[sixties-l] Fwd: Peltier -- CLEMENCY AT HAND ?

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 11/15/00

  • Next message: Bob Rowell: "[sixties-l] THE 2000 ABBIE HOFFMAN BIRTHDAY PARTY"

    >Wednesday, November 15, 2000
    >Clinton may aid Canuck serving 2 life terms
    >"On election day, Nov. 7, U.S. President Bill Clinton pledged to personally
    >review the case of Leonard Peltier for possible executive clemency "in the
    >last 10 weeks of office after the election."
    >He made the promise to Amy Goodman on the radio show, Democracy Now, which
    >is syndicated to stations across America.
    >It is the most encouraging signal yet that Peltier might get executive
    >clemency after being found guilty in the deaths of two FBI agents in 1975,
    >during a violent range war on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reserve, near
    >Wounded Knee. While urging support for Al Gore, Clinton told Goodman he
    >didn't have a position on clemency for Peltier "that I can announce yet,"
    >but did say he'll review the case "and will try to do what I think the right
    >thing to do is."
    >He said the case was important to a lot of people "and I owe it to them to
    >give it an honest look-see." He said he'd also review what those who oppose
    >clemency have to say, and "decide one way or the other" before the
    >Interpret that as you will, but the fact that Clinton is commenting at all
    >gives optimism to Peltier supporters -- and makes the FBI nervous.
    >Prior to the election there was growing euphoria among Leonard Peltier
    >Defence Committees (LPDC) around the world that "something big, something
    >good" is likely to happen in the hiatus between the election of a new
    >president and his inauguration in January.
    >A couple of weeks before the U.S. vote, there was no significant
    >development: Myrtle Poor Bear, the Indian woman whose sworn affidavits got
    >Peltier extradited from Canada to stand trial in the U.S., came to Toronto
    >and not only recanted her affidavits before a Canadian judge, but swore that
    >the FBI held her incommunicado for nine months after the deaths of the FBI
    >She testified agents threatened and intimidated her into signing (but not
    >reading) three different and often contradictory affidavits that she was
    >Peltier's girlfriend and that she'd witnessed him kill agents Ron Williams
    >and Jack Coler on June 25, 1975 at Wounded Knee.
    >It turns out she'd never been to that area in her life, was at home 75 km
    >away washing clothes at the time (her sister Elaine's sworn testimony) and
    >that she wasn't Peltier's girlfriend and had never laid eyes on him in her
    >She swore the FBI agents wrote the affidavits, wouldn't let her read them,
    >and said she'd be killed unless she signed.
    >She had recanted the affidavits during Peltier's trial, but the judge
    >wouldn't let the jury hear her evidence. In fact, no jury has ever heard her
    >testimony. She's never spoken for the record until now.
    >At age 22, Poor Bear had mental and drinking problems, and was used by the
    >FBI only to get Peltier extradited from Canada. Then she was dumped. Earlier
    >this year, Justice Minister Anne McClellan insisted the extradition, based
    >on the perjured affidavit, was fair and proper -- contrary to a review by
    >former Solicitor-General Warren Allmand, who found that the system was
    >abused and Peltier railroaded.
    >Back in the 1970s I thought Peltier guilty, and wrote editorials to this
    >effect. I've since looked into his case and believe he was framed. I've
    >visited the Ojibwa-Sioux Indian three times in the federal prison at
    >Leavenworth, Kan., now in his 25th year of two consecutive life sentences.
    >During the troubles at Pine Ridge, there were some 200 shootings, and 60
    >unsolved shooting deaths of Indians over a three-year period.
    >To many, Peltier is a fall guy -- a North American Nelson Mandela, serene
    >and dignified. Even the FBI has since admitted they don't know who actually
    >killed the two agents.
    > >From the start, Peltier's case was grotesquely mishandled. Just about every
    >deceit a justice system can perpetrate has been used against him. Various
    >judges have determined that justice (not to mention law) was abused.
    >Two Indians initially charged with the murder of the FBI agents were
    >acquitted on grounds of self-defence.
    >Poor Bear and her sister Elaine testified under oath before former Quebec
    >Court of Appeal Judge Fred Kaufman during the extradition hearings. She was
    >examined by Michael Code, former assistant deputy attorney-general of
    >Ontario, and former federal prosecutor Scott Stanton. The videotape of her
    >testimony (and possibly Judge Kaufman's assessment) will be forwarded to
    >President Clinton as part of an amnesty submission, as well as to the
    >Canadian government.
    >The unusual hearing was coordinated by Dianne Martin, a professor at the
    >Osgoode Hall law school and a member of the LPDC, which is headed in Toronto
    >by Frank and Anne Dreaver.
    >In sometimes halting and emotional testimony, Poor Bear told how FBI agents
    >Dave Price and Bill Wood kept her isolated for close to nine months, taking
    >her to the scene of the shootings, coaching her and insisting witnesses saw
    >her at the murder scene.
    >Myrtle was told she'd be killed by the American Indian Movement (AIM) unless
    >they protected her, and that if she didn't cooperate she might be charged
    >with conspiracy and get 15 years if she didn't sign the affidavits.
    >Myrtle signed a series of three affidavits compiled by the FBI, the first
    >saying she wasn't at the scene but that Leonard told her, the others saying
    >she witnessed the murders. All were false. No action was ever taken against
    >the agents.
    >Before Peltier's trial was over, Myrtle recanted her perjury, but no jury
    >ever heard it.
    >Myrtle Poor Bear says she's testifying for clemency to atone for the harm
    >she did to Peltier, and hopes he can forgive her: "I was frightened, the FBI
    >scared me, for years I've wanted for years to undo damage I did. I was weak,
    >but I felt I had no choice. I feared for my life."
    >Peltier has repeatedly told me he holds no animosity towards Poor Bear.
    >"She's an unfortunate woman caught in a trap by those determined to find
    >someone guilty -- even someone they know in their hearts didn't do it."
    >Myrtle testified that Agent Price wrote the stuff she had to memorize in a
    >notebook. She was coached until she got it right.
    >In the mid-'70s, AIM was demonized by the FBI as a communist terrorist group
    >instead of an Indian rights group -- complicated by the fact that Moscow and
    >Cuba used AIM for propaganda purposes.
    >As an oddity, the FBI had Myrtle sign another affidavit that she was the
    >girl friend of one Dick Marshall, and that he'd confessed to her that he
    >shot and killed another Indian, Martin Montileaux, in 1975. Myrtle's false
    >affidavit was almost a carbon copy of the one she signed about Peltier, and
    >helped get Marshall convicted.
    >During her testimony in Toronto, she insisted she'd never taken a lie
    >detector test that the FBI claimed she'd passed. Over the years, the Poor
    >Bear affidavits remain infamous examples of FBI deceit and fabrication --
    >acts more inconceivable 25 years ago than today, when many examples have
    >American justice being corrupted have emerged.
    >A succession of U.S. judges have blasted the FBI's abuses, causing the FBI
    >and its supporters to close ranks, attack critics and oppose clemency --
    >even though Peltier has been a model prisoner.
    >At age 60, Peltier has had a stroke, is partially blind and is a symbol for
    >major Indian organizations in Canada and the U.S., who have joined forces to
    >urge clemency.
    >If clemency is finally granted, as some think (hope) is now inevitable, it
    >won't reflect credit on Canada where a succession of governments have not
    >only ignored Peltier's case, but have been collaborators and conspirators in
    >fabrication and framing him."
    >Copyright  2000, Canoe Limited Partnership.

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