Struggle continues to free Leonard Peltier
Published Nov 3, 2005 2:08 AM
Supporters of the
Indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier gathered here Oct. 23 to hear
updates on his case. The meeting featured Bob Robideau, an international
spokesperson for Peltier and a fellow American Indian Movement (AIM) warrior.
The Jericho Movement sponsored the meeting, which was held in the offices of the
International Action Center.
Peltier has been in prison for almost 30
years for a crime he did not commit. In violation of its own statutes, the U.S.
government has repeatedly refused him parole. The prison authorities refuse to
consider him for parole until he has served over twice the normal term for his
alleged offense. Peltier is recognized around the world as a political
Two FBI agents and a Native man died during a shootout at Pine
Ridge Reservation in 1975, which the agents started in a tiny village where
children, adults and elders slept in their homes.
Those at the Oct. 23
meeting saw the 1991 documentary “West 57th Street” on the history
of Peltier’s case. The movie covers the history of the incident of the FBI
attack and firefight on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
There was never any
evidence that Peltier fired the fatal shots. To obtain his extradition from
Canada, the U.S. suppressed hundreds of thousands of documents that would
indicate his innocence, including ballistics information. U.S. prosecutors
publicly admitted they did not know who actually fired the shots that killed the
Robideau, one of Peltier’s original co-defendants, spoke
at length on COINTELPRO, the role of the FBI, and the bureau’s current
activities. “In 1993,” he said, “after all venues of court
were exhausted, an international effort began to appeal for legal clemency. In
1994 the FBI issued a memorandum outline that meant to counter this campaign. It
is ongoing COINTELPRO.
“The FBI did picket lines, they bought ads,
to attack the bid for clemency from Clinton. It was because Peltier organizers
had attained some influence.... We as activists, in the community, had done the
work to achieve his freedom.”
Robideau continued: “We as
activists do have the tools, the power to make the difference to free our
“The FBI today has become an international
police force. And they continue to actively involve themselves to ensure Leonard
Peltier spends his life in prison.”
Referring to the recent trial of
Arlo Looking Cloud and the charges against John Graham in the death of AIM
activist Anna Mae Aquash, Robideau stated, “The FBI is behind it all. And
now the FBI is using the Anna Mae case to make an ongoing record against Leonard
Peltier that will be used against his getting paroled or receiving
Progressive attorney Lynne Stewart, who faces sentencing
in December on another trumped-up charge, was also present and made brief
remarks on the current political climate. “The FBI doesn’t quit.
They are going back 30 years in investigations now,” in cases with no
statute of limitations.
Peltier now at Lewisburg
Peltier had been transferred from Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary to the
maximum-security prison at Terre Haute, Ind., where he was being kept in
“the hole” indefinitely.
Activists around the country
mobilized to protest his conditions and as a result he was finally released from
Jericho Movement spokesperson Paulette
D’Auteuil stated that Peltier is now at USP Lewisburg in Pennsylvania, and
is again able to participate in sweat lodge—a Native American spiritual
practice. He is also painting again.
The Leonard Peltier Defense Com
mittee asks that for now, until the group has a new office closer to Lewisburg,
donations be sent to the Peltier Legal Fund in care of his attorney, Barry
Bachrach, Esq., Bowditch & Dewey LLC, 311 Main St., Worcester, MA 01615.
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