Terrorist Bill Ayers Misrepresents His Past
Written by William F. Jasper
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Bill Ayers now calls Barack Obama a "neighbor and family friend." He
also says the Weather Underground never killed or hurt anyone. This
is a lie. The evidence shows that the Weather Underground did kill and maim.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, former Weather Underground
terrorist Bill Ayers kept a low profile and attempted to play down
any connections between himself and candidate Barack Obama. On
election day, however, Ayers began a series of media events aimed at
recasting himself as an elder statesman of the "progressive"
community and the victim of a right-wing "demonizing" campaign. He is
capitalizing on the recent interest in his radical past to promote
the current re-release of his 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days.
While the Obama faithful were gathering at Chicago's Grant Park on
November 4 for the expected victory announcement and celebration, the
New Yorker's editor-in-chief David Remnick was engaging in an
extended (and sympathetic) conversation with Ayers a couple blocks
away, on the front porch of the home Ayers shares with his wife
Bernadine Dohrn, his partner in terror. The pricey Ayers-Dohrn home
in the coveted Hyde Park neighborhood is also just a couple blocks
from the Obamas' mansion. Remnick, who didn't challenge any of Ayers'
self-serving and easily disprovable contentions, rushed the
front-porch interview onto the New Yorker's website as a hot online
exclusive. He was likely racing against his colleague, Washington
Post reporter Peter Slevin, who had beaten him to Ayers' front porch,
and published a nearly identical fawning online story the same day.
Historian Ron Radosh, a former '60s radical who was a member of the
Young Communist League, does an excellent job of taking Remnick to
task for serving up Ayers' weathered propaganda. Radosh's October
2001 review of Fugitive Days still serves as a ringing indictment
of Ayers' continuing and unapologetic commitment to the totalitarian
ideology that propelled his terrorist deeds as a Weatherman.
On November 14, Ayers scored his biggest media coup so far, an
appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" in two segments (click
here and here). In a pleasant surprise, his interviewer, Chris Cuomo,
didn't let him off Scott-free; Cuomo made him squirm a number of
times about his continuing refusal to repudiate his earlier violence
and suggested he was being "evasive" about his ties to Obama. (During
the campaign, both Obama and Ayers camps repeated the line that Ayers
was just a "guy in the neighborhood." In his newly reissued book,
Ayers refers to Obama as a "neighbor and family friend."
However, Cuomo allowed Ayers to get away with several egregious lies,
the most important being Ayers' claim that he, his wife Bernadine
Dohrn, and the Weather Underground Organization (WUO) were not
terrorists because they "never hurt or killed anyone." Much of the
liberal Establishment media have not only allowed him to repeat this
claim unchallenged, but have gone even further, repeating it outside
of Ayers' own quotes, as though it is now an accepted fact. Ayers,
Dohrn, and the WUO are thus cast as Robin Hoods, not terrorists,
because they only targeted government property associated with the
Vietnam War (they say), not people.
Here are just a few facts that responsible journalists should keep in
mind when interviewing Ayers or writing about him, Dohrn, or the WUO:
• Myth No. 1: "We weren't terrorists ... we never hurt or killed anyone."
We have already exploded this lie, as well as many other lies, myths,
and misunderstandings about the WUO in our extensive October 27
article on this subject and our follow-up October 31 article and
video posting on Larry Grathwohl's devastating testimony.
However, we will encapsulate and briefly expand upon that issue here.
San Francisco Police Sgt. Brian V. McDonnell was murdered by a bomb
planted at the police station on February 16, 1970. Officer Robert
Fogarty was permanently maimed and Officers Ron Martin, Al Arnaud,
Robert O'Sullivan, and Frank Rath were also injured. According to
Larry Grathwohl, "Billy Ayers" (as he was known in the WUO) told him
he had planned the bombing and Bernadine Dohrn had actually planted
the bomb. The bomb, like other WUO explosives, was an anti-personnel
bomb, packed with nails, staples and other shrapnel, with the
intention of killing and wounding people.
