Leonard Peltier Behind bars

Early 2001 Updates:

* Clinton's Abuse of Clemency Process Betrays Native Peoples
* Native Americans Take Home First Grammy
* Feb. 6, Marks 25 Years of Imprisonment for Leonard Peltier
* Sample letter to Sen. Daschle & former Pres. Clinton
* Statement of Leonard Peltier
* Emotions flare over Peltier case
* Day of Shame
* Despite no pardon, Peltier backers say fight goes on
* Clemency was denied for Leonard Peltier
* What's Next?

A form has been created to send a letter to your U.S. senators to demand an investigation into the era of the "Reign of Terror", the release of the 6,000 documents still held from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, and the release of Leonard Peltier.
Send a letter: 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
* 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







from LPDC : lpdc@idir.net


Here is the sample letter to the editor promised in yesterday's update. You can use this one, personalize this one, or write your own and send it to your local papers. Thank you!

In Solidarity, LPDC


(Include your name, phone number, and LPDC web site: www.freepeltier.org)




Criticism of Bill Clinton's handling of pardons should also include questioning about why he did not grant clemency to those who truly deserved it. Why, for example, didn't Clinton commute the sentence of Leonard Peltier, whose case more than any other would have demonstrated the proper use of the clemency power?

Peltier has been wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Amnesty International considers him a "political prisoner" who should be "immediately released." He was convicted after a shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Reservation took the lives of two FBI agents and one Native man whose death was never investigated. Peltier, who had long been surveillanced by the FBI for his American Indian Movement leadership, was found guilty in a trial where witnesses were coerced, false testimony was utilized, and a ballistic test reflecting his innocence was withheld from the defense. Today the U.S. prosecutor admits, "we can't prove who shot those agents." The appellate court found that Peltier might have been acquitted absent the FBI abuses, but denied a new trial on a legal technicality. This appellate judge expressed firm support for Peltier's release through executive clemency.

Indeed, executive clemency for Peltier would have exemplified not only a proper use of the power, but an honorable decision to correct a terrible injustice and take a historical step toward healing relations between the U.S. government and Native Peoples. Instead, January 20, 2001 marked another betrayal of the first peoples of this land by a government who has yet to grant reparations for the many atrocities committed against them. Clinton's legacy will forever be tainted by his abuse of the clemency process, both in the pardons he granted, and the ones he did not. And sadly, Leonard Peltier will continue to be a glaring reminder that America's shameful treatment of Native Peoples is far from ancient history.


Reprinted under the Fair Use http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html doctrine of international copyright law.


Native Americans Take Home First Grammy

February 22, 2001

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Native Americans took home their first Grammy Award on Wednesday after a 10-year struggle to get their music recognized as a recording art form.

"Our young Native American kids will have something to shoot for," said Douglas Spotted Eagle, who shared a Grammy with Tom Bee for their album anthology of drum music, "Gathering of Nations Pow Wow." Bee said the award will hopefully expose more non-Native Americans to "our music as well." He described his music as an eclectic meeting of the rock band Jethro Tull and contemporary jazz saxophonist Kenny G.

On a more serious note, Robbie Robertson, the former leader of legendary rock group The Band, lashed at former president Clinton's failure to pardon Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the deaths of two FBI agents at South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation in 1976. Peltier collaborated with Robertson on his 1998 solo album "Contact from the Underworld of Redboy."

"I guess he wasn't Marc Rich enough," Robertson said, referring to Clinton's controversial pardon of the fugitive financier, before presenting the Grammy award for the new Native American category.

Robbie Robertson


Peltier Denied Clemency
Advocates Still Committed to Seeking Release

February 6, 2001, Marks 25 Years of Imprisonment for Leonard Peltier

Gina Chiala, Co-Coordinator,
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583, Lawrence, KS 66044

Still outraged over Clinton's denial of clemency to Leonard Peltier, Peltier advocates across the nation and globe are meeting today to plan new strategies to free the man they see as a political prisoner, wrongly imprisoned for 25 years. "Leonard Peltier never received a fair trial, and the appellate process has failed him. More than a reasonable doubt has been cast on his guilt, and yet a quarter century later, he languishes behind bars. By denying clemency, Bill Clinton failed to fulfill his duty to correct this injustice. He also betrayed the Native citizens of this land," said Ernie Stevens Jr. of the National Congress of American Indians.

Despite the defeat, Peltier and supporters say they will not give up. They plan to launch a major campaign calling for the declassification of the 6000 documents pertaining to the Peltier case still being withheld by the FBI. Supporters believe these documents contain evidence that will further expose misconduct in the gaining of Leonard Peltier's conviction. Their disclosure, they say, could lead to Peltier's acquittal. 12,000 FBI documents were released in the early 1980's pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a ballistic test reflecting Peltier's innocence and prompting the Eighth Circuit to conclude: "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."

Those calling for Leonard Peltier's release include Amnesty International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the National Congress of American Indians, Coretta Scott King, several members of Congress, and the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights among others.

*Leonard Peltier was a prominent member of the American Indian Movement. He was convicted for the murder of two FBI agents killed during a 1975 shoot-out, which occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in the midst of intense, local political strife. In 1985 the US Attorney admitted and later established that he could not prove who shot the agents.

From: "LPDC" lpdc@idir.net

Dear Friends,

We are writing to update you on some of the strategies that will be undertaken to continue the effort to free Leonard Peltier. These strategies will be strengthened as more research and development are invested, but meanwhile, we would like to set forth some of the basic plans with initial supportive actions.

