Leonard Peltier Behind bars
Telephone Calls to the Congress

Leonard Peltier: 2001- Spring 2002
contents:

* ACT NOW ...: Help Fund the Civil Rights Lawsuit
* Native American Activist Files Lawsuit against FBI
* March Update
* Press Gov. Reform Com. To Investigate Peltier Case!, Feb. 2002
* February 6, 2002 marks 27 years of shame!

* Imprisoned Peltier seeks sentence reduction
* Motion To Reduce Peltier's Sentence Has Been Filed!
* Until Freedom is won the New Campaign for Truth and Justice
* Statement of Leonard Peltier
, Oct. 12, 2001

* LPDC Reorganizes Sets Sights on 6000 Pages Still Held by FBI
* PHONE ACTION Press for Hearings on the Peltier Case

Form for sending a letter to your senators demanding an investigation into the era of the "Reign of Terror", the release of the 6,000 documents still held from the LPDC, and the release of Leonard Peltier. http://nativenewsonline.org/peltiersupport.htm

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, PO Box 583, Lawrence, KS 66044, 785-842-5774, www.freepeltier.org. To get on the mailing list, send a blank message to lpdc-on@mail-list.com .
Leonard Peltier Yahoogroup http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Leonard_Peltier
* Free Leonard Peltier page * Leonard Peltier Updates * Early 2001
* Clemency bid for Leonard Peltier * Fall 2000 * Jan.-early Fall * Peltier, FBI, parole 2000
*1999 * Mar. 1998 * Past Health Reports * Leonard Peltier on mining

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APRIL 24, 2002


ACT NOW for Leonard Peltier:
Help Fund the Civil Rights Lawsuit

For more information visit: http://www.freepeltier.org

1. Dear Friends and Supporters of Leonard Peltier,

Many of you are already aware that the Civil Rights Suit regarding FBI abuse in the Peltier case was filed on April 4th. The LPDC lawsuit names, among others, former FBI director Louis Freeh as defendant. You can read the complaint at http://www.freepeltier.org/civ_rights_complaint.htm If you have not yet heard about the filing of the Civil Rights suit, please read on. Additionally, an Interim Parole Hearing has been scheduled for July 1st. Again, those of you who are on the LPDC's email list are already aware of this.

And finally, if you haven't done so already, please consider a donation to the LPDC, to help cover the costs of the civil rights suit, which will be quite expensive.

Thank you.
list editor - BA-LPSG et al

"The defense and support of political prisoners must be a central part of the pursuit of a new society." from the introduction of "Can't Jail the Spirit" - political prisoners in the USA


2. Interim Parole Hearing July 1 Request Support Letters

April 11, 2002

Dear Supporters,

Leonard Peltier has an Interim parole hearing scheduled for July 1, 2002. The U.S. Parole Commission uses Interim hearings to consider whether there are substantial positive or negative changes in circumstances that may warrant modifying any previous release date or parole decision. Leonard's last official hearing with the Parole Board was June of 2000.

Although we will introduce any change in Leonard's circumstances since the 2000 hearing, the Committee feels it is important to approach the Interim hearing the same way we would a regular hearing. By making this effort, our hope is the Parole Commission will take these letters to heart, demonstrate a continued show of support, and evaluate Leonard positively for parole at this time.

Please take a little time to write a letter on Leonard's behalf addressed to the Parole Commission. Below you can find a sample letter requesting his release through parole. This is just a sample to use in part or fully, as you need. However, individualizing a letter helps to give a reader the impression the parole is the concern of many individual citizens, and not solely a committee. Use the ideas given or issues you wish to focus attention on. These letters do not need to be long, but clearly indicate you support his release by parole.

Please forward all letters to:

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
P.O. Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044

We will submit all letters in one packet to the Commission. If you wish to submit your letter directly to the Commission, please forward a copy to the Defense Committee as well. We will still include it in our packet.

Thank you for your continued support,


[ for a printable copy of this letter turn on printer and click ]

LPDC
SAMPLE LETTER
Edward R. Reilly, Jr. Chairman
Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Date:

Dear Parole Commission:

I, like many concerned citizens, ask for the release of Leonard Peltier through parole. He has served 26 years in prison through a case that still haunts an international community.

Mr. Peltier is a model inmate working as a furniture builder for UNICOR Industries and spends his spare time utilizing his creative talents as an artist. Behind the walls at USP Leavenworth, administrators and security officers frequently say Mr. Peltier is easy to work with and doesn't belong in a maximum-security institution. Despite his imprisonment, he annually hosts a toy and clothing drive for the children of Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. It is evident this holiday outreach has been created by a person concerned for the lives of those beyond the prison walls that are in need.

Before entering the federal prison system, Mr. Peltier regularly practiced his traditional spirituality. Today, Mr. Peltier practices traditional spiritual ceremonies through the sweat lodge services offered each week at Leavenworth prison. As well, he has completed the necessary parole requirements of alcohol and drug education and counseling, and has completed a variety of courses offered through prison education. He is an exemplary candidate for parole.

Mr. Peltier's case is rife with misconduct including, a flawed extradition from Canada and perjured testimony regarding a ballistics test found later through the Freedom of Information Act. The inappropriateness of the initial incident premeditated and poorly administered on Pine Ridge Reservation by federal officials, has never been addressed. I believe there are too many unanswered questions in this case and feel spending more taxpayer's money to house Mr. Peltier or counteract lawsuits, is inappropriate. In light of the ongoing discrepancies in this case and Mr. Peltier's exemplary behavior in prison, I support an effort to bring this day in history to a close through parole.

