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The story behind Leonard Peltier

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.humanrights.de/doc_de/archiv/u/usa/lpdc/story.html LEONARD PELTIER THE CASE OF LEONARD PELTIER Leonard Peltier could be you, me, anyone who stands
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2007
      http://www.humanrights.de/doc_de/archiv/u/usa/lpdc/story.html

      LEONARD PELTIER

      THE CASE OF LEONARD PELTIER
      Leonard Peltier could be you, me, anyone who stands up for his family,
      friends, community, and beliefs. Leonard is a Native American serving two
      consecutive life sentences in a federal penitentiary, even though there is
      NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that he is guilty of anything.

      The Shoot Out
      On June 26, 1975 two FBI agents allegedly searching for a young Indian
      accused of stealing a pair of used cowboy boots spotted several men enter a
      red pick-up truck. They followed the truck briefly. The occupants of the
      truck pulled over. Shots were fired though no one knows who fired first.
      Soon the situation exploded into a firefight involving 30 or so Indian men,
      women, and children and over 150 FBI agents, BIA police, US Marshals and
      the
      local police known as GOONs. Two agents and a young Indian activist died.
      Within hours of the shootout, according to the U.S. Commission on Civil
      Rights which labeled it "a full scale vendetta", hundreds of paramilitary
      equipped, combat-clad FBI agents and US Marshals staged a dragnet through
      the reservation in a fever of revenge in which men, women, and children
      were
      terrified and properties and homes were ransacked. There was no
      investigation into the death of the Native American.

      The Set-up
      Leonard had been previously identified as an AIM leader by the FBI and
      targeted by their notorious COINTELPRO program which "neutralized" people
      by
      slander, attack, and arrest. Fearing no possibility of a fair trial and at
      the request of his elders, he fled to Canada where he was later arrested
      and
      extradited by affidavits manufactured by the FBI that the government now
      concedes were false and fabricated. Four men were initially accused of the
      murders. Two were acquitted and the government dropped all charges against
      the third to concentrate their "full prosecutorial weight...against Leonard
      Peltier." He was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. The
      handpicked judge, favored by the FBI for his anti-Indian reputation,
      refused
      evidence of self defense. Information from the acquittals of his
      codefendants was also ruled inadmissable. Jurors were convinced by the
      court
      that AIM "snipers" would kill them at any time. In short Peltier was
      convicted before his trial even began.

      Government Has No Evidence
      The government has subsequently changed its theory on who killed the agents
      and today admits they have NO IDEA WHO KILLED THEM. This change of theory
      came about during an appeal when a judge suggested to the prosecution that
      the evidence was, at best, merely circumstantial. The government then
      argued
      that they had tried Leonard as both the murderer and aider and abettor.
      According to the final decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals,
      Peltier's trial and previous appeals had been riddled with FBI misconduct
      and judicial impropriety including: coercion of witnesses, perjury,
      fabrication of evidence, and the suppression of exculpatory evidence which
      could have proved his innocence. The Court called the FBI's misconduct "a
      clear abuse of the investigative process". Yet they ruled against a new
      trial for Leonard Peltier because they were "reluctant to impute further
      improprieties to them (FBI)." Recently it was discovered that a terrible
      error had been made during the appeal by Leonard's own attorney during
      which
      he mistakenly agreed with the judge regarding the testimony of Norman
      Brown.
      What the attorney and the judge did not realize was that Brown had recanted
      his testimony at trial and stated he had been coerced by the FBI. He
      further
      stated that he never saw Peltier anywhere near the bodies of the agents. We
      also now know that other agents were stationed around the area prior to the
      start of the firefight, in direct contradiction to their testimony at
      trial.
      This was discovered in September, 1995 following the release of radio
      communications from the South Dakota Attorney General's office. A document
      has been unearthed stating that almost two months prior to the day of the
      shoot-out, the FBI was planning "paramilitary law enforcement...on Indian
      land", specifically, Pine Ridge. It may also be noted that the highest
      buildup of agents to civilians occurred just six days prior to the tragic
      incident.

      Conclusion
      It is obvious to anyone with a conscience that the government was planning
      to attack the AIM encampment, perhaps in the hopes of diverting attention
      from an illegal land transfer, or perhaps as a way to stop Senator Frank
      Church's Committee from investigating the FBI's Cointelpro program in
      regard
      to Native struggles. That investigation was initiated just prior to the
      shoot-out. It was halted the day after "due to the deaths of the agents."
      With recent developments in Washington, DC proving the FBI grossly
      participated in illegally doctoring and manufacturing evidence to ensure
      criminal convictions, more attention MUST be paid to this renegade
      organization's past misconduct. Congressional hearings/investigations are
      critical!

      Recent Developments
      During a parole hearing in December 1995, US prosecutor Lynn Crooks
      admitted
      again that no evidence exists against Peltier. He further stated that he
      government never really accused him of murder and that if Peltier were
      retried, the government could not reconvict. The Parole Board, however,
      decided not to grant parole because Peltier continues to maintain his
      innocence (they stated that Peltier had not given a "factual and specific
      account of (his) actions...consistent with the jury's verdict of guilt")
      and
      because he was the only one convicted. As ridiculous as this reasoning
      sounds, it has thus far held up. A petition for executive clemency remains
      unanswered 5 1/2 years after being filed with the Department of Justice.
      The
      delay has been excused by government officials as a lengthy revue of a
      complex case. 1999 NEEDS to be the year of JUSTICE for LEONARD PELTIER.
      FREE LEONARD PELTIER!
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