2016 Updates

 RideFF

May 27th through June 24th
Coleman FL to Washington DC

Who is Leonard Peltier? 
Leonard Peltier is a citizen of the Anishinabe & Dakota/Lakota Nations who has been unjustly imprisoned for over 40 years. To the international community, Peltier’s case is a stain on America’s human rights record.
For More Information Click Here

 What Led to Peltier’s Conviction?
It began in the early 1970’s on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, when tensions between then tribal chairman Dick Wilson & the traditionalists began to escalate.
For More Information Click Here

Click Here to sign the petition for Executive Clemency

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Last night on the road

So tomorrow is our last riding day! We are going to be joined by Jon’s son Jacob and we will officially end our ride at the White House. All total we have traveled through 6 states and the District of Columbia, covering over 1,100 miles by bicycle in all kinds of weather. A special thanks to everyone who supported us, feed us and sheltered us along the way.

We spoke to anyone who would listen to us about Leonard’s case and collected signatures for Executive Clemency. After being given a unfair trail he has spent 41 of his 71 years in a maximum security prison and has always maintained his innocence. That’s why the work does not stop until he can walk out of that prison and be with his family.

We will post more pictures from the event later but for right now this is what Jon and I will leave you all with taken from the International Peltier support group site:

Help me free my father

Dear Jasmine,

This weekend fathers across the U.S. will be celebrated, spending time with their loved ones and enjoying time with their children.

But for me, Father’s Day is an empty day.

My father is Leonard Peltier, a prominent member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). His name is synonymous with the struggle for Native rights and he has been behind bars for over 40 years—my whole life.

With my father’s health failing, it would mean everything to me if he’d get to spend a little of his life with me—even a week with him would be incredible.

Help bring my father home: Tell President Obama to grant Leonard Peltier clemency.

In 1975, two FBI agents and a Native American person were killed during a confrontation between the FBI and AIM in South Dakota. My father was there that day but has always maintained his innocence.

Many people—including judges, prison guards and legal experts—have agreed that his trial was unfair and corrupt. They’ve called for mercy, leniency and freedom—but he remains in prison.

My father has become very sick and has an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The Federal Bureau of Prisons says it won’t take care of it until it gets even worse—but I’m afraid that it will be too late. His freedom would mean that he can get the help he actually needs.

Please ask for the release of my father so we can spend the time he has left together.

He missed so much of my life, important moments like graduations, and I had to remember he wasn’t missing these moments because he wanted to—he had no choice.

My worst fear is that he will die in prison and I won’t have any real time with him.

Help free my father.

Sincerely,

Kathy Peltier
Daughter of Leonard Peltier

Take Action: http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=27118&ac=W1606EAIAR2&ea.url.id=634733&forwarded=true

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Day 20
We are in Richmond VA 965 miles into our trip! We are staying with Robbie and crew from the warm showers app and I am totally planing on returning the favor to the bike universe!

But I guess I should back peddle a little, we had a great rest day and got to meet new friends and see old ones. BEXS! big thanks to Tony and Anna for making us feel like part of the family.

It didn’t take long to feel tired again but we are fine and in a routine wake up, eat, ride, eat, ride some more, eat, talk to everyone that will listen about the Leonard Peltier case, get signatures for executive clemency, sleep and repeat. But for only a few more days.

So if you haven’t done the following three things please take the time to…..

One – please sign the petition for executive clemency:
http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=27118

Two – Send a post card to the White House: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/home/store/send-a-postcard-to-the-white-house/

Three: please consider supporting us with a tax free donation. All money will be spent on food and overnight accommodations, thanks!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CZF6GXX4YDU9W

The final bit of information from Leonard Peltier’s web site: HTTP://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

After The Trial

The only evidence against Leonard Peltier was the fact that he was present at the Jumping Bull ranch during the fatal shoot-out. There were more than 30 other individuals there on the day of the shooting—members and nonmembers of the American Indian Movement (AIM)—but only AIM members were prosecuted. Leonard Peltier is the only person who was convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned. And, today, the U.S. Attorney admits that no one knows who fired the fatal shots.

Post-Trial Admissions At the Peltier trial, the prosecutor claimed in summation that “… we proved that he went down to the bodies and executed those two young men at point blank range…” At one appellate hearing, however, the government attorney conceded,

“We had a murder, we had numerous shooters, we do not know who specifically fired what killing shots… we do not know, quote-unquote, who shot the agents.”

