By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Michael Graham

The Weather Underground again (II)

As it turned out, it really didn’t take me that long to skim the 1976 FBI history of the Weather Underground.

At 420 pages, it is a comprehensive overview of whom the FBI considered to be associated with the Weather Underground and what activities they engaged in. And there is not one solitary mention of Katherine Ann Power, Susan Saxe or the 1970 murder of Boston police officer Walter Schroeder.

As I wrote earlier, the section in the index where Power’s name might have appeared has been blacked out (or, to be more accurate, whited out). But from actually scanning through the document, it is clear that she’s nowhere to be found. Whoever’s name has been whited out, it’s safe to say, isn’t Power’s.

In another part of the document (PDF) is a section titled “WUO [Weather Underground Organization] Communiques and Bombings 1970-1976.” The section comprises a long list of terrorist acts for which the Weather Underground took credit — everything from bombing New York City police headquarters and the U.S. Capitol to helping Timothy Leary escape to Algeria. Again, there is no mention of the bank robbery in which Officer Schroeder was killed.

The only FBI reference to Power’s alleged membership in the Weather Underground is a photo caption on a Web page that links to the 1976 report. Based on what I’ve found so far, I think someone in the FBI communications department made a mistake.

Moving right along: Over at Google Books, I was able to search “The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground,” by Ron Jacobs (1997). There are no references whatsoever to Power, Saxe or the Schroeder case.

Using’s “Search Inside” feature, I also peeked at William Ayers’ memoir, “Fugitive Days.” Again, no reference to Power, Saxe or Schroeder.

I also consulted stories from the New York Times and the Associated Press published at the time of Schroeder’s murder. Both reported the FBI’s belief that the suspects were involved in “revolutionary” activities. Neither story made any mention of the Weather Underground.

I see no reason to back down from asserting that Katherine Ann Power had no connection to the Weather Underground.

The Weather Underground again

Proving a negative can be damn near impossible. So consider this a first, halting effort to refute Michael Graham’s claim that Katherine Ann Power was a member of the Weather Underground.

Power, as you may recall, is a convicted murder — a former student radical who was one of five people responsible for killing Boston police officer Walter Schroeder in a 1970 bank robbery. Last year, Michele McPhee, like Graham a talk-show host on WTKK Radio (96.9 FM), repeatedly claimed that Schroeder was killed by the Weather Underground; that because William Ayers, a former leader of the Weather Underground, knows Barack Obama, it must therefore follow that Obama was being disrespectful to the Schroeder family or something.

Now Ayers has been invited and disinvited to speak at Boston College, which occasions Graham’s missive.

Graham’s evidence is a link to an FBI Web page in which Power is identified as a member of the Weather Underground. Yet it is an odd document to which Graham refers — there is nothing in it about the Schroeder murder or Power. There are, however, photos of Bernardine Dohrn (Ayers’ wife, and indeed a former member of the Weather Underground) and Power. No further information is provided.

There is also a link to an FBI document, in multiple parts and hundreds of pages long, that is a 1976 internal history of the Weather Underground. However, it is unsearchable, as it is in the form of a PDF image file. It would take me many hours to read through it. I don’t have the time, but if anyone would like to try, be my guest. I’d like to know what’s in it.

More interesting is another link Graham provides — to a long article in National Review, published in 1993, not long after Power’s arrest. In it, one of her former Brandeis professors, Jacob Cohen, goes into deep, fascinating detail about Power and her classmate and co-murderer Susan Saxe. Cohen makes it clear that Power and Saxe were consumed by the radical insanity of the time. But Cohen, who knew them well, offers no indication that either of them was a member of the Weather Underground. It just doesn’t come up.

The thing is, Power’s story is well-known. She and Saxe, while students at Brandeis, hooked up with three ex-convicts and robbed a bank so that they could raise money for the Black Panthers. It sounds crazy, and it was. The crime they committed was unspeakable. But with the sole exception of that FBI page, I don’t think you will find anything anywhere suggesting that they were tied to the Weather Underground.

Here is how the New York Times described it following Power’s 1993 arrest:

The bank robbery came in a year when the anti-war movement had splintered, with some groups going underground and turning to violence. That March, three members of the Weathermen, a radical group, blew themselves up in the Greenwich Village town house where they were trying to build bombs.

Then the United States invaded Cambodia. Four days later in early May, four Kent State University students were shot to death by the National Guard during a protest of the invasion. The next day Kathy Power was one of thousands of students who walked out of classes in protest.

A national committee to coordinate student strikes was set up at Brandeis and it included Ms. Power, Susan Saxe and a state prison inmate on a college furlough program, Stanley Bond. All three took part in the bank robbery.