The same month, Grathwohl testifies, Ayers gave instructions for
similar bombings in Detroit at the Detroit Police Officers'
Association (DPOA) building and the 13th Precinct station. When
Grathwohl argued with Ayers that the DPOA blast would also hit an
African-American restaurant next door, killing innocent black
civilians, Ayers coldly replied: "Innocent people have to die in a
revolution." If Grathwohl hadn't foiled the bombings by informing
police of the plot, many police and civilians would have been killed
On March 6, 1970, a townhouse in New York City's Greenwich Village
exploded, killing three WUO terrorists who were making bombs they
intended to place at a dance hall at the Ft. Dix U.S. Army base. They
were anti-personnel bombs and fire bombs; if they had gone off as
intended they could have killed hundreds of soldiers and their dates.
The WUO terrorists accidentally killed by their own bombs were Ted
Gold, Terry Robbins, and Diana Oughton. Oughton was Billy Ayers'
girlfriend and Robbins was his best friend. By this time, the WUO had
adopted revolutionary theory for sexual relations as well. Ayers led
a "smash monogamy" campaign in which he argued that couples must
split up and all revolutionaries must engage in group sex in order
"to build a collective" and end bourgeoisie sexual hang-ups. Although
Ayers and Oughton had split up, they were still considered a couple
by many in the WUO. It is very unlikely that Ayers was not directly
involved in planning the Fort Dix bombings. Two survivors of the
blast, Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin, would continue on with the
WUO and would remain close to Ayers and Dohrn.
On October 20, 1981 members of the WUO now going under the name May
19 Communist Organization and the Black Liberation Army (BLA, a
spin-off of the Black Panther Party) robbed a Brinks armored truck in
Nanuet, New York, murdering guard Peter Paige and nearly killing
guard Joe Trombino. The getaway van, driven by Kathy Boudin, was
stopped by police in Nyack, N.Y. Boudin, feigning innocence and fear,
convinced the police officers to lower their weapons. That was part
of the plan; caught off guard, the police came under immediate
automatic weapons fire from the terrorists in the back of the van.
Officer Waverly Brown, who was hit with several rounds, collapsed on
the ground. One of the terrorists walked up to his prostrate body and
executed him at point-blank range with several shots from a 9mm
handgun. Officer Edward O'Grady, who was hit several times with M16
rounds, died later in a hospital operating room. Officer Artie Keenan
was wounded in the gunfight.
The year before the Brinks robbery/shootout, Ayers and Dohrn, like
other WUO terrorists, had surfaced and turned themselves in. Ayers
got off without any charges. (He would later infamously gloat:
"Guilty as hell, free as a bird America is a great country.")
Dohrn, who was charged with aggravated battery and jumping bail, was
fined $1,500 and given three years of probation. In 1982 she was
subpoenaed by a grand jury in New York concerning the Brinks
robbery/murders. She refused to testify, spending seven months in
jail, waiting for the grand jury to adjourn. Why did the grand jury
subpoena her? This is a very important point, since it goes directly
to evidence indicating that Ayers and Dohrn were still connected to
the WUO and their terrorist activities even after coming back above
ground. The Brinks/Nyack investigation showed that the female
WUO/BLA/M-19 terrorists had used fake IDs for the operation that were
traced back to identification stolen from customers of a high-priced
boutique for baby children's apparel on Manhattan's Upper West Side
called Broadway Baby. And, it turned out, the manager for the store
when the identification was stolen was none other than Bernadine Dohrn.
Moreover, when Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert were arrested and sent
to prison for their roles in the murderous rampage, they left their
infant son Chesa to be raised by Ayers and Dohrn. (It would seem a
natural fit, not only from the revolutionary ties of the parents, but
from the way they were raising the children as well. Ayers and Dohrn
had two young sons of their own: Zayd (named for Black Panther/BLA
terrorist Zayd Shakur, who was killed in a shootout with police) and
Malik (named for Malcolm X, aka Malik El-Shabazz).
• Myth #2: "The Weather Underground bombed the Capitol, the Pentagon
and the New York City Police Department in protest of the Vietnam
War." ABC News.
This is another Big Lie that the media regularly let Ayers, Dohrn and
WUO get away with, allowing them to cast themselves as noble
protesters who (maybe) got a little carried away in their zeal. Thus,
Ayers is usually described as "anti-Vietnam war activist William
Ayers," not "Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers." The truth
is that although opposition to the Vietnam War was a central issue
exploited by the SDS and WUO, it was but one of many issues they
exploited to attack America, or Amerikkka, as they preferred to call
their native country, which they had rejected in favor of the world
communist revolution. This is most obviously proven by the fact that
after the United States completely pulled out of Vietnam in 1975
(which is what Ayers and comrades said they most earnestly desired)
they continued to carry out their terrorist campaign for several more years.
