01 July 2009

Leonard Peltier : In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier. Photo from High Times.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this prison. And I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life in some prison of the mind, heart or attitude.
By Leonard Peltier
See 'Free Leonard Peltier' by Dan Skye, Leonard Peltier's 'Open letter to Barack Obama,' and a Video from Chief Leonard Crow Dog, Below.
[Leonard Peltier, one of America's longest-serving political prisoners, has spent 34 years of his life behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. He was an active member of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s and was charged with the murder of two FBI agents on the Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge reservation in June 1975.

On July 28, 2009, Peltier is scheduled to come before a parole hearing. Supporters are mobilizing a campaign of letter-writing and petitioning in an effort to free him. He wrote the following to his supporters on June 26.]

I am but a common man, I am not a speaker but I have spoken. I am not all that tall, but I have stood up. I am not a philosopher or poet or a singer or any of those things that particularly inspire people, but the one thing that I am is the evidence that this country lied when they said there was justice for all…

I am just a common man and I am evidence that the powers that put me here would like to sweep under the carpet. The same way they did all of our past leaders, warriors and people they massacred. Just as at Wounded Knee, the Fifth Cavalry sought its revenge for Custer’s loss and massacred some 300 Indian men women and children, then gave out 23 Medals of Honor and swept the evidence of their wrongdoing aside…

I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this prison. And I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life in some prison of the mind, heart or attitude. I want you to enjoy your life.

If nothing else give somebody a hug for me and say, "This is from Leonard."

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Source / Rebel Reports
Free Leonard Peltier!
Leonard Peltier parole hearing set July 28, 2009

by Dan Skye / July 1, 2009

With the rise of the American Indian Movement, intertribal strife broke out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. AIM activists squared off against a corrupt tribal government and police force.

AIM was being closely monitored by the FBI. In June 1975, two FBI agents in an unmarked car sped onto Indian land near Oglala, SD. The Indians living there had no way of knowing whether they were federal agents or anti-AIM tribal police. In a desperate shootout, the agents and one Indian were killed. Though law enforcement swarmed the reservation, Leonard Peltier, a Chippewa Sioux, and more than two dozen others managed to escape.

Eventually, two Indian participants were apprehended. Both pleaded self-defense and, following a tumultuous trial, they were acquitted. But Peltier wasn't captured until February 1976.

In 1977, he stood trial on double murder charges. Peltier's conviction is one of the worst examples of government manipulation of the justice process in American history. The FBI submitted false affidavits as evidence and intimidated and coerced witnesses. The judge disallowed testimony describing the state of open warfare that existed on Pine Ridge, nor was Peltier allowed to claim self-defense. Later, an appeals judge called the conduct of the FBI "a clear violation of the investigative process."

For over 30 years, Leonard Peltier has been denied parole or pardon. But while imprisoned, he has become a leading spokesperson for the causes of indigenous people. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize six times. Countless organizations including Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, as well as leaders and private citizens, have called for his immediate release.

Behind bars, Peltier has also become an outstanding painter. Prints of his work are for sale. All proceeds go to his defense fund.

Read Leonard Peltier’s full June 26 statement. Peltier is up for parole on July 28. His supporters and friends have launched a letter-writing campaign to support his release from prison after 34 years.

Source / High Times
An open letter to Barack Obama

I have watched with keen interest and renewed hope as your campaign has mobilized millions of Americans behind your message of changing a political system that serves a small economic elite at the expense of the peoples of the United States and the world. Your election as president of the United States, where slaves and Indians were long considered less than human under the law, will undoubtedly constitute a historic moment in race relations in the United States.

Yet symbolism alone will not bring about change. Our young people, black and Native alike, suffer from police brutality and racial profiling, underfunded schools, and discrimination in employment and housing. I sincerely hope your campaign will inspire some hope among our youth to struggle for a better future.
It is long past time for a congressional investigation to examine the degree of federal complicity in the violent counterinsurgency that followed the occupation of Wounded Knee. The tragic shootout that led to the deaths of two FBI agents and one Native man also led not only to my false conviction, but also the termination of the Church Committee, which was investigating abuses by federal intelligence and law enforcement agents, before it could hold hearings on FBI infiltration of AIM. Despite decades of attempts by my attorneys to obtain government documents related to my case, the FBI continues to withhold thousands of documents that might tend to exonerate me or reveal compromising evidence of judicial collusion with the prosecution.

-- Leonard Peltier
Long, long time I come here -- and during those trials. Now I’m 68 years old, can hardly walk, can hardly sing. Oh before I go, I want Leonard to be free. -- Chief Leonard Crow Dog.

To learn more about Leonard Peltier, go here and here.

Thanks to Harry Edwards / The Rag Blog

Only a few posts now show on a page, due to Blogger pagination changes beyond our control.

Please click on 'Older Posts' to continue reading The Rag Blog.