I am trying to find out more. Given the FBI statement, I am treading carefully. But, so far, I have seen no facts that would challenge the public record: that Power and Saxe had nothing to do with the Weather Underground.

Instant update: I just had a flash of inspiration and looked at the index of Weather Underground members in that FBI report (PDF). The place where Power’s name would be (if it’s there) has been blacked out. Saxe is not mentioned at all.

Still more: I see that Graham has referred to me as “some moron who claims to teach at Northeastern University.” We shall see who’s the moron by the time this has been resolved.

A question about Michael Graham’s arrest

I am determined not to get caught up in WTKK Radio (96.9 FM) talk-show host Michael Graham‘s loud, high-pitched crusade against the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Graham, as you may have heard, was arrested last week and charged with running a red light and driving after the revocation of his license.

But let me ask a question. Graham says the issue is the Registry’s policy of not notifying drivers when their licenses have been revoked. Everything I’ve seen, though, including Jessica Heslam’s latest in the Boston Herald, suggests that Graham was notified. Graham himself comes off as ambivalent, writing on his blog this past Saturday:

–According to my insurance company, I was contacted by the RMV in October 2008–almost three years after leaving VA–about Virginia threatening to cancel my drivers license in 2008 (huh?) unless I proved I had insurance on my car in 2006 (huh?), and MA was going to suspend my license here, too. (Huh what huh?)

–According to my insurance company, I gave them the VA DMV’s fax number, contact information and my VA drivers license number in October of 2008, and they forwarded my information to Virginia.

–I never heard another word about any of this until I was handcuffed and read my rights yesterday morning.

By Graham’s own account, it sounds like he was notified, took some steps to clear up the matter and then failed to follow up and make sure everything was all right.

Or maybe: Graham also writes, “What you didn’t read in the Herald, however, were the notes from my insurance company showing that they had responded to that letter in October and giving the Virginia DMV the information requested. You also didn’t see the portion of my personal RMV file showing that more than a week AFTER that supposed revocation notice, the RMV gave me a brand-new driver’s license.”

So Graham presented a new driver’s license to the Framingham police, who ran a check on it and found it had been revoked? I guess.

Questions raised in the passive voice

I’d expect this crap from Michael Graham. But what’s with the New York Times?

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich called President-elect Barack Obama “this motherfucker,” and whined that the Obama operation wasn’t willing to play along with his corrupt plans to sell off Obama’s vacant Senate seat — that is, Obama and company would only offer their “appreciation,” when what Blago really wanted was cash. And here’s what Jack Healy writes in the New York Times:

Although prosecutors said Mr. Obama was not implicated in their investigation, the accusations of naked greed and brazen influence-peddling have raised questions from some about the political culture in which the President-elect began his career.

Thus does Healy follow two crucial rules in cranking out garbage like this: use the passive voice, and darkly allude to the raising of questions.

Michael Graham responds

If you can call this a response. I think he’s invoking the “any idiot would know it’s a fake” defense, which I anticipated in my item yesterday. But it’s kind of hard to tell.

Michael Graham’s anti-Obama fakery

I suppose this is like pointing out that the sun rises in the east. But WTKK Radio (96.9 FM) talk-show host Michael Graham is running a fake photo on his blog showing Barack Obama speaking in front of a poster of the Latin American terrorist/’60s icon Che Guevara.

The photo of Obama was taken during his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. It’s been superimposed on a background of Guevara. You may recall that there was a brief controversy some months ago when an Obama volunteer put up a Che poster at the campaign’s Houston headquarters. The campaign, not surprisingly, responded by denouncing Che.

Graham’s deceptive hackery isn’t even original — it was posted here back in February. No doubt Graham will tell us that anyone would know the Obama-Che photo is a fake. But if you listen to his callers, I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a stretch.

The second-best part is that Graham calls his blog “The Natural Truth.” The best part is that Graham is on a crusade to convince people that McCain-Palin supporters aren’t really hate-mongering against Obama. I guess he’ll have to exclude himself.

Piercing talk radio

Charlie Pierce is on a talk-radio rampage. Last month he went after WTKK (96.9 FM), and specifically Don Imus, Michael Graham, Jay Severin, Laura Ingraham and Michele McPhee, whom he doesn’t actually name, referring to her only as “a woman who sounds like she’s shouting her program off the back porch of a three-decker in Revere.”

Now he’s back, targeting Tom Finneran of WRKO (AM 680) as host of “one of the lamest shows in the history of the electric radio device.”

I can’t say I disagree, except to note that McPhee doesn’t actually shout. It only seems that way.

Page 3 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén