Christopher G. Kennedy, chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, led the effort to deny Bill Ayers the title of professor emeritus because Ayers had written a book dedicated in part to the killer of his father, Robert F. Kennedy. But this “book,” titled, Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, had been written back in 1974. Let’s hope that Christopher Kennedy’s expression of disgust can not only lead to a review of what Ayers said but what he did—in the form of eyewitness testimony that Ayers had knowledge of a bombing plot that took the life of San Francisco Police Officer Brian V. McDonnell back in 1970. The case is still open and will be the subject of an October 21 conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
One of the speakers will be Larry Grathwohl, a former FBI informant in the Weather Underground who has talked in detail about how Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn specialized in making bombs deliberately designed to kill people with deadly shrapnel. Ayers told Grathwohl that Dohrn planted the bomb that killed McDonnell. And yet Ayers claims they never hurt anybody and didn’t intend to. This is the claim that gets prominent media attention, while Grathwohl’s testimony to the contrary, delivered under oath before grand juries and before a congressional committee, gets mostly ignored or dismissed.
Christopher Kennedy’s condemnation of Ayers’ tribute to his father’s killer should be a wake-up call to the liberal and “progressive” community, including President Obama himself, who have excused their associations with Ayers and Dohrn on the pretext that all of this happened many years ago and that the two professors have somehow been rehabilitated. Kennedy said he was not aware of any remorse by Ayers.
McDonnell’s body was hit with shrapnel from a pipe bomb and suffered in a hospital for two days. This is why his death is recorded on February 18 and the blast went off on February 16. One of the heavy metal staples from the bomb went through his eye and into his brain.
Ayers’ fingerprints were found in a Weather Underground bomb factory discovered by the FBI in San Francisco in 1971. Photographs were taken of the materials, including C-4 plastic explosive. Members of the Weather Underground were taught how to make bombs by the Cuban intelligence service during trips to Cuba . The Weather Underground had organized the so-called Venceremos Brigades to Cuba .
The Prairie Fire book was co-authored by Dohrn and contains a tribute to their three Weather Underground “comrades” who blew themselves up in a bomb factory in New York City in 1970. Since the book, dedicated in part to the killer of Robert F. Kennedy, was released back in 1974, the question is why it never played a role in denying Ayers a place at the university in the first place. It only belatedly became an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign when commentators such as Sean Hannity of Fox News and others brought it up in the context of Barack Obama’s relationship with Ayers and Dohrn.
The claim that Ayers and Dohrn and their ilk never killed anybody and never intended to is contradicted by the evidence taken from the bomb factory and the bombing murder of Sgt. McDonnell, whose death has been blamed on Ayers and Dohrn by the San Francisco Police Officers Association. The only questions at this late date are whether the available evidence in the case will be re-tested and re-examined and new witnesses to this and other crimes will come forward so that charges can be brought. A law enforcement entity called the Phoenix Task Force is currently and actively examining the case. Ayers says they had nothing to do with McDonnell’s murder, but he and Dohrn have not been required to testify under oath in the case.
When Ayers and Dohrn surfaced in 1980, Ayers released a statement that said, “In 1970, I went underground to fight against the Vietnam War…” This was another lie and the dedication of Prairie Fire to Sirhan Sirhan proves the point. If they were against the war, why did they dedicate a book to the convicted assassin of the leading anti-war candidate? The truth, of course, is that Ayers and Dohrn didn’t oppose the Vietnam War; they supported the side of the communist enemy that was killing Americans. So it’s not just Christopher Kennedy who should take offense. Every American, especially our veterans and the families of those who died in the honorable effort to stave off the communist conquest of Southeast Asia, has a right to be disgusted at the thought that someone like Ayers or Dohrn could get teaching positions at major American universities.
Incidentally, while Ayers is retiring and for that reason requested “Professor Emeritus” status, Dohrn still teaches at Northwestern University, where she is said to be a “child advocate” who lectures on “international human rights.”
Former FBI agent Max Noel, a member of the Weatherman Task Force in San Francisco, was among those who discovered the Weather Underground bomb factory in that city. He has told me in a recent interview that while FBI agents found dozens of copies of Marxist-Leninist books and pamphlets in the bomb factory, they did not locate any “anti-war” literature. Again, the point is that Ayers and Dohrn were not anti-war activists. They were communist revolutionaries dedicated to the destruction of America and its allies. Their ideology has never changed.
What’s more, they haven’t given up; they have simply taken the “struggle” into new directions, such as “education.” But why, for example, have Ayers and Dohrn been traveling to Marxist-ruled Venezuela ? Why have they been meeting with former members of the West German terrorist group, the Red Army Faction (RAF)? The Weather Underground had the support of Cuba , while the RAF received critical support from the East German intelligence service.
In an interesting development, members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have just raided the home and office of Michael Kelly, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, an openly communist group, in the U.S. The FBI raids were designed, according to legal documents in the case, to find connections to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Lebanese Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah.
Ayers and Dohrn could possibly provide good leads in any such investigation because they have maintained their own contacts with anti-American groups and governments over the years. They have traveled in Venezuela , to sing the praises of the Hugo Chavez regime, and then they showed up in the Middle East to help organize the Free Gaza Movement as part of an anti-Israel propaganda campaign. WorldNetDaily’s Aaron Klein and Kristinn Taylor and Andrea Shea King at BigGovernment.com all wrote extensively about the involvement of Ayers and Dohrn in this effort.
Another U.S. group that was reportedly targeted in the recent raids was Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the name of the old 1960s organization that spawned the terrorist Weather Underground. There is now a “new SDS” that has emerged under the guidance of Ayers and Dohrn and their comrades in the Movement for a Democratic Society.
However, instead of going after Ayers and Dohrn and other remnants of the Weather Underground, the FBI is going after what appear to be small fry in the U.S.-based communist movement. Could this be due to the fact that Ayers and Dohrn are politically connected to the President of the United States ?
Interestingly, the group called United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), which was founded by a veteran of the Venceremos Brigade, has just announced demonstrations around the country, including at the FBI headquarters on Tuesday, to protest these raids. One of UFPJ’s current top officials, Michael McPhearson, is the “peace director” of this Saturday’s “One Nation Working Together” rally in Washington, D.C. As we noted in a previous column, McPhearson has himself been monitored by the FBI for his travels abroad.
To take this problem to a new level, it turns out that one of the major rally co-sponsors, the AFL-CIO, has two veterans of the Venceremos Brigades in its top ranks. They are Karen Nussbaum, the executive director of Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, and Karen Ackerman, political director of the giant labor group.
As I noted more than a year and a half ago, when I questioned Nussbaum about her travel to Cuba , “She refused to answer and walked away. Obviously embarrassed, she also pretended that she didn’t hear the follow-up questions about her trip as a young radical to the communist-controlled island.” Nussbaum is currently working to mobilize the unemployed to vote on November 2 to maintain liberal control of Congress.
I have not had the opportunity to question Ackerman in person and she will not return my telephone calls. I provided evidence to then-AFL-CIO President John Sweeney about her reported trip to Cuba almost two years ago and talked to AFL-CIO “media outreach” officials about the matter, requesting a comment. No comment has ever been forthcoming. Letters marked “return receipt requested” were sent to Ackerman and signed for by an aide but never answered.
Ackerman, political director of the AFL-CIO since 2003, now works for AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka, who has emphasized “economic patriotism” as his union works to maintain liberal control of Congress.
But how patriotic is it for AFL-CIO officials to have traveled to Communist Cuba during a time when such visits were being organized by a terrorist group whose leaders thought Sirhan Sirhan was a true revolutionary?