Friday, July 31, 2009

Why is Leonard Peltier Still in Prison?

**Update** Click here to listen to the hour of the program that includes all the interviews regarding Leonard Peltier **

I got a letter in the mail a couple of weeks ago from a listener, asking me to "give some visibility to Leonard Peltier's case before the July 28 hearing... He's been in prison 34 years, falsely convicted of murder." The letter was signed Larry Wartels, Volunteer, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Canada.

Well, I didn't get to it before the parole hearing, which did happen on Tuesday. Hopefully, the first hour of tonight's show on Air America radio will open more eyes to the plight of Peltier.

I'll be joined by Eric Seitz, one of Leonard Peltier's attorneys, who'll give us the background of the story, tell us what transpired at the hearing, and let us know what we can do to help while we await the parole board's decision.

Longtime activist Harvey Wasserman has written much about Peltier over the years, including a piece this week entitled "How Leonard Peltier Could leave Prison by August 18" that appeared in Huffington Post,, and many other places.

The list of influential people is extremely long and diverse. Among those who continue to speak out publicly in support of Peltier is singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, who I was able to track down today and spoke with for a few minutes. We'll hear some of that conversation tonight as well.

If you want to learn more about Leonard Peltier, two of the best sites I found are at and

If you have about 90 minutes, you'll want to watch the brilliant film, Incident at Oglalla, produced and narrated by Robert Redford. In fact, you can watch it here, right now:

If you want to help, you can write to the Parole commission to voice your support for Leonard Peltier. The address is:
US Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Blvd. Ste. 420
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286

You can call as well. The commission phone number is 301-492-5990. Just reference Leonard Peltier, #89637-132

In our second hour tonight, I'll be joined by Brent Budowsky, who knows Washington DC from the inside out, a knowledge he gained by working for years as a legislative aide to some of the most powerful men on Capital Hill. These days, he acts as an informal advisor to many in power, and writes a blog for The Hill's Pundits Blog. He'll bring us completely up to date on where we are in the fight for health care reform, on this Friday night, as the House adjourns for their August recess, and give us some insider thoughts on where it's all heading... **Update*** Click here to listen to my conversation with Brent Budowsky***

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