1. As many of you have suggested, the most immediate action will be in response to the denial of clemency. Those responsible for prolonging this injustice need to hear from us. Send a letter to Bill Clinton and Senator Tom Daschle to express outrage over the handling of this case. Senator Daschle is a leading democrat in Congress. He bowed to pressure from the FBI in South Dakota and suggested to Clinton that clemency be denied, thus ignoring the tribes of his state who have long supported clemency. A message will follow with the addresses to write to as well as sample letters.

2. The main message of the new campaign will be a call to declassify the 6000 documents pertaining to the Peltier case still being withheld by the FBI. We will also call for Congressional investigations into the official misconduct of government officials in the Peltier case and on Pine Ridge during the surrounding period. Support for this and all other efforts will include intensive educational outreach and lobbying support from officials in congress. Write to your local Reps and Senators and ask them to support an act to declassify the documents and to hold hearings. A message will follow with a sample letter and a link to a site where you can find contact information for them. This is only the start; much more will be come!

3. February 6, 2001 will sadly mark 25 years since Leonard Peltier's arrest, which means he has spent the last quarter century unjustly behind bars. Let's dedicate this day to renewing the freedom campaign. To commemorate February 6, hold meetings to regroup local supporters and/or hold vigils, teach-ins, or video showings, and send press releases to your local media. We know that February 6 is only a short time a way, and it will be difficult to organize major events, but we can use this day to springboard into an even stronger campaign and an even broader network, which we can all work to develop and intensify in coming months. A message will follow with a press release, which you can send to your local media on the eve of February 6. If you will be holding an event which will be of interest to the press, include the "what, who, and where" in the release as well as your group's contact information. Please let us know the details of any events organized so that we can assist in publicizing them.

4. Meanwhile, Leonard Peltier's legal defense team is researching specific legal actions. The best way to support any future litigation is to build up public awareness and support. We will be updating all of our materials to coincide with the new strategies. Send a self addressed stamped envelope to us if you need literature to copy and distribute. Visit our website to find out about obtaining educational videos, books, and materials.

Stay tuned. There will be much more to come and each one of you is needed. As we said before, Leonard Peltier is not giving up, so neither will we!

Thank you for your continued commitment and support.

In Solidarity,

From: "LPDC" lpdc@idir.net

Write to Your Senators and Reps -
Push for Declassification and Investigations

To find out contact information for the officials in your state, visit these sites:

or call: 202-224-3121

To : United States Senator ______or Representative_____
United States Congress
Washington D.C.


Dear _________________,

I am writing to express my shock and outrage over the recent denial of clemency to Mr. Leonard Peltier. I am also writing to ask for your help and support in this tragic case.

As you know, Mr. Peltier is a Native American citizen of this country who has now been incarcerated for twenty-five years, following his highly controversial conviction of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents. He has never received the benefit of a fair trial, despite the worldwide outcry of human rights and religious leaders. Despite disturbing evidence that vengeful FBI officials coerced witnesses, utilized false testimonies and withheld a key ballistics test reflecting his innocence, Mr. Peltier was denied a new trial on technical grounds. Today even the United States Attorney admits that no one knows who fired the fatal shots. The Judge who denied the new trial has written to firmly support Mr. Peltier's release. Meanwhile, Mr. Peltier himself is long overdue for parole and in failing health. This case is an embarrassment to our nation.

To make matters worse, Mr. Peltier's highly controversial conviction is deeply rooted in the Pine Ridge "Reign of Terror", when FBI-backed vigilantes killed 64 AIM members and supporters, and terrorized, assaulted and battered scores of others. There has never been any adequate investigation or redress of this grim chapter of civil rights history. For all of these reasons, Mr. Peltier has become a symbol of ongoing U.S. repression against the first citizens of this country.

Given all of the above, I am asking for the following :

1. Please press for a thorough and bi-partisan investigation of this case, together with the FBI abuses which occurred during the Reign of Terror on Pine Ridge Reservation, 1973-1976.

2. Please press for a Congressional Act declassifying all of the FBI and related files in Mr. Peltier's case. Some 6000 documents, remain in secret files, despite the fact that twenty five years have passed and the investigation and court proceedings ended long ago. Given that some of the files released earlier contained the critical and exculpatory ballistics test which the FBI had concealed from the defense, we are convinced that these secret files contain critical information.

We thank you for your time and consideration to this matter.




From: "LPDC" lpdc@idir.net


Office of the former President, Bill Clinton
Washington, DC 20503-0730

Senator Tom Daschle
2nd and C Sts., NE
Washington, DC 20510


To : United States Senator Tom Daschle
United States Senate
Washington D.C.


Dear Senator Daschle,

I am writing to express my disappointment and sense of betrayal with regards to your recent decision to oppose clemency for Mr. Leonard Peltier. Given your responsibilities as United States Senator of a state with a large population of Native peoples, many of whom greatly assisted you when you first ran for office, I expected a more just and reasoned position on this issue. Evidently I was mistaken.

