Talk:Weather Underground (disambiguation)/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Brinks robbery

The opening paragraph gives the impression that they never harmed anyone. While it is true that their bombings never did, members of the WU were associated with the Brinks Armored Car robbery that left a security guard and two policemen dead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.187.34.213 (talk) 19:28, 15 June 2008 (UTC)


Bombings

This is from the Bill Ayers article. It belongs here, not there, but I'm not sure how to integrate the information. I also don't know if the Kushner material is a reliable source or not. The Weather Underground bombed several government buildings, including the United States Capitol (two bombs on March 1, 1970), The Pentagon (May 19, 1972), and the Harry S Truman Building which houses the United States Department of State (on January 29, 1975), along with several banks, police department headquarters and precincts, state and federal courthouses, and state prison administrative offices.[1][2] Flatterworld (talk) 03:21, 17 April 2008 (UTC)


Weather pop culture

List of references moved from article - do we need these? I think they are mostly if not entirely trivia and speculation. Kaisershatner (talk) 13:44, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Weatherman organization in pop culture

  • Great Neck,[3] by Jay Cantor is a fictional account of a group of Long Island teenagers coming of age during the radical sixties. One of them, Beth Jacobs, joins first the SDS and later the Weatherman in an attempt to make justice for the Holocaust.
  • The Darling, by Russell Banks (2004) is a novel telling the life story of Hannah Musgrave—alias Dawn Carrington—a member of the Weather Underground, escaping from the U.S. to Liberia.
  • Marge Piercy's novel Vida (1980) is about a radical woman affiliated with a violent antiwar group, who goes into hiding. In physical description and certain biographical details, Vida closely resembles Bernadine Dohrn.
  • Diana (Parts 1 and 2)[5] sung by Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on their 'solo disc' Sunfighter, released Jan 1971 on the band's own Grunt label, contains the sympathetic response of many contemporary youth at the death of "Weatherwoman Diana" Oughton in the Greenwich Village Explosion.
  • Take the Power Back performed by Rage Against the Machine and written by Zach de la Rocha contains the lyrics "gotta get it together then / like the motherfuckin' Weathermen."
  • American Pastoral by Philip Roth. The daughter of the central character is perhaps a member of the organisation, and the novel incorporates a quote from John Jacobs at the "war council" in Flint. The group is also mentioned in The Dying Animal.
  • Geek Mafia by author Rick Dakan includes a character that was once a member of the organization.
  • 3rd Degree by James Patterson. They are believed to be the culprits in the thriller.
  • Stormwatch, a comic published by Wildstorm, features 'The Weatherman' who lead the superpowered activist group who share the name of the comic.
  • "High Priestess" by David Skibbins. Protagonist Warren Ritter was a member of the organization.
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl refers to a revolutionary activist group called The Nightwatchmen which provides the background for a major subplot of the novel. This group appears to be modeled on the Weathermen as well as various other activist groups.

Chronology

Some thoughts for improvement. This is one of those rare cases where a timeline makes sense, IMO, to present lots of information in a clear way. As tedious as it is, each event should be cited. I think the language could be improved here and there, to put everything in a consistent verb tense, avoid saying "Weatherman" too many times, use the passive voice, avoid run-on sentences, etc. One more serious change is that I'm uncomfortable with the tone of phrases like "to represent", "in protest of", "in response to," and the like. Using language that normally applies to legal, professionally run organizations to describe bombings tends to legitimize the bombings as a legitimately undertaken official organizational response, which it was not in any conventional sense. Further, that would tend to endorse their explanations and logic in why they bombed thing. Can one really say that a bombing is in response to anything or a protest of anything? If a garden variety criminal or vandalizes public property because they're upset over something or seeking thrills we would not say the crime was a protest of that thing. Saying the Weathermen were acting in response to something carries some kind of implicit judgment about their motives. "Retaliation" seems to have similar problems. I'm wondering if there is a simpler way to just lay the facts out. Wikidemo (talk) 15:21, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

That's interesting. FWIW the timeline section is the one I have edited least and haven't gotten around to it; I think your point is interesting about the language. Probably the best possible thing to do would be to present the objective facts first, "They bombed a police station," and second to include whatever their stated motives were if that can be cited, "we did it for the people"(cite). That sort of thing? Kaisershatner (talk) 20:52, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree, get the facts first. Maybe something like inserting the word "announced." The weathermen bombed x, announcing it as retaliation / response / protest of Y. That way we're not endorsing it as a legit or actual cause of their actions. Wikidemo (talk) 22:07, 22 April 2008 (UTC) the united states of america has always been about freedom and human rights, It seems many times preppy little boys try to make a name for themselves by marching,terrorizing, sometimes bombing bunglers hurt themselves like the weathermen, All these people
lack is maturity and any respect for their neighbor. They make bad decisions, Wikipedia seems on the jane fonda side of things to even print so much about them, while ignoring, other less popular human rights events. I read wikipedia with more than a grain of salt, since its descent into the pseudo political arena. It appears to me wikipedia is a few hours short of a full day

Revert contest

An anonymous editor made a change[1] and User:ClovisPt has reverted twice (so far). For the life of me I can't figure out what the difference really is but they seem to be organizational / style things. Normally the user proposing a rejected change should come to the talk page to explain, and anyone reverting should offer an explanation too. And it's sometimes useful to slow things down and take one or several related edits at a time so we can see what it is. So please be my guest! Thanks, Wikidemo (talk) 20:40, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Reverting yet another determined POV edit

I'm reverting (for the 2nd or 3rd time today) yet another IP editor's attempt to call the Weathermen a terrorist organization. This person is edit warring and accusing Wikipedia of "whitewashing" the issue[2][3][4][5] Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Calling a good faith edit "whitewashing" is a POV thing to say and at that point the debate is inescapably POV. We've had a background noise of people wanting to call the weathermen domestic terrorists for some time, and a lot more of it lately with the Bill Ayers election controversy and attempts to discredit Barrack Obama as being good friends with a known terrorist. The problem with this, and the reason the article has avoided the term, is that "terrorist" is a controversial and highly derogatory term being applied to living people who would dispute the label. Calling them terrorists or not is of no explanatory value - it does not change what they did or did not do. It is merely a characterization, a value judgment that what they did is terrorism. Given that there is no authoritative way to decide if they are terrorists or not (and even if there is a cite, the source is presenting analysis and not a fact), there is no reasonable way to include the term. The matter has been discussed again and again on the talk page and the outcome has always been to avoid describing the group as terrorist. Same results on most other similar pages. This particular mention is particularly derogatory, comparing the group and its members to "Islamic terrorists" and Timothy McVeigh. Here we are quoting another person as saying this rather than making the direct claim in Wikipedia but the outcome is the same - calling them names. I'm reverting again as a BLP/POV issue, and suggest that the IP editor be warned or blocked (or we go to semi-protection) if they want to edit war over adding this kind of disputed content. Wikidemo (talk) 21:41, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Flanagan's self-ID certainly seems relevant. There's no reason to leave this out.Verklempt (talk) 22:59, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I see that you've restored the basic claim but not the more colorful comparison to Timothy McVeigh and so-called "Islamic terrorists" (itself a rather incendiary term). I've replaced the sentence "He termed the group's actions as 'terrorism', and also claimed knowledge of bank robberies" with a statement that conforms to the Front Page Magazine citation provided. The article does not discuss his knowledge of bank robberies, and does not say that he termed the actions "terrorism", rather that he compared his group's actions to Islamic terrorists. Getting the source right is a BLP issue so 3RR is moot. Beyond the BLP issue, it's not clear that Front Page Magazine is a reliable source for everything. The publication overall is highly partisan and isn't reliable as far as characterizing the politics of other groups. However, the particular article used as a source is a review and essay relating to a documentary film, and the claims made in the article are about what material is in the documentary. I think we can trust the author to make simple factual statements about what was in the film. However, using it to establish the relevance of things is questionable. Flannagan is a minor, unknown former member of the organization. What he has to say 30 years later about what the organization stood for is fairly marginal. However, if the subject is whether former members were showing regrets or still militant (which this part of the Wikipedia article is), his views on that subject do seem relevant. Wikidemo (talk) 01:07, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your concern about Front Page as a RS. Flanagan described the "terrorism" (his word) and bank roberies in the documentary. That film would be a better source. Flanagan's status in the org is not for Wikipedia editors to determine.Verklempt (talk) 17:02, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
If someone saw the documentary and is ready to vouch for citing it there, we can assume good faith that he said it in the documentary. Flanagan's status within the organization goes to relevance. If Joe Citizen were to admit that the United States is a "terrorist state" we would not put that claim in the article about the country. If a former President did, we might. That kind of analysis shouldn't appear in the article but it's certainly fair to think through things like that as a basis for determining what's worth saying and what is not. As I said, I don't think it's fair to use the guy's characterization as a source for the way we describe the organization when there are others who would disagree. However, it is an interesting thing to note in terms of describing the question of how the people integrated back into society and what they're thinking now. Wikidemo (talk) 18:53, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
I saw the film a month or two ago and heard that stuff. You can watch it on your computer if you have Netflix. On your second point, the WU was a very small political cell, not a nation of 300 million, and Flanagan was an active member of that small group. He seems to have been the guy that paralyzed that cop in Chicago, so no wonder he feels guilty. You can read the WU's FBI file online for more.Verklempt (talk) 20:04, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
If he did that, that makes him relevant even if he was not high in their chain of command. Wow. Thanks. Then I would certainly have no problem with a quote by him that he called the group terrorist (but I still think it's unnecessary to bring in Timothy McVeigh or "Islamic terrorists" even if he did) Wikidemo (talk) 21:05, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

new data re "terrorist organization"

