Friday, October 28, 2011

Robert Redfords new project, "The Company You Keep"

By: Larry D Grathwohl

An open statement to those involved in the production of Robert Redford's movie, "The Company You Keep".

It is currently being reported in many of the Hollywood and Cinema blogs ( that Robert Redford is going to make a movie about the Weather Underground. According to the information being provided such familiar names as Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte and Robert Redford himself are to star in this movie based on a novel by Neil Gordon titled, " The Company You Keep".

The story is about an individual named Jason Sinai who participated in a bank robbery, which goes wrong, (I thought all bank robberies were wrong) that took place in 1974 and after 30 years his cover has been blown by a reporter who is trying to make a name for himself. In order to protect his family this terrorist fugitive must flee his home and family and take to the road where he is forced to make contact with former members of the Weather Underground and other terrorist organizations of that era.

It's interesting to note the very close similarities between the story Neil Gordon has woven into his novel and the bombings and other criminal acts committed by the Weather Underground during the late 60s and the early 70s. Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, as an example, were members of the Weather Underground who together with members of the black liberation Army robbed a Brinks truck in New Jersey and a guard and two police officers were murdered. According to Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn was the person who placed the bomb at the Park police station in San Francisco that resulted in the death of Sgt. Brian McDonnell and yet they continue to claim that the Weather Underground NEVER killed or harmed anyone. It is also important to remember the numerous bombings such as the capital bombing, the New York City police headquarters and the Pentagon just to name a few.

Today Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn claim that the Weather Underground never harmed anyone that their only purpose in the use of violence was to end the war in Vietnam. Now it appears that Robert Redford's going to make a movie that not only downplays the acts of terrorism committed by this group but also makes them appear to be heroes and good Americans. Such phrases as, “a sweeping American saga about sacrifice”, “using violent action and inflammatory rhetoric to protest the Vietnam War and various other social issues” are examples of this movies depiction of the Weather Undergrounds domestic acts of terrorism against life and property. Somehow these terrorists and murderers are transformed into, "real Americans who stood for their beliefs…… defending their countries ideals". In one chapter a character named Benjamin Schukberg, who happens to be a reporter, begins a rant in justification of the violence involved in the Weather Undergrounds violent activities. One comment this reporter states in regards to the protest against the Vietnam War, "people say stop its implacable. The State? It’s beating you up and putting you in jail, and it doesn't listen to any explanations." This statement ignores the fact that many of those protesters of that time were attacking people and property and in many instances it was impossible to discern their goals as their violence destroyed their message. In another instance Benjamin continues, "just imagine the choice, on one hand, between this jowly, unhealthy, vile, lying son of b___h Nixon with his horrid little sidekicks, and on the other hand, this vast movement throughout the country were people are not just getting laid, and getting high, and listening to find music, and having fun, but to boot, they’re right!" I find this amazing, with a total condemnation of Pres. Nixon while making it sound as if the tuned in, dropped out generation wasn't in the streets attacking anything and everything in their path but were just trying to have fun with sex, dope fine music. Later, as Benjamin continues his rant he says, "The fact is, Weather (referring to the Weather Underground) was making a last-ditch protest against the government that refused to obey the Constitution, and McVeigh was protesting a government for obeying the Constitution. Right? All Weather was saying was that this government has to follow what the Constitution says." This is simply not true as the Weather Underground made several statements declaring war on the United States and its people, met with many of the enemies of the United States and called for the total destruction of what they referred to as US imperialism.

Below I have listed Whether Underground bombings and activities beginning in 1969 through 1981:

Weather Underground Attacks & Activities

7 October 1969 – Bombing of Haymarket Police Statue in Chicago, apparently as a “kickoff” for the “Days of Rage” riots in the city October 8-11, 1969. The Weathermen later claim credit for the bombing in their book, “Prairie Fire.”

8 October-11, 1969 – The “Days of Rage” riots occur in Chicago in which 287 Weatherman members from throughout the country were arrested and a large amount of property damage was done.

6 December 1969 – Bombing of several Chicago Police cars parked in a precinct parking lot at 3600 North Halsted Street, Chicago. The WUO stated in their book “Prairie Fire” that they had did the explosion.

13 February 1970 - Bombing of several police vehicles of the Berkeley, California, Police Department.

16 February 1970 – Bombing of Golden Gate Park branch of the San Francisco Police Department, killing one officer and injuring a number of other policemen.

6 March 1970 – Bombing in the 13th Police District of the Detroit, Michigan. 34 sticks of dynamite are discovered. During February and early March, 1970, members of the WUO, led by Bill Ayers, are reported to be in Detroit, during that period, for the purpose of bombing a police facility.

6 March 1970 – “bomb factory” located in New York’s Greenwich Village accidentally explodes. WUO members die. The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer’s dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The bomb was packed with nails TO INFILICT MAXIMUM CASUALTIES UPON DETONATION.

