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Message from Leonard Peltier

A hero’s welcome

Published Feb 4, 2009 3:25 PM

Following are excerpts from a Jan. 31 statement by imprisoned Native leader Leonard Peltier on his return to Lewisburg prison from Canaan, where he had been brutally beaten. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing on Feb. 6, stop and call the White House Comment Line and ask for executive clemency for Peltier. E-mail or pass out the phone number to friends, family members, colleagues. Ask everyone you know to simply take two minutes out of their lives to make this call. Call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111. Also, to sign an online petition for Peltier, go to www.iacenter.org.

Leonard Peltier

I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts in my urgent time of need. You cannot imagine how much my spirit has been lifted from the cards and letters, the phone calls and how everyone kept up the pressure.

My return to Lewisburg was met like a hero’s welcome, and many people came to assure me of my safety there. It is so ironic that the prisoners in a federal maximum-security prison can guarantee my safety, but the Bureau of Prisons will not.

I did not say “cannot” but “will not” do so. You have to remember the BOP is a little brother to the FBI and they came from an illegitimate mother called the JUST-US (Justice) Department.

Do I sound a little angry? Well, I am angry that many of my friends have died in assuring my survival while I’ve been in prison. All the men who were involved in my escape at Lompoc died mysteriously soon after: Dallas Thundershield at Lompoc, Bobby Garcia at Terre Haute, and Rocky Duenas, whose body was never recovered. Standing Deer gave away his life when he revealed the assassination plot against me. He lived under the shadow of death for years, waiting to be killed for defying the government, until he was eventually paroled to Texas. He was murdered soon after the same person who contracted him to have me assassinated warned him about his involvement with my campaign.

Surviving this attack brought back memories of those losses, and it is with tears of more gratitude in my eyes and in my heart that no one died this time.

If the BOP cannot guarantee my safety to the extent the prisoners here can, then I demand to be returned to my nation, Turtle Mountain, where I can be assured of my safety!

Turtle Mountain has issued a resolution to transfer me into their custody, and they have asked to meet with Obama on a nation-to-nation basis. This has to happen and it will when a lot of energy is placed behind it.

They see pressure, in the form of your letters and calls, growing and they know that my committee has been tirelessly developing plans to set up a wave of activity. The FBI is now afraid that they will fail to keep me falsely imprisoned. We are becoming stronger and we must keep building our network to succeed.

I am proud of the brothers and sisters, the Elders and my family who make up the committee; they have all personally sacrificed more than many people may ever know. I am asking all of my supporters and allies to follow the directions of the committee when the plans and strategies are presented at the Feb. 6th event in Boulder, Colo.

My hand in appreciation is extended to those who have held rallies and protests on my behalf to call attention to the attack on me. I also extend my gratitude to Cynthia McKinney, former congresswoman, for her recent letter to President Obama urging him to free other political prisoners and myself.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Dallas Thundershield, Bobby Garcia, Rocky Duenas, Standing Deer, and in The Spirit of Total Resistance,

Leonard Peltier