President Obama chooses to ignore the petition to free Leonard Peltier
Clemency Appeal Falls on Deaf Ears
Back in September a petition was created at www.whitehouse.gov in an effort to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier. Since being put in prison in 1975 for the murder of two FBI agents overwhelming evidence has been gathered to show that the charges against him were trumped up and that witnesses admittedly lied during the trial.
Before the president would respond 5,000 electronic signatures were required on the petition. The petition not only achieved that goal (5,628 signatures), but an additional 7,000 hard-copy signatures were gathered as well.
On November 18th President Obama responded. It reads, in part:
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President the authority to grant "Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States." For more than 100 years, Presidents have relied on the Department of Justice and its Office of the Pardon Attorney for assistance in the exercise of this power.
...The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications. In accordance with this policy and the We the People Terms of Participation–which explain that the White House may sometimes choose not to respond to petitions addressing certain matters—the White House declines to comment on the specific case addressed in this petition.
The promised response was to refuse comment! Now is that what you'd call an open and honest president? The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (LPDOC) has been quick to respond to this letter. They write that while they were aware of the review process, the guidelines don't bind the President and he has the power to grant clemency to anyone for any reason. They go on to reiterate that U.S. lawyers knowingly lied to a Canadian court in the extraditing proceedings and that had Peltier been tried with his co-defendants he would have been cleared along with them. Additionally the Eighth Circuit of Appeals agreed that the U.S. had been dishonest in order to convict Leonard. The LPDOC continues:
...The facts of U.S. v Peltier (CR No. C77-3003) have not changed, Mr. Obama. You already have the means by which to make an informed decision in favor of Leonard Peltier.
...Free Leonard Peltier, Mr. Obama. It's time.
We the People
This writer would urge you to read this response in its entirety. It shows the lengths to which the United States government will go to avoid responsibility for wrongfully imprisoning an innocent man for over 35 years. This is not unique in American history when it comes to the treatment of Natives, of course. When it comes to getting what they want, bullying on the part of the government is the rule rather than the exception.
Now is not the time to sit back and throw our hands up into the air. One flea won't bother a dog much but it can't ignore thousands of them! Keep after the White House to act now on the Leonard Peltier case. He's in poor health in a Florida prison. The president would be content to sit back and wait for him to die. We can't let that happen. The LPDOC recommends these actions:
Books and Videos on Leonard Peltier
Other Articles of Interest
- Leonard Peltier: When Will the Shameful Treatment of American Indians End?
For hundreds of years American Indians have faced injustices at the hands of the White people. Nowhere is this more evident than in the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Leonard Peltier.
- Be Careful Who Your Heroes Are!
Anthony Wayne is viewed as a hero and the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana is named after him. But is he really deserving of the honor?