Thursday, January 22, 2009

Peltier beaten, attorney describes injuries

By Brenda Norrell

CANAAN, Penn. -- Leonard Peltier was jumped and beaten after being transferred from a prison in Lewisburg to Canaan on January 13. The family, however, was not notified by the prison and received the information by way of a letter from Peltier. Peltier, 64, was placed in solitary confinement and it is not known if he has received medical attention.

"Once Mr. Peltier arrived at the Canaan prison facility, he was jumped by younger inmates, severely beaten, put in solitary confinement and placed upon meal restrictions despite his having diabetes and other medical conditions," the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee said in a statement ."The family has requested copies of the video tapes of that incident to no avail. It is as if the whole scenario was contrived to detract from the fact that Mr. Peltier has been a model prisoner having more than enough points to qualify for parole," LPDOC said.

Recently, the amount of hate mail circulated on the Internet regarding Peltier and appeals for his release has increased and could have played a role in the attack on Peltier.

The LPDOC said, "Retired, former and actively employed FBI agents have taken action against the release and parole of Leonard Peltier time and again. While it is their right to speak their opinion, it is not right to do so on federal time and at the taxpayer’s expense. Their letters, writings, articles, books, protests, outcries and interviews concerning Mr. Peltier, are a conflict of interest and tip the scales against him unfairly. In addition, it is certainly questionable as to the timing of a letter written by a former FBI Agent to Representative John Conyers and the beating Mr. Peltier received at Canaan."

The LPDOC said the attack on Peltier comes on the heels of the FBI's recent letter, prompting this attack by FBI supporters as an attempt to discredit Peltier as a model prisoner. "Anyone who has been in the prison system knows well that if you refuse to name your attackers or file charges against them, then you lose your status as a victim and/or given points against your possible parole and labeled as a perpetrator. It is not uncommon, in fact is quite common for the government to use Indian against Indian and they still operate under the old adage "it takes an Indian to catch an Indian," LPDOC said.

In 1978, the US government made an attempt to assassinate Peltier, offering another Indian inmate at Marion prison with Leonard Peltier, a chance at freedom. The man was Standing Deer. Standing Deer befriended Peltier in prison and exposed the plot to assassinate him. Standing Deer was murdered in Houston after his release from prison.

LPDOC said, "Standing Deer chose to reveal the plot to him instead of taking his life in exchange for a chance at freedom. When Standing Deer was released in 2001, he joined the former Leonard Peltier Defense Committee as a board member. He also began to speak on Leonard's behalf until his murder six years ago today. Prior to his murder, Standing Deer confided with close friends and associates that the same man who visited him in Marion to assassinate Peltier, had came to Houston and told him that he had better stay away from Peltier and anything to do with him," the LDPOC said. (An interview with Ben Carnes on Standing Deer and Peltier can be heard at Censored News Blog Radio or at Earthcycles on Longest Walk.)

Micheal Kuzma, an attorney for Leonard Peltier's defense, described the attack on Peltier in prison, during an interview with American Indian Airwaves on Wednesday, Jan. 21. Kuzma said Peltier's sister Betty Peltier-Solano, executive coordinator of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee,
received a letter from Peltier, but was never notified by prison officials of the attack. Peltier was transferred from Lewisburg to Canaan prison during the week of Jan. 12th and attacked on the 13th, by other inmates.

Kuzma said, "According to the letter, he thinks he might have a concussion. His middle finger on his left hand is either broken or badly injured. He has a large bump near his right wrist. The right side of his rib cage and chest are in pain. He also has a bruise on the right side of his chest. He also has a bruise on his left knee, and is suffering from headaches. These headaches are a direct result of the Jan. 13 beating."
Listen (last 20 minutes of program) on Jan. 21 at:
AIM West plans a protest in solidarity with Peltier to draw attention to the attack and call for his release on Friday in San Francisco.
For more information: LPDOC:
Updates at Censored News:

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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