcement. Four of the six defendants were innocent and the FBI knew it. Two of those men died in prison. The other two men spent over 30 years in prison. The FBI also ensured that the men would not obtain post-conviction relief and would die in prison.

"For 35 years, the FBI has presented false testimony about Leonard Peltier. It began with Myrtle Poor Bear. FBI agents terrorized Poor Bear until she produced not one but three false affidavits that were used to extradite Peltier from Canada to the United States."

Peltier supporters say a 'confession' is an all too familiar government ploy.

"The government produced a witness to claim that Peltier's co-defendant Robert Robideau 'confessed' to him in jail. The problem with his testimony was that he and Robideau had been jailed a thousand miles apart. Another witness also testified to hearing a 'confession'—a claim disproved by his landlady who testified that the witness made up his story to get out of trouble with the law."

Robert Robideau and another co-defendant were acquitted by reason of self-defense.

"Peltier's actions in 1975 were no different than those of his co-defendants. Twice, before the appellate court, Prosecutor Lynn Crooks stated, 'We don't know who shot those agents.' The government has admitted that it 'did not and cannot prove' Peltier’s guilt or what role he 'may have played' in the 1975 incident. The FBI's intention is clear. With Ecoffey's help, the government hopes to re-write history."

###



US Versus Leonard Peltier: Evidence of a Wrongful Conviction. From the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/download/CriticalFBIDocs.pdf.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leonard Peltier's 2010 Holiday Gift Drive


2010 HOLIDAY GIFT DRIVE

Toys, warm clothing, a hot meal... These are things many take for granted. But for some, they are luxuries. No matter how difficult our lives may be, there are others who struggle every day in good economic times, as well as bad. You can help make the holidays joyful for those in need. Click here for information.

25 Nov 2010: Day of Mourning, Plymouth, MA - Free Leonard Peltier


41st annual Native American day of protest at Plymouth, Massachusetts, Nov. 25, 2010-Thanksgiving Day, a challenge to a holiday that in fact celebrates the Pilgrims who committed genocide against Native peoples in the Americas.

Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your generosity in again including Leonard Peltier in your thought, prayers, and actions.



Video:



Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Day of Mourning: Peltier Statement, 25 Nov 2010


Greetings, my relatives.

It seems another year has gone by since the last time we gathered like this. I say we, although I am not there with you in body, my spirit certainly is. We have coined this day, a day of mourning, as opposed to a day of thanksgiving. It’s a shame that for the most part thanksgiving is relegated to only one day. And mourning is something that relates to unhappy circumstances that have taken place. We certainly can’t change what has happened. This very day is ours and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet and, is uncertain. I really don’t like to dwell on the mourning aspects of life but instead, on what we can do to prevent those unhappy and sometimes terrible times in our history. I may have mentioned it once before but I once read about a union organizer named Joe Hill that was framed by the copper mine owners to be executed. And I believe he said what really needs to be said upon his death. His words were “don’t mourn, organize”. And those are also my sentiments.

There are a lot of things that happened in the past that can be prevented in the future. There are losses that can be regained. But we must organize to do it. We must find it within ourselves to be in touch with the Creator for I can tell you from a heartfelt fact that when they’ve pushed you away, into a dark corner, not just your body, but your mind, your soul, your spirit, there is no one that can sustain you but the Creator himself. Dark moments come and go in all our lifetimes. And there are those in political office, who will try to turn your head away from the obvious truths. They will lie to you about what they believe. They will try to get you to follow what they consider politically correct while ignoring the truth, such as protests against the Mosque being built within blocks of the fallen Trade towers, which incidentally was a monument to wealth and wealth seekers. I am not trying to demean the innocent people whose only cause of their death was seeking a place of employment to feed their families. While they protest the Mosque, no one mentions the Native American sacred places that by treaty are seriously violated daily. Our Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, sacred to many tribes, have the faces of many of our oppressors carved on them. The place of vision seeking, Bear Butte in South Dakota, sacred to us for millennia, has a bar built at the foot of it and there is talk of having helicopter flights around it to attract tourism. And, there is even talk of drilling for oil and gas.

Every time I have to write or I should say dictate, one of these statements, I try to think of what I would say if this was the last time I got to speak. The thing that comes to mind in some of our sacred ceremonies and that is thoughts of our relationships with the ones we love and the Creator of all life. Not to take away from the theme of this day, but if you can hold the person you love, be thankful. If you can walk on green grass, touch a tree, be thankful. If you can breathe air that didn’t come through a ventilation system, or a window with bars, be thankful. If you can stand in an open field or some other place at night and look up at the heavens, be thankful. No one appreciates the simple things as much as a man or woman locked away. I know sometimes some of my friends may have thought I had become institutionalized and there may be some element of my thinking behavior that has become calloused from this continued imprisonment. But I have not for a moment forgotten the needs of my people and the atrocities committed against them or the circumstances that all the poor and impoverished face in this world at the hands of those who take more than they need and exploit for gain, the futures of our children. I paint pictures of them sometimes, people I’ve known, people I’ve met, places I’ve seen, and places I’ve only seen in my minds eye. And if my paintbrush was magical, rest assured I would paint for myself one open door.

I wrestle with what to say to you and words are sometimes so inadequate. So if you are free today, un-imprisoned, be thankful. Give the person next to you a hug for me. May the Great Spirit bless you always in all ways with the things you need. May you find joy in doing what is right and righting what is wrong and seek to be the best example of what a human should be in our lifetime.

In the Spirit of those we mourn, those who gave their lives and those whose lives were taken from them.

I really don’t know what else to say because in writing this, my heart has become heavy with the emotions of this time.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, who gave his life for what was right and tried to right what was wrong.

Your Brother,


Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard Peltier: Hip Hop's Contribution to the Freedom Campaign

NEW !!!

Free Leonard Peltier:
Hip Hop's Contribution to the Freedom Campaign

Purchase / Download at CDBaby.
Also available for download on iTunes, Amazon.com, and more!