Sincerely,

 

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from: lpdc@freepeltier.org
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2002


Native American Activist Files Lawsuit against FBI

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed today by attorneys for imprisoned Native American activist, Leonard Peltier. Freeh, along with the FBI Agents Association and a long list of active FBI agents, are accused of violating Peltier's Constitutional rights by making false and unsupported statements to the public, the Department of Justice, the United States Parole Commission, and former President Clinton. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, Washington D.C., alleges that the FBI "engaged in a systematic, and officially sanctioned campaign of mis-information and dis-information" designed to prevent Peltier from receiving fair clemency and parole reviews.

The suit follows a highly controversial campaign conducted by the FBI to stop former president Bill Clinton from issuing Peltier a grant of executive clemency during his last days in office. FBI agents across the nation submitted letters to the editor, sponsored major newspaper and radio ads, and marched by the hundreds in front of the White House to discourage clemency. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote searing letters to Bill Clinton and Janet Reno, to urge against Peltier's release. The campaign, which gained national attention, characterized Peltier as a cold-blooded killer who brutally shot two FBI agents at point blank range. Peltier's attorneys and supporters assert that this characterization is not only false but intentionally deceptive given the government's long held position that it cannot prove who shot the agents. Furthermore, they say it cost Peltier, now 57 years of age and in poor health, his long deserved freedom.

Peltier has served more than 26 years in prison for the deaths of two FBI agents killed in a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Peltier's supporters claim the FBI terrorized witnesses, utilized false testimony and withheld a ballistic test proving Peltier's innocence to gain his conviction. Senior Eighth Circuit Judge Gerald Heaney, who denied Peltier a new trial based on a legal technicality, has since come forward to support Peltier's release, citing FBI misconduct. Amnesty International, the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Corretta Scott King, and scores of Native tribes are among those who consider Peltier a political prisoner who should be freed.

(Complaint will be posted on LPDC web site on April 4: www.freepeltier.org . Interviews with lawyer handling case and spokespeople for the LPDC can be arranged).

Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign

 

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From: "LPDC "lpdc@idir.net
March 2002

 

UNTIL FREEDOM IS WON!
UPDATE ON THE PELTIER CAMPAIGN FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE

 

INCLUDED IN THIS MESSAGE:
Updates on the Motion to Reduce Leonard's Sentence, Progress Made Toward
Obtaining New Evidence, Civil Rights Case, Government Reform Committee

Dear Friends,

We are writing today with both good and bad news on the case of Leonard Peltier. But before we begin we want to thank all of you who have been sponsoring LPDC speakers and organizing Peltier events in your communities. Raising awareness continues to be essential and supporters have organized several successful events. Let's keep the LPDC speakers bureau busy and word of Leonard's case flowing! We also want to let you know that there will be three important events on June 26 marking 27 years since the shoot-out occurred. They include gatherings in Oglala, South Dakota, San Francisco, California and Boston, Massachusetts. We encourage you to plan on attending one of these events or organizing something in your community. More details will be released soon.

BAD NEWS, BUT NOT SURPRISING
We regret to announce that the motion to reduce Leonard's sentence was denied by the U.S. District Court of North Dakota. We expected this case to be a challenge because of the many procedural obstacles it involved combined with the political nature of the Peltier case, especially in this district. However, we had hoped for more fairness given that Judge Benson, who tried Leonard, is no longer hearing cases.

Judge Magnison denied the motion without a hearing based upon issues of timeliness. A motion to reduce sentence is supposed to be filed within a year following a conviction. However, we argued that filing at this late date was justified because of significant developments that occurred since trial, citing cases in which exceptions had been made due to extraordinary circumstances. The court said that the significant developments in question (government admission that it can't prove who shot agents/ballistics) had already been litigated. Judge Magnison refused to consider these issues despite the clearly different character of the case, which sought a review of sentence and not a new trial like before. Attorney Eric Seitz is appealing the decision to the Eighth Circuit.

NOW WHAT?
We MUST obtain new evidence and demand a new trial for Leonard Peltier. We are confident that key evidence exists in the thousands of documents that are withheld by the FBI and fortunately, we are moving closer to obtaining them.

GOOD NEWS!
Thanks to the persistent letters of supporters in Massachusetts, Representative Barney Frank wrote to the FBI insisting that the withheld documents be released given Clinton's Executive Order requiring the disclosure of documents after the passage of 25 years. The FBI Office of Public and Congressional Affairs responded by saying, "After receipt of your letter.the FBI consulted with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to request that the investigative records pertaining to Mr. Peltier that are 25 years or older be considered of significant historical interest subject to declassification review. NARA agreed and the process of declassification review has begun. Upon completion, the material will be accessioned to NARA and a declassified copy will be provided to your office. We anticipate completion of this project by the end of the year." Attorney Mike Kuzma, who is handling Leonard's FOIA requests, wrote to NARA to learn when the declassification would be completed. Mike also asked that he be provided copies of the documents. NARA responded, "We have been informed that the records are still in the physical and legal custody of the FBI. The FBI has completed its declassification review and is currently processing the records for transfer to NARA and their subsequent public release. The transfer is expected to occur in May of this year. Following the transfer, NARA may require additional time to prepare for the public release of the records." This is a very positive development for us and strengthens our chances for obtaining new information. Furthermore, the documents are now protected against destruction because of their historical classification. The battle is not over, as we expect the documents to be partly censored for reasons of "national security" like before. But, we plan to demand the full release and exposure of the documents in court.

It should also be noted that Mike Kuzma continues to pursue the documents through the Freedom of Information Act process. Requests have been submitted to FBI headquarters and numerous field offices across the country. With the exception of Portland, Oregon, all offices have reported that they possess records. We anticipate filing one or several suits to demand the release of these documents in the near future. Mike Kuzma is also working with law students involved in the Innocence Project of Osgoode Hall and the LPDC of Canada to obtain documents generated around the extradition.

