So who is this Bill Ayers?
He is the son of Thomas G. Ayers, former Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison , Chicago philanthropist and the namesake of the Thomas G. Ayers College of Commerce and Industry. In 1997, Chicago awarded him its Citizen of the Year award. Ayers is currently a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education.
And 40 years ago, he was a Weatherman.
So what kind of terrorist were the Weathermen? The documentary made in 2003 was pretty good at giving the radical organization a human face. It also received an Academy Award nomination. As far as the basic history goes, I got this from Wikipedia:
Weatherman, known colloquially as "the Weathermen" and later the Weather Underground Organization, was an American radical left organization founded in 1969 by leaders and members who split from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) (or claimed to be the actual SDS).
The group is most famous for a campaign consisting of bombings, jailbreaks, and riots, from 1969 through the middle 1970s. The "Days of Rage", the group's first public demonstration on October 8, 1969, was a riot in Chicago coordinated with the trial of the Chicago Eight.
In 1970 the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, under the name "Weather Underground Organization" (WUO).
The bombing attacks were mostly against government buildings, along with several banks. Most were preceded by communiqués that provided evacuation warnings, along with statements of the particular matter to which their attacks were allegedly responding. For the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971, they issued a statement saying it was "in protest of the US invasion of Laos." For the bombing of The Pentagon on May 19, 1972, they stated it was "in retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi." For the January 29, 1975 bombing of the Harry S Truman Building housing the United States Department of State, they stated it was "in response to escalation in Vietnam."
Miraculously, they never killed anyone. (except themselves in the Greenwich Village mishap)
After the Greenwich Village incident, the group went well underground, and it began to refer to themselves as the Weather Underground Organization.
They wanted to convince the American public that the United States was truly responsible for the calamity in Vietnam. The group began striking at night, bombing empty offices, with warnings always issued in advance to ensure a safe evacuation. According to David Gilbert, "[their] goal was to not hurt any people, and a lot of work went into that. But we wanted to pick targets that showed to the public who was responsible for what was really going on." After the Greenwich Village explosion, no one was killed by WUO bombs."
"We were very careful from the moment of the townhouse on to be sure we weren't going to hurt anybody, and we never did hurt anybody. Whenever we put a bomb in a public space, we had figured out all kinds of ways to put checks and balances on the thing and also to get people away from it, and we were remarkably successful." —Bill Ayers
In one of my favorite stories, the group took a $20,000 payment in 1970 from a psychedelics distribution organization called The Brotherhood of Eternal Love to break LSD advocate Timothy Leary out of prison, transporting him and his wife to Algeria.
By the end of 1976, the Weather Underground would collapse. Within two years, many members turned themselves in after taking advantage of President Gerald Ford’s amnesty for draft dodgers.
Mark Rudd turned himself in to authorities on January 20, 1978. Rudd was fined $4,000 and received two years probation. Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers turned themselves in on December 3, 1980, in New York, with substantial media coverage. Charges were dropped for Ayers. Dohrn received three years probation and a $15,000 fine.
While at Annapolis, McCain palled around with Poindexter, McFarlene, and North.
They secretly and illegally diverted to the Nicaraguan Contras millions of dollars in funds received from a secret deal - a deal with the Iranians to hold American hostages until after the 1980 elections, in return for the sales of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
They weren't terrorists though.
But you don't need to be a weatherman
to know what they were.
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Labels: political philosophy