A Piece for Peltier from a Panther Cub - Chairman Fred Hampton
Right This Wrong - Rakaa (Dilated Peoples) & 2Mex
Hold Your Head Up - M1 (dead prez) & Dj Child
Political Prisoner - Immortal Technique
When I Rhyme - Skyzoo, Talib Kweli & Reks
On Leonard Peltier - T-K.A.S.H.
Raid My Home - The Dime
Release Me - Arievolution & iamani i. ameni
Never Forget Joe Stuntz - Eseibio
Do It Movin' - Bicasso (Living Legends) & DJ Fresh
Trail of Tears - Mama Wisdom
Peltier's Beat Goes On - Buggin Malone
Right This Wrong (Instrumental) - DeeSkee


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Origins of Thanksgiving


ORIGINS OF THANKSGIVING

The year was 1637.....700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their "Annual Green Corn Dance" in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn.

While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercernaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building.

The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared : "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.

For the next 100 years, every "Thanksgiving Day" ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.

Newell based his research on studies of Holland Documents and the 13 volume Colonial Documentary History, both thick sets of letters and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the king in England, and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years in the mid-1600s.

"My research is authentic because it is documentary," Newell said. "You can't get anything more accurate than that because it is first hand. It is not hearsay."

Newell said the next 100 Thanksgivings commemorated the killing of the Indians at what is now Groton, Connecticut [home of a nuclear submarine base] rather than a celebration with them. He said the image of Indians and Pilgrims sitting around a large table to celebrate Thanksgiving Day was "fictitious" although Indians did share food with the first settlers.


-----------------------

Source: Documents of Holland, 13 Volume Colonial Documentary. History, letters and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the King in England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, Britsh Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years.

Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe) Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bravo, Michael!


Please join us in a delayed welcome to Michael Wolf Heart, Taos, NM. Michael has done an outstanding job of reaching out to people everywhere and connecting them with LPDOC as new Chapters during the last several months and we're pleased to announce that he's accepted the role of Regional Community Organizer of the Southwest Region - Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Michael joins established organizers Arthur Miller, Lakoda and Kassandra Robideau, and John Gallagher. Our Regional Community Organizers have many responsibilities, including providing support, advice, exchange of ideas, etc., to their regional chapters. They will become even more vital as the number of Chapters increases.

The LPDOC has both strong and active Chapters, but also room for growth. Consider establishing a Chapter in your area. Contact lpsupport@whoisleonardpeltier.info for more information.


Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488
Fargo, ND 58106
http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/

Friday, November 19, 2010

Next Week's Events


22-26 November
42nd Anniversary of the American Indian Movement
West Coast Conference, SF, CA
Hosted by AIM West
Webcast: www.earthclycles.net
Information: 415-577-1492
www.aimwest.info

----

25 November
41st National Day of Mourning
12:00 noon
Coles Hill Plymouth, MA

Information:

United American Indians of New England
284 Amory Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Phone: (617) 522-6626
E-mail: info@uaine.org
Website: http://www.uaine.org

----

25 November
Alcatraz Island Annual Sunrise Gathering!
4:00–9:00 AM
Leaving from Hornblower Tours at Pier #31

For advance tickets call (415) 981-7625 or visit www.alcatrazcruises.com

Lakota Voices


Arlette Loud Hawk talks about spirituality, Sundance, and tells us what it was like for her as a young Lakota woman growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation on the day of the Oglala firefight in 1975.

Part 1


Part 2


Monday, November 15, 2010

Call to Action: Release Leonard Peltier!


At this time, the LPDOC wants as much pressure exerted on the White House as possible. The message? Release Leonard Peltier!

We prefer that you call or write. Letters and phone calls are taken far more seriously by the White House.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

You can Fax your letter, if you like: 202-456-2461.

Comment line: 202-456-1111 or -1112. If you have trouble getting through, call the main switchboard (202-456-1414) and ask to be connected to the comment line. Lines may be busy or you might be placed on hold. Don't be discouraged by this. Hit that redial button or wait for your call to be answered. Remember that you're competing for phone time with other organizations, as well as competing with your fellow Peltier supporters. Keep trying.

You may send an e-mail, but e-mail won't be nearly as effective: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

If your oganization wants to demand Leonard's release, submit a message to the White House here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/organizations.

Peltier family accuses U.S. government of medical neglect


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
15 November 2010
Contact: Delaney Bruce, Legal Team Liaison, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106, USA; Telephone: 1-701-235-2206; contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Peltier family accuses U.S. government of medical neglect

“A man dies from prostate cancer every 16 minutes in this country. Why does my brother have to wait over a year to receive even a diagnosis?”

Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who maintains his innocence, was wrongfully convicted in connection with the shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1977. Imprisoned for 35 years—currently at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania—Peltier has been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, 55 Members of Congress and others—including a judge who sat as a member of the court in two of Peltier’s appeals—have all called for his immediate release. Widely recognized for his humanitarian works and a six-time Nobel Prize nominee, Peltier also is an accomplished author and painter.

Sister Betty Solano says Peltier began exhibiting symptoms commonly attributed to prostate cancer over a year ago. His age (he is 66 years old) and family history are risk factors for the disease. Pressured by Peltier’s attorneys, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) ran standard blood tests in June. Peltier received the results last week, over four months later. A physician only now says a biopsy is needed to make a diagnosis.

Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men in the United States. Medical experts agree that the cure rate for prostate cancer is high, but only if detected early.

Even if Peltier doesn’t have cancer, the symptoms indicate a serious medical condition and one that could lead to serious complications if left untreated.

A physician who conducted an independent review of Peltier’s medical records in 2000 concluded that Peltier’s overall medical treatment is below a reasonable standard of care. Decades ago, Peltier suffered a stroke which left him nearly blind in one eye—damage physicians say could have been prevented had he been treated sooner. In the 1990s, there was international outrage after the BOP botched surgeries to correct a jaw problem. Only then was Peltier transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment. Subsequent procedures were recommended by a specialist, but never performed by the BOP.

“Last week, at the United Nations, the United States claimed that it is unequivocally committed to the humane treatment of all individuals in detention, including criminal detention. Delaying tests, avoiding a diagnosis, and preventing proper medical treatment for a potentially life threatening disease is not humane by anyone’s definition,” a spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee said.

“Unfortunately, this situation isn’t unique to Mr. Peltier. Many U.S. prisoners die prematurely because treatment is delayed or denied.”

