Archive | July, 2013

37 years later still no justice for Peltier

31 Jul

From Al Jeezera, sad but not surprising that the setller media is silent on this

Native American activist Leonard Peltier has been in prison for 37 years this month, for a crime his supporters say he did not commit. [AP]
“I think I can explain beyond serious doubt, that Leonard Peltier has committed no crime whatsoever,” said former US Attourney General Ramsey Clark. “But that if he had been guilty of firing a gun that killed an FBI Agent, it was in defense of not just his people but the integrity of humanity from domination and exploitation.”

A new effort is underway on the anniversary of Native American activist Leonard Peltier’s conviction to urge President Barack Obama to grant clemency to a man Amnesty International considers to be a “political prisoner” in the United States.

This effort is spearheaded by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee and joined by his supporters worldwide.

“We no longer have to convince the world of his innocence,” Peltier attourney John Privitera told Al Jazeera at a press conference in New York City this past December. “All anyone has to do is read the judicial history of his conviction and incarceration and it is clear that there was a miscarriage of justice.”

The judicial history of the Peltier case is fraught with racism, false evidence, coerced testimonies, controversy, and perjury. It is a stain on the judicial system of the United States and has attracted support for Peltier’s freedom by such notable figures as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama.

Reign of Terror

It was the mid 1970s on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota during a period which saw the highest per capita murder rate in the country. Most murders went unsolved. Few were ever investigated.

Tribal Council Chairman Richard “Dick” Wilson was elected in 1972. Wilson, viewed as a corrupt administrator who channelled tribal funds to himself while jobs went to his allies, cracked down on the “traditional” people of Pine Ridge, those who valued their indigenous culture, language, and beliefs over more Americanized, western based value systems.

An enthusiastic supporter of signing over native land rights to mining companies, Wilson organized a private militia called ‘Guardians of the Oglala Nation’ or ‘GOONs’ to intimidate his political opponents.

At the time, the American Indian Movement (AIM) had been a growing force across the United States standing up for Native American rights, including the upholding of treaties signed by the US Government with the Lakota Nation.

On February 27, 1973, protesting the injustice and conditions on the reservation and bringing attention to the broken treaties, some 200 members of the American Indian Movement and their Oglala Lakota supporters occupied the town of Wounded Knee on Pine Ridge, the site of the 1890 massacre by the US 7th Cavalry which killed at least three hundred unarmed Indians – mostly women and children.

The occupation of Wounded Knee was met by a massive show of force by the FBI, US Marshals, and Tribal Police. Military armoured personnel carriers rumbled down the reservation’s roads, and the occupation ended after a 71 day standoff which saw two Indians, Frank Clearwater and Buddy LaMont, killed by gunfire.

What followed was a period on the reservation referred to by those who lived through it as the “reign of terror.”

Dick Wilson’s tribal government funded GOON squads began a campaign of violence against anyone thought to be an AIM supporter or traditional Oglala Lakota. Entire neighborhoods were shot up, houses were burned, and at least sixty members of AIM or their supporters on the reservation had been found murdered.

The traditional people on the reservation invited AIM to play a more active role in helping protect them from Wilson’s gangs. Leonard Peltier was one of those who came to Pine Ridge to help safeguard the community from the violence which engulfed them.

“It was a time of terror for our people, the FBI came to the land of the Oglalas and gave guns and bullets to Indian people,

Tom Poor Bear (left), Oglala Vice President, said “The only thing Leonard [Peltier] is guilty of is carrying the responsibility of our ancestors.” [Jason Coppola/Al Jazeera]

to kill other Indian people,” Oglala Tribal Vice President Tom Poor Bear told Al Jazeera.

Poor Bear, who has been in AIM since 1972, was in New York City recently speaking up in support of Peltier’s release.

“During the reign of terror, a lot of us, like Leonard, set up camps to protect our elders, to protect our children, to protect our spiritual people,” Poor Bear added. “The only thing Leonard is guilty of is carrying the responsibility of our ancestors.”

