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It was proven that Leonard was a scapegoat for FBI failures more than a convicted criminal.

Then came the Clinton administration and we in Indian Country were hopeful that a Democrat

in the White House would at last listen to reason and finally free Leonard Peltier.



Books by Leonard Peltier

Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance / Have You Thought Of Leonard Peltier Lately?

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Native Americans say NO to Hilary Clinton

By Carter Camp, Ponca Nation


During the Clinton administration I worked for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) trying to get Leonard a pardon for his aiding and abetting conviction in the tragic deaths which occurred during an altercation between  the FBI and the AIM [American Indian Movement] on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. For many years before and during the Clinton administration millions of Americans, and even more millions of people from other countries, signed petitions demanding simple justice for Leonard.

Over fifty Senators and Congressmen and women signed on, President Nelson Mandela made a personal appeal on his behalf, Bishop Desmond Tutu did likewise. Every Indian Tribe and Native organization from Alaska to Argentina rose to his defense, Amnesty International called him Americas only political prisoner. Mass marches and rallies were held in cities across the U.S. and an intense lobbying effort was begun on his behalf. Despite all these efforts our pleadings fell on deaf ears and Leonard languished in prison, writing books and doing what all political prisoners do... wait until the truth frees them.

During the first Bush administration it was a hopeless task seeking any justice from the executive branch so we concentrated on legal proceedings and appeals. It became so clear that a miscarriage of justice had occurred that even an Federal Appeals Court Judge asked for clemency. Robert Redford made a documentary about him called Incident at Oglala and Peter Matthieson wrote a book called In the Spirit of Crazy Horse both of which proved Peltiers innocence and documented the prosecutions misdeeds in convicting him.

It was proven that Leonard was a scapegoat for FBI failures more than a convicted criminal. Then came the Clinton administration and we in Indian Country were hopeful that a Democrat in the White House would at last listen to reason and finally free Leonard Peltier. So for eight years we patiently presented our evidence and over ten million signatures from around the world. We were  wrong, President Clinton left office without signing his pardon and Leonard was left to spend another decade unjustly confined to a jail cell. He has now been there for over thirty years, long past the parole date for the crime he was convicted of aiding and abetting.

However it isn't only that Clinton refused to pardon Peltier it was the way it was done that has angered Indian Country. After an immense and intense lobbying effort by Native American people and our organizations the Clintons led us to believe that a pardon would be forthcoming at the end of their administration. I spent the final days of the Clinton administration helping the LPDC so I know first hand that contacts within the administration made reassuring backchannel statements to the LPDC and I also  know that those statements came from the Office of the First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

Any release of the specific White House people involved would have to come from the LPDC but we were led to believe what we did by Hillary Clinton's office and we all assumed, because of who those contacts were, with her direct knowledge. They deliberately lied to keep us quiet as long as needed and Indian Country has a long memory.

At first we were at a loss to explain what had happened but then the far right, anti-Indian Ex-Governor of South Dakota, Bill Janklow, began bragging about how he and his rightwing allies had stopped Clinton from issuing a pardon.

He said he had a "personal meeting" with Clinton in which he "convinced" the President not to pardon Peltier or else face dire consequences from "law enforcement" and their allies. Of course as soon as Gore was cheated out of  the election, Hillary Clinton began claiming her right to the nomination and the reason why Peltier was denied a pardon became very clear . . . the Clinton machine was afraid a pardon, no matter how deserved, would impede their march back to power! Plain and simply they were intimidated by the far right and cowardly gave in to their threats.

Bill Clinton came to some Indian reservations when he was President and that has left some lingering good will for him among some Indian people. But he, like every politician before him, flat out lied when he promised to do something about the conditions on our homelands. Our people still suffer the highest poverty numbers in the nation. On Pine Ridge where Clinton visited the unemployed are over 75% of the population!! Where else on earth are 75% of the people without work, much less in America? Bill Clinton came to South Dakota and exploited the horrible poverty of our people for his own  political gain.

Then he left to forget what he saw and disrespect us on Leonard Peltier's pardon. Our poor people deserve better than another Clinton presidency and we must remember that electing another Clinton means that our brother will continue to remain unjustly imprisoned. Here in the west, in states where our votes count, we must reject Hillary Clinton and send her back to D.C. where lies are normal. Native America and all of Indian Country must say NO! to Hillary Clinton.

Feel free to help by circulating this letter and visiting the LPDC webite; we have until June 3rd to organize against the Clinton re-election.

Letter about Peltier from Harvey Wasserman, “Bringing Leonard Peltier to Iowa and New Hampshire December 30, 2007, Freepress.

The campaign to free Leonard Peltier 

posted 11 May 2008 

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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