30 March 1970 – Chicago Police discover a WUO “bomb factory” on Chicago’s north side. A subsequent discovery of a WUO “weapons cache” in a south side Chicago apartment several days later ends WUO activity in the city.

10 May 1970 – Bombing of The National Guard Association building in Washington, D.C.

21 May 1970 – The WUO under Bernardine Dohrn’s name releases its “Declaration of a State of War” communiqué.

6 June 1970 – The WUO sends a letter claiming credit for bombing of the San Francisco Hall of Justice; however, no explosion actually took place. Months later, workmen in this building located an unexploded device which had apparently been dormant for some time.

9 June 1970 - Bombing of the New York City Police Headquarters.

27 July 1970 - Bombing of The Presidio army base in San Francisco. [NYT, 7/27/70]

12 September 1970 – The WUO helps Dr. Timothy Leary, break out and escape from the California Men’s Colony prison.

8 October 1970 - Bombing of Marin County courthouse. [NYT, 8/10/70]

10 October 1970 - Bombing of Queens traffic-court building. [NYT, 10/10/70, p. 12]

14 October 1970 - Bombing of the Harvard Center for International Affairs [NYT, 10/14/70, p. 30]

1 March 1971 - Bombing of the United States Capitol. “ [NYT, 3/2/71]

April, 1971 – Pine St “bomb factory” discovered in San Francisco, California.

29 August, 1971 - Bombing of the Office of California Prisons. [LAT, 8/29/71]

17 September 1971 - Bombing of The New York Department of Corrections in Albany, NY [NYT, 9/18/71]

15 October 1971 - Bombing of William Bundy’s office in the MIT research center. [NYT, 10/16/71]

19 May 1972 - Bombing of the Pentagon. [NYT, 5/19/72]

18 May 1973 - Bombing of the 103rd Police Precinct in New York

28 September 1973 - Bombing of ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy . [NYT, 9/28/73]

6 March 1974 - Bombing of the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare offices in San Francisco

31 May 1974 - Bombing of The Office of the California Attorney General.

17 June 1974 - Bombing of Gulf Oil’s Pittsburgh headquarters.

11 September 1974 – Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation).

29 January 1975 - Bombing of the State Department in (AP. “State Department Rattled by Blast,” The Daily Times-News, January 29 1975, p.1)

16 June 1975 - Bombing of Banco de Ponce (a Puerto Rican bank) in New York.

September, 1975 – Bombing of the Kennecott Corporation.

October 20, 1981 - Brinks robbery in which several members of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army stole over $1 million from a Brinks armored car near Nyack, New York. The robbers murdered 2 police officers and 1 Brinks guard. Several others were wounded.

I think this speaks to the antiwar position claimed by the Weather Underground and people such as Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dorn. Their violent activities cannot be disputed in their claims that they never injured or killed anyone are simply lies in for Mr. Redford to glorify this group of terrorist traitors is beyond comprehension and shouldn't be allowed to happen.

I have made several attempts to contact Mr. Redford in an effort to enlighten him as to what the Weather Undergrounds real purposes and goals were during that time. So far my efforts have failed and while I realize that this movie is based on a novel it is still utilizing the real criminal acts committed by individuals who comprise the membership of the Weather Underground. Bernadine Dohrn in her first communication from the Weather Underground stated,”THIS IS A DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES”. I sat in meetings with many members of the Weather Underground, including Bill Ayers, and discussed plans to bomb places and buildings with the sole purpose of causing as much death and destruction as possible. The Weather Underground wasn't trying to end the war in Vietnam but rather to bring the war home to the United States. Their avowed purpose was clearly stated in many communiqués throughout the years and that was to overthrow the government of the United States and create a communist or socialist society for the people of this country. If necessary they were ready and willing to kill as many as 25 million people in order to achieve their goal.

It's hard to believe that someone who is made their fortune entertaining America has forgotten the trauma and the fear the Weather Underground created 40 years ago. How Robert Redford can allow himself to be used in such a way that people like Bill Ayres, who has stated that his only regret is that they didn't do enough, is now to be changed from an unrepentant domestic terrorist to a good American in a dedicated patriot.


Douglas said...

(The author likes to weave back and forth between real characters and his fictional ones). It is a revolting attempt to rewrite history and is not good fiction either. A repellent, immoral, and trivial book about people cut from the same cloth.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly timed to ease the worries of the audience about the orchestrated violence coming to our streets is a good thing. After all, you can't expect the evil outdated U.S. government to fall peacefully, these are the good guys you see, they are not terrorists. Just wait until after the revolution, we will have elections, and democracy. I am not a communist....

Be it late 1950's Cuba or 2011 America, the script and the play are the same. The final act to be determined. God help us.