The Pinkerton Global Intelligence Service attributed forty one terrorist incidents to the WU. This data has since been collected in the Global Terrorism Database.Verklempt (talk) 23:57, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

"terrorism" again

An editor has twice attempted to add a "terrorist" designation to the first sentence of the lead,[6] as a primary way of identifying the Weathermen. I have now twice moved the material down to the section of the lead where the designation as domestic terrorists is discussed. This is a charged issue, arising during a campaign in which the Weathermen are at issue as a way of discrediting one of the candidates. Wikipedia has been a battleground on the issue of Weathermen being "terrorists", across a number of articles. Although it is notable that the FBI called them terrorists in 2004, three decades after the fact, and their views are worth inclusion (in my opinion), the FBI is not definitive in assessing history. This is not the US state department list of terrorists or any official US designation - it is a history section on the FBI website. Wikidemo (talk) 23:45, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

FBI description of this organization as "terrorist"

When the FBI calls an organization a "terrorist group" it is worth mentioning in the top section. So is the groups own description of itself. I've added the FBI brief descrption, in quotes and attributed to the FBI and footnoted. Wikidemo reverted this with the cryptic edit summary "FBI link is not definitive here; move to section of lead where that is discussed in context" and no explanation on this talk page. Please provide the explanation of your edit, Wikidemo. Specifically, (1) can you say why the FBI report is not "definitive", and (2) why is "definitive" the standard for an attributed quote?

Here is what Wikidemo just removed (boldface):

Weatherman, known colloquially as the Weathermen and later the Weather Underground Organization, was a violent American radical left organization identified by the FBI as a "domestic terrorist group".[6] The group, which organized a riot in Chicago in 1969 and bombed buildings in the 1970s, was founded in 1969 by leaders and members who split from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
Footnote: "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY / 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing / 01/29/04", Federal Bureau of Investigation website, retrieved June 8, 2008

Here is another description, provided by the Weather Underground itself in 1975:

The Weather Undergound Organization (WUO) is a revolutionary organization of communist women and men.
Source: FBI report quotation from the first issue (Spring 1975) of the groups underground magazine, Osawatamie. Each subsequent issue of the publication contained the same self description

Here is what I propose to add to the article, with the additional information:

Weatherman, known colloquially as the Weathermen and later the Weather Underground Organization, was a violent American radical left organization identified by the FBI as a "domestic terrorist group"[7] and by itself (as of 1975) as a "revolutionary organization of communist women and men.[8] The group, which organized a riot in Chicago in 1969 and bombed buildings in the 1970s, was founded in 1969 by leaders and members who split from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).


New footnote: "Weatherman Underground / Summary Dated 8/20/76 / Part #1", "Ideology" section, p 21, 1976, FBI website, retrieved June 8, [[[2008]]

Wikidemo, the next time you revert an edit that you know is controversial -- you are the one who is supposed to start a discussion on the talk page. Please answer the questions above. Noroton (talk) 00:16, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I think a compromise lede is in order. It is clear that there are many scholars and historians who label the group as terrorist, and at least one of the former members acknowledges their actions as such. On the other hand, there is enough opposition to that view that it would be POV to let it stand without presenting the other perspective. I propose that some moderated mention of the group's reputation as terrorist be entered in the lede. I agree with Wikidemo that we need to step especially carefully here re NPOV, given the current Presidential race.Verklempt (talk) 00:25, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
We should be especially clear and accurate especially given the current Presidential race. Why is making the description fuzzier more NPOV? It seems to me that it could make it less NPOV as being unduly favorable to a group that, the more you know about it, the more you know negative information about it. Its nature was violent, illegal and it was full of members wanted by the FBI because of the bombs they set and the violence they perpetrated. That is not inaccurate. I did not label the group "terrorist" -- the FBI did that, and I propose that description in lieu of Wikipedia calling the group "terrorist" just in order to reflect the opinions of editors posted further up on this page. And I don't just advocate using the FBI description, but I add the Weatherman's own description that they put into every issue of their magazine. And we have our own words describing the group, which must include "violent" in order to distinguish it from other nonviolent groups. That seems pretty NPOV to me. What's the problem with it? If I sound irritated, that's because of Wikidemo's pattern of editing (addressed below). I'm still willing to have a reasonable discussion about the lead and I invite your response. Noroton (talk) 01:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Norton, you need to take a deep breath here - you're normally much more delierative. Accusing me of "whitewashing" is unnecessarily provocative, and more or less walks away from trying to establish a consensus. I didn't remove the FBI use of the word "terrorist", I just moved it to another part of the lede where the issue of terminology is discussed. You'll note that I did start a discussion on that explaining why the FBI is not guaranteed first-sentence treatment in any article where they use the word "terrorist" (though I disagree that it's incumbent on me - if your controversial edit is challenged it's up to you to justify it), immediately prior to yours. The lede is already too long, and we should crunch it down into 2-3 paragraphs rather than trying to create a lede for the lede. I would favor taking all of the descriptive material out entirely other than calling it a radical left, violent radical, or whatever organization, and have a heading somewhere about perception, or designation, or description. That's a much more encyclopedic way to do it, and can give the subject its due. Wikidemo (talk) 00:41, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Well what you're doing is following me around making reverts that all seem to have a POV, specifically a pattern of protecting the subjects of various articles from laying out the facts in an NPOV way. You explained nothing. You left a cryptic edit summary. If we take anything out of the lead it isn't information that helps the reader understand just what the group is. You take information out of the lead that doesn't do that. I see assertions in your post above, not reasoning, and that's a flawed way of discussing something. You again here leave a comment that doesn't explain what you meant earlier. You also didn't answer my questions: (1) can you say why the FBI report is not "definitive", and (2) why is "definitive" the standard for an attributed quote? Instead you bring up new objections, as if you're making it up as you go along. The fact is, you don't want the word "terrorist" in the lead no matter what. Isn't that right? It doesn't matter that it's attributed to a reliable source. It doesn't matter that it's included with other description to put it in context (which is why these two short phrases I'm proposing adding belong right where they are. If you're so concerned about the lead, why didn't you shorten it in other ways? Why was this and only this the target of your edit? Why are you giving me explanations, when I finally demand them, that are all over the map, don't address the points I'm making and are so easily knocked down? If you don't like the length of the lead, edit down the other, inessential parts of it and I doubt I'll have objections, but don't destroy the essential purpose of the lead to provide, briefly, the essential information. I notice a pattern in the comments of protective editors at the Barack Obama, Bill Ayers, Bill Ayers election controversy articles and now this article of stating concerns about size when all their points have an underlying pattern of removing information that a certain point of view finds uncomfortable. Comfort is not a justification for censorship. And don't complain that I am irritated at your editing. I am irritated because your edits follow a POV pattern while mine don't. You have a right to your POV, but not to impose it. Noroton (talk) 01:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Pardon me, but I have had this article on my watch list for some time. I came to this entire cluster of articles a few months ago when some obvious problem editors started inserting the word "terrorist" in dozens of places on Wikipedia. I only encountered you recently. Your edits are almost universally in the direction of casting more criticism on Obama and things related to him. I could call that POV, and in fact you are editing wit a POV. Nevertheless you have good arguments and are obviously editing in good faith, hence I do not question your motives. I did far more than leaving an edit summary - I started yet another discussion on the subject. I have stood up for and against material on both sides, and have cleaned up a number of articles that were attacking conservatives as well, although I must say that the predominance of POV, incivility, and junk lately in this particular corner of Wikipedia is coming predominantly from those opposed to Obama for whatever reason. More than anything else I oppose problem editors - trolls, sockpuppets, single purpose editors, and uncivil people. You do not see this on the McCain article at all. Back to your point, you can't prove that something isn't definitive - you would have to show the opposite, that it is. Why would the FBI website, of all sources, be the one with the final word on whether something is or is not a terrorist? Indeed, I favor removing the word "terrorist" and other loaded terms of judgment from most articles, and we have a style guideline that explains why we do this. It does not help explain the group at all. They are what they are. Calling that terrorist or not does not clarify anything about them, it's just a loaded term. Might as well call them activists or freedom fighters. If the Weathermen were a group active today and were on the State Department list of terrorists that might be something of particular note. However, here the FBI is joining other sources in performing an act of historical judgment. As a wing of the US government, in a Republican administration, it is not beyond partisanship, nor is it scholarly or academic in its focus. As to the second point, the first sentence of this, like most leads, gives a definitive definition of what a group is. It starts "Weatherman...was a...". If you're going to use an adjective or a direct object, we are saying what it actually is, not what people might have called it. For that primary identification, we need a specific definition. I did not remove it from the lead, I simply gave it the same weight as anyone else by putting it into the section where the matter is discussed. Someday I and other editors probably will fix the rest of the lead, but that's a bigger task. Wikidemo (talk) 02:07, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I found it: WP:TERRORIST. I should have been the one to come to the talk page first instead of reverting. See WP:BRD. Sorry about that. I may respond to some other points later. Noroton (talk) 03:39, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
That pretty much rules out calling Weathermen "terrorists" as a descriptor. It makes some sense in the article to say they have been accused of terrorism by the FBI, and others, and even get a little bit into the question of terminology. As I noted the FBI mention is on a web page devoted to history, not one of the FBI's crime-fighting initiatives, so in this role the FBI is acting as historian. They are a reliable but potentially biased source here, of less credence perhaps than historians but important because of who they are. Historians probably avoid "terrorist" for the same reason the guideline says - they want to study things, not make value judgments. My point throughout is that whether we call them terrorists or not they threw the exact same number of bombs and made the exact same statements. Nobody (I hope) is trying to cover that up, just to describe it in as informative a way as possible. The reason why this has become charged, as we all know, is that calling the Weathermen terrorists shoehorns (okay, gives a basis for) using the word in the Bill Ayers biography, which then gives a platform for people to say that Barack Obama consorts with "unrepentant terrorists." Now, I would not want to withhold truth from an article simply because someone may misuse it out of context. On the other I think we have to be sensitive to possible unconscious biases in the sources, and in edits - perhaps even our own. Wikidemo (talk) 20:20, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) No, that, combined with the lead of WP:LEAD pretty much mandates it:

The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should establish context, summarize the most important points, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describe its notable controversies, if there are any. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic according to reliable, published sources.

From WP:LEAD#Content of the lead, "Provide an accessible overview" subsection:

The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should establish context, summarize the most important points, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describe its notable controversies, if there are any. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic according to reliable, published sources. The lead should not "tease" the reader by hinting at but not explaining important facts that will appear later in the article. It should contain up to four paragraphs, [...]

Whether or not they were terrorists is an essential controversy of this group. We can say that they are called that by the FBI among others and we can say former members have denied it. This last I can provide a footnote for, as well, from Ayers.

From the "Relative emphasis" subsection:

In general, the relative emphasis given to material in the lead should reflect its relative importance to the subject according to reliable sources

From Wikipedia:Writing better articles#Provide context for the reader, "Lead" subsection, "First sentence":

The first sentence should give the shortest possible relevant characterization of the subject. If the subject is amenable to definition, the first sentence should give a concise one that puts the article in context. Rather than being typically technical, it should be a concise, conceptually sound, characterization-driven, encyclopedic definition. It should be as clear to the nonspecialist as the subject matter allows.

And WP:TERRORIST is quite specific: In line with the Wikipedia Neutral Point of View policy, the words "Extremist", "Terrorist" and "Freedom fighter" should be avoided unless there is a verifiable citation indicating who is calling a person or group by one of those names in the standard Wikipedia format of "X says Y". Noroton (talk) 23:00, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I said we can't use terrorist as a "descriptor". We can (but are not required to - WP::TERRORIST urges against certain things but does not require anything) mention that someone called them a terrorist. To do that the accusation has to be relevant and of sufficient weight (Bill O'Reilly calling someone a terrorist, for example, does not have to be covered every time he does it). Calling them a terrorist or not is relatively unimportant matter, and any dispute over whether they are or are not isn't terribly central. Definitely not for the first sentence of the lead. It could go in the lead somewhere. We'll have to see what happens if and when the lead is appropriately condensed. Wikidemo (talk) 23:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Overlong lead, NPOV issue

As per WP:LEAD the lead should be four paragraphs long. Essential, but not excessive details belong in it. The following, the last two paragraphs of this overlong lead, is written as a defense of Weatherman in direct violation of WP:NPOV and even the neutrality language in WP:LEAD. The defense of Weatherman is given by Wikipedia, with it being called "terrorist" by someone else (the FBI) and then follows an evidence list to further bolster the Wikipedia defense. This is not NPOV and it does not reflect the criticism of Weather from numerous sources who point out that the bomb that killed the three group members was packed with nails and meant to target a dance hall and a college library, details that are conveniently missing from the same spot. No details belong here except possibly an example or two that can be stated briefly, and balance is supposed to be maintained:

Apart from an apparently accidental premature detonation of a bomb in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which claimed the lives of three of their own members, no one was ever harmed in their extensive bombing campaign, as they were always careful to issue warnings in advance to ensure a safe evacuation of the area prior to detonation.[9][10] Nevertheless, their activities have often been characterized as domestic terror,[11] including a later description by the FBI.[12]
Also included with the evacuation warnings issued in their communiqués were statements indicating the particular event to which they were responding. For the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971, they issued a statement saying it was "in protest of the US invasion of Laos." For the bombing of The Pentagon on May 19, 1972, they stated it was "in retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi." For the January 29, 1975 bombing of the Harry S Truman Building housing the United States Department of State, they stated it was "in response to escalation in Vietnam."[9]

Noroton (talk) 23:11, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I would condense it even further, and try to get it down to 3 short paragraphs - long leadss are best for long articles. The body of this article isn't a whole lot longer than the lead.

Apart from the accidental detonation of a bomb in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which claimed the lives of three members, no one was harmed in their extensive bombing campaign.[9][13] Nevertheless, their activities have often been characterized as domestic terror,[14] including a later description by the FBI.[15] Detonations were preceded by evacuation warnings issued in communiqués, which each included statements indicating the particular event to which the bomb was a supposed response (e.g. a bombing of The Pentagon on May 19, 1972, "in retaliation for the US bombing raid in Hanoi."

Incidentally, I removed "apparently" from the description of the townhouse explosion and left it as "accidental" rather than "premature." I think one example of a communique is more than enough to get the idea. Any implication or accusation that it was not accidental? Wikidemo (talk) 23:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I propose redacting the word "nevertheless", per NPOV.Verklempt (talk) 19:51, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

About Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism

The Chronology section is wrong in its summary of what this manifesto is about. Although the authors clearly identify this as a "Communist" work, nowhere do they "indicate the need for a unified Communist Party" -- or even the need for any Communist Party; instead, it assumes that the "American Imperialist system" is about to disintegrate -- pointing to the unsuccessful ending of the Vietnam War, the increasing scandal of Watergate as proof of this -- & thereby argues the need for immediate revolutionary action. I'm not even certain that it is accurate to say that it "encourage the creation of study groups to discuss their [the Weather Underground's?] ideology". But this work is a disappointingly unexceptional synthesis of ideas & beliefs in common currency amongst the New Left of the late 1960s/early 1970s, with a number of surprising omissions & logical jumps in their discussion. (And I have to wonder if someone who had a good grounding in Marxist theory might ROTFLAO at some of the passages.)

Is this truly an uncommon book? I own a copy of it -- which I bought at a local bookstore during my misspent youth -- & would be happy to write a summary of its contents as a start towards a Wikipedia article about it. -- llywrch (talk) 06:02, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

There isn't a copy of it online, apparently. If you could summarize the text, and provide some references for where it may be found, I'd appreciate it. DJ Silverfish (talk) 06:38, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Sources for shrapnel pipebombing of SF police's Park Station

  1. (Former Weatherman) Larry Grathwohl's testimony to Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, 18 Oct 1974:

    "When he [Ayers] returned, we had another meeting at which time ― and this is the only time that any Weathermen told me about something that someone else had done ― and Bill started off telling us about the need to raise the level of the struggle and for stronger leadership inside the Weathermen 'focals' and inside the Weatherman organization as a whole. And he cited as one of the real problems was that someone like Bernardine Dohrn had to plan, develop and carry out the bombing of the police station in San Francisco, and he specifically named her as the person that committed that act."
    [...Ayers] "said that the bomb was placed on the window ledge and he described the kind of bomb that was used to the extent of saying what kind of shrapnel was used in it."

