[Ppnews] Why won't the FBI release Peltier files?
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 6 08:47:01 EDT 2006
Why won't the FBI release Peltier files?
("First published in Socialist Worker")
By Joe Allen
LEONARD PELTIER, one of America's longest serving political prisoners, will
turn 62 years old September 12. He has spent 30 years of his life behind
bars for a crime he didn't commit-in one of the most infamous cases of
political persecution in modern U.S. history.
On September 8, Peltier's lawyer Barry Bachrach will argue in federal court
for the full release of all files maintained by the FBI's Minneapolis office
relating to Peltier.
Peltier was an active member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the
1970s. He was framed for the murder of two FBI agents on the Lakota Sioux
Pine Ridge reservation in June 1975.
AIM was a major focus of the FBI's notorious Counter Intelligence Program
(COINTELPRO) of the 1960s and '70s, which attempted to "neutralize" the
leadership of civil rights and revolutionary political organizations.
Two other AIM members, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler, were also indicted with
Peltier, but were found not guilty after a federal trial in July 1976.
Peltier, who had fled to Canada to avoid prosecution, was later extradited
to the U.S. and stood trial separately-he was found guilty of murder and
sentenced to life in prison.
Peltier's extradition from Canada and trial in the U.S. was rife with
coerced testimony, manufactured evidence and prosecutorial misconduct. Lynn
Crooks, one of Leonard's prosecutors, admitted in 1985, "We can't prove who
shot those agents." Yet Peltier remains in prison because of the
determined-even fanatical-efforts of the FBI.
So far, the FBI has released, partially or fully, 66,594 out of 77,149 pages
related to Peltier's case. The other 10,555 pages were withheld from
Peltier's defense team and could potentially provide crucial information in
the campaign to free him.
The FBI has refused to release the additional pages on the grounds of
"national security." Why a 61-year-old grandfather who has been behind bars
for three decades and is plagued by chronic illness is a threat to national
security has not been fully explained.
A look at the Minneapolis FBI's Web site gives an idea of the agency's
strange view of the world-many times more space is devoted to Peltier and
AIM than to Osama bin Laden.
In the waning days of the Clinton administration, when an effort was made to
secure a presidential pardon for Peltier, hundreds of FBI agents responded
by picketing the White House. Clinton backed away from a pardon. Since
September 11, federal prison authorities have refused media access to
Peltier. He has been unable to give an interview to the media in over five
years. Only his legal counsel and a small number of supporters and family
members can meet with him.
The FBI's latest actions are symbolic of its 30-year persecution of Peltier
and his supporters-and are perpetuating a terrible injustice.
Note: Article by Joe Allen and "first published in Socialist Worker"
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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