Break-Ins, Death Threats, and the FBI: The Covert War against the Central America Movement

By Ross Gelbspan | Go to book overview

15
An Epidemic of Terrorism:
Continued

In February 1985, a woman approached the Rev. Donovan Cook, pastor of the University Baptist Church in Seattle. The woman, who said she had been very moved by a talk given by a Salvadoran refugee, offered Cook the birth certificate of her deceased son, telling him he could use it to help a Salvadoran refugee gain entry into the U.S. Cook, concerned about the illegal nature of the offer, discontinued the conversation. Several weeks later, a Latin man, with small tears tattooed under his left eye, entered Cook's office and offered him counterfeit birth certificates and Social Security cards. Again, Cook, who had recently been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of eleven Sanctuary movement workers, declined to avail himself of the illegal opportunity to help refugees.

In July 1985, the offices of Cook's church were broken into. While nothing of value was taken, the keys to the rooms where six Central American refugees were staying were taken. The intruders also examined legal files, as well as a file containing a list of supporters of the church's Sanctuary effort. Cook said that shortly before the break-in, church workers observed a man in a parking lot across the street carrying a walkie-talkie. When Cook approached the man, he left. Following several more incidents of intimidation, including the painting of swastikas on the church's doors and the smashing of a stained-glass window, Cook received a letter from the company that insured the church, stating: "There is dearly an increase in hazard to our insured's property caused directly by their involvement in the [Sanctuary] movement and by their providing sanctuary to refugees...As long as our insured allows their premises to be used as a sanctuary to the refugees, the increase in hazard will exist. As an insurance company, we cannot accept this exposure.

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