Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day of Mourning: Message from Leonard Peltier

24 November 2011

Greetings to all my friends, relations, and supporters.

Well, it's that time of year again, the time when America celebrates its fantasy about Indians and pilgrims. This is truly a day of mourning. So many paid so dear a price so that the People may live.

As an Indian man, this national “day of giving thanks” leaves so much to be desired. Like many of you, I think a seasonal recounting of the truth is in order. Perhaps we can call these truths the seven deadly Indian sins.

Fact-The first documented Thanksgiving was the celebration of an Indian massacre. Ask any Pequot.

Fact-Even the feast that is celebrated was followed by genocide, with those Indian participants and their descendants being virtually wiped out within a generation. Ask any Wampanoag.

Fact-Ninety-eight percent of American Indians, perhaps 150 million of our relations, were killed by the onset of reservation times. This is the largest holocaust in the history of the world.

Fact-Once on the reservation, our children were stolen and sent to boarding schools or adopted out. Many of them were abused. Some were never heard from again.
Fact-Reservation-bound Indian women were commonly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.

Fact-The life span for American Indians continues to be much shorter than for other Americans.

Fact-We continue to live with substandard housing, education, and healthcare.

For this, we're supposed to celebrate? I don’t think so.

If Indians can be so marginalized, it can happen to anyone. We've said this for generations. Now it seems most everyone is feeling colonized.

In a time where corporate greed is so evident and 99 percent are falling behind, and in the Indian tradition of sacrifice, I ask all of you to observe a day of “(Un)thanksgiving”. Fast. Donate your meal to a person in need instead. In this America, there are forgotten people everywhere who could use a good hot meal. Helping others in need is the noblest practice of a truly thankful nation.

If the occupiers of America’s cities could do this, instead of participating in the overindulgence so common to the 1 percent, how much good might be done?

Fasting and praying is a powerful way for all of us to become centered, too.

I remain an Indigenous political prisoner. My sacrifice is for my People. If between the football games and turkey and dressing, you can remember me and those like me, I will be thankful as well.

May Wakan Tanka bless and keep you. Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations).

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,


Leonard Peltier

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Madame Danielle Mitterrand has passed

Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand, former First Lady of France, passed away last night in Paris, France. At the age of 87, Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand carried out her work for human rights until the end, including her strong support for Leonard Peltier's freedom. The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee extends our sympathies to Madame Mitterrand's family and colleagues at her Foundation "France Libert├ęs". Our friend may have left us, but her spirit remains in our hearts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Waziyatawin Speaks to Occupy Oakland


Waziyatawin Speaks to Occupy Oakland
http://youtu.be/naY3VFdTKEc

Open Letter to President Barack Obama: Free Leonard Peltier Now


President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
18 November 2011

Dear President Obama,

In September, you invited Americans to interact with you and your Administration via the We the People component of the White House Web site. In good faith, We the People established a petition and thousands of signatories participated.

We the People took you at your word that we'd receive a response if we succeeded in reaching the benchmark of 5,000 or more signatures. We exceeded your benchmark, Mr. President. What is not generally known is that an additional 7,000+ hard copy signatures were sent to the White House, as well. In all, over 12,000 signatures were collected and delivered in a 30-day period.

We the People waited. Patiently. And then, today, we received your reply, i.e., a statement that you cannot comment on our petition.

We the People have read your Constitution, Mr. Obama. We are familiar with procedures related to the award of clemency, too.

We the People are aware of the clemency application review process (28 C.F.R. Part I, §§ 1.1-1.11). We also know that these guidelines do not bind the President. Congress and government operating units such as the Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot regulate or limit the presidential clemency power. You have the power to grant clemency to anyone, for any reason, regardless of whether they have submitted an application. The absolute authority to grant clemency to federal prisoners belongs only to the President of the United States (under Article II, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution).

We the People know that the Office of the Pardon Attorney advises the President and has been located within the DOJ since the 19th century. We respectfully suggest that past presidents have relied too heavily on the will of prosecutors. We see no reason for this trend to continue in light of what is known today, i.e., that prosecutorial misconduct is a leading contributor to the incidence of wrongful convictions in the United States.