As you well know, Mr. Peltier has never had the benefit of a fair trial. There is clear evidence that vengeful FBI agents coerced witnesses, utilized false testimonies, and concealed a key ballistics test reflecting his innocence. Although he was denied a new trial on a technicality, even the court expressly noted that but for the abuses which occurred, Mr. Peltier might have been acquitted. Even the United States Attorney admits that no one knows who fired the fatal shots. Mr. Peltier has now been imprisoned for twenty five years and is deteriorating health. Despite his remarkable record of human rights achievements from behind bars, he remains incarcerated and long overdue for parole. To make matters worse, his controversial conviction is deeply rooted in the Pine Ridge "Reign of Terror" of 1973-1976, one of the most grim chapters in recent American civil rights history. For disturbing information as to FBI misconduct throughout these years of repression and right wing violence, I would refer you to the reports of the United States Civil Rights Commission. Surely, as Senator of South Dakota, you have heard the frightening testimonies of various Lakota survivors in this regard. If not, you have been remiss in your duties.

This case has long been a great embarrassment to those of us in the United States who believe in equal rights and due process of the laws for all citizens. As a leading Democrat in Congress, you should have defended the basic values of your party and your constituents. In betraying Leonard Peltier you not only betrayed an individual human being, but the Native people of your state, as well as all of us who believe in basic civil rights and justice.

Perhaps you should consider changing parties.


      Leonard Peltier Defense Committee


Thomas A. 'Tom' Daschle (Democrat)
Washington DC EMail Address: tom_daschle@daschle.senate.gov
Washington DC Web Address: http://www.senate.gov/~daschle/

[District Address - Aberdeen]

20 Sixth Avenue SW, Suite B
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Phone: 605-225-8823
FAX: 605-225-8468
Toll-Free: 800-424-9094

[District Address - Rapid City]

816 Sixth Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: 605-348-7551

[District Address - Sioux Falls]

810 South Minnesota Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone: 605-334-9596

[Washington DC Address]

509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4103
Phone: 202-224-2321
FAX: 202-224-2047


From: "LPDC" lpdc@idir.net


Greetings Friends and Supporters:

January 20, 2001, was a sad day for all of us. I know that this denial of clemency has affected many of you as much as it has affected both my family and myself. It is a terrible feeling and disappointment knowing that this nightmare has not ended and will continue for many months to come.

When I received the news, I felt my stomach curl and a feeling of nausea rolled over me. It took a while for me to refocus. For some reason I had thought I might be having dinner with my family that night. It was an especially disappointing day for all of us.

What Bill Clinton did to us was cruel. For eight years he ignored my clemency petition despite the major campaign that was waged. Then, just months before leaving office he publicly promised to make a decision on my case, one way or the other. He said he was aware of its importance. The White House gave my attorneys indications that there was a good chance for my clemency to be granted. I had to prepare myself for being released because there was no sign that my petition would be denied.

The LPDC bought me clothes, my grandson prepared his bedroom for me to sleep in and other preparations were made for my homecoming. My friends on Pine Ridge began plans to build me a house. We were literally forced to get our hopes up because we did not want to be unprepared if I was suddenly set free.

January 19, came and still, they kept us in nervous anticipation saying the more difficult clemencies are still being worked on and would be announced the next morning. Then January 20 came and went! The White House never even told us what the decision was. We had to find out through the press that my name was not on the list of clemencies. To leave a person's life and so many peoples' hopes hanging in the balance like that is truly hardhearted.

Since that dark Saturday, I have managed to get up and dust myself off, and begin to lift my spirits once more. I am just as determined now to fight for my freedom as I was on February 6, 1976 when I was first arrested. I will not give up. This is the second time in the span of my incarceration that I made it to the top of the hill and saw that freedom was in view, only to be kicked right back down to the bottom again.

The first time was in 1985, when the evidence used to convict me was impeached and I was denied a new trial, despite Judge Heaney's finding that I might have been acquitted had the jury been presented this evidence. To be denied a new trial after such a finding shocked our network and me just as much as this denial of clemency has. However, we never lose a battle without making some major gains in the overall struggle.

I want to compliment and thank my staff at the LPDC and all of you grassroots supporters who stood beside me and fought so tirelessly for my freedom. You put on one of the strongest and most memorable campaigns I have experienced. Years from now people will read about the accomplishments you made. People from every walk of life worked on this campaign. People from every denomination and belief prayed from every corner of the Earth. Although it feels like our sentiments were shooed away like an irritating fly by a president who did not want to face the consequences of his own mistakes, I believe we put up a serious challenge. We can see who was granted clemency and why. The big donors to the President's campaign were able to buy justice, something we just couldn't afford. Meanwhile, many political prisoners continue to languish unjustly, proof that this nation's talk about reconciliation is nothing but empty rhetoric.

We now have a number of strategies to continue this struggle for my freedom. These ideas are in the early planning stages. I ask you to remain with us while we regroup and develop a thorough plan. We must carefully consider every option and make sure the strategies compliment each other in order to have the best effect. The LPDC will release strategies as they are developed. Some will be released this week.

I also have my own personal plans. I will continue doing artwork and will be looking at ways to make it more available to the public. I will also be working with my friends, Fedelia and Bob Cross, to build a grade school in Oglala. Before my clemency was decided, I began to dream of the different projects I would like to work on in Pine Ridge if I were free. Now that I have been denied, Fedelia and Bob have said they will take the initiative to begin the projects themselves, with my input. Soon, we will be establishing a board and non-profit status.

Bob and Fedelia are schoolteachers and lifetime Oglala residents, and they have the land on which to build the school. They have told me of the desperate need for an improved school in Oglala. The existing school is severely under funded and inadequate and does not provide the kids with the quality education they need and deserve . We have the highest drop out rate of all ethnic groups in the country and part of the reason is the lack of stimulating and challenging programs for the youth.

