Unbeknownst to most protesters who gathered at the White House on the occasion of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier’s 79th birthday, Peltier wasn’t able to celebrate, much less receive reports on how the well-attended event was progressing. That’s because Peltier, who is now spending his 48th year in captivity, was sitting on his bunk, across from his cellie, “locked down” in a cramped and concrete maximum-security cell designed for one man. The Bureau of Prison’s “lockdown” phenomenon has spread to other federal facilities, but nowhere is as pronounced and as repressive as at USP Coleman I, part of the nation’s biggest federal prison complex, FCC Coleman, which consists of four prisons of various security levels.
Tuesday, September 12th is Leonard Peltier’s 79th birthday. Peltier is the longest serving Indigenous political prisoner in the history of the United States, having served nearly 50 years in federal prison. Please join us in demanding clemency for Leonard Peltier. “The Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee is thrilled to announce the release of this new video about the life of Leonard Peltier, created by a group of his friends and supporters. This video is being released free of charge to all of Mr. Peltier's supporters.” In addition, a separate collaboration between Amnesty International and NDN Collective organized a 4-stop caravan pick-up for Leonard Peltier supporters in Rapid City, Minneapolis, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
This week, Clearing the FOG speaks with two advocates for the freedom of political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier. Mumia Abu-Jamal is waiting to hear if Judge Lucretia Clemons will grant a new hearing on his case that includes new evidence of corruption in the legal process that led to his false conviction. On February 16, port workers will strike on the West Coast in support of an international day of action in for Mumia. Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio talks about his case and the carceral state. Leonard Peltier has now served almost 50 years in prison on a murder charge involving FBI agents. Coleen Rowley, a whistleblower formerly with the FBI, recently wrote to President Biden asking for clemency for Peltier. Rowley discusses the COINTEL Program, which is very much alive, and the culture inside the FBI. Both call on the public to take action to free Abu-Jamal and Peltier.
On February 6, 1976, Leonard Peltier was arrested in Hinton, Alberta, Canada. Monday, February 6th will mark the 47th anniversary of his arrest. Following a controversial trial, Peltier was convicted of aiding and abetting murder of two FBi agents and has been imprisoned ever since. Many people and human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others believe Peltier is a political prisoner who should be immediately released. To mark the anniversary, people worldwide will commemorate Monday as a Day of Solidarity for Leonard Peltier, who is currently incarcerated in a federal penitentiary in Coleman, Florida.
The first FBI agent close to the Leonard Peltier case is calling for his freedom. Coleen Rowley recounts, in this wide-ranging and exclusive interview, her time as an agent in the Minneapolis field office. For nearly 50 years, the FBI has indoctrinated its agents on a specific version of events that led to Leonard Peltier’s arrest, conviction, and imprisonment. The mentality then, Rowley argues, is little different than the mentality today. That’s why she decided to break the silence and is calling on President Joe Biden to grant Leonard Peltier executive clemency. Rowley gives us an insider’s view of the FBI and how the dark and violent history of COINTELPRO, which targeted civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and social movements like the Black Panthers and AIM, didn’t end in 1971. It morphed and evolved over the years and continued well into the U.S. war on terror.
The FBI’s repeated opposition to the release of Leonard Peltier is driven by vindictiveness and misplaced loyalties, according to a former senior agent close to the case who is the first agency insider to call for clemency for the Indigenous rights activist who has been held in US maximum security prisons for almost five decades. Coleen Rowley, a retired FBI special agent whose career included 14 years as legal counsel in the Minneapolis division where she worked with prosecutors and agents directly involved in the Peltier case, has written to Joe Biden making a case for Peltier’s release. “Retribution seems to have emerged as the primary if not sole reason for continuing what looks from the outside to have become an emotion-driven ‘FBI Family’ vendetta,” said Rowley in the letter sent to the US president in December and shared exclusively with the Guardian.
Washington D.C. - Yesterday, supporters asking for the release of American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier arrived in Washington and hosted a march and rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The American Indian Movement’s Grand Governing Council (AIMGGC) began the 1,100-mile Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice on Sept. 1. The group completed their final mile on Sunday from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial with nearly 2,000 supporters. “We just walked for 1,103 miles for our elder Leonard Peltier,” walk organizer Rachel Thunder said at Sunday’s rally. “We just marched 1,103 miles for our people, for justice for our people. When Leonard is free, we are all free.” Peltier was convicted in 1977 for aiding and abetting the murder of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in June 1975.