We the People know that the Peltier case is the most egregious example of investigative and prosecutorial misconduct in U.S. history.

Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist accused in 1975 in connection with the shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Government documents show that, without any evidence at all, the FBI decided from the beginning of its investigation to 'lock Peltier into the case'.

U.S. prosecutors knowingly presented false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Mr. Peltier to the U.S. The statements were signed by a woman who was forced by FBI agents to say she was an eyewitness to the shootings. The government has long since admitted that the woman was not present during the shootings.

The first appeal of Mr. Peltier's conviction occurred in 1977 before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In reference to the false affidavits discovered to have been used to extradite Leonard Peltier from Canada, Judge Donald Ross stated:
"But can't you see... that what happened happened in such a way that it gives some credence to the claim... that the United States is willing to resort to any tactic in order to bring somebody back to the United States from Canada? And if they are willing to do that, they must be willing to fabricate evidence as well."
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa—in light of the terror on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the previous three years, the history of misconduct on the part of the FBI in cases involving Indigenous activists, and the reckless behavior of the agents on June 26, 1975—a jury decided that Mr. Peltier's co-defendants were not guilty by reason of self-defense. Had Leonard been tried with his co-defendants, he also would have been acquitted.

Unhappy with the outcome of that trial, prosecutors set the stage for Mr. Peltier's conviction. His trial was inexplicably moved to an area known for its anti-Indian sentiment—Fargo, North Dakota. The trial judge had a reputation for ruling against Indians, and a juror is known to have made racist comments during Mr. Peltier's trial.

FBI documents prove that the prosecution went so far as to manufacture the so-called murder weapon. A ballistics test shows that the gun and the shell casings entered into evidence didn't match, but this fact was withheld from the jury. Mr. Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

Prosecutor Lynn Crooks, during oral arguments before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 15, 1985, stated:
"We can't prove who shot those agents."
The trial testimony on the Wichita AR-15 (claimed by the government to have been Leonard Peltier's weapon and to have caused their agents' fatal injuries) was the lynchpin of the prosecution's case. Allegedly, the Wichita AR-15 shell casing was found in the trunk of Agent Coler's vehicle. FBI documents released after Peltier's trial showed that two different FBI agents claimed to have discovered that shell casing—and on two different days. The judges of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals stated:
"There are only two alternatives... to the government's contention that the .223 casing was ejected into the trunk of Coler's car when the Wichita AR-15 was fired at the agents. One alternative is that the .223 casing was planted in the trunk of Coler's car either before its discovery by the investigating agents or by the agents who reported the discovery. The other alternative is that a non-matching casing was originally found in the trunk and sent to the FBI laboratory, only to be replaced by a matching casing when the importance of a match to the Wichita AR-15 became evident."
In 1986, in its ruling on Mr. Peltier's 1985 appeal, the Eighth Circuit of Appeals acknowledged that the United States government had used dishonest means to effect his conviction. The court concluded that the government withheld evidence from the defense favorable to Mr. Peltier, "which cast a strong doubt on the government's case," and that had this other evidence been brought forth, "there is a possibility that a jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier."

The author of the Eighth Circuit Court's decision, Judge Gerald Heaney, in a letter supporting an award of Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier, wrote:
"The United States government must share in the responsibility for the June 26 firefight... It appeared that the FBI was equally to blame for the shootout... the government’s role can properly be considered a mitigating circumstance… At some point, a healing process must begin... Favorable action by the President in the Leonard Peltier case would be an important step in this regard."
Before the Court of Appeals on November 9, 1992, Prosecutor Lynn Crooks again admitted:
"We don't know who shot those agents."
Also in 1992, Crooks demonstrated his predisposition to achieve a conviction even if based on fraudulent evidence when, in an interview conducted by Steve Kroft on the television show "West 57th Street," he said:
"It doesn't bother my conscience one bit... Doesn't bother my conscience one whit. I don't agree that there's anything wrong with that, and I can tell you, it don't bother my conscience if we did."
In 2002, an appeal was heard by the Eighth Circuit Court regarding a sentence reduction for Mr. Peltier. On December 12, 2002, the appellate court stated that the sentences imposed were themselves legal, but they "were imposed in violation of [Peltier's] due process rights because they were based on information that was false due to government misconduct."