At Peltier’s trial the prosecutor, referring to the weapon alleged to have been used in the killings of the agents, stated that, “There is only one AR-15 in the group. There is no testimony concerning any other AR-15 at Tent City or at the crime scene or anywhere else in the area…” Leonard Peltier’s lawyers later filed a Habeas Corpus petition claiming that the government had misled the jury by concealing evidence of the presence of other AR-15 rifles, and thus other potential weapons used in the killings of the agents, at the scene of the incident. The same prosecuting attorney, before the Eighth Circuit Court in 1992, claimed that “… I think it’s simply a misstatement of the trial that there was no evidence presented and it was suppressed as to other AR-15s at the scene…”

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Day 19 VIRGINIA!!!!!

The Peltier Trial
In March 1977, Leonard Peltier stood trial in Fargo, North Dakota. According to the government, the case was originally assigned to the federal district court in Sioux Falls, where Judge Nichol (see Wounded Knee) would have presided. When Nichol excused himself, the case was assigned to Judge Paul Benson who removed the trial to Fargo.

It should be noted that, in December 1982, attorney William Kunstler discovered in a telephone conversation with Judge Edward McManus (who had presided over the Butler/Robideau trial) that McManus, not Benson, had been scheduled to try the Peltier case. He had been astonished, he said, to find himself arbitrarily removed in favor of Judge Benson. To this day, it is not clear how McManus’ removal was accomplished or by whom specifically. There appears to have been a concerted effort, however, to prevent the involvement of judges in Peltier’s trial who had previously made rulings in favor of defendants in the government’s prosecutions of other members of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as it had done during the Butler/Robideau trial, spread rumors about anticipated “terrorist” attacks by AIM members that built tensions in an already anti-Indian environment.

It was later discovered that the FBI met secretly with Judge Benson prior to trial. There are no notes of these meetings but, not surprisingly, Judge Benson’s subsequent rulings were made almost always in favor of the prosecution.

Documents discovered after the trial also revealed that the FBI had informants in the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee at or about the time of Leonard’s capture (a critical time, i.e., while a defense was being mounted).* The government has refused to divulge the identities of the informants. Infiltration of the defense team would have meant that the prosecution received first-hand information concerning the defense, a clear violation of Leonard’s constitutional rights.

Jury selection, completed in only one day, resulted in an all white jury of ten women and four men, two of whom were alternates. They were sequestered for the duration of the trial. Never in any danger, they nevertheless were made to feel vulnerable to attack. They were transported to the court house in a bus where the windows had been taped over and escorted by Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team members at all times.

The government presented fifteen days of evidence to the jury after which the defense presented six days of evidence. However, due to frequent rulings in the prosecution’s favor, the jury actually heard only two and one-half days of the defense case.

On April 19, 1977, after 11 hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of guilty.

What became evident much later is that the government committed fraud on the court and violated Leonard’s constitutional right to a fair trial by withholding evidence, presenting false evidence, and intimidating witnesses into committing perjury.

Ballistics Evidence

Critical ballistics evidence that reflected Leonard Peltier’s innocence was withheld during his trial. Specifically, the ballistics expert for the FBI, Evan Hodge, testified that he had been unable to perform the best test, a firing pin test, on certain casings found near Agent Coler’s car because the rifle in question had been damaged in a fire. Instead, he stated that he had conducted an extractor mark test and found the casing and weapon to match.

Years later, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) showed that, in October 1975, a firing pin ballistics test had indeed been performed on the rifle and that the results were clearly negative. In short, the fatal bullets did not come from the weapon alleged to have been fired by Leonard Peltier. It should also be made very clear that the AR-15 and FBI-issued M-16 deliver the same .223 caliber round. However, the jury never heard about any of these crucial issues. More

On a related matter, SA Fred Coward testified that he was able to see Peltier at the site of the shoot-out, some 700 feet away, using the telescopic lens on his rifle. The defense attorneys duplicated this sighting and found it to be impossible. However, Judge Benson would not allow a test of the claim in court. Coward’s testimony was allowed into evidence and used as a basis to support Peltier’s conviction.

The Pickup Truck

Equally disturbing are the numerous discrepancies regarding the key vehicle in the case. Agents Williams and Coler had radioed that they were chasing a “red pick up truck” which they believed was transporting a suspect. The chase led to the Jumping Bull Ranch and the fatal shoot-out. At trial, however, the evidence had changed to describe a “red and white van,” quite a different vehicle and which, not coincidentally, was more easily linked to Leonard Peltier.

