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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/9/16

Still Fighting for Native American Rights

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Banks: I had some hope that he would do that. And I still have hope that as he leaves office that he could do this. The parole board said they don't want to release him because he hasn't shown remorse. How can you show remorse for something you didn't do?

The real culprit in this is the manufacturing of evidence against Peltier that put him in prison. And even the federal judge, on the bench of the 8th Circuit Court wrote to the president, wrote to President Bush, the first, H.W. Bush, and said "Release Peltier, after all it was the government that started that fight." And in the first, the jury, the first trial against the other two that were charged, they were charged with aiding and abetting. And they used the self-defense theory. And the judge allowed them to use it. And they proved that the government came in there shooting and the jury found them not guilty.

But the judge in the next case, against Peltier, ruled that they could not use "the self-defense theory["]. And Peltier was charged with aiding and abetting. But yet he was prosecuted as if he was the shooter. And even at the end he says, "And so Peltier shoots, takes his rifle and shoots [FBI agent Jack R.] Coler, and he aims it at [FBI agent Ronald A.] Williams, and he kills them both." He was charged as the shooter. And he was convicted of a double murder. And he sits in prison today for something that he did not do.

DB: Can I ask you too...we've got about a minute. If you were sitting with Obama right now and you're making the case -- it's time to stand up and release Peltier. What would you say to him?

Banks: I would say, Mr. President, other presidents have left a legacy of greatness, and down through history people do certain things that bring greatness. I think one of those acts would be to set a man free, and let that be your legacy.

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Dennis J Bernstein is the host and executive producer of Flashpoints, a daily news magazine broadcast on Pacifica Radio. He is an award-winning investigative reporter, essayist and poet. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Nation, and (more...)

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