As late as November 2003, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that:
"…Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."
Although the courts have acknowledged evidence of government misconduct—including forcing witnesses to lie and hiding ballistics evidence reflecting his innocence—Mr. Peltier has been denied a new trial on a legal technicality.

Leonard Peltier applied for a commutation of sentence in 1993. The Department of Justice investigation was thorough and its recommendation well-considered. That application remained active until 2009. The fact that this application gathered dust in the Oval Office for over 15 years (according to the Office of the Inspector General, on average, petitions for commutation are decided in 1.57 years) clearly indicates that the application provided compelling reasons to grant an award of clemency to Leonard Peltier.

The facts of U.S. v Peltier (CR No. C77-3003) have not changed, Mr. Obama. You already have the means by which to make an informed decision in favor of Leonard Peltier.

We the People have waited a long time for justice for Leonard Peltier—nearly 36 years. On constitutional and overriding human rights and compassionate grounds, we await the fulfillment of the promise of justice for all—including the Indigenous Peoples of this hemisphere.

Show us, Mr. Obama, that the Bill of Rights isn't just another broken treaty.

Give effect to Judge Heaney's expression of support for an award of clemency to Mr. Peltier, a position based on his thorough review of Mr. Peltier's case.

On behalf of all of your constituents, signal disapproval of the particular investigative or prosecutorial practices that afforded only an unfair trial to Mr. Peltier and resulted in his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

Respect the sovereignty of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians by transferring Mr. Peltier into his Nation's custody.

Send home a seriously ill and elderly man who can only receive adequate care from his family and Nation.

According to your oath of office—and your obligation to enforce, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution—you must act to right this wrong.

Free Leonard Peltier, Mr. Obama. It's time.

Sincerely,


We the People

Friday, November 18, 2011

National Day of Mourning Dedicated to Leonard Peltier



42nd NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING

Thursday, November 24, 2011
12 Noon




Cole's Hill (the hill above Plymouth Rock)
Plymouth, Massachusetts


Join us as we dedicate the 42nd National Day of Mourning to our brother, Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier. Add your voice to the millions world-wide who demand his freedom Help us in our struggle to create a true awareness of Native peoples and demonstrate the unity of Indigenous peoples internationally. Help shatter the untrue glass image of the Pilgrims and the unjust system based on racism, sexism, homophobia and war.

For more information, contact:

UNITED AMERICAN INDIANS OF NEW ENGLAND/LPDOC Chapter
Phone: (617) 522-6626 • info@uaine.org • http://www.uaine.org

Absolutely No Drugs or Alcohol Allowed

Pot-Luck Social to Follow

Please send Donations via
Metacom Education Project
284 Amory Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

FOR BUS INFORMATION FROM NYC:

Contact the IAC, 212 633-6646. The bus leaves at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, November 24, 2011.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandmother Jumping Bull, from Leonard Peltier

Leonard's long-time supporter Roselyn Jumping Bull will celebrate her 80th birthday this week. Please join us in wishing her many blessings... many more birthdays, too! If you wish, send your birthday greetings to:

Roselyn Jumping Bull
PO Box 207
Oglala, SD. 57764

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oglala Commemoration Auction Reopens

The Oglala Commemoration's Auction is now open for bids.

The Oglala Commemoration Auction raises about 90% of the funds needed for the annual event and the Commemoration Committees other projects, including but not limited to the school supply drive, scholarship, and community dinner. Most items are donated; auction donations are accepted year round.

Visit http://www.oglalacommemoration.com/auction.html and place your bid. Stay tuned for new auction items, too.

And join us at the 2012 Oglala Commemoration.

www.oglalacommemoration.com



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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights


Click on Image for Details

Looks Like an Original: Reproductions of Art by Leonard Peltier. Holiday Discount!

