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UCCtruths

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FALN back in the news

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Debra Burlingame has an excellent op-ed in yesterday's the Wall Street Journal reminding us about the Clinton pardons that freed the FALN Puerto Rican terrorists 9 years ago. The op-ed is also a reminder to us in the United Church of Christ of our denomination at it's absolute worse.

First, some background: The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN) was a Puerto Rican terrorist group that advocated complete independence for Puerto Rico. FALN was responsible for more than 120 bomb attacks on U.S. targets between 1974 and 1983. The group gainied national attention in 1974 with the bombing of the Fraunces Tavern in New York City which left 4 people dead and 54 wounded. As Burlingame notes, "the prisoners were convicted on a variety of charges that included conspiracy, sedition, violation of the Hobbes Act (extortion by force, violence or fear), armed robbery and illegal possession of weapons and explosives -- including large quantities of C-4 plastic explosive, dynamite and huge caches of ammunition."

Throughout the 1990's, United Church of Christ leaders including President Paul Sherry, Rev. Thomas Dipko, then Executive Vice President of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and Rev. Nozomi Ikuta of the United Church Board of Homeland Ministries actively lobbied and consulted with President Clinton, the Department of Justice and Congress on releasing the FALN terrorists from prison. On August 11, 1999 President Clinton offered clemency to the FALN terrorists and on September 7, 1999, 12 of the terrorists accepted the terms of the clemency which included renouncing violence.

During his testimony to Congress following the negative public reaction to Clinton's clemency, Dipko was specifically questioned about one of the terrorists, Alejandrina Torres (the wife of a UCC minister), and seemed to justify the UCC's defense of Torres because "she had convictions about the self-determination of the peoples of Puerto Rico". Dipko was then shown a surveilence video of Torres building a bomb. After viewing it, Dipko claimed "If that is an accurate record of the happening and that is in fact what she was doing, the church would wish to, of course, disassociate from it."

Our church didn't "disassociate from it" and in fact has further embraced the terrorists.

Unfazed by the video and public backlash, leaders in the United Church of Christ have continued to promote the FALN terrorists as freedom fighters. In November of 2006, the national office of the United Church of Christ hosted an art exhibit of work done by the two terrorists who refused the clemency offer (Carlos Alberto Torres and Oscar Lopez Rivera) because they would not renounce violence. At the opening reception for the exhibit, Alejandrina Torres was the honored speaker and was praised by UCC President John Thomas and Linda Jaramillo, the UCC's executive minister of the Justice and Witness Ministries. Jaramillo went so far as to call Alejandrina Torres a "role-model". Here's the video of Jarmillo's introduction of Torres and the speech she gave at the reception:


Keep in mind that Torres has never cooperated in the investigation of the bombings, has never apologized for her crimes and has never apologized to the victims of her crimes. Adding insult to injury, Thomas and Jarmillo continue to falsely claim that Torres "has been fully exonerated by law enforcement agencies, the courts and the federal government". Torres has never been exonerated by any agency, court or the federal government.

Click here for more background on the FALN and Alejandrina Torres including Dipko's testimony to Congress.
posted by UCCtruths, Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1 Comments:

here in Connecticut in the 2006 Election a UCC Minister (or former one I can't remember) got in the news when his oppenent of Puerto Rican background noted that his church supported terrorists.

Independence is not a strongly supported option in Puerto Rico, certainly not by armed revolution. I work in lots of developing countries and no one really supports the terrorists and everyone wants a US Visa. The mainline US churches are all working in a left wing echo chamber with regard to these countries.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8:11 AM  

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