Glorious spring has arrived here in London. All of life is coming out from its winter retreat & basking in the sun of plenty, charging the batteries for the plans for this year.
Not for Leonard Peltier though (&lots of others). All he has is a life in a concrete box where he is going to stay until they put him in a wooden box.
A member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Peltier was jailed on very spurious evidence for the murder of 2 FBI agents in Pine Ridge in 1977. Check out his case on Amnesty International’s website here:
A National Geographic article about the Pine Ridge reservation here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/pine-ridge/huey-photography
& link to the ‘Kola’ website here: http://users.skynet.be/kola/welcome.html (kola is the Lakota word for friend)
The issue with Leonard’s case at the moment is that he absolutely refuses to admit any guilt in the FBI murder or even to say he is sorry. He says that he is innocent & always has been. If he had admitted guilt then he would have been eligible for parole by now & would now be free. The state’s reason for his further incarceration is therefore that he is an unrepentant killer & is therefore still a danger to society.
Quite a predicament to find yourself in… State that you are guilty of something you did not do & get out of prison or else still protest your innocence because you are innocent & want to stand up against the injustices that are regularly perpetuated against your people (Peltier is from the Anishinabe/Lakota tribe).
Peltier’s continuing incarceration then is his very brave effort to show American justice for what it is (& nearly always has been), basically laws to protect power, not people (& definitely not laws to protect the indigenous American people).
He may never get out of prison unless he gets a pardon, & a pardon means the state admitting it was wrong, so… 13,950 days in prison so far & counting.
Vivienne says that all the petitions that have been made & signed by the general public, the thousands of letters which have been written in & the many celebrities who have publically stated their support for Leonard. They are all just ignored & the petitions & letters are just gathering dust in Washington. (This incidentally is how Vivienne met Pamela Anderson. Pamela signed Vivienne’s petition).
A young film maker called Lorna Tucker is currently in America making a film about Leonard which she hopes to show at this year’s ‘Sundance’ film festival. She has been partially funded by Vivienne. Lorna has made a previous documentary film about the indigenous American Indians, the premise of which is that whenever a full blood Indian woman goes to have a medical operation, she is secretly sterilized at the same time without her permission. The genocide still goes on.
Leonard hopes that even if he never gets out of prison he can still by his stand do something to help his people. He would like to raise enough money to build a hospital on the Pine ridge Reservation. The people there are amongst some of the poorest people on the planet. They have nothing & the reservation is plagued by drug addiction & suicides. Perhaps if the hospital were built it could be run along the lines of the medical system in Cuba which provides top class medical training in return for a donation of free medical care for several years by the newly trained doctors.
Free Leonard Peltier!
At World’s End shop we still have stocks of the ‘Free Leonard Peltier’ leather belt & buckle, the ‘Free Leonard Peltier’ canvas belt, flying cock pins (symbolising virility & freedom- Leonard has ‘big balls’, guts), a badge (comes in an assorted set of 6 – see earlier post ‘The Little Things’) & also a new t-shirt & print, price £35.00.