Looking for the perfect holiday gift?

Visit www.LeonardPeltierArt.com and check out the selection of high-quality reproductions of Leonard Peltier's artwork.



Now until December 31, receive a 20% discount for any open edition reproduction. (This discount does not apply to original paintings, limited edition reproductions, or greeting cards.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

San Francisco, 16 Nov: "The Struggle Continues to Free Leonard Peltier"

LPDOC Chapter - Oakland Presents!

"The Struggle Continues to Free Leonard Peltier"
Featuring LIVE Hip Hop & Traditional Native Music!

November 16, 2011 - 8PM
2111 Mission Street 3rd floor #300, San Francisco, CA

$5 Cover - No one turned down due to lack of funds.
Free CD/DVD Combo for first 15 guests.
Peace Pipe Lounge & outdoor seating available.

Speakers:

-Chief Ernie Longwalker
-Warrior Woman

Special Performances (Artist line up subject to change)

-Pam the Funktress (The Coup) on the 1's and 2's
-Ras Ceylon
-The Dime
-iamani i. ameni
-Rumsen Ohlone
-Eseibio

Art presented by Rtysk

Special Invited Guest: Talib Kweli

Directions

From EAST BAY: Take BART to 16th and Mission. Walk 1 block south,cross 17th, entrance next to Fabric Outlet and Thrift Town.

From San Francisco: Walk, Bike or Take bus to 17th and Mission. Buses 14 and 49 run along Mission; The 22 and 33 also cross Mission nearby coming from the Haight or 3rd Street areas.

Driving: Take 101 (N or S) to Cesar Chavez exit. Take Cesar Chavez West to Mission St. Right on Mission, park near 17th.

Sponsored by www.HipHopRevolutionary.com, www.FreeLeonardAlbum.com, and PCG Records.

02 December: Stand Up / Stand Out for Leonard Peltier


Click on Image for Details

Friday, November 4, 2011

National Congress of American Indians unanimously supports freedom for Leonard Peltier

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04 November 2011
Contact: Delaney Bruce, Legal Team Liaison, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106; 701-235-2206, contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

National Congress of American Indians unanimously supports freedom for Leonard Peltier

During its annual conference this week in Portland, Oregon, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) unanimously passed a resolution in support of freedom for Leonard Peltier.

An innocent man, Native American activist Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in connection with the shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1977. Imprisoned for nearly 36 years—currently at the federal prison in Coleman, Florida—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.

The NCAI has adopted resolutions on behalf of Leonard Peltier in the past. In 1999, the NCAI also supported the Assembly of First Nations in Canada in an historic joint resolution.

"It's long past time for the healing to begin between Indigenous Nations and the U.S. government—with regard to the Peltier case, as well as other tragic incidents of the past. The NCAI is eager to work with the Obama Administration to work towards that end," said a spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Peltier case has been examined by renowned author Peter Matthiessen ("In the Spirit of Crazy Horse") and by a documentary film produced and narrated by Robert Redford ("Incident at Oglala"). Although the courts have acknowledged evidence of government misconduct—including the coercion of witnesses, the intentional use of false testimonies, and the concealment of ballistics evidence reflecting his innocence—Peltier has been denied a new trial.

The power to commute Peltier's sentence of two life terms rests with President Obama.

"Mr. Peltier is 67 years old and in poor health. This is the very time for renewed commitment and unity. We're very pleased that the Indigenous Nations have taken this action on Mr. Peltier's behalf and are actively involved in securing his freedom."

The Peltier resolution was unanimously approved in committee on November 2 and presented in the plenary session earlier today.

Informed of the NCAI's decision, Leonard Peltier stated, "This means so much to me. I'm grateful for the support of my People. I thank the NCAI for their efforts."

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To learn more about the Peltier case, visit www.whoisleonardpeltier.info. Also view "US Versus Leonard Peltier: Evidence of a Wrongful Conviction. From the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" at http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/download/CriticalFBIDocs.pdf.