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My Face-to-Face Meeting With the Terrorist Who Killed My Father

A group of family members and victims of the FALN faced terror on Wednesday, January 5, in the Federal Prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

We met face to face with FALN terror leader, Oscar Lopez Rivera, (U.S. Bureau of Prisons number 87651-024) who is seeking parole from prison. It was Lopez’s FALN who proudly claimed responsibility for over 140 bombings including the infamous lunchtime attack on Fraunces Tavern during which our 33 year old father, Frank Connor and 3 other innocent men were murdered. (Read more here.)

After over two hours of conversing with Lopez and us, the Parole Examiner recommended that Lopez’s parole request be denied and that his next parole hearing will be in 2023. Out of respect for my fellow victims and family members, the Parole Commission and the fact the their final decision has not yet been made, I will not go into details of the hearing.

However, it suffices to say that each of us afforded Mr. Lopez multiple opportunities for reconciliation, to express his remorse, to put all this behind us. Instead, even with his very freedom at stake, he provided nothing more than lies, rambling obfuscations, political diatribe, blaming everyone but himself and childish rationalizations for his admitted career in the murderous FALN and multiple prison escape attempts.

I think we were all hoping for something good in him that we could cling to, something that would bring us some closure. There was nothing there.

After the meeting the Examiner only recommended the denial of parole. The Parole Commission will vote over the next several weeks to affirm or overturn the recommendation. Public opinion over the next few weeks and months may have a strong influence on their decision.

During that time supporters of terror and those who don’t know the facts are planning to send letters and petitions to the board supporting Lopez’s release so we have not accomplished anything yet.

These petitions and letters conveniently leave out the fact that as leader and member of the FALN, Oscar Lopez oversaw and participated in over 140 bombings, six murders and scores of serious injuries. They leave out his two escape attempts; one in which his FALN followers were armed and planned to kill the prison guards. The other involved the use of a helicopter, rifles, C4 explosives, blasting caps and rockets. Lists of his deeds, quotes and felonies for which he was convicted follows.

The Connor men

Given what we experienced in facing terror, please immediately send a letter, fax and or email to the Parole Commission and Justice Department and contact your representatives urging all to see to it that the Examiner’s recommendation be followed and Oscar Lopez remain in prison.

US Parole Commission

Fax: 301-492-5543 (attn: Stephanie Jones)

direct mail:

U.S. Parole Commission

5550 Friendship Boulevard

Suite 420 Chevy Chase, MD

20815-7286 (attn: Stephanie Jones).

House of Representatives

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

United States Senate

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Department of Justice

askdoj@usdoj.gov

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

  • In 1977, a warrant was issued for Oscar Lopez for the possession and storage of explosives.
  • That same year, Lopez was indicted in Chicago for receiving 200 sticks of dynamite from Colorado and concealing them in his Chicago apartment.
  • In April 1980, the arrest of several other FALN members lead authorities to a house in Milwaukee rented to Lopez that was loaded with bomb-making material. Lopez was present at their arrests but hid until the arrests were complete, narrowly escaping arrest himself.
  • In May 1981. Lopez was arrested after being stopped for a traffic violation. The following day, the FBI discovered bomb- making material in a Chicago apartment rented by him.
  • During his trial, FALN member Alfredo Mendez, who was co-operating with the government, stated that Lopez taught him how to make a bomb using dynamite; convert a battery and a wrist watch into timed bombing-detonation devices; and how to make gun silencers.
  • Mendez also quoted Lopez as saying that, “everybody in the organization has to know how to make bombs…in case they have to survive and keep the organization alive.”
  • After his conviction, Lopez said to Judge Thomas McMillen that, “I am an enemy of the United States government…I show respect for human beings, but I don’t think it is reciprocated.” McMillen called Lopez an “incorrigible law-breaker”, and sentenced him to 55 years in prison.
  • On March 19, 1983, while incarcerated at Leavenworth, Lopez had feigned illness in order to be transferred to a local VA hospital, and three other heavily armed FALN members would then attempt to affect a rescue. The FBI, however, was able to thwart the plot.
  • In 1985, Lopez plotted a second escape attempt with a small group of individuals, two of whom had links to the Weather Underground. A list that Lopez had made up of materials to be used in the plot included grenades, rifles, plastic explosives, bulletproof vests, blasting caps and armor-piercing rockets. The FBI once again thwarted that plot.
  • At his trial in 1987, prosecutor Deborah Devaney said that Lopez and his co-defendants were “terrorists who operated without conscience.” Judge McMillen sentenced Lopez to 15 more years in prison, bringing the new total to 70 years. In 1995, McMillen told the Chicago Tribune that the FALN had “used weapons and bombs…they should serve out their sentences.”
  • In June of 1998, Lopez told the Houston Chronicle that, “I have no regrets for serving a noble cause, but…there has been lot of pain and suffering.” A month earlier, Lopez told the AP that, “the whole thing with contrition, atonement, I have problems with that.”

The following is a list of felonies that Oscar Lopez-Rivera has been convicted of:

  • Seditious conspiracy (to conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States).
  • Interference with interstate commerce by threats of violence.
  • Possession of an unregistered firearm.
  • Carrying firearms during the commission of seditious conspiracy and interference with interstate commerce by violence.
  • Interstate transportation of firearms with intent to commit seditious conspiracy and interference with interstate commerce by use of violence.
  • Interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.
  • Conspiracy to escape, to transport explosives with the intent to kill and injure people, and to destroy government buildings and property.
  • Aiding and abetting travel in interstate commerce to carry on arson.
  • Using a telephone to carry on arson.

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