Friends of mine whom I see regularly in the paint (as opposed to my on-line friends) have gently taken me to task regarding my thoughts on the possible future of Zacarias Massaoui. I have been informed that no sitting president would dare commute, not to say pardon, a convicted terrorist.
On April 4, 1980 eleven members of The Armed Forces of Puerto Rican National Liberation -- better known by the acronym FALN -- got snatched up by the Feds.
The FALN had had a busy set of years from 1974 to 1983: 72 actual bombings, 40 incendiary attacks, 8 attempted bombings and 10 bomb threats.
December 11, 1974. Claimed responsibility for the bomb at 336 East 110th Street in East Harlem that injured and permenently disabled a rookie police officer.
January 24, 1975. Claimed responsiblity for the bombing of the Fraunces Tavern, killing four people and injuring more than 50.
April 3, 1975. Claimed responsibility for four bombings. 51 Madison Avenue, the New York Life Insurance Company; 45 East Forty-Ninth Street, the Bankers Trust Company plaza; 340 Park Avenue South, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company headquarters; and 5 West Forty-Sixth Street, the Blimpie Base restaurant. At least five people were injured.
June 9, 1979. Claimed responsibility for an explosion at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago. At least five people injured.
Remember that the total tally comes to: 72 actual bombings, 40 incendiary attacks, 8 attempted bombings and 10 bomb threats.
Those eleven folks got their trials and wound up getting convicted of various Federal charges, relating to sedition, conspiring to interfere with interstate commerce by violence, conspiring to build destructive devices, various weapons charges, and other interesting stuff. Of the eleven convicted, the following got sentences ranging from 55 years to 90 years (what I would consider to be life sentences):
Elizam Escobar. Total effective sentence of 60 years' imprisonment.
Ricardo Jiménez. Total effective sentence of 90 years' imprisonment.
Adolfo Matos. Total effective sentence of 70 years' imprisonment.
Dylcia Noemi Pagán. Total effective sentence of 55 years' imprisonment.
Alicia Rodríguez. Total effective sentence of 55 years' imprisonment.
Ida Luz Rodríguez. Total effective sentence of 75 years' imprisonment.
Luis Rosa. Total effective sentence of 75 years' imprisonment.
Carmen Valentín. Total effective sentence of 90 years' imprisonment.
Violent offenders, the lot of them. Actually blew things up -- including police stations -- rather than just talking about it. Committed robberies. Matter-of-fact, they got caught after attempting to rob an armoured car in Evanston, Illinois.
Gentle Readers, these critters actually did what Zacarias Moussaoui dreamed about. He talked about planning to crash a plane into the White House. These FALN clowns lit fuzes multiple times over, killed people, and robbed banks and armoured cars.
Fast forward the Way Back Machine to August 11, 1999. Sitting President Clinton commuted the sentences of these 11 critters, plus five more of their FALN buddies.
Enough political critters smelt the way the wind was blowing, and they got themselves a committee together. The reports are found here:
There is some suggestion that President Bill "Horndog" Clinton somehow got the idea that if he did the nice for these terrorists, the Puerto Rican contingent in New York might return the favour by elevating his wife to Senatrix of that State.
Voila! Commutation of the sentences of not one, but SIXTEEN bona fide murdering, robbing, blowing-things-to-hell terrs in return for a political favour.
Something to ponder over your evening Ovaltine.