Leonard Peltier Compilation

Pitchfork
In 1995, a benefit album to raise funds to fight the allegedly wrongful imprisonment of convicted murderer Leonard Peltier was supposed to come out on Columbia. The record– dubbed Exiled in the Land of the Free— was to feature feature rare, live, and unreleased tracks from Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Superchunk, Mike Watt, Josh Homme, and more. (Via Billboard.) Well, the compilation never came out, and everyone moved on.

Well, almost everyone, apparently. American Indian Movement member Peltier is still in prison for killing two FBI agents. And now a former Columbia employee has made a website that offers the whole album to download for free, in the hopes of inspiring support for the cause.

Leonard Peltier, it’s tough.

Amnesty International on Peltier Denial

Amnesty International today regretted the US Parole Commission’s decision not to grant Leonard Peltier parole despite concerns about the fairness of his 1977 conviction for murder. The organization called for the immediate release on parole of the activist, who is serving two consecutive life sentences and has spent more than 32 years in prison.

A prominent member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Leonard Peltier was convicted of the murders of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, during a confrontation involving AIM members on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on 26 June 1975. While Leonard Peltier admits having been present during the incident, he has always denied shooting the agents at point blank range as alleged by the prosecution at his trial.

Amnesty International recognizes the seriousness of the crime for which Leonard Peltier was convicted. However, having studied the case extensively over many years, the organization remains concerned about the fairness of the process leading to his conviction, including questions about evidence linking him to the point-blank shootings and coercion of an alleged eye-witness.

One of Amnesty International’s concerns is that Leonard Peltier’s extradition from Canada in 1976 — where he had fled following the shootings — was secured on the basis of the coerced testimony of an alleged eye-witness which the FBI knew to be false. The witness, Myrtle Poor Bear, later retracted her testimony that she had seen Leonard Peltier shoot the agents but the trial judge did not allow her to be called as a defence witness at his trial. Other concerns include the withholding by the prosecution of evidence, including potentially key ballistics evidence that might have assisted Leonard Peltier’s defence.

“The interest of justice would be best served by granting Leonard Peltier parole,” said Angela Wright, US Researcher at Amnesty International. “Given the concerns around his conviction, the fact that appeals before the courts have long been exhausted and that he has spent more than 32 years in prison, we urge the Parole Commission to reconsider its decision.”

The parole hearing, which took place over four hours on 28 July, was the first full parole hearing to be held in the case since 1993. In addition to the concerns about the fairness of his conviction, parole was sought by Peltier and his lawyer based on his good conduct record in prison and arrangements made by the Turtle Mountain tribe to receive him into their community on his release.

Background Information
Leonard Peltier is an Anishinabe-Lakota Native American who was a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), an activist group involved in promoting the rights of “traditionalist” Indians during a period of intense conflict in the 1970s. In the two years prior to the confrontation in which the agents were killed, more than 60 Indians on the Pine Ridge reservation had been killed, allegedly by paramilitary squads connected to the tribal government, without anyone being brought to justice for the crimes. AIM members who had come to the reservation to assist “traditionalists” opposing the tribal government were also allegedly threatened. Relations between AIM and the FBI were also tense, with accusations that the authorities had not done enough to protect those at risk on the reservation.

The confrontation in which the two FBI agents were killed took place after the agents entered the reservation with an arrest warrant for four people and started following a van. A fire-fight ensued. Evidence was presented at trial to show that the agents received multiple shots and were quickly disabled before being shot dead at point-blank range.
Two other AIM leaders, Darelle Butler and Robert Robideau, were initially charged with the agents’ murders and were tried separately: no evidence was presented to link them to the point-blank shootings.

The jury acquitted them after hearing evidence about the atmosphere of violence and intimidation on the reservation and concluded that, arguably, they might have been acting in self-defense when they were involved in the exchange of gunfire.

