Thirty years have passed since the conviction of Leonard Peltier for the murder of two FBI agents, and I worry that some people may not even know who he is.
The two agents were killed on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975, at the height of the American Indian Movement. Peltier was convicted in 1977 after a trial rife with irregularities. Many believe him to be innocent and Amnesty International considers him a political prisoner.
Robert Redford produced a film directed by Michael Apted in 1992 about the AIM uprising and the framing of Leonard Peltier, Incident at Oglala, which you can download at the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee website. Apted also directed a highly fictionalized but still compelling film Thunderheart the same year.
A letter has been circulating from Leonard Peltier's sister, Betty Peltier-Solano,describing how Leonard was severely beaten after being transferred to Canaan Federal Penitentiary in Waymark, Pennsylvania. She fears for his life.
Please, read this letter and then take action. Leonard Peltier's wellbeing depends on prison officials knowing that we still care and are still watching.
Forwarded on behalf of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
URGENT! Leonard Peltier's Safety in Jeopardy!
Dear LP Supporters,
I am so OUTRAGED! My brother Leonard was severely beaten upon his arrival at the Canaan Federal Penitentiary. When he went into population after his transfer, some inmates assaulted him. The severity of his injuries is that he suffered numerous blows to his head and body, receiving a large bump on his head, possibly a concussion, and numerous bruises. Also, one of his fingers is swollen and discolored and he has pain in his chest and ribcage. There was blood everywhere from his injuries.
We feel that prison authorities at the prompting of the FBI orchestrated this attack and thus, we are greatly concerned about his safety. It may be that the attackers, whom Leonard did not even know, were offered reduced sentences for carrying out this heinous assault. Since Leonard is up for parole soon, this could be a conspiracy to discredit a model prisoner. He was placed in solitary confinement and only given one meal, this is generally done when you won't name your attackers; incidentally being only given one meal seriously jeopardizes his health because of his diabetes. Prison officials refuse to release any info to the family, but they need to hear from his supporters to protect his safety, as does President Obama. His attorneys are trying to get calls into him now.
This attack on LP comes on the heels of the FBI's recent letter, prompting this attack by FBI supporters as an attempt to discredit LP as a model prisoner. Anyone who has been in the prison system knows well that if you refuse to name your attackers or file charges against them, then you lose your status as a victim and/or given points against your possible parole and labeled as a perpetrator. It is not uncommon, in fact is quite common for the government to use Indian against Indian and they still operate under the old adage "it takes an Indian to catch an Indian". In 1978, they made an attempt to assassinate him through another Indian man who was also at Marion prison with LP. But Standing Deer chose to reveal the plot to him instead of taking his life in exchange FOR A CHANCE AT FREEDOM. When Standing Deer was released in 2001, he joined the former Leonard Peltier Defense Committee as a board member. He also began to speak on Leonard's behalf until his murder six years ago today. Prior to his murder, Standing Deer confided with close friends and associates that the same man who visited him in Marion to assassinate Peltier, had came to Houston, TX and told him that he had better stay away from Peltier and anything to do with him.
We are aware that currently, the FBI is actively seeking support for his continued imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and also also seeking support from Native People. So please be aware, and keep Leonard in your prayers. The FBI is apparently afraid of the impact we are having. If they will set him up to blemish his record just before a parole hearing, what will they do when it looks like his freedom will become a reality? We need to make sure that nothing happens to him again!
Please write the President, send it priority or registered mail. Email to Change.gov or email President Obama. Call your congressional representatives and write letters, not email, to them. Do what you can to get the word out to insure that LP is receiving adequate medical attention for his injuries.
I am asking you, supporters of Leonard and advocates of justice at this time to help. I don't know what else to do. Please Help!
Thank you Betty Peltier-Solano Executive Coordinator
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
Also call and request Leonard be treated with dignity and respect.
let the Bureau of Prisons know that the public will hold them accountable for the safety and wellbeing of Leonard Peltier. Please make sure to use Leonard's prisoner ID number ("register number") 89637-132
Warden Ronnie R. Holt, Warden
3057 Easton Turnpike
Waymart, PA 18472
E-mail address: CAA/EXECASSISTANT@BOP.GOV
D. Scott Dodrill, Director
Northeast Regional Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
2nd & Chesnut Streets., 7th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Harley G. Lappin, Director
Bureau of Prisons
U.S. Department of Justice
320 First Street, NW, Room 654
Washington, DC 20534
Ask President Obama to investigate this incident:
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Time to set him free... Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
Friends of Peltier
Artwork by Rigo 99 at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.