Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Occupy DOJ: Statement by Leonard Peltier

Greetings and Hoka Hey! to my brother Mumia Abu Jamal, his family, friends, and supporters. Happy Fifty Eighth birthday, my friend. To you people of conscience I extend to you my support and enthusiasm for your efforts as you Occupy the Department of Justice on this day. As a person likewise denied justice and living in an iron cage purely for defending my own people, I want to thank you for taking ownership of the very concept of justice. They may call themselves the department of justice, but what they dispense is anything but. If you are black or brown or red what you get is obstruction, oppression, suppression, depression, and the INjustice of a system still afraid to acknowledge what it has historically done to minorities, and finds itself unable to change its destructive behavior.

What is justice? Is it a system where an overwhelming number of those arrested, tried, and convicted all look very similar? NO. Is it a system where one man or woman pays more for a similar crime than another because of what they look like? NO. Is it a pattern of historically violating the human rights of those who do not descend from Europeans? NO. Is it the quashing of the voices of those who stand up and heroically work to change the world for the better? NO. No it is not justice but it is injustice in the name of racism, and social and political deconstruction of communities already ravaged by the scoundrels of history.

And today I cry out to you my righteous brother and sisters, take ownership of this word justice. Explore the true meaning of the word not in some dictionary, but in your hearts, your homes, your neighborhoods, your cities, and finally in this country we live in. Express justice in every hall, and courthouse and capitol from California to Maine, from Texas to Montana and all points in between. Stand up together as one and show the authorities that justice is NOT based on fear, it is NOT based on marginalization, it is NOT based on holding down one to raise another, it is NOT about being afraid of our differences. Justice, TRUE justice is about being my brother’s keeper. It is about forging a common existence in the sight of the Creator as men and women living together, toiling together, playing together, worshipping together, and governing together without fear of being trampled on because of age old fears and deceptions.

You carry forth for those of us who cannot. Do not be afraid and do not grow weary. Our spirits are with you in every word you speak and every step you take. Carry on in the face of despair and sorrow and all that history has shown us. You are the face of change this country and this world must have if we are to know real justice and real harmony. I thank you. Thank you so much for your time, your faith, your energy, and your voice. And please, save me a piece of birthday cake for the day justice is served, and we are all free.

Mitakuye Oyasin (We are all related).

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Geronimo,

Leonard Peltier

Failures at the FBI crime lab

Failures at the FBI crime lab

By Washington Post Editorial Board, Published: April 20
KIRK L. ODOM was incarcerated for 20 years and Donald E. Gates for nearly 30 for crimes they did not commit. Santae A. Tribble spent 28 years behind bars, even though DNA evidence now shows he almost undoubtedly was not the culprit.

All of the men were erroneously convicted in the District, in part, on the basis of forensic evidence analyzed by the FBI. Problems within the FBI lab, particularly with hair-sample analysis, were well known to the agency and the Justice Department; a task force spent some nine years reviewing cases after a whistleblower revealed possible shortcomings.

In a series of articles, The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu and a team of reporters documented how the Justice Department failed to notify lawyers representing prisoners whose fate hinged on the FBI analysis. Some prisoners spent years behind bars before becoming aware of the lab issues.

The problem continues to this day. The full results of the Justice Department task force’s investigation have not been made public. Even when the task force discovered flaws in a case, the information was turned over only to prosecutors, who were then left to decide whether the results needed to be brought to the attention of defense lawyers. In addition, the task force reviewed only cases involving one FBI analyst whose work was called into question; The Post identified cases where other analysts’ work resulted in convictions of innocent defendants.

The FBI argues that hair-sample analysis — in which samples from a suspect are analyzed microscopically and compared with samples found on a victim or crime scene — is a vital and legitimate tool. Advances in DNA testing, which allows for genetic analysis of evidence, “should not be perceived as diminishing the value of prior practices and testimonies,” according to an FBI statement. Administration law enforcement officials say that all hair samples collected after 1996 have been subjected to DNA testing, when possible; they point out that such testing is sometimes off limits because of the size or condition of the sample. “In cases where microscopic hair exams conducted by the FBI resulted in a conviction, the FBI is evaluating whether additional review is warranted,” the statement said.