Following their acquittal, the FBI renewed its efforts to pursue Leonard Peltier, who had fled to Canada. At his trial, the prosecution alleged that the rifle which killed the agents belonged to Peltier. During post-trial investigations, the defence team discovered a teletex message suggesting that the rifle in question contained a different firing pin from the one used to kill the agents; this was raised on appeal and an evidentiary hearing held at which the significance of the teletex was contested by the government. On appeal, the government also argued that sufficient evidence had been presented to the jury at trial to show that Leonard Peltier had “aided and abetted” the killings even if he had not been the actual killer.

However, Amnesty International believes that the outcome may well have been different had Peltier been able to challenge the ballistics evidence linking him to the fatal shots more effectively.

http://www.reporterfreelance.info

Chris

Peltier Parole Denied

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley says imprisoned American Indian activist Leonard Peltier has once again been denied parole. Wrigley says the next scheduled hearing for Peltier is 2024, when Peltier would be 79 years old. Peltier is serving two life sentences for the execution-style deaths of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams during a June 26, 1975, standoff on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was convicted in Fargo, N.D., in 1977. He has claimed the FBI framed him, which the agency denies, and unsuccessfully appealed his conviction numerous times. Peltier had a full parole hearing for the first time in 15 years last month at the Lewisburg, Pa., federal prison where he is being held. Defense attorney Eric Seitz declined comment on the U.S. Parole Commission decision Friday, saying the Justice Department had not informed him. (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APNP 08-21-09 1247CDT |

Sorry Leonard….. I feel like that word means nothing though. What actions can be taken next? Billie Fidlin, LP DOC said this:

The Bush Administration holdovers on the U.S. Parole Commission today adopted the position of the FBI that anyone who may be implicated in the killings of its agents should never be paroled and should be left to die in prison. Despite judicial determinations that the unrepentant FBI fabricated evidence and presented perjured testimony in Leonard Peltier’s prosecution; despite a jury’s acquittal on grounds of self-defense of two co-defendants who were found to have engaged in the same conduct of which Mr. Peltier was convicted; despite Mr. Peltier’s exemplary record during his incarceration for more than 33 years and his clearly demonstrated eligibility for parole; despite letters and petitions calling for his release submitted by millions of people in this country and around the world including one of the judges who ruled on his earlier appeals; and despite his advanced age and deteriorating health, the Parole Commission today informed Mr. Peltier that his “r elease on parole would depreciate the seriousness of your offenses and would promote disrespect for the law,” and set a reconsideration hearing in July 2024. This is the extreme action of the same law enforcement community that brought us the indefinite imprisonment of suspected teenage terrorists, tortures, and killings in CIA prisons around the world and promoted widespread disrespect for the democratic concepts of justice upon which this country supposedly was founded. These are the same institutions that have never treated indiginous peoples with dignity or respect or accepted any responsibility for centuries of intolerence and abuse. At his parole hearing on July 28th Leonard Peltier expressed regret and accepted responsibility for his role in the incident in which the two FBI agents and one Native American activist died as the result of a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Mr. Peltier emphasized that the shootout occurred in circumstances where there literally was a war going on between corrupt tribal leaders, supported by the government, on the one hand, and Native American traditionalists and young activists on the other. He again denied — as he as always denied — that he intended the deaths of anyone or that he fired the fatal shots that killed the two agents, and he reminded the hearing officer that one of his former co-defendants recently admitted to having fired the fatal shots, himself. Accordingly, it is not true that Leonard Peltier participated in “the execution style murders of two FBI agents,” as the Parole Commission asserts, and there never has been credible evidence of Mr. Peltier’s responsibility for the fatal shots as the FBI continues to allege. Moreover, given the corrupt practices of the FBI, itself, it is entirely untrue that Leonard Peltier’s parole at this juncture will in any way “depreciate the seriousness” of his conduct and/or “promote disrespect for the law.” We will continue to seek parole and clemency for Mr. Peltier and to eventually bring this prolonged injustice to a prompt and fair resolution.

Chris

One Week…


In one week Leonard Peltier, veteran peace activist of the American Indian Movement and political prisoner (serving two consecutive life sentences since 1977 for allegedly murdering two FBI agents) is up for parole. Peltier has enormous, world wide support, hopefully it will bring justice to this ugly case this time around. We’ll keep you updated on the hearings.

Chris DeCarlo