Leonard Peltier is an Anishinabe/Lakota who was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, and who today is incarcerated in the federal penitentiary of Leavenworth, Kansas, although there is NO PROOF AT ALL that he is guilty of any crime or offense whatsoever.
A page, where we hope, to show honor to our Brother. Please feel free to contact Leonard and let him know that there are those of us who are thinking and praying for him. Contact Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LP-DOC, P.O. Box 7488, Fargo, North Dakota 58106) and see what you can do to help.......
On August 15, 2005 I was transferred to USP Lewisburg in Pennsylvania. Life has been extra difficult for me since I was transferred from Leavenworth. This system is designed to make one feel very powerless, and what they are doing with me now is definitely aimed to erode my body and spirit even more. My loved ones, and all of you, my friends and allies who continue to support me, keep me sane and hopeful.
They say that it is in times of crisis that one can really see who your real allies are. Those of you who have contacted the Terre Haute Prison and the Bureau of Prisons on my behalf, keep me in your prayers, and are supporting my Defense Committee, have made an enormous difference in my situation. I humbly thank each and every one of you, and firmly believe that your actions most certainly saved my life and prevented me from living in an institution that is well known for its extremely high crime and violence. Also, health problems continue to plague me and the conditions I was subjected to exacerbated them. I know deep within my heart, that if there had not been such an outpouring of support, concern and overall outcry regarding my arbitrary detention, I would have probably stayed in solitary confinement for an indefinite length of time, or worse I would not have survived in the general prisoner population. Although I have been forced to endure many hardships, I will never surrender, even if all that is left of me is my spirit. Your love and support inspire me to overcome everything.
I hope that here at Lewisburg I will be able to resume living in the general population, practicing the traditional ways and continuing with my artwork. My defense team is preparing to go through some major milestones. They need your support more than ever to re-establish our office and prepare for upcoming reviews and legal battles. Since Russ Redner, Paula Ostrovsky, and Toni Zeidan do not want to accept any salaries or remuneration of any kind, all of your donations will go directly to the office transfer and upcoming campaign.
I again want to express my sincere appreciation and tell you once more that without you I am not sure I could have survived this last month. Every day I think about and pray for a time when I will be among you, shoulder to shoulder, fighting for justice for my people and our Mother Earth.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
NOTE FROM THE LPDC:
Please contact USP Lewisburg to make sure Leonard regains all his hard earned prisoner rights, especially his religious rights, visitations, regular phone calls and ability to paint. Be polite and courteous, but let them know that a lot of us all over the world are concerned about Leonard’s wellbeing.
~Below is an article discussing the sentencing of Arlo Looking Cloud, the man convicted of Anna Mae's death. Has her killer come to justice, or is this just another situation of "someone has to pay"?) Read Dennis Banks' statement in the article following this one.~SH
~*~*~Their Myth of Freedom and Justice for All~*~*~
As Americans celebrate their myth of freedom and justice for all, Leonard Peltier is moved without warning or notification to Terre Haute, Indiana, USP and is held in solitary confinement at least through the long holiday weekend.
At a time when this country seeks understanding for its obvious wrongs around the planet and cannot understand why the global village mistrusts it, the U.S. government is mistreating and using extraordinary domestic rendition upon the most beloved contemporary Native American warrior. Leonard Peltier, whom - again in defiance of the global opinion - this country refuses to acknowledge as a political prisoner, today sits in a tiny cell without windows and human contact as the American people prepare to celebrate their myth of justice and freedom for all.
After twenty nine years in prison for a crime he didn't commit he was moved without rhyme or reason, and without notification to his family and attorney, from Leavenworth USP to Terre Haute Indiana USP. He was immediately placed in solitary confinement, "the hole". Leonard is sixty years old, he suffers from arthritis, bone spurs, all the discomforts associated with diabetes, and recently had a stroke.
The Bureau of Prisons may argue that placing a transferred prisoner in solitary confinement is a routine procedure until all the appropriate paperwork is processed, but the timing of this action adds to its cruelty since it was carried out right before the long weekend preceding this 4th of July. In addition, this development comes at a time when Peltier?s legal team is successfully arguing very important motions and the US Courts might be obligated to release him. It is no too far fetched to imagine that to prevent his release, he is subjected to this psychological and physical torture in hope that it will break his body and spirit, and literally kill him.
As seen in the world stage today, the U.S. concepts of freedom fighters, terrorists, illegal combatants, murders, and battle casualties, are relative at their best, and duplicitous, deceptive, and capricious in their application. The same government that manipulated Canadian sovereignty and false affidavits to obtain the extradition of Leonard Peltier, our freedom fighter, today protects Jose Posada Carriles, a real terrorist, and denies his extradition to Venezuela where he was involved in the bombing of a Cuban airliner resulting in the murder of all its passengers. On the other hand, the ?crime scene? in which they have framed Peltier is a battle in which armed and trained US government combatants, illegally entered non-US territory, and attacked a group of armed civilians defending their land and families, and they, as well as one of those civilians (Joe Stuntz), became casualties of war. Why must then Peltier pay with his life?
Does the FBI feel any remorse for any of its victims: Joe Stuntz, Buddy Lamont, or Frank Clearwater? How about Pedro Bissonette or the Jimmy Little Incident? Both murdered by US backed forces, using deadly force, and bludgeoning Jimmy Little in front of his family. His son Jimmy, Jr. witnessed this terrible act and when he reached 21 committed suicide--a note revealed that he missed his Dad and saw no reason to live. Jimmy, Jr was an Olympic cross-country talent when he was at Loneman School as a 7th grader. He was the next Billy Mills but the trauma of the US invasion and its violence killed him before he had a chance to mature, he really was dead before he lived.
Who pays for our dead? Or are our lives still as worthless to the American people as when they would pay money for our skins red with our blood (hence the term redskins so celebrated by this culture). Our wounds are deep, and the torment that created them is unforgettable. We know we cannot go back in time, but what can be done today is to put an end to the assault on indigenous people, that has been taking place without reprieve since the beginning of this country. Enough is enough America! Basta ya! Honor our treaties, stop taking and destroying our land and resources, respect our sovereignty and our culture, rectify the language of your history, and free our warriors! Free Peltier!