MORE GOOD NEWS!
The civil rights complaint against the FBI has been drafted and the finishing touches are being added now. This case argues that the FBI violated Leonard's Constitutional Rights by lying to the Department of Justice, former President Clinton, the Parole Commission, and the public with the sole intention of denying Leonard fair clemency and parole reviews, thus costing him his long deserved freedom. We plan to do a major press blitz on the day the case is filed and we will need your participation. This is our chance to undo much of the disinformation disseminated by the FBI through the press in recent years. Please be prepared to forward the press release to your local media. We will let you know when we determine the exact date it will be filed. Please stay tuned.

NOTE: This case represents another opportunity to access the withheld FBI documents through discovery.

KEEP PUSHING CONGRESS FOR INVESTIGATIONS!
Meanwhile, a window of opportunity continues to exist with the House Committee on Government Reform. As you know this committee is planning to investigate cases of FBI misconduct leading to wrongful convictions. We must press the Reform Committee to shine its spot light on Leonard's case. Please continue to write Representative Burton on a regular basis, and cc your letters to your representative. A recent phone call to Rep Burton's office indicates that he is collecting and taking notice of our letters. Please send us copies of any response letters you receive from officials so that we can track their positions.

LET US KNOW
Let us know if you are organizing anything for Leonard whether it be for June 26 or any other date so that we can help by publicizing it. Do not hesitate to contact us to share your ideas and suggestions about building pressure and awareness for the freedom of Leonard Peltier!

Thank you. In Solidarity,
LPDC

Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign

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Peltier appeals lost bid to reduce sentence



3/13/2002

http://cjonline.com/stories/031302/kan_peltier.shtml

The Associated Press FARGO, N.D. -- American Indian activist Leonard Peltier has appealed a judge's decision to uphold the two murder sentences imposed on him in 1977. Peltier claimed he never had the chance to argue that his sentences should be based on the theory he, at most, aided others in the killings of two FBI agents in 1975, or that he acted in self-defense.

He was one of four men charged with killing the agents in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Two suspects were acquitted in 1976, and the third was freed for lack of evidence.

Peltier was convicted of the murders in Fargo and was sentenced in 1977. In November, he asked a judge to allow the two life terms to run concurrently, rather than consecutively. The change would give Peltier an earlier chance at parole.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson rejected the request, saying Peltier had earlier opportunities to make the same argument.

Peltier's previous appeals, including a similar request to reduce his sentence, also have been denied.

His latest request was filed Nov. 1 and rejected Feb. 25. He filed a notice of appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday.

Peltier is being held in the federal prison in Leavenworth and is next up for parole in 2008.


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From: "LPDC "lpdc@idir.net
Feb. 2002

 

URGENT ACTION!

Press The Government Reform Committee To Investigate Peltier Case!

Friends,

The House Government Reform Committee is holding hearings on FBI misconduct relating to wrongful convictions. The hearings were prompted by the release of two Boston men who were framed by the FBI and held wrongfully in prison for more than 32 years. Their two co-defendants, also innocent, died in prison. Congressman Burton, who chairs the committee, said on 60 Minutes recently that he will be looking into other cases. Let's let him know about Leonard Peltier! Write, and ask your friends, family, and neighbors to write letters now. Below is a sample letter which you are welcome to use.

Thank you.

In Solidarity, LPDC



Honorable Dan Burton
Chairman, Government Reform Committee
2157 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Burton,

Recently you spoke out about the case of James Salvati, who was imprisoned for 32 years for a crime the FBI knew he did not commit. This is a terrible miscarriage of justice and I am grateful that you will be pressing for further investigations regarding this and other injustices of a similar nature.

I would like to bring your attention to a case remarkably similar to that of Mr. Salvati's: the case of American Indian Movement activist, Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for 26 years, following his highly controversial conviction of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents. Amnesty International, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Coretta Scott King, amongst many other human rights leaders, consider Mr. Peltier a political prisoner and have called for his immediate release.

During Mr. Peltier's trial, the FBI and U.S. Prosecutors emphatically swore that every FBI document had been handed over to the defense. Yet, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit would force the release of over 12,000 FBI documents that had in fact been withheld. Had the jury been able to consider this evidence at trial, Mr. Peltier would undoubtedly be free.

Among the documents was a formerly concealed ballistic test, which proved that the fatal bullets could not have come from the gun tied to Mr. Peltier at trial. The exposure of the test prompted the U.S. Prosecutor to admit during subsequent oral arguments, "we can't prove who shot those agents". The Eighth Circuit found that "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, a new trial was denied. Judge Heaney, who authored the denial now supports Mr. Peltier's release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to gain Mr. Peltier's conviction.

Moreover, the FBI continues to withhold over 6000 documents pertaining to the Peltier case today. We are convinced that these files contain even more critical information. We also note that Mr. Peltier's conviction is deeply rooted in a three year period of intense political violence on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During this period, the FBI cooperated with a brutal tribal chairman and his hired vigilantes who sought to rid the reservation of American Indian Movement (AIM) activity and sentiment. More than 60 traditional tribal members and AIM activists were murdered and scores more were assaulted or otherwise terrorized.

Given all of the above, I am asking you to include the Peltier case in your investigations. We also request the subpoena of the 6000 FBI documents that remain secret. Thank you for your time and consideration to this matter and we hope your efforts to bring about accountability in the Salvati case are successful.


Sincerely,





Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign

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February 6, 2002 marks 27 years of shame
Renew your support for Leonard Peltier!

 

Nearly 27 years ago, on February 6, 1976, Leonard Peltier was arrested.

From that day forward Leonard Peltier has lived his life from the confines of a prison cell. For some, the 27 year old struggle to free Peltier has become hopeless and mundane, with the same efforts, the same obstacles, and the same defeats year after year. For Leonard Peltier, time passes even slower, with the same prison walls and the same prison clothes, and the same routines never changing. For Leonard Peltier, February 6 approaches like a nightmare that seems inevitably to repeat itself, bringing the realization of yet another year spent in prison, away from family, friends and an ever-changing world.