Witnesses

No known witnesses exist as to the actual shooting of FBI Agents Coler and Williams. Three adolescents gave inconclusive and vague testimonies at Peltier’s trial, contradicting their own earlier statements, as well as each other. All three witnesses admitted they had been seriously threatened and intimidated by FBI agents.

The court, at Leonard Peltier’s trial, did not permit the jury to learn of the FBI’s pattern and practice of using false affidavits and intimidating witnesses in recent related cases against other members of the American Indian Movement. The jury was thus unable to properly evaluate the credibility of prosecution witnesses’ testimony.

The Prosecution’s Case

There was no witness testimony that Leonard Peltier shot the two FBI agents.
There was no witness testimony that placed Leonard Peltier near the scene before the agents’ deaths occurred. Those witnesses placing Peltier, Robideau, and Butler near the scene after the killing were coerced and intimidated by the FBI.
There was no forensic evidence as to the exact type of rifle that caused the fatal injuries of the agents. Several different weapons present in the area during the shoot-out— evidence now shows that there were other AR-15 rifles in the area—could have caused the fatal injuries. In addition, the AR-15 rifle claimed to be Leonard Peltier’s weapon was found to be incompatible with the bullet casing allegedly found near Agent Coler’s car (according to the FBI’s documents, by two different agents on two different days). Although other bullets were fired at the crime scene, no other casings or evidence about them were offered by the prosecutor in this case.
In short, there was/is no reasonable evidence that Leonard Peltier committed the crimes for which he was convicted. Instead there is very strong evidence of FBI and prosecutorial misconduct.

Comparison of the Two Trials

By 1977, Leonard Peltier was the only remaining individual the FBI could blame for the deaths of the two agents. The charges against Jimmy Eagle had been dropped—the government stipulated that he was not on the reservation on the day of the firefight. (However, FBI documents later revealed that the government decided to dismiss charges against Eagle so that “the full prosecutive weight of the Federal Government could be directed against Leonard Peltier.”) Dino Butler and Bob Robideau were acquitted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in July 1976.

The Butler/Robideau trial had uncovered much FBI misconduct, such as tampering with witnesses and evidence, perjury, counterintelligence-type activities and tactics used against AIM, and substantial evidence indicating there was a full scale paramilitary assault on Pine Ridge by the FBI and other law enforcement officials on the day in question. The jury as a result concluded that Butler and Robideau were acting in self-defense.

Peltier’s defense team had this same evidence and more. Yet they would never be be able to present a major portion of it to the jury.

The government clearly was determined to convict Peltier and succeeded. Leonard Peltier was found guilty not because he was guilty, but because crucial aspects of his trial were manipulated to favor the prosecution and, consequently, cause a conviction.

Click here to review a table that briefly points out the differences between the two trials. Also included in the table are direct quotations from a FBI report on the Butler/Robideau trial dated July 20, 1976, which analyzed the “reasons why [the] jury found the defendants Robideau and Butler not guilty on July 16, 1976.” We recommend that you compare this FBI study to the subsequent rulings at Peltier’s Fargo trial (Trial Transcript).

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*This was not a unique occurrence. During the 1974 Wounded Knee trial of Dennis Banks and Russell Means, an informant who had direct knowledge of the defense case was exposed. The government had vehemently denied to Judge Nichol that any such informant existed.

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So like I said last night we made it into Durham and where meet by Tony about 5 miles out of town and he rode with us to his house. It was nice to have a little new energy with us for the end of the day. The last 28 miles of our ride yesterday had to be the most pleasant all bike path the American Tobacco Trail part of the rails for trails program. We had shade and it mattered yesterday we hit a high of 98 with 90% humidity.

Another surprise was friends from Oak Ridge TN Erik and Libby Johnson who came and picked us up and took us to dinner. We had a great visit and got to see their new house. We talked over dinner about the bike ride and about Leonard, they said they would go on last night and sign the petition.

Today is a rest day so we are doing updates, fixing bikes, doing laundry and tonight we are having a potluck dinner and discussion about the bike ride and of course about Leonard Peltier that will hopefully end with more signatures for Executive Clemency. I want to thank our hosts, Tony and Anna, for giving us a place to rest and do what we need to do to finish this event.

Extradition

Mr. Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada on February 6,1976. He was extradited from Canada in December of the same year on the basis of a false affidavit signed by Myrtle Poor Bear, a Native American woman known to have serious mental health problems.

In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) produced more than one false affidavit.

