Is Clinton responsible for NJ cop-killer’s Chesimard’s freedom? The facts and history Reply

By Louis C. Hochman, New Jersey 101.5

Above: Joanne Chesimard was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2013.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the stage at the Republican National Convention Tuesday prepared to attack.

He presented a seething indictment of former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — holding her to account for everything from Boko Haram’s abduction of more than 200 girls to the bloody civil war in Syria that’s cost more then 400,000 lives.

Fact-checkers have been giving the allegations a mixed rating — the consensus is most of Christie’s statements had at least some truth, but some were missing important context.

For instance: Clinton’s State Department did hold off on naming Boko Haram a terrorist organization, but as part of a strategy it hoped would more successfully curb the group’s activities without lending it credibility in the region, and while putting many of its leaders on terror lists. The State Department eventually named Boko Haram a terrorist organization in late 2013, several months after Clinton’s tenure as secretary ended.

But perhaps the most striking allegation for New Jersey residents — that Clinton, in effect, “rewarded” the convicted murderer of a New Jersey State Trooper with safety in Cuba.

Read More: Is Clinton responsible for NJ cop-killer’s Chesimard’s freedom? The facts and history

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Havana Wants Prisoner Swap For American Spy Who Helped FMLN Guerrillas Kill 65 in El Salvador, including an American “Green Beret” 1

“Green Beret” Gregory A. Fronius

“Green Beret” Gregory A. Fronius

Cuba Wants Convicted Spy Released in U.S. Prisoner Swap

by Pete Williams and William M. Arkin

Cuba and the United States are discussing possible exchanges of prisoners, including the release of a woman considered one of the most damaging spies in recent history, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The discussions, said to be in their early stages, are part of efforts by the two countries toward normalization of diplomatic relations.

Among the names floated by Cuban leaders, officials say, is Ana Montes, convicted in 2002 of spying for the Cuban government for nearly two decades while working for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

Her espionage compromised many aspects of America’s efforts to spy on Cuba, “calling into question the reliability of all U.S. intelligence collected against Cuba,” according to Michelle Van Cleave, a former national counterintelligence executive.

While at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Montes became the top Cuban analyst. Investigators said she memorized classified information on the job, typed it on a laptop computer in the evenings at her apartment, stored it in coded form on disks, and passed the information to her Cuban handlers.

Montes was sentenced to 25 years in prison and is due to be released in 2023. For their part, American officials say the U.S. is interested in getting back Americans who sought refuge in Cuba from U.S. prosecution.

“Cuba has been a haven for U.S. fugitives,” said one federal law enforcement official.

Among those U.S. officials would like back is Joanne Chesimard, who escaped from a New Jersey prison in 1979 where she was serving a life sentence for killing a state trooper by shooting him with his own gun at a traffic stop.

The State Department declined to discuss specifics. But a spokesman said, “The United States continues to seek the return from Cuba of fugitives from U.S. justice. The Department repeatedly raises fugitive cases with the Cuban government and will continue to do so at every appropriate opportunity.”

“I don’t think the idea of a prisoner exchange is surprising,” author David Wise, who has written several books about espionage cases, said. “We’ve swapped with the Russians since the early days of the Cold War. It’s by no means unprecedented.”

Editor’s Note:  Cuban-Supported FMLN guerrillas killed 65 soldiers, including American “Green Beret” Gregory A. Fronius, in a single three-hour battle. The surprise attack on the El Paraiso camp occurred on April 1, 1987 – shortly after Castro spy Ana Montes visited the camp as part of a five-week familiarization visit to the (then) war-torn nation. Montes then shared numerous U.S. secrets with her handler – to include the precise time to attack — on a date she knew 75% of El Paraiso’s garrison would be away conducting counter-insurgency operations.

Chris Christie Wants Cuba Flights Blocked Over Havana’s Sheltering of American Terrorist Reply

rewardChristie urges Port Authority to reject Newark-Cuba flights over cop-killer case

By Geoff Earle, New York Post

WASHINGTON – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is urging the Port Authority not to reopen direct flights between Newark and Havana because of Cuba’s continued harboring of convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard.

“It is unacceptable to me to me as governor to have any flights between New Jersey and Cuba until and unless convicted cop killer and escaped fugitive Joanne Chesimard is returned to New Jersey to face justice,” Christie wrote in a letter to PA chief John Degnan obtained by The Post.

“I will not tolerate rewarding the Cuban government for continuing to harbor a fugitive,” he added.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 of the brutal murder of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster in 1973 during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Officer James Harper was wounded in the melee.

Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, busted out of a New Jersey prison in 1979 and fled in 1984 to Cuba, where she was granted asylum. She was serving a life sentence, and escaped with armed accomplices.

Her continued sanctuary inside Cuba became an issue immediately after word broke of the new thaw in relations between Cuba and the US.

“We believe that the strong US interest in the return of these fugitives will be best served by entering into this dialogue with Cuba,” President Obama said this spring.

Feature continues here: Christie Pushes Back Against Cuba’s Continued Sheltering of American Terrorist

 

 

Wanted Terrorist Seen as Symbol for U.S.-Cuban Differences 1

It was a murder on the New Jersey Turnpike – stunning violence near the New Brunswick exit. Now, decades after Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard was sentenced for the 1973 killing of a state trooper, escaped prison, and surfaced in Cuba in 1984, she is first and foremost among the estimated 70 American fugitives harbored there whose apparent flouting of U.S. law is fuel for critics of recent efforts to restore U.S.-Cuba relations.

In December, 54 years after America severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, Presidents Obama and Raul Castro proposed a renewal of ties. “We view any changes in relations with Cuba as an opportunity to bring [Chesimard] back,” said New Jersey State Police Col. Rick Fuentes, “and stand by the reward” for her capture.

Read entire feature here:  Philadelphia Inquirer

 

 

N.J. Lawmakers Urge No Funding for Cuban Relations Until Chesimard is Returned to U.S. 2

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, The Star-Ledger

WASHINGTON — Congress should not approve any money for restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba until convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard is returned to the U.S., three New Jersey Republican federal lawmakers said today.

U.S. Reps. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.), Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) and Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.) made the request in a letter today to fellow Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that approves spending on foreign operations, and the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

“Any attempt by the Obama administration to normalize relations with Cuba must include the extradition of Joanne Chesimard back to New Jersey so that she can face justice and serve out her sentence,” the lawmakers wrote. “Until Cuba accepts this condition, we request all funds directed toward normalization be withheld.

Today’s letter is the latest attempt by the New Jersey congressional delegation to make Chesimard’s return a condition of resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).told Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter last month that Chesimard and other fugitives must be extradited before Cuba is removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In January, members of the state’s congressional delegation called on President Obama to make Chesimard’s extradition “an immediate priority,”

Chesimard escaped prison and fled to Cuba after being sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1973 murder of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight. Chesimard and other members of the Black Liberation Army had been stopped by State Police on the New Jersey Turnpike. In 2013, she became the first woman on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.

The calls for Chesimard’s extradition have grown louder since Obama in December announced a “new approach” to Cuba, which has been under a U.S. embargo for a half-century, and said he would easing economic restrictions and move toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with the communist regime.

Article continues here:  NJ Lawmakers

 

Christie to Obama: Get Chesimard From Cuba 2

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

William Westhoven, @Wwesthoven, Daily Record

Gov. Chris Christie has joined the growing call by New Jersey leaders demanding that Cuba return fugitive cop-killer JoAnne Chesimard as part of any negotiations the United States enters to normalize relations with its long-estranged neighbor.

The governor’s office issued a release on Sunday that included a copy of a letter sent by Christie to President Barak Obama, dated Dec. 18, urging him to “demand the immediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government.”

“Cuba’s provision of safe harbor to Chesimard by providing political asylum to a convicted cop killer, and her ability to elude justice, is an affront to every resident of our state, our country, and in particular, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police, who have tirelessly tried to bring this killer back to justice,” Christie wrote.

Christie wrote he did not share the president’s hopes that opening relations would reverse decades of human-rights abuse under the Castro regime, but that current developments provide the opportunity for Cuba to prove it is serious about change by sending Chesimard back to New Jersey.

“I ask you to use this opportunity to engage with the Cuban government to get this resolved, and I am very disappointed that returning a convicted killer of a police officer was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps you announced regarding this dictatorship,” Christie wrote. “The family of her victims, like so many of those who have, and continue to suffer under the Castro regime, deserve this basic decency before further steps toward Cuba are taken by this government.”

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, (R-Harding), Sen. Robert Menendez and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes led a strong negative response from New Jersey leaders in the immediate aftermath of Obama’s historic announcement on Wednesday of a prisoner swap and new efforts to open relations with Cuba for the first time since a trade embargo was established 54 years ago.

At issue was the return of Chesimard, a former member of the revolutionary Black Liberation Army convicted of murdering New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973. Following her 1977 trial in New Brunswick, before a jury selected from Morris County residents, she escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in Hunterdon County on Nov. 2, 1979, in a brazen breakout executed by three armed BLA members.

Feature continues here: America’s Most Wanted