    Questioner: "Did he say who placed the bomb on the window ledge?"

    Grathwohl: "Bernardine Dohrn."

    Questioner asks if Ayers had said that Ayers had personally witnessed Dohrn placing the bomb.

    Grathwohl: "Well, if he wasn't there to see it, somebody who was there told him about it, because he stated it very emphatically."

  2. San Francisco Police Officers Association Journal, issue of Feb 2007:

    [On February 16, 1970, Officer] Brian V. McDonnell #1001 was standing in the doorway off the office and the main squad room. At approximately 2244 hours, a pipe bomb exploded[...]on the window ledge[...]. Sergeant McDonnell caught the full force of the flying shrapnel, which consisted of heavy metal staples and lead bullets. As other officers tried rendering aid to the fallen sergeant, they could see that he sustained a severed neck artery wound and severe wounds to his eyes and neck. He was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where doctors attempted valiantly to save his life. Two days later, Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell succumbed to his injuries[...].

  3. Author Jay Kinney (the underground cartoonist and former editor-in-chief of Gnosis Magazine) in Lapis Magazine:

    "Today, thanks to the Patriot Act, most of the break-ins and wiretaps that the Feds used in their manhunt against the WUO would be perfectly legal, and were she to have resurfaced now, instead of in 1980, Bernardine Dohrn might be in an isolation cell on Guantanamo, with a bag over her head, rather than directing a law center for children and family rights at Northwestern University.
    ¶ "[...] Bernardine Dohrn admits that "mistakes" were made, though these were seemingly, in her view, strategic and tactical, and her Weather world view appears to be otherwise intact.

    "[...] Given that American society seemed to be suffering a nervous breakdown in 1968 and militant outbreaks were occurring around the world, it was possible to talk one's self into believing that revolution was just around the corner. In retrospect, this was a delusion, but the film [The Weatherman Underground] does a good job of portraying how a combination of youthful fury and optimism might have made it seem real. Yet, Marx or Marxism are never mentioned in the film and the pitfalls of this ideological turn are never confronted. ¶ "[...] The standard line, which it [the film] perpetuates, is that the Weather Underground performed two dozen bombings of symbolic targets and that they carefully avoided killing anyone. This excises the Feb. 16, 1970 bombing of the San Francisco police station on the edge of Golden Gate Park in which at least one officer, Brian McDonnell, was killed and others were seriously injured. The bombing, at the time, was credited to the Weathermen. ¶ "[...O]ne can't help but wonder whether the WUO's 'clean' record of no deaths is due to careful parsing of just what actions were allowed into the 'official' WUO canon. Were the more reckless pre-townhouse bombings - not all of which were claimed or solved - consigned to a memory-hole about which the less said the better? ¶ "Other messy details left out of the film are the trajectories of individual Weatherpeople following the WUO's putative 'breakup' in 1976. Already by 1974, the WUO's sense of isolation had led them to encourage an aboveground support group, the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC), and to even publish their own magazine, Osawatome. However, by then, the Left had largely declined into a shrinking and balkanized array of Leninist sects and single-issue movements. ¶ "The WUO's breakup occurred, in part, as its leadership came under heavy criticism from some members and PFOC supporters for a litany of political sins. It is instructive to re-read, for instance, Bernardine Dohrn's groveling 1976 self-criticism (published at the time by PFOC) wherein she admits to insufficient support for feminist and black revolutionary causes, among other things. No wonder that shortly thereafter, one by one, the Weather members began to 'resurface' and turn themselves in to the authorities. Even a spate in prison (which few of them had to endure for long, as things turned out) must have seemed like a relief, after several years in the increasing claustrophobia of the bickering underground Left. None of this makes it into the film, but its absence is only a gaping hole to those who were already aware of such details. For the film-makers, and most viewers, 'The Weather Underground' is no doubt a more satisfying work for having skipped the acrimonious ideological implosion and cut to the middle-aged reflections of its subjects, twenty-five years later."

  Justmeherenow (  ) 09:18, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

I've removed the material from the footnote. This is an unreliable source (an FBI informant) giving speculative uncorroborated testimony without any fact-checking or editorial control (congressional committee testimony in 1974) about circumstances that, if true, would constitute first degree murder. We just can't do that per WP:BLP. Wikidemo (talk) 09:43, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Grathwohl actually seems to be quite reliable from what I've been able to determine after searching around for evaluations of him over the past 2-3 weeks. His book, Bringing Down America has been cited by books authored by academics about the Weatherman organization, even when the authors of those books are sympathetic to it, and the book goes over the same material as presented here. WP:Reliable sources#Usage by other sources states: widespread citation without comment for facts is evidence of a source's reputation and reliability for similar facts, while widespread doubts about reliability weigh against it. If outside citation is the main indicator of reliability, particular care should be taken to adhere to other guidelines and policies, and to not represent unduly contentious or minority claims. The goal is to reflect established views of sources as far as we can determine them.. David Freddoso's book also cites Grathwohl on this particular incident. Better sourcing for the material Wikidemo just removed: The San Francisco Chronicle article here. We're talking about people who are famous because they committed acts of terror. Allegations that the group planted a bomb that did kill a person are reasonable if the sources are reliable. Since former Weatherman people say they never killed anyone, and since the organization didn't take credit for that bombing, I would call this contentious material to be treated as an opinion, per WP:ASF: By "fact" we mean "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute." For example, that a survey produced a certain published result would be a fact. That there is a planet called Mars is a fact. That Plato was a philosopher is a fact. No one seriously disputes any of these things. So we can feel free to assert as many of them as we can. By value or opinion,[2] on the other hand, we mean "a matter which is subject to dispute." Keep in mind that (at least as far as I've been able to discover by looking at a lot of books, newspaper and magazine sources), Weatherman members have never specifically denied the Park Station bombing, despite public accusations for years that pointed to them. To mention this as an allegation is not a WP:BLP violation but an acceptable criticism of WP:WELLKNOWN terrorists. To protect them from criticism in a Wikipedia article would be a violation of WP:NPOV. The sources are reliable. Noroton (talk) 15:33, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm in general agreement. A cited assertion that the Weathermen as a group had been implicated / accused / suspected of involvement is certainly okay by me, and I did not remove that from the article, or anything from the article save the footnote. That was a direct transcript of Grathwohl's testimony before a 1974 congressional committee. That testimony is not reliable - the circumstances do not allow for editorial control, fact checking, etc. Even viewed as a legal proceeding there was no right of cross-examination, no actual case or controversy involving Ayers (as far as I know - he was not represented), and neither the inquisitors nor the witness are neutral parties (remember this is the immediate post-Watergate era and Grathwohl was an FBI informant with who knows what arrangements and legal entanglements of his own). If there is a reliable source that says directly that Ayers is implicated, suspected, etc., of involvement in the Park Station murder then we should take a look at it, though an opinion that Ayers was involved isn't that useful. I agree that a better source would be a more recent book, although we do have to be careful. However reliable his opinion seems, Grathwohl is still a first person participant to the event, publishing recollections 30+ years later. Fredosso, whatever his credentials, is nevertheless a partisan conservative who has just published one of the attack books designed to defeat Obama's presidential candidacy. Nevertheless, I don't consider accusations against the Weathermen as a group to be a BLP issue unless they are specific to an individual - if BLP applied to organizations whose members are still living it would mean we can't say anything negative about anything. Wikidemo (talk) 18:51, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, well, some anon IP editors have added the material to the main text - good editing, btw. - , but cited it to Freddoso's book rather than directly to the testimony. I'm uncomfortable with Freddoso as a source but it's a very interesting read and not an obvious BLP violation so I won't object. Thanks for sticking with the sourcing, the result is a much stronger article section.Wikidemo (talk) 20:34, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

While researching the Weatherfolk graphic emblem

I've notice this (from what Ayers blogged on April 20, 2006):

The Weather Underground, born[...]from the ashes of a terrible explosion that killed three of our leaders[...]on March 6, 1970[...was o]riginally a militant formation inside Students for a Democratic Society[...]. By the mid-1970’s[...]the organization had effectively flamed out.[...] Living through that time, the aggression, the assassinations, the terrorist war raging on and on in our names, it seemed as if we were experiencing terminally cataclysmic events and permanent war. Looking back, of course, we can see that[...]the war lasted only a decade, and then it was done. Three million people were needlessly killed. But in those days, with the outcome far from certain, we had to choose our actions[...].We issued our first communiqué[...]in May 1970.[...]