It was in this atmosphere that on June 26, 1975, two under cover agents of the FBI drove onto the private property of the Jumping Bull residence where members of AIM had a nearby camp.

Soon after a shootout erupted, with women and children fleeing in the crossfire, FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams were killed.

The camp was soon surrounded and came under a hail of gunfire while people continued to flee.

A third death, that of Native American Joe Stuntz, shot through the head by a sniper’s bullet, has yet to be investigated.

After one of the largest manhunts in FBI history, Peltier, who was at the AIM camp on that day, was arrested in February 1976 in Canada and accused of killing the agents.

Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, arrested in the United States, were also charged with the killings. However, both of them were acquitted of these charges by a federal jury in Cedar Rapids,Iowa, on the grounds of self-defense.

The jury decided that had they been among what was reported to be up to thirty or so involved in the shoot out, and had they been the ones who fired on and killed the agents, due to the fear and violence in the community at that time, those acts would have been justified.

Nevertheless, the FBI was determined to hold someone accountable for the deaths of their agents and turned their focus to Peltier.

Peltier was extradited to the United States for trial based on an affidavit signed by a young Native American woman named Myrtle Poor Bear who stated that she was Peltier’s girlfriend at the time and had been a witness to the killings.

Myrtle Poor Bear, known to have been mentally unstable, later recanted, admitting that she had never met Peltier but was threatened into making the incriminating statements by the FBI.

The court in Peltier’s case barred her from testifying about FBI misconduct on the grounds of her “incompetence.”

The court also prohibited Peltier from using “self-defense,” as Butler and Robideau did successfully in Cedar Rapids, as his own defense.

Scare Tactics

During the Peltier trial, the airwaves were filled by media reports of imminent terrorist attacks and kidnappings that were supposedly to be carried out by AIM groups. Jury members were escorted to and from the court house by SWAT teams in busses with blacked out windows.

The fear this generated paid off for the prosecution. Despite failing to produce a single eyewitness to the killings, the prosecution prevailed and on April 19, 1977, the all white jury in Fargo, North Dakota, convicted Leonard Peltier, sentencing him to two consecutive life terms.

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit years later turned up a ballistics report which revealed that the gun which the prosecution tied to Peltier during the trial did not produce the shell casings found at the scene. The report had been concealed during the trial.

Regardless, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling even though US prosecutor Lynn Crooks had admitted, “no one knows who fired the fatal shots” that killed the agents.

In fact, during the appeal, according to Peltier defense committee member Dorothy Ninham of the Oneida Nation, when confronted with the lack of evidence the court informed Peltier that he wasn’t being held for the ‘first degree murder’ charge but for ‘aiding and abetting’; a crime for which Peltier had not been extradited for, charged with, or convicted of.

The Spirit of Crazy Horse

The details of the Peltier case and the importance of its historical context were carefully presented in the best selling book, “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the Leonard Peltier Story” by Peter Matthiessen, as well as in Robert Redford’s documentary, “Incident at Oglala”.

This context could not be more clear to Ninham, who told to Al Jazeera, “This is not about one day on Pine Ridge and this is not about two FBI agents being murdered. This is about a whole lot more and goes back over a hundred years since we’ve been fighting with the government.”

“They are holding Leonard for two people,” Ninham, who posed numerous unanswered questions, added. “What about the 60 murders that happened on that reservation during the “reign of terror?” Who did any time for them? Who even accounted for those murders? Why wasn’t a ballistics test done to see who killed Joe Stuntz? What about at Wounded Knee when they [government agents] shot into the church and killed Frank Clearwater?”

“It is just incredible the amount of injustice that has happened to him [Peltier] in his lifetime,” Ninham adds. “I know Leonard. I know the kind of person he is. I’ve worked with him. I know that he is not capable of murder.”

