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The case of Leonard Peltier

 
 
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 05:11 pm
Michael Moore
19 mins ·
Native American activist and the longest-held political prisoner in the U.S., Leonard Peltier, came down with COVID this weekend. Leonard has been locked up for more than four decades — all based on testimonies and evidence which one of the prosecutors who convicted him now admits was falsified and wrong. Leonard got COVID after he was denied a COVID booster by his captors. This is in spite of the fact that he has multiple medical conditions that put him at severe risk.
Leonard Peltier needs our help more than ever. Please read my Substack letter about his situation, share it with others and JOIN me in demanding our government free Leonard Peltier. Write or call President Biden now. This is a national disgrace. Let his freedom be the beginning of the end to 700+ years of brutal genocide.
https://www.michaelmoore.com/p/freeleonardpeltier
To Call or Write President Biden:
Call: 202-456-1111
Write: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
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Mame
 
  0  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 08:27 pm
@edgarblythe,
If this: "all based on testimonies and evidence which one of the prosecutors who convicted him now admits was falsified and wrong. " is the case, why hasn't it been reopened?

I tell you, I'm looking for somewhere to live for parts of the year and it won't be the USA. I know this **** happens everywhere, and some countries are a lot worse, but the fact that the US has so many (and we do read about them daily) falsely imprisoned/convicted black people makes me just sick to my stomach. And let's not even start on Gitmo. Reprehensible.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 08:46 pm
@Mame,
No arguments from me.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 08:48 pm
@edgarblythe,
And I acknowledge that he's Native American, but it happens a lot to people of colour. Why hasn't he been released? Canada has a similar record and it's heartbreaking. This racism is killing us.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 08:48 pm
@Mame,
Leonard Peltier confessed to being in a shootout that killed FBI agents although he claims he did not actually kill them. He was denied clemency by the Obama administration which probably granted more pardons than any administration previously.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 08:49 pm
@engineer,
Interesting. I did not know that. I should probably google before I comment. But 40 years? Holy moly. And thank you for the info.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jan, 2022 09:00 pm
QUICK FACTS
CASE OF LEONARD PELTIER

Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is an imprisoned Native American considered by Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Jesse Jackson, among many others, to be a political prisoner who should be immediately released.

Leonard Peltier was convicted for the deaths of two FBI agents who died during a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Mr. Peltier has been in prison for over 29 years.

The Wounded Knee occupation of 1973 marked the beginning of a three-year period of political violence on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The tribal chairman hired vigilantes, self titled as “GOONS,” to rid the reservation of American Indian Movement (AIM) activity and sentiment. More than 60 traditional tribal members and AIM members were murdered and scores more were assaulted. Evidence indicated GOON responsibility in the majority of crimes but despite a large FBI presence, nothing was done to stop the violence. The FBI supplied the GOONS with intelligence on AIM members and looked away as GOONS committed crimes. One former GOON member reported that the FBI supplied him with armor piercing ammunition.

Leonard Peltier was an AIM leader and was asked by traditional people at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, to support and protect the traditional people being targeted for violence. Mr. Peltier and a small group of young AIM members set up camp on a ranch owned by the traditional Jumping Bull family.

On June 26, 1975 two FBI agents in unmarked cars followed a pick-up truck onto the Jumping Bull ranch. The families immediately became alarmed and feared an attack. Shots were heard and a shoot-out erupted. More than 150 agents, GOONS, and law enforcement surrounded the ranch.

When the shoot-out ended the two FBI agents and one Native American lay dead. The agents were injured in the shoot-out and were then shot at close range. The Native American, Joseph Stuntz, was shot in the head by a sniper’s bullet. Mr. Stuntz’s death has never been investigated, nor has anyone ever been charged in connection with his death.

According to FBI documents, more than 40 Native Americans participated in the gunfight, but only AIM members Bob Robideau, Darrell Butler, and Leonard Peltier were brought to trial.

Mr. Robideau and Mr. Butler were arrested first and went to trial. A federal jury in Iowa acquitted them on grounds of self-defense, finding that their participation in the shoot-out was justified given the climate of fear that existed on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Further, they could not be tied to the close-range shootings.

Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada on February 6, 1976, along with Frank Blackhorse, a.k.a. Frank Deluca. The United States presented the Canadian court with affidavits signed by Myrtle Poor Bear who said she was Mr. Peltier’s girlfriend and allegedly saw him shoot the agents. In fact, Ms. Poor Bear had never met Mr. Peltier and was not present during the shoot-out. Soon after, Ms. Poor Bear recanted her statements and said the FBI threatened her and coerced her into signing the affidavits.

Mr. Peltier was extradited to the United States where he was tried in 1977. The trial was held in North Dakota before United States District Judge Paul Benson, a conservative jurist appointed to the federal bench by Richard M. Nixon. Key witnesses like Myrtle Poor Bear were not allowed to testify and unlike the Robideau/Butler trial in Iowa, evidence regarding violence on Pine Ridge was severely restricted.

An FBI agent who had previously testified that the agents followed a pick-up truck onto the scene, a vehicle that could not be tied to Mr. Peltier, changed his account, stating that the agents had followed a red and white van onto the scene, a vehicle which Mr. Peltier drove occasionally.