However, the year 2002 will be far different than any other. For the first time the FBI and other officials will be directly challenged for lying and deceiving those who had the authority and duty to correct this grave injustice long ago. Also, the year 2002 will very likely involve the exposure of evidence suppressed for decades, shedding new light upon Leonard Peltier's case and the struggle from which his case was born.

Let's mark February 6, 2002 by renewing our commitments and active support and by preparing for the months to follow. Without you, hope for justice collapses. With you, the year is bound to bear many promising developments, developments that could very well lead to freedom.

Take Action on February 6!
Coordinate Local Events and Activities

Commemorate February 6th by enlisting your friends, family, and communities around "Until Freedom Is Won, the Campaign for Truth and Justice!" Hold events or facilitate activities that will spread awareness about the new strategies, while galvanizing active support. Here are some ideas which have worked well in the past:

Potluck/Meeting
Invite friends, family, local organizations, fellow supporters, and potential supporters to a potluck and planning meeting. Discuss the case and the new strategies and plan outreach, fundraising and mobilization efforts for the months to come. If a hearing is granted for the Motion to Reduce Sentence, it could be scheduled as early as this spring or summer. If granted, it will be held in Fargo North Dakota. Hearings in both the Civil Rights case and the FOIA case could be scheduled as early as Fall of 2002. Those hearings will occur in Washington, DC. Preparing on a local level to support these cases might include:

  • Planning fundraisers
  • Planning to send delegates from your group to hearings
  • Planning outreach efforts, such as regular leafleting in a public place, video showings, or talks.
  • Visiting local churches, labor unions, civil and human rights organizations to ask for endorsements, participation and support.

Vigil Hold a vigil on or around February 6. Invite local organizations, church members, tribal members, and general public to attend. Alert the media and announce the new strategies at the vigil. Inform attendees of ways to get involved on a local level.

Fundraiser
Hold a benefit concert with local bands, a poetry reading, or Indian taco or bake sales to raise funds for the LPDC. Use the fundraiser to distribute information and announce the new strategies.

Leafleting If you are not in a position to coordinate an event on February 6, consider leafleting in a busy area to generate more awareness. Hand out the informational brochure available on our web site, and ask those who show interest to subscribe to our e-mail list serve or newspaper. Click here to download the brochure: http://www.freepeltier.org/download_outreach.htm#top

Sponsor an LPDC speaker
Organize a speaking engagement for a member of the LPDC Speakers Bureau.

Click here to find out how:
http://www.freepeltier.org/speakers_bureau.htm#top

Be creative!
Let us know what your ideas and plans are for generating support for Leonard Peltier. Use your experience and talent to raise awareness, funds, and active support.

Additional suggestion:
Please take up collections to support the new campaign at any function you may orchestrate. Feel free to download the fund drive brochure from our web site, which explains what our funding needs consist of. The LPDC desperately needs finances to support the work of the legal team, and to mobilize a major support effort. We are currently prevented from doing all that needs to be done to support and facilitate these efforts because of a lack of funds.

Please notify us if you will be sponsoring an event or activity on February 6 so that we can help you publicize it. Your ideas may also inspire others to take action. Thank you for your dedication and support.



In Solidarity,
LPDC

Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign

 

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Imprisoned Peltier seeks sentence reduction



November 9, 2001
The Associated Press
http://www.ljworld.com/section/stateregional/story/72865


Leavenworth - American Indian activist Leonard Peltier wants a federal judge in Fargo, N.D., to reduce his murder sentence so the two life terms run concurrently, rather than consecutively. The change would give Peltier an earlier chance at parole.

Peltier is being held in the federal prison in Leavenworth. He claims he never had the chance to argue that his sentences should be based on the theory he, at most, aided others in the killings of two FBI agents in 1975, or that he acted in self-defense.

Interim U.S. Attorney Lynn Crooks declined comment on Peltier's request.

Crooks said the government would file its formal response next week.

Peltier was convicted of the murders in Fargo and was sentenced in 1977.

His earlier appeals, including a request to reduce his sentence, have been denied. His latest request was filed Nov. 1. He is is next up for parole in 2008.

Changing Peltier's sentence should give him an immediate chance at release because he has served the minimum time required if the terms ran together, rather than back-to-back, his lawyer, Eric Seitz, said Thursday.

Peltier was one of four men charged with killing the agents in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Two suspects were acquitted in 1976, and the third was freed for lack of evidence.

The Free Leonard Peltier Committee is based in Lawrence.

LPDC NEWS:
http://207.126.116.12/culture/native_news/search.html?query=lpdc&mt=&th=&c=30

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SUPPORT FREEDOM FOR LEONARD PELTIER!
URGENT ACTION

Motion To Reduce Peltier's Sentence Has Been Filed!
Call & Fax Congress - Urge Doj Not To Oppose Motion



November 5, 2001
Friends,


Attorney Eric Seitz filed a motion last Friday, November 2, which seeks the reduction of Leonard Peltier's life sentences from consecutive to concurrent. We believe a reduction would obligate the Parole Commission to grant Leonard Peltier's release.

Please contact your Senators and Representative and request they urge the Department of Justice not to oppose the motion. Your Senators and Representative can be contacted through the Capitol Switchboard #: 202-224-3121. If a D.C. office is closed, please call your local office. Below are talking points for phone calls as well as a sample letter which can be faxed.

We encourage you to organize phone banks with weekly calls to your officials. If the justice department decides the reduction in sentence is merited, the judge will likely grant the motion. Thank you for your continued support!