“We want people of all races to get involved with this”, says Ninham. “We want to remind people that as long as Leonard is not free, none of us are free. I don’t know how the United States can sit with this black eye and then talk about human rights in other countries when we are failing to take care of our own issues here.”

From Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota, then put into an Indian boarding school as a child, Peltier, who is Anishinabe and Lakota, is thought of by most who know him as just a regular guy with a strong desire to help his people, whether it be defending treaty rights or fixing people’s cars.

Peltier, the symbol, has grown since his conviction, and he is now regularly compared to great leaders like Crazy Hourse and Sitting Bull, two legendary Lakota leaders whose lives continue to inspire.

Representing an Idea

The idea Peltier now represents, according to his spiritual advisor Lenny Foster, is that of Indigenous Peoples’ struggle and resistance around the world.

“He’s locked up and in essence we are all locked up doing time with him”, Foster told Al Jazeera.

Lenny Foster, spiritual adviser of jailed Native American activist Leonard Peltier, has been prohibited by the US government from seeing Peltier [Jason Coppola/Al Jazeera]

“As long as he’s treated like a political prisoner, we indigenous people are also treated this way. Not having our treaty rights and our sovereignty rights and our freedom of worship being recognised, I think Leonard is a symbol of all of that,” added Foster. “For what he represents and what he symbolizes, they want to punish him.”

A Dine/Navajo, Foster is a volunteer spiritual advisor for Native American inmates in state prisons and federal penitentiaries. He has been a strong advocate for traditional ceremonies for Native American prisoners, more than 2,000 of whom he has come in contact with while visiting 96 correctional facilities over 30 years in order to conduct sweat lodge ceremonies, pipe ceremonies, and cell side visits.

“I started visiting Leonard Peltier in the Leavenworth US Penitentiary, and eventually moved on to the US Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania,” said Foster. “I know Leonard Peltier to be a Revered Elder, and he is a very reverent and spiritual person. He’s not some gangster or some gang banger. That’s what the federal bureau of prisons wants you to believe.”

In seeming disregard for the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, an Act which safeguarded the right of Native Americans in the US to practice their religion, even if incarcerated, Peltier has been denied visits from Foster since being transferred to Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, a maximum security prison in Coleman, Florida in 2011.

The reason?

Because Foster is a “friend” of Peltier.

“I raised the issue with the chaplain,” said Foster. “That if I were a priest, minister, or rabbi, and had known an inmate for thirty years wouldn’t I be somehow friends and have a relationship? But he wouldn’t budge on it. The US prison system, when you think about it, is designed to break your spirit, to break your will, to break you down and make you give up. They’ve tried for thirty seven years to break Leonard’s spirit and they haven’t done it.”

With the incarceration of Leonard Peltier, the US government’s battle against him has not ended. As a prisoner in the US penal system, Peltier has endured beatings and solitary confinement.

He also has diabetes, high blood pressure, has suffered a stroke and, accoriding to his lawyers, been denied sufficient medical treatment.

Exemplar of Justice?

As the United States fashions itself as a global leader in human rights advancement, Leonard Peltier’s freedom cannot be overlooked.

“I want you to realize there are millions of people throughout the world who are aware of Leonard’s case of injustice”, Attourney Peter Grant, who is Peltier’s lawyer, told Al Jazeera. “They have to be reminded of this. Every diplomat, every world leader knows it is a ball and chain on the President’s ability to speak about human rights. It affects his credibility.”

Peltier has been Grant’s client for decades now.

“We have to reignite the fact of the injustice done to Leonard”, Grant added. “We have to keep not only local pressure on the President from people here in the United States, from people on this continent, from people throughout Indian country, we have to keep human rights pressure throughout the world on this president because he has no credibility on those issues until he breaks this ball and chain on his own ankle.”

At the New York press conference, Privitera read an appeal to President Barack Obama.

“Mr President, we appeal directly to you. As a legal scholar, you know that article two, section two of our constitution is one of the strong threads in the fabric of our justice system. It is a responsibility born by the executive. It embraces the power to deliver justice, to exercise mercy, and to be wise in that law given power.”

