FOIA documents show both FBI, CIA had assets in Weather Underground.
By S.T. Patrick
No matter how you define “domestic terrorism,” the Weather Underground, a group of leftist/communist radicals who took their propensity for hypocritical violence from the peace era into the 1970s, fits the bill. Despite breaking Timothy Leary from jail, staging a riot to coincide with the trial of the riot-inciting Chicago Seven, declaring war against the U.S. government, and conducting bombing campaigns targeting banks and government institutions (such as the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon), there are still left-leaning authors and historians who do not categorize the Weather Underground as terrorists in the same way they would a right-leaning Timothy McVeigh, who took part in the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building in 1995. A new article at researcher Steven Hager’s “The Tin Whistle” website now also sheds light on the links between the Weather Underground, the FBI, and the CIA, thus giving both sides of the political spectrum further reason to be suspicious of the Weather Underground’s origins and history and the role of America’s intelligence agencies in domestic terrorism.
The Weather Underground was started in 1969 by University of Michigan college students linked to the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Soon thereafter, it had become a hub of the SDS leadership and their closest political collaborators. The group’s name came from a line in “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan. The line (“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”) became the name of their first position paper. The idea was to build a revolutionary white group that would ally with the Black Panthers and the black liberationists to achieve what it called the “destruction of U.S. imperialism and form a classless communist world.” That is the accepted, mainstream history. Hager, a former reporter for the New York Daily News and a former editor for High Times magazine, believes the secret origin of the Weathermen was quite different.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have proven that hundreds of FBI agents almost immediately infiltrated the SDS from its inception. Yet a deeper layer was also developed by the CIA, which targeted the leadership of the SDS that would morph into a smaller (and thus, more controllable) Weather Underground.
“A small fanatical group of Marxist-Leninists successfully led a takeover of the SDS that immediately destroyed the organization as an effective force in America. It was no accident,” Hager wrote.
As a result of a schism between the conservatively dressed Progressive Labor Party (PLP) and hippie-cultured Weathermen at the SDS’s 1969 convention, the country’s largest student activist organization was nearly taken over by the PLP, which detested hippie culture and wanted to run the SDS through leftist intellectuals. At the last minute, radical leftist law student Bernardine Dohrn (née Ohrnstein) maneuvered a dogmatic schism within the convention and led a dramatic walk-out with hundreds of FBI plants. She also left with SDS gold: the group’s large mailing list and its national files. FBI memo releases show a giddy reaction to the Weathermen having obstructed the PLP takeover.
Dohrn’s leading critic within the Black Panthers was Chicago’s Fred Hampton, who had quelled the Chicago gang wars and had pushed the Panthers to follow a more strict, non-violent ideology. Dohrn branded Hampton a counter-revolutionary. Shortly thereafter, Hampton was assassinated during a raid by police in Chicago. Dohrn was early on the scene of the murder, calling for Americans to shoot police officers. This, too, according to Hager, was contrived.
Hager commented on why the CIA’s global financiers are attracted to communist leaders. “Communism attracted the attention of banks [for] the same reason why rightwing dictators are so beloved by the CIA,” Hager wrote. “Communism allows a small insider cabal to attain full control of the economy without messy complications of a democracy.”
“The purpose of Dohrn’s celebration of violence, and the reason she got so much traction in the national media, is because her purpose was to paint the counterculture as violent so that sane Americans would remain fearful of hippies, most of whom were non-violent and only promoting racial equality and ending wars of aggression. The more strident Dohrn’s insane rhetoric, the more effective she was in scaring middle America,” Hager wrote.
Dohrn would go on to marry fellow Weatherman Bill Ayers. As a couple they would rise through the hierarchy of both Chicago’s academic set and the political hotbed of Hyde Park, where they would become close with Barack and Michelle Obama. It has been rumored that at least one of Obama’s award-winning books was ghostwritten by Ayers. Hager argues that Dohrn’s link to the intelligence community was cemented by her rapid post-revolutionary rise.
“The best evidence of Dohrn’s intel connection is that despite being linked to numerous bombings and raids that led to the deaths of policemen on both coasts,” Hager wrote, “she came out of the cold and skipped straight into a cushy university professorship with tenure and a pension. A much different fate awaits the real social revolutionary.”
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected] He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.