Send letters to Congress people Senators and politely demand Leonards Freedom. Local media coverage is another way to educate people about this political injustice towards Leonard Peltier contact the LPDC chapters for assistance.
We are asking anyone and everyone to get on the phones and get out their pens and paper. Let's flood the telephones with calls regarding Leonard! Let's stuff their mailboxes with letters about Leonard! Urge the prison to allow Leonard to contact his family as soon as possible. Ask how he is, ask where to write, ask if he's OK, ask about his health, his privileges (phones, letters, visits, religious
rights, ability to paint, etc.) inquire as to his safety-anything-just keep calling and let the prison know that the entire world is watching and is concerned about Leonard.
Please be sure to be courteous and professional, as LPDC does not wish to complicate Leonard's situation.
The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Peltier Legal Team and Leonard's
family are working hard to ensure Leonard's safety and they will keep you informed as
The Patriot Act legalizes COINTELPRO type tactics and violates the civil rights of all Americans in the name of Homeland Security. It has not been proven to make 'our homeland' more secure. Many cities and counties across the nation have called for its repeal either in part or in whole.
301 Civil Liberties Safe Zones! Four states and 297 cities and counties have passed resolutions to protect their 51,035,028 residents' civil liberties. Hundreds more resolutions critical of the Patriot Act are in
Three members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are members of the Judiciary. In the House of Representatives are William Delahunt and Marty Meehan. In the Senate, Ted Kennedy.
***All MA supporters, please write Senator Kennedy.
***If Rep. Delahunt or Meehan is your Rep. please also write them.
For info on the 7 Letters for Leonard campaign, including sample
[LP Forum News] LPDC Legal Update as of April 30, 2004
HISTORY OF THE GOVERNMENT'S WITHHOLDING EXCULPATORY DOCUMENTS:
This is part of a long battle to acquire documents the government has
been withholding; the United States government has engaged in a long
history of withholding crucial documents concerning key aspects of
Leonard's case. At Leonard's 1976 trial, the FBI produced approximately 3,500 documents and indicated that these were all the documents that existed.
History proves this to be absolutely false.
After Leonard was convicted, Peltier's legal team acquired, through the Freedom of Information Act requests, 12,000 documents that the FBI had previously withheld. These documents unequivocally demonstrated that the FBI withheld crucial exculpatory evidence which was not presented at trial and that the FBI presented perjurious testimony to wrongfully and unfairly obtain Leonard's conviction. The FBI, under the guise of
stating that that was the extent of the documents in the Peltier file.
Since that time, the legal defense team has discovered that the
government is still withholding approximately 140,000 documents
concerning Leonard's case.
We are pursuing this as follows:
Other issues which have arisen involve missing files throughout the
country and we find the missing New York [file to be particularly
Michael Kuzma has been leading the charge to acquire the over 140,000 pages of FBI documents contained in field offices throughout the United States.
We, the legal team filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York on 12/02/03. As a result of this FOIA lawsuit, the FBI reviewed 812 pages from the Buffalo field office and released 797 pages in full or part on 3/16/04. The FBI is invoking national security and law enforcement exemptions for withholding documents. As a result of a suit in Minneapolis, the Chicago file of approximately 2,500 docs has been released in full or in part based on the exemptions. Processing has begun on the Minneapolis file and we have learned that the Minneapolis file actually has 90,000 pages. We had initially believed that only 45,000 were in the main file, but we have now learned that an additional 45,000 are in a sub-file. Also, we have learned that there are a total of 140,000 files in field offices around the country, whereas, previously, the FBI had told the team that there were 60-100,000.
We are pressing hard to have the government immediately release all files.
We found the New York City file to be particularly mysterious.
A request was submitted to the New York City office and we were advised that Leonard's files "was presently unavailable" and placed on "special locate." This was reiterated again in the summer of 2003. In December of 2003, we filed an appeal and on February 27, 2004, OIP advised us that the FBI was making every effort. People should contact their representatives in the Senate and the House to find out what happened to the missing files and to inquire as to why the files haven't been produced.
Peltier v. Demain
Leonard has sued Demain for libelous statements implicating Leonard in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. Leonard has also sued Demain for making half truths which are in effect falsehoods because the statements ignore key facts which put the statements in context. Leonard continues to pursue the suit and Demain's deposition will be taken in the near future.
THE APPEAL OF THE DENIAL OF LEONARD'S 1999 HABEAS PETITION CHALLENGING DENIAL OF PAROLE:
The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the Parole Commission's refusal to reconsider Leonard for parole until December 2008. In doing so the Court acknowledged: "Much of the government behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in the prosecution of Mr. Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It coerced witnesses. These facts are undisputed."
Nevertheless, the court said it lacked power to address the issues.
So this raises the issue as to who corrects government misconduct.
In any event, we filed a petition for certiorari (a request to have the Supreme Court hear the case) and it was denied, "without comment" in mid April, 2004. We have also petitioned Congress to request that it conduct hearings into the government misconduct at Pine Ridge and in the prosecution of Mr. Peltier.
CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE:
Bernard Kleinman continues to pursue the Civil Rights action. The government is acting particularly egregiously in attempting to avoid service of process. In spite of the adoption of rules of federal civil procedure, which seek to make it easy for parties to be served without the incurring of unnecessary expenses, the government refused to follow its own rules and has attempted to make it difficult for us, Leonard's legal team, to achieve service of process. Despite the roadblocks set up by the government, service of process is underway. We hope to have all parties served within the next two weeks so that the government will be forced to address the allegations, which involve outrageous and extreme behavior by current and former FBI agents. As expected, the FBI has moved to dismiss. We expect to strenuously oppose this and defeat it. The next phase of the lawsuit will involve discovery which will be costly as it involves document acquisition, paralegal assistance, and taking depositions from FBI agents under oath.