Affidavit 1, dated February 19, 1976. Here, Special Agents David Price and William Wood had Myrtle Poor Bear recount how it was she who overheard the planning of the Northwest AIM group to lure Special Agents Coler and Williams to their deaths in an ambush. There was no claim Poor Bear witnessed the shoot-out, but that she heard Leonard Peltier order the agents killed beforehand, and that he later “confessed to her.”

Affidavit 2, dated February 23, 1976. With this affidavit, Price and Wood had Poor Bear present herself as being Peltier’s “girl friend,” and as overhearing planning for an ambush. However, with this affidavit, Poor Bear was presented as having witnessed Peltier killing the agents. Details on an escape route apparently were designed to explain away the Bureau’s embarrassing inability to apprehend suspects at the scene of the shoot-out. The method of killing coincidentally corresponded to the FBI’s contrived “execution” scenario.

Affidavit 3, dated March 31, 1976 . This affidavit was eventually submitted to the Canadian courts. Here, the agents totally abandoned the notion of Poor Bear’s having overheard planning for an ambush. Instead they have her provide considerable detail as an “eyewitness.” Any alleged confession on the part of Leonard Peltier was not included.

Government Admission

Leonard Peltier was extradited from Canada to the United States. Today, the government concedes that, in fact, Myrtle Poor Bear did not know Leonard Peltier, nor was she present at the time of the shooting. She later confessed she had given false statements after being pressured and terrorized by FBI agents. Myrtle Poor Bear sought to testify in this regard at Leonard Peltier’s trial. However, the judge barred her testimony on the grounds of mental incompetence. In addition to being a violation of Leonard Peltier’s rights, the United States government committed fraud on the court during the extradition proceedings and violated the sovereignty of Canada. The U.S. government has made no attempt to correct this wrong and, to date, the illegal extradition has not been corrected by the Canadian Court.

Day 16 we made it to Durham NC and there will be a update with picture. Tomorrow, tonight we have some more history taken from the Leonard Peltier web site.
The Butler-Robideau Trial
Darrelle “Dino” Butler and Bob Robideau stood trial separately from Leonard Peltier who, convinced he would never receive a fair trial in the United States, had fled to Canada.

The defense team succeeded in getting the trial moved from racist South Dakota to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids was, however, a predominantly white city and concerns remained as to the likelihood of Butler and Robideau receiving a fair trial.

Immediately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began setting the stage for the defendants’ convictions. Agents warned local police that carloads of American Indian Movement (AIM) “terrorists” were descending on the town. On May 11,1976, U.S. marshals visited every office in the Federal Building (where the trial was to be held), telling folks to prepare for shooting incidents and the seizure of hostages and advising them that marshals on the roof would be on the lookout for marauding Indians.

Elsewhere, rumors about alleged renegade activity ran rampant. A report allegedly emanating from Connecticut police intelligence, for example, stated that a “terrorist” group affiliated with AIM had hatched a plan “to kill a cop a day.” The report failed to mention that the organization referenced was defunct.

On June 22, the FBI released a teletype that was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the country. It claimed that 2,000 AIM “Dog Soldiers” trained in “the Northwest Territory” would fan out across South Dakota and would kidnap, bomb, burn, snipe… all to disrupt the Bicentennial Celebration.

When the 2,000 “Dog Soldiers” didn’t show up in South Dakota and the rest of the FBI’s scare campaign was shown to be a lie, the Cedar Rapids community began to look at AIM members, who had peaceably assembled there for the trial, with a fresh eye and view the government’s machinations with skepticism.

Evidence Heard

Presided over by Judge Edward McManus, the trial commenced on June 7, 1976.

The defendants admitted that they were present at the shoot-out and had exchanged fire with the FBI agents in the course of defending their women and children.

In a search for the truth, Judge McManus allowed a broad range of evidence to be heard, often over the vigorous objections of the prosecutor. This allowed the jury to receive a full explanation of how the shoot-out had occurred and why the Native defendants reacted as they did.

Testimony was heard about the Pine Ridge “Reign of Terror” and from the director of the FBI himself, Clarence Kelley, on the Bureau’s counterintelligence activities and tactics. Testimony prompted by the defense attorneys also brought forward a pattern of FBI misconduct in other prosecutions of AIM members, specifically those occurring after Wounded Knee II.

During the trial, a key prosecution witness, Mr. Draper, also admitted that he had been threatened by the FBI and as a result had changed his testimony based on agents’ instructions, so as to support the government’s position. Another prosecution witness also was shown to have lied on the witness stand.