In Solidarity,
LPDC


TALKING POINTS:

1. Thank you for taking my call during this difficult time. I admire your continued commitment to your constituents despite the difficult circumstances you are working under. I am calling in regard to Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist who has been unjustly imprisoned for over 25 years. Amnesty International considers Mr. Peltier to be a "political prisoner who should be immediately and unconditionally released." Worldwide support for his release comes from countless human rights organizations and people of conscience, including, amongst others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the National Congress of American Indians, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights.

2. Mr. Peltier was charged with the murders of two FBI agents who were killed in a shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the midst of local political strife in which dozens of Native Americans were also killed. Mr. Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences based on the contention that he personally shot the agents.

3. The case against Mr. Peltier was rife with FBI misconduct, including the utilization of false testimony, coercion of witnesses, and concealment of critical evidence. In contrast, the killings of Native Americans during the same time were rarely investigated.

4. At trial, the FBI withheld a ballistic test reflecting Mr. Peltier's innocence and refuting the government's most critical evidence. The discovery of the lab report, acquired through a FOIA lawsuit, prompted the US Attorney to admit, "we can't prove who shot those agents." Yet, a new trial was denied based on a legal technicality by a judge who now supports Mr. Peltier's release.

5. Mr. Peltier's attorney, Eric Seitz, has just filed a motion seeking the reduction of Mr. Peltier's life sentences from consecutive to concurrent. The motion argues that the judge who originally sentenced Mr. Peltier was misled to believe Mr. Peltier shot the agents, and the sentences meted were therefore grossly disproportionate and unfair. We believe a reduction in sentence would obligate the Parole Commission to release Mr. Peltier.

6. Mr. Peltier is now 57 years old and his health is deteriorating. From prison he has achieved a remarkable record of humanitarian achievements including annual Christmas drives for the children of Pine Ridge, contributions of his art to assist battered women's shelters and substance abuse programs, and the establishment of a Native American scholarship program.

7. The reduction of Mr. Peltier's sentence would not only bring a long overdue end to his term in prison, but would also bring closure to a symbol of injustice against all Native Americans. Please contact the Department of Justice and ask them not to oppose the motion. (Case # C77-3003).


The Honorable _______________
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable _______________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515

Dear Senator/Representative,

Thank you for accepting my letter during this difficult time. I admire and respect your continued commitment to your constituents despite the difficult circumstances you are forced to work under.

I am writing in regard to Leonard Peltier, the Native American activist who has been unjustly imprisoned for over 25 years. Amnesty International considers Mr. Peltier to be a "political prisoner who should be immediately and unconditionally released." His release is also supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the National Congress of American Indians, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights amongst many others.

Mr. Peltier was charged with the murders of two FBI agents who were killed in a shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the midst of local political strife in which dozens of Native Americans were also killed. Mr. Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences based on the contention that he personally shot the agents. However, the case against Mr. Peltier was rife with FBI misconduct, including the utilization of false testimony, coercion of witnesses, and concealment of critical evidence. In contrast, the killings of Native Americans during the same time were rarely investigated.

At trial, the FBI withheld a ballistic test reflecting Mr. Peltier's innocence and refuting the government's most critical evidence. The discovery of the lab report prompted the US Attorney to admit, "we can't prove who shot those agents." Yet, a new trial was denied based on a legal technicality by a judge who now supports Mr. Peltier's release.

Mr. Peltier's attorney, Eric Seitz, has just filed a motion seeking the reduction of Mr. Peltier's life sentences from consecutive to concurrent. The motion argues that the judge who originally sentenced Mr. Peltier was misled to believe Mr. Peltier shot the agents, and the sentences meted were therefore grossly disproportionate and unfair. We believe a reduction in sentence would obligate the Parole Commission to release Mr. Peltier.

Mr. Peltier has already served over 25 years in prison. He is now 57 years old and his health is deteriorating. From prison he has achieved a remarkable record of humanitarian achievements including annual Christmas drives for the children of Pine Ridge, contributions of his art to assist battered women's shelters and substance abuse programs, and the establishment of a Native American scholarship program.

Mr. Peltier's release would not only bring a long overdue end to his term in prison, but would also bring closure to a symbol of injustice against all Native Americans. Please contact the Department of Justice and urge them not to oppose the motion. (Case # C77-3003).

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign



Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583
Lawrence, KS 66044

 

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LEONARD PELTIER DEFENSE COMMITTEE
OCTOBER 12, 2001 ANNOUNCEMENT:

UNTIL FREEDOM IS WON THE NEW CAMPAIGN
FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE

PART I

LPDC RESTRUCTURED

Dear Friends,

We are writing with some positive news about the case of Leonard Peltier. As you know, the LPDC has been in a research and restructure phase since late January when former President Clinton failed to grant clemency. Although the clemency outcome was devastating, we did not want to overlook the tremendous outpouring of support that had united to push for Leonard Peltier's freedom. We were convinced that by taking advantage of this support we could build the LPDC and its network into a much stronger, more active and effective organization with the ability to wage a relentless campaign until Leonard Peltier is freed. W e would like to report what we have accomplished and ask you to renew your support and level of activity. There are many encouraging developments to announce.

During the past months, the LPDC has been in a huddle, working to expand our staff, engaging in strategy sessions, and researching legal avenues. Prior to our restructuring process, the LPDC's core group was made up of five people, all of whom juggled several responsibilities and worked very long hours, mostly on a volunteer basis. Once the vigorous clemency effort ended, the threat of complete staff burn out loomed. Therefore, an important part of our restructuring efforts have included expanding our staff and dividing LPDC responsibilities among more people. Not only will this prevent current staff from burning out, but it will allow us to accomplish more with better precision. We have now created a board of directors, a lobbying team and an organizing team. We have expanded our speakers bureau and our advisory board to include more key people with important knowledge to share. Plus, we have brought in a new full-time coordinator, as well as two new attorneys. We believe that these changes will make the LPDC a much more sustainable, functional, and forceful organization.