This does not go far enough. The agency should not be considering “whether additional review is warranted” but how such a review should be conducted; members of the defense bar should be part of these discussions. Any review should, as a start, include DNA testing of hair samples in all cases that ended in conviction — regardless of which analyst performed the work — for which the defendant is still imprisoned or on parole. The Justice Department should make its task force results public; if such broad disclosure presents privacy or security problems, the department should at least make all FBI forensic analysis and task force material available to defense lawyers.

The failings documented by The Post point to the need for better scientific standards in forensic testing and a more open process for the disclosure of evidence and information in criminal proceedings. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is weighing legislation to expand the role of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to set such standards.

Congress also should change the law regarding discovery. Prosecutors should not be deciding which pieces of evidence seem exculpatory and must be turned over to the defense. They should be required to open their files to defense lawyers, with exceptions for witness protection or national security.

Occupy The Justice Department Implicates Obama Administration Integrity

Occupy The Justice Department Implicates Obama Administration Integrity
Created 04/23/2012 - 13:55
by Linn Washington Jr.

One of the issues driving protesters participating in the April 24, 2012 Occupy The Justice Department demonstration is an issue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knows well – prosecutorial misconduct.

Holder knows this misconduct issue well because he has criticized it during congressional testimony, as recently as March 2012 when commenting on a special prosecutor’s report castigating the wrongdoing of federal prosecutors.

That wrongdoing, Holder acknowledged, unlawfully tainted the corruption investigation and 2008 trial of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens –convicted of corruption in his home state of Alaska.

Protesters, including fiery Philadelphia activist Pam Africa, want Holder to take action against the prosecutorial misconduct evident in scores of unjust convictions improperly imprisoning political prisoners across America, most of them jailed for two or more decades.

Those political prisoners – ignored domestically while exalted abroad –include Native American activist Leonard Peltier, Puerto Rican Nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Cuban 5, author/activist Mumia Abu-Jamal and other former Black Panther Party members like the Omaha Two (Ed Poindexter and Mondo W. Langa).

Demands of the Occupy The Justice Department protesters include the immediate release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, freeing all political prisoners, ending the racist death penalty and ending solitary confinement and torture.

Individuals and incidents underlying those demands are within the purview of USAG Holder to investigate and/or to act immediately to resolve.

April 24th is the birthday of Mumia Abu-Jamal, perhaps the most recognized U.S. political prisoner worldwide.

Abu-Jamal, for example, was the subject of two demonstrations held recently outside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany, one of which included extending a 2,200-foot banner around that embassy building.

Pam Africa is the head of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal – the Philadelphia-based organization at the center of the international movement seeking Abu-Jamal’s release.

Africa is the dynamo who most Philadelphia police, prosecutors, politicians and many pastors love to hate because of her strident advocacy on behalf of imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and MOVE members sentenced for a fatal 1978 shootout.

The advocacy of Pam Africa on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal – helping construct support networks while confronting incessant opposition –contributed to the climate where U.S. federal courts late last year finally killed the death sentence Abu-Jamal received following his controversial 1982 conviction for killing a policeman.

Abu-Jamal is now fighting against a life-without-parole sentence.

That elimination of Abu-Jamal’s government-endorsed death chagrined powerful figures across Pennsylvania and around America who had shamefully bent-&-broken laws (deliberately sabotaging court proceedings) in their various efforts to execute Abu-Jamal, known as the Voice-of-the-Voiceless.

While winning freedom for Abu-Jamal and the MOVE 9 is a definitive focus of Pam Africa’s advocacy she is frequently found on ‘front-lines’nationwide fighting for ending mistreatment of people regardless of their color and creed.

“Pam Africa is in each and every struggle for social justice in Philadelphia, the U.S. and abroad. It’s not just Mumia,” said Latino activist/writer Berta Joubert-Ceci while chairing a recent program featuring former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in West Philadelphia.

Dr. Claude Guillaumaud, a professor in France whose known Africa for 20-years, said she's “had time to appreciate her warm personality and total commitment to the cause of Mumia and the fight against racial discrimination and the barbarian death penalty.”

Temple University African-American history professor Dr. Tony Monteiro first met Pam Africa during an ugly June 1979 incident in South Philadelphia where local police beat Africa. Philadelphia police pummeled Africa with nightsticks with one stick-strike knocking out some of her teeth.

The scholar in Dr. Monteiro sees Pam Africa as a unique figure whose contributions locally, nationally and internationally merit both examination and recognition.

“She’s made history but she didn’t set out to make history. She started initially just to do the right thing,” Monteiro said during a recent interview.