CHALLENGE UNDER THE SENTENCING REFORM ACT:
Carl Nadler and Barry Bachrach are presently representing Leonard in an action which is extremely important to his freedom. The action claims the unconstitutional application of the Sentencing Reform Act by the United States Parole Commission ("Commission"). Once Congress mandate release of those in Leonard's position within a specific date within guidelines, Congress' subsequent repeal of that statute, thereby increasing the sentences of those in Leonard's position constitutes a violation of Leonard's Constitutional rights and means he has been unconstitutionally incarcerated since November of 1992. We need to rally around this issue and insure that the courts finally give Leonard the justice he is due.
Finally the legal team has many other avenues it is pursuing to seek Leonard's long overdue freedom. Because of the importance in keeping these tactics confidential, the information presented in this update is all that can be revealed now. However, it is the legal team's firm opinion that there are still many avenues of relief, which should ultimately open the prison doors for Leonard. More than ever, the legal team and Leonard need your support to keep these avenues alive. The legal team will keep you informed as to how you all can help. In particular, you will be informed as soon as it is known who the new Congressional Government Reform Committee Chair is. Your help is so important in attaining Leonard's ultimate freedom from the unjust imprisonment he has faced all these years.
After 28 years, the courts still won't correct the wrongs of the past. On April 19 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' denial of Leonard Peltier's request to be considered for parole, despite the Circuit Court's recognition that the government indisputably engaged in misconduct in the prosecution of Peltier.
Peltier, a Native American Indian activist and a recent candidate for
the Nobel Peace prize, is serving two life terms for the 1975 shooting deaths of two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. His appeals have been exhausted.
Barry Bachrach, lead attorney for Peltier, told the Circuit Court that the Parole Commission strayed from its own guidelines when it repeatedly refused to consider setting a parole date until 2008. Had it followed such guidelines, Peltier would have been released more than 10 years ago.
In November 2003, the Circuit Court acknowledged "Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge reservation and in its prosecution of Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses.
These facts are not disputed." Yet the court claimed it lacked power to address the issue.
Bachrach and other members of Peltier's legal team recently submitted a formal request to the U.S. Congress for an investigation into the Justice Department's actions against Peltier and the American Indian Movement (AIM) during the 1970s. Such an inquiry, Bachrach said, "is long overdue."
Peltier supporters have asked the House Judiciary Committee to include the case of Peltier in their investigation of FBI misconduct following the House Government Reform Committee report on the "Deegan case," in which the FBI cultivated a hit man as a star informant and government witness, and watched silently as he falsely accused four men of the murder.
Internal FBI documents show agents and their supervisors knew the identities of the real killers in the Deegan case, but that federal officials took "affirmative steps" to make sure that the four innocent men convicted in the case would not obtain post-conviction relief and would die in prison. Two of them did.
The most damaging evidence at Peltier's trial was the testimony of an
FBI ballistics expert, who claimed that a firing pin test of an AR-15 rifle, believed to be owned by Peltier, matched shell casings found near the slain agents. However, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) obtained FBI documents stating that the test proved inconclusive. Even prosecutor Lynn Crooks, during oral arguments for a new trial, said, "We can't prove who shot those agents."
In an earlier appeal, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that, had evidence not been withheld from the defense at the original trial, the jury "possibly" could have come to a different conclusion. However, according to the Bagley standard (U.S. v. Bagley), the defense needs to prove that the jury "probably" could have come to a different conclusion.
Another approach of Peltier's legal team is getting the release of FBI documents to prove Peltier's innocence. The FBI has recently turned over 797 pages from its Buffalo field office concerning Peltier. The FBI also admitted to the defense team that 140,000 pages related to the case are in field offices, far more than previously admitted. At the Peltier trial in 1977, the U.S. government said only 3,500 pages existed.
In June of 2002, about 30,000 pages of FBI documents were released to
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who said he was "only doing his job" by
responding to constituent requests for the release of the documents. The LPDC has learned that up to an additional 100,000 pages of files are still being withheld, and is urging people to contact members of the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security to demand public hearings for the release of the remaining documents.
It is also asking people to contact members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee to finish the work the Church Committee began nearly 30 years ago to uncover the COINTELPRO tactics employed against the American Indian Movement and Leonard Peltier. Members of the congressional committees can be found and contacted by logging on to www.congress.organd clicking on "U.S. Congress."
The LPDC is planning a march during the Democratic National Convention to raise the issue of executive clemency for Peltier.
Below is a response from Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to me. Below that letter is a letter to Sen Feingold oncongress.org.
A link is provided at the beginning of that letter to send a message to Sen. Feingold.
Please keep in mind that Sen Feingold is the only Senator who voted against the Patriot Act, so lets not be harsh to him.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier.
I appreciate hearing from you.
Mr. Peltier is currently serving two life sentances for the 1975 murders of two FBI agents during a siege at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
A motion to reduce Mr. Peltier's sentence was denied by the U.S.District Court for the Eight Circuit.
The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee received 30,000 pages of FBI documents this summer relating to the Peltier case, which were obtained by Congressman Barney Frank, and I am aware that Mr. Peltier's attorney has filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests which are now pending at a number of FBI Field Offices for additional case related information.
Thanks again for contacting me. Should the Judiciary Committee, on which I serve, consider this matter, I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Louis Freeh, the director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001, testified before the 9/11 Commission, saying his agency's ability to prevent 9/11 was frustrated by Congress, which did not provide sufficient money and resources.
Now the federal government has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by two leaders of the environmental group Earth First who were arrested and branded eco-terrorists by the FBI after they were injured when a bomb exploded in their car in Oakland 14 years ago.
How much did it cost, I wonder, to target the American Indian Movement (AIM) leadership & the Black Panthers in the 70's?
The Bureau's documented intent was to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the these organizations.
After the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee, the FBI caused 542 separate charges to be filed against those it identified as "key AIM
leaders". This resulted in only 15 convictions, all on such petty or contrived offenses.
How much did it cost the FBI then?
The three years following Wounded Knee are often referred to as the Pine Ridge "Reign of Terror" because over 60 traditionalists were murdered between 1973-6. The FBI turned a blind eye to these events. On the contrary the FBI supplied vigilantis with weaponry against AIM.
How much did that affect the FBI budget?