We think you will be pleased to acquaint yourself with the many talented people now making up the LPDC. Joining us are tribal leaders, experienced organizers, professors, lawyers, survivors of the Pine Ridge "reign of terror," people of faith, and Indigenous activists. To see our new staff listing with introductions of each person, please click here: www.freepeltier.org/lpdc_info.htm#staff_listing

We would especially like to tell you about our new full-time coordinator, Debra Peebles. Debra will be playing a very important role in the LPDC and has both the skills and the commitment to do an excellent job. Debra has filled the position of Communications Coordinator, and she will be in charge of media work, authoring literature, writing and dispersing urgent actions and updates, developing strategy and action plans, working with the legal team, coalition building, circulating information among LPDC staff, and monitoring Leonard's case and health status.

Debra is Red Lake Chippewa and has advocated for Native prisoners rights throughout prisons in the Midwest since the early 1990's. Through this work, she met Leonard Peltier. She has worked professionally as a media specialist, a journalist, and has taught Creative Writing in high schools. She hosted and produced a weekly radio show called "Native American Spirit" on KKFI in Kansas City from 1995 until recently. She also sat on the mayor' s 1996 "Task Force for Race Relations" in Kansas City. She has been trained in public speaking, mediation, diversity, management, grant writing, and fundraising. She has spoken at several LPDC events including our national organizing conference (Panel on Prison Issues, June 1999) and Leonard Peltier Freedom Month (Women for Justice, November 1999). We believe Debra will bring the LPDC to new heights of effectiveness and respect.

We want to thank you for your patience and understanding over the past few months, as we quietly rebuilt the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. We know that many of you were deeply affected, as we were, when clemency was not granted. We also know that many of you had sacrificed hours of precious time and money to support the campaign, and that it has taken some time to recover. We hope you too are rejuvenated and will enter with us into the next phase of the struggle.

Leonard turned 57 years old on September 12 and he has spent almost 26 years in prison unjustly. Although his spirit is unbroken, he is tired and needs to come home. Your continued support is needed and appreciated.


In Solidarity,

LPDC

 

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From: "LPDC"lpdc@idir.net

STATEMENT OF LEONARD PELTIER

October 12, 2001

Brothers, Sisters, Friends, and Supporters,

Today marks 509 years since Columbus arrived on the shores of Turtle Island, where he first staked claim to the cherished lands of our ancestors.

Although Columbus is long dead, the legacy of injustice that he began continues. Whether it be relocation of the Dine at Big Mountain, the persecution of Indigenous Peoples throughout Latin America, the fishing struggles in Canada, or the dumping of toxic waste on reservations, the dehumanization of Indigenous Peoples remains pervasive throughout the Americas. As we see in the spirits of the grandmothers of Big Mountain, the Mi'Kmaqs of Burnt Church, or the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Indigenous resistance also remains alive. It is in this spirit of resistance that I am inspired to continue fighting for my own freedom after 25 years of unjust imprisonment.

I want to thank you all for your concern and continued support. I know that these are very difficult and unpredictable times for us all. Although the LPDC has expressed condolences and sympathy on my behalf, I would like a chance to personally say how sorry I am to any of you who lost loved ones on September 11. Please know that I have been praying for you and for peace ever since.

Despite the difficult times we are faced with, and despite this year's clemency defeat, I am feeling blessed. I have to admit that I feared being forgotten after I did not receive clemency. But instead of finding myself alone, I have been surrounded by more compassionate and talented people than ever before - and they have all expressed their determination to continue the struggle for my release. People who I greatly respect like Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Nilak Butler, Thom White Wolf Fassett, Debra Peebles and Debra White Plume, to name only a small few, have joined the LPDC. I want to thank Jennifer Harbury, Pat Benabe, Gina Chiala, Jean Day, and Sylvain Duez-Alesandrini for bringing our new team together and sticking with me. I also want to thank all of you - I received hundreds of birthday cards last month and my spirits were greatly lifted knowing that you are still with us. Without you, I could have no hope.

I am also very encouraged by the new strategies the LPDC plans to pursue on my behalf. We have three new, very important cases to file and the lawyers in charge of them are very dedicated and talented. But I must say that without your active participation, these cases will mean very little. Public pressure is the key to fairness and justice.

In closing, I would like to wish you all a happy "Indigenous Day" and encourage you to continue advocating for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Although prison life becomes more and more difficult with age, my spirit remains unbroken, and I still dream of rejoining my people in freedom and continuing our work for human rights and justice.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier

Until Freedom Is Won!
The New Peltier Justice Campaign

 

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For Further Information
Contact: Gina Chiala or
Debra Peebles @ 785-842-5774


Leonard Peltier's Defense Committee Reorganizes
Sets Sights on 6000 Pages Still Held by FBI

On the eve of imprisoned American Indian activist, Leonard Peltier's birthday, September 12, the committee that has long waged the crusade for his freedom is unveiling a restructured organization and strategic campaign. President Clinton's failure to grant clemency in January of 2001, in spite of documented FBI misconduct and serious questions about Peltier's guilt, has made Peltier supporters even more determined to rally for justice.

Peltier was tried in 1976 for the killing of two FBI agents who with back up from a swat team-like force, chased a red pick up truck onto the Jumping Bull residence on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, June 26, 1975. The FBI claims the day of the shoot out, they entered the ranch in search of a young Indian man accused of stealing a used pair of cowboy boots. Peltier, with other young American Indian Movement (AIM) members - mostly in their teens, were on the ranch to protect Mr. and Mrs. Jumping Bull, traditional elders of the Lakota people. The Jumping Bulls had asked for AIM protection from a community at odds over traditional versus contemporary values. Excessive violence against Lakota traditionals had often been reported in the years preceding the shoot out. FBI involvement in such action was a disturbing factor in tribal disputes over land management and sale of reservation natural resources. As the shoot out ensued between AIM supporters and FBI agents, the leader of Pine Ridge's tribal council, a nontraditional, signed in secret, an agreement transferring 1/8th of the reservation, rich in minerals and uranium over to the federal government. The government came away with highly prized natural resources, at the price of two FBI agents. As for the traditional Lakota, the loss of one young Indian man - his death never investigated, and loss of tribal lands.

