Of June 26th, 1998, Washington D.C.
From the LPDC
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee met with Leonard Peltier Support Groups on June 26th in Washington DC to strategize for Leonard’s release. We met for several hours in a room packed with Peltier supporters. The meeting was led by Bobby Castillo, Ramsey Clark gave a medical report, and Steve Robideau gave a brief history of the case. The topics that took precedence in the discussion were Leonard’s current health status, civil disobedience, and getting Leonard’s case back into the courts. Also discussed was the continued fight for clemency and Senate Hearing Investigations. The last half of the meeting was used to discuss the Leonard Peltier Chiapas Food Drive.
While we must continue, as Ramsey Clark advised, to write letters regarding executive clemency, getting Leonard transferred to the Mayo Clinic, getting Leonard’s case back into the courts, and initiating Senate Hearings, it was also decided that we must take Leonard’s case to the streets using civil disobedience. Without this all of our strategies will go without notice as they have for all of these years.
The first date we will be planning civil disobedience will be December 23rd. We want to disrupt the busiest shopping day of the year, hitting corporations in the pocket book and bringing much needed attention to Leonard’s case.
The next date will be on February 6th, 1999. On this day we will be doing civil disobedience internationally in our communities.
We will be contacting law schools and law professors asking them to study Leonard’s case and find ways by which we can get it back into the courts. We will provide a letter that supporters can present to schools in their communities doing this. It has been agreed that Criminal Attorney, Tony Serra will argue the case once it is back in the courts.
Leonard continues to be in excruciating pain because of treatment he received on his jaw at the Springfield Medical Facility. He can not open his mouth enough to bite or chew his food, nor can he close his mouth completely. Besides the fact that the constant pain is torturous, this condition could prove to be life threatening if infection should occur. We will continue to write prison officials urging them to transfer Leonard to the Mayo Clinic (NOT SPRINGFIELD) for treatment. Again, this will be backed by civil disobedience.
We are continuing to ask Peltier supporters to contact their senate and congress people, encouraging them to push for senate hearing investigations that would expose the illegal involvement of the FBI in the Pine Ridge murders and the incarceration of Leonard Peltier. We are also doing research trying to find the best way to ensure that the investigations happen. Not all Congress people have the authority to initiate investigations, though their support is definitely needed. We are researching exactly which committees and subcommittees have this authority and the most strategic route to take in making sure the investigations happen. (If you have information that could help us with this please contact the office). We will soon give an update on this.
As you probably know, we have been waiting five years to hear from Clinton regarding Leonard’s petition for clemency. We have hundreds of copies of a form letter which his office sends out when people write to him about Leonard. These letters are the same word for word and tell us nothing. Again, civil disobedience may be the only way we can get them to take us seriously.
LEONARD PELTIER CHIAPAS FOOD DRIVE
Keith Mc Henry led a meeting about the food drive for Chiapas. A different caravan bringing humanitarian aide to Chiapas will be leaving at the end of July. After we find out how their trip went and what kind of Visas they had to obtain we will be able to make more definite plans. So far we know that people will be gathering in front of Leavenworth prison on September 10th. Then people will gather in Brownsville, Texas on the 12th and leave for Chiapas where they will arrive on September 16th. We are asking people to organize events to raise funds to buy food from local farmers in Chiapas. For more information contact Keith Mc Henry of Food Not Bombs at 1-800-884-1136.
Plan civil disobedience and mass demonstrations for December 23rd and February 6th. Continue to write to the addresses below regarding Leonard’s health and executive clemency. Contact your Congress people about senate hearings and let the LPDC know how your officials responded. If you need more materials to educate them on the case then contact the office. Contact colleges in your communities and ask them to research Leonard’s case. We can provide you with a letter by which this can be done. The treatment of Leonard Peltier and his supporters by the government is ridiculous. We have been swept under the carpet for too long and it must stop.