I have been unable to find any conversation on Ricochet about Obama’s commutation of the sentence of a terrorist, the FALN’s Oscar Lopez Rivera, which surprises me. (Perhaps the Search function has failed me.) I find the freeing of Lopez Rivera to be even more disgraceful than the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence.
In 1981, Lopez Rivera was convicted of seditious conspiracy and other crimes, and he was sentenced to 55 years imprisonment. According to the pre-sentencing report, Lopez Rivera had been
personally involved in bombing and incendiary attacks across the country for at least five years prior to Méndez’s [sic] involvement and knowledge, has been a prime recruiter for members of the underground terrorist group, and has been a key trainer in bombing, sabotage and other techniques of guerilla warfare. He has set up a series of safehouses and bomb factories across the country, the searches of which have uncovered literally hundreds of pounds of dynamite and other forms of high explosive, blasting caps, timing devices, huge caches of weapons and stockpiles of ammunition, silencers, sawed-off shotguns, disguises, stolen and altered identity documents, and the proceeds of the armed robberies of locations such as a National Guard Armory, Chicago’s Carter-Mondale Re-Election headquarters, radio and communications companies, as well as a variety of stolen vehicles. [Source: Wikipedia.]
In 1988, he was convicted of conspiring to escape prison through violent means.
In 1999, he was offered conditional clemency by President Clinton. Lopez Rivera refused to accept it because it required him to renounce terrorism.
In short, he’s a dangerous character who is anti-American and will not renounce the use of terrorist violence against the U.S. For our esteemed president, the important part is that Lopez Rivera is anti-American – and that he is Puerto Rican. Just as the commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning was intended – bizarrely – as a favor to the LGBT community (would Manning have received clemency if he hadn’t started identifying as female?), the springing of Lopez Rivera from prison has succeeded in delighting Puerto Ricans such as Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Rivera, who has shared his ecstasy on Twitter.
In the early part of this century, I went to work for Barclays Capital in the shadow of the World Trade Center. I replaced a man named Tom Connor, who left to join another institution. After about a month, Tom returned to Barclays, after realizing that he wasn’t a good fit at that other bank. To my relief, he did not assume my responsibilities (i.e., his old ones) but rather assumed new ones. Our cubicles were next to each other, and Tom and I became friends. I became acquainted with his young family. I eventually learned that his father, Frank Connor, had been murdered in the FALN bombing of Fraunces Tavern in 1975, when Tom was a young child.
On 9/11/01, Tom and I were together when we saw the planes hit the Twin Towers. Before evacuating the building, I saw an expression on Tom’s face that I will never forget. To me, it said: “This will not happen again. I will not leave my children fatherless.” We evacuated to safety.
Lin-Manuel Miranda may be “sobbing with gratitude [that] OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA IS COMING HOME,” but I wish that the president had taken into account the fact that on January 24, 1975, Frank Connor never came home.