Subject: Telephone Campaign, etc. for Peltier
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 10:09:33 PST
From: "Starr Bowie" <email@example.com>
In conjunction with support activities being held here in D.C. beginning Nov. 1 to demand clemency (and parole, if clemency is not granted) for Leonard Peltier, the indigenous leader who has been serving decades in prison on false charges of shooting FBI agents at Wounded Knee and who is now very ill, the following telephone campaign has been initiated. It's a quick, simple way to participate in the November activities, and since there is a concentrated effort at this time, the calling campaign may be effective in conjunction with participation and media coverage of other events. The details are below in a call put out by the Peltier support committee.
FOR INFO ON OTHER SUPPORT ACTIVITIES THIS MONTH, WHICH ARE HAPPENING ON A DAILY BASIS, PLEASE CALL THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE AT 202-548-2408 (FAX 202-548-2409). SUPPORT IS PARTICULARLY NEEDED ON
NOV. 11, VETERANS FOR PEACE DAY
NOV. 13, UNITY DAY DEMONSTRATION OF ALL WHO PROTEST RACISM,POLICE
BRUTALITY, INCARCERATION OF POLITICAL PRISONERS, ABUSE OF ENVIRONMENT
NOV. 19, BENEFIT
NOV. 25, NATL. DAY OF MOURNING, WHICH CLOSES THE SOLIDARITY MONTH
These activities will be taking place at Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, at approximately 12 noon. The benefit organized by Luci Murphy and others on Nov. 19 will be held at Cup of Dreams Coffeehouse, 12th and Otis, N.E., 2 blocks from the Brooklyn/CUA Metro Station on the Red Line.
NATIONAL TELEPHONE CAMPAIGN FOR NOVEMBER 99 PELTIER FREEDOM MONTH
We are quickly approaching our November 1999 Leonard Peltier Freedom campaign in Washington, DC. So far we are very pleased with the response and support that has been coming in nationwide. The national telephone drive is going to play a very important role in these efforts.
Throughout the years, many of us have become disillusioned with making phone calls and writing letters. Many people think that this is a wasted effort, without any real impact. However, recent experiences have proved to the contrary. If we all act in a unified and organized way, these calls in fact are in fact a very powerful grassroots organizing tool.
For example, if a few people call the White House comments line on a given day with diverse messages, there probably will not be much impact. However, if thirty people call on the same day with the same message, a note goes to President Clinton that the matter is of public interest. If we can get 100 calls going each day with the same messages, people really sit up and pay attention. After all, elected officials do need the vote of the people. We just need to remind them that we are here, and that there are many of us.
We need people to organize local groups of about twenty people to call the White House comments line (and if people are willing, other numbers, as discussed below), once a week from November 1 through Thanksgiving. Try to get five friends together who are serious about helping you. They in turn are responsible for finding four friends to make the calls. Make sure everyone gets a copy of the basic fact summary about Leonard's case. No one needs to know the details inside out, but people are more confident if they know a bit about the story, and it is a good way to do public education as well. Make sure they also receive these instructions, about who to call, and the most important points to mention.
We have found that it helps to give everyone a reminder call the day before, and to tell them about anything new in the case, or about any changes or updates in how things are going. We will be sending e-mails and faxes to all the coordinators about new developments, how the hunger strikers are doing, what officials are saying, etc., etc. It is also IMMENSELY helpful to us all if your group can call you back and tell you how things went. What did the people at the White House comment line say, and how did they react? This helps us gage how much they are feeling the pressure. (In the beginning they will just sound bored or formal but later some of them begin to chat with the callers.) More importantly, every so often, a receptionist will talk a little about the case and even ask questions. This helps us find out what the other side is saying. So please e-mail us and give us feedback.
Perhaps the most important part is helping everyone in the group understand how important their calls are. Not only do they have great political impact when tightly coordinated in this way, they also give huge support to the Freedom Fasters in Lafayette Park, and of course to Leonard himself. We are all part of one team.1. WHEN DO WE CALL? We must, of course, organize our calls in a reasonable way. If 1,000 calls come in on Monday, and none of the rest of the week, it won't have the same consistency and impact. The schedule can of course be flexible, but we should try to keep things on a fairly even course. To make things easy, we have divided the caller groups up by region. As new people offer to do a calling session, they can simply start in on the day assigned to their region. If the day assigned to your area is impossible for you, go ahead and choose a different one. Let us know if you can. Once again, it is very helpful if each group coordinator can give their members a reminder call or e-mail the day before their calls.
