[Ppnews] The serious nature of the offense: the ongoing kidnapping of Leonard Peltier

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 26 10:24:13 EDT 2009

The serious nature of the offense: the ongoing kidnapping of Leonard Peltier

by Carolina Saldaña
Tuesday Aug 25th, 2009 9:47 PM

The United States Parole Board denies Native 
American political prisoner Leonard Peltier the 
right to spend the last years of his life in freedom.

In violation of the law, ethical standards, and 
human rights norms, and in the tradition of 
genocide against the original peoples of the 
Americas, the United States Parole Board has 
denied Native American political prisoner Leonard 
Peltier the right to spend the last years of his 
life in freedom. The Board’s shameful decision 
was announced by federal prosecutor Drew Wrigley 
on August 21. There won’t be another review of 
his case until 2024, when Leonard is 79 years old.

As a member of the American Indian Movement 
(AIM), Leonard Peltier was unjustly sentenced to 
two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI 
agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 
Lakota nation (state of South Dakota) on June 26, 
1975. ¿How long has this kidnapping gone on? 72 
hours? A week? Several months? No. It’s been in progress for 33 ½ years!

The Parole Board’s pretexts?
--that his release would diminish the serious nature of the offense
--that his release would promote disrespect for the law
--that he hasn’t expressed remorse
--that he’s had several write-ups in prison, including an escape attempt.

Like a parrot, the Associated Press reporter 
repeats FBI lies spread by Wrigley: "Leonard 
Peltier is an unrepentant, cold-blooded murderer 
who executed FBI special agents Williams and 
Coler, and in doing that he tore them from their 
families and from their communities forever," 
Wrigley said. "Leonard Peltier is exactly where 
he belongs ­ federal prison, serving two life 

The following statement was made by Leonard’s 
Defense Offense Committee on August 22:
“The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee 
acknowledges the receipt of the decision of the 
United States Parole Commission to deny parole 
for American Indian Political Prisoner Leonard 
Peltier. We wish to thank our thousands of 
supporters for their tenacious efforts, in 
particular during the months leading to Leonard's 
recent hearing. Currently we are in the process 
of finalizing plans for efforts around exercising 
our right to challenge this decision, advocate 
for intervention by President Obama, and 
succeeding in getting both proper medical 
attention for Leonard and a transfer to a federal 
prison closer to home. We will be issuing 
directives within the near future.” 

Amnesty Internacional expressed its 
disappointment over the Board’s decision and 
called for the immediate release of Leonard 

Leonard Peltier is widely recognized as a 
spiritual warrior who struggles for his people In 
his autobiographical prison writings, My Life is 
My Sundance he writes: “I’ve often wondered what 
the FBI boys got out of all this, except the 
hatred of Native Americans and the disrespect of 
their own people. And what must they think of 
themselves, those who partook of all these 
manipulations and fabrications, when they look at 
their face in the mirror each morning? They must 
shudder at the sight of themselves, avert their 
eyes from their own gaze in the mirror. So they 
have to live the lie they created in order to 
maintain an aura of pride and self-respect. Or 
perhaps their arrogance builds an impregnable wall of delusion.” (p. 119).

Kidnapping is a serious crime and it is 
aggravated every day, every week, every year. The 
FBI, prosecuting attorneys, judges, jailers, and 
Parole Board members all know Leonard Peltier was 
condemned on fabricated evidence. His brothers 
Dino Butler and Bob Robideau, also charged with 
the same killings, were acquitted on grounds of 
self-defense, justifiable in the reign of terror 
existing on the Pine Ridge Reservation following 
AIM’s daring occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. 
One of them has said he fired the bullets that killed the agents.


The Board’s pretexts are the same ones used in many cases:

The serious nature of the offense? In the 
campaign to gain the release of the MOVE 9, 
Ramona Africa said: “Historically, with political 
prisoners especially, parole boards have just 
basically thumbed their nose at their own laws to 
keep prisoners in prison. They’ve said things 
like “the serious nature of the offense” as an 
excuse to deny prisoners parole, especially 
political prisoners. And that is absolutely 
illegal. It makes no sense at all. Because when a 
judge sentences a person..., he’s already taken 
into account the “serious nature of the offense”. 
That’s what the judge is sentencing them on­the 
offense they were convicted of. So to come back 
later and say we’re not releasing you...because 
of the serious nature of the offense is 
completely illegal because that was already taken 
into account. And what it amounts to is 
re-sentencing a person.” 

Promote disrespect for the law? Leonard has 
something to say about the United States 
government’s respect for the law in its war 
against AIM: “They hid behind their usual cloak 
of ‘national security’ do their dirty work. Their 
first tactic: Forget the law, the law’s for 
suckers, subvert the law at will to get your man, 
however innocent he may be...; lie whenever and 
wherever you have to to keep the focus of inquiry 
on your victims, not on your own crimes. I have 
to admit, they succeeded brilliantly. In the name 
of the Law, they violated every law on the books, 
and in their deliberate strategy of putting 
me––and how many other innocents?––away in a cell 
or a grave, they turned the Constitution of the 
United States into pulp fiction. (My Life is my Sun Dance, p. 95-6)

Express remorse? As a matter of fact, Leonard has 
said that he regrets the deaths of the agents, 
but he has no remorse for having defending his 
people under attack at the Jumping Bull ranch, 
and he refuses to accept responsibility for 
something he didn’t do, executing the two agents.

Infractions of the rules? The Board knows that 
this man who is respected by hundreds of 
thousands of people in the world has not had a 
single infraction in the last ten years and that 
his record of promoting peace in the world is so 
distinguished that he has received six nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

An escape attempt? Nobody remembers the 
circumstances better than the FBI itself. Leonard 
relates that Standing Deer (El Venado) was 
recruited to kill him in prison, but was 
courageous enough to warn him. Leonard then fled 
because he believed his life was in danger. In 
retrospect, he thinks that this was all part of a 
plot by the federal agents to kill him while he 
was trying to escape. Now he must live “forever 
stricken” with his grief for the deaths of the 
prisoners who died due to the attempt: Dallas 
Thundershield, shot in the back during the 
escape; Bobby García, said to have hanged himself 
in his cell; and Standing Deer, “dumped back into 
an iron hole” (Mi Vida es mi Danza al Sol, pág. 
164-167) only to be executed after he served his sentence.

The serious nature of the offense. The serious nature of countless offenses.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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