Leonard Peltier was convicted for the deaths of two FBI agents who died during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. A careful review of the trial and ensuing appeals related to Leonard’s conviction reflects an unbelievable degree of the ways that the United States government and the FBI presented false information, intimidated a mentally unstable Native American Indian who was coerced into signing an affidavit that contained false and unsubstantiated accusations about Leonard designed to falsely convict him on totally fabricated information, refusal by the court to agree to multiple requests to include evidence that Leonard’s attorneys repeatedly requested to be presented during the trial to substantiate his innocence, and the United States government’s continue refusal to release thousands of FBI documents that presumably describe additional ways in which the United States government and the FBI participated in the mockery of justice that ensued during Leonard Peltier’s trial.
Although it is difficult to stop the United States government and the FBI from continuing to perpetuate the mockery of justice resulting in the long-term and false imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, people committed to justice and peace can and must organize and educate millions of people in the United States and around the world. The primary goals in these forms of organizing and educations are to: . redirect attention to the lack of justice and the oppression that continues to be manifested on legally protected lands were Native American Indian’s live on treaty-approved reservations; . Support the development and implementation of organizations that follow the guidelines and principles of the American Indian movement (AIM) as a practical means to support justice and peace for Native American Indians and respect for the self-determination rights and sovereignty of Native American Indian’s across the United States; and . successfully advocate for approved clemency for Leonard Peltier by President Barack Obama before the end of his presidency in January 2017.
The national/international organizing and education campaign is anchored in the following beliefs. These beliefs reflect our collective acknowledgement that there is a power in the universe that cannot strangle one’s commitment to justice through despite the violence, injustices, and oppression manifested by the United States government in general and the FBI in particular. This power ensues that no bullet that can kill people’s drive for justice. This power transcends the psychic and spiritual pain resulting from falsely being in prison for more than 41 years.
Let’s join together to more fully realize this power and use it to organize ourselves into a successful effort to secure clemency for a man who has and continues to be targeted by the United States government and the FBI to be silenced and determined to have Leonard leave prison not as a free man but in a wooden coffin.
Please join us and invite your friends, people in your tribes and communities, persons at your workplace, individuals in your religious communities, students in schools and universities in your local areas, members of other social justice and peace organizations, elected officials, celebrities, athletes, members of the hundreds of websites created around the world to support Leonard Peltier’s rescue from injustice and supporting his clemency, and any other human being who is committed to justice in our world in general and for Native American Indians in particular to participate in any or all of the following free electronic, computer-based town hall meetings to be broadcasted in the United States and around the world.
Previous electronic town hall meetings were held on the following dates:
Tuesday May 10, 2016
Friday May 27, 2016
Friday June 17, 2016
Friday July 15, 2016
Friday August 5, 2016
The upcoming series of electronic town hall meeting dates will be posted prior to their presentation.
Information regarding the specific times and simple instructions to join these electronic town hall meetings will be provided at a later date. It is very important for interested persons and organizations to email myself, Dr. Michael Dandrea, the President of the Social Justice Creations Website at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the Director of the Social Justice Creations Website, Ms. Ann Cavanaugh-Smith, at email@example.com
Interested persons can also access the website by going to the following link:
To begin our national/international organizing and education efforts, the following resources are provided below. It is strongly encouraged that persons interested in joining the free, electronic, computer-based programs to take time to review some or all of the following resources to facilitate the efficient use of the 2 hour time period that will be made available for each future town hall meeting.
Please watch an important Youtube video, produced by Suzie Baer, entitled WARRIOR The Life of Leonard Peltier. You can access this important video by going to the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsYAYf_2WQU
For those persons, organizations, schools, universities, and religious communities that have access to Netflix, there is another important movie entitled “Incident At Ogalala,” produced by Robert Redford. This movie outlines and details the injustices that Leonard Peltier has been subjected to resulting in his long-term unjust incarceration and in a number of maximum-security prisons over the past 41+ years.
The following “Facts Sheet” can be used to increase people’s knowledge about the facts that underlie the false imprisonment of Leonard Peltier resulting in one of the longest political prisoner incarceration in the history of the United States (see below).
There is limited time to organize and educate supporters of Leonard Peltier before Barack Obama’s presidential term ends in January 2017.
Given the limited timeframe we have to achieve the above stated goals, please contact Ms. Ann Cavanaugh-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Michael D’Andrea (email@example.com) to help build a unified, national, and international advocacy effort to free Leonard Peltier.
CASE OF LEONARD PELTIER
Secured from the http://www.freeleonard.org/case/ website
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 41 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.