Peltier's case has never come to rest satisfactorily. FBI and prosecutor misconduct rife throughout the trial, has not moved a judicial system that in 1985 admitted, "We can't prove who shot those agents." Some of what is now known about that day in 1975 has been obtained by acquisition of FBI files through the Freedom of Information Act. However, to date, the agency refuses to release 6000 further pages of unreported documentation.

Restructuring Peltier's Defense Committee started last winter after President Clinton's notorious list of clemencies failed to include Peltier. The Committee includes a new Board of Directors beginning with Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Arizona, Glenn Marshall, Council President of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts and Matt Hill, a Mohawk grassroots activist. Also joining the head office in Lawrence, Kansas is Debra Peebles, a Red Lake Chippewa, writer, media coordinator and long time activist for Native spiritual rights in prisons, and sits on the Board of Chaplains for the Department of Corrections in Missouri. As for strategy, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee plans to file a major civil rights lawsuit seeking damages and injunctive relief for the FBI's obstruction of Peltier's clemency and parole through the dissemination of misinformation to both key officials and the public. Peltier's legal defense team will also file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking the 6,000 concealed FBI documents. Additionally, Peltier's defense team is preparing a new case which seeks to reduce Peltier's sentence to time served.

Mr. Peltier, detained in Leavenworth Prison, Leavenworth, Kansas says of another birthday behind bars, "Last year at this time I really believed I would be enjoying this day with my grandchildren, but I continue to keep faith. Today I think about how I walked in here a young man and now I am an elder just like those people I was protecting. But really, I'm grateful for all those people around the world who have worked hard on my behalf, and those who have come forward with fresh energy and insight. I am really honored by the loyalty and support, so I trust the Creator that one day the truth will be told and I will walk out the front door."

Support Senate Hearings on Peltier Case!
Call Senator Leahy: 202-224-4242

 

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Leonard Peltier Defense Committee lpdc@idir.net
July 30, 2001

 

PHONE ACTION
Press for Hearings on the Peltier Case


Senator Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
202-224-4242

Dear Friends,

We are launching a telephone campaign to urge Senator Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hold hearings on the treatment of Pine Ridge residents between 1973 and 1976, and on the Peltier case in particular. With the FBI's abusive obstruction of Peltier's clemency still fresh in our hearts and minds, we have witnessed little if any mention of the Peltier case during the last months of controversy and criticism regarding FBI misconduct. Let's step up our efforts and make our voices heard.

Please make at least one call a week and if possible, call on your region's designated day. This will help to ensure that calls are received on a daily basis:

northeast: Mondays
southeast: Tuesdays
mid-west and International: Wednesdays
northwest: Thursdays
southwest: Fridays.

Below are talking points to use as a guide. If you can do more, now is the time. You can organize phone banks, which cause the amount of calls going in to increase exponentially. You can also call the two Senators of your state and urge them to support hearings/declassification (capitol switchboard can connect you to your senators: 202-224-3121). If you want to make even more calls, work on the members of the Judiciary Committee - if any of the Senators of your state belong to the Judiciary Committee, put a special focus on calling them (Senate Judiciary Committee members listed at the end of this message). Keep up the letter drive, and if possible, organize a visit with your state's senators offices. Tips on how to do all of these things are listed after the talking points below.

Also, you can plan a local action for Leonard Peltier's birthday on September 12. Use your event as a public platform to call for a full examination of the Peltier case and its surrounding circumstances, including the release of documents. If you are interested in having a LPDC speaker come to your area for an event, feel free to contact us.

Please continue to forward responses you receive from officials to our office so we can gauge our progress. Also, let us know if you and others you collaborate with are making the calls to Leahy so that we can keep track of how we are doing.

THANK YOU for your continued support and commitement.


In Solidarity,
LPDC

 


TALKING POINTS FOR CALLS TO LEAHY

1. I am calling in regard to the Judiciary Committee's current examination of incidences of FBI misconduct and its efforts to create a means for better government oversight.

2. In particular, I would like to bring your attention to the case of Leonard Peltier, the imprisoned Native rights activist who Amnesty International calls a "political prisoner" who should be "immediately and unconditionally released." Perhaps more than any other, the case of Leonard Peltier necessitates urgent congressional intervention.

3. First, Mr. Peltier's case is rooted in a three-year period of violent conflict on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which began with the 1973 Wounded Knee takeover and ended in 1976 as tribal chairman, Dick Wilson left office. During that period the FBI cooperated with the tribal chairman and together they sought to eliminate American Indian Movement activity and presence on the reservation. Vigilantes hired by the tribal chairman and supported by the FBI carried out a campaign of violence against members and supporters of AIM. Over 60 AIM members were murdered, and scores more were assaulted. Nothing was done to stop the violence and the survivors have received little if any closure. That period was well documented by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, but remains largely unrecognized by our government.

4. Second, it is well documented that Mr. Peltier's conviction resulted from the withholding of exculpatory evidence, the coercion of witnesses, and the utilization of falsified testimony by the FBI and U.S. Attorneys. Since 1985 the government has conceded that it cannot prove who shot the agents. In 1986 the Eighth Circuit Court ruled that had the FBI not improperly withheld evidence, Mr. Peltier might have been acquitted. Yet, a new trial was denied based on a legal technicality. The FBI withheld over 18,000 documents from the defense at trial, and continues to withhold over 6,000 today. Yet, nothing has been done to correct the improprieties and Mr. Peltier has languished over 25 years in prison despite the total lack of evidence against him.