Within months we had established a pattern of action—retaliation for what we believed were attacks on the Black struggle, and offensives against the war machine. Our signature was a warning call to some sleepy guard inside the building or to the police nearby or to a journalist with calm and detailed instructions to clear a specific area, and then letters of explanation—sometimes exhorting, sometimes threatening, sometimes still barely decipherable beyond the knowing—claiming credit and publicly defending our actions as politics by other means, signed and delivered simultaneously to several major newspapers in different cities across the country seconds after the blast. The FBI and the big city police knew our signature, and separated what they came to know as the authentic Weather nuts from the variously weird. Each letter had a logo hand-drawn across the page—our trademark thick and colorful rainbow with a slash of angry lightning cutting through it. New morning, it signified, changing weather. Oddly, as intense as it all looks and sounds, it was in our minds then cautious and responsible, a huge de-escalation from the apocalyptic plans of just months earlier. In any case, I loved that symbol of peace and reconciliation balanced by the hot bolt of justice.

This was a time when I, along with most of my closest friends, were referred to again and again as “home-grown American terrorists.” That’s what Time magazine called us in 1970, and the New York Times, too, and that was the word hurled in my direction from the halls of Congress. Terrorist.[...] I knew, of course, that there were several deeply disturbing aspects to our history, foremost the question of violence[...].We who survived went on to carry out a few highly visible anti-government bombings—acts that raise questions each generation will ask and answer differently. While the U.S. was killing two thousand people a day, planting a bomb in a pipe in the Pentagon was our high-pitched wail against the war’s sickness[...].
*Is the concept—terrorism—consistent and universal, does it apply to all parties engaged in certain actions, or does it change over time? *Which terrorist had a 100,000 British pound reward on his head in the 1930’s? *When did he become a “freedom fighter”, his image rehabilitated? *How many Israeli Prime Ministers were designated “terrorist” by the British government at some point in their political careers? *Which group of foreign visitors to the White House in 1985 were hailed by Ronald Reagan as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers, “freedom fighters” against the “Evil Empire”? *What did George W. Bush call these same men? *[...].

Ayers says that in the spring of 1970, when the Weatherfolk had begun to issue warning calls, that this was a "huge deescalation" from the group's previous "apocalyptic plans of just a few months eariler." Well, Brian V. McDonnell died on February 16th of 1970.   Justmeherenow (  ) 17:55, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

New photos

The two new photos are scans of newspapers - as such they don't seem to pass WP:NONFREE and ought to be removed. If you read through the nonfree use criteria historical photos are usable only to illustrate the newspaper / coverage / photo itself, not the event depicted, except in some extraordinary cases. Also, news agency photos are usually avoided per the guideline. As a separate non-free issue they are not necessary to the article - it can be said in words (NFCC criteria #3 and #8). If anyone has any free photos of bombing aftermath or investigations that would be useful, particularly if they're clear photos. Wikidemo (talk) 18:23, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I removed the one that's way too grainy anyway (Image:Bomb in Capitol Causes Wide Damage.jpg, cropped from a pic taken of the entire front page of the NY Times on the day after Billy bombed the Capitol) but, whathaheck, will leave the one of the Pentagon and see what happens.   Justmeherenow (  ) 19:01, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Sure. I'm not a great fan of overzealous application NFCC and won't tell the image hounds over there. Wikidemon (talk) 19:23, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Shh. Image:WEATHERUNDERGROUND3.jpg -- could be hounded -- too.   Justmeherenow (  ) 19:47, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Guess so, but it's got a stronger argument for inclusion being so iconic. What's that guy wearing anyway, an old football helmet? Wikidemon (talk) 20:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

smashing monogamy

There apparently was a campaign by the Weathermen along the lines of smashing monogamy. I tripped across this while reading up on Bill Ayers (his 9/11 article in the NY Times mentions it). Neither Ayers' page nor this one mentions the group's campaign which seems to have included encouraging marital breakups and homosexuality. The campaign does seem to provide relevant insight into the ideology. This is mostly a heads up, the backup references (2 books and the NY Times article) are over at Ayers' page. TMLutas (talk) 00:56, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

As I comment there, the sourcing ought to be stronger and we could use some more information - the sources to date all flow through Ayers' autobiography, and discussion of 60s/70s radical groups and their internal sexual practices is a bit subtle. The big question is whether it was really part of the group credo or operations, or just the way one or more leaders had of getting their jollies. Wikidemon (talk) 01:37, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
2 reliable sources are generally considered enough to survive a challenge in Wikipedia. Are you actually challenging, what are you challenging, and why? TMLutas (talk) 06:04, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a single reliable source. Could you point me to one? There is no New York Times source proposed for the claim that the Weathermen had this peculiar sexual thing. The New York Times mentions only that Ayers claimed it in his book. It is certainly a reliable source to show that Ayers said it. But Ayers himself is not a reliable source on the subject. If you accept his statement he's the one who announced this strange sexual practice, which hardly makes him a trustworthy source on the subject. The source for all of this (so far) is Ayers' book. And if you look hard enough, there is a first-hand account from a woman who was victimized by whatever it was Ayers was doing. So it's pretty clear there was some hanky-panky, but not a good source for saying that this was a regular practice or doctrine of the Weathermen. Why do I care? I am challenging this for no reason other than getting it right, as Jimbo would say. We don't really know what went on there. I'm curious and have no stake in this other than hoping we can find something solid. The best we can do is to look for some better sources. I hope you can pick up that I think the internal sexual dynamics is an interesting topic, not just for the weathermen but for all these radical groups. But just like everything on the encyclopedia we need to have some solid sources. They may well be out there. I'll bet they are but you'll have to dig deeper than first-hand accounts and current news. Wikidemon (talk) 06:14, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Addition of info citing reliable sources about Weatherman called a terrorist group

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Closing this part of discussion without prejudice to discussing civilly in the future - discussion has grown too hostile to reasonably reach consensus}}

Wikidemo has reverted the following section I just added to the article. The section gives reliable sourcing to the assertion that the Weaherman organization was a terrorist group. Under WP:TERRORIST, if we call someone or something "terrorist" we need to attribute it to some reliable source. I've done so. We all know that this organization has been widely called a terrorist organization. I see no reason why, if we follow all Wikipedia procedures, we can't state in Wikipedia what reliable sources are saying about this group.

Here is the passage Wikidemo removed:

Described as a terrorist group
The Weatherman organization has frequently, although not exclusively, been described as a terrorist group since at least 1970.
"Within the political youth movement of the late sixties (outside of Latin America), the 'Weathermen' were the first group to reach the front page because of terrorist activities," wrote Klaus Mehnert in his 1977 book, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy".[16] Neil A. Hamilton, in his 1996 book on militia movements in the United States, wrote, "By and large, though, these Weathermen did not rely on arming and training militia; instead, they resorted to terrorism."[17]
Starting in 1970, newspaper articles identified the group as "terrorist" and quoted others doing so. In December 1970, Michael Charney, a spokesman for the Oberlin Radical Coalition, told The New York Times: "The Weathermen [...] show a contempt for the people of the United States. What they're really saying is that you can't organize a mass movement in the United States for a revolution, so they're resorting to terrorism."[18] In 1975, a UPI article referred to a January 1971 statement issued by Bernardine Dohrn, leader of the Weatherman, "suggesting that the group was considering tactics other than bombing and 'terrorism.'"[19] In 1980, a New York Times article characterized the group as "the terrorist Weather Underground".[20]
The term "terrorism" was used in the title of a 1971 book about Diana Oughton, who died in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, and the girlfriend of Bill Ayers: Diana: The Making of a Terrorist.[21] The book was written by Thomas Powers, who, with Lucinda Franks, reported and wrote a project of the same name for UPI, winning the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1971.
References (starting with "Mehnert, Klaus" footnote)
  1. ^ Kushner, Harvey W. Encyclopedia of Terrorism. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, 2002. ISBN 0761924086
  2. ^ "Byte Out of History: 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing." Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Department of Justice. January 29, 2004.
  3. ^ Great Neck
  4. ^ The Last Rock Star Book or: Liz Phair, a Rant
  5. ^ Diana by Grace Slick & Paul Kantner
  6. ^ "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY / 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing / 01/29/04", Federal Bureau of Investigation website, retrieved June 8, 2008
  7. ^ "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY / 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing / 01/29/04", Federal Bureau of Investigation website, retrieved June 8, 2008
  8. ^ "Weatherman Underground / Summary Dated 8/20/76 / Part #1", "Ideology" section, p 21, 1976, FBI website, retrieved June 8, [[[2008]]
  9. ^ a b c The Weather Underground, produced by Carrie Lozano, directed by Bill Siegel and Sam Green, New Video Group, 2003, DVD.
  10. ^ All the rage | Features | guardian.co.uk Film
  11. ^ The Americans who declared war on their country | Features | guardian.co.uk Film
  12. ^ "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY / 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing / 01/29/04", Federal Bureau of Investigation website, retrieved June 8, 2008
  13. ^ All the rage | Features | guardian.co.uk Film
  14. ^ The Americans who declared war on their country | Features | guardian.co.uk Film
  15. ^ "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY / 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing / 01/29/04", Federal Bureau of Investigation website, retrieved June 8, 2008
  16. ^ Mehnert, Klaus, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy", Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1977, page 47
  17. ^ Hamilton, Neil A., "Militias in America: A Reference Handbook", a volume in the "Contemporary World Issues" series, Santa Barbara, California, 1996, page 15; ISBN 0874368596; the book identifies its author this way: "Neil A. Hamilton is associate professor and chair of the history department at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama"
  18. ^ Kneeland, Douglas E., "Bombings Cost Militants Potential Gains in Support; Incidents Are Alienating Many Radicals and Youths Who Might Join Cause Student Ambivalence Is Found Bombings Cost Militants Potential Gains in Support", article, The New York Times, December 14, 1970, page 1
  19. ^ No byline, UPI wire story, "Weathermen Got Name From Song: Groups Latest Designation Is Weather Underground", as published in The New York Times, January 30, 1975; "On Jan. 19, 1971, Bernardine Dohrn, a leading Weatherperson who has never been caught, issued a statement from hiding suggesting that the group was considering tactics other than bombing and terrorism.""
  20. ^ Montgomery, Paul L., "Guilty Plea Entered in 'Village' Bombing: Cathlyn Wilkerson Could Be Given Probation or Up to 7 Years", article, The New York Times, July 19, 1980
  21. ^ Powers, Thomas, "Diana: The Making of a Terrorist", Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1971; book review: Brownmiller, Susan, no title, review of the book, The New York Times, April 11, 1971

