COINTELPRO is an acronym for a series of counterintelligence programs conducted in the 1950s-1970s by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against various dissident groups and political activists. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Despite citizens’ efforts since 1975, no serious effort has been made to officially investigate alleged constitutional and human rights violations by the FBI against such organizations and individuals—nor have such occurrences against residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, been addressed.
In 1975, the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (or “Church Committee”) was poised to address allegations of misconduct with respect to the FBI’s counterintelligence program and its targeting of Indigenous civil rights organizations and Native American activists following the 71-day siege at Wounded Knee, SD (27 Feb-8 May 1973). That hearing was cancelled and never rescheduled.
The last official request for relief, initiated in March 2004 (and still pending), was a request to your Committee for congressional hearings focused on the FBI’s improper use of confidential informants in Indian Country.
As there have been numerous allegations of FBI misconduct on reservations, in general, over the years—and on the Pine Ridge Reservation, in particular—it is advisable that Congress examine federal law enforcement activities on reservations. This inquiry must include an investigation of the so-called “Reign of Terror” on the Pine Ridge Reservation (1973-1976), the many deaths and injuries that occurred during that time, and the role of the FBI in fomenting violence on the reservation in an attempt to “neutralize” the Indigenous rights movement.
All Americans have the right to know the truth. Most of all, however, Indians must be heard on these matters.
We, the undersigned, join with other activist organizations in asking the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, to schedule hearings on "COINTELPRO: Its Legacy and Continuing Impact." Your efforts will ensure impartiality, accuracy, and a complete inquiry, as well as accountability. We believe that these measures will finally bring closure to the residents of Pine Ridge and put to rest the tragic events of the 1970s. We also believe this to be the Committee’s opportunity to find the truth and, hopefully, pass legislation that will begin to address some of the gross injustices committed not only against political activists and dissident organizations under the auspices of COINTELPRO, but reverse laws enacted since September 11, 2001, that have limited our constitutional freedoms.
The F.B.i. Has stated it has no proof that Leonard Peltier killed the two agents on the pine ridge reservation, I thought it was innocent until proven guilty? He was not proven guilty yet he sits in federal prison with bad health and aging, you can do the right thing Mr.President and sign clemency papers for him , Now is the time ,
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
If you, as President, truly seek freedom and justice for all you must act to right the wrongs committed by our government in years gone by. Begin by granting Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier.
Leonard Peltier, an innocent man, was convicted for the 1975 shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. prosecutors have repeatedly admitted that they did not and cannot prove Peltier's guilt and the appellate courts have cited numerous instances of investigative and prosecutorial misconduct in this case. As late as November 2003, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that "…Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."
The courts claim they lack the power to right this wrong. But, as President, you can.
After careful consideration of the facts in Leonard Peltier's case, I have concluded that Leonard Peltier does not represent a risk to the public. First, Leonard Peltier has no prior convictions and has advocated for non-violence throughout his prison term. Furthermore, Leonard Peltier has been a model prisoner. He has received excellent evaluations from his work supervisors on a regular basis. He continues to mentor young Native prisoners, encouraging them to lead clean and sober lives. He has used his time productively, disciplining himself to be a talented painter and an expressive writer. Although Leonard Peltier maintains that he did not kill the agents, he has openly expressed remorse and sadness over their deaths.
Most admirably, Leonard Peltier contributes regular support to those in need. He donates his paintings to charities including battered women's shelters, half way houses, alcohol and drug treatment programs, and Native American scholarship funds. He also coordinates an annual gift drive for the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation—a successful program that, in 2006, expanded to include other reservations throughout the country.
A six-time Nobel nominee, Leonard Peltier is widely recognized in the human rights community for his good deeds and in turn has won several human rights awards including but not limited to the North Star Frederick Douglas Award; Federation of Labour (Ontario, Canada) Humanist of the Year Award; Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights Prize; and 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Leonard Peltier is over 68 years old and his health is deteriorating. He has suffered a stroke which left him partially blind in one eye. For many years, Peltier had a seriously debilitating jaw condition which left him unable to chew properly and caused consistent pain and headaches. Today, Leonard Peltier continues to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a heart condition, as well as emerging conditions. He risks blindness, kidney failure, stroke, and certainly premature death given his diet, living conditions, and health care.
Peltier has served his time. Even by the government's own definition, he has already been imprisoned for a lifetime. In that time, he has missed the simplest things of ordinary life—having dinner with friends, taking walks in the woods, gardening, children's laughter, dogs barking, the feel of rain on his face, the sound of birds singing... winter and summer and spring and fall. He has missed seeing his children and grandchildren grow up. They suffer, too. Leonard Peltier is now a great-grandfather. How many more generations must suffer this tragedy?
I say enough is enough, Mr. President. Do the right thing. Grant Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier right away.
Thank you for giving fair consideration to Leonard Peltier.
Sondra Gail Adam
It's time to end the repression of Native Americans. People no longer trust the government to do the right thing. Freeing Leonard Peltier, who was comvicted on manufactured evidence to stop the movement would be a step in regaining that trust.
Starr Arellano, Portland, OR, United States4 days ago
cheryle martin walburn, United States4 days ago
Brenda Barnett, Watsonville, CA, United States5 days ago
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