On August 20, 2003, two New York parole board commissioners Vernon C. Manley and Daizzee D. Booey -- both African American -- paroled convicted terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving twenty years to life for felony murder and robbery. In 1981, as part of a joint action by the Black Liberation Army and May 19th Communist Organization, Boudin had participated in the hold-up of an armored truck in Nyack, New York, a botched robbery that left three dead - security guard Peter Paige and Nyack police officers Waverly Brown and Edward O'Grady. Waverly Brown was the first black hired by the Nyack police force.
In her parole hearing, Boudin -- a veteran of the terrorist Weather Underground -- claimed that she participated in the robbery because she felt guilty for being white. She told the commissioners she believed the crime would help 'oppressed' black people and advance the cause of 'civil rights'. The two black parole commissioners have not explained their rationale for releasing this self-styled revolutionary terrorist, but the transcript of Boudin' s parole hearing strongly suggests that they believed her sob story, and agreed that Boudin's white guilt and desire to help black people absolved her of her crimes.
According to the August 23rd New York Times, the commissioners kept finishing Boudin's sentences and summarizing her testimony for her. Daizzee Booey sympathetically suggested that Boudin take her experiences and 'write a book'. Booey's other questions revealed more about her than Boudin; for instance, Booey asked the killer whether she got involved in the robbery because "she felt she had not done anything to validate her commitment to civil rights." Given this leading (and ridiculous) question, Boudin only had to reply "yes, I do think that's right" to tell the commissioner what she wanted to hear.
In the end, the commissioners were so impressed by Boudin's eagerness to help blacks by robbing armored cars, they excused her complicity in a crime that left three men dead and nine children without fathers. Would the commissioners have been so sympathetic if Boudin had been aiding a group of white criminals? Not likely. In addition to being credulous fools, the two commissioners were evidently racist as well.
Before the intervention of these two (out of 19) parole commissioners, no one expected Boudin to be released. She had spun practically the same story at two previous parole hearings, the latest just three months ago, and had been rejected twice. The only optimistic figure was Boudin's attorney, Leonard Weinglass, who told radio host Amy Goodman that "I was one of the few people who told Kathy she would probably be released." I suspect Weinglass predicted the sympathies of the parole commissioners, and told Boudin to play the race card for all it was worth.
According to Reuters, the paroled Boudin is "absolutely ecstatic." Of course she is - she knows she shouldn't have been freed. She's already brimming over with new plans - to move to New York City, to finish her doctorate. The left generally is also celebrating. In an apparent effort to outperform the commissioners in moronic observation, long-time radical and NYU Professor Todd Giltin told the New York Times that Boudin "is the perfect parolee. To say that Kathy Boudin is redeemed is to say the '60s were worthy."
Meanwhile, the family of one of the victims, Edward O'Grady, commemorated that Boudin's parole day would have been the fifty-fifth birthday of their dead father. One detective for the Rockland County District Attorney reported that Edward's widow is "very shocked and deeply saddened." The president of the New York Fraternal Order of Police described the decision as "a slap in the face of every officer in the state and our nation." Governor Pataki denounced the decision, the first time in a decade he's done so. "The murder of a police officer," he explained, "should be punished to the fullest extent of the law."
Boudin's life and actions don't reveal much desire to help blacks, unless the blacks are leftwing criminals. She grew up in a "progressive" household. Her father was a Communist Party activist. She joined the Weatherman faction of SDS whose chief platform was starting a race war in America. Boudin first became a fugitive in October 1969, skipping $20,000 bail for her crimes in the infamous Chicago 'Days of Rage' rioting, which left scores of policemen injured and one District Attorney wheelchair-bound. She was next spotted in March 1970, staggering naked out of a demolished townhouse in Greenwich Village - a Weather Underground bomb factory that inadvertently exploded, killing three comrades (the bomb was of the anti-personnel variety and was intended for a dance at Fort Dix).
Boudin survived the explosion and rejoined the Weather Underground which imagined itself a "revolutionary vanguard" setting bombs all over the country. After the implosion of Weatherman at the hands of a Maoist fanatic, Boudin joined the May 19 Communist Organization (May 19 being
the birthday of Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh). Their intention was to help a gang of black criminals and murderers create a Communist "New Afrika" in the southern United States.
In 1981 they attempted to rob a Brinks armored car to finance the war of liberation that would create their promised land. Boudin dropped her infant son at the baby sitter's and took the wheel of the getaway U-Haul. She waited in a nearby parking lot as at least four and possibly more Black Liberation Army terrorists, heavily armed, took another vehicle to a local mall, where a Brinks truck was making a delivery. The terrorists hopped out and immediately began firing at the three Brinks guards - almost severing the arm of guard Joe Trombino and killing his co-worker, Peter Paige. The four then grabbed the cash - $1.6 million of it - and sped off to the waiting Boudin. Their murder and robbery took less than two minutes.
