Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 27, 2009

Scheme underway involving Peltier pardon

Contact: Kari Ann Cowan, Office Corodinator
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488
Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701-235-2206
January 27th, 2009, Fargo ND

Native Americans and supporters outraged at FBI and George W. Bush

By Kari Ann Cowan

FARGO, N.D. -- The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) recently influenced the federal prison system to transfer elder Native American, Leonard Peltier, to a facility for young gang members where upon his arrival he was immediately attacked and severely beaten. He was thrown into solitary confinement and denied proper medical care and food. The FBI has put out a letter encouraging others to indulge in whatever activities they can to block a possible pardon by President Obama for Leonard Peltier.

The latest ploy of that faction of government has been to enlist the help of George W. Bush by getting him to sign a clemency denial that could possibly stave off Peltier’s release. This action is an extreme outrage to all the people who believe in freedom and justice for ALL. It is an outrage to all the people who are aware of the true facts of Leonard Peltier’s innocence. The George W. Bush Administration and its followers obviously are trying to set a stage for anything that could possibly expand into some kind of incident that would mar President Obama, President Obama’s Administration and the Democratic Party.

This incident, attacking a 64 year old Native American is unjustified and immoral. People consider Leonard Peltier an extension of themselves and his plight if allowed to continue jeopardizes the freedom of all men. If his case is allowed to stand as it has for 33 years, then no one is guaranteed a fair trial. Some might have a dream – we have a reality. We sincerely ask President Obama to intercede in hopes that this nightmare for American Indian people will end.

For more information contact David Hill, National Coordinator of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, (218) 790-6035.

From International Peltier Forum

President George W. Bush, on January 19th - his last full day in office - formally struck down the petitions for clemency of some high-profile politicians and businessmen, including convicted lawmakers Randall "Duke'' Cunningham, Edwin Edwards and Mario Biaggi and "junk bond" financier Michael Milken, the Justice Department said today.

Bush also denied one of the longest-standing petitions for clemency: for Leonard Peltier. Leonard's application had been under consideration since 1993.

Last year, we asked Sir Bob Geldof (musician, organizer of LifeAid and Life 8, and one of the signatories of the IPF "VIP" petition) if he would be willing to speak with President Bush about Leonard's case. Bob Geldof traveled to the G8 Summit in Tokyo (July 2008) and was able to briefly speak with Bush and handed a letter to the president's Counsel. In the letter Sir Geldof pleaded to grant Leonard executive clemency.

On December 12th, 2008, Michael Kuzma, attorney for Leonard Peltier, received a letter from Fred F. Fielding, another Counsel to the President, in which he wrote:
"I am writing to thank you for your recent letter requesting an update on Mr. Leonard Peltier's petition for a commutation of his sentence. His petition is under review, and please be assured that Mr. Bob Geldof's views on this matter will be seriously considered." [emphasis added by IPF]
"Serious consideration" ?! Yeah, right... (I'm trying to remain polite.)
Not that I personally ever believed that Bush would consider granting clemency. But instead of rejecting / denying the petition, Bush could have done the same thing Clinton did: nothing. Because such a denial is a serious setback for those intent on clemency. After a denial a petitioner must wait two years to re-apply for a pardon and one year for a commutation of a prison sentence. (the latter in Leonard's case)
But.... ha!...
Petitioners can also circumvent the Justice Department and appeal directly to the White House whenever they want. See more below...

The Justice Department declined to comment on any details of the cases. The White House had no comment, before the inauguration on who might be granted clemency, or why.

The pardon power was created to allow the President to redress injustices that the judicial system is unable to remedy or for other reasons, such as Jimmy Carter's pardon of Vietnam-era draft resisters in an effort to restore domestic tranquility.

The Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney traditionally issues a formal recommendation based on a thorough investigation of the applicant and the case. But over the past two decades, more and more applicants have gone directly to the White House, citing a huge backlog of cases at the Justice Department.

In the end, the President alone has the ultimate power to grant or deny pardons or keep them alive.

Some of those denied by Bush had been considered likely candidates for some kind of clemency, in part due to the length of the prison terms, their contributions to society and their extensive lobbying campaigns. We, supporters of Leonard Peltier have waged a decades-long campaign to free him. He is a political prisoner; he never received a fair trial; there is sufficient evidence of his innocence.
The President and only the President has the power to grant clemency. It is a power given to the President by the U.S. Constitution with no conditions attached.
Call President Obama to express your outrage and concern, and ask him to pardon Leonard now at 202-456-1111 (White House comment line: don't push any buttons, and a real person will answer your call)

E-mail President Obama to express your outrage and concern, and ask him to pardon Leonard now at or email or use or online petition form at (this petition form is sent directly to the White House!)

Write to President Obama to express your outrage and concern, and ask him to grant executive clemency to / a commutation of sentence for Leonard Peltier now.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20500
Don't do it once. Do it every single day !!!
Els Herten
coordinator KOLA / IPF
articles about Bush's pardon / clemency denials:,0,5478821.story

1 comment:

Yvonne Swan said...

Dear family and friends,

Way eesquist c'ipatxw. (Hello, my name is Yvonne Swan).

I can't describe the sickened, disgusted, saddened, and angry feeling I've had since I heard of the recent assault on Leonard Peltier in prison. I sat down and cried, too exhausted to get up. I asked my grandson to pray at my altar and a few minutes later I regained my strength and drafted letters to Obama, federal officials, and the warden of Canaan prison (attached). Millions of people should inundate these powers-that-be with hard copies of similar requests for intervention.

Several years ago Leonard told me he didn’t kill anybody and I believe him.

No matter what you may think, some people in the US government want him dead. They couldn't do it quickly, so they are trying to do it slowly and make it more tortuous. This unbelievable hatred appears to veil their greed and it's horrible that our poitical prisoners have to bear the brunt.

All this time Leonard has suffered with a jaw problem, a long and serious eye illness, and now severe diabetes. He's an elder and is being treated worse than a dog!

Please write a letter--even if it’s a one-liner demanding Leonard be afforded his human rights.
Thank you, in advance!
January 26, 2009

President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

RE: LEONARD PELTIER #89637-132 deserves humane treatment in prison

Dear President Obama,

The United States has a history against indigenous Native American Indians yet, in my opinion, things are not changing or improving fast enough. To highlight only three historical genocidal decisions:
1) Benjamin Franklin copied the Great Law of Peace from the Haudenausaunee because democracy was working well for the Six Nations yet, when he wrote the Bill of Rights for the United States, Franklin left out Spirituality and the important roles of Women;
2) George Washington blatantly ignored the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which mandated that Indian tribes and nations were not to be molested;
3) Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery, yet he authorized hangings of innocent Indians.
Why have certain United States officials been determined to do away with Indians? My guess is for R&R--Realty & Resources.

Leonard Peltier, who turned 64 years old on September 12, 2008, is Ojibwa and Lakota and has been in the United States’ prison for thirty-three (33) years—longer than Nelson Mandela. Why is he in prison? It is because he has been (and still is) against United States genocide of Indian nations and for preservation of Indian land and resources.

On June 26, 1975, after the shoot out at the elderly Jumping Bull residence near Pine Ridge, SD during which Little Joe Killsright Stuntz and two FBI agents were killed, Leonard fled for his life. Why? He didn’t believe he would get a fair trial in the United States. The United States needed somebody to punish and they sought Peltier and illegally extradited him from Canada to face trial. He was correct; his trial was unfair.

During his lengthy and wrongful incarceration Leonard has had severe medical problems including diabetes, yet the United States officials have moved him from prison to prison. Why? No doubt to further deteriorate his health, make it more difficult and expensive for his family, friends, and support groups to visit him.

He was recently moved to Waymont, Pennsylvania to the federal prison called USP Canaan where he was jumped and beaten badly by unknown prisoners. As a result, Leonard was put in solitary confinement and is being denied nutritious food and adequate medical care. Why? This is what I want to know.

Leonard has never had problems with other prisoners until this recent incident; in fact, they have all respected him. It is my feeling that this assault was set up to discredit him and prevent him from eventual release.

As President, you can see to it that Leonard is afforded basic human rights. You can have an investigative team show you that he was tried unfairly. Documents that show his innocence were not brought forth during his trial. You can talk with his many lawyers who have never let up in their defense because they know Leonard did no wrong. You can contact his close and extended family, his friends, and his compatriots of the American Indian Movement to verify his gross mistreatment. There are books and videos on his life, his activism, and what he believes in. Please help this man. The world will soon be watching. Thank you.
D. Scott Dodrill, Director
Northeast Regional Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
2nd & Chestnut Streets, 7th Floor
Philadelphia PA 19206


Dear D. Scott Dodrill,

I am concerned that Leonard Peltier’s safety, health, and well being are in danger. He deserves humane treatment while serving time in federal prison.

Please see what you can do to ensure that his human rights are being afforded him and he has nutritious food and proper medical attention. Thank you.
Harley G. Lappin, Director
Bureau of Prisons
U.S. Department of Justice
320 First Street NW, Room 654
Washington D.C. 20534


Dear Harley G. Lappin,

I am concerned about Leonard Peltier who deserves humane treatment while serving time in federal prison.

Over the past 33 years of imprisonment he has had different medical problems including diabetes. It is my understanding that he is currently in solitary confinement after being beaten at Canaan penitentiary by unknown assailants. Please look into that and see that he is getting proper medical attention and a diet of nutritious food.
Thank you.
Ronnie R. Holt, Warden
U.S. Penitentiary-Canaan
3057 Easton Turnpike
Waymart PA 18472


I am concerned about Leonard Peltier’s condition and well-being.

It is my understanding that he is currently in solitary confinement after being beaten recently by more than one unknown assailants shortly after arriving at Canaan. I find this difficult to comprehend or accept and I urge you to resolve this matter quickly. I know Leonard--he is not the type to provoke a fight with anyone.

Over the past 33 years of imprisonment he has had different medical problems including diabetes. Please see that he has proper medical attention and is getting a diet of nutritious food. Thank you.

My prayers and love go to Marquetta, Betty, and all Leonard's family! My love and gratitude go to all those who have rallied and will rally to his support! Every song, prayer, and ounce of concern makes him a stronger man. Lim'limt.