Three teenaged Native witnesses testified against Mr. Peltier, they all later admitted that the FBI forced them to testify. Still, not one witness identified Mr. Peltier as the shooter.

The U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case claimed that the government had provided the defense with all FBI documents concerning the case. To the contrary, more than 140,000 pages had been withheld in their entirety.

An FBI ballistics expert testified that a casing found near the agents’ bodies matched the gun tied to Mr. Peltier. However, a ballistic test proving that the casing did not come from the gun tied to Mr. Peltier was intentionally concealed.

The jury, unaware of the aforementioned facts, found Mr. Peltier guilty. Judge Benson, in turn, sentenced Mr. Peltier to two consecutive life terms.

Following the discovery of new evidence obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Mr. Peltier sought a new trial. The Eighth Circuit ruled, “There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case." Yet, the court denied Mr. Peltier a new trial.

During oral argument, the government attorney conceded that the government does not know who shot the agents, stating that Mr. Peltier is equally guilty whether he shot the agents at point-blank range, or participated in the shoot-out from a distance. Mr. Peltier’s co-defendants participated in the shoot-out from a distance, but were acquitted.

Judge Heaney, who authored the decision denying a new trial, has since voiced firm support for Mr. Peltier’s release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to convict Mr. Peltier, the FBI was equally responsible for the shoot-out, and that Mr. Peltier's release would promote healing with Native Americans.

Mr. Peltier has served over 29 years in prison and is long overdue for parole. He has received several human rights awards for his good deeds from behind bars which include annual gift drives for the children of Pine Ridge, fund raisers for battered women’s shelters, and donations of his paintings to Native American recovery programs.

Mr. Peltier suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a heart condition. Time for justice is short.

Currently, Mr. Peltier’s attorneys have filed a new round of Freedom of Information Act requests with FBI Headquarters and all FBI field offices in an attempt to secure the release of all files relating to Mr. Peltier and the RESMURS investigation. To date, the FBI has engaged in a number of dilatory tactics in order to avoid the processing of these requests.

https://freeleonard.org/case/
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2022 12:19 pm
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing unduly harsh penalties on criminal defendants, either as the price for obtaining ...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2022 02:32 pm
All legal appeals against Leonard Peltier's conviction have been exhausted; his most recent petition for release on parole was denied by the pardon board in 2009, and he will not be eligible for parole again until 2024, when he will be 79. Leonard Peltier is now 69 and after 38 years in prison he is in poor health.

So that leaves just the most progressive president since FDR to get him out.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2022 06:34 pm
The White House response to my letter:

February 1, 2022


Thank you for contacting the Biden-Harris Administration.

President Biden and Vice President Harris value every opportunity to engage with the American people, and the Administration is grateful for your outreach. Our country faces many challenges, and messages like yours help us better understand how the Biden-Harris Administration can serve American families.

We take careful note of the suggestions, thoughts, questions, and stories we receive, and we’re working hard to ensure you receive an appropriate response.

Sincerely,

The Office of Presidential Correspondence

roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2022 07:51 pm
@edgarblythe,
Well, that was certainly a specific answer to whatever you wrote.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2022 08:11 pm
@roger,
Auto generated I'm sure.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 07:11 am
@engineer,
I hope readers did not stop reading here after this post because this post is erroneous.
engineer wrote:

Leonard Peltier confessed to being in a shootout that killed FBI agents although he claims he did not actually kill them. He was denied clemency by the Obama administration which probably granted more pardons than any administration previously.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  0  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 09:26 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

Auto generated I'm sure.


Exactly...think logically the white and president must receive a multitude of emails daily even with a full staff reviewing these they cannot possibly give personal answers to them.

I would imagine they are shifted into categories in part to get a pulse on public thoughts and another to review for threats. It is not to say that writing to the office won't necessarily help...if the office gets a significant amount of mail on a certain issue it could cause the office to take notice...just your one letter by itself is highly unlikely to get a personal response.

Not sure if everyone is aware but you can even send an invite to your wedding and you will get a letter back signed by the president congratulating you. I have one from President Clinton.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 10:45 am
@Linkat,
They used to send out signed letters that were still form letters. I have one from Robert F Kennedy.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 11:34 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

They used to send out signed letters that were still form letters. I have one from Robert F Kennedy.


Curios did you write and mail a letter or send an email letter like on the link you provided?

If you sent an email or online letter then I would expect the sane in return...however if you mailed the letter then yeah you might expect one back hand sigened.

I have my "form" letter of congrats hand signed too but I mailed an invitation to my wedding.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 12:21 pm
@Linkat,
They didn't have email then. Smile
Linkat
 
  0  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 02:25 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

They didn't have email then. Smile


Yeah you can't personally sign an email.

I guess in part I am wondering if you send a email mail if you would then get a form letter signed...I winder too if that is actually the presidents signature or someone giving the job of signing.

roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 02:32 pm
@Linkat,
Even before email, they had a machine that would affix a 'personal' signature.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2022 02:33 pm
@Linkat,
Only they know for sure. I keep the letter mainly as a reminder of the times.
 

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