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The tragic story of Leonard Peltier

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posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 11:09 AM

An innocent man, Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in 1977 and has served over 30 years in federal prison despite proof of his innocence -- also despite proof that he was convicted on the basis of fabricated and suppressed evidence, as well as coerced testimony.

The United States Courts of Appeal have repeatedly acknowledged investigative and prosecutorial misconduct in this case but, by their decisions, have refused to take corrective action. A model prisoner, Leonard also has been denied fair consideration for parole and Executive Clemency. This is clearly an abuse of the legal standards of American justice.

To better understand the Peltier case, it is important to put the shoot-out on June 26, 1975, in its proper context and understand that the incident at Oglala was part of a larger struggle -- a struggle that continues today.

The story is long. I didn't want a giant quote here. Please review the page for the history and context.

Leonard's case was the first time I ever saw the true horrors and capabilities of our "Justice" system. His case is still on of the worst I have ever seen, but definately not the only one.

To the point, this man has been in federal prison since 1977, a political prisoner of the United States. He is being held on trumped up charges that have repeatedly been proven false. Amnesty International, along with several other countries, have make many calls to the US to release Peltier to no avail.

The next time the US wants to brag about its civil rights and human rights record, remember that there are political prisoners here on our soil. People who's only crime is standing up for something that TPTB didn't want to hear.

[edit on 11-26-2009 by rogerstigers]

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 11:26 AM

12572 days, 12 hours, 24 minutes, and 18 seconds have passed since Agents Coler and Williams were murdered on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They will never come home.

On July 28, 2009 Peltier was afforded his first public parole hearing since 1993. In the interim, Peltier was entitled to parole review hearings to determine if there were any mitigating circumstances for the board to consider. There were none.

I have heard the story of Peltier. I think he is a murderer, and is getting the treatment he deserves.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 11:33 AM
reply to post by Carseller4

Thank you for that. I, for one, advocate balance in discussions like this. There's always two sides to every story and it is important to hear both sides to understand what really happened -- especially when the events happened so long ago.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 11:48 AM
reply to post by Carseller4

Those guys were armed intruders on the soil of a sovereign nation, sent there to protect the thugs installed as tribal government by US authorities to allow mining and resource theft by corporate interests.

Leonard was there to protect the traditionals who were being attacked, beaten and murdered with the collusion of the FBI and BIA. He is a political prisoner. But he is not alone. Every single Native American is also a political prisoner of the US.

That is why many years ago I swore an oath to fast every Thanksgiving until the day I see a free and independent Indian nation emerge on this continent. On this day I refuse to break bread with members of a nation who ethnically cleansed the continent through genocide, deportation, and isolation.

Free Leonard!

Free us all.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 12:24 PM
reply to post by apacheman

Hmm. You know I had not thought of that aspect. It really makes the whole trial by jury thing moot. I am no expert on the sovereignty of the Native American nations. How exactly does that work? If they are indeed truely sovereign in the strictest send of the work, then not only did the FBI have no juresdictional claim there, the fact that they were killed there does not give them right to arrest anyone until they leave such sovereign soil... Unless there is an extradition treaty in place with the State dept.

Interesting food for thought...

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 12:44 PM
I'm Norwegian. Thus I may not have the complete facts about what happened all these years ago. It's several years since I heard about his case the first time, but as far as I have been able to figure out I believe he is innocent. His story is just another chapter in the proud book of how America has treated it's native people. It's sad but someday justice will be restored.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 12:56 PM
reply to post by rogerstigers

Mostly it is honored in the breach.

The various nations are considered sovereign when it suits the US, but sovereignty is ignored when it doesn't. There have been various attempts to legislate the nations out of existence, but it wouldn't be internationally acceptable for the US to unilaterally declare them non-existent and take over their lands as federal property, which has been done to a few tribes. Not to mention that such a move would spark a war. It wouldn't matter if we won or not; my people, the Inde, the Apache, knew that eventually we would lose, but when faced with annihilation you have no choice but to fight to the death and take as many enemies with you as possible.

