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Washington-New York Bombing Campaign

Between December 16, 1982 and April 20, 1984 a series of 14 bomb explosions in the New York City and Washington, DC, areas was claimed by three previously unknown terrorist groups. Analysis of the bombing techniques, rhetoric, and modus operandi of these bombings indicates that they were all committed by the same terrorist organization and that those responsible for the bombings are closely connected to groups involved in the Brinks and related "expropriations' discussed above.

The three groups that acknowledged responsibility for these bombings called themselves the Armed Resistance Unit (ARU), which claimed most of the bombings in the Washington area; the United Freedom Front (UFF), which claimed most of the bombings in the New York area; and a group that was probably part of the same terrorist complex, the Revolutionary Fighting Group (RFG), which acknowledged responsibility for one bombing in the New York area. There were no casualties or injuries in these bombings, although considerable property damage was sustained by the governmental and corporate institutions attacked. No one was arrested or charged in connection with these bombings.

The modus operandi of these bombings has tended to be the same in almost all of them. The MO consists of timing the explosive device to detonate at a late hour of the night (often 11:00 PM12:00 Midnight) and of placing a warning call, usually to a news media outlet, shortly prior to the explosion. This call was often accompanied by a tape-recorded message that warned of the impending explosion, claimed it for the particular group, and gave a reason for the bombing (usually on behalf of a South African, Central American, or Puerto Rican terrorist group and in opposition to U.S. policy in these countries). A typed communique was distributed by the group or its above-ground support units after the bombing.

The construction of the bombs in this series tended to be similar -- sticks of dynamite with similar caps and often placed in attache cases. In the Washington area at least, the bombs had dual firing mechanisms to avert a possible failure of a single mechanism. The bombing material of the UFF bombings in the New York area was dynamite stolen from the New England Explosives Company in New Hampshire in November 1983.

The ARU emerged on April 26, 1983, when it claimed credit for a bombing at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. The announced goal was denouncement of U.S. involvement in Central America. On April 26, 1983, an IED detonated at Fort McNair, Building 61, Washington, D.C., causing extensive damage. A communique was received from the ARU claiming responsibility for the bombing. According to the communique, their action was taken in solidarity with the growing liberation movements in Central America.

On August 17, 1983, at approximately 11:57 p.m., the duty officer at the United States Navy Yard, Washington, DC, received a garbled telephone call in which a male voice specified a building in the yard where a bomb had been placed. When Naval personnel responded to that building, no bomb could be located. At approximately 12:05 a.m., on August 18, 1983, a flash of light and loud noise were seen and heard by Naval personnel in the area of Building 196. This explosion resulted in minimal damage to the air conditioning duct and a hole in the wall housing the air conditioner.

At approximately 12:15 a.m., on August 18, 1983, a recorded message was telephonically received by the "Washington Post," stating the FMLN was responsible for the bombing. The message used such phrasing as " ... US imperialism in Central America ... " and " .. solidari ty against the US in Nicaragua and El Salvador ... " A written communique was later distributed in New York City claiming credit for this bombing and listing the ARU as the responsible group.

On November 7, 1983, at approximately 11:02 p.m., an explosion occurred at the United States Capitol Building, Senate side, Washington, DC, resulting in extensive damage. The explosion, preceded by a warning call at 10,:50 p.m., to the "Washington Post," was claimed by the ARU.

The Red Guerrilla Resistance (RGR) became known on April 5, 1984, when it claimed credit for a bombing at Israeli Airoraft Industries, New York, New York. Since then, the group also claimed credit for two additional bombings. The motivations for the bombings, according to communiques received, included protesting American and Israeli imperialism and militarism in the Middle East, Central and Latin America, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean; and South African apartheid policies.

On April 5, 1984, two bombs detonated at the office of Israeli Aircraft International, Inc. (IAII), a non-Israeli Government company, in New York, New York, causing extensive damage. A warning call was received at the United Press International from an unknown male who identified himself as a member of the RGR and stated, "We bombed the IAII Office, free Palestinians, down with Zionism ... "

On April 20, 1984, at approximately 1:55 a.m. an improvised explosive device detonated at the Washington Navy Yard, Officer's Club, Washington, D.C., causing extensive damage. The United Press International and the Washington Post Newspaper received recorded telephone calls during which the caller stated, "The Guerrilla Resistance (inaudible) at 2 a.m. bombed the Officer's Club at the Washington Navy Yard to protest the (inaudible) war games, the United states Imperialist was in Central America, and the Caribbean." Also mentioned was the Frente Farabundo Marti de Liberacion Nacional, Frente Democratio Revolucionario, and the Puerto Rico Independence Movement.