When they reached the U-Haul, the terrorists abandoned their first vehicle and climbed into the back of the truck. They didn't expect to be seen by a sharp-eyed high-school student, who called the police. When one unit of four police officers spotted and pulled over the U-Haul, they could only see Boudin in the drivers seat. She got out of the cab, hands raised.
Some accounts claim Boudin pleaded with the police to put down their guns, convincing them to drop their guard; others claim Boudin was silent, and the officers relaxed spontaneously. In either case, one thing is clear - although Boudin knew the back of her U-Haul contained six heavily-armed robbers, she did nothing to warn the police. Once their guard was down, six terrorists with automatic weapons burst out of the back of the truck, surprising the four police officers. A black police officer, Waverly Brown, was killed instantly. Just to make sure, one of Boudin's gangster friends fired into him point-blank as he lay on the ground.
Edward O'Grady lived long enough to empty his six-shot revolver - but as he reloaded, he was shot several times with an M-16. Ninety minutes later, he died on a hospital operating table. The other two officers were lucky to escape with minor injuries. The occupants of the U-Haul scattered, some climbing into another getaway car, others carjacking a nearby motorist. Boudin made the mistake of fleeing on foot. An off-duty corrections officer who just happened to be driving past had the presence of mind to apprehend her.
Three other terrorists failed to escape that day - Boudin's boyfriend David Gilbert, Samuel Brown, and Judith Clark crashed their own car while negotiating a sharp turn, and were arrested by police. Two days later, Samuel Smith and Nathaniel Burns were spotted in a car in New York. After a gunfight with police that left Smith dead, Burns was captured. Three more participants were arrested several months later.
The majority of the defendants received three consecutive twenty-five years to life sentences, making them eligible for parole in the year 2058; essentially, a life sentence. However, Boudin' s well-off parents found her a talented leftwing lawyer, who previously had defended the SLA terrorists. Leonard Weinglass arranged for a plea bargain - Boudin pled guilty to one count of felony murder and robbery, in exchange for just one twenty-years-to-life sentence. She came up for parole in 2001, but at this first parole hearing, the commissioners correctly recognized that her release, despite her behavior in prison, would both trivialize the seriousness of the crimes she'd committed, undermine respect for the law and provide the criminal left with a victory for their cause.
Boudin's claim, that the Black Liberation Army helped blacks, isn't remotely believable to anyone who knows the origins and history of the organization. The Black Liberation Army was a militant split-off of the Black Panther Party, criminal organization with a political panache; their members had already engaged in a series of ordinary (but violent) crimes, engaged in fratricidal combat with other Panthers and murdered two police officers. Several others had been shot. In their decade of existence, they had done nothing for the cause of civil rights. Their actual goal, shared with a fellow terrorist organization called the Republic of New Afrika, was the establishment of a Communist black separatist (i.e., racist) state in the American south. Kathy Boudin was veteran radical and terrorist, a fugitive for the past eleven years. She knew what the Black Liberation Army had done and what they stood for, and embraced it. Her claim, that she thought the Black Liberation Army would distribute the money to poor neighborhoods, cannot be taken seriously.
Vernon Manley and Daizzee Booey's travesty was made easier by the radical left's slick organizing campaign to obscure Boudin's crimes. While the public simply assumed a criminal as vile as Boudin would remain in prison for the rest of her life, they were busy recruiting useful idiots and setting up fake support organizations. First and foremost among these organizers is Boudin's chief counsel, Leonard Weinglass, who doubles as the chief counsel for antoher cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Weinglass -- a National Lawyer's Guild star, also defends anti-nuclear activists charged with destroying military assets, America-based fundraisers for the Palestinian Liberation Organization, black and Indian militants who murdered prison guards while in jail, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, Communist Party activist Angela Davis, and a variety of left-wing bombers.
Weinglass was aided by a group called "Rocklanders Supporting Parole for Kathy Boudin," which runs web sites at the addresses kathyboudin.com and kathyboudin.org. Both of these web sites, registered in June 2002, are full of praise for Boudin. Her crimes are mentioned only obliquely. Since Kathy Boudin's crimes were committed in Rockland County, New York and killed people born and raised there, support from Rockland's local residents is valuable. However, a little investigation shows that the group was largely set-up by Boudin's attorneys, and support from actual Rockland County residents is minimal.
If the group was really started by Rockland County residents, the web sites kathyboudin.org and kathyboudin.com would be registered by a local host. This isn't the case. Although done in the name of "Rocklanders Supporting Parole", the registrant of both web sites was someone named Jeremy Mage, who has a West 86th Street address in New York City. Who is Jeremy Mage? Perhaps he's a relative of radical lawyer John Mage, a frequent contributor to the Marxist journal Monthly Review and - surprise, surprise - a resident of exactly that same West 86th Street building in New York City. John Mage is also Kathy Boudin's co-counsel - although he's kept out of the public eye, he admits this freely on the Left Business Observer's e-mail list. In other words, the websites of "Rocklanders Supporting Parole" were set up directly by Boudin's lawyers.