The FBI found enough time and money to take a full page ad in all the major US papers in December, 2000 to print their version about Leonard Peltier's role in the murder of the two FBI agents. The ad's didn't mention that a proscecutor stated that the government didn't know who shot those agents.
How much money is the FBI spending blocking the release of the FOIA documents on the Reign of Terror and Leonard Peltier?
The House Committee on Government Reform (HCGR) detailed misconduct by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their
supervisors (right up to former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover), in the 1965 murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan. This is a case in which the FBI cultivated a Mafia hit man as a star informant and then government witness, and watched silently as he falsely accused four men of the murder.
Internal FBI documents show that FBI agents and their supervisors knew the identities of the real killers all along. Federal officials also took "affirmative steps" to make sure that the four innocent men convicted in the Deegan case "would not obtain post-conviction relief and that they would die in prison."
Two of the men did die in prison.
There have been "no adverse consequences" for the law enforcement officials who permitted these atrocities to occur.
Now the House Judiciary Committee is taking steps to investigate such misconduct. This committee must include misconduct of the 1970's reservation murders in South Dakota and the case of Leonard Peltier.
Leonard Peltier's defense attorney Barry Bachrach has recently called on Congress to continue the work of the Church Committee to investigate FBI misconduct, which was held in abeyance in 1975.
My concern is that all congress persons can't just wait for this action to come to the House and Senate floor. It won't just fall from the ceiling.
This issue needs to be addressed and it takes a few congresspersons to bring the inititive to put it on the floors for debate.
The Appellate courts say they don't have the authority to keep the Parole Commission within their boundaries in its decision to deny Leonard Peltier parole.
The Supreme Court throws the appeal to that decision in the waste basket.
So it is up to Congress to see that the laws of the land are abided by. There answer is not by funding the FBI, but by overseeing the FBI & the obsequious courts. Thats where the Senate & House Judiciary Committee's come in.
Yes, the case of Leonard Peltier & the resmurs of the 70's must be included in the investigation & the Church Committee must come back to fruition.
Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 04:49 GMT 05:49 UK
Native American prisoner to fight on
by Chris Summers
BBC News Online
Native American activist Leonard Peltier has spent 28 years in prison for a crime he says he did not commit - the cold-blooded murder of two FBI agents on an Indian reservation in the summer of 1975. On Friday, as another activist was jailed for life for a murder on the same reservation, BBC News Online spoke to Peltier's lawyer Barry Bachrach.
A ticker on the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee website counts the days, hours, minutes and seconds that he has served in prison.
It currently stands at 10,305 days.
Peltier was convicted of the murder, on 26 June 1975, of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams.
The pair had been involved in a firefight with members of the American
Indian Movement (Aim) on a property, known as the Jumping Bull site, on
the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
Both were finished off, at close range, by their killers.
Peltier has always admitted he was on the Jumping Bull site on that day but he claims he escaped, along with other Aim activists, before the agents were killed.
'He knows who did it'
His lawyer, Barry Bachrach, told BBC News Online: "He knows, through rumours, who did it but he will not reveal it."
Mr Bachrach is currently preparing an appeal, challenging the Parole Commission's right to set Peltier's parole date, bearing in mind its record of "arbitrary and capricious" decisions.
On Friday a former AIM activist, Arlo Looking Cloud, was jailed for life for the murder of a colleague, Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, whose body was found on the Pine Ridge reservation in February 1976. The trial heard she was killed because she was suspected of being an FBI informant.
Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala Sioux tribe, whose famous ancestor was
the warrior Crazy Horse.
Mr Bachrach said: "Arlo's trial was a farce. It was a set-up. This was
not a trial about Arlo Looking Cloud. They couldn't care less about
Arlo. It was about putting to rest the AIM and getting some more shots
in at Leonard. They want to make sure he never gets out."
He said: "What is important to bear in mind is that this (Pine Ridge) was a war zone. At the time - between 1973 and 1976 - it was known as the "reign of terror".
"During this time Dick Wilson (the former tribal chief, now deceased)
hired a group known as the Guardians Of the Oglala Nation (Goon), and
they were terrorising people.
"Wilson was leasing and hiring land, rich with uranium deposits, to energy companies.
"The US Government and the FBI were supporting Dick Wilson and his Goons, who committed more than 60 murders which were uninvestigated."
Mr Bachrach said: "The only one of these 60 murders which anybody has
bothered to reinvestigate was Anna Mae's."
Arlo Looking Cloud's trial heard evidence from Darlene "Kamook" Nichols, the former wife of one-time Aim leader Dennis Banks.
She claimed Anna Mae was challenged about being an FBI informant at a convention in New Mexico in June 1975.
Ms Nichols testified that Peltier threatened Anna Mae with a gun and added: "She told him that if he believed that he should go ahead and shoot her."
Mr Bachrach said he visited Peltier last week at Leavenworth penitentiary in Kansas: "I asked Leonard about what Kamook said. He said he was asked to inquire of Anna Mae if she was working for the FBI and he took her into a teepee in Farmington, New Mexico to talk to her. But it's false to say he struck a gun in her mouth."
Ms Nichols also told the trial that Anna Mae had said Peltier later bragged about killing the two FBI agents.
Mr Bachrach said: "This case was nothing more than smearsay. They
coached Kamook and she admitted she had been paid $40,000 by the FBI.
"Her evidence should never have seen the light of day."
He said: "Leonard feels very betrayed by Kamook. It's very hurtful for
someone you think is a friend to lie about you."
He added: "Why would he brag about killing the agents if he suspected
she was an informant?"
Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala Sioux nation. Peltier is one of the best-known alleged miscarriages of justice victims in the United States.
In the past he has received messages of support from Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, British MP Tony Benn and numerous actors, including Robert Redford and Winona Ryder.
Mr Bachrach said: "We are not going to go away. This is an injustice and a government cover-up and we are just not going to go away until Leonard is released and even when he is released we will not go away."
He recently wrote to the US Congress asking them to widen an investigation into FBI misconduct in Boston, Massachusetts (involving mafia boss James "Whitey" Bulger) to include alleged misconduct among FBI agents in South Dakota in the 1970s.
copyright BBC 2004
[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.]