Leonard Peltier’s name has become a story that reflects other stories. One narrative describes Peltier as America’s longest political prisoner, serving more than 46 years in a federal maximum security prison. In that telling, Peltier has become a humanitarian and a 78-year-old Turtle Mountain elder who has been incarcerated for far too long. There is a long list of people, tribes and organizations that have called for Peltier’s freedom. The former prosecutor in the case. Members of Congress. Amnesty International USA. Pope John Francis. The Dalai Lama. The National Congress of American Indians. Dozens of tribal nations, including Peltier’s own tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. And, as of this month, the Democratic National Committee.
Volunteers demanding the freedom of Leonard Peltier have trekked 500 miles over the last four weeks in a protest walk organized by the American Indian Movement (AIM) Grand Governing Council. Peltier (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians), 78, was convicted of aiding and abetting in the murder of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on June 26, 1975. He has spent the last 46 years in federal prison. AIM hopes the walk will raise awareness for Peltier’s plight and apply some pressure on President Joe Biden to grant executive clemency to Peltier. “The walk and prayer for Elder Peltier has been heartfelt, heavy and healing,” Walk to Justice organizer Rachel Thunder told Native News Online.
On September 1, Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice departed from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march will pass through multiple cities, finally ending in Washington, DC on November 14. Rallies and prayer sessions will be held along the route. The walk is being coordinated by the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council to demand elder Leonard Peltier’s release from federal prison. Leonard Peltier has been unjustly held as a political prisoner by the U.S. government for over 46 years, making him one of the world’s longest incarcerated political prisoners. He is the longest held Native American political prisoner in the world. Peltier was wrongly convicted and framed for a shooting at Oglala on June 26, 1975.
The United States constantly accuses its adversaries of holding political prisoners, while insisting it has none of its own. But for its entire history, the US government has used incarceration of its political opponents as a tool to crush dissent and advance the interests of economic elites. Well-known cases are those entrapped or framed in US national security state sting operations, or imprisoned with extreme sentences for a minor offense because of their political activism, such as Black revolutionary George Jackson. Each period of struggle by the working class and oppressed peoples against ruling-class control results in some activists locked up for their revolutionary work. “Political prisoner” has often meant those revolutionaries jailed for fighting their national oppression, as is the case with a great number of Black Panthers.
My name is Leonard Peltier and I am 77 years old. I am a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe. I am Anishanaabe and Dakota. I was taken to Wahpeton Indian School, an Indian boarding school, in Wahpeton, North Dakota when I was nine years old and did not leave until I was 12. This is my story. When I lost my grandfather in 1952, life changed forever. He was a good and kind man and he was my mentor and knew how to live off the land. But then he got pneumonia and did not survive. I will never forget watching him die from the foot of his bed. Even now, that sad memory comes back to me as I lay in my bunk at night in a federal penitentiary. About a year after my grandpa died, my grandma had to go to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to beg for help for her and me, my sister Betty Ann and cousin Pauline.
Jericho Movement Boston, United American Indians of New England (UAINE), and Boston BDS called for a standout in front of the JFK Federal Building in Boston on Monday, February 7, 2022 at 4:00 pm to call attention to international calls to free Native American prisoner Leonard Peltier, now 77 and ill with COVID-19. Known internationally as the most famous and longest-serving Native American political prisoner in the US, Peltier has been imprisoned since 1976 on charges that he shot two FBI agents on Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. Peltier was framed up for a crime he did not commit. Witnesses perjured themselves at the behest of federal authorities, and the FBI suppressed ballistics evidence that would have exonerated him.
Never mind that he shouldn’t be in a federal prison at all. Leonard Peltier, the Native American rights activist whom the FBI put behind bars decades ago without any evidence that he committed a crime, tells HuffPost that his facility’s prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns and failure to provide at least some inmates with booster shots has left him ― and likely others ― unbearably isolated and preparing for death. “I’m in hell,” Peltier said in a Friday statement, “and there is no way to deal with it but to take it as long as you can.” Peltier, who is 77 and has serious health problems including diabetes and an abdominal aortic aneurysm, said “fear and stress” from the prison’s intense coronavirus lockdowns are taking a toll on everyone, including staff.
Minneapolis, Minnesota - The American Indian Movement’s Grand Governing Council (AIMGGC) announced on Tuesday that it’s organizing a freedom walk for Leonard Peltier later this year, from September 1 through November 14, 2022. “Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice” will start in Minneapolis and end in Washington, D.C., where organizers plan to meet with government officials to demand the release of Peltier from the U.S. federal prison system. “The vision and prayer for this walk—Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice—began almost two years ago through dreams,” said American Indian Movement of Indiana and Kentucky Chapter Director Rachel Thunder to Native News Online. “We, AIMGGC, knew we had to move in a big way to see Elder Leonard Peltier released.”