Family members want the government to release Peltier who was denied parole in 2009. His North Dakota tribe has twice passed a resolution asking the government to transfer Peltier into their custody. Peltier’s many supporters believe his release from prison is the only way Peltier will receive humane treatment.



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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Peltier exhibit at Syracuse University beginning on November 18


RIGO 23: THE TATE WIKUWA MUSEUM: NORTH AMERICA 2024
November 18, 2010 through February 6, 2011

The Warehouse Gallery
350 W. Fayette Street, Ground Floor
Syracuse, NY 13202

Opening Reception on 18 November 5–8 p.m.

Symposium sponsored by the Humanities Center, Syracuse University, all day on November 20.

San Francisco based artist Rigo 23 is known nationally and internationally for his highly political site-specific work. The exhibition title refers specifically to Leonard Peltier’s given name in Dakota (Tate Wikuwa), to his next parole hearing in 2024, and to Rigo 23’s former project at the De Young Museum in San Francisco (1999). The Warehouse Gallery’s exhibition will showcase Peltier through the visual arts (oil paintings), as well as educational components such as talks and a symposium sponsored by the Humanities Center at Syracuse University.

Open and free to the public.

Gallery hours:

TUESDAY—SATURDAY
12—6 p.m.

THIRD THURSDAYS
12—8 p.m.

SUNDAY—MONDAY
CLOSED

Closed on holidays and from December 23, 2010, through January 4, 2011 (SU Green days). Limited parking is available in The Warehouse Lot (WHSE), call SU Parking Services for details (315) 443-4652. The gallery is on the Connective Corridor Free Shuttle Route, see Centro #543.

The Warehouse Gallery
350 W. Fayette Street, Ground floor, Syracuse, NY 13202
Tel: 315.443.6450; Fax: 315.443.6494
http://thewarehousegallery.syr.edu

Friday, November 12, 2010

Canada Endorses the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Nov 12, 2010 13:00 ET

Canada Endorses the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 12, 2010) - The Government of Canada today formally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a manner fully consistent with Canada's Constitution and laws. Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. John McNee, met with the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Joseph Deiss, to advise him of Canada's official endorsement of the United Nations Declaration.

"We understand and respect the importance of this United Nations Declaration to Indigenous peoples in Canada and worldwide," said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for M├ętis and Non-status Indians. "Canada has endorsed the Declaration to further reconcile and strengthen our relationship with Aboriginal peoples in Canada."

"Canada is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples," said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs. "Canada's active involvement abroad, coupled with its productive partnership with Aboriginal Canadians, is having a real impact in advancing indigenous rights at home and abroad."

The United Nations Declaration describes the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples. It sets out a number of principles that should guide harmonious and cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and States, such as equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect. Canada strongly supports these principles and believes that they are consistent with the Government's approach to working with Aboriginal peoples. While the Declaration is not legally binding, endorsing it as an important aspirational document is a significant step forward in strengthening relations with Aboriginal peoples.

"Canada's Aboriginal leadership has spoken with passion on the importance of endorsing the Declaration. Today's announcement represents another important milestone on the road to respect and co-operation," added Minister Duncan.

Canada's endorsement builds upon numerous other government initiatives for Aboriginal peoples on education, economic development, housing, child and family services, access to safe drinking water, and the extension of human rights protection and matrimonial real property protection to First Nations on reserve.

Please also see:

Canada's Statement of Support (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ap/ia/dcl/stmt-eng.asp)

The Backgrounder (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/mr/nr/s-d2010/23429bk-eng.asp)

Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ap/ia/dcl/faq-eng.asp)

Release Imprisoned COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era Political Activists


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2010
CONTACT: Efia Nwangaza, (864) 901-8627; enjericho@gmail.com


U.N. Human Rights Council Recommends U.S.
“End the unjust incarceration of political prisoners, including Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal”

To “Lead by example,” U.S. Must Heed Recommendations, Use “Exisitng” or Create Other Mechanisms to Release Imprisoned COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era Political Activists, Says USHRN Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group


Greenville, SC – The U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) issued a set of recommendations for the United States to bring its human rights policies and practices in line with international standards. The recommendations are the result of the first-ever participation by the U.S. in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which involves a thorough assessment of a nation's human rights record. USHRN Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group, which was in Geneva last week to observe the UPR process, welcomed U.S. participation as an important step toward establishing human rights at home and deeply appreciates the call for the release of U.S. political prisoners.

"The UPR process has provided the Obama administration an opportunity to identify U.S. human rights violations, develop real solutions and bring U.S. policies in line with international human rights standards, as symbolized by its “multi-racial, gendered, and religious” Geneva delegation. The Obama administration should set a good example by using its executive authority, clemency powers, and working with Congress and state and local governments to translate human rights commitments into domestic laws and policies to complete the unfinished business of the COINTELPRO/Civil Rights era and release political activists held longer than Nelson Mandela for the same reasons Mandela was imprisoned,” stated Efia Nwangaza, Group Leader and Director, African American Institute for Policy Studies & Planning.

The USHRN Political Prisoner and State Repression Working Group calls on the U.S. government to heed the recommendations of the HRC, and:

That the U.S. Department of Justice review the convictions of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody for civil and human rights violations.

President Obama use his clemency power and/or executive authority to create or establish mechanisms, e.g. Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to commute the sentences and expedite release of all COINTELRO/Civil Rights Era political activists currently held as prisoners in U.S. federal and state custody.

Human Rights Council draft report on U.S. Universal Periodic Review is available here: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/sites/default/files/101109%20USA%20UPR%20draft%20report%20primo.pdf.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blowback: A no-pardon Justice Department



www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-morison-pardon-20101106,0,5303971.story
Rebuttal to an LA Times Editorial: http://lpdoc.blogspot.com/2010/11/la-times-editorial-no-pardon-president.html

Blowback

A no-pardon Justice Department
President Obama should rely more on his own moral judgment than the Justice Department's in making clemency and pardon decisions.
By Samuel T. Morison

November 6, 2010


The Times' well-intentioned Oct. 30 editorial bemoaning that fact that President Obama hasn't yet granted any pardons or commutations, in which the editorial board correctly notes that the president is "aided in such decisions by the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department," betrays a profound misunderstanding of the role the pardon office plays in the clemency advisory process. In particular, The Times writes, "Ideally, presidents would give great deference to the pardon attorney's recommendations and take a liberal view of the clemency power, exercising it often and on the basis of clear standards."