The real motive force of the WUO, fully exposed in their writings and
speeches, is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This is plainly obvious in one
of their most infamous manifestos, Prairie Fire, published in May,
1974, as the Vietnam War was coming to an end. Written and signed by
WUO leaders Ayers and Dohrn, along with Jeff Jones and Celia Sojourn,
it declares, among other things (emphasis added):
We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men,
underground in the United States for more than four years. We are
deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle
against U.S. imperialism....
We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the
struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power and
build the new society....
The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of
socialism is revolutionary war....
Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes
mass struggle and clandestine struggle, peaceful and violent,
political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are
developed in harmony with the armed struggle....
Our final goal is the destruction of imperialism, the seizure of
power, and the creation of socialism.
Clearly, Ayers & Dohrn are not "anti-war" per se, because, as
evidenced above, they openly call for "revolutionary war." They fully
identify with the communist regimes in North Vietnam, Cuba, China,
and the Soviet Bloc, and have adopted the communist line that
fighting against the United States is fighting "imperialism,"
"racism," "colonialism," "oppression," "exploitation," etc. The
entire Prairie Fire manifesto has been scanned and placed online,
along with excellent explanatory notes.
It was apparent long before publication of Prairie Fire, however,
that the Weathermen were not "anti-war." After all, they called their
three-day gathering in Flint, Michigan in December 1969 the "War
Council." It was presided over by Ayers, Dohrn, Tom Hayden, Mark
Rudd, and John Jacobs. Bernadine Dohrn demonstrated the kind of
"idealism" motivating the revolutionaries when she praised the recent
grisly murder spree of Charles Mason and his cult gang: "Dig it!
First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room
with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach!
Wild!" Dohrn then held up three fingers in a Manson "fork salute."
A few months later, on May 21, 1970, Bernadine Dohrn was the voice of
the WUO when they issued their "Declaration of War" against the
United States. She recorded the taped message for radio, which began:
"Hello, this is Bernadine Dohrn. I'm going to read a Declaration of a
State of War. This is the first communication from the Weatherman Underground."
In Destructive Generation, a thoughtful and dramatic examination of
the 60s' radicalism of which they were central players, former New
Left activists David Horowitz and Peter Collier explain why they left
comrades like Ayers, Dohrn, and Hayden behind:
In part, our leaving was motivated by what we no longer wanted to be.
Hatred of America, which for us had coincided with the War in
Vietnam, ended with America's defeat in Vietnam. For many of our old
friends it did not. For them, this hatred had become a sort of
addiction. They could not do without the rush of seeing themselves as
a moral vanguard leading the way to the utopia that America was
presumed to block. No matter that in Vietnam (and everywhere
else) this utopia had turned out to be an oppressive nightmare, a
Ayers and Dohrn are still addicted to that hatred. That is palpably
evident in their writing, speeches, and interviews, as well as in the
terrorists and terror-state dictators they still consider "comrades":
Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, the Sandinistas, etc.
Along these lines, it is worth noting that Ayers still associates
with one of the most notorious and influential hate-America groups
from his SDS-Weatherman days. On November 7, Ayers published an
apologia under his own byline for In These Times, entitled "What a
Long, Strange Trip It's Been." To the casual reader it may be
apparent that the publication is politically way left of center, but
few would realize from the content alone how really far left it is.
In These Times (ITT) is a longtime subversive magazine founded and
published by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a radical
Marxist-Leninist organization with strong ties to the Soviet KGB and
Cuban DGI. With few exceptions, the ITT/IPS cadres have always
favored communist regimes, terrorist groups, revolutionary movements
and radicals of every stripe as long as they spew sufficient venom
against the United States. This is the toxic company in which Ayers
is most comfortable and the political stripe with which he should be
For more information about Ayers, Obama, and the Weather Underground,
see the following articles from The New American:
"Obama's Terrorist Ties and Radical Roots"
"Obama's Friend Ayers: Kill 25 Million Americans"
See also the 420 pages of documents on the Weather Underground
released by the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).