Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ben Carnes: 'When they take Leonard to the tree ...'

By Ben Carnes

In the days preceding the parole hearing and vigil at Lewisburg, PA, for Leonard Peltier, the Internet was a flurry of activity. After the hearing, the LP-DOC website, www.whoisleonardpeltier.info was receiving thousands of hits a day. Most likely from those who were hoping to find out if Leonard had been granted parole.
We know that everyone is anxious to know the results of this hearing, but no more than Leonard for obvious reasons.The process, as we understand it, is that the hearing examiner has 1 -2 days to make his recommendation to the U.S. Parole Commission. Their website states that,“A recommendation relative to parole is made at the conclusion of the hearing and in most instances the offender is notified of that recommendation... If a recommendation is not provided, the Examiner may refer the case to the Commission’s Office for further review. All recommendations.. made at the hearing are only tentative as another examiner review is required before a final decision is made. Usually it takes about 21 days for the offender to receive a Notice of Action advising them of the official decision.
"I’ve called the parole commission and they have not returned my call to find out conclusively if this is 21 actual days or computed in working days. In actual days, including the 2 days the hearing examiner has, we are looking at August 20th as the last day for the commission to announce their decision. But it could also come at any time, when we know; we’ll definitely get the word out.Until then, we have time to keep increasing the calls to the White House (202) 456-1111 or you can fill out a suggestion form online for Obama to free Peltier at http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT and start your countdown to the 20th.This isn’t the time to lighten up; this work isn’t over by any means. Keeping Leonard in your prayers and thoughts is by far a very powerful act of making it happen. Leonard has held onto this for more than 33 years, we can continue this until we know.
In the upcoming days, anything can happen and we have seen it before. Continue to educate others about Peltier’s case and the awaited parole decision. Contact your Congressional delegate while they are in recess and see if they would support a clemency action by Obama.If I can get a response from the parole commission as to the last day for announcement, consider holding a vigil in your state at the federal courthouse. Start with your networking now and getting the word out about possible vigils, and then work on a press release to your state and national media. This is important to focus news coverage in each state, which could be picked up by the national/..international media.
If you are out of the country, hold a vigil at the U.S. embassy. If you can develop a plan, then have everyone be prepared to gather at a moments notice.
By taking this action, the commission may release their announcement sooner, or at the very least we can all share in the news that he has been freed.
There is also the possibility of a negative result, and believe me, we are ready if that is the case. We made a commitment to bring Peltier home before his next birthday on September 12th, so we will take action if it is necessary.
This isn’t over “until they take Leonard to the (Sun Dance) tree at Crow Dogs Paradise”.
Andrew Ironshell, Sicangu. I agree with my brother, it won’t be over until Leonard can offer his prayers of thanks at the tree of life!
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Ben Carnes
August 8, 2009

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