On April 24, as I was waiting in the San Francisco Hall of Justice to cover a murder case involving members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a small group of BLA supporters was beginning to gather. Convicted lawyer Lynne Stewart greeted Ward Churchill, after the lanky and long-haired former Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder strolled down the hallway. "Congratulations," she said, embracing him and referring to a jury verdict that he was wrongly fired. "Will you be reinstated?" Churchill answered, "It remains to be seen."
Stewart was convicted of aiding a terrorist group while representing Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, himself convicted of several terrorism charges relating to attacks planned on the United States and now serving time in the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina. Stewart's guilty verdict is on appeal.
Churchill, who taught "ethnic studies," got into trouble after he wrote an essay describing 9/11 victims as Nazis. University administrators had charged him with shoddy research and plagiarism.
It looks like Churchill will either get his job back, or the university, which mishandled the case, will have to pay him not to show up for class after a judge forces his reinstatement.
Interestingly, a letter asking for his reinstatement is signed by "William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago," who is better known as Bill Ayers of the Communist terrorist group known as the Weather Underground.
But why are these people coming out in support of accused cop-killers? It's a question worth answering, considering that May 10-16 is National Police Week and that Attorney General Eric Holder, who was involved in the Clinton pardons of members of two major terrorist groups, is speaking at the National Law Enforcement Memorial on Wednesday night. Holder will lead the lighting of candles and read the names of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Â
The Holder pardons involved members of the Weather Underground and Puerto Rican FALN, groups which killed police officers and many others.
Stewart and Churchill were at the San Francisco hearing to show solidarity with Herman Bell and Anthony Bottom, members of the Black Liberation Army accused of killing San Francisco Police Sergeant John Young in 1971. One flashed a clenched fist to Stewart, Churchill and the others in the audience seated behind the defense table.
Already in prison for their role in the murder of two New York City police officers, Bell and Bottom are two members of the "San Francisco 8" alleged to be involved in numerous terrorist attacks on police and police facilities in the San Francisco area in the early 1970s.
Some of the evidence in the case is expected to come from Ruben Scott, a former BLA member with inside information about the group. The preliminary hearing in the case begins on June 8.Â Â
The BLA worked with the Weather Underground organization, and Ayers himself is under scrutiny for his alleged role in a 1970 bombing murder of San Francisco Police Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell at the Park Police Station near Golden Gate Park. Former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl, who has testified under oath that Ayers told him that Bernardine Dohrn had planted that bomb, met with San Francisco Police homicide investigator Joe Engler on April 24 about the case.
But before charges can be brought in the Park Police Station bombing case, some observers think that significant progress has to be made in the "San Francisco 8" case. And that will be a formidable challenge, considering that supporters of the terrorists such as Churchill, Stewart and others have mobilized on a national basis, have held protests outside the courtroom, and have even launched a website for the accused that is sponsored by a so-called "Committee for the Defense of Human Rights."
Hence, the plan is to portray the victims-the police-as the criminals.
Interestingly, the charges in the BLA case have been brought by the office of California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a liberal Democrat who has had major disagreements with the California Democratic Party and is considering another run for governor.Â
It is clear that the far-left campaign, which specifically urges Brown to drop the charges, is designed to poison the jury pool, so that one or more members of the jury will consider the BLA to be a civil rights organization that was subjected to unwarranted investigations and government misconduct.
But if law enforcement authorities can convict the BLA in the Young case, can they also get Ayers and Dohrn-and perhaps other members of the Weather Underground or the BLA-in the Park Police Station bombing case?
As President Obama moves toward normalization of relations with Castro's Cuba , the communist regime's protection of the terrorist could become a major problem.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who was born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Cuba , gave a major speech on March 2 on the Senate floor warning against recognizing and working with the Castro regime. "Some suggest that there be cooperation with Cuba on narcotics trafficking," he said. "Well, let them hand over the 200 fugitives from the United States that the FBI knows are in Cuba , including Joanne Chesimard, the convicted killer of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Let her come back to the United States and face justice. There are 200 of them."
New Jersey State Senator Sean T. Kean agrees, and has written an April 17 letter to Obama demanding that Chesimard be returned to the U.S.
"I am sure you would agree that this murderer of a dedicated law enforcement officer should be made to face the consequences for her cowardly actions that took the life of this brave man," Kean declared. "Further, by aiding and abetting this cold-blooded killer, Cuba has insulted our State Police and all members of the law enforcement community. As such, for the United States to enter into normal relations with Cuba without requiring Chesimard's extradition sends the message to the world that we are not committed to pursuing just ice for a police officer who was savagely gunned down in the line of duty."
The FBI is currently offering a $1 million reward for information directly leading to her apprehension.
What, if anything, will Holder and Obama have to say about this? Will the media even bother to ask them during National Police Week?