THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

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To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Petition for Leonard Peltier

from Freedom Archives' Political Prisoner News:


President Obama, please grant Peltier clemency
September 2, 4:04 PM

Six-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, American political prisoner Leonard Peltier was unsuccessful at his hearing on 28 July, 2009, the first full parole hearing held in the case since 1993. Parole was denied so is petitioning President Obama for Executive Clemency.

A worldwide outpouring of support for Peltier's release has included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Rigoberta Menchu, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the European Parliament, the Belgian Parliament, the Italian Parliament, the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Rev. Jesse Jackson and several American Indian nations and organizations including the National Congress of American Indians and the Assembly of First Nations according to Native American Times.

Over 500 VIP and celebrity Peltier supporters have requested his release.

In addition to concerns about fairness of his conviction, parole was sought by Peltier and his lawyer based on his good conduct record in prison and arrangements made by the Turtle Mountain tribe to receive him into their community on his release.

In 1976, Indigenous activist Leonard Peltier was arrested and illegally imprisoned for a crime he did not commit according to Friends of Peltier organization.

Amnesty International “regretted the US Parole Commission’s decision not to grant Leonard Peltier parole despite concerns about the fairness of his 1977 conviction for murder.

The organization called for the immediate release on parole of the activist, who is serving two consecutive life sentences and has spent more than 32 years in prison.” (Press Agency Emmegi, USA: Denial of parole to Leonard Peltier after more than 32 years in prison, disappointing, August 22,2009)

"Why should Americans care about this case?" the Friends group asks.

"The very same government tactics used to bring about Peltier's wrongful conviction are being applied today­ not for the sake of "national security," as is claimed, but simply to quash dissent," according to Arthur J. Miller, a co-coordinator for the Tacoma Leonard Peltier Support Group.

The group is appealing to President Obama to grant Executive Clemency to Peltier.

The United States Courts of Appeal have repeatedly acknowledged investigative and prosecutorial misconduct in this case but, by their decisions, refused to take corrective action. A model prisoner, Leonard also has been denied fair consideration for parole and Executive Clemency.

The petition to President Obama is below.
************************************************
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

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 Mr. 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.

In this case, your concern should be for equal treatment. From the time of Peltier's conviction until the mid-1990s, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average length of imprisonment served for homicide in the United States ranged from 94 to 99.8 months. Even if you were to take Peltier's two consecutive life sentences into account at the higher end of this range, it is clear that Peltier should have been released a very long time ago. His continued imprisonment after over 30 years appears to be nothing less than revenge for a crime Mr. Peltier did not commit. Personalized and politically motivated vengeance of this kind cannot be tolerated. The concepts of justice and good government require that you act to correct this wrong.

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. Mr. Peltier is now a great-grandfather. How many more generations must suffer this tragedy?

After careful consideration of the facts in Mr. Peltier's case, we have concluded that Leonard Peltier does not represent a risk to the public. First, Mr. Peltier has no prior convictions and has advocated for non-violence throughout his prison term. Furthermore, Mr. 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 Mr. Peltier maintains that he did not kill the agents, he has openly expressed remorse and sadness over their deaths.

Most admirably, Mr. 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.

Leonard Peltier is widely recognized in the human rights community for his good deeds and in turn has won several human rights awards including 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. Mr. Peltier also has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize six times.

Leonard Peltier is over 60 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, Mr. Peltier continues to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a heart condition. He risks blindness, kidney failure, stroke, and certainly premature death given his diet, living conditions, and health care.

We, the undersigned, 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.

The group requests supporters sign the petition and to Call the White House Comment Line:
202-456-1111 / 202-456-1112 to say, "Mr. President, Free Peltier NOW!"

For more information about Peltier, watch the free movie narrated by Robert Redford, Incident at Oglala.


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