JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND
By Cliff Kincaid
A live version of “Forensic Files” hits Washington, D.C. on March 12, as pressure mounts for an expanded probe of Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, and their alleged roles in the 1970 bombing murder of a San Francisco policeman. Ayers and Dohrn, now university professors, were members of a communist terrorist gang called the Weather Underground during the 1960s and 1970s whose aim was to support communist regimes and anti-American movements around the world and destroy the United States. The group received terrorist training in Communist Cuba and was advised by Soviet and Cuban intelligence agents.
A former FBI informant, a retired San Francisco policeman, a veteran congressional investigator, and an internationally-renowned researcher into extremist movements will be appearing at the National Press Club to urge federal authorities to get to the bottom of what really happened on February 16, 1970, when a bomb filled with heavy metal staples exploded and ripped through the body of San Francisco Police Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell at the Park Station police headquarters. McDonnell was in the hospital for two days, bleeding from his wounds, before he finally died.
The bombing was listed by the FBI as the work of the Weather Underground, but Ayers and Dohrn, two of its top members, never claimed credit for the blast. They have tried to insist over the years that their bombs never hurt or killed anyone, except their own members. However, the consistent testimony of former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl, who participated in meetings with Ayers, has been that Ayers told him that Dohrn planted the bomb.
What’s more, the bomb that killed three of their own members when it accidentally exploded in a New York townhouse was an anti-personnel device intended for an Army dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Mark Rudd, another member of the Weather Underground, reveals in a new book that he was in favor of planting the bomb, saying that he wanted “this country to have a taste of what it had been dishing out daily in Southeast Asia…” What the U.S. had been trying to do was prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam.
One might think that a case as old as the McDonnell killing would never be solved. But those familiar with real-life crime shows, such as “Forensic Files” on the TruTV cable channel, know that law enforcement authorities don’t like to give up, and that advances in forensic science have greatly improved the ability to solve the “cold cases.”
To prove the point, in 2007, members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA) were indicted for the 1971 killing of another San Francisco Police Sergeant, John Young. The BLA worked with the Weather Underground.
In fact, the Weather Underground and the BLA in 1981 tried to rob a Brinks truck and killed three law enforcement officers in Rockland County, New York. Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert went to prison for their roles in the assault, while their “comrades,” Ayers and Dohrn, raised their child, Chesa Boudin. Dohrn was jailed for seven months for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury investigating the murders.
Chesa Boudin would grow up and live in Venezuela and become a self-described “foreign policy adviser” to Marxist ruler Hugo Chavez, implicated by the evidence and newspaper accounts in support for the Colombian FARC and Middle Eastern terror groups. By his own admission, Ayers has traveled four times to Venezuela to lecture on “educational” issues. He was described by Venezuelan authorities during one appearance as a former leader of a “revolutionary and anti-imperialist group” that “brought an armed struggle to the USA for more than 10 years from within the womb of the empire.”
At the March 12 news conference at the National Press Club, former congressional investigator Herbert Romerstein will release a detailed report on how the Weather Underground waged a campaign of violence and murder that targeted police and the public. Former FBI informant Grathwohl will repeat his calls for further investigation and justice in the case of Sergeant McDonnell, and Jim Pera, a retired San Francisco police officer who worked with McDonnell and was one of the first on the scene of the bombing, will describe the devastating effect of the blast. Ground-breaking international blogger Trevor Loudon and I will release a report examining how a new “student movement,” under the direction of Ayers and Dohrn and others of their ilk, is emerging on college campuses.
During their time in the Weather Underground, before they became “respectable” and “mainstream” and associated with politicians like Barack Obama, Dohrn and Ayers signed a document, “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism,” dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy. Dohrn, perhaps even more notorious than Ayers, once praised mass murderer Charles Manson as a “true revolutionary” and declared, “Dope is one of our weapons.” Rudd, in his new book, reminisces about his sexual promiscuity, involvement in bombings, and LSD trips. He is today a prominent member of “Progressives for Obama.”
These terrorists, who are hawking books and traveling on college campuses around the country, are increasingly being met with public resistance. Hundreds recently turned out to protest an Ayers speech at St. Mary’s College in California. But can the terrorists continue to escape legal accountability for their past actions and the violence they inflicted on others? In the McDonnell case, the Biennial Report (2007-2008) of the California Department of Justice reported that “In 2000, the SFPD [San Francisco Police Department] reopened its investigation into the bombing of the Park Police Station and requested investigative assistance from the DOJ. The DOJ’s Bureau of Forensic Services was also assigned to identify a latent print collected from the original crime scene.”
“The FBI and the San Francisco police department were looking to prosecute Bernardine Dohrn for murder” about six years ago, Grathwohl told me. “They were really pushing it and then it dropped off the radar.” The March 12 event is designed to put it back on the radar.
Participants in the press conference, organized by my educational organization, America’s Survival, Inc., are under no illusions that the Obama Administration will react favorably. After all, the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, was involved in the Clinton Administration pardons of members of the Weather Underground and Puerto Rican FALN terrorist group. But the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, is independent of the Administration and has a 10-year term that expires in 2011. He doesn’t have to answer to Holder or Obama.
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With enough public support and evidence, the pressure to seek and obtain justice in this case will mount and the authorities will have no choice but to act.
© 2009 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved
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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.