MONDAY CALLS: Northeast Region (North of Philadelphia)
TUESDAY CALLS: Southeast Region (Philadelphia and south)
WEDNESDAY CALLS: Central Region THURSDAY CALLS: Northwest Region
FRIDAY CALLS: Southwest Region
WHO DO WE CALL?
The most important call is to the White House comments line,202-456-1111.
This should be the first call made. If people have time and are willing to make a second call, we very much need tons and tons of calls going into Congress as well. Please call you US Senators and Representatives.
You can call their local offices close to you, or you can call the Washington, DC offices. The switchboard number for all Congressional offices is 202-224-3121. There may be times when we need a particular office or official to receive calls, either to thank them for their help, or to press them. We will be sending information like this out to all groupcoordinators.
WHAT SHOULD WE SAY?
It is important to keep the message short and simple and just take a few basic points. The receptionist at the White House will usually sound bored, formal and disinterested although this may start changing as the calls pour in. You may also get a voice mail. This is all just fine.
Their personal reaction in the comments office does not matter. What matters
is that they have to keep track of how many calls are coming in, and they have
to send a message upstairs every night that there is a matter of serious public
interest specifically, Leonard's case. Each person should take a look at the
fact sheet if they have time. But it is not at all necessary to know all the
details. It is just important to call with the same message. The key points
to make are these:
a. We are calling to demand that Leonard Peltier be freed immediately. He has
been imprisoned for 23 years for a crime everyone knows he did not commit, and
he is now 55 years of age, and in deteriorating health. He is overdue for parole.
WE WANT HIM RELEASED AT ONCE. (Note: We know Clinton is a big chicken about
clemency, even more so after the backlash about the Puerto Rican case. But insist
on clemency anyway. If we push hard enough, he will rush to the parole board
to give Leonard parole to get him and Gore off the hook during an election year).
b. The FBI carried out many abuses against minority leaders throughout the 1960âs and the 1970âs right through Waco. Leonard Peltier is one of the victims of FBI misconduct and abuse of power. The FBI agents forced a witness to sign a false affidavit and concealed important ballistic information from the defense at trial that would have showed Peltier was innocent. Even the prosecutor has admitted they do not know who killed their agents.
c. This case is not about being soft on crime or terrorism. It is about being tough on corruption and obstruction of justice.
d. We want to know what both Mr. Gore and Mr. Clinton plan to do about this. Time is running out for Leonard Peltier. Again, the person will just note your comments and probably not say much. That is just fine. If you can, please call your group coordinator back and let him or her know how the call went and what was said, if anything. The feedback is really helpful.
CALLS TO CONGRESS:
If you call your congressperson, the message should be similar, depending on whom you are speaking with. You can ask them to push for clemency for Leonard, or to look into the Parole Board's unfair denial of parole. (The prosecutor had already admitted in open court that no one knew who had committed the murders, but Leonard was denied parole on the grounds that he was a "cold blooded killer" obviously a contradiction.) Congress has the power to oversee the conduct of all US agencies, including the parole board. They can also press Clinton and Gore for clemency.
Some of these people may already be helping us. If so, thank them. If not offer to send them the six page fact summary for their information and tell them this is a very serious and urgent matter.
CALLS TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:
If any of the presidential candidates have an election office near you give them a call and tell them about the case and ask them what they plan to do about this. Let's make Leonard an election issue.
IMPORTANT: ALL OF US WERE HAPPY ABOUT THE FREEDOM GRANTED TO THE PUERTO RICAN LEADERS BUT MANY OFFICIALS ARE AFRAID OF THE BACKLASH. REMIND THEM THAT LEONARD'S CASE IS A WACO KIND OF CASE AND SIMILAR TO THE UNJUST IMPRISONMENT OF GERONIMO JI JAGA PRATT (THEY MAY KNOW HIM AS GERONIMO PRATT, RECENTLY RELEASED AFTER 27 YEARS IN PRISON AS A RESULT OF FBI MANIPULATION OF EVIDENCE). THIS IS ABOUT FBI MISCONDUCT AND FALSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE. THIS IS ABOUT REPRESSION AGAINST MINORITY LEADERS. THIS IS ABOUT VERY SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE. WE WILL KEEP IN TOUCH. LET'S MAKE NOVEMBER REALLY COUNT.