The passage should be restored. Wikidemon should explain why he removed it. Noroton (talk) 04:21, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

This is part of a long-running WP:BATTLE on Obama-related articles to make Wikipedia mirror the current language of the political partisans who call Bill Ayers, the organization he was with (Weathermen), and Dohrn (Ayers' wife) "unrepentant terrorists" or "unrepentant communist terrorists", and link Ayers and Dohrn to Barack Obama. These are the Republican talking points at the moment, particularly the murky underworld of blogs, independent campaign organizations, and so on, in an effort by those partisans to damage Obama's election chances (that effort is well-documented and can be referenced). Wikipedia is not the appropriate mouthpiece to parrot partisan attack politics. Ayers himself denies being a terrorist, and there has been a longstanding consensus both on the Weathermen article and on the Bill Ayers article to not label him a "terrorist." Per WP:TERRORIST and common sense, calling a living person a terrorist raises serious WP:BLP issues, and is a value judgment that goes beyond the specific incidents and acts that that person performed. There is little doubt as to what Ayers did, and for the most part Dohrn too (althoug Noroton has recently introduced speculation and accusations that Dohrn committed a murder in 30-40 years ago). Rather, the label terrorist is a judgment applied to whether those acts constitute terrorism. This was more than a discussion on the side issue of various people debating their opinions (the debate itself being non-notable) - it was used to support the BLP-violating addition of the "terrorist" category to Dohrn, Ayers, and the weathermen. The only value of making that judgment has to do with the judgment itself - will we or will we not label the acts terrorism, and the person a terrorist. This is in dispute for Dohrn, the Weathermen, and Ayers, so given that there are living people involved and this figures into the partisan language of the current election we should label it a BLP issue and leave it alone. Even on NPOV and weight grounds, we can certainly find sources that call it terrorism, and other sources that argue it is not. The material I deleted was added at the same time, verbatim, to the Dohrn article. We can't coatrack the same discussion onto every article about every person associated with the weathermen. We should put this issue to bed rather than opening up yet another front on the attempt to introduce anti-Obama material into the encyclopedia. Wikidemon (talk) 04:28, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
WP:TERRORIST (a style guideline) states:
Naturally, if a verifiable and reliable source explicitly uses one of these terms, then that term should be used in direct quotes or "X said Y" phrases, properly cited. Or, if multiple reliable sources use it, it may used to describe a subject, but only to suggest that the subject is widely known as a terrorist, and the references in question should be placed right after the word or the sentence in which the word appears.
Wikidemon just announced his motives. To me, those motives look like he's trying to protect a subject (Barack Obama) at the expense of the encyclopedia. (Bill Ayers has denied being a "terrorist" under his definition of "terrorism" -- but he doesn't deny being one of the leaders of the group that bombed the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol and which took credit for about 20 other bombings; this is why numerous sources call the group "terrorist"). If we can provide the sourcing, WP:BLP does not prevent us from saying someone has been called a "terrorist". By including this information in this article, we justify with sourcing the inclusion of this article in the "terrorist" category -- something Wikidemo has also removed from the article. Calling something or someone a "terrorist" is certainly a sensitive issue, which is why I'm treating it sensitively -- quoting multiple sources with the assertion and not stating it baldly but attributing it to the sources explicitly. The best interests of the encyclopedia and its readers are to provide reliable, sourced information, not protect Barack Obama. I'm not attacking Barack Obama here or anywhere else. I don't think we have an adequate reason to remove useful, properly sourced information in Wikipedia simply because that information itself is disliked by supporters of Barack Obama. We're not here to protect or promote a candidate. -- Noroton (talk) 04:58, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Noroton, please stop attacking my motives. We are under article probation, which you know prohibits that, and there is an active incident report about this kind of thing.
We should not be performing WP:SYNTH to call someone a terrorist. This matter has been on discussion for a long time in this article. A reasonable, well-balanced discussion of how people use the label as it applies to this organization might make some sense, if the debate itself can be shown to be notable. However, merely finding sources on one side of the question then repeating that is one-sided - as I said it repeats an election talking point. The style guideline obviously cannot be taken literally here regarding the number of sources required before we start using pejorative terms for widely discussed political matters. We can't find a single insult then start using it here. For organization purposes this article is already a member of the more salient category, Category:Terrorism in the United States. The "terrorist" category asserts that the Weathermen are terrorists, something we cannot do. Wikidemon (talk) 05:16, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I didn't "attack" your motives, I described what you're doing, just as you did: This is part of Noroton's long-running WP:BATTLE to make Wikipedia mirror the current language of the political partisans who. You called me a POV-pusher in all but name when I'm doing exactly what a Wikipedian should be doing for encyclopedic reasons. I'll tell you what: You refactor, then I will. How's that?
I haven't committed any SYNTH violation here or at the Bernardine Dohrn article, you just expect I will. Over there, the information you took out was a sourced statement, in quotes, that the group Dohrn led (Weatherman) was a terrorist group. It is important to be able to tell readers that the group she led has been called "terrorist". For one thing, it justifies the link to "Category:Left wing American terrorist" that you also removed, to the detriment of readers of that article. I didn't directly call Dohrn, Ayers or others terrorists in Wikipedia mainspace, and I won't in the future. But later I'll source it to others who directly say that. Don't pretend those sources don't exist. [7] That's what this encyclopedia does. You claim it's some kind of BLP violation. Well, I'm proving that it isn't. WP:BLP was not meant to prevent the inclusion of obviously relevant, reliably sourced information about WP:WELLKNOWN people, as you well know. I'm proving that reliable sources call what Ayers, Dohrn and others did "terrorism". If a person can be called a terrorist objectively, we aren't prevented from saying reliable sources say he's a terrorist because it's "pejorative." And if a controversy arises about that person's past actions and present attitude toward them, and if Wikipedia decides that an article should be created about that, then it's our job to improve that article (Obama-Ayers controversy), not obfuscate and throw up bariers to the reader's understanding of just what is controversial. This is precisely what you're doing and it has the effect of benefitting one side of the controversy over the other. Since you don't have a shadow of a WP:BLP case to protect Ayers, what you're doing is disruptive.
You are disrupting the development of this article toward its own obvious improvement. This article should be in the "terrorist" category so that readers will have an easier time searching for it and finding it when they're browsing. Readers should know that this group has been called "terrorist". However, merely finding sources on one side of the question then repeating that is one-sided -- then what you do is stick a POV tag on it, not delete it entirely. Come to think of it, I can gather sources disputing the "terrorist" designation.
I don't have to prove that "the debate" is notable about whether this group is terrorist or not. It's obvious that the topic is important to this subject. The "terrorist" category asserts that the Weathermen are terrorists, something we cannot do. If it's a category, and if we follow WP:TERRORIST, then we certainly can do just that. -- Noroton (talk) 06:56, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I had just typed out a smashing long post, then accidentally closed my browser tab...so I will save the civility protests and long explanations for another day. Your proposed addition is mostly okay, and gives a good treatment to the question of how the word "terrorist" is applied to the organization. I would add the FBI website, and the fact that it was one of the organizations on the FBI's terrorism task force watch list. There are plenty of categories, too many probably, available to help direct readers interested in the topic of terrorism to this article. Category:Terrorism in the United States is one of them; the one you just added (Category:Organizations designated as terrorist by the U.S. government) is another. There is a huge BLP concern with branding living ex members as terrorists, particularly unconvicted ones who deny the charge. But again, this can all be handled by being cautious about what is said and how it is said. Why don't I give this a quick edit tomorrow, here on the talk page, and if neither you nor others object I'll throw in my approval and we'll add the new subsection to the article page? That's okay by me as long as it's kept neutral, and neither the category nor the give Wikipedia's authoritative endorsement (as in this[8]) that they are terrorists... just that people have called them that. Ciao. Wikidemon (talk) 08:03, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll follow WP:TERRORIST, which is why I reverted that particular edit. I've got some comments against calling them terrorists (from Ayers and a Weatherman-sympathetic author) that I'll post here for consideration, and I'll await your proposed language. -- Noroton (talk) 23:44, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Additional information: Views opposing calling Weatherman a terrorist group:

In his 2001 book about his Weatherman experiences, Bill Ayers stated his objection to describing the WUO (Weather Underground Organization) as "terrorist". Ayers wrote: "Terrorists terrorize, they kill innocent civilians, while we organized and gitated. Terrorists destroy randomly, while our actions bore, we hoped, the precise stamp of a cut diamond. Terrorists indimidate, while we aimed only to educate. No, we're not terrorists."

-- FOOTNOTE: ref>Ayers, Bill, Fugitive Days, Beacon Press, ISBN 0807071242, p 263 /ref

Dan Berger, in his book about the Weatherman, Outlaws in America, quotes Ayers' objection, then adds, The WUO's actions were more than just educational — one could argue that there was a component of 'intimidating' the government and police attached to the actions — bu the group purposefully and successfully avoided injuring anyone, not just civilians but armed enforcers of the government. Its war against property by definition means that the WUO was not a terrorist organization — it was, indeed, one deeply opposed to the tactic of terrorism." Berger also describes the organization's activities as "a moral, pedagogical, and militant form of guerrilla theater with a bang."

-- FOOTNOTE: Berger, Dan, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, AK Press: Oakland, California, 2006, ISBN 1904859410 pp 286-287; the book describes Berger as "a writer, activist, and Ph.D. candidate", and the book is dedicated to his grandmother and to Weatherman member David Gilbert /ref

-- Noroton (talk) 00:47, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Also Ayers said (as reported in the WSJ in 2001): "Certainly flirting with the idea of terrorism was off the tracks and a mistake. The fact that we never executed that flirtation is important and significant and I think conveniently forgotten, but we never did."   Justmeherenow (  ) 14:52, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposed language

I would phrase it as follows:

Classification as a terrorist group
Since 1970 the Weatherman organization has often, but not always, been classified in America as a domestic terrorist group.
Beginning in 1970 newspapers covering their bombing of public buildings identified the group as "terrorist". Michael Charney, a spokesman for the rival Oberlin Radical Coalition, told The New York Times that year that the Weathermen resorted to terrorism because Americans were unwilling to participate in a revolution. Thomas Powers and Lucinda Franks wrote the Pulitzer-prize-winning news series, "Diana: The Making of a Terrorist" about the life and death of member Diana Oughton (later expanded into a full-length authorized biography on the subject). Klaus Mehnert, in his 1977 book, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy", described them as the "first group to reach the front page because of terrorist activities". The group fell under the auspicies of FBI-New York City Police Anti Terrorist Task Force, a forerunner of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The FBI, on its website, describes group activities as a "terrorism flashback", no longer an active concern.
Others either dispute or clarify the categorization, or justify the group's violence as an appropriate response to the Vietnam war. Bill Ayers and some other former members deny that the group's actions constitute terrorism. Some argue that the FBI's list of so-called "homegrown terrorists" is overly inclusive of relatively minor crimes, and differs from the wider notion of terrorism in that it comprises criminals who commit violence for personal reasons and beliefs, as opposed to international terrorism, which is more closely connected to world governments and global politics. Finally, past members and supporters of the Weathermen draw a comparison between the American war effort in Vietnam and the violent efforts of the 1960s domestic radical groups to protest it.

Of course we'll have to choose sources and wikilinks. I expressly oppose any category, list, etc., that concludes the weathermen or its members are terrorists but it's okay to say that they have been called terrorists with the caveat that not everyone agrees. Categories like "terrorism" are not objectionable is used carefully - this fits within the subject matter of terrorism even if not everyone agrees that it is terrorism, much the way that a lot of works fit in the category of music even if people think the work in question does not actually constitute music. Wikidemon (talk) 15:23, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

This is acceptable to me. It seems to be in keeping with WP:TERRORIST: if a verifiable and reliable source explicitly uses one of these terms, then that term should be used in direct quotes or "X said Y" phrases, properly cited. Or, if multiple reliable sources use it, it may used to describe a subject, but only to suggest that the subject is widely known as a terrorist, and the references in question should be placed right after the word or the sentence in which the word appears.
Minor objections:
  • I'm confused by the quote "terrorism flashback" -- what does "flashback" mean in this context and what's the use of including it? Does it just mean that the source calls them terrorists that are no longer active? Could that be clarified by rewriting that sentence?
  • The last sentence should be moved up to right after the second sentence, and the word "Finally" should be dropped as unnecessary.
  • Drop and differs from the wider notion of terrorism in that it comprises criminals who commit violence for personal reasons and beliefs, as opposed to international terrorism because it's off topic to talk about "violence for personal reasons" since that's not what the WUO was about, and so the passage seems to be straying off topic.
  • I guess I tend to favor quotes more than you do (more than most people do). I favor them because when a matter is contentious, the quote tends to remove disagreements based on misunderstanding, but I can go with removal here. But keep in mind that some of these quotes add more information to the article and in a succinct way:
  • Mehnert's quote also speaks to the Weatherman's particular notability among the various groups conducting bombings at that time: the 'Weathermen' were the first group to reach the front page because of terrorist activities,"
  • The Hamilton quote speaks to why the group could be called "terrorist" rather than simply "guerrilas" or "revolutionaries": "By and large, though, these Weathermen did not rely on arming and training militia; instead, they resorted to terrorism."
  • Similarly, the Charney quote helps show the relationship between the idea that they were "revolutionaries" and "terrorists": What they're really saying is that you can't organize a mass movement in the United States for a revolution, so they're resorting to terrorism."
But I can go without the quotes. -- Noroton (talk) 16:02, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
"Terrorism flashback" is the term the FBI uses on its website.[9] They also use the image caption "Terrorism, American Style". I guess they were being breezy. At least they didn't call it "blast from the past". But more seriously, I'm trying to characterize the sense in which the FBI considers Weathermen terrorist. It's not an official designation nor is there such a thing - as far as I know they keep only current lists. So with respect to the FBI today it's their historical view. At the time they must not have had an official list so the best we can do is to say they had an anti-terrorism task force they were using to fight the Weathermen. The distinction between "homegrown terrorists" and international terrorism is kind of important and gets to one of the objections - and you also hear this raised with respect to eco-terrorists. The main use of the term goes to people like the PLO, Al Qaida, the Shining Path, IRA, the Red Brigades. These are groups that (1) carry out mass murder, (2) are trying to achieve international goals, (3) are often sponsored by governments, factions, crime rings, etc., as a way to achieve geopolitical or economic aims. I haven't quite nailed it, but it's quite a different albeit related phenomenon from radical domestic groups that use bombing, sabotage, etc., as a form of protest. A number of writers have pointed this out, eg.[10] Ayers and others contrast what the Weathermen did with Al Qaida, which was of course a watershed in American thinking on the subject. Well, yes, you could say they threw bombs because they couldn't convince people to pick up arms. It's a curious observation because there was never a chance at all that they or anyone else could have convinced grassroots Americans to overthrow their own government. Wikidemon (talk) 16:21, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
The CS Monitor opinion piece you link to doesn't mention Weatherman but nut-case instances (terrorism American-style arises more from pyschopathology than politics. The home-grown terrorist seeks to send a message – but not necessarily one about our national policy), and that just muddies the waters (and Weathermen were not isolated but formed their own very close communities). Does the article even mention domestic terrorists in relation to political goals? Both Weatherman and these non-American groups you mention were not out for personal gain and not just nut cases but trying to get political change, so let's stick to the differences between Weatherman and other terrorist groups, such as the distinctions/objections that Ayers and Berger draw, which I quoted above at 00:47. Berger's quote is particularly apt because it clarifies the distinctions and admits that what the Weatherman group was doing could be considered coercive and therefore fit a definition of terrorism, although he himself rejects that conclusion.
Also, I think your proposed section title should be reworded because it seems to concentrate on the FBI "designation".
The "terrorism flashback" quote is too confusing without an explanation, and an explanation doesn't seem worth it in mainspace, so let's drop the quote and simply characterize how the FBI considers the Weatherman group (or find a better quote). That web page you link to simply calls them a "domestic terrorist group" -- that's very clear, so let's go with that.
and some other former members deny -- I don't know who denies it other than Ayers. I suppose Dohrn. Unless we can source it, let's drop the "and some othr former members" wording. If we can source it, I have no problem with it.
To avoid confusion, I think it's important that we make it clear that although Ayers is denying that his actions don't fit the definition of terrorism, that doesn't mean he's disputing that he was involved in bombings.
-- Noroton (talk) 18:05, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