Another idea I would like to develop is building a small recreation center for Oglala. As most of you know Native health conditions are also probably the worst in the country. We want to change that, beginning with this center. We want the center to have modern exercise equipment, a kitchenette, and card tables. As everyone gathers here to socialize, have coffee, gossip, and play cards, we can encourage them to try the equipment and to begin getting in the habit of exercising and eating healthy foods. I believe it would be a nice place for people to spend time and a good incentive for them to get into better physical condition and stop the trend of diabetes on the reservation. The reservation currently has no facility like this.

If we are successful in establishing these two services, I believe that the community of Oglala will truly benefit. We will then be able to move on to other projects that will bring people together and raise the quality of life. For example, one day I would like to rebuild Jumping Bull Hall so that there will be a drug and alcohol free place where people, especially youth, can gather. We could set it up for a movie theatre and bring in video games. People can watch movies, hold meetings, have birthday celebrations, community meals and dances here. Right now, our youth have no place to go to socialize and I believe this facility could help prevent the hopelessness and despair too many of our young people feel. I would hope that word of these projects would spread to other reservations and others like Fedelia and Bob Cross will be inspired to take on similar ideas which we could help support.

Your ideas, input, and support are welcomed. If you know people who would donate supplies (books, wood, cement, hardware, etc), make financial contributions, or donate their skills and labor, please get in touch with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.

In closing, I want to thank you again for your support and ask that you stand with us in this struggle. I believe that one day in the near future we will succeed. But it can't be done without your support.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier


From: "LPDC" lpdc@idir.net

Dear Friends,

Here is the address by which you can write to Leonard Peltier and send him words of encouragement:

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
PO Box 1000
Leavenworth, KS 66048

Emotions flare over Peltier case

Decision not to grant pardon in deaths of FBI agents met with relief, frustration

January 22, 2001
By Kevin Vaughan
News Staff Writer

Nita Gonzales and Don Cesare both wrestled with emotions Sunday as they discussed the case of American Indian activist Leonard Peltier -- but for very different reasons.

For one, there was bewildering disappointment the day after outgoing President Clinton refused to pardon Peltier for the murders of two FBI agents in 1975.

For the other, there was satisfaction in knowing that Peltier will remain in prison, tinged with the memories of a fallen colleague.

"Justice has been served," said Cesare, a retired FBI agent who lives in Colorado Springs.

Gonzales, a community activist in Denver, said, "It just continues the incredible historical shame this country shares around its treatment of its indigenous peoples."

Peltier's case sparked controversy almost from the moment the gunfire died away June 26, 1975, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Two FBI agents, 28-year-old Jack Coler, who was stationed in Colorado Springs, and Ron Williams went onto the reservation that day looking for a young man suspected in a robbery.

The two agents chased a Chevrolet Suburban, believing that the teen-ager was inside. {not according to their own reports} Instead, they ended up in a gunbattle with several people.

In all, 125 rounds were fired into their cars. Bullets practically tore Coler's right arm off, and Williams suffered serious injuries before someone walked up with a high-powered rifle and shot each man in the head. A young American Indian also died in the gunfight.

After a manhunt, Peltier and two others were charged. {four were charged all together..}

The other two men were acquitted, but Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two life terms.

In addition to American Indian leaders, actor Robert Redford, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Amnesty International have called for Peltier's release. They contend that overzealous FBI investigators coerced a witness into giving false affidavits and that evidence that would have exonerated Peltier was ignored. {the witnesses themselves state they were coerced..}

"He is innocent, and he did not get a fair trial," Gonzales said.

She said she could not understand Clinton's decision.

Glenn Morris, a university professor and leader in the American Indian Movement in Denver, went a step further.

"When you look at the people who got pardons, it just looks like baldfaced racism," Morris said.

But Cesare said he believes Clinton did the right thing.

"My goodness -- there's been appeal after appeal after appeal, and all the evidence has been introduced," he said.

Peltier's supporters had hoped up until the last moment that Clinton would set him free with an executive pardon. Clinton issued more than 100 pardons Saturday -- his last day in office -- but he refused to give one to Peltier.

Coler's widow, Peggy, has not spoken publicly about the case. But last year, she sent a letter to a newspaper in South Dakota in which she said the family was "absolutely opposed to either parole or clemency for Leonard Peltier."

Gonzales choked back emotion as she talked about Peltier, whom she likened to South African leader Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for many years before being released.

"If in apartheid South Africa, Mandela can walk free, why in the United States cannot Leonard Peltier walk out those doors?" she said.

Cesare also was emotional talking about the episode. He spoke about Coler, who left behind his wife and 1- and 4-year-old sons.

"This was a devastating blow to his family and the bureau," Cesare said. "He had a lot of promise. He was a good agent."

Contact Kevin Vaughan at (303) 892-5019 or




January 20, 2001
From: "LPDC" lpdc@idir.net

Dear Friends,

Today is a grim and shameful day. We must confirm that President Clinton, despite all his good words this week about racial unity, "One America", and healing historical injustices, has denied clemency to Leonard Peltier. We do not know why. Yet disturbing questions are obviously raised by the last minute "deal" on the Monica Lewinsky perjury issue.

Leonard himself has asked that we thank each and every one of you for your phenomenal efforts on his behalf during the last year. Towards the end the world support had turned into a literal human rights tidal wave, with every high level leader and organization calling or writing to President Clinton on Leonard's behalf. Yet somehow it was not enough to outweigh the outright terror the FBI was able to instill in our government leadership.

We are all hurting badly just now, and we ask that you turn your prayers and thoughts towards Leonard himself today. Send him letters of support and stay with us. We must remain tightly organized.

We will be in a huddle with lawyers and organizers for the next several days working on new plans and proposals. We will have to work out a very new strategy, as President Bush's government will be quite different from Clinton's.(or perhaps not so different after all). Bear with us while we reorganize and do some new thinking.and of course send us your ideas and thoughts as well.

We know you want to keep up the fight and we know that this must be done. The future of our society depends on our point blank insistence on justice for all.

Please watch our web site and keep checking in. We will have some new strategies and battle plans ready to go very soon. We must never leave Leonard behind, but we can only bring him home if we keep working together.

This network has grown to amazing new levels of strength and commitment this year. We must take a breather now but we must not fall apart or give up. Leonard is depending on us. If he can keep up his sacrificing then so must we.

In Solidarity,


(Here is a statement for the press which you can forward to local media if you'd like.) \



We were both shocked and saddened by President Clinton's decision to deny executive clemency to Leonard Peltier. During the last few days world support for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Peltier had reached remarkable levels, with calls and letters arriving from such renowned human rights and religious leaders as Coretta Scott King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Amnesty International, Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, amongst many others. Grassroots support from people across the country had swamped the White House phone and fax lines for months. Native nations and organizations made their support known again and again in powerful messages. Thousands of concerned citizens walked and prayed in the streets of New York on International Human Rights Day. Yet somehow none of this was enough.

Why? The question remains for William Clinton to answer. The fact that so light a penalty attached to the perjury charge in the Monica Lewinsky case raises disturbing issues. We would like an explanation.

For many weeks now President Clinton had called for national reconciliation and racial unity in this country. He has called for "One America" and emphasized the great racial disparity and discrimination so evident in our criminal justice system. He has called again and again for respect and equality for all races. He has stressed the need for righting historical injustices and healing long festering wounds inflicted upon people of color. He has insisted that the United States take its place as a world leader of human rights affairs. He has personally visited Pine Ridge Reservation, the site of the tragic shoot out at Oglala a long and bitter quarter of a century ago, and called for greater respect and justice for our first citizens.

Yet in this last and most critical test , President Clinton has betrayed his own goals and ideals. Again we must ask why?

Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for 25 years without ever receiving the benefit of a fair trial. The FBI forced Myrtle Poor Bear to sign a false affidavit, then committed fraud upon the Canadian government by presenting her statement to their courts of law. Three teenaged boys were terrorized and coerced into giving false testimonies to the grand jury and at his trial. A ballistics test reflecting his innocence was concealed from the defense and the FBI expert gave distorted testimony to the jury. No consequences for these illegal acts have ever attached. Today even the United States Attorneys admit that no one knows who fired the fatal shots. Yet Leonard Peltier was denied a new trial on a technicality, with the judge admitting that a strong doubt was cast on the prosecution's case. Even that judge now supports clemency . Meanwhile Mr. Peltier himself is long overdue for parole and receives human rights awards for the remarkable human rights work he carries out from behind bars. He is now in failing health.

Most disturbing still is the fact that Leonard's highly controversial conviction is deeply rooted in one of the most grim chapters of recent American civil rights history, specifically the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror. Between 1973 and 1976 , FBI backed vigilantes terrorized, battered and assaulted scores of Lakota traditionalists and AIM supporters throughout the reservation. Houses burned and entire families were wounded in drive by shootings. While the FBI stood by, some 64 AIM members and supporters were murdered, their deaths never properly investigated or vindicated. Civil rights organizations excoriated FBI abuses again and again.

It can hardly be gainsaid that the history of our government's dealings with the first citizens of this country have been tragic at best, and oftentimes shameful. It is difficult to imagine a case more crucial to national reconciliation and healing that the case of Leonard Peltier. Yet a door, instead of opening , has been slammed and locked. Our society will pay the price.

Today will be remembered as but another day of U.S. government shame and betrayal of Native people.


Despite no pardon, Peltier backers say fight goes on

January 20, 2001
Chuck Haga / Star Tribune

Despite a massive effort to persuade President Clinton to grant clemency to American Indian Movement (AIM) figure Leonard Peltier, convicted of the 1975 killings of two FBI agents, he was not on the final pardon list Saturday.

"We're extremely disappointed," said AIM leader Vernon Bellecourt, "but certainly not defeated. We're grateful to those Indian people and other Americans, and friends and supporters worldwide, who offered so many prayers to the Great Spirit, but ask them all to remain resolutely determined."

Nicholas O'Hara, former special agent in charge of the Minneapolis FBI office and a leader among law enforcement officers working to keep Peltier in prison, said that "justice was served" by the no-pardon decision.

"President Clinton looked at the facts and did not act," he said. "That's all I've ever wanted out of this."

Bellecourt said that Peltier's supporters will ask a federal judge to order the release of "6,000-plus FBI documents" they believe would reveal government abuses in the prosecution of Peltier.

Peltier's attorneys will ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings in South Dakota "to examine this whole era, which we believe would lead to a new trial" for Peltier.

