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Thread: Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier is Up for Parole This Month. Please support his release.

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    I Am Barack Obama's Political Prisoner Now

    By LEONARD PELTIER
    The United States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.

    After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would promote disrespect for the law.

    If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI's supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.

    The parole commission's phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. Congressman. Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow's historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.

    Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5% of the population of North Dakota and 10% of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be. If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.

    Given the complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence. In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.

    To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.

    As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.

    It was only this year, in the Troy Davis, case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses that were coerced into testifying against me, those that testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

    The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case, This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged 'actual innocence' is constitutionally cognizable.

    The esteemed Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just.

    It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.

    The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States' role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.

    In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.

    I am Barack Obama's political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign. Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.

    I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.

    In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

    Leonard Peltier
    Leonard Peltier #89637-132
    USP-Lewisburg
    US Penitentiary
    PO Box 1000
    Lewisburg, PA 17837

    For more information on Leonard Peltier visit the Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Committee website.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  2. #12

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    It is obscene what they have done and continue to do to this man. I guess there are no juicy trade deals in it for them. Justice alone doesn't seem to be enough.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  3. #13

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    Leonard Peltier will die in prison because the war being waged by the United States of America against the tribal peoples of this continent is an ancient, Manichean, pitiless spiritual war.

    To release my brother Leonard is to admit to the lie.

    The lie upon which this abomination has been erected.

    Until we confront this reality, all the parole hearings from here to eternity will not free his body.

    His great soul, however, soars as an eagle soars.

    Hoka Hey!

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Drago View Post
    Leonard Peltier will die in prison because the war being waged by the United States of America against the tribal peoples of this continent is an ancient, Manichean, pitiless spiritual war.

    To release my brother Leonard is to admit to the lie.

    The lie upon which this abomination has been erected.

    Until we confront this reality, all the parole hearings from here to eternity will not free his body.

    His great soul, however, soars as an eagle soars.

    Hoka Hey!
    That is the truth Charles.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Drago View Post
    Leonard Peltier will die in prison because the war being waged by the United States of America against the tribal peoples of this continent is an ancient, Manichean, pitiless spiritual war.

    To release my brother Leonard is to admit to the lie.

    The lie upon which this abomination has been erected.

    Until we confront this reality, all the parole hearings from here to eternity will not free his body.

    His great soul, however, soars as an eagle soars.

    Hoka Hey!
    Hoka Hey! There are SO MANY injustices in the USA and in her prison gulags, but this is one of the most agregious. I'm afraid Charles is correct - they intend to offer this innocent man NO justice - just as they offered none to all the Native Americans; broke every treaty; killed them and moved them from rich lands to barren defacto concentration camps - even used biological warfare on them. It was the first War [unjust offensive and Genocidal one!] on the land now called the USA, and to admit it is to question the legitimacy of the 'country' and all that has followed. It personally pains me greatly this innocent and wonderful man and writer/thinker is behind bars when the real criminals live in luxury on the backs of most of their fellow citizens and the World. I used to have on my car in the USA a bumper-sticker that said, "If you're not a Native American, you are an illegal alien" Surprisingly, given all the other strongly worded peace and justice stickers on my car, that one generated the most anger and even damage to my car. I think Hitler once cited the Native American Genocide as a model for his Jewish one.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Encountering the American Holocaust - Ward Churchill
    In the Nazi holocaust approximately 15 million Jews were killed; around 67 percent of their population. In 1892 the U.S. Census Bureau concluded that there were less than a quarter-million Native Americans in the country. At one point it was estimated that there were as many as 125 million Native Americans; which means their population was reduced by over 90 percent! And I thought Hitler was bad

    The people had died in their millions of being hacked apart with axes and swords, burned alive and trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, scalped for bounty, hanged on meathooks and thrown over the sides of ships at sea, worked to death as slave labors, intentionally starved and frozen to death during a multitude of forced marches and interments, and, in an unknown number of instances, deliberately infected with epidemic diseases.

    The American remains unmatched by any other genocide in history. It was by far the worst both in terms of its magnitude and the degree to which its goals were met, and in terms of the extent to which its ferocity was sustained over time by not one but several participating groups. The denial of this tragedy is uncanny. How can something this immense go on and not get more notice? It is manifested in more-or-less equal parts at all points on the ideological compass of the dominant society.
    -----------------------------------------------
    Read Ward Churchill's book Native American Holocaust
    Last edited by Peter Lemkin; 09-12-2009 at 07:53 AM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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    If Obama could only realize what pardoning Leonard would do to lift the Spirits of ALL the Native peoples.You know,just one measly gesture given to the downpressed.Just one signature,and there would be joyous celebrations across the land,in every tribe.Maybe the indigenous would even begin to learn how to smile again.Maybe it's already too late............
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

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    Well,I see that John Trudell will be back around again at this years Hempfest celebration.So,I thought I would add this video here.It goes straight to the Heart of the situation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku8ga-krBe4
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  8. #18

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    Thank you Keith. Beautiful words. Wise words.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  9. #19

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    Thank you, Keith. :dito:
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

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    That video always makes me tear-up.Lots of emotional stuff in there.Besides the massacre pictures at Wounded Knee,the pictures of Johns beautiful family are surely heartbreaking.For those that haven't seen the movie "Trudell",it should be noteworthy that in 1979 only hours after John burned the American flag on the steps of the FBI building,his house was destroyed by a suspicious fire.He lost his wife,3 children,and mother in-law.Nothing else to say...........................................
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

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