This assertion is hopelessly confused. In fact, the problem in the vast majority of garden-variety clemency cases — those involving ordinary applicants for whom a grant of clemency would not cause any public controversy — is precisely that recent presidents have given far too much deference to the pardon attorney's office. Having spent more than 10 years as a staff attorney in that office, I can say with some authority that the prevailing view within the Justice Department is that the pardon attorney's sole institutional function is to defend the department's prosecutorial prerogatives. There is little, if any, pretense of neutrality, much less liberality. On this parochial view, the institution of a genuinely humane clemency policy would be considered an insult to the good work of line prosecutors.

As a result, there is a strong presumption within the pardon office that the number of favorable recommendations should be kept to an absolute minimum, regardless of the equitable merits of any individual petition. This stance ignores the reality of a burgeoning federal prison population of more than 200,000 inmates, many serving lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and the proliferation of collateral disabilities that hinder ex-offenders' ability to restart their lives, which the attorney general himself has criticized as a "recipe for high recidivism."

Yet the bureaucratic managers of the Justice Department's clemency program continue to churn out a steady stream of almost uniformly negative advice, in a politically calculated attempt to restrain (rather than inform) the president's exercise of discretion. This advisory record presupposes, falsely, that the federal criminal justice system is virtually flawless; that injustices almost never occur, sentences are almost never excessive, circumstances almost never change, and mercy is almost never appropriate.

No disinterested person really believes this. Even if most prosecutors, judges and legislators act with the best of intentions, they can and do make mistakes with some regularity, which often are evident only with the benefit of hindsight. Not surprisingly, the frank acknowledgment of such mistakes tends to strengthen, rather than undermine, public confidence in the legitimacy of the system. The traditional purpose of executive clemency is to serve that error-correcting function, at least where courts and legislatures fail to intervene. As the Supreme Court once put it, "Without such a power of clemency, to be exercised by some department or functionary of a government, it would be most imperfect and deficient in its political morality."

Accordingly, if Obama is going to "take a liberal view of the clemency power, exercising it often and on the basis of clear standards," as The Times suggests, he will have to defer less to the jaundiced advice he receives from the Justice Department and rely more on his own moral judgment.

Samuel T. Morison was a staff attorney in the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney.

LA Times Editorial: A no-pardon president


www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-1101-pardon-20101030,0,5419856.story

A no-pardon president
So far, President Obama hasn't approved a single request for a pardon or commutation of a sentence. That's a disappointment.
October 30, 2010


Just as a president is entitled to pardon anyone convicted or accused of a crime, he is free to dismiss any petitions for clemency without offering an explanation. Indeed, he can choose never to issue any pardons or commutations of sentences at all. Still, it's disappointing that President Obama so far hasn't approved even one request for a pardon or other form of clemency.

It's not that there is a shortage of claimants. Earlier this month, Obama formally denied 605 petitions for commutation of sentences and 71 pardon requests. It's hard to believe that none of those was deserving of approval.

In the public mind, the president's authority to grant clemency tends to be associated with high-profile and politically motivated grants of clemency, such as President Gerald R. Ford's pardon of Richard M. Nixon for Watergate crimes, President Clinton's scandalous pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich or President George W. Bush's commutation of the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

But presidents also have used the pardon authority to right wrongs and reward rehabilitation in much less prominent cases. They are aided in such decisions by the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department, which scrutinizes claims for clemency and passes them along to the White House with recommendations. There are strict standards for clemency petitions submitted through the pardon attorney. For example, no petition for a pardon may be submitted until five years after a prisoner is released or, if no prison sentence was imposed, five years after conviction. Petitions for a commutation of a sentence are usually entertained only when no other form of relief is available.

Ideally, presidents would give great deference to the pardon attorney's recommendations and take a liberal view of the clemency power, exercising it often and on the basis of clear standards. Their reluctance to do so likely reflects not the merits or demerits of particular petitions but the political liability of appearing soft on crime. That reality has led some advocates of more pardons to hope that Obama is waiting to announce grants of clemency until after next week's election. If so, we hope his first exercise of his clemency power won't be his last.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rapid City: Prayer circle for Leonard Peltier


Prayer circle for Leonard Peltier
Friday, 05 November 2010 12:08
Video: http://www.blackhillsfox.com/2010/11/05/Prayer-circle-for-Leonard-Peltier

...for 35 years his supporters have praised him as an American Indian activist and called for his release. Some of them showed that support for Leonard Peltier again Friday with a prayer circle outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Rapid City. Peltier is serving two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents in 1975.

Peltier claims he was framed by the FBI an allegation the agency has always denied. The local president of the United Urban Warrior Society said that if people look at the facts, they'll see Peltier was falsely accused and he'd like an independent justice system to look into the case.

James Swan says, "What we want people to realize is that this is an injustice and that Leonard Peltier is a political prisoner. And at the same time everyone's preaching unity and reconciliation, this stuff still goes on."

Friday's events held in honor of Peltier and other political prisoners were meant to coincide with the United States' report on its human rights record ... presented today to a United Nations' working group in Geneva, Switzerland.

Julie Oberlander

Defense of Leonard Peltier and All Political Prisoners


On Friday, 05 November, the United States submitted to a review of its human rights record by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. In spectacular form, Cuba was the first nation state to engage the United States in the interactive dialogue during which Cuba raised the issue of political prisoners. One should note that Cuba released political prisoners in July 2010 and is due to release more prisoners soon.




Peltier case a stain on US human rights record


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05 November 2010
Contact: Delaney Bruce, Legal Team Liaison, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106, USA; Telephone: 701/235-2206; contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Peltier case a stain on US human rights record

Today, the United States submitted to a review by the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), an assessment of a government’s compliance with human rights obligations. The Council reviews each member nation every four years. This was the United States’ first review. Representatives from the U.S. presented its report and answered questions from the Council and UN member nations.

Native Americans have eagerly awaited a sign that the U.S. has listened to their concerns about the Peltier case, but were disappointed to see no mention of it in the U.S. report.

