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Chirot works & fotos: Poem for Peltier & Palestine in Prisons

Last Friday, Louise Erdrich was one of the invited guests on Democracy Now!
Amy Goodman asked the novelist and poet about the Marc Rich pardon given by President Clinton in leaving office, and the non-pardons given to Leonard Peltier, year after year, until now he is in his 35th year of imprisonment.

Marc Rich when pardoned by the President was a fugitive from Justice and considered by many a traitor, having illegally sold arms to Iran, among along series of illegal dealings and thefts of billions of dollars. To date no one knows the entire story--though Holder may know far more than he said he does during hearings--but it known that among the reasons for the pardon was that Rich had contributed to Israel some large chunks of (stolen). Since this proved his "loyalty" to an ally, it was said, Mr Clinton should show mercy.
Apparently there are times when it is ok to be a traitor-- similar argumens have been used for decades now to free Jonathan Pollard, convicted of selling top classified materials to Israel.
The problem is not to whom Pollard and Rich were giving information and funds; it is the principle involved: that both men had acted as traitors to the US
Since Pollard's conviction, there is ever increasing leniency in interpreting the Law, depending on the motive of the criminal's acts.
Since Peltier was a member of AIM, which had been at times described as a "Terrorist Organization" by the US, and since his cause is the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, he has no chance. The USA is one of four major countries to never sign the International Recognition of Indigenous Peoples, Peltier remains imprisoned not only by the Walls of the Federal Prison System, but also by the US govt.'s intransigent policies regarding the First Peoples.
There has been Progress for the USA in many areas regarding ethnicity--our new President is an example
But in the area of Indian policies--nothing has changed at all.
They are still treated as non-persons, 3rd Class Citizens,enemies, savages, "terrorists."
The Palestinians are treated in the same manner by the Israelis. Just two weeks ago, all Arab political parties inside Israel were banned.
Pouring 8 million dollars--$8,000,000--a day into Israel, the US is giving its complete approval to policies which are close to its own history and heart.
Te extermination of persons for Land, greed, racism--
and the silencing of critics of these policies--
Which is why Peltier issued the following statement:

The government under pretext of security and progress liberated us from our land, resources, culture, dignity and future. They violated every treaty they ever made with us. I use the word "liberated" loosely and sarcastically, in the same vein that I view the use of the words "collateral damage" when they kill innocent men, women and children.
They describe people defending their homelands as terrorists, savages and hostiles . . .
My words reach out to the non-Indian: Look now before it is too late—see what is being done to others in your name and see what destruction you sanction when you say nothing.
—Leonard Peltier, Annual Message January 2004

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