[Ppnews] Puerto Rican Grand Jury - FBI on fishy fishing expedition

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 9 12:58:12 EST 2008

FBI on fishy fishing expedition


Wednesday, January 9th 2008, 4:00 AM

A few days before Christmas, two men walked into 
Julio Pabon's sports memorabilia store on E.149th St. in the South Bronx.

One of them identified himself as an FBI agent; 
the other was from the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the NYPD.

"We're looking for Julio Pabon," one said.

"Which one, father or son?" replied the store's employee.

They wanted to ask the younger Pabon "some 
questions," the men said before leaving a business card.

A few days later, Julio Antonio Pabon, a 
27-year-old budding filmmaker and graduate of 
Wesleyan University in Connecticut, called the 
phone number on the card and arranged a meeting. 
He was accompanied by his mother.

This time there was one detective and two FBI 
agents, including one from San Juan. They showed 
the young man 20 photos of Hispanic-looking 
individuals and asked if he knew any of them.

Pabon told them he recognized only one, a poet 
named Hector Rivera. Years ago, when Pabon was 
president of the Latino club at Wesleyan, he 
asked Pedro Pietri, the celebrated New York poet 
who has since died, to arrange a performance for 
the students. Pietri sent Rivera and a group 
called Welfare Poets up to the school. That was 
the first and last time Pabon met Rivera.

The agents immediately handed the young man a 
subpoena to appear in federal court on Jan. 11.

He is one of at least three young Puerto Ricans 
in this city who have been subpoenaed to appear 
Friday before a Brooklyn federal grand jury 
investigating local links to the Macheteros, the 
three-decade-old violent Puerto Rican independence group.

"There must be some mistake," the elder Pabon 
told me this week. "My son has never been a 
member of any political group, unless you're 
counting the Yankees' traveling fan group."

Sure, more than 30 years ago, Pabon the father 
was a well-known Bronx community organizer and 
fervent advocate of Puerto Rican independence, 
but he never advocated terrorism.

For the past few decades, he has been a respected 
businessman and promoter of Latino sports events 
and is known by virtually everyone of influence in the Bronx.

"I've known Julito the son since he was born," 
said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx). "What could he 
and these other young people possibly know that helps the FBI?"

In addition to the young Pabon, Tania Frontera, a 
graphic designer, and Christopher Torres, a 
social worker, have been subpoenaed.

Frontera and Torres were active several years ago 
in the successful movement to end the Navy's use 
of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a 
bombing range, acquaintances say. Protests over 
the grand jury investigation are expected Friday here and in Puerto Rico.

Serrano fears the federal government is once 
again using grand juries and law enforcement 
surveillance to intimidate Puerto Ricans engaged in legitimate dissent.

Back in 2000, at the congressman's request, 
former FBI Director Louis Freeh declassified and 
released thousands of internal agency documents 
about the FBI's activities in Puerto Rico.

Those documents revealed a massive campaign by 
the agency to disrupt and persecute independence 
groups from the 1930s to the late 1970s. The 
surveillance even targeted longtime governor of Puerto Rico Luis Muñoz Marin.

Spokesmen for the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. 
attorney's office refused to confirm or deny any new grand jury investigation.

REPORTS in Puerto Rico and this city's 
Spanish-language El Diario-La Prensa have claimed 
for weeks that the grand jury is part of a new 
probe of the Macheteros, the underground Puerto 
Rican group best known for a $7 million Wells 
Fargo robbery in West Hartford, Conn., in 1983.

In September 2005, the legendary founder of the 
group, Filiberto Ojeda Rios, was killed in a 
shootout with the FBI on a small farm in the hills of Puerto Rico.

His death sparked a huge controversy on the 
island because Ojeda Rios, who was gravely 
injured in the shootout, bled to death when 
agents waited until the next morning to rush his farmhouse.

Puerto Rico's Justice Department has tried ever 
since to obtain FBI records of the incident and 
the identities of the agents involved, but has 
been rebuffed and is suing the agency in federal court.

<mailto:jgonzalez at nydailynews.com>jgonzalez at nydailynews.com
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