“This is an historic opportunity, Mr. President, to infuse your legacy with soulfulness and wisdom”, he read. “We ask only that you commute the sentence of Leonard Peltier. No further findings have to be made. Commute him after thirty seven years of imprisonment. You have clemency power to say, and we ask that you do it now, that justice has been served by time, sir. And it’s time to return Leonard home to his community to work and die on Turtle Mountain.”

Having been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times himself while incarcerated, Peltier must hope Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama is listening.

Emphasizing the urgency, Privitera continued, “Mr President, this case cries out for mercy. It is time to reveal and exercise your power and wisdom judiciously and we plead today that you commute Leonard Peltier’s sentence. Be merciful. Be wise. Use your power. Bring Leonard Peltier home.”

Until that happens, Leonard Peltier and his supporters around the world continue to wait.

Justice For Sammy Killer Cops off Our Streets

30 Jul

Aug. 13th 1 pm 40 college st. Toronto

The Toronto Police Services Board is meeting Tuesday August 13th at 1:30pm. Join us as we mourn the death of Sammy Yatim, Toronto’s latest victim of police brutality, and fight for justice for all victims of police violence and murder.

The “special investigations unit” has shown a clear inability to police the police, leaving cops in Toronto with a sense that they can get away with murder, and leaving us with no hope for accountability from the authorities.

Our communities are stronger, and more resilient than racist, classist police, and together we can ensure justice and build a world without police violence

http://www.tpsb.ca/V/Meeting_Dates/

Meeting in Solidarity with Venezuela affirms our dedication to anti colonialism

29 Jul

On the centennial of the birth of liberator Simon Bolivar, people from across Canada gathered in Montreal to unify in solidarity with the Bolivarian Process, as well as set a plan of action to continue our work to support Venezuela against U$ aggression.

The meeting began with an introduction by the organizers and was followed by a smudging ceremony as well as a speech by a Mohawk Elder wishing us success in our endeavours and discussing the need to reject the colonialist model of genocide put forward by the state. This was followed by a Message of solidarity from Martin Rafferty of Belfast 32CSM, which was very well received. The Msg was then followed by a gift from 32CSM of an Irish Flag to the Social Movements fighting for the Bolivarian Revolution.

The flag was handed over in a ceremony to the movements, who will pass it on from one group to the other as a sign of friendship between those in Ireland fighting British Colonialism and Latin American nations fighting for self determination. The gathering was then addressed in spanish by a member of Anti Colonialist working group saluting the brave work of 32CSM and the Venezuelan people.

This was followed by a video and report back about the struggle in Latin America led by the social ALBA movements for self determination and resistance to the anglo imperialist agenda of colonialism and neo liberalism.

This was followed by a breakout session where we discussed the need for political cadre as well as to strengthen people s media.

The event ended with cultural performances.

Throughout this the need to strengthen links with all fighting colonialism and capitalism was an important theme and people left with a sense of accomplishment and lots of tasks.

Meeting With Consulate of Lithuania was posative

26 Jul

Despite traffic and an accident on the 401 highway, making me late, I sat down with Paul Kuras Consul General of Lithunaia to discuss concern around the case of Michael Campbell. The discussion was very posative, as we discussed the need for him to be sent home. This was followed by handing in letters we got asking for him to be repatriated.

Talking to the girlfriend of a victim of facist violence….NEVER AGAIN!!!

24 Jul

The enemies of class struggle deserve any violence they get.-Maoist slogan in the sixties

Were you followed?…..nahhh got a drive to weber entered a friends house, left through there back yard, doubled back….hows he doing?i ask go see for yourself im told…..how goes it i say, you look like shit……thanks big nose he respodes, i toss him a tube of lydocaine topical cream, some toradals (non narcotic pain killers) and a mickey of wiskey. This should help with the pain, i take it ur not going to the hospital? There not idiots he responds, they will only believ so many bullshit stories……remember canada day he ask….i laugh….just wondering you got a good one in the head he tells me, yeah and a few cracked ribs.

What happenned?I ask? five of those fuckers jumped me, one hit me from the back, they are fucken cowards i state, fuck them.

Want a shot Julian…..nahh you need it more plus anger wiskey and julian equals me rushing twenty of them and going to jail….lol but ill make some coffee and steal some smokes off of you…..dude you can barly breathe stop fucken smoking…..what your my girlfriend now….if your gonna complain..(i make an obsesene joke) fuck you julian….we jok around some more and my friend is tired so he goes to bed.

His girl comes out and has a smoke with me, wake him up every hour ask him his name and shit like 8+8 to see if he has a concussion. She says I dont think he could have answered that even without a concusion. We Laugh I light another smoke, seriously i say if he gets worst take hin to the hospital tell them he fell or got into a bar fight or some shit. What are we gonna do she asks me?

Good question, they are armed and cops never stop and search them, they are snitches, they have the state on there side. I answer we do what we walys do defend ourselves, never throw the first punch but finish shit if we are attacked, take over there spaces and if they want it o be like the late 90’s street fights and shit we will kick there asses. Still we cant act rash, to many of us are under survvelliance etc. and the cops would love any excuse to lock us up.

I go home and rant to a friend of mine on FB, I cant tell him why Im pissed, but its obvious that Im pissed. Blood and Honour , JDL, EDL whatver the fuck they call themselves they are nothing more then tools of the state. There hero Kyle McGee got chased out of town, but before he did he wrote quite a few police statements, i hear hes firebombing homes with kids and shit in calgary now being a tough guy, Tri City Skins and other groups that we use to fight also got chased out of town, some of them like Chris Guile was arrested for shit like child porn and theyn use to run the coke trade. Still when push came to shove, the police defended and escorted them to saftey. To bad they were not there when mona zettllers house got firedbombed in the early 90’s or our drop in centr windows got smashed etc.

They are, at the end of the day agents of the state and enemies of the people. How do you fight them when they have no honour and need the police to escort them out of the courthouse. I wake up all pissedd of, am ranting to my friend on FB, i go out for a smoke, then another, then another fuck, its only 7 45 am and i smoked six smokes.

I start to think, i wake up my nieghbour, cause im an ass and ask to use there phoine, I call his girl, shes not to impressed, but we start talking. Things become clear, the nazi fucks are pretty much broken there acts are acts of desperation fueled by the increase of dumb fucks, internet toughguys, we intensify our work, which is what they are trying to stop, intensify our peoples programs as well as political education and defend ourselves.

To any NAZI fucks reading this know that force will be met with force, we will not throw the first punch but we will contnue to do our work and if attacked we will crush you!!! You may have the state to back you eg. grant bristol affair Matt Lauder etc., but we do have community support, and unlike you we are not cowards!!!! The few of you that are left should join your friend kyle in calgary cause we will make sure that you are not welcome here

Celebrate CUBA´S REBELLION DAY

23 Jul

Friday

July 26th

6:30pm

to

12:00am

United Steelworkers’ Hall

25 Cecil St., (one block southeast of College and Spadina)

Dedicated to President Hugo Chávez Frías

A Political and Cultural Event

Special guest Raúl Delgado Concepción, Honourable Consul of Cuba in Toronto

Special presentation honouring Comandante Presidente Hugo Chávez Frías

Live Band

D.J.

Homemade Halal food

And much more….Stay tuned…

On July 26th, 1953 a group of brave young Cubans, led by Fidel Castro, attacked the Moncada and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes garrisons,

symbols of the tyranny and occupation of Cuba under the U.S. puppet regime of Batista.

Although the attack was militarily defeated, it raised the banner of struggle, which would lead to the victory of the Cuban Revolution on

January 1st, 1959. We celebrate the legacy of Comandante Presidente Hugo Chávez Frías and the continued heroic resistance of the Cuban

Five, unjustly convicted by the U.S. government for the “crime” of preventing and exposing terrorist attacks against Cuba, planned and

launched from U.S. territory.