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Former U.S. District Judge Paul Benson, who presided over high-profile murder trials involving American Indian activist Leonard Peltier and suspects in the killing of two federal marshals, has died. He was 85.
Benson died Thursday in the Willow Pointe assisted living center in Verona, Wis., a suburb of Madison, according to his daughter, Polly. He had taken senior status, with a reduced caseload, in 1985. He retired in 1998.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who said he handled several cases before Benson as a private lawyer in Grand Forks, said the judge was both tough and compassionate.
"He had a reputation as somebody who was a hard worker, a strict man, but a very compassionate judge and a very good, thorough and always well-prepared judge," Stenehjem said.
U.S. Magistrate Karen Klein called Benson her first mentor.
"He was a very shy man. It would have been incompatible with his personality to talk about leaving a legacy," Klein said.
Benson handled two of North Dakota's most closely followed murder trials during more than a decade on the federal bench - the 1977 trial of Peltier in Fargo for the deaths of two FBI agents, and the 1983 trial of four people in a shootout near Medina, in central North Dakota, in which two federal marshals were killed.
In 1986, federal marshals were assigned to protect Benson and his family after the judge received a mail bomb. It was disarmed when a court security officer became suspicious.
"In his own way, he was a very kind, gentle individual, but he was very much to himself, and that's the way he saw judging," attorney Jim Hill of Bismarck, who was a law clerk for Benson in the 1970s, said.
"He would isolate himself and attempt to judge in the fairest manner possible," Hill said.
Klein said Benson delayed taking senior status for a few months so he could ensure the state had a full-time magistrate position.
"He looked like everybody's picture of a judge; he was tall, he had white hair," Klein said. "Lawyers, I think, generally were in awe of him.
"There were people who criticized him because they felt he was rigid," she said. He believed strongly, she said, about "remaining true to the law rather than bending his application of the law to fit his own personal views."
Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Amundson Funeral Home in Grand Forks.
Benson's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at United Lutheran Church in Grand Forks.
Benson, a nephew of the late U.S. Sen. Milton Young, R-N.D., was appointed to the federal bench by Richard Nixon in July 1971. He succeeded Ronald Davies in the judgeship, which was based in Fargo.
Benson was an aide to Young in the late 1940s in Washington, D.C., while he was attending law school at George Washington University. He served in the Navy after graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1942, leaving four years later as a lieutenant.
After getting his law degree, Benson worked briefly as a private attorney in Cavalier before joining a Grand Forks law firm in 1950.
He remained there until he was appointed to the federal bench, except for a seven-month stint in 1954 as North Dakota's attorney general. Benson completed the term of the incumbent, Elmo Christianson, who resigned after he was convicted of a federal charge of conspiring to bring illegal slot machines into North Dakota.
In 1977, Benson presided over the jury trial of Peltier, an American Indian Movement member who was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for killing two FBI agents on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Six years later, Benson handled another high-profile murder trial, involving the shooting deaths of two federal marshals during a February 1983 confrontation near Medina, in central North Dakota.
Two of the four defendants, Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul, were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Yorie Kahl's mother, Joan, was acquitted, and another man, David Broer, was convicted of conspiracy and harboring a fugitive.
Yorie Kahl's father, Gordon Kahl, whom the marshals had been trying to arrest, fled to Arkansas, where he died in another shootout four months afterward.
A history of the state's federal judges, "Patronage: Histories and Biographies of North Dakota's Federal Judges," written by former law clerk Ardell Tharaldson of Bismarck, says the heightened security around Benson continued for several years after he received the mail bomb in 1986.
Klein said the bomb threat did not drive Benson's decision to take senior status. But she said the security cost him and his family their privacy.
"I think the security detail ... and the sense of a threat hanging over him and over his wife all the time, really did take its toll on both of them," she said. "They had marshals with them at the grocery store, with them on vacation - everywhere."
Benson was born June 1, 1918, near Verona, in LaMoure County in southeastern North Dakota. He attended county schools, and graduated from UND in 1942. He married his wife, the former Laurel Johnson of Grand Forks, that year.
Hill and Klein said Laurel Benson died several years ago. The couple had five children.
This Article was published online on Saturday, April 24, 2004
"There is no crueler tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of law, and with the colors of justice..."
U.S. v Jannotti, 673 F.2d 578, 614 (3d Cir. 1982)
WRITE NOW TO JUDICIARY
In light of the yesterday's denial by the Supreme Court of Leonard Peltier's appeal of parole and the response by Peltier attorney Barry Bachrach, we ask that supporters of justice for Leonard Peltier write immediately to the chair and ranking members of the Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as your twosenators and representative.
Please inform them that:
- The Supreme Court decision in denying Leonard's appeal does not uphold justice according the to constitution and laws of this country as the decision was likely (since it came with no comment) based on information which has been proven erroneous.
- That in light of the facts, which are a matter of public record, some portion of which has been brought to their attention by the Peltier legal team last month in the position paper "Official Misconduct in Indian Country: The U.S. Department of Justice," (http://www.peltiersupport.org)
Peltier, a Nobel Peace Prize candidate, it is clear that he yet to receive equal rights and justice under the law.
- Request hearings into the misuse not only of informants, but agent provocateurs against the American Indian Movement (AIM); the Bureau's role in the "Reign of Terror" at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from 1973-1976; Official misconduct against AIM in general, and in the case against Leonard Peltier in particular.
On this day in 1973, the takeover at Wounded Knee ended. The events in 1973 led to the Pine Ridge "Reign of Terror" and the shoot out that occurred on June 26, 1975. To download a reprint of the original New York Times article announcing the end of the takeover (see "Historical Documents"): http://www.peltiersupport.org/Docs.html
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CAMPAIGN
In March, the Peltier legal team submitted a formal request to the U.S. Congress for hearings into official misconduct in Indian Country.
An ongoing activity related to the Judiciary Committee Campaign is the solicitation of letters of support from civic organizations and solidarity groups. Approximately 20 national and international groups have been contacted, to date. Much more work needs to be done.