“I see her as one of the most significant rights leaders in the past forty-years. Where other black leaders have sought acceptance from ‘the system’ she never left the battlefield. She never retreated. She was never broken.”

Monteiro is a force behind two recent events honoring Pam Africa’s accomplishments. He has initiated a process for what he envisions as a study of Africa’s life works.

Prosecutorial misconduct is a core element in the Abu-Jamal case albeit a festering injustice ignored by state and federal courts that have refused to grant legal relief to Abu-Jamal despite granting new trials to others citing evidence of prosecutorial misconduct far less grievous than that evident in the Abu-Jamal case.

One example of prosecutorial misconduct in the Abu-Jamal case occurred during his 1982 murder trial when the prosecutor perverted a comment Abu-Jamal made over a decade earlier when responding to a reporter’s question about the December 1969 murder of Chicago Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

The Chicago police assassination of Hampton, later linked to the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO outraged many at the time including leaders as diverse as the then head of the NAACP, Roy Wilkins and former U.S. United Nations Ambassador Arthur Goldberg.

Hampton’s assassination, later documented by congressional and other investigations, was a part of a police-FBI campaign to slay BPP members –28 BPP deaths between January 1968 and December 1969.

A teenaged BBP member Abu-Jamal told that reporter that Hampton’s murder proved that “power” comes from the barrel of a gun.

But the 1982 trial prosecutor shifted the context of Abu-Jamal’s comment from applying it to police killing Black Panthers to proclaiming Abu-Jamal’s intent to kill police – one of many factual mischaracterizations that millions worldwide constantly cite when charging Abu-Jamal received an unfair trial.

That improper perversion of Abu-Jamal’s comment helped sway jurors to send the award-winning journalist with no criminal record to death row. That prosecutor had improperly excluded blacks from Abu-Jamal’s trial jury.

Not only was the prosecutor twisting Abu-Jamal’s comment an improper tactic it violated associational rights granted under the First Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court gave new hearings in the early 1990s to two convicted murderers – a white racist prisoner gang member in Delaware and a white devil worshipper in Nevada – while denying comparable relief to former BPP member Abu-Jamal three times.

USAG Eric Holder, shortly after taking office in January 2009, went to court successfully requesting dismissal of Sen. Stevens’ conviction after finding that federal prosecutor withheld evidence of innocence from Stevens’ defense team plus tampered with witnesses and documents.

The recent release of the special prosecutor’s report in the Stevens case confirmed that prosecutorial misconduct – wrongdoing also abundant in the case of Abu-Jamal and other U.S. political prisoners.

The Occupy The Justice Department demonstrators are raising the issue of Holder’s credibility and the ethical integrity of the Obama Administration in acting to dismiss the wrongful conviction of ex-Senator Stevens while ignoring the continued imprisonment of U.S. political prisoners that involves misconduct by police and prosecutors.

On December 9, 2011 – one day before the U.N. annual Human Rights Day –Noble Peace Prize winning anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked America to “rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights and justice” in calling for the “immediate release” of Abu-Jamal.
Source URL:http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1136

Freedom for Leonard Peltier and All Prisoners of Conscience

June 2-3, 2012
Run for Freedom
Freedom for Leonard Peltier and All Prisoners of Conscience
From Chief Little Turtle Statue in Covington, KY, to Serpent Mound, Peebles, OH.
Walk, run or cycle! Everyone is invited to participate.
Information: Call 513-403-2765 or 513-766-6121; E-mail us at info@footprintsforpeace.org.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Art by Leonard Peltier

On the Border (2010)

Buy a reproduction of "On the Border".  This and other fine art reproductions are of the highest quality. Images of paintings by the artist Leonard Peltier are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto your choice of canvas or paper (fine art or photo-base). Order your reproduction today! Visit Leonard Peltier Art at http://www.leonardpeltierart.com.  

Questions? Please send an e-mail to monica7621@msn.com or call 719-687-8750.

Special !!!
Enter to Win a Framed 18"x24" Reproduction
of a Peltier Painting

Buy a raffle ticket for $5.00 before June 9. Buy five entries for $20.00. There is no limit on the number of raffle tickets you can buy.
Send your name, e-mail address, shipping address, and your check or money order to Leonard Peltier Art, PO Box 7621, Woodland Park, CO 80863.

