•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

Struggle continues to free Leonard Peltier

Published Nov 3, 2005 2:08 AM

Leonard Peltier

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 prisoner.

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 FBI agents.

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 political prisoners.

“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 clemency.”

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

Leonard 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 “the hole.”

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.