You can help. Do you belong to an Amnesty International or American Civil Liberties Union chapter? A church? A local activists' organization? Ask your group to submit a letter of support for hearings by the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary into official misconduct by the Federal Bureau of Investigation against the American Indian Movement, in general, and Leonard Peltier, specifically.
The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr
Chairman - Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We the members of (INSERT ORGANIZATION NAME) fully support the actions of the Committee on the Judiciary with respect to your upcoming hearings on the misuse of informants by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Ideally, we recommend that the Committee investigate all instances of official misconduct on the part of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) the FBI, in particular. However, we understand that your time is limited.
Despite repeated calls for congressional hearings by the U.S. CivilRights Commission, Amnesty International and individual members of Congress, no congressional committee has yet had the courage to provide a forum by which to air the truth and bring closure to one of this nation's most turbulent eras. Under your leadership, the Committee has the opportunity and duty, as our concepts of justice and good government require, to set right the tragic errors of the past. It is our hope that you will give serious consideration to the proposal Made by the attorneys for Leonard Peltier to conduct a full investigation of misconduct by the DOJ in Indian Country, i.e., against the American Indian Movement and Leonard Peltier.
We ask that the Committee on the Judiciary act now in the interests of truth and justice for all Americans. It is time that misconduct within the DOJ be uncovered and the responsible parties held accountable.
We wish you success with this endeavor and are confident that your subsequent actions will prevent the reoccurrence of such misconduct.
We understand that your organization may not submit a letter of support. In that event, please encourage individuals in your membership to write seven letters of support for Leonard (instructions are available at (http://www.peltiersupport.org), and also sign a petition.
Harvey Arden's letter to Nobel Peace Prize Committee
Date: Thu, 20 May 2004 13:25:37 -0400
From the desk of Harvey Arden
Founder: ~dreamkeepers.net~ "Bringing the Elders to the World & the World to the Elders"
WISDOMKEEPERS: Meetings with Native American Spiritual Elders
DREAMKEEPERS: A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia
NOBLE RED MAN: Lakota Wisdomkeeper Mathew King
TRAVELS IN A STONE CANOE: The Return to the Wisdomkeepers
~HAVE YOU THOUGHT of LEONARD PELTIER LATELY?~
Editor: PRISON WRITINGS: MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE by Leonard Peltier
WHITE BUFFALO TEACHINGS by Chief Arvol Looking Horse
May 20, 2004
To: The Norwegian Nobel Committee
In support of the nomination of Native American Leonard Peltier for the
2004 Nobel Peace Prize, I enclose for the Committee's use copies of Mr. Peltier's recent book PRISON WRITINGS: MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE in five
languages: English, German, Dutch, French, and Spanish. Italian and
Turkish editions are also underway.
To sum up my own feelings about Leonard Peltier's worthiness to be the
2004 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, I can think of no better words
than this great humanitarian's own poem from page 48 of Prison Writings:
An Eagle's Cry
Listen to me!
I am the Indian voice.
Hear me crying out of the wind.
Hear me crying out of the silence.
I am the Indian voice.
Listen to me!
I speak for our ancestors.
They cry out to you from the unstill grave.
I speak for the children yet unborn.
They cry out to you from the unspoken silence.
I am the Indian voice.
Listen to me!
I am a chorus of millions.
Hear us! Our eagle cry will not be stilled!
We are your own conscience calling to you.
We are you yourself
crying unheard within you.
Let my unheard voice be heard.
Let me speak in my heart and the words be heard
whispering on the wind to millions,
to all who care,
to all with ears to hear
and hearts to beat as one
Put your ear to the earth
and hear my heart beating there.
Put your ear to the wind
and hear me speaking there.
We are the voice of the earth,
of the future,
of the Mystery.
Yes, may Leonard's unheard voice be heard and may the Norwegian
Nobel Committee broadcast the transcendent message of this great man of
peace to a world desperately in need of hearing it.
I also attach his “HUMANITARIAN PLATFORM & CREDO”
Many thanks for your consideration.
4101 Legation St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20015
Humanitarian Platform & Credo
"Our work will be unfinished until not a single human being is hungry,
not one woman is battered, not one child is abused, not one innocent
languishes in prison and no one is persecuted for his or her beliefs.”
"We need not courtrooms but schoolrooms, not jails and prisons but
decent homes and jobs for the millions of every color -- including many, many white people -- who are being denied their human and civil rights every day of every week by the special interests who are trying to steal America. Government must be by, of and for the People, not by, of and for the special interests. Read your own Declaration of Independence and Constitution, America. It's all there.
"If building more prisons for those of us who are unlike yourselves is to be your strategy, then, I promise you, you cannot build enough prisons to hold us all. I ask America, as one familiar with your darkest side as well as with your shining possibilities, rethink this current craze for building ever more prisons for ever more of those of us born different than you. We don't need more prisons. We need more compassion. That compassion is our own highest possibility.
"Democracy means difference, not sameness. Allow us our differences as we allow you yours. We don't conflict with each other; we complement each other. We need each other. Each of us is responsible for what happens on this Earth. We are each absolutely essential, each totally irreplaceable. Each of us is the swing vote in the bitter election battle now being waged between our best and our worst possibilities. How are you going to cast your all-important ballot? Humanity awaits your decision.
"We must each be an army of one in the endless struggle between the goodness we are all capable of and the evil that threatens us all from without as well as from within. Yes, we can each be an army of one. One good man or one good woman can change the world, can push back the evil, and their work can be a beacon for millions, for billions. Are you that man or woman? If so, may the Great Spirit bless you. If not, why not? We must each of us be that person. That will transform the world overnight.
That would be a miracle, yes, but a miracle within our power, our healing power. To heal will require real effort, and a change of heart, from all of us. To heal means that we will begin to look upon one another with respect and tolerance instead of prejudice, distrust and hatred. We will have to teach our children -- as well as ourselves - to love the diversity of humanity. To heal we will have to make a conscious effort to live as the Creator intended, as sisters and brothers, all of one human family, caretakers of this fragile, perishable and sacred Earth. To heal we will have to come to the realization that we are all under a life sentence together on this planet... and there's no chance for parole.
