Subject: March for Freedom
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 18:15:00 +0000
From: John Steinbach <>
Organization: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee


Dear Friends,

With Leonard Peltier’s appeals exhausted, and with a clemency appeal sitting on President Clinton’s desk for six years, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) has decided to organize the Countdown to Clemency Freedom March on Sunday, December 10, 2000 in New York City. This is the last best chance to build public opinion to persuade President Clinton to grant Leonard clemency. Given his failing health after 24 years of incarceration, including loss of sight in one eye due to a misdiagnosed and mistreated stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and the complications from childhood tetanus, there is great fear that Leonard could die in prison.

A widespread consensus holds that the case against Leonard was fraught with false depositions, fabricated evidence and perjured testimony. For example, Amnesty International has declared Leonard Peltier to be a “Political Prisoner” and called for his immediate release. Others who echo Amnesty include the European Parliament, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Desmond Tutu, Jesse Jackson, the Dali Lama and millions of supporters worldwide. For Native Americans, Leonard Peltier is a powerful symbol of their ongoing oppression and groups like the National Congress of American Indians(the nation’s largest Native American Group) and the Assembly of First Nations in Canada demand his freedom.

The Peace, and Anti-nuclear movements should support Leonard because he was part of the American Indian Movement(AIM) movement, allied with traditional Indians, trying to protect Indian Country, especially the Black Hills, from uranium mining to fuel the arms race. The incident which lead to Leonard’s arrest and conviction occurred the very same day that the corrupt Pine Ridge Tribal Council was in Washington signing over the title to 1/8 of the sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills) for uranium mining. Subsequent uranium exploration left abandoned drill holes, uranium mines and mills, and tailings which have irreversibly contaminated the Pine Ridge drinking water. Human rights and social justice groups should support Leonard because his imprisonment represents a grave miscarriage of justice. During the 2 years between the standoff at Wounded Knee(where the U.S. Government involved heavy combat equipment, combat troops, and fired over 500,000 rounds of ammunition) and the incident at the Standing Bull Ranch there was a “reign of terror” on Pine Ridge, with at least 64 traditionals and AIM supporters murdered. Despite the presence of scores of FBI agents on scene, none of these “death squad” murders was ever solved. (the level of deadly political violence on Pine Ridge directed at AIM and their traditional supporters exceeded that which occurred in Central America in the 1980s) None of this background information was permitted at Leonard’s trial.

If ever there has been a time when Leonard Peltier needed the support of the progressive movement; this is it! It is crucial and extremely urgent that we put all of our efforts together and make a strong showing before President Clinton leaves office. Please make a serious commitment to help free Leonard Peltier.

A bus to New York has been reserved for December 10. We will leave from Brookland Metro Stop at 7:00AM sharp, and return at 10PM. The cost is $25 per seat, however there will be a sliding scale for lower income activists. Volunteers are urgently needed! Please attend an initial planning meeting Wednesday, October 25, 7PM at the Gray Panthers Headquarters, 711 Eighth St. NW(Gallery Place Metro/Barrier-Free), or contact John Steinbach 1-703-369-7427 <>, or Harry Scordo 703-820-9783 <>

Yours for Peace and Justice,

Chief Billy Redwing Tayac and Louise Franklin-Ramirez for the Mid-Atlantic Mobilization to Free Leonard Peltier