“A good place for the U.S. to have started was to simply acknowledge that politically motivated prosecutions are a reality in the U.S.,” said a spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, one of 300 human rights organizations that contributed to a stakeholders report submitted to the Council.

An innocent man, Native American activist Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in connection with the 1975 shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Tried separately, his co-defendants were found not guilty by reason of self-defense.

“With no evidence whatsoever, the FBI decided to ‘lock Peltier into the case’. Government officials presented false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Peltier to the U.S. where prosecutors went judge shopping and venue hopping to secure a conviction. In a racially charged courtroom, prosecutors lied to the judge, ignored court orders, and made inappropriate statements to the jury. They intentionally hid evidence of Peltier’s innocence and instead manufactured a ‘murder weapon’. As the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has noted, ‘these facts are not disputed’.”

Peltier has been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Various governments and dignitaries—including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, as well as the late Mother Theresa— have called for his release.

In addition to working to win Peltier’s freedom, the LPDOC advocates for Indigenous rights, overall criminal justice reform, and the abolishment of the death penalty.

“Frankly, we consider the long-term imprisonment of Leonard Peltier in the harshest of conditions, and repeated denials of parole despite his having met all eligibility requirements, a de facto death sentence.”

Imprisoned for nearly 35 years, Peltier was denied parole in 2009.

“The guarantee of a fair trial is recognized as fundamental—not only in the U.S., but also by the signatory nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This case exemplifies how the U.S. government is willing to use its judicial system as an instrument of revenge and a tool of political repression against those who dare to criticize the domestic and foreign policies of the United States.”

Demonstrations in support of Leonard Peltier and other political prisoners occurred today at U.S. court houses and U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

The LPDOC pledges to continue its work to hold the U.S. government accountable and see that UPR recommendations are fully implemented.



###


Submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Ninth Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) Working Group on the UPR 22 November-3 December 2010. Stakeholder Submission by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/download/UPRSubmission.pdf.

US Versus Leonard Peltier: Evidence of a Wrongful Conviction. From the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/download/CriticalFBIDocs.pdf.


Launched into cyberspace by the
Leonard Peltier Defence Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106
Telephone: 701/235-2206
contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info
www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 5th Update: Come One, Come All!


Free All U.S. Held
Political Prisoners
and Prisoners of War NOW!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Noon to 2 p.m.

Across from the United Nations
Northwest corner of First Avenue & 42nd Street

On Friday, November 5th the United States will give an oral presentation on its human rights record to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland. This is an historic event and an opportunity to shine a light on human rights violations on the part of the U.S. government and the use of U.S. courts to quash dissent.

This is a solidarity call to action. Join your movement to ours. Stand in unity against repression. Join us in a worldwide demonstration demanding recognition for U.S. political prisoners, prisoners of war, and exiles.

Sponsor: NYC Chapter Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee: nyclpdoc@gmail.com • 646-535-3531
Endorsers (in formation): NYC Jericho, Popular Education Campaign to Free the Cuban Five, ProLibertad
www.whoisleonardpeltier.info • www.thejerichomovement.com • prolibertadweb.tripod.com

To download a flyer, click on the image below:




Other November 5th Demonstrations:


Albuquerque, New Mexico -- Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse -- 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Meet at 333 Lomas, NW. For information: lpsupport@whoisleonardpeltier.info.

Fargo, North Dakota -- Quentin Burdick United States Courthouse -- Beginning at 12:00 noon in front of the courthouse. Bring signs. For information: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info.

Fort Wayne, Indiana -- E. Ross Adair Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 1300 S. Harrison, beginning at 12:00 noon. Contact Dave Lambert, Fort Wayne Peace (www.fortwaynepeace.org) at fwagitator@comcast.net.

Indianapolis, Indiana -- Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse -- 4:00 p.m. Ohio and Meridian Streets. For information: Carl Rising-Moore, carlrisingmoore@gmail.com.

Rapid City, South Dakota -- Friends of Leonard Peltier will be hosting a PRAYER CIRCLE FOR LEONARD PELTIER & ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS on November 5 @ 11am in front of the US Federal Courthouse in Rapid City, SD. The Prayer Circle coincides with other Peltier events in various cities nationwide. Afterwards, speakers on legal updates, human rights, and other Native issues will be presented at a luncheon. (location TBA). Prayer groups from all denominations are invited to attend. Spiritual Leaders are urged to attend. For further information contact Jean Roach @ 605-685-4422, Belva Janis @ 605-454-9918, Roberta Crazy Thunder @ 605-828-5967.

UPR Side Event on Alaskan and Hawaiian Self-Determination - Sharon Venne Part 1

UPR: Questions Submitted To Date by Nation States Prior to the US Review


As to compliance by the United States to its human rights obligations, the following are some of the questions raised by other nation states as part of the Universal Periodic Review being conducted by the United Nations on Friday, November 5th.

Treaty Ratification

BOLIVIA
• In the summary of the OHCHR is noted that the United States has not ratified 12 Instruments of Human Rights, what measures is your government taking to ratify those instruments?

CZECH REPUBLIC
• Does the Government considers ratifying the core human rights instruments as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Optional Protocol thereto, Optional Protocols to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Optional Protocol thereto, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Convention on the Rights of the Child and Optional Protocols thereto, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol thereto and International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance?

DENMARK
• Would the United States reconsider its position not to adhere to ICESCR; CEDAW CRC and OPCAT?
• Would the United States consider withdrawing its reservations to CAT and ICCPR to the effect that it “considers itself bound by the obligation….to prevent cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment only insofar as [that] term….means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eight and/or Fourteenth Amendments”?

NETHERLANDS
• In reference to paragraph 37 of the national report, The Netherlands welcomes the first White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, the appointment of two women to the U.S. Supreme Court and the unprecedented position of Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues. In reference to the same paragraph, the Netherlands also welcomes the fact that the Obama Administration strongly supports U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women and is working with the Senate towards this end. Could the government of the U.S. elaborate on the specific steps that have been taken to prepare the ratification process? Can the U.S. Government commit to offer CEDAW for advice and consent to the U.S. Senate before the next presidential elections? And could the U.S. Government also commit to bringing the Convention on the Rights of the Child up for ratification, within the same timeframe?