We can do it. Yes, you and I and all of us together. Now is the time. Now is the only possible time.
As I sit here writing and rewriting this response to the Supreme Court
denial of my appeal, I can't help but remember you, my supporters,
friends and allies.
Many people have come and gone in my life, some I may never see again in this lifetime and some have left and come back again. I have come to recognize that true relatives aren't always related by the blood that flows in your veins, but by the blood, sweat and tears that is given for the common good of all.
It is never easy to deal with these setbacks and as you get older and
the realities of mortality set in, time becomes increasingly important. It goes so exceeding slow waiting for justice and so fast when you look at what's left.
From inside this prison I have done my best to help raise my kids and grandkids and yet maintain a level of commitment to raising awareness to the plight of my people and all Indigenous Peoples who face on a daily basis the cruel realities of a technological world where might makes right and morality be damned.
I want you to know that whether we win this battle for me or not, you my relatives have my heart always. I am almost 60 years old, but I'll tell you now the oppressors will know we're here. They'll know they are challenged at every turn. Sometimes it's not up to us to decide whether we are winning or losing; it rests within the will of the Creator. What is up to us is our will to continue the battle. The battle will never be over so long as one person is a victim of this oppressive, exploitive mind-set that has engulfed so much of the world.
I'm a realist; I know that I'm not the cause; I'm only a focal point of the cause. The cause is the cause of all, and with the latest turmoil in government you will soon become acutely aware of the ramifications of these illegal decisions in Washington for as they have done to me, they'll do to others and have done to others. There are other prisoners that you haven't heard of because the misdeeds of the FBI and other governmental entities aren't as well documented. This government has literally passed retroactive laws that have prevented the legal release of myself and others, but I also want you to know that we have other strategies that we are working on. We have a Habeas Corpus filed in Washington that will soon be in litigation regarding these constitutional violations.
I want to encourage you to help in whatever way that you can. We need
funds for the preparation of legal briefs, legal research, filing fees, attorneys and travel expenses as well as for the ongoing cost of maintaining our committee and info center.
Those that can't contribute on a monetary basis can pass out pamphlets, hold meetings, and help the staff organize events. Any and all help is so much appreciated.
My relatives - stay strong and remember: for the sickness of the world, we are the antidote.
"...He [DeMain] neither believes nor feels that Mr. Peltier ordered, or was capable of ordering, the death of Ms. Pictou-Aquash, nor does he believe according to the evidence & testimony he now has, that Mr. Peltier had any involvement in her death."
Motion to enforce filed in Peltier's lawsuit against editor Paul DeMain
In a lawsuit filed over one year ago, a motion to enforce a settlement agreement was filed today with the Eighth U.S. District Court of Claims in Minneapolis, Minnesota, between Native American activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier and Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country.
A member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Peltier was charged for the June 26, 1975, shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South
Dakota. Peltier, who still maintains his innocence, was convicted of the killings in 1977 and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. He is currently imprisoned at the United States penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.
"Statements were authored by DeMain that were false, defamatory, and malicious. They were then circulated by DeMain's newspaper with reckless disregard and with the knowledge that they were false," explained Barry Bachrach, Peltier's attorney. "DeMain stated, as a matter of fact, that Mr. Peltier was guilty of shooting the two FBI agents when the government itself has repeatedly admitted that it did not and cannot prove that Mr. Peltier shot the agents," Bachrach added. "DeMain also has implied Peltier's involvement in the Pine Ridge murder of fellow AIM member Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash in 1976."
According to Bachrach, DeMain had avoided giving a deposition for several months. Just before a deposition was finally to take place, on or about April 9, 2004, the two parties began settlement negotiations.
With nothing further to negotiate, an agreement was reached on April 16th.
DeMain himself proposed that he issue a statement that affirms that:
1. "there has been widespread misconduct in the judicial system historically in cases involving Native Americans;
2. Leonard Peltier did not receive a fair trial;
3. he is entitled to one;
4. there have been numerous instances of questionable conduct by the and other law enforcement agencies in connection with the prosecution of Native Americans in this country;
5. the legal/social/political environment prevailing on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the 1970s could be legitimately compared to a 'war zone'; [and]
6. he [DeMain] neither believes nor feels that Mr. Peltier ordered, or was capable of ordering, the death of Ms. Pictou-Aquash, nor does he believe according to the evidence and testimony he now has, that Mr. Peltier had any involvement in her death."
In exchange, Peltier agreed to dismiss with prejudice his lawsuit against DeMain.
However, to date, DeMain has not issued his statement. With the exception of a call from DeMain's attorney indicating only a brief delay, Demain and his attorney have not answered Bachrach's telephone calls. Therefore, a motion to enforce performance of the settlement agreement was filed with the court.
Leonard Peltier's case has been the topic of several books - In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen, for example - and documentaries, most notably Incident at Oglala produced by Robert Redford. Amnesty International, convinced that he did not receive a fair trial and will not receive fair consideration for parole or executive clemency, has called for Peltier's immediate and unconditional release. Leonard Peltier, noted for his continuing activism and humanitarian works, also was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Justice is possible for both Anna Mae and Leonard Peltier, but justice won't be done in either case by people falsely pointing fingers of blame. Leonard's only concern is for the truth, which is why monetary damages are not a part of this settlement. We believe that Anna Mae's murder was the direct result of FBI misconduct on Pine Ridge during the 1970s."
Peltier's legal team, supported by human rights organizations worldwide, continues to urge congressional hearings on FBI misconduct against AIM and Peltier. The attorneys recently submitted a formal request for hearings to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC.
I personally spoke with Ralph Nader on May 25, 2004.
I handed him the 4 fold information folder on Leonard Peltier with approximately 25 people present.
He sympathized with his case and mentioned how Winona laduke supported his freedom. He mentioned Senator Inouye's support for Leonard. I mentioned Senator Campbell & the late Senator Paul Wellstone's support as well.
I stressed that the more people who speak out on Leonards behalf,the more weight can bear in his favor.
Mr. Nader didn't make a committment to speak out on Leonard's behalf.
I even mentioned that he mention clemency to John Kerry, but I don't think Ralph saw much hope for that.
