For twenty long years, we have relied on the higher courts to overturn the lower court decisions plagued with irregularities which were inconsistent with a fair trial in Fargo, North Dakota.Yet the Supreme court denied the final appeal which terminates the legal avenues of Leonard's chance for a new trial. The blatant disregard for justice by the Supreme Court forces us to explore still another avenue --the Executive Branch, asking President Clinton to grant Executive Clemency for Leonard Peltier.

The issue of clemency is one of right and wrong, as opposed to legal or illegal. There was much wrong done at Leonard's first trial, as well as irregularities which occurred at that trial.The prosecution has admitted that the FBI had indeed fabricated and withheld evidence which could have been beneficial to the defense. There were also many miscarriages of justice which occurred prior to the trial itself. Including the deplorable way in which Myrtle Poor Bear was used to gain extradition of Leonard Peltier from Canada. The admission by the federal prosecutor --Lynn Crook-- that the government doesn't know who killed the agents elaborates what we've said all along. "The civil liberties of this country have never been open to the original peoples of this great country known as Turtle Island."

The prosecution painted a bleak picture of Leonard to a jury from an area of North Dakota that has been historically biased against native people. To their disgrace, the FBI went "judge-shopping" to find a court that was more than willing to appease the federal government and the FBI with a blueprint for conviction and sentencing.

Peltier was also a member of the American Indian Movement(AIM) which had been targeted and labeled by the FBI as a terrorist organization. They had lost a major field battle against AIM at Wounded Knee in 1973 and were intent upon destroying the group and its leadership.

At the time of the shooting at Oglala, a camp of AIM leaders,supporters, women, and children were situated at the Jumping Bull Ranch of the Pine Ridge reservation. The FBI maintains the two federal agents who stormed the property (they allegedly had awarrant for a man named Jimmy Eagle who was charged with stealing a pair of cowboy boots), were in pursuit of a red pickup. What followed next is still unclear. However, it is clear that gunfire erupted and those in the camp were painfully aware that unknown assailants begin firing upon them. With several women and children present the response was to return fire.

In the aftermath, the camp was filled with 200 FBI agents and special forces. People at the camp escaped through the hills,escorted and hidden by members of the local community. When it was all over, one of the AIM security people --Joe Stuntz, and two FBI agents were dead. No one has ever been charged with the murder of Stuntz.

The FBI then launched the largest manhunt in the history of the U.S.. The FBI press releases portrayed AIM as a terrorist group that had murdered federal agents. Leonard Peltier, Bob Robideau, and Dino Butler were charged with the murders. Robideau and Butler were tried and acquitted at their trial in Iowa usinga self-defense theory. This proved that the people did not know who was firing upon them, and thus the return of fire was done in self-defense.

Peltier was extradited from Canada based on fabricated accounts by Myrtle Poor Bear, who was coerced by government agents. Peltier was not permitted to use the same theory of self-defense which prevented the use of much evidence from being presented to the jury. Other evidence was withheld, lost, fabricated and misinterpreted. Not until the Freedom of Information Act did much of the misinformation by the prosecution and government become available.

In a letter to Senator Inouye, Judge Heaney of the Eighth CircuitCourt outlined five reasons why Leonard Peltier should be free.He concluded with a statement that the healing process must begin.

The following open letter to President Clinton is presented here to educate the American People about a war that was conducted right in the heart of North America. A war that not many people knew about, already you all know more about these events than ninety-nine-percent of the country.

Open Letter to President Clinton (Next) | Preamble (Back)