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
• The United States of America has ratified only three of nine universal treaties in the field of human rights, is party to only two of eight core conventions of the ILO and has not joined any regional human rights instruments under the auspices of the Organisation of American States. Does the United States have an intention to expand its participation in universal and regional instruments in the field of human rights and international humanitarian law?

JAPAN
• We would like to know the prospects for the ratification of the human rights treaties to which the United States is not a party, such as ICESCR (signature in 1977), CEDAW (signature in 1980) and CRC (signature in 1995), and, if there exist(s) a treaty(ies) with little possibility of ratification, the reason thereof.

NORWAY
• To what extent will there be a renewed initiative in order to gather political support for signing and ratifying more treaties related to human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court?


Death Penalty

DENMARK
• What will the U.S. Government do to follow the recommendation by the international community to ensure that state and federal authorities impose a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty nationwide? And until such a moratorium is imposed, which steps will the Government take to restrict the number of offences carrying the death penalty and to instruct the prosecutors in all jurisdictions to cease pursuing death sentences?

NETHERLANDS
• Paragraph 61, 62 and 63 of the national report states that the death penalty is authorized by 35 states, the federal government and the U.S. military. However, paragraph 63 also states that there are currently 16 jurisdictions without the death penalty. Would the U.S. Government consider abolishing or declaring a moratorium on the death penalty within the federal and military jurisdictions? If negative, could the U.S. government elaborate on the challenges?

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
• As of now, the death penalty is abolished in only 15 States of the US, while judicial errors are not uncommon in the passing of death sentences – for the last 30 years more than 100 persons sentenced to death have been acquitted after execution. Does the United States consider imposing a moratorium on the death penalty?

SWEDEN
• In its resolutions 62/149 of 18 December 2007 and 63/168 of 18 December 2008, the UN General Assembly called on states to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. While welcoming the repealing of the use of capital punishment in some states of the United States, Sweden regrets the recurring sentencing of persons to death as well as the carrying out of executions in many states. In its national report to the UPR, the United States refers to existing procedural safeguards applied in cases in which the death penalty may be imposed. Nonetheless, Sweden is concerned about the continued incidence of death sentences against and executions of persons in cases in which concerns have been raised over circumstances affecting the proceedings, including with regard to the mental health of defendants. Sweden also regrets the breaking of de facto moratoria on executions in a number of separate states in 2010. Could the Government of the United States of America elaborate on the status of the death penalty, including in relation to the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, and with regard to whether there are any plans, notwithstanding the current system of allowing individual states within the United States to determine the status of the death penalty, on the part of the national government to impose an official moratorium on executions toward the complete abolition of the death penalty in the country?

SWITZERLAND
• Death penalty: Several US states have abolished the death penalty in the last years. Could the state and federal authorities impose a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty nationwide and ensure that prosecutors in all jurisdictions cease pursuing death sentences?

UNITED KINGDOM
• The UK remains concerned about the continuing use of the death penalty in the US, and particularly by evidence that the death penalty is administered in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner with an inevitable risk of irreversible miscarriages of justice. Could you tell us what steps the Administration is taking to address these concerns?

NORWAY
• Several UN Treaty Bodies, including the Human Rights Committee, the CERD and the Committee against Torture, have raised concern about the application of the death penalty in the US. What steps has the US Government taken to implement the recommendation to review federal and state legislation with a view to restricting the number of offences carrying the death penalty? Does the US Government intend to take steps to ensure that state and federal authorities impose a moratorium on executions with the view to abolish death penalty nationwide?


Special Procedures

DENMARK
• Would the United States consider issuing a standing invitation to the United Nations special procedures?

LATVIA
• According to the information by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 72 countries from different regions of the world have issued standing invitations to all special procedures of the Human Rights Council.
Considering previous cooperation of the United States of America with special procedures mandate holders - would your country consider extending a standing invitation to all special procedures of the Human Rights Council in the future?

NETHERLANDS
• The national report submitted by the United States of America ends with paragraph 100, stating that the United States views participation in this UPR process as an opportunity to discuss with fellow members of the Human Rights Council their accomplishments, challenges and vision for the future of human rights. In addition, paragraph 16 of OHCHR compilation states that the U.S. has received many visits or mission reports by special rapporteurs (e.g. working group of experts on African descent in January 2010). Taking this two paragraphs into account, the Netherlands would like to ask whether the U.S. Government is considering extending a standing invitation to special procedures (special rapporteurs, independent experts and treaty bodies) for work visits to the United States? If positive, when? If negative, could the government of the U.S. elaborate on the challenges they are facing not to extend a standing invitation?


Indigenous Rights

BOLIVIA
• Paragraph 38 of your national report, you admit the existence of promises not kept in relation to the federal government and Indigenous Peoples of Alaska, and recognize the need of an urgent change, observing that the rate of unemployment in some indigenous communities is almost of 80% and at least the forth part of Native Americans live in poverty. Can you explain, what concrete measures the federal government has taken to guarantee the respect of the ancestral indigenous lands by extractive industries? And, ¿what measures exist to ensure the participation of Indigenous Peoples in decision making that affect their natural environment, their means of subsistence and culture?

GERMANY
• CERD recommended, inter alia, that the US recognize the right of Native Americans to participate in decisions affecting them, and consult in good faith with them before adopting and implementing any activity in their lands, and that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples be used as a guide to interpret the State obligations under the Convention relating to indigenous peoples. Germany would be grateful for information how the United States of America is following-up on this recommendation.

NORWAY
• What is the scope for endorsement of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ratification of ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries? Could a national human rights institution, established in accordance with the Paris Principles, help advance indigenous issues in the United States?


Human Rights Education

SLOVENIA
• Does the government of the USA plan to introduce human rights education into primary and secondary educational curricula?

NETHERLANDS
• In reference to paragraph 5 of the national report, quoting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that ‘human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves’, what concrete measures does the U.S. Government take to promote awareness about universal human rights and the U.N. human rights system within the United States, especially among young people? In particular, how is education about universal human rights, which include social, cultural and economic rights, integrated into school programmes?


