Raymond Luc Levasseur
Raymond "Ray" Luc Levasseur (born October 10, 1946), of Sanford, Maine, was a member of the United Freedom Front, a militant Marxist organization that conducted a series of bombings throughout the United States from 1976 to 1984.
In 1965 Levasseur enlisted in the United States Army, and was sent to Vietnam two years later, for a 12-month tour of duty. He felt that this experience radicalized him — claiming that he experienced racism, and began to feel strong opposition to fighting against the Vietnamese, who he felt were struggling for their right to self-determination.
In 1969, Levasseur was arrested for attempting to sell six dollars' worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer. Even though he had no prior criminal history, due to his political activism, Levasseur was given the maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. He was sent to the Tennessee State Penitentiary, where he spent 2 years in solitary confinement, before being released on parole.
He then moved to Maine, where he began working with Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), and the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners'-rights organization. It is while working with these activist groups in Maine, that Levasseur met his future wife, Pat Gros.
In 1975 Levasseur co-founded the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit with Tom Manning, Pat Gros (Rowbottom) and Carol Manning which eventually became known as the United Freedom Front. From 1975 to 1984 the UFF carried out several robberies as well as bombings targeted at corporations and institutions supporting the South African apartheid regime and US foreign policy in Central America.
Arrest and trial
On November 4, 1984, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) arrested Levasseur, 38, and Gros, 30, was seized after their van was halted in Deerfield, Ohio. According to the Special Agents, Levasseur kicked an Agent but otherwise surrendered without a struggle. A 9-millimeter pistol was found in the van, and the couple's three children, who were in the van, were turned over to juvenile authorities, the Agents said. (New York Times)
Conviction and imprisonment
Levasseur and six of his comrades were eventually convicted of conspiracy in 1986 and sentenced to long terms. In 1987 Levasseur and all seven members of the UFF were charged with seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act. The trial ended in an acquittal on most charges and a hung jury on the rest.
After the conspiracy charge in 1986, Levasseur was sentenced to 45 years in prison, and was sent immediately to Control Unit of the supermax prison, USP Marion. While there, he refused to work for the prison labor corporation UNICOR, producing weapons for the U.S. Department of Defense.
In 1999 he was transferred to the Atlanta Federal Prison, where he was released from solitary confinement for the first time in 13 years. Soon afterwards, he began to publish writings on the website Letters from Exile.
Levasseur was released from prison on parole in November 2004 having served nearly half of his 45-year sentence.
- (2015) Un américain, portrait de Raymond Luc Levasseur, directed by Pierre Marier, French-language feature-length documentary (99 minutes).
- James, Joy (2003). Imprisoned Intellectuals: America's political prisoners write on life, liberation, and rebellion. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 227–229. ISBN 978-0-7425-2027-1.
- Raymond Luc Levasseur Trial transcripts, 1989, University of Massachusetts Special Collections and University Archives. Retrieved April 1, 2013
- US v. Levasseur, 816 F. 2d 37 - Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1987, United States of America v. Ramond Levasseur, Carol Ann Manning, Thomas William Manning, Barbara Curzi-Laaman, Richard Charles Williams, Jaan Karl Laaman. Retrieved April 1, 2013
- Churchill, Ward; Jim Vander Wall (2002). The COINTELPRO papers: documents from the FBI's secret wars against dissent in the United States. South End Press. p. 416. ISBN 978-0-89608-648-7.