Friday, April 20, 2012

FBI Refuses to Open Cold Cases on Pine Ridge Reservation

FBI Refuses to Open Cold Cases on Pine Ridge Reservation
US Attorney Johnson to Visit

by Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents
April 20, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – In a letter dated March 16, Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and James Toby Big Boy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, wrote a letter to US Attorney Brenan Johnson of the District of South Dakota asking him to "demand the FBI and BIA Division of Law Enforcement to reopen and (re)investigate the unsolved and largely uninvestigated murders" that occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Many of these murders date back to the 1970s. Soon after the conclusion of the 71-day siege of Wounded Knee, people began to disappear and never seen again. Many were discovered murdered. Low estimates of those murdered number in around 60; other maintain there were hundreds of Indians murdered.

Many of the individuals murdered were members or supporters of the American Indian Movement.

In a telephone conversation on Thursday with Kyle Levon, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis FBI Division, the Native News Network has learned that office has yet to see the letter from the Oglala Sioux officials and there will not be an investigation of the cold case murders that date back the 1970s and others that have occurred in recent years.

“Absent of new information, the FBI will not be opening any of the cases involving homicides cited in the 2000 FBI report,” stated Levon. "If new information or evidence surfaces, which is pertinent to the FBI, we will investigate it.”

The FBI report alluded to by Levon was released in May, 2000. The summary of the report reads in part:

In December 1999, the South Dakota Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) held a community forum in Rapid City, South Dakota to discuss the criminal justice system and how it impacts Native Americans. These allegations were proffered during the hearings and the Commission was sufficiently impressed by them to incorporate the allegation in its findings. (See Native Americans in South Dakota: An Erosion of Confidence in the Justice System, March 2000; p.38)

Shortly after the forum, the FBI received a list of 57 names with allegations that their deaths had not been investigated. This list came from a number of media outlets and for the first time, provided the FBI with specific information to address. We reviewed our records of these deaths and found that most had been solved either through conviction or finding that the death had not been a murder according to the law.
This past Monday, the Oglala Sioux Tribe received a response from US Attorney Johnson, who indicated he would arrange a meeting with tribal officials in mid-May to determine what, if anything, could result in the reopening the investigation.

“There are more than the 57 some murders usually mentioned,” said Big Boy in a telephone call conversation with the Native News Network late Thursday night. “People have been missing for twenty-some years. I got a call just today from a tribal member who is calling for justice.”

Tribal officials are asking family members or friends of the murder victims to contact James Toby Big Boy at 605.454.6740.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Apr. 19-23, Atlanta, GA: Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights

Film screening, “Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier” by Suzie Baer, 7:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Cliff Valley Way. (Take I-85 access road between N. Druid Hills and Clairmont. Enter from top steps of parking lot, down left hallway to last room on left, room 210.) $3 donation suggested, includes refreshments.

March from the King Center past the Carter Center, ending at Freedom Parkway and Moreland Avenue. Time: 1:00 p.m.

Dinner, cultural exchange and benefit concert. 7:30 p.m., at the Arts Exchange, 750 Kalb Street SE, Atlanta, GA 30312. Enjoy traditional dancing and a benefit concert by the Ex-Pand Band. $5 donation or more encouraged (free for unemployed).

For more information: Call 404-525-4360 or send an e-mail to reid@freejoye.com.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Occupy for Justice: Free 'Em All!

April 24, 2012
11 AM

Support all political prisoners!

Stand against mass incarceration!

Visit http://occupythejusticedepartment.com.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights Atlanta Events


A group of American Indians led by Dorothy Ninham (Oneida) together with other supporters of clemency for Leonard Peltier left San Francisco in December, walking across the country to Washington DC with the goal of “advancing the economic social and cultural rights of all people,” as well as drawing attention to the case of this American Indian Movement leader and political prisoner since 1976. Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee (NC) and Indian communities in Alabama will join the marchers on April 19 in North Georgia, where they will camp before moving to the grounds of the Arts Exchange in East Atlanta on April 23. Among the people attending events are Peltier’s granddaughter and her children.

You are invited to meet them at these events:

· THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 7 pm – Film screening, “Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier” by Suzie Baer, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Cliff Valley Way. (Take I-85 access road between N. Druid Hills and Clairmont. Enter from top steps of parking lot, down left hallway to last room on left, room 210.) $3 donation suggested, includes refreshments.

· SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 1:00 pm – Assemble at the King Center (exact place to be confirmed early this week), march from the King Center past the Carter Center, ending at Freedom Parkway and Moreland Avenue.