The Verdict

Clearly, the evidence heard at trial was sufficient to convince the jury of the defendants’ claims. Further, the government’s behavior before and during the trail severely damaged its credibility. In July, the jurors found that there was no evidence to link Butler and Robideau to the fatal shots. Moreover, the exchange of gun fire from a distance was deemed an act of self-defense.

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*For more information, read In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (Viking, 1983).

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Day 15

The Shootout

On June 26, 1975, two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—Mr. Jack Coler and Mr. Ron Williams—entered private property on the Pine Ridge reservation, the Jumping Bull Ranch. They drove unmarked vehicles, wore plain clothes, and neglected to identify themselves as law enforcement officers. They allegedly sought to arrest a young Indian man, Jimmy Eagle, for the theft of a pair of cowboy boots. They believed, the government contends, that they had seen Eagle in a red pick up truck that they then followed onto the Jumping Bull property. Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were camping on the property at the time. They had been invited there by the Jumping Bull elders, who sought protection from the extreme violence on the reservation at that time. Many non-AIM persons were present as well

For unknown reasons, a shoot-out began. A family with small children was trapped in the cross fire. Throughout the ranch, people screamed that they were under attack and many of the men present hurried to return fire.

The Cost

When the skirmish ended, the two FBI agents were dead. The U.S. government claims they had been wounded and then shot through their heads at close range.

A young Native American named Joe Stuntz (above) also lay dead, shot through the head by a sniper bullet. His killing has never been investigated. The more than 30 men, women, and children present on the ranch were then quickly surrounded by over 150 FBI agents, Special Weapons and Tactics (or SWAT) team members, Bureau of Indian Affairs police, and local vigilantes. They barely escaped through a hail of bullets.

The Aftermath

The FBI immediately began its investigation into the shoot-out, the so-called RESMURS investigation, and launched the biggest manhunt of its history.

Angry agents shot up the Jumping Bull home, leaving bullet riddled family portraits in their wake. In the days following the shoot-out, FBI agents in SWAT gear and carrying assault rifles also terrorized other Pine Ridge residents through a series of warrantless no-knock assaults on their homes.

Continuing with its long tradition of manipulating the media—placing articles in the popular press that put the Bureau in a positive light and interfering in the publication of “dissident” writings by persons such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.—the FBI immediately set about disseminating gross inaccuracies about this case. Agents Coler and Williams, the FBI claimed, had been murdered in “a cold-blooded ambush” by a large force of trained guerillas in “sophisticated bunkers” and “fortifications,” but not before Williams had first pleaded for their lives for the sake of Coler’s wife and children. How the Bureau developed this information about Williams’ last words in the absence of anyone who could have heard them was unclear. Other reports indicated that the agents’ bodies had been “riddled with bullets.” Then FBI director Clarence Kelley was forced to retract these statements when reporters—who had been barred from the Jumping Bull property for two days following the shoot-out—began to discover the truth.*

Selective Prosecution

The FBI very quickly focused its investigation on prominent AIM members known to be present during the shoot-out—Leonard Peltier, in particular. The investigation became a race to develop a case against him.

Investigators imposed their desires on the evidence, taking bits and pieces and fashioning them in such a way so as to support their case. In short order, indictments were issued against Leonard Peltier, as well as his two friends and colleagues Dino Butler and Bob Robideau, who also had been present throughout the incident. Charges against a fourth man, Jimmy Eagle (a non-AIM member), were later dropped. (Prosecutors admitted during Peltier’s trial that Jimmy Eagle had not even been on the reservation on the day of the shoot-out. However, FBI documents later revealed that the government decided to dismiss charges against Eagle so that “the full prosecutive weight of the Federal Government could be directed against Leonard Peltier.”).

Despite the presence of so many other individuals on the Jumping Bull property during the shoot-out, no other individuals were given any serious scrutiny during the RESMURS investigation—even those who claimed participation in the shoot-out and bragged about being responsible for the agents’ deaths. No other persons were charged for the shooting deaths of the FBI agents.

Media manipulation is a tactic used against Leonard Peltier even today as evidenced by the FBI’s media work during Peltier’s 1993-2001 bid for an award of Executive Clemency. Click here the FBI’s media plan.

If you can’t make it out to ride but would like to help there are several things you can do:
One – please sign the petition for executive clemency:
http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=27118

Two – Send a post card to the White House: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/home/store/send-a-postcard-to-the-white-house/

Or please consider supporting us with a tax free donation. All money will be spent on food and overnight accommodations, thanks!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CZF6GXX4YDU9W

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So yesterday we spent our last night in South Carolina with Deborah thanks to another friend Sharif and she treated us great nice meal nice company.

