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(10,059 posts)
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 09:48 AM Apr 2022

Why Isn't Anyone Around Here Doing Anything About Leonard Peltier?

(HuffPost) Once upon a time, the U.S. government threatened vulnerable people, coerced witnesses into lying, and hid key evidence in a court case in order to put a Native American rights activist in prison for life. This is the story of Leonard Peltier, who’s been in prison since 1977 without any proof that he committed a crime. Think of him as America’s longest serving political prisoner: a fall guy whom the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office desperately needed after it failed to figure out who murdered two FBI agents in a 1975 shootout on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

There’s much more to this story, of course. The blatant 1970s-era racism against Indigenous people. The reality that the FBI was at least partly responsible for the deadly shootout that day. The U.S. government officials who have since admitted how flawed Peltier’s trial was and called for his release. The decades of protests by Native groups, celebrities, politicians and human rights leaders including Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King and Amnesty International, an organization typically focused on political prisoners in other countries.

Books have been written. Movies have been made. But really, today, the story is simple: There is an ailing 77-year-old Indigenous man who has been in prison for 46 years who never should have been there in the first place. Why is he still there? I’ve been trying to figure this out for months. It’s two things.

The main reason is that the FBI doesn’t want him out. They told me so — even when I didn’t ask them! That was VERY WEIRD. The unsolicited statement they sent me was also full of misinformation, which tells me their plan is to keep recycling a flimsy, face-saving argument for keeping Peltier in prison until he dies. The other reason is that many people in Congress simply don’t know who he is. Peltier has been in prison longer than some of them have been alive, and certainly longer than their political careers. (Read More)


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(44,576 posts)
1. If memory serves, there are some here who want to see him die in prison, so there is that.
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 09:50 AM
Apr 2022

I think he should be pardoned and released.


(33,620 posts)
4. A Commutation is more likely.
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 10:39 AM
Apr 2022

No (Democratic) President is going to pardon someone convicted of killing LEOs.

Peltier and Abu Jamal aren't getting out that way.


(9,226 posts)
7. Here's another article that expands a little on who's doing what....
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 06:07 PM
Apr 2022


International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC) co-director Carol Gokee told Daily Kos in February that she was worried about Peltier after learning he’d tested positive for COVID-19.

Wednesday, Gokee told Daily Kos that after Peltier’s release from solitary confinement, where he was placed after his diagnosis, he received “no follow-up medical exam, no testing of his heart, his aortic aneurysm, or diabetes,” prompting her to “wage the largest campaign we ever have,” she said.
“We now have over 150 legislators that support his immediate release, over 250 faith healers, and millions of supporters around the world. We will be gathering with the family up on Turtle Mountain at the end of this month to gather prayers as we go out and spread awareness and gain more support to add weight to the clemency request.”
Gokee adds that in September, the American Indian Movement (AIM) is sponsoring a “spiritual walk” from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about Peltier’s case.

Peltier’s last chance for clemency is from Biden. Dozens of people have signed petitions in support of his release. With Deb Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary, leading the Interior Department, there’s a sliver of hope to save Peltier from dying in prison.



(9,226 posts)
11. You're welcome. This has been a long standing cause for me.
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 06:13 PM
Apr 2022

I don't know if he will ever get out and it will be the most disappointing failure of every president I've lived under if he doesn't.
I hoped for it with Clinton and Obama and was sad that it didn't happen. With Deb Haaland there I hope something changes this time around.


(10,059 posts)
17. Yes, you are right about our Dem presidents not pardoning him.
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 06:42 PM
Apr 2022

Perhaps President Biden will commute his sentence and let him go home.


(17,620 posts)
10. Peltier is responsible for the deaths of two FBI agents, he deserves to die in prison.
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 06:12 PM
Apr 2022

The last three Democratic presidents, Clinton, Obama, and now Biden don’t seem to see it any differently.


(9,226 posts)
12. The murder conviction was dropped by the government.
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 06:20 PM
Apr 2022

Justin Mazzola, deputy director for research at Amnesty International USA, told HuffPost the email from the FBI is not only outdated but also factually incorrect.

“Forty-five years later, this statement does not even come close to aligning with what we now know about the environment and events leading up to and on Pine Ridge that fateful day, let alone all of the information we now know about the trial and case against Leonard Peltier,” Mazzola said.

“It denies the FBI’s own role in using perjured testimony to secure his extradition from Canada, the suppression of potentially exonerating evidence by the [Department of Justice] attorneys in his case. … Even the prosecutors subsequently admitted that they have no idea who shot the agents at point-blank range,” Mazzola adds.

In 2020, Peltier’s attorney Kevin Sharp told the Tennessee Lookout that what happened to Peltier equals a “mountain of constitutional violations.” He added that the government eventually dropped the murder conviction because, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, it turned out the FBI had withheld “damning exculpatory evidence” showing that the gun used to shoot the two agents did not belong to Peltier. Additionally, according to Sharp, several witnesses recanted their testimonies, saying, “We were threatened by the FBI. So we said we saw things that we did not see.”



(10,952 posts)
13. If he is so innocent...
Sat Apr 30, 2022, 06:32 PM
Apr 2022

...he probably shouldn't have got in a shootout with the Oregon State Trooper who pulled him over after the FBI shooting and he probably shouldn't have had the murdered FBI agents handgun under his seat front seat with his prints on it. Both those actions cast serious doubt on any claims to innocence.

Either way he is not a "political prisoner".

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