· Interviews on WRFG (89.3 FM):
THURSDAY, APRIL 19, noon to 1 pm (Adam Shapiro, “Current Events”) and
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 6 pm to 7 pm (Heather Grey, “Just Peace)

· MONDAY, APRIL 23, 7:30 PM at the Arts Exchange, 750 Kalb St. SE, Atlanta 30312:
Dinner and cultural exchange including traditional dancing
Benefit concert by the Ex-Pand Band
$5 donation or more encouraged (free for unemployed)

For more information: 404-525-4360 or reid@freejoye.com

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 14: Leonard Peltier Walk arrival in Gainesville, FL

The Leonard Peltier Walk For Human Rights will arrive in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday April 14th. A rally will be held in front of the Federal Building in downtown Gainesville on the 14th around 1PM EST. A Saturday evening showing of "Incident at Oglala" and a potluck is planned (details to be announced). On Sunday, April 15, walkers and supporters will meet at the corner of University & 13th Street @1 Pm for an educational interaction with anyone interested in learning about the Walk. This will be followed with a walk to one of Gainesville's most artistically decorated walls. The public is encouraged to join these events! If you would like more information, contact Joelle Clark, lpdocfloridachapter@gmail.com.

Beating drums, marchers honor imprisoned Leonard Peltier

Sun Sentinel - April 8, 2012
Video: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/videogallery/69280866/News/delray-human-rights-walk

DELRAY BEACH—The Easter Sunday brunch crowds were just beginning to thicken on Atlantic Avenue when two dozen human-rights activists, some beating drums and singing American Indian chants, marched through in single file.

Weaving their way through diners and shoppers, they passed out leaflets and held their banners high to remind the crowds that Leonard Peltier, an American Indian convicted of shooting two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge, S.D., Indian Reservation in 1975, is still in prison, serving two consecutive life terms for first-degree murder.

Many people have questioned Peltier's guilt since his 1977 sentencing. Some believe he was set up by the FBI and an unjust legal system. Books, documentaries, posters and works of art have been created to recount Peltier's story, and several celebrities and human rights groups have taken up his cause, saying he received an unfair trial.

"We want him freed," said Dorothy Ninham, an Oneida Indian from Wisconsin who has known Peltier since the early 1970s and still visits him in prison. "This is one of many injustices that have happened to red people and all races. We're not talking about one day and two agents. We're talking about all the years of oppression our peoples have suffered."

Ninham and a group of activists have been walking across the United States to share Peltier's plight. They began their trek at Alcatraz, the former prison in California, on Dec. 18, and plan to end it on May 20 inWashington, D.C.

Peltier's story is familiar to many who remember the American Indian civil rights protests of the 1970s. On June 26, 1975, two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, came under heavy gunfire as they searched for a American Indian man who had been accused of stealing. Peltier, who had been a member of the activist American Indian Movement, admitted to firing at the agents in a 1999 memoir, but denied firing the fatal shots.

Peltier's most recent application for parole was denied in 2009. Peltier, 67, is in the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in North Florida, but Ninham said the marchers do not plan to stop there on their way to Washington.

The Delray Beach march attracted an assortment of former hippies who remember the American Indian protest movement and young activists who said they identify with human-rights causes and police brutality victims.

"The genocide of these great peoples is still going on," said Dona Knapp, of North Naples.

"At any moment, any of us could be Leonard Peltier," said Brenda McCabe, of Delray Beach. "Any of us could be targeted."

John Wulf, of Delray Beach, said the case altered his thinking about the American justice system.

"You have a legal system working to hold someone for whom the evidence is questionable," Wulf said. "It created doubt for me about our system and how it operates."

The group is staying at the Duncan Center, an Episcopal retreat in Delray Beach. After Sunday's march, they watched "Incident at Oglala," a 1992 documentary about the case, and had a potluck dinner and drumming celebration.

Lsolomon@tribune.com or 561-243-6536

Friday, April 6, 2012

Walk for prisoner Leonard Peltier comes through Delray Beach

By Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel
April 5, 2012

Human-rights activists will march through Delray Beach (Florida) on Sunday to highlight the cause of prisoner Leonard Peltier, an American Indian convicted in connection with the 1975 deaths of two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

The walk, starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Crest Theatre at Old School Square, began in California in December and is scheduled to end in May in Washington, D.C. A sweat lodge, dinner and showing of "Incident at Oglala" will be open to the public. Call 561-502-7600.