The sub-headline over the article says it all: “The investigation into a cop killing in the ’70s leads to a law professor who helped launch Barack Obama’s political career.” The law professor is former Communist terrorist Bernardine Dohrn, a leader of the Weather Underground known for praising mass murderer Charles Manson.
Writer Peter Jamison, who is based in San Francisco, where the cop killing occurred, spent months working on the story and developed many different sources of information. Jamison, who can’t be dismissed as a right-winger pursuing a partisan agenda designed to make Obama look bad, examined the evidence in the 1970 Park Police Station bombing case. He finds that it goes straight to Dohrn and other members of the Weather Underground, including her husband, fellow terrorist Bill Ayers, now a professor of education at the University of Illinois.
His article is being syndicated by Village Voice Media, a source of news and information for newsweeklies in several major U.S. cities. The outlets include the SF Weekly in San Francisco, the Miami New Times, and the St. Louis Riverfront Times.
The story is actually an old one, and Accuracy in Media had publicized some of the evidence in the case before the 2008 presidential election, when the media were repeating the lie that the Weather Underground had never killed anyone with their campaign of violence.
In sworn testimony that goes back to the 1970s, former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl had implicated Ayers and Dohrn in the knowledge and/or planning of the bombing murder of San Francisco Police Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell. Metal staples from the powerful bomb ripped through his body, killing him after several agonizing days in the hospital.
The new evidence in the case developed by Jamison adds to the solid information already available and raises the question of when, if ever, the bombers will be prosecuted. There are other witnesses to the bombing plot.
He reports, “Now, speaking publicly for the first time about the investigation, former FBI agents have told Village Voice Media the basis for their belief that the Weather Underground was behind McDonnell’s murder. The agents have revealed that two credible eyewitnesses-both former left-wing radicals tied to the Weathermen-gave detailed statements to investigators in the 1970s alleging that Dohrn and Howard Machtinger, another member of the group, were personally involved in organizing the deadly attack. Both witnesses claimed to have participated in meetings where the bombing was planned, and one confessed to having cased the police station for the Weathermen prior to the explosion.”
Jamison discloses that Dohrn, Machtinger, and Ayers were targets of a secret federal grand jury investigation in 2003 into McDonnell’s killing. He quotes a left-wing lawyer as saying “it was clear they were the targets. They weren’t called-other people were called about them. The Weather Underground was the target of Park Station [investigators].”
Jamison adds, “The case against the Weathermen is far from complete. Still, given the multiple witnesses tying the group’s former members to the killing of a police officer, some investigators say they are troubled by the impunity with which Ayers and Dohrn have peddled a version of the past wiped clean of bloodshed.”
Another lie peddled by Ayers and Dohrn is that they bombed buildings because they were against the Vietnam War. In fact, they were pro-war and in favor of the communists conquering South Vietnam. One of their communist manifestos was dedicated to Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of anti-war candidate Robert F. Kennedy.
Jamison mentions that former informant Grathwohl had testified under oath that Ayers had told him Dohrn planted the bomb. Grathwohl has also described how Ayers ordered the bombing of police facilities in Detroit. He explained, “Bill’s two major requirements were that the bombs go off at the same time and that the greatest number of police officers would be killed or injured. Both bombs were to contain fence staples or roofing nails to ensure this effect. Bill Ayers didn’t care if innocent people were also killed or injured. Bill had even gone so far as to tell us that the bomb at the 13th precinct should be placed on a window ledge.”
The same kind of bomb, also placed on a window ledge, killed McDonnell.
While the Grathwohl testimony had been dismissed by some as “hearsay,” Jamison notes that retired FBI Special Agent Willie Reagan reviewed the bureau’s files in 2000 and came to the conclusion that “the case against the Weathermen went well beyond a solitary piece of after-the-fact hearsay relayed by an FBI mole.”
The reporter explains, “When he read the statements from the other two informants, who had independently supplied similar details about Weather Underground members conspiring to bomb Park Station, he had one thought: Why didn’t they prosecute?”
The failure to prosecute is troubling, and Jamison wonders if charges will ever be brought. At the same time, the case is still officially open and evidence can be gathered. It is clear from the Jamison article that much more can and should be done by local and state authorities.
But the feds also have a role. Attorney General Eric Holder, who played a role in the Clinton pardons of Weather Underground members, may be reluctant to prosecute former political associates of the President, but if the FBI pursues the case and brings the evidence forward, there may be no other alternative.
If President Obama himself wants to see justice done-and he claims he didn’t agree with the Weather Underground’s campaign of violence and bombings-it would be easy enough for him to order Holder to bring forth all of the available evidence in the case.
If CIA officers can be investigated for treating terrorists harshly, why can’t terrorist bombers now running around the Chicago area teaching college students be brought to justice for killing a policeman?
I launched a “Campaign for Justice for Victims of Weather Underground Terrorism” earlier this year. The new information developed by Jamison suggests that justice may finally be done, if law enforcement authorities get the support they need at all levels of government, including in Washington, D.C.