---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2002 12:59:01 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: 'In The Spirit of Crazy Horse'
'In The Spirit of Crazy Horse'
By Lee Robinson
Saturday February 02, 2002
Before the murders at Ruby Ridge, before the slaughter of the Branch
Davidians. Before the federal government's attacks on Bob Stewart, John
Lawmaster, Janice Hart, Louis Katona, Harry & Theresa Lamplugh or the murder
of Donald Scott, before Chandra Levy was even born, there was the Pine Ridge
Reservation and Leonard Peltier. February 6th will mark the beginning of his
27th year in federal prison and soon he will have the dubious distinction of
having been held in captivity by one group of tyrants longer than that other
group of tyrants held Nelson Mandella. His story is not just another chapter
in the Book of Genocide, it may well be the prologue to a new volume, one
about the collapse of our way of life, the destruction of our freedoms and
the utter degradation of Justice.
In the 1970's Mr. Peltier was a member of AIM., The American Indian
Movement. AIM had been formed to protect those Indians who still wished to
live their lives in the traditional way and to pursue the rights that had
been guaranteed to Native Americans by myriad government treaties. Oil and
Uranium ore had been discovered beneath the Pine Ridge Reservation in South
Dakota and the Federal government wished to reacquire this land that at one
time was thought to be so worthless it could even be given back to the
Indians. Many of the traditional minded people of the reservation believed
the land in question to be sacred and were adamantly opposed to parting with
In response to their resistance the government, through the FBI, began a
program to destabilize the tribal government and assure that those favorable
to their position became the leaders. This same diplomacy was being used
successfully by the CIA in various third world countries and usually for the
same reason; to assure our continued supply of energy and raw materials.
There were Klan style raids in the middle of the night, buildings and homes
were burned, the politically active were beaten, raped and, in an estimated
80 instances, murdered. None of these murders were ever solved. In
desperation the victims turned to the American Indian Movement for
protection. AIM members from around the country set up a camp on the Pine
Ridge reservations and into that camp, on June 26, 1975 drove two FBI
agents. They had no warrants and no business being there, the official
excuse that they were pursuing an investigation into some stolen boots was
long ago discredited. I believe they were sent as agent provocateurs to
create a situation that would distract the world from noticing that at
exactly that time the government backed 'tribal leader' was negotiating the
sale of 1/8 of the Tribal Lands without the people's consent.
The encounter degenerated into a firefight and the two agents and one Indian
man were killed. Of the 4 AIM members subsequently charged with the killings
one was released for lack of evidence and two were tried and acquitted. The
foreman of the jury stated that even if they had believed the governments'
case, which they did not, they would still have found the two not guilty by
reason of self-defense. The last man, Leonard Peltier, had escaped to
The governments' position in the whole disgraceful series of events was
becoming too embarrassing and they realized they had to convict Peltier if
they wished to avoid the consequences of their own actions. Using affidavits
that they knew to be fraudulent, the FBI arranged for Peltier to be
extradited from Canada. When the Canadian government found out about this
deception they were outraged and tried to rescind the extradition but it was
too late. The trial was a farce of perjured testimony, withheld or destroyed
evidence, jury intimidation, lies and bigotry. Leonard Peltier was sentenced
to two consecutive life terms in Federal prison. That was 26 years ago.
In the quarter century since he was railroaded by the FBI, the case against
Peltier has utterly collapsed and every significant piece of evidence has
been shown to have been altered, misrepresented, fabricated or suppressed.
Witnesses have recanted their testimony saying they were intimidated by the
FBI. The Bureau was widely suspected of perpetrating or participating in the
murder of AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash. In their 'interviews' with witnesses
it was often made clear that "what happened to Anna Mae could happen to
Even the Justice Department publicly acknowledged in 1985 that they do not
know who killed their agents. Yet Leonard Peltier is still in prison. Former
Attorney General Ramsey Clark has joined his legal defense team. Federal
Judge Gerald Heaney, who presided over an unsuccessful appeal, has
recommended his release. Amnesty International has declared him a political
prisoner who should be released immediately and without conditions.
25,000,000 people have signed the petition and spoken out for his freedom,
including Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandella, the Dalai Lama and Mother
Teresa. Yet Leonard Peltier is still in prison.
In a sickening example of their Luddite mentality the FBI has brought great
political pressure to bear against any efforts to bring justice to this
situation. Make no mistake about it, there is a fourth branch of our
government, the Police branch, and it exerts a very unwholesome influence
upon the other three. There are few in Washington D.C. that can afford to
incur the wrath and scrutiny of the various police agencies. In that city,
Justice is neither a principle nor a motive but simply another political
commodity to be flaunted or suppressed in pursuit of political power.
When the state of Georgia passed the Cherokee Removal Bill, the tribe
appealed its cause all the way to the Supreme Court. In March of 1832 the
Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee, making the law null and void and
stating "^The Acts of Georgia are repugnant to the Constitution, laws and
treaties of the United States." President Andrew Jackson stated that since
that was the Supreme Courts decision then the Supreme Court could enforce
it. Thus the stage was set for the Trail of Tears, the disastrous forced
removal and relocation of the Cherokee people and an absolutely illegal act.
As Leonard Peltier moves about the Federal Prison System he is still walking
that Trail of Tears. His incarceration is repugnant to the Constitution,
laws and treaties of the United States and its continuation is an absolutely
illegal act. Yet Leonard Peltier is still in prison. Why? Perhaps Chief Ross
of the Cherokee said it best when writing on the aggressions of Georgia;
"^the perpetrator of a wrong never forgives his victims^"
In preparation for this column I contacted President Bush and, since I live
in The Peoples Republic of Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Bill
Delahunt asking them their position on the matter of Leonard Peltier and
what, if anything, they planned to do about it. From Kerry and the President
I received vapid form letters about how important my correspondence was to
them. From Kennedy I received nothing at all. But from Representative
Delahunt I received an acknowledging e-mail and a follow up letter. In this
letter Mr. Delahunt stated "^I am concerned about the possibility that Mr.
Peltier has been unjustly charged^"
A worthy concern but one that would have been more appropriate 26 years ago.
Since then Leonard Peltier has not only been unjustly charged but unjustly
framed, unjustly imprisoned, unjustly denied appeals or parole and unjustly
denied a new, fair trial. The perpetrators of these injustices remain free,
remain in power and remain unable to forgive their victim.
For more information go to www.freepeltier.org or read Peter Matthiessen's
excellent book 'In The Spirit of Crazy Horse'. The fact that the FBI blocked
its publication for 8 years is the best testament to its honesty that I can
Lee Robinson lives at the very end of Cape Cod in the People's Republic of
Massachusetts. He can be heard on radio station WOMR at womr.org. He does a
music and talk show Friday nights from midnight to 3 A.M., EST, and with his
good friend Irene Rabinowitz he co-hosts a call-in show from 8P.M. to 9P.M.
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