5. Third, the FBI has consistently and aggressively obstructed Mr. Peltier' s remaining avenues for redress. As you may know, President Clinton announced that he was considering Mr. Peltier for a grant of executive clemency late last year. The FBI responded with an intensive lobby and media campaign to prevent a positive decision from occurring. The statements disseminated throughout the FBI's campaign were false, intentionally misleading, and absent of highly relevant information. The FBI has utilized similar tactics in blocking Mr. Peltier's release through parole, for which he is long overdue. Clearly the killing of the two agents represents a great tragedy, but official vengeance can never be allowed to replace the due process of the law.

6. Given all of this, we want to urge the Judiciary Committee to hold full hearings on the treatment of residents on the Pine Ridge Reservation between 1973 and 1976, and on the Peltier case in particular. We also want to urge the judiciary committee to declassify the 6,000 FBI documents that remain concealed. Amnesty International, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, the National Congress of American Indians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Eighth Circuit Court Judge-Gerald Heaney, and the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights are only a few who have recognized the troubling nature of the Peltier case and have voiced support for resolution.

7. We are encouraged by the Judiciary Committee's commitment to seek better oversight of the FBI and to prevent mishaps and abuses from reoccurring. Certainly, recent revelations of misconduct give way to the need for reform. However, true reform will be difficult to achieve if the situation of Leonard Peltier continues without governmental scrutiny and resolution.

8. Taking an honest and open look at the Peltier case and the era in which it is rooted, will help bring closure to a matter that has long served as a source of distrust and anguish for so many Native Peoples and non-Native citizens. Perhaps most importantly, airing the truth could lead to the prevention of future abuses, and promote a more just and equitable society.

 

HELP BUILD SUPPORT FOR LEONARD PELTIER IN CONGRESS
Here are some tips:

1. ORGANIZATION OF PHONE BANKS In order to intensify pressure on Congress to support parole, investigations, and the declassification of documents, we need to develop a sustainable, ongoing campaign on local levels, so that each Representative and Senator will feel the pressure from their constituents in concert with LPDC lobbying in Washington D.C.

One effective way to do this is by developing localized phone banks. Phone banks are not difficult to organize and they often render positive results. During Congressional Outreach Week, initiate a phone bank in your area by asking your friends, family, and community members to commit to making weekly calls. Choose a designated phone call day that best suits your group (a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday is best for reaching Congressional staff). Make sure every participant has a copy of the updated LPDC Statement of Fact which can be found on our web site, the "Telephone Calls to Congress" instructional sheet, which is enclosed, and the contact information for your two Senators and your district's Representative. Call or e-mail everyone in your group weekly to both remind them to make the calls and to monitor responses received from your representatives. Please let us know how the calls are going.

If your Senator or Representative indicates that he or she has received the FBI's propaganda, forward the "Ethics Complaint" which refutes FBI misinformation, to them. The Ethics Complaint can be found on our web site under "case reference materials."

The weekly calls should be directed to your two Senators and to the House Representative of your district. (Telephone calls are less easy to ignore and more effective than e-mails to officials.)

2. LETTER DRIVE We would like to generate thousands of letters to Congress through an ongoing letter drive. A sample letter to Congress is enclosed. You can format three letters, one addressed to each of your two Senators and one to your Representative, and make several copies of each for distribution. Again, ask your family, friends, and community members to sign their name and address to the letters (one letter per person) and collect as many as possible to send in all at once. If some people can take the time to hand write and personalize their letters, that's even better. Please let us know about how many you collect and send in so that we can evaluate our progress.

3. VISITS TO DISTRICT OFFICES Another effective way to garner support from our Senators and Representatives, is to visit them in person in your local district office. You may not be able to see your Senators or Representative in person, but you will be able to meet with an aid. An in-person visit from constituents shows your Senator or Representative that this issue is of great importance to his or her voters or potential voters. Here are some pointers:

1. Be specific. Make sure that what you want the official to do is clear.
2. Be prepared. Study the LPDC Statement of Fact and the Ethics Complaint before you attend the visit so that you will be comfortable if you are asked specific questions.
3. Give the aid a copy of the LPDC Statement of Fact, the Ethics Complaint, and support letters from respected organizations and luminaries (these can be downloaded from our site).
4. If you do not know an answer to a question, direct the question to the LPDC, or tell your official you will look into it and get back to him or her.
5. Dress neatly.
6. If you are in contact with local, influential groups and people such as Amnesty International, Church leaders, Native leaders, etc., invite them to attend the meeting.
7. Follow your meeting up by calling the aid you met with to find out the status of your request and to reiterate your position.

Senate Judiciary Committee Members

Democrats
Patrick Leahy, VT Chairman
Edward Kennedy, MA
Joseph Biden, DE
Herb Kohl, WI
Dianne Feinstein, CA
Russell Feingold, WI
Charles Schumer, NY
Richard Durbin, IL
Maria Cantwell, WA
John Edwards, NC

Republicans
Orrin Hatch, UT Ranking Member
Strom Thurmond, SC
Chuck Grassley, IA
Arlen Specter, PA
Jon Kyl, AZ
Mike DeWine, OH
Jeff Sessions, AL
Sam Brownback, KS
Mitch McConnell, KY
 
continued . . . June 2001

 

 

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top     * Free Leonard Peltier page * Leonard Peltier Updates * Early 2001
* Clemency bid for Leonard Peltier * Fall 2000 * Jan.-early Fall * Peltier, FBI, parole 2000
*1999 * Mar. 1998 * Past Health Reports * Leonard Peltier on mining


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Link:
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583, Lawrence, KS 66044
785-842-5774, www.freepeltier.org