Rights of the Incarcerated

BOLIVIA
• In paragraph 58, you say that are engaged in protecting the rights of incarcerated people. In paragraphs 83, 84, 85 and 87 mention presidential orders to respect that include the reference of Guantanamo and other detention centers in other countries. Can you indicate if, effectively all the detention centers in other countries directed by the CIA have been closed down following the presidential orders? What concrete measures have you taken to sanction the responsible of tortures and abuse against detainee’s dignity under the control of the United States in Guantanamo and other detention center in other countries? Can you indicate what mechanisms of compensation are you thinking of implementing for the unjustified detentions?

NETHERLANDS
• While the Netherlands welcomes the report of the independent National Prison Rape Elimination Committee as described in paragraph 59 of the national report, could the U.S. Government specify which comprehensive regulations are in the process of development by the Department of Justice to protect vulnerable groups against sexual violence, in particular LGBT persons? And can the U.S. Government pledge to implement the July 2006 Human Rights Committee recommendation to prohibit the shackling of detained women during childbirth?

SWEDEN
• In its latest consideration of the United States of America in 2006, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern at some aspects of the conditions of persons deprived of their liberty in the United States, recommending compliance with the requirements of article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. In its national report to the UPR, the government of the United States cites measures taken to protect the rights of incarcerated persons. Nonetheless, civil society organizations have reported restrictions and concerns relating to different aspects of the treatment of the country’s over two million prisoners. Prisoners in maximum security prisons are reported to often be incarcerated in very restricted spaces with little recourse to work or exercise. Prisoners in general are often denied the right to vote, while in some states of the United States, former prisoners may be banned from voting even after the completion of their prison sentences. Could the Government of the United States of America elaborate on the measures it is taking to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights persons deprived of their liberty, including by way of ensuring treatment in maximum security prisons in conformity with international law and of ensuring the enjoyment of the right to vote both by persons deprived of their liberty and of persons who have completed their prison sentences?


Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism

BOLIVIA
• In paragraph 58, you say that are engaged in protecting the rights of incarcerated people. In paragraphs 83, 84, 85 and 87 mention presidential orders to respect that include the reference of Guantanamo and other detention centers in other countries. Can you indicate if, effectively all the detention centers in other countries directed by the CIA have been closed down following the presidential orders? What concrete measures have you taken to sanction the responsible of tortures and abuse against detainee’s dignity under the control of the United States in Guantanamo and other detention center in other countries? Can you indicate what mechanisms of compensation are you thinking of implementing for the unjustified detentions?

NETHERLANDS
• Taking into account the recommendations made by the special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism after his visit in 2007 (ref. A/HRC/6/17/Add.3 dated 22 November 2007), taking into account paragraphs 71, 72, 73 and 74 of the OHCHR compilation, and taking into account paragraphs 84 – 88 of the national report, could the U.S. Government provide an update on the status of the recommendations made by the special rapporteur?

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
• The present Administration of the United States has announced a number of measures in order to obviate some of the gravest violations of human rights in the context of fight against terrorism, ensure observance of the law in the process of interrogation, close the so-called ‘CIA secret prisons’ and the detention center at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba). What administrative and legislative steps are taken by the United States to hold accountable persons (including medical personnel) who had tortured detainees in US secret prisons as well as detention centres in Bagram (Afghanistan) and Guantanamo Bay? What is being done to provide effective remedies to civilian victims of the “war on terror”, including the detainees of the secret prisons and centers in Guantanamo and Bagram?

UNITED KINGDOM
• Could you please outline the next steps needed to ensure the final closure of the detention facility in Guantanamo?

NORWAY
• The UN Committee against Torture has expressed concern about acts of torture or ill-treatment committed by certain members of the State’s military or civilian personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq, and recommended that the State take immediate measures to eradicate all forms of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by military or civilian personnel, in any territory under its jurisdiction, and thoroughly investigate such acts. What steps have the US government taken to implement these recommendations?


Human Rights Commission

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
• The United States has not established an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles up to date. Does the United States intend to comply with the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on Human Rights as well as the Working Group on People of African Descent to establish this institution?

UNITED KINGDOM
• Please could you elaborate on whether the US Commission on Civil Rights operates in compliance with the Paris Principles designed to guide the practice of such institutions? What steps are you taking to ensure that there is an institution in the US which operates in compliance with the principles?

NORWAY
• To what extent, and through which practices, does the Federal Government hold the individual states accountable for implementing international human rights law? Will the need for human rights institutions at the federal level be reviewed in order to further ensure that human rights are being implemented in all states in line with the relevant international treaty obligations?


ESCR/Health/Reproductive Rights and Structural Racism

BOLIVIA
• Paragraph 31 of your national report recognized the lack of equity and equality between African Americans and Hispanics in comparison to Whites. You affirm that you are trying to ensure that equal opportunity is a real experience for everyone. Could you explain, what effective measures has the United States taken to review norms and practices that in effect have created disparities in access to employment, education, housing, health, and justice, and what measures do you expect to take to eliminate persistent disparities exposed in those five areas?

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
• About 30 % of the population of the United States has insufficient revenue to meet its basic needs. 24.7 per cent of Afro-Americans and 14.5 per cent of women live below the poverty line officially established on the federal level. Every fifth child also lives in poverty. Which steps does the United States plan to take to combat poverty?

JAPAN
• As the United States itself acknowledges, there still exist disparities in the treatment of African-American and Native-American persons in the areas of employment, housing, education, and health care (A/HRC/WG6/9/USA/1 paragraphs 31 and 71), and treaty bodies continue to comment on this issue (A/HRC/WG6/9/USA/2 paragraphs 57-63). We hope that the measures outlined in the National Report will bring favorable results. We would like to know if there has been any additional action taken beyond that covered in the Report as well as what measures have been given priority in abolishing such disparities.

NORWAY
• The Center for Reproductive rights has brought to our attention that African American women and Latinas have a significantly higher risk of maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. What steps does the U.S. government plan to take to address the disparities in reproductive and sexual health?


JLWOP

SWITZERLAND
• Juvenile justice: Are the US envisaging to end the use of life imprisonment without parole for offenders under 18 years old at the time of the crime, and to review all existing sentences in order to ensure that any such convicted offender has the possibility of parole?