The US has been waiting for us to die out or give up and assimilate for generations. At stake are millions of acres of "federal" lands, lands held in "trust" against the day the nations could self-govern. Of course, that is a fiction, the US never intended to honor the return, they fully expected to be able to finish the genocide by now, if you look at the editorials of the twenties in this regard it is quite obvious. So the existence of the tribes in subjugation is a thorny problem for the US that they hate discussing or acting upon, other than to stifle and attack any attempt to demand justice and adherence to treaty obligations.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 01:04 PM
reply to post by apacheman

Well, as the saying goes, "Of course you can trust the U.S. Government, ask any Native American!".

I feel for your people. I think the Native Americans are also a prime example of what *might* have happened in Israel if the Palestinians tried to accept a peaceful solution with limited retaliation. As we all can see, there is no real differance other than less Native Americans killed.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by rogerstigers


Two studies have been conducted that attempt to number the natives killed by the United States. The first of these was sponsored by the United States government, and while official does not stand up to scrutiny and is therefore discounted (generally); this estimate shows between 1 million to 4 million killed. The second study was not sponsored by the US Government but was done from independent researchers. This study estimated populations and population reductions using later census data. Two figures are given, both low and high, at: between 10 million and 114 million indians as a direct result of US actions. Please note that Nazi Holocaust estimates are between 6 and 11 million; thereby making the Nazi Holocaust the 2nd largest mass murder of a class of people in history.

I'm having a hard time chasing down decent statistics for palestinians killed. My best estimate is around 18,000.

Further edit. I have found numbers upward of 300,00 concerning the palestinians. Tracking down real data is proving elusive. Perhaps someone else can help here.

[edit on 26-11-2009 by Seiko]

[edit on 26-11-2009 by Seiko]

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by Seiko

Wow. I stand corrected. Thank you for that fine addition Seiko.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 02:09 PM
reply to post by Seiko

The sad part is how it is still continuing.

Back in the early '70s, the BIA did a cancer screening for Native women. A friend of mine's wife was told she had cancer and needed an operation. After the operation, she was informed that the great news was that they were wrong, no cancer was found, and the double-great news was that while they were in, they did her a "favor" and now she wouldn't have to worry about getting pregnant. They had sterilized her without her consent or knowledge. So the genocide continues.

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 02:44 PM
It just doesn't ever stop. The Americans fear us because so long as we exist we put the lie to their self-image, and they find it imposiible to face their genocidal past and present, and so they attack any Indian who stands up for Native rights, even the elderly.

URGENT ALERT! Leonard Peltier's Safety in Jeopardy! January 20, 2009

To LP Supporters,

I am so OUTRAGED! My brother Leonard was severely beaten upon his arrival at the Canaan Federal Penitentiary. When he went into population after his transfer, some inmates assaulted him. The severity of his injuries is that he suffered numerous blows to his head and body, receiving a large bump on his head, possibly a concussion, and numerous bruises. Also, one of his fingers is swollen and discolored and he has pain in his chest and ribcage. There was blood everywhere from his injuries. We feel that prison authorities at the prompting of the FBI orchestrated this attack and thus, we are greatly concerned about his safety. It may be that the attackers, whom Leonard did not even know, were offered reduced sentences for carrying out this heinous assault. Since Leonard is up for parole soon, this could be a conspiracy to discredit a model prisoner. He was placed in solitary confinement and only given one meal, this is generally done when you won’t name your attackers; incidentally being only given one meal seriously jeopardizes his health because of his diabetes. Prison officials refuse to release any info to the family, but they need to hear from his supporters to protect his safety, as does President Obama. His attorneys are trying to get calls into him now. This attack on LP comes on the heels of the FBI’s recent letter, prompting this attack by FBI supporters as an attempt to discredit LP as a model prisoner. Anyone who has been in the prison system knows well that if you refuse to name your attackers or file charges against them, then you lose your status as a victim and/or given points against your possible parole and labeled as a perpetrator. It is not uncommon, in fact is quite common for the government to use Indian against Indian and they still operate under the old adage “it takes an Indian to catch an Indian”. In 1978, they made an attempt to assassinate him through another Indian man who was also at Marion prison with LP. But Standing Deer chose to reveal the plot to him instead of taking his life in exchange FOR A CHANCE AT FREEDOM. When Standing Deer was released in 2001, he joined the former Leonard Peltier Defense Committee as a board member. He also began to speak on Leonard’s behalf until his murder six years ago today. Prior to his murder, Standing Deer confided with close friends and associates that the same man who visited him in Marion to assassinate Peltier, had came to Houston, TX and told him that he had better stay away from Peltier and anything to do with him. We are aware that currently, the FBI is actively seeking support for his continued imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and also also seeking support from Native People. So please be aware, and keep Leonard in your prayers. The FBI is apparently afraid of the impact we are having. If they will set him up to blemish his record just before a parole hearing, what will they do when it looks like his freedom will become a reality? We need to make sure that nothing happens to him again! Please write the President, send it priority or registered mail. Email to or email President Obama. Call your congressional representatives and write letters, not email, to them. Do what you can to get the word out to insure that LP is receiving adequate medical attention for his injuries. I am asking you, supporters of Leonard and advocates of justice at this time to help. I don’t know what else to do. Please Help! Thank you. Betty Ann Peltier-Solano Executive Coordinator Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee

posted on Nov, 26 2009 @ 02:55 PM
Here is a message from Leonard:

Statement from Leonard Peltier
January 31, 2009

A Hero's Welcome, By: Leonard Peltier

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your efforts in my urgent time of need, you cannot imagine how much my spirit has been lifted from the cards and letters, the phone calls and how everyone kept up the pressure. My gratitude is really more than I can express. My return to Lewisburg was met like a hero’s welcome, and many people came to assure me of my safety there. It is so ironic that the prisoners in a federal maximum-security prison can guarantee my safety, but the Bureau of Prisons will not. I did not say, “cannot”, but “will not” do so. You have to remember the BOP is a little brother to the FBI and they came from an illegitimate mother called the JUST-US (Justice) Department. Do I sound a little angry? Well, I am angry that many of my friends have died in assuring my survival while I’ve been in prison. All the men who were involved in my escape at Lompoc, all died mysteriously soon after: Dallas Thundershield at Lompoc, Bobby Garcia at Terre Haute, and Rocky Duenas, whose body was never recovered. And Standing Deer, he gave away his life when he revealed the assassination plot against me. He lived under the shadow of death for years, waiting to be killed for defying the government, until he was eventually paroled to Texas. He was murdered soon after the same person who contracted him to have me assassinated warned him about his involvement with my campaign. Surviving this attack brought back memories of those losses, and it is with tears of more gratitude in my eyes and in my heart that no one died this time. I don’t ever want to lose another brother in protecting me; a human life is precious and important. I know in other countries, prisoners who have been held by their government have been placed in house arrest after they have attained international support as I have. If the BOP cannot guarantee my safety to the extent the prisoners here can, then I demand to be returned to my nation, Turtle Mountain, where I can be assured of my safety! Turtle Mountain has issued a resolution to transfer me into their custody, and they have asked to meet with Obama on a nation-to-nation basis. This has to happen and it will when a lot of energy is placed behind it. In the past 18 days your efforts brought me out of the hole and to where there is a measure of safety. The FBI has said that I will never leave prison alive, and we should not accept that as an idle threat. There have been a few times that my life was targeted by the FBI in the 33 years since my capture, and each of those who have helped me to survive are now dead. The transfer and attack at Canaan is just a warning to me of what is to come. The warden’s know of the psychological make-up of their inmate population in their prison, and they clearly knew that placing someone who is well known, as I am, with connections to many famous people and at my age, I would be subject to predatory attacks. This was deliberate by the BOP, and as far as the motivation for the attack, it could have been ordered by any prison official at the request of the FBI, or someone trying to curry favor from the feds. It could have also been a tactic to beat me into submission for purposes of extortion or something as stupid as trying to make a reputation. We know they are afraid and Trimbach’s smear letter support that. They see pressure, in the form of your letters and calls, growing and they know that my committee has been tirelessly developing plans to set up a wave of activity. The FBI is now afraid that they will fail to keep me falsely imprisoned. We are becoming stronger and we must keep building our network to succeed. I am proud of the brother’s & sisters, the Elder’s and my family who make up the committee; they have all personally sacrificed more than many people may ever know. It is humbling when I hear about the difficulties they have had due to being associated with me, but they do not quit. They are putting in many hours of their lives that they could be spending with their own families, but I hear they are on the phones talking to people, writing letters, and networking through the computers. They have been criticized by a few people and have attempted to create divisions within the committee through spreading accusations