Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 6, 2013

Ben Carnes urges national debate in case of Leonard Peltier

Obama urged to call for national debate in Peltier case

By Ben Carnes, Choctaw
Published with permission

Ben Carnes, Choctaw
Ben Carnes, Choctaw from Oklahoma, calls for a national debate in the case of Leonard Peltier. Carnes said it is necessary “to effectively make a difference in securing freedom for a man who could be any one of us from back then, to today, and in the future our children who may stand up and say ‘enough is enough.’”

In 1999, when the FBI agents protested in front of the White House over Clinton meeting with some people from Peltier's camp, I had an opportunity to speak with Jon Sennett who was over the retired FBI agents association.
I asked him then if he would be interested in doing a public debate over the case. He jumped at this idea. I realized then that these agents don't even know the facts of the case themselves. They will stick together, right or wrong.
A few years ago, when I was with the LPDOC (Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee,) we pushed for a public debate, even went so far as to humiliate Woods and Trimbach (retired agents) as being afraid to debate this publicly. They quietly wrote that it couldn't happen.
There is one important element that needs to happen for this debate to be effective. Obama needs to call for it! Think about it, if we can get Obama to call for it, this subject becomes a part of the public opinion. And all eyes will be on Obama and Peltier.
So how do we get Obama to call for this, let alone even acknowledge there is such a person as Leonard Peltier? It is simple, but it demands that we act now. The White House Tribal Nations Conference is coming up Nov. 13th.
Contact, face to face, every tribal member to tell Obama that he needs to call for a public debate on the case of Leonard Peltier. Tell him that the Indian people know the Justice Department lies and we want to expose the truth. Tell Obama if he is serious about respecting Native people then call for a public debate right then and right there.
We have only so much time to be proceed, otherwise we condemn Leonard to spin another year in prison, and if your representative returns without so much as saying a word, then let them have it when they get back.

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