He did look over the folder on Leonard when no-one was talking to him.
I've attached a link to Ralph Nader's website; May I suggest that we politely ask him to contact the LPDC to add his name to supporters of Leonard Peltier's freeom?
Also on his site is a petition for impeaching George Bush. This is not the same petition Ramsey Clark has out.
To contact Mr. Nader, click onto the following link:
Once again we are planning to have a picnic and vigil for Leonard Peltier on June 26th in London (England). Please join us on this day to remember all those who died in the Pine Ridge reign of terror in the 1970s resulting in the continued imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and also to give support to the indigenous people of Turtle Island who are still being persecuted to this day.
We will gather in the area around the Fountain of Life adjacent to the Aldford Street North gate in Hyde Park and have an informal picnic and socialising. Please bring your own food and maybe some to share. We will then proceed to the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square for a vigil and the handing in of our petition and letter. If the weather is wet the gathering will be around the covered seating area adjacent to the Brook Street Gate.
Saturday, June 26th 2004. The picnic will be from 12 noon until just before 2pm and then at the American Embassy from around 2:30pm onwards.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The nearest underground station is Marble Arch (Central Line). Take one of the exits marked for Hyde Park or Park Lane, walk through Speakers Corner and continue down parallel with Park Lane.
There are numerous buses that go to this area so just ask for Marble Arch, or Speakers Corner. The nearest parking is in the underground car park on Park Lane (clearly marked) or Pay and Display all around Grosvenor Square.
We will need to notify the police of approximate numbers expected as we may require a police escort. This would give us a higher profile and hopefully even media coverage; so could you let us know how many of you will be attending a.s.a.p. Thank you.
News From Indian County allows Peltier to withdraw lawsuit
Press Release May 28, 2004 Reserve, Wisconsin
Responding to a motion filed May 25, 2004, by Leonard Peltier's attorney
Barry Bachrach to enforce a settlement agreement in the Eighth U.S.
District Court of Claims in Minneapolis, Minnesota, between convicted
prisoner Leonard Peltier and Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian
Country, the following letter was released today, and filed with the
The original lawsuit was filed by Leonard Peltier on May
1, 2003, based on statements published in News From Indian Country on
March 10, 2003. Those statements included the following,
"As editor of
News From Indian Country, I stand by our credible and trusted sources,
and my present belief, that the primary motive for the murder of Annie
Mae Pictou-Aquash by other members of the American Indian Movement in
Mid-December 1975, allegedly was her knowledge that Leonard Peltier had
shot the two agents, as he was convicted."
Those statements have not
been retracted by Paul DeMain, or News From Indian Country as part of
the agreement by News From Indian Country to allow Mr. Peltier to
withdraw his lawsuit.
"From the beginning of this lawsuit, until its
withdrawal, I have felt the lawsuit was frivolous and without merit, and
represented an assault on the consitutional right to freedom of speach
and the search for truth and justice in Annie Mae's case," said Paul
In addition, News From Indian Country has published accounts
aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in which an interrogation
of Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash was conducted by Peltier during June of 1975,
and related the testimony of KaMook Nicols, at Arlo Looking Cloud's
murder trial on February, 4, 2004, in which Nicols testified that
Peltier had bragged to her and Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash about shooting
both agents at close range.
Peltier's attorney, Barry Bachrach, on
October 3 notified the federal court that he would supboena W.O. Brown,
a pathologist who has been dead for over ten years, to testify against
DeMain and at least four FBI agents, including David Price, and William
Wood, as plaintiff witnesses, a list of government agents that surprised
even some of Peltier's own supporters.
"At every turn in this case,
including the most recent diatribe about filing a motion to compel News
From Indian Country to agree to have the case dismissed, Peltier's
attorney, and public relations representative Harvey Arden have utilized
the lawsuit for publicity stunts to attract media attention to a waning
cause," said DeMain.
"The day Leonard Peltier shows remorse and takes
responsbility for his actions of June 26, 1975, rather than just showing remorse to the cameras for what happened, is the day Leonard Peltier will begin to regain the credibility amongst those people I have known to support him in the past. His continued support of John Graham's fight against extradition to the United States to stand trial for the 1st degree murder of Annie Mae speaks volumes about Peltier's continued fear of the emerging truth in her case."
DeMain continued, "My great-great-great-grandfather, Captain Honyere Doxtator, who fought with George Washington against the British, killed British soldiers as part of his reponsibilities as a warrior of the Oneida Nation. He didn't claim to be back in the longhouse saving the children when the battles took place."
Below is the full text as submitted to the Federal Court:
Dear Mr. Bachrach: 5/26/04
5/26/04 "I have agreed to make the following statement on issues
discussed previously with Robert Robideau, and allow Mr. Peltier to
withdraw his lawsuit against me and News From Indian Country. As I was
prepared to allow your office to conduct the last two previous
depositions scheduled and cancelled at your request, I believe the
following material lives up to the spirit of our joint discussions on
the matter, and as agreed to by you in previous emails. Whatever our
differences about other issues, I agree with Leonard Peltier that there
have been numerous instances of questionable conduct by the FBI and
other law enforcement agencies in connection with prosecution of Native
Americans in this country. I also agree that the legal, social, and
political environment prevailing on the Pine Ridge Reservation during
the 1970s could be legitimately compared to a 'war zone'.
In my opinion,
there has also been widespread misconduct in the judicial system
historically with respect to cases involving Native Americans. More
particularly, I do not believe that Leonard Peltier received a fair
trial in connection with the murders of which he was convicted.
Certainly he is entitled to one. Nor do I believe, according to the
evidence and testimony I now have, that Mr. Peltier had any involvement
in the death of Anna Mae Aquash. I understand that Mr. Peltier has
agreed to withdraw his lawsuit against News from Indian Country and me,
and will ask the Court to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety, with
prejudice (i.e., none of his claims may be pursued later). Thank you for your assistance in resolving this matter."
and I hope this works, because it's the first time I try to make a web slide show with conga bacground sounds... If you can't open the webpage, I'm going to put the photos on our "action photos" page tomorrow (no slide show).