There are actual residents of Rockland County behind the organization, but their number is small. The primary spokesperson for the group is Lynn Temple, a board member of a local ACLU chapter, the Westchester Civil Liberties Union. It's not surprising that an ACLU activist would want Boudin paroled, since the ACLU has never met a terrorist cause it didn't defend. But besides Lynn Temple, there's no publicly-declared members of "Rocklanders Supporting Parole." The organization's letter of support for Kathy Boudin, publicized on their is unsigned. Usually when an organization has substantial community support, its letters come with a long list of signatories. Here, there's none.
I suspect the signatories are secret because the actual list would be very, very short. Rockland County residents almost uniformly oppose parole for Kathy Boudin. In 2001, almost a thousand people attended a rally against Boudin's first bid for parole; according to Nyack Villager editor and publisher Jan Haber, "the overwhelming opinion is that she should stay in jail." Nothing's changed in the intervening two years - since 9/11, the need to punish terrorists harshly has become even clearer. Now, Leonard Weinglass, Boudin's chief council, is on very friendly terms with the ACLU in general and its Westchester branch in particular - in 2000, he delivered the keynote address at one of their events, the Henry Schwarzchild Memorial Lecture. Because of this, I've got just one question: did local Nyack resident Lynn Temple decide spontaneously to support Boudin's parole, or, like the websites, was she put into place by Boudin's lawyers?
Whatever the source of this questionable organization, 'Rocklanders' For Parole, it certainly picked some unusual locations to look for support. A number of letters of support were solicited from the anarchist website Infoshop, 'your online anarchist community'. Other letters of support were solicited from left-wing information clearinghouse Indymedia, supporters of the 1999 Seattle riots and a variety of other radical actions. The Northwest Anarchist Prisoners Support Network has Boudin on their contact list of political prisoners; so do the radical environmentalists at Green Anarchy. The Marxists at Monthly Review printed an editorial supporting her, which ridiculously states that Boudin "harmed no one but herself."
Sympathetic articles have also appeared in the left-wing magazine The Nation and the New York Times. In addition to this array of far-left media, 'Rocklanders' For Parole has solicited support from all the right celebrity leftists. Among others, professional America-basher Noam Chomsky wrote a letter of support, as did radical historian Howard Zinn. It seems Kathy Boudin's supporters now are the same ideological types that would've supported or sympathized with the Weather Underground or the May 19th Communist Organization in their criminal prime. There's no reason why the parole board should take this support seriously - it's as valid as the Klan's support for a lynch mob.
Boudin has made it easy for gullible parole commissioners to support her by saying and doing many of the right things while in prison - she's expressed remorse, she's done charitable volunteer work, and she's announced her desire to apologize to the families of the victims in person. But has she truly reformed? Now that's she's been granted parole, the families of her victims are stunned; "I just hope Boudin is sincere in her claim to be a changed woman," one nephew of a victim said.
I hope so too, but there's several ominous signs that Boudin hasn't changed. She's relied on the usual support network of the radical left, instead of disavowing and distancing herself from them, and instead of teaching her child that her crimes and the raw hatred that lead to them was wrong, she's trained him to follow in her anti-American footsteps. On going to prison, Boudin gave custody of her one year old baby boy, Chesa to two friends and former terrorist colleagues, Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn (famous for her public salute to Satanic cultist and mass murderer Charles Manson).
For the next eighteen years, Ayers and Dohrn raised Chesa Boudin in their own image, teaching him to hate America, all with the cooperation and complicity of Boudin. If Boudin had really reformed, she would have removed her child from the custody of two unrepentant terrorists. But she didn't. If Boudin really regretted her felony murder, she would rebuke her son for declaring that his imprisoned "parents were all dedicated to fighting U.S. imperialism around the world," and announcing his dedication to the same cause.
But she hasn't. Instead, she's helped teach her son his ideology, a leftist idiocy wrapped in a bundle of lies. (This was no obstacle to his being awarded a coveted Rhodes Scholarship -- and in fact was probably a help.) Now Chesa Boudin sits smugly, a youth of immense privilege, encouraging the working class families of her murdered victims to forgive. "I was also a victim of that crime," he told the New York Times, "I know how important it was for me to forgive." With his Yale education, Rhodes scholarship, two living parents, and, thanks to his mother's crimes, a spot on the profitable left-wing lecture circuit, Chesa can afford a fatuous gesture or two. This crass comparison of his own bright situation to that of the dead offices' families proves that Boudin has raised him to be a moral cretin like herself.