The following is synthesis to be ignored for editing purposes, but here goes. Say somebody flirted with some taboo, for which the penalty is severe: (1) a Roman citizen profanes Caesar's name, (2) a present-day politician cheats on his wife, (3) an employee puts ant poison into the boss's coffee, (4) the WUO engages in terror.

Well, these guys first flirt with these plans : (1) the Roman citizen mentions to close acquaintances and family members that The Emperor isn't a god, (2) the politician makes out and has not-REALLY-all-the-way sex with an intern, (3) an employee slips ant poison just a few times into the boss's coffee, (4) the WUO "flirts"/engages in a bit of horrendous terror.

What happens next is (1) word spreads that the Roman citizen had profaned The Emperor's divinity (2) word gets around the politician was seen in compromising circumstances (3) the employee notices that the boss is acting sick and somebody gets whiff of the "joke" that the employee was considering putting ant poison in the boss's coffee, (4) reports circulate about WUO terror.

These four guys don't want to end up fed to the lions, in a political sex scandal, in jail, shunned by fellow progressives, so they change tactics. (1) The Roman citizen stops bad mouthing the emperor to anybody (2) the politician decides not to have even half-way sex with the intern (3) the employee decides to stop poisoning the boss and switches to only peeing a little in his coffee, as a symbolic protest, (4) the WUO decides to start to carefully avoid actual terror.

Years later, when the three are asked, (1) the Roman citizen says he's always rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar's and philosophizes about how whatever God allows Caesar must be ultimately of divine sanction (2) the politician explain says that during a difficult time in his marriage he'd sought comfort in the company of the young intern, but fortunately he'd decided ultimately not to go through with having an affair (3) the employee says he'd joked about putting something actually dangerous into the boss's coffee but at the last minute fortunately had decided against it, (4) the WUO says, "Well, yes, it's true that people have reported that we FLIRTED with doing those really bad things, but the thing is, and this is what people forget about, we never ever even once followed through with doing them."

Regardless of the above synthesis, FWIW I think the fact that Ayers admits the group considered terrorism speaks volumes and I'd include this admission after mentioning that the FBI and media reports of the time described the group's actions as terror:

  1. The WUO was said by the FBI, journalists, and opinion makers of the time to have engaged in terror.
  2. Events x y and z of the nature of terror occured which informants credited the group with.
  3. The group came out of hiding and rehabilitated themselves and later said that although they considered terror they never actually followed through with it.
  4. Currently opinion makers are divided on whether it should be said they had engaged in terror and commentator #1 says /a/ and an opposing commentator #2 says /b/.   Justmeherenow (  ) 21:44, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
That's a good summary of the NPOV way the article should handle what's left of any controversy about the Weatherman group. I think much of this (except for the first point) is reflected in the article overall, except for the first and last, which this proposed section would address. The first point is addressed in all but the last paragraphs I've proposed in a new revision, below; and the last point is addressed in the last paragraph. I'm not opposed to increasing the size of the section if some telling, salient comments can be found, but I think my proposal below is a good start. If your points 2 and 3 are not addressed well enough in the article, please go ahead and strengthen those parts of it. Noroton (talk) 16:09, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Former member Brian Flanagan also labels the group's actions as "terrorism" in the recent documentary. I would also suggest a quick search in Google Scholar. Many, many scholars have labeled this group as terrorist.Verklempt (talk) 21:56, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

I do not support the introduction of a section discussing the Weathermen as terrorists unless we agree that: (1) we do not officially endorse the characterization of Weathermen as terrorists, and (2) this is not used to shoehorn discussion of terrorism or classification as terrorists into the Ayers, Dohrn, Obama-Ayers, or other related articles. Although a section along this line may be okay I think there is somewhat too much weight devoted to the subject, and it relies fairly heavily on evocative quotes by sources of limited reliability. I am leery of participating further in this discussion given that it so recently broke down (so as to keep this page calm I will reservfe discussion of that to the article probation page). Until and unless we can have normal editing here I remain opposed.Wikidemon (talk) 16:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

We should follow WP:TERRORISM, which shows a good way that we can include the fact that most of the reliable sources consider this a terrorist group. We don't need to "endorse" the description, and WP:CATEGORY covers how controversial category inclusion needs justification within each article. Your "shoehorn" language indicates an inappropriate motivation. The edits for this article relate to this article, and your attempt to make them contingent on what happens in other articles is inappropriate. We'll establish the important facts readers need to know to understand this subject better. Any attempt to disrupt this discussion for other purposes is inappropriate. Concerns about what material is appropriate for other articles should be discussed on the talk pages of those particular articles. I have paid attention to your previous comments concerning this article, and your concerns are reflected in my proposal below.
About concerns you voice in your 16:30 post: The weight seems appropriate to me, given the importants of this topic to the subject of this article, and in fact if more significant information not covered here does come up, the section is not so long that it can't handle it, since the subject has been an important element in descriptions of this group. You mention "evocative quotes" -- I have no idea what that means in this context. You mention "sources of limited reliability" -- again, I have no idea what this means in this context. All the sources I've included are absolutely reliable for the purposes I've put them to: Ayers and Berger have relevant opinions, Mehnert and Harris seem very reliable academics; the news sources reflect news coverage. Noroton (talk) 17:36, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

New proposal

This discussion has languished long enough. Here's a new proposal, incorporating my original language, some of Wikidemo's revisions and some of my objections to that. I think this can get a consensus here. Please tell me what you think:

Since 1970 the Weatherman organization has often, but not always, been classified in America as a domestic terrorist organization.
"Within the political youth movement of the late sixties (outside of Latin America), the 'Weathermen' were the first group to reach the front page because of terrorist activities," wrote Klaus Mehnert in his 1977 book, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy".[1] Neil A. Hamilton, in his 1996 book on militia movements in the United States, wrote, "By and large, though, these Weathermen did not rely on arming and training militia; instead, they resorted to terrorism."[2]
Starting in 1970 newspapers covering their bombing of public buildings identified the group as "terrorist".[3] Michael Charney, a spokesman for the rival Oberlin Radical Coalition, told The New York Times that year that the Weathermen resorted to terrorism because Americans were unwilling to participate in a revolution. Thomas Powers and Lucinda Franks wrote the Pulitzer-prize-winning news series, "Diana: The Making of a Terrorist" about the life and death of member Diana Oughton (later expanded into a full-length authorized biography on the subject). The group fell under the auspicies of FBI-New York City Police Anti Terrorist Task Force, a forerunner of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The FBI, on its website, describes organization as having been a "domestic terrorist group", but no longer an active concern.[4]
Others either dispute or clarify the categorization, or justify the group's violence as an appropriate response to the Vietnam war. In his 2001 book about his Weatherman experiences, Bill Ayers stated his objection to describing the WUO (Weather Underground Organization) as "terrorist". Ayers wrote: "Terrorists terrorize, they kill innocent civilians, while we organized and agitated. Terrorists destroy randomly, while our actions bore, we hoped, the precise stamp of a cut diamond. Terrorists indimidate, while we aimed only to educate. No, we're not terrorists."[5] Dan Berger, in his book about the Weatherman, Outlaws in America, quotes Ayers' objection, then adds, The WUO's actions were more than just educational — one could argue that there was a component of 'intimidating' the government and police attached to the actions — bu the group purposefully and successfully avoided injuring anyone, not just civilians but armed enforcers of the government. Its war against property by definition means that the WUO was not a terrorist organization — it was, indeed, one deeply opposed to the tactic of