On September 26, 1984~ at approximately 12:23 a.m. a bomb detonated in the 12th floor stairway of the 33-floor structure, housing the South African Consulate, located at 425 Park Avenue, New York, New York, causing extensive damage. No injuries were reported. The bombing was preceded by.a warning call to the building's security guard. The Associated Press received a recorded telephone call in which the Red Guerrilla Resistance claimed responsibility stating that the bombing was to show solidarity with the South African Human Rights Movement. A Red Guerrilla Resistance communique was also located.

In an oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism on March 14, 1984, Judge Webster testified, "We do know that the Armed Resistance Unit and the United Freedom Front... tend to supply the same rhetoric with respect to U.S. policies, the same kind of words that we experienced among some of the other dissident groups that became dormant and which have, in a way, metamor- phosized through other organizations that we have been watching closely, particularly as a result of the Nanuet robbery, the Brinks robbery which I referred to earlier in my testimony.... The inferences we are drawing result not only from the rhetoric of the claims, but also from the nature of the explosives that were used in all of these cases and the manner in which they were put together."

Futher indications of a connection between the UFF/ARU bombings and the Brinks case arise from a publication of the MCO entitled Armed Propaganda Against the U.S. War Machine: Communiques from the Armed Resistance Unit and the United Freedom Front 1982-1983, Compiled with an in- troduction by the May 19th Communist Organization, published in the spring of 1984. This compilation consisted often communiques from the UFF and ARU expressing their responsibility for the various explosions in the bombing series, and it also included a communique from the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN expressing responsiblity for bombings in New York City on December 31, 1982.

The whole compilation and especially the introduction by the MCO may be taken as an expression of solidarity of the MCO with both FALN and the UFF and ARU. The terrorist strategy of the bombings was explained in the "Introduction'; the bombings expose the vulnerability of a system in extreme contradiction with the people it rules -- it has to beef up its security because it doesn't know when it will be attacked. "Democratic rights' in a "free and open' system clearly become expendable, and the real nature of the system as an empire thriving on colonial oppression is exposed.

The purpose of the terrorist activity was to intensify the security and counter-terrorist measures of the government and the established authorities so that its truly "repressive' nature will become clear and resistance to it will be increased. This concept is closely related to the idea of Carlos Marighella, the Brazilian terrorist of the 1960s, who wrote in his Minimanual of the Urban Guerilla (published in Havana in 1970)

"The government has no alternative except to intensify repression. The police networks, house searches, arrests of innocent people and of suspects, closing off streets, make life in the city unbearable. The military dictatorship embarks on massive political persecution. Political assassinations and police terror become routine. In spite of all this, the police systematically fail.... The people refuse to collaborate with the authorities, and the general sentiment is that the government is unjust, incapable of solving problems, and resorts purely and simply to the physical liquidation of its opponents".

It is unlikely, however, that this strategy ever worked very well. It did not work in Brazil, nor in Uruguay, where the Tupamaros followed a similar plan. Two reasons why it did not work are that (a) governments do not necessarily meet increased terrorism with genuine repression and (b) even if they do resort to repression, this may be effective in suppressing the terrorists (e.g., Uruguay).

The "Introduction" continues: "These actions bombings) have begun to provide revolutionary leadership for those American people also who are truly disturbed by the U.S. (sic) invasion of Grenada, and for the growing solidarity movements with the peoples of Central America.... For revolutionaries in the oppressor nation, solidarity with national liberation struggles provides the political basis upon which we will polarize the white proletariat to organize significant sectors of it to fight for socialist revolution. Recognizing the leadership the oppressed nations struggling for independence and socialism offer in the dismemberment of the imperialist system calls for a strategy in the oppressor nation that makes war on the warmakers".

Among the forces that the MCO recognized as fighting im- perialism and engaging in "revolutionary resistance inside the US -- to fight the world's enemy on its own turf" are the Black Liberation Army, FALN, and "captured freedom fighters inside U.S. prisons." The MCO therefore saw itself and its terrorist allies in the United States as complementing the terrorism and guerrilla warfare of the "national liberations movements' in the "imperial system' (e.g., southern Africa, Central America, and the Middle East) as well as leading terrorists and urban guerilla campaigns within the United States.

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Page last modified: 24-09-2017 18:52:37 ZULU