about them. So let me say this, I know the people I have invited to serve on my committee, and I’ve known most of them for years. A couple of them are my Sun Dance brothers and I have entrusted my life in their abilities and their commitment to bring about my freedom. The decision I have made to place them in their positions of responsibility is mine, not the critics. I ask all my supporters to ignore those who would have you waste your time listening to or reading petty gossip based upon jealousy or personal dislike. These are activities that the FBI uses to destroy a movement, and they are not the Indian way of doing things. So we need to be aware that those who are bad-mouthing my committee, and talking behind their backs to smear them, may be infiltrators sent by the feds to tear down the committee. Watch out for those people and make some distance from them. I am also asking all of my supporters and allies to follow the directions of the committee when the plans and strategies are presented at the Feb. 6th event in Boulder, CO. It had begun as an educational event and now it will be a very important event because of everything that has happened recently. We had wanted to release it when Obama was sworn in, but my transfer placed it on hold. I am a believer that nothing happens by accident or coincidence. It all happens for a reason, and it feels as if things are coming together the way they should. It is significant that an intense campaign will be begin after 33 years in captivity and with a newly elected President who could be receptive to my clemency appeal in office. We will be making our message stronger in what we do and in how we will do it. I cannot stress how important it will be to increase our numbers after this event because the committee members, spokespersons, and their families will be making more personal sacrifices to help increase awareness. They’ll need your support in organizing other events and networking in your area. Again, I want to thank everyone who wrote, called and emailed. My hand in appreciation is extended to those who have held rallies and protests on my behalf to call attention to the attack on me. I also extend my gratitude to Cynthia McKinney, former congresswoman for her recent letter to President Obama urging him to free other political prisoners and myself. In all these years, there have been so many people who have prayed for my safety and freedom from all faiths. There is power in those prayers and that is what I know will bring about my freedom. I can feel something different this time, and many others have expressed the same thought to me. So when you pray, don’t pray only for me, but the warriors of AIM who have died for our people, the victims of the “Reign of Terror” on Pine Ridge, and other victims who has suffered as we have. Pray for their families as well. They must not be forgotten and they must have justice!

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Dallas Thundershield, Bobby Garcia, Rocky Duenas, Standing Deer, and in The Spirit of Total Resistance, Leonard Peltier

I stand where I always have, Leonard...with you and for our freedom!

posted on Nov, 27 2009 @ 01:23 PM
For those who would like to be less ignorant:

The above link has a good series of online videos.

This one has slides of this year's Sunrise Ceremony celebrating the 40th birthday of A.I.M.

Some poems of Leonard's:

I am everyone

whoever died

without a voice

or a prayer

or a hope

or a chance....

everyone whoever suffered

for being an Indian,

for being indigenous,

for being free,

for being Other,

for being committed....

I am every one of them.

Every single one.


Even you.

I am everyone.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse

That pretty well sums it up!

Leonard Peltier


Silence, they say, is the voice of complicity.

But silence is impossible.

Silence screams.

Silence is a message,

Just as doing nothing is an act.

Let who you are ring out and resonate

in every word and every deed.

Yes, become who you are.

There's no sidestepping your own being

or your own responsibility.

What you do is who you are.

You are your own comeuppance.

You become your own message.

You are the message

May the Great Spirit Make Sunrise in Your Heart . . .

Hoka Hey!

Leonard Peltier

edit add link

[edit on 27-11-2009 by apacheman]

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