NORTH CAROLINA! We have covered 716 miles from start to now. W.e have long days but today was a long day thanks to Google maps we were on a beautiful road very little traffic relatively flat and it all came to a screaming halt when the pavement turned to sand. Yes we had to walk our bikes 2 miles to get back to pavement. But it’s all good and we have a few more signatures and that’s what counts.

Now more background taken from Leonard’s web site at: HTTP://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

COINTELPRO

Despite the public image of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, it has always functioned primarily as America’s political police. This role includes not only the collection of intelligence on the activities of political dissidents and groups, but often times counterintelligence operations to thwart those activities.

COINTELPRO Tactics

Although the FBI’s covert operations have been active throughout its history, the formal COunter INTELligence PROgram, or COINTELPRO, of the second half of the 20th century was centrally directed and targeted a range of political dissidents and organizations. The stated goals of COINTELPRO were to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” those persons or organizations that the FBI decided were “enemies of the State.”

At its most extreme dimension, political dissidents have been eliminated outright or sent to prison for the rest of their lives. Many more, however, were “neutralized” by intimidation, harassment, discrediting, and a whole assortment of authoritarian and illegal tactics.

Neutralization, as explained on record by the FBI, didn’t necessarily pertain to the apprehension of parties in the commission of a crime, the preparation of evidence against them, and securing of a judicial conviction. Rather, the FBI simply made activists incapable of engaging in political activity by whatever means.

For those not assessed as being in themselves a security risk but engaged in what the Bureau viewed to be politically objectionable activity, those techniques consisted of disseminating derogatory information to the target’s family, friends and associates, or visiting and questioning them. False information was planted in the press. The targets’ efforts to speak in public were frustrated, and employers were contacted to try to get them fired. Anonymous letters accusing targets of infidelity were sent by the FBI to their spouses. Other letters contained death threats. These strategies are well-documented, for example, in the case of Martin Luther King, Jr. Records also show that activists in the 1960s were repeatedly arrested “on any excuse” until “they could no longer make bail.”

In addition, the FBI made use of informants, often quite violent and emotionally disturbed individuals, to present false testimony to the courts and frame COINTELPRO targets for crimes the FBI knew they did not commit. In some cases the charges were quite serious, including murder.

Another option was “snitch jacketing” where the FBI made the target look like a police informant or an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency. This served the dual purposes of isolating and alienating important leaders, as well as increasing the general level of fear and factionalism in the group.

Many counterintelligence techniques involved the use of paid informants. Informants became “agent provocateurs” by raising controversial issues at meetings to take advantage of ideological divisions; promoting enmity with other groups; or inciting the group to violent acts, even to the point of providing them with weapons. Over the years, FBI provocateurs repeatedly urged and initiated violent acts, including forceful disruptions of meetings and demonstrations, attacks on police, bombings, etc.

The FBI conducted more than 2,000 COINTELPRO operations before the programs were officially discontinued in April of 1971, after public exposure, in order to “afford additional security to [its] sensitive techniques and operations.” While the programs themselves were discontinued, the FBI’s objectionable practices were not. The FBI’s intent was/is to continue such practices as deemed necessary and often completely at its own whim. That intent was clearly stated by the FBI. It’s a matter of public record.

The full story of COINTELPRO may never be told. The Bureau’s files were never seized by Congress or the courts or sent to the National Archives. Some were destroyed. In addition, many counterintelligence operations were never committed to writing as such, or involved open investigations making ex-operatives legally prohibited from talking about them. Most operations remained secret until long after the damage had been done.

American Indian Movement

The FBI used all of the above COINTELPRO tactics against AIM, including the wholesale jailing of the Movement’s leadership. Virtually every known AIM leader in the United States was incarcerated in either state or federal prisons since (or even before) the organization’s formal emergence in 1968, some repeatedly. Organization members often languished in jail for months as the cumulative bail required to free them outstripped resource capabilities of AIM and supporting groups.

Covert Actions Against American Citizens Living in America

The full story of COINTELPRO may never be told. The Bureau’s files were never seized by Congress or the courts or sent to the National Archives. Some were destroyed. In addition, many counterintelligence operations were never committed to writing as such, or involved open investigations making ex-operatives legally prohibited from talking about them. Most operations remained secret until long after the damage had been done.