AIM also will work to defeat Sen. Tom Daschle and Gov. Bill Janklow of South Dakota, as well as Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma, "who went out of their way to oppose a pardon," Bellecourt said. "Those states have large Indian populations. We're going to work to defeat them so they know this doesn't come without cost."

AIM itself is the problem, O'Hara said.

"There's been so much misinformation on this whole case, and that's what has frustrated cops," he said. "The founders of AIM, proponents of violence who force themselves into an environment to make violent change -- they're what's behind this. But I think the community is moving beyond leadership like that."

Chuck Haga can be contacted at crhaga@startribune.com
� Copyright 2001 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
{ref: LPDC }


From: "Arthur J. Miller" bayou@blarg.net


The news just broke on this cold winter morning, no clemency for Leonard Peltier.

Clinton could not find it within himself to take a bold action for peace and justice.

Clinton goes out of office as he came into office, just another keeper of the great white way. Though we are all extremely disappointed that Leonard has not been freed upon this day; still it ain't no time to surrender.

Leonard's trial was a frame-up and not an act of justice, but an act of retaliation against a person who stood his ground for his people. Leonard's appeals through the courts disproved the government's case against him, but no new and fair trial was grant. A number of parole hearings were held, but they were nothing more than continuing statements of the government's desire for retribution. Since 1993 we have fought the battle for Executive Clemency, only to have another door slammed in our face; still it ain't no time for surrender.

People from around the world have struggle for justice for Leonard, marched in the streets, signed petitions, wrote letters and organized countless events; while the other side had their supporters, but far fewer than Leonard. Today it has been made clear that on the level of public will the voice's of repression are more equal than the voices of justice. One Nation under corporate rule, for the corporations, by the corporations, with liberty and justice for the corporations solely. This is the real manifesto of America today; still it ain't no time to surrender.

Many people have worked hard for justice for Leonard. Some now ask what more can be done? Was this not Leonard's last chance for freedom? Is there any point in continuing to march for a cause that seems hopeless? To this I answer in the strongest voice that I have; Leonard Peltier is being held in the Iron House by the hands of people, at any point those hands can set him free. There is only hopelessness in the acts of doing nothing. As long as the struggle continues there will always be hope; it ain't no time to surrender.

We have fought legal battles in the courts, moral battles in parole hearings and in the campaign for clemency. Now is the time to fight this battle out in the public and build the will of the people to free Leonard even stronger. Where the corporation's meet we need to let them know that the name Leonard Peltier will never go away. Where the government's political police force, the FBI, plans their campaigns against dissent, we should be on the outside with our banners proclaiming JUSTICE FOR LEONARD PELTIER. Where ever the politicians go out into the public, we should be there reminding them that they hold the keys to Leonard's prison door. The actions of the FBI and their political bosses clearly show that they fear Leonard and the movement to free him. For they know that with every person who stands with Leonard another person has come out from beneath the veil governmental deception. The answer to freedom for Leonard Peltier is that the people must cost the deceiver! s more than they are willing to pay; it ain't no time to surrender.

I know that people are tired, depressed and more than a little angry, this struggle has been damn hard. But we must remember that what we do is called a struggle because it ain't easy to right the wrongs in this society. I am not just saying this because it sounds profound. I have worked continuously for 22 years for justice for Leonard. My children have grown-up marching for Leonard and now my grandchildren are starting to do the same. Time does not make this struggle any easier. Time does not make the frustrations of having so-many doors slammed in you face less painful.

Though a great wave of depression, anger and rage has swept over me this morning, still I know in my heart; it ain't no time to surrender!

Arthur J. Miller



President Clinton has pardoned 100 people, including his brother on drug charges, ex-HUD Sec. Henry Cisneros, and Susan MacDougal. The list did not include Leonard Peltier.

1977: Leonard Peltier's Sentencing Statement

THE COURT: Mr. Peltier, do you desire to make a statement in your own behalf or present any information to the Court which the Court might consider in mitigation of punishment in your case?

Judge Benson, there is no doubt in my mind or my people's you are going to sentence me to two consecutive life terms. You are and have always been prejudiced against me and any native Americans who have stood before you. You have openly favored the Government all through this trial, and you are happy to do whatever the FBI would want you to do in this case.

I did not always believe this to be so. When I first {3} saw you in the courtroom in Sioux Falls, your dignified appearance misled me into thinking that you were a fair minded person who knew something of the law and who would act in accordance with the law which meant that you would be impartial and not favor one side or the other in this lawsuit.

That has not been the case, and I now firmly believe you will impose consecutive life terms solely because that's what you think will waive the displeasures of the FBI.

Yet my people nor myself do not know why you would be so concerned about an organization that has brought so much shame to the American people, but you are. Your conduct during this trial leaves no doubt, that you will do the bidding of the FBI without any hesitation. You are about to perform an act which will close one more chapter in the history of the failure of the United States Courts and the failure of the people of the United States to do justice in the case of a native American. After centuries of murder, of murder of millions of my people, brothers and sisters, by the white race of America could I have been wise in thinking that you would break that tradition and, commit an act of Justice?

Obviously not, because I should have realized that what I detected was only a very thin layer of dignity and surely of not fine character. {4} If you think my accusations have been harsh and, unfounded, I will explain why I have reached this conclusion and why I think my criticism has not been harsh enough.

First, each time my defense team tried to expose FBI misconduct in their investigation of this lawsuit and tried to prevent evidence of this, you claimed it was irrelevant to this trial, but the prosecution was allowed to present their case with evidence that was in no way relevant to this lawsuit.

