Morgan Gliedman, 27, and her boyfriend Aaron Greene, 31, were arrested on weapons charges this past weekend in their Greenwich Village apartment on West 9th Street. They were charged with possessing bomb-making materials and were also found to have in their apartment bomb-making manuals, various booby traps and a sawed-off shotgun. Both are reported to “have close ties to the left-wing social and academic establishment in Chicago and elsewhere,” according to The Daily Caller which had access to confirming records. Although no clear motive or link to any known terrorist group has been established to date, the chief spokesperson for the New York Police Department characterized the explosive they found in the apartment as one “used in terrorists’ attacks previously.”
This story brought to mind an incident in a West Village townhouse nearly forty-three years ago, when a trio of radicals, while finishing up preparations to bomb the Non-Commissioned Officers Dance at Fort Dix, blew themselves up in an explosion of a New York City townhouse on West 11th Street in Greenwich Village. It so happens that I had gone to high school with one of these radicals, Terry Robbins.
When I knew Robbins, he was a serious, relatively shy kid – conservatively dressed and with no particular political ideology that he was trying to promote. I never saw Terry Robbins again after high school. He went on to embrace radical left causes, including the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). After dropping out of Kenyon College, Robbins linked up with Bill Ayers, an unrepentant leader of radical domestic terrorist groups during the 1960s and ‘70s, to recruit members to join the SDS. Robbins helped found with Ayers the even more radical Weatherman Organization (which later became known as the Weather Underground), based himself in Chicago and plotted with Ayers to bomb one of Chicago’s historical monuments.
Ayers said that Robbins’ “extremism was an impulse in all of us.” Robbins extremism led him to plot more aggressive bombings, until he met his fate in the explosion at the West Village townhouse on March 6, 1970.
Robbins’ close associate Bill Ayers lost his girlfriend Diana Oughton in the explosion. Nevertheless, the radical Ayers, who years later would help launch President Barack Obama’s political career in Chicago, carried on Robbins’ work by participating in the bombings of New York City Police Department headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972.
Had Robbins survived, I have little doubt that he would have been welcomed to join the faculty at one of our many left-wing academic institutions. Terrorists are rewarded in academia. After all, that’s what happened to Bill Ayers, who, though he remains unrepentant for what he did, became a tenured professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In an interview he gave in 1995, Ayers said: “I am a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist … The ethics of communism still appeal to me.” Two years later, Chicago awarded him its Citizen of the Year award.
Ayers’ wife Bernardine Dohrn, who was also a leader of the Weather Underground and was a principal signatory to a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States government, is an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and the immediate past Director of Northwestern’s Children and Family Justice Center.
A hint at what she may be teaching her students appeared in a statement she made in 2010: “The real terrorist is the American government, state terrorism unleashed against the world.“ Another hint emerged in her statement about NATO during its meeting in Chicago last May: “NATO is a global secret cabal. It is the military arm of the global 1 percent.”
Back in 1969, Dohrn described the bloody murders recently committed by the Manson Family (in which the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several other inhabitants of a Benedict Canyon mansion had been brutally stabbed to death) this way: “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!”
Northwestern University School of Law couldn’t be bothered by the outrageous acts and vile statements of their associate law professor, including her reveling in the killing of a woman and the life growing in her womb. Bernardine Dohrn’s faculty profile describes her simply as “a child advocate who teaches, lectures and write about children’s law, juvenile justice, the needs and rights of youth, and international human rights.”
Two radicals who survived the explosion in the West Village townhouse, were Kathy Boudin and Cathy Wilkerson.
Boudin, along with several members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army, robbed a Brinks armored car at the Nanuet Mall, in Nanuet, New York in 1981, resulting in the deaths of two police officers and a guard. Boudin pled guilty to one count of felony murder and robbery. While incarcerated, she wrote and managed to get published articles in the Harvard Educational Review and poems for which she won the International PEN prize. In the meantime, her son was adopted by Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn.
After Boudin was released from prison in 2003, she became an assistant professor at Columbia University School of Social Work. Incredibly, Boudin’s faculty profile discusses her work on “criminal justice issues including women in prison; mother-child relationships and parenting from a distance; adolescent relationships with incarcerated parents; restorative justice, and higher education and basic literacy inside correctional institutions,” but leaves out entirely her own lengthy incarceration for murder.
Cathy Wilkerson’s father owned the townhouse that blew up in 1970, killing three of her Weatherman comrades including Terry Robbins. She served eleven months in jail on explosives charges. For the past twenty years, she has been teaching mathematics in high schools and adult education programs. Does she have any regrets about her Weatherman days? Not a chance. “We were way not the first,” she said in an interview with the New York Times in 2003. “It was a mass phenomenon. In 1969, national liberation was sweeping the world and looked like it was going to be the main vehicle for ushering in popular governments.”
Convicted terrorist Susan Rosenberg was involved with several terrorist groups in the 1970s and early 1980s, including the Black Liberation Army, the Weather Underground, and The Family.
Rosenberg was sentenced in 1984 to a 58-year prison term for the possession of more than 700 pounds of explosives and a stockpile of illicit weapons, but was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in January 2001. She was offered the opportunity to teach a course at New York’s Hamilton College after being written up very positively in a whitewashed biography put out by the campus leftwing “social justice” organization known as the Kirkland Project. She was hailed as “an award-winning writer, an activist, and a teacher who offers a unique perspective as a writer.” Missing was any mention of her terrorist jailbird record.
Another veteran member of the Weather Underground, who pled guilty to the bombing of the U.S. Capitol in 1983, is Laura Whitehorn. Although (maybe because) she remains unrepentant for her terrorist activities, Whitehorn gets invitations to speak at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. She has been described in publicity for her lecture at Duke University, for example, as a “political prisoner,” and a “champion of human rights.”
The unrepentant terrorists of yesterday are honored members or guests of the nation’s left-wing faculties today. Their platforms have enabled them to become mentors to new generations of potential terrorists. Were Morgan Gliedman and Aaron Greene auditioning to take over the roles of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn in their prime? Whatever led them down the path to an explosives laden apartment in the West Village, so eerily similar to the path taken by Terry Robins and his Weather Underground associates that ended in a deadly explosion nearly forty-three years ago, may become more apparent in the coming days.
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