ORGANIZED BY: Toronto Forum on Cuba – http://www.torontoforumoncuba.com, torontoforumoncuba@rogers.com AND

La Asociación de Cubanos JUAN GUALBERTO GÓMEZ – cubanosjgg.blogspot.com, asociacion.jgg@gmail.com

ENDORSED BY: The Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network Toronto (LACSN) – lacsn.weebly.com

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Political persecution continues!!!My next court date!!!

22 Jul

Aug 12th 9:00 am Superiour Court University St. Toronto

on Aug. 12th once again I am called in front of the respresentatives of her majesty the Queen, commander in chief of death squads and occupational forces here and abroad to face her injustice. This is my last court date before my trial begins Sept 30th, given that this is a Judicial Pretrial they may try to hold it in camera eg. the state and all there flukes can be there but my comrades must wait outside.

The purpose of this court date among other things is to hand in my factum and discuss things that might come up to make there kangeroo court run more efficiently.

Before we examine the nature of this kangeroo court let us examine the facts around this case. The state decided that for the sake of quelling opposition for the G8 and G20 meetings in toronto they identified people who according to the G20 papers held “criminal Ideologys”, these ideologies being Anarchism, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and Socialism. Based on this people were targetted to be spied on and infiltrators were created on the basis of psycological profiles, me being one of them, Two years before the G20 meeting in 2010 these infiltrators were sent into our communities and documented everything about my personal life, my feelings and many things that had nothing to do with any sort of leagl stuff. This was further enhanced by the infiltrator close to me making up lies and saying things i never said. i was thrown in a van, beaten in public based on this false evidence charged with conspiracy, despite the fact that I barly knew most of my co accused,released on bail after being in custody for a short time, only to have this charge later dropped after living under strick conditions aimed at stopping me from participaing in political activities. I was given non associations with people because of there politics demonized and accused of inciting violence.

Throughout all of this i was not given a single peace of evidence, nor told any of the specific allegations against me, having to hear about it third hand from others.

i wrote about my experiance with this undercover peace of shit, only to be told that I was breaking a publication ban so broad that it covered not only what was said in court, but rather anything related to the dirty ops. if one examines this publication ban it was written in such a way that it could be seen as indefinate. in other words the purpose of this ban was to silence the truth about the criminalization of political persecution in this country. As a political person i had no other option than to refuse to be part of this attack on the collective memory of political attacks on our right to be political.

As one can see from the facts this case is political, yet despite this fact i only have two days in front of a judge to prove that the courts are being used as a political tool to crush dissent, and if I bring up politics in front of the jury, I will be found in contempt, removed from the courts and have some idiot continue the trial without me.

Why does the state fear me talking politics in front of the jury? What do they have to hide? Are Ideas so dangerous that they must spend countless dollars persecuting me? Are they afraid that twelve regular people will see through this farce and aquit me based on political arguements such as the nuremburg principles, eg, the duty to disobey unjust laws?

Earlier i stated that this is a kangero court and I stick by it. Those who remember my preliminary hearing will remeber the fact that the judge was clearly in my favour yet she was powerless to throw out the charges. How will my trial in Septemer be any difrent. i expect no mercy from a criminal system that persecutes people based on holding Ideologies they deam wrong, like some fucked up orwellian novel.

I intend to be poltical during my whole trial in September, regarless of what the state has to say.

if the state does not want we to bring up politics in the court they have a very simple way of doing that END THE POLITICAL PROSECUTION NOW AND DROP THE CHARGES!!!!

I am a political person and a proud Marxist Leninist and as such I have no remorse for any of my actions that lead to these charges, and if I had to do it again I would, not because I am a criminal, but because i am a principled person and to remain silent about the dirty deeds of the state only allows them to continue to perpetrate there crimes in silence, something i cannot allow!!!