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As First Published in the September, 1999 issue

Connections:  FALN and Colombia

Understanding Clinton's Release of Puerto Rican "Terrorists" Requires a Look Further South

by Michael C. Ruppert

A great deal of controversy was stirred these past few weeks as President Clinton granted highly publicized clemency to 16 members of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement FALN. The separatist leaders had been serving prison sentences since the 1970s for a series of U.S. bombings. The conventional wisdom in the media was that perhaps old WJC was making a play for the Puerto Rican vote in New York State where his wife Hillary is organizing a run for the Senate next year. Most of the bombings and incarcerations occurred in New York, which has a large Puerto Rican population.

FTW believes that there may have been other reasons for Bill Clinton's generosity.

Throughout the month the political and economic situation in Colombia has deteriorated steadily, giving rise to increased speculation about, and indeed prediction of, U.S. military involvement to save the faltering regime of President Andres Pastrana. With fully forty per cent of the nation controlled by revolutionary groups led by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Pastrana is also attempting to deal with sagging production and legal exports and a right wing paramilitary faction seeking his overthrow. All factions in Colombia derive substantial financial assistance from the drug cartels. FARC leadership claims to be opposed to the Cali Cartel and more supportive of the Medellin Cartel while "taxing" both. Historically the Cali Cartel can be described as allied with the Bush faction and the Medellin Cartel - especially through the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas (controlling drug distribution in New York) - with the Clinton faction.

Leaving the more detailed niceties aside, the fact remains that within the last five years Colombia has become the largest drug-producing nation in the world. It is now competitive (contrary to USG finger pointing elsewhere) in the world heroin trade and will soon produce most of the U.S. heroin supply. That makes Colombia a potential economic superpower in the $400 billion a year drug business. FTW readers will recall the article in our July issue by Catherine Austin Fitts in which she described the "cold call" of New York Stock Exchange President Richard Grasso on FARC leadership as an attempt to ensure that all of the drug capital entering Colombia found its way back into the over-inflated bubble on Wall Street.

The economic and political situation in Colombia has degenerated to the point where Pastrana (9/22) had to seek U.S. support for a $7.5 billion, multi-nation bailout with new and ugly IMF sanctions, increased military aide and an end to negotiations with the rebels.  What's worse - a la Vietnam - Bell Helicopter has signaled its intent to sell Colombia Cobra gunships with U.S. government approval.

So what's the connect with FALN? Pull out a map. With the Panama Canal now reverted to Panama, the closest U.S. military bases to Colombia are in Puerto Rico. Belated U.S. attempts to establish a small presence in Equador are of little strategic significance. Colombia's next door neighbor, Venezuela, the single largest supplier of U.S. oil, is healthy, stable and not very friendly to the idea of outright U.S. military intervention in Latin America. Puerto Rico considers

itself a Latin American nation and its population speaks Spanish.

The fact of the matter is that U.S. military forces staging in Puerto Rico for an invasion of Colombia would face a risk of infiltration, sabotage and guerilla attacks unparalleled since U.S. troops screamed "VC in the wire!" during Vietnam. The release of 16 FALN leaders has probably ensured that U.S. Forces in Puerto Rico will remain unmolested as we prepare for a hemispheric conflict. Bill Clinton's capitulation in a long simmering dispute over the use of one Puerto Rican island for Naval weapons training has probably sweetened the deal for the FALN leaders, giving them a tangible victory on top of their release.

FTW contacted a retired NYPD detective who had worked on the FALN bombings and spent most of his career in intelligence. We asked, "Are the FALN powerful enough that they could influence events in Puerto Rico to either cause or prevent bombings and sabotage of U.S. bases? His exact response was, "F--- yeah, they are!"


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