Friday, October 10, 2008

Prosecuting Weathermen

Letter from the NY Times today:

Re “Politics of Attack” (editorial, Oct. 8) and “Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths” (front page, Oct. 4):

As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s (I was then chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of Michigan and took over the Weathermen prosecution in 1972), I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.

Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.

I do take issue with the statement in your news article that the Weathermen indictment was dismissed because of “prosecutorial misconduct.” It was dismissed because of illegal activities, including wiretaps, break-ins and mail interceptions, initiated by John N. Mitchell, attorney general at that time, and W. Mark Felt, an F.B.I. assistant director.

William C. Ibershof

Mill Valley, Calif., Oct. 8, 2008

This should, in a rational society, put this sorry issue to rest. Unfortunately, we don't live in such a society. The Bill Ayers-Obama meme will thrive in the right wing underground, and become the newest fable in their narrative of Evil Libruls Out to Destroy Mur'ka. It will be another phantasm to focus their anger and frustration on, while the GOP bides its time for the next election cycle. Paranoia and self-pity is the coin of their realm, and it has worked brilliantly for the last 40 years. It will not go away in 2008.

It's interesting to note this letter's final paragraph. The prosecution of domestic terrorist organizations in the '70s was thwarted by Nixon's obsession with wiretaps and syping, crimes which eventually brought Nixon down. W. Mark Felt, we all now know, was the infamous "Deep Throat."

Notice, again, how these domestic crimes have resurfaced in the Bush/Cheney era - tapping phones, spying on US citizens, abolishment of Habeus Corpus and due process. There will be similar blowbacks, and you can bet that criminal investigations will be defeated because of those abuses. Let's hope the next Timothy McVeigh doesn't walk because of those wiretaps.

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