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September 08, 2007

Aide To Demcratic Governor of Illinois Jailed For Refusal To Testify in Terrorist FALN Bomber Case

Another case of Guess That Party!, by the way, but given this is a Chicago paper, perhaps they assume people know the governor's party affiliation.

I don't expect the AP story will be more forthcoming about it, though.

A high-ranking official in Gov. Blagojevich's office spent nearly two years in a federal prison for refusing to aid a government terrorism probe into a series of bombings in Chicago and New York City.

Steven Guerra, Blagojevich's $120,000-a-year deputy chief of staff for community services, was identified by federal prosecutors as a member of the Puerto Rican separatist group, FALN, which was behind a wave of violence and killings in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Before al-Qaida and Timothy McVeigh, the nation's most feared terrorism group was FALN, an organization that sought Puerto Rican independence through a wave of terror more than a quarter century ago.

More than 130 bombings in New York, Illinois and Puerto Rico were attributed to the group, including at least 28 here. Five people were killed, and 84 were injured, including four police officers.

Between 1975 and 1979, FALN took credit for or was suspected in bomb attacks at the Merchandise Mart, the Chicago Police Department headquarters, Woodfield Shopping Center and a former Marshall Field's department store, among others.

In March 1980, gun-toting sympathizers stormed the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign office in Chicago and held campaign workers hostage.

But a month later, FALN suffered its most severe setback when 11 members were arrested in a stolen truck in Evanston.

In 1983, Guerra, now 53, was among five people convicted in New York of contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the group. The felony conviction resulted in a three-year prison sentence for Guerra, who was released in 1986 after serving 23 months.

Federal prosecutors labeled Guerra and his four co-defendants "a danger to the community," and said they advocated armed violence, kidnappings, hijackings and prison breaks in the name of a "free" Puerto Rico.

The lead prosecutor in Guerra's case, James D. Harmon Jr., said it is clear to him that the man he helped convict has no business working for state government. "He had his opportunity to help the government. Someone who refused to help the government, in my opinion, forfeits his right to earn a living from any government at any time," the former prosecutor said.

Gov. Blagojevich's office said Guerra disclosed his felony conviction to the administration before his 2003 hiring. Aides said the governor intends to stand by Guerra. He was recommended for the job by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who lobbied President Bill Clinton to grant clemency to 11 imprisoned FALN members in 1999.

...

Guerra was not charged with any of the group's attacks or plots. But a sentencing memo obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times laid out in detail the government's belief that Guerra was an FALN insider with intimate knowledge of wrongdoing.

The accusations came largely from an admitted FALN member, Alfredo Mendez. He grew up with Guerra, became a government witness and is living under the witness-protection program.

Now if the media's excuse for overreporting corruption stories about Republicans while underreporting those about Democrats is that these stories are "illustrative" of something about Republicans specifically, what can we say about Democrats' continuing apologism on behalf of, and occasional glorification of, terrorists?

Enough about the media. If Democrats hire terrorist supporters on their staff, how the hell can they claim to be "strong, tough" in fighting them?

What's their plan for Osama bin Laden? Hire him on as chief spokesman of the DNC?

It would make sense. His latest tape sounds like an audition for the gig.


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posted by Ace at 03:17 AM

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