Asylum Seekers/Immigration Detention

SWITZERLAND
• When does the U.S. intend to provide prompt court review of the need for detention for arriving asylum seekers and other arriving aliens who are detained?

NORWAY
• We have noted UNHCRs concerns regarding the amended immigration and asylum laws. Is there an intention to revise these laws, including the immigration detention system?
Racial Profiling

BOLIVIA
• Paragraph 50 of your national report it is recognized that “utilization of racial and ethnic profiles is not effective in the application of the law”, and it is not coherent to the criminal justice system. Can you explain, what concrete measures have you taken to monitor that all security forces at the state and federal level do not use racial and ethnic profiles? If taking, what are the accomplishments? What measures states and the federal government to prevent the proliferation of migrant laws that generate “racial profiling”, like the approved Arizona Law?


Labor Rights / Migrant Workers

BOLIVIA
• Paragraph 23 of your national report you announce that currently there are various legislative projects in Congress that can fortify workers’ rights, guaranteeing that they can continue associating freely, unionizing and bargain collectively. Can you explain, what concrete measures has your government taken for the National Labor Relations Act – NLRA and the Fair Labor Standards Act - FLSA) stop excluding domestic workers and farm workers?

• Paragraph 80, affirm that as a fundamental truth of your Constitution that everyone is created equal and has inalienable rights and that this is also a universal truth. Paragraph 96, of your national report indicate that your President continue decided to repair the failures of your immigration system and that your government will continue government with Congress and affected communities. Can you explain what concrete measures has your government taken to prohibit legislation at the federal and state level that discriminate the enjoyment of labor and employment rights according to the immigrant status? What concrete measures has your government taken to investigate and sanction individuals involved in the recruitment of guestworkers visa H2a y H2b that have become forced labor and contemporary forms of slavery o have benefited from this situation?


NGO Engagement

UNITED KINGDOM
• We welcome the extent to which Civil Society was consulted in the preparation of your national report. Could you tell us if the same level of civil society consultation will continue during the follow-up to this review?


Consular Notification

UNITED KINGDOM
• The UK welcomes the US Administration’s commitment to comply with its international obligations on consular notification and access to foreign nationals in US custody. Could you tell us what steps have been taken to ensure compliance at all levels and branches of law enforcement in the USA?


Equal Opportunity/LGBT Rights

UNITED KINGDOM
• The UK also welcomes your commitment to seek progress in achieving greater fairness for minorities, persons with disabilities and LGBT individuals amongst others. Could you tell us what efforts the Federal government has recently made to ensure consistency and equality across the individual States?

NORWAY
• We have noted concerns that it remains legal in several states to discriminate in employment based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity or expression. What steps will the US government take to eradicate such discrimination? Will the government consider prohibiting discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity by federal law?


Reproductive Rights

UNITED KINGDOM
• Has the US government conducted any studies on the effects the Mexico City provisions on foreign assistance, whilst in force, may have had on the rights of vulnerable women abroad? If so, could you elaborate on the findings?

NORWAY
• The Global Justice Center (GJC) filed a shadow report for the universal periodic review of the US expressing concern with regard to US blanket abortion restriction on humanitarian aid and abortion speech restrictions on US rule of law and democracy programs. Does the US have any plans to remove its blanket abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid covering the medical care given women and girls who are raped and impregnated in situations of armed conflict? Does the US government apply abortion speech restrictions on its rule of law and democracy programs?


Police Brutality/Excessive Force by Law Enforcement

JAPAN
• Concerns have been raised about allegations of the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials against, inter alia, Latino and African-American persons and undocumented migrants (A/HRC/WG6/9/USA/2 paragraphs 30 and 41). We would like to know what legal action (A/HRC/WG6/9/USA/1 paragraph 58) and other measures, i.e. training of officials in law enforcement entities on the protection of human rights, public awareness campaigns, etc., have been taken to address this.


US Foreign Aid

NORWAY
• The Rebuilding Alliance has brought to our attention the model framework expressed by the Leahy Laws. What steps are taken to ensure that these are applied with respect to all countries receiving US’ security assistance? To what extent are the human rights records of all units receiving such assistance documented, evaluated, made available and followed up upon in cases of abuses?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Winning Video Addresses How the US Continues to Ignore Their Treaty Obligations Made with Native Americans



A job well done! Congratulations.



US HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK ANNOUNCES WINNER OF THE TESTIFY PROJECT
Innovative Multi-Media Project Seeks to Tell the Stories of Communities Affected by Human Rights Violations in Anticipation of Universal Periodic Review

Winning Video Addresses How the US Continues to Ignore Their Treaty Obligations Made with Native Americans

October 26, 2010-In an effort to bring to life the stories of ordinary citizens affected by social injustices, The U.S Human Rights Network (USHRN) launched the Testify Project, a video contest based on first person stories of human rights abuses occurring in the United States.

Organizers of the contest asked participants to create a one to two minute video addressing the core questions: how are human rights violated in your community and what should the US Government do to protect these rights.

“The Testify Project is a chance for the voice of people in the community who have suffered the indignities and violations of their human rights to be heard,” said Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of USHRN “People from across the country are standing up to tell their stories and call on the U.S to fall in line with world standards. The powerful video from the La Jolla Band of Indians demonstrates the great need for the application of international human rights laws to our domestic policy.”

Videos ranged in subject matter from access to adequate health care to the denial of rights of indigenous communities, to immigration issues faced by the gay and lesbian community. The group received over 63 submissions for the contest.

Narrowed down by a public vote, a panel of judges with expertise in human rights and video activism selected the winning video from the La Jolla Band of Indians. This video highlights a community walk bringing attention to the disproportionately high rates of rapes and assaults on native women.

First round contest winner, Romeo Ramirez’s video described how he and his fellow tomato pickers work to put food on the tables of families across the U.S., yet could hardly feed their own families, and face sub-poverty wages and frequent abuse from employers.

The top ten videos and stories will be screened for United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland in preparation for the United States’ Universal Periodic Review.

For a full list of the top 10 videos please visit: www.TestifyProject.com.

The US Human Rights Network was formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. The Network strives to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by human rights violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in a central leadership role. The Network also works towards connecting the US human rights movement with the broader US social justice movement and human rights movements around the world. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ushrnetwork.org.