For an example, an automobile blown up on a freeway in Wichita, Kansas; an attempted murder in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which I have not been found guilty or innocent of; a van loaded with legally sold firearms; and a policeman who claimed someone fired at him in Oregon state.

The Supreme Court of the United States tried to prevent convictions of this sort by passing into law that only past convictions may be presented as evidence if it is not prejudicial to the lawsuit and only evidence of the said case may be used.

This Court was very wrong. I have no prior convictions nor am I even charged with some of these alleged, crimes. Therefore, they cannot be used as evidence in order to receive a conviction in this farce called a trial. This is why I strongly believe you will impose two {5} life terms running consecutive on me.

Second, you could not make a reasonable decision about my sentence because you suffer from at least one of three defects that prevent a rational conclusion. You plainly demonstrated this in your decision about the Jimmy Eagle, and Myrtle Poorbear aspects of this case.

In Jimmy's case, for some unfounded reason that only a Judge who constantly and openly ignores the law, would call it irrelevant to my trial. In the mental torture of Myrtle Poorbear you said the testimony would shock the conscience of the jury and the American people if believed, but you decided what was to be believed and what was not to be believed, not the jury.

Your conduct shocks the conscience of what the American legal system stands for -- the search for the truth by a jury of citizens. What was it that made you afraid to let that testimony in -- your own guilt of being part of a corrupted pre-planned trial to get a conviction, no matter how your reputation would be tarnished? For these reasons I strongly believe you will do the the bidding of the FBI and give me two consecutive life terms.

Third, in my opinion anyone who failed to see the relationship between the undisputed facts of these events surrounding the investigation used by the FBI in their {6} interr ogation of the Navajo youths -- Wilfred Draper who was tied to a chair for three hours and denied access to his attorney or the outright threats to Norman Brown's life, the bodily harm threatened to Mike Anderson, and finally the murder of Anna Mae Aquash -- must be blind, stupid or without human feeling, so there is no doubt or little chance that you have the ability to avoid doing today what the FBI wants you to do which is to sentence me to two life terms running consecutively.

Fourth, you do not have the ability to see that the conviction of an AIM activist helps to cover up what the Government's own evidence showed, that large numbers of Indian people engaged in that fire fight on June 26th, 1975. You do not have the ability to see that the Government must suppress the fact that there is a growing anger amongst Indian people and that native Americans will resist any further encroachment by the military forces of the capitalist Americans which is evidenced by the large number of Pine Ridge residents who took up arms on June 26th, 1975, to defend themselves. Therefore, you do not have the ability to carry out your responsibilities towards me in an impartial way and will run my two life terms consecutively.

Fifth, I stand before you as a proud man. I feel no guilt. I have done nothing to feel guilty about. I have {7} no regrets of being a native American activist. Thousands of people in the United states, Canada and around the world, have and will continue to support me to expose the injustice that occurred in this courtroom.

I do feel pity for your people that they must live under such a ugly system. Under your system you are taught greed, racism and corruption, and the most serious of all, the destruction of our mother earth. Under the native American system we are taught all people are brothers and sisters, to share the wealth with the poor and needy; but the most important of all is to respect and preserve the earth, to me considered to be our mother. We feed from her breast. Our mother gives us life at birth; and when it is time to leave this world, she again takes us back into her womb; but the main thing we are taught is to preserve her for our children and grandchildren because they are next who will live upon her.

No, I am not the guilty one here and should be called a criminal. The white race of America is the criminal for the destruction of our lands and my people. To hide your guilt from the decent human beings in America and around the world, you will sentence me to two consecutive life terms without any hesitation.

Sixth, there are less than four hundred Federal Judge for a population of over two hundred million Americans. {8} Therefore, you have a very powerful and important responsibility which should be carried out impartially, but you never have been impartial where I was concerned. You have the responsibility of protecting constitutional rights and laws; but where I was concerned you neglected to even consider my or native American's constitutional rights; but the most important of all you have neglected our human rights. If you were impartial, you would have had an open mind on all the factual disputes in this case; but you were unwilling to allow for even the slightest possibility that a law enforcement officer could lie on the stand. Then how could you possibly be impartial enough to let my lawyers prove how important it is to the FBI to convict a native American activist in this case?

You do not have the ability to see that such a conviction is an important part of the efforts to discredit those who are trying to alert their brothers and sisters to a new trick from the white man, an attempt to destroy what little Indian land remains in the process of extracting our uranium, oil and other minerals. Again, to cover up your part in this, you will call me a heartless, cold-blooded murderer who deserves two life sentences consecutively.

Seven, I cannot expect a Judge who has openly tolerated the conditions I have been jailed under to make an {9} impartial decision on whether I should be sentenced to concurrent or consecutive life terms. You have been made aware of the following conditions which I had to endure at the Grand Forks county jail since the time of the verdict.

One, I was denied access to a phone to call my attorneys concerning my appeal. Two, I was locked in solitary confinement without shower facilities, soap, towels, sheets or pillow. Three, the food was uneatable, what little there was. Four, my family, brothers, sisters, mother and father who traveled long distance from the reservation were denied visitations.

No human being should be subject to such treatment while you parade around and pretend to be a decent, impartial and law-abiding. You knowingly allowed your fascist Chief Deputy Marshal to play storm trooper. Again, the only conclusion that comes to my mind is you have, and always knew, you would sentence me to two consecutive life terms.

Finally, I honestly believe that you made up your mind long ago that I was guilty and that you were going to sentence me to the maximum sentence permitted under the law, but this does not surprise me because you are a high-ranking member of the white racist American {10} establishment which has consistently said "In God we trust" while they went about the business of murdering my people and attempting to destroy our culture. The only thing I am guilty of and which I was convicted for was of being Chippewa and Sioux blood and for believing our sacred religion.

List info at: http://nativenewsonline.org/



What Next?

Written by Storm Reyes
Staff Native News Online

In my home, on the telephone and across the web today, I keep hearing, 'what do we do next for Leonard's freedom?' I sure don't have any kind of answer to that, so I answered a different question for myself. What can I do next for Leonard?

Frankly, I don't care if he is guilty or innocent. It was war. I'm 51 (in 3 weeks) and I remember those times, and it was war. I knew Leonard before he was 'the' Leonard Peltier. I didn't know him well, nor for a long period of time, but I knew the young, committed dog solider. When he first went to prison, we corresponded for some time..and then my life went on and his did not, and the letters and cards I sent were fewer, sent at longer intervals. That is my personal shame.

I don't care about Leonard as the hero, as the symbol. I care about Leonard as the man, as the brother, as the dog solider whose life ended that day just as surely as the agents. He is a casualty of war, a prisoner of war and that's the simplest truth of all. He's watched the world go by and watched himself become a martyr, something he certainly never planned on. He sits alone in a prison cell that has been home for so long that the memory of standing in the green grass, feeling the breeze on his face must be fading from his mind.

"What next" for me is letting him know that Leonard, the man, is not forgotten. Once again I will write him letters, cards, send what little comforts he can have inside. And this time, I won't shame myself. I don't know the 'why' of him being there, the action to take to get him out. All I know is my brother is locked inside a cage while I am standing in the green grass feeling the breeze on my face.

Leonard Peltier
PO Box 1000
Leavenworth, KS 66048


For Peltier supporters, Clinton's last day a 'day of shame'

By Kevin Bates
Sunday, January 21, 2001

Supporters of Leonard Peltier, a former American Indian Movement member convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975, were "shocked and saddened" Saturday that clemency was denied by President Clinton.

Clinton, in one of his final executive acts, denied commuting Peltier's prison term � two life sentences for the execution-style murders of two FBI agents during a siege at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Peltier, 56, has spent the last 25 years in federal prison. Advocates for Peltier's release from the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth claim the U.S. government falsified evidence leading to Peltier's arrest and coerced false testimony or hid exonerating evidence to obtain his conviction.

In a statement on its Web site, the Lawrence-based Leonard Peltier Defense Committee said it was "both shocked and saddened by President Clinton's decision. The history of our government's dealings with the first citizens of this country have been tragic at best, and oftentimes shameful. Today will be remembered as but another day of U.S. government shame and betrayal of Native people."

However, Gary Hawke of Lawrence, a friend of slain FBI agent Jack Coler, said the decision was a just one.

"I don't relish anybody being in jail for life, but if anybody deserves it, Leonard Peltier does. These were executions. I think a lot of his (Coler's) wife and children and how they suffer."

Copyright � 2001, the Lawrence Journal-World.



Some decry no pardon for Peltier

Staff and wire reports
published: 1/21/01

President Clinton on Saturday decided against issuing a pardon for American Indian activist Leonard Peltier.

The action came less than two hours before Clinton was to turn over the White House to George W. Bush.

Peltier, who is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, was convicted by a Fargo jury in 1977 of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Lynn Crooks, who prosecuted the case, said Saturday he was pleased with Clinton's decision.

"I really was not expecting a pardon, simply on the facts of the case," said Crooks, who is the interim U.S. attorney in Fargo.

Peltier's supporters claim evidence against him was falsified.

At least one Indian leader in South Dakota was disappointed with Clinton's decision.

Madonna Archambeau, chairwoman of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said uncertainty lingers about the involvement of Peltier in the slayings.

"I think he should have been given the pardon," she said. "I think anyone should be given a chance after more than 20 years in prison."

Peltier is serving two consecutive life sentences in a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., for the June 26, 1975, shooting deaths of FBI agents Ron Williams and Jack Coler on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The agents, who were searching for robbery suspects on the reservation, were shot in the head at point-blank range after they were injured. Their bodies were left on a dirt road.

Peltier was charged with taking part in the slayings, but whether he fired the fatal shots was never proved. After fleeing to Canada and being extradited to the United States, he was convicted and sentenced in 1977.

Clinton pardoned 140 Americans, including Clinton's former Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal and former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros.

South Dakota Attorney General Mark Barnett said he wasn't familiar enough with the Peltier case to comment on the merits of the conviction. But Barnett said it would have been a mistake for Clinton to base his decision on perceived public opinion.

"My feeling is that these things should be decided in a court of law," he said.

All content Copyright � 2000 Argus Leader.



Peltier's supporters `very hurt' by Clinton's decision not to pardon FBI vocally opposed any kind of amnesty

January 21, 2001
Amy Mayron, Staff Writer

Leonard Peltier's supporters were recovering Saturday from the emotional blow they felt when former President Clinton did not pardon the man who has been in prison for nearly 25 years for the shooting deaths of two FBI agents.



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PO Box 583, Lawrence, KS 66044
785-842-5774, www.freepeltier.org