There is little doubt, given what is known today about the FBI’s activities vis-a-vis AIM, that all of the COINTELPRO tactics discussed here were used against AIM members, including the wholesale jailing of the Movement’s leadership. Virtually every known American Indian Movement leader in the United States was incarcerated in either state or federal prisons since (or even before) the organization’s formal emergence in 1968. Some AIM members were jailed repeatedly. Organization members often languished in jail for months as the cumulative bail required to free them outstripped resource capabilities of AIM and supporting groups.

The Church Committee had intended to investigate AIM as another dissident group targeted by the Bureau. Witnesses had been investigated by congressional staff and called to provide testimony. However, one day after the firefight at Oglala, the Church Committeecancelled the hearings. Consequently, official misconduct against AIM and regarding Wounded Knee is not part of the Committee’s official findings. The full extent of the FBI’s war against AIM has been obscured and perhaps intentionally so.

*Text on COINTELPRO is excerpted from “COINTELPRO: The Untold Story,” a compilation by Paul Wolf presented to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 by the members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Day 13 – Taken from Leonard Peltier’s defence web site at http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

The Beginning
It is important to put the shoot-out on June 26, 1975, in its proper context and understand that the incident at Oglala was part of a larger struggle—a struggle that continues today.

To understand the gross injustice of the Peltier case, it is not at all necessary that you agree with but understand the politics of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the struggle in which Indigenous People were engaged in the 1970s.

We urge you not to focus on the reasonableness of the basis for the investigation of AIM by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the politics, rhetoric, or actions of AIM. Instead, focus on the chief investigative branch of the United States government (the FBI) and its counterintelligence program through which the Bureau—according to the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, or the “Church Committee”—engaged in “lawless tactics” and responded to “deep-seated social problems by fomenting violence and unrest.”

It is a fact (and one supported by the government’s own documents) that the FBI actively supported the “Reign of Terror” on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; sought to disrupt and “neutralize” AIM; and targeted AIM members, including human rights activist Leonard Peltier. It also is fact that the FBI, supported by government prosecutors, orchestrated the wrongful conviction and illegal imprisonment of Leonard Peltier

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So this morning Russ our fantastic first warm showers host took us back out to where he picked us up yesterday and we said our heart felt thank yous and goodbyes then back on the road for us.
We decided to get off 15 because it was just too busy and believe it or not about 10 miles into it the bridge was gone and the road was closed. Back out to route 15 for us but there was this old timer sitting and fishing and he was in the mood to talk so we did. He had been baptised right up the river away and he told us all about it and as we were getting ready to leave he said ” just don’t touch foot to water there’s alligators in this swamp.” Best part of the day!
Weather was sunny but humidity was low so we cranked it out and arrived at Lee state park where we met two retired teachers who after we talked a little about what we are doing signed the petition.

Update:
So when we were still in Florida we ran into another cyclist who said we should try out an app called Warm Showers. It’s like couch surfing except for cyclists. Well we both signed up and have had no luck.

Today we rode in the rain from the minute we started at 8 am. We stopped for lunch around 11:30. We checked and there was another Warm Showers contact around 24 miles from us. We figured what the hell give it a shot. We got a text right back saying no problem as long as you have no problems with dogs. We both said no problems.

The rain got worse and so did the road, no shoulder at all! We pulled off to take a break not from cycling but from the semi trucks, one had actually tried to push me off the road and almost got me with his back tire.

While we were resting a black truck pulled up and it’s our host from Warm Showers! He said it is so nasty out here I thought I would come get you. Wow! That is above and beyond! We asked him if he could bring us back in the morning and he said no problem.

So we are out of the rain, showered, laundry being done, drying out, and feeling good.

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Sorry everyone too tired for a update last night. But thanks to our friends Jon and Genevieve we slept comfortable and dry. Yes RAIN! WET ! EVERYTHING! LOL it’s all good. Not much of a break from the rain today.

Okay lunch update, over the last several days we have covered quite a few miles and are still ahead of schedule. Today has been interesting in the way of not always knowing if the road is going to end on us or not (see pictures) but so far so good. The road we are traveling on is a obvious victim of “progress” a lot of small communities abandoned because of the highway, took over what used to be the main road north and south.

And don’t forget to keep the pressure up by sending a post card to the White House:

Send a Post Card to the White House

Also please consider supporting us with a tax free donation. All money will be spent on food and overnight accommodations, thanks!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CZF6GXX4YDU9W

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Day 9
South Carolina! Wow GA went quick! We had to take a bypass around Savannah today and ended up going through the middle of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge on a road called alligator alley now we didn’t see any alligators but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It was very beautiful. And after we crossed the river we left GA and headed into South Carolina. We covered about 36 miles in the morning and had another 30 to go after lunch. We are now in a KOA campground getting ready to rest and get ready for another day tomorrow.

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Hello South Carolina

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Today we got an early start and a early finish. That I was fine with because it’s a 100 degrees today just south of Savannah GA.

A young man asked us this morning where and why we were riding and we told him about Leonard Peltier. He asked if we had the petition with us, I said right here on my phone and he signed. A few minutes later there was one more signature to add to the growing list of Leonard’s supporters.

And speaking of support, Leonard needs our help and it only takes a minute to sign. just click the link and get started:
http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=27118

And if possible please consider supporting us out here on the road by making a donation every bit helps, and thanks!
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CZF6GXX4YDU9W

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Day seven after 340 miles it was time for laundry and a rest

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GEORGIA!!

Yes we crossed the state line yesterday and are a day ahead of schedule. And yes Jon and I have gone rogue. Missing the bike lanes in Florida but not missing the wind.
So we will be riding on route 17 till a few miles north of Savannah then we will be on route 15 for a few days. Anyone living on these routes that might be able to let us set up a couple of tent s for the night give us a ring:
Jon-513-766-6121
Jim-513-403-2765

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Wow yesterday was a adventure! We rode about 56 miles way past Jacksonville looking and looking for a place to stay and coming up empty.

So we stopped at an outfitter place and they where closing. The owner came out and we asked if we could stay the night. She seemed okay with it but the husband said no.

We started calling campgrounds again. Finally we found one with one site open 22 miles away at Huguenot state park. With a few catches.

Catch number one we had to check in by 9:30

Catch number two the only way to get there was by ferry and the last one was at 8:30 and we are 18 miles from the ferry. It was 20 minutes to 7:00!

We got on our bikes and pushed hard riding through downtown areas dodging cars and pedestrians to be honest it was fun. 😀 We pulled up to the ferry loading area right as it was pulling in, we made it! After the ferry ride we had a mile in a half to go. We pulled in two very tired humans.

Today we continued north but we decided to take it easy today and only did 30 miles and our first option as a overnight had a place for us now we are cleaned up and ready for a good rest.

Please don’t forget if you haven’t had a chance please support Leonard and us.

One – please sign the petition for executive clemency:
http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=27118

Two – Send a post card to the White House: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/home/store/send-a-postcard-to-the-white-house/

Or please consider supporting us with a tax free donation. All money will be spent on food and overnight accommodations, thanks!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CZF6GXX4YDU9W

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Day three and the wind has died down!

We rode into Daytona Beach yesterday and what a madhouse we forgot it was memorial day weekend ugh.
We rode out of town and the wind from the tropical storm that is hitting South Carolina was rough. Right in our faces the whole time. Not only did it slow us down but we are getting pretty wind burned. We stoped at the first campground we came to Gamble Rogers State Park and told them about our situation and said we were willing to pay for anything they had including the employee area right next to the guard shack and the turned us away. So off we went, we actually got to the point we were stoping people on the sidewalk in the hopes that someone would take us in and finally I walked into the Topaz Motel at 7:45 pm walked up to the front desk. I asked if they had any rooms available? No sorry, I explained the situation and said have a small plot of land we could rent for the night? Stacey laughed and called the owner. He said he would be there after 9pm and if we wanted to wait we would talk about it. To make a long story short thanks to Mike, Stacey and Mark we had a great night sleep and will be forever grateful.

We are currently in St Augustine and heading north. All for now. FREEDOM FOR LEONARD PELTIER!

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Our first evening here was spent showing Incident At Oglala at the UU church where we were joined by 15 members of the local community. Who all signed the petition for executive clemency. The next day we started at the prison in Colman FL and have covered 90 miles so far with more to come today. We had to say goodbye to Larry who had to go back home today but he was great support for the little time he was with us. We have about another three mile before we hit the Atlantic Ocean the we hang a left and head north. Florida is hot, flat and windy but our spirits are high 😀

If you can’t make it out to ride but would like to help there are several things you can do:
One – please sign the petition for executive clemency:
http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=27118

Two – Send a post card to the White House: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/home/store/send-a-postcard-to-the-white-house/

Or please consider supporting us with a tax free donation. All money will be spent on food and overnight accommodations, thanks!

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CZF6GXX4YDU9W

The first evening in Florida we are being hosted by Andrea, Bill and the UU church. Screening Incident At Oglala The Leonard Peptide Story afterwards there was a little Q and A. after the Q and A people where asked to sign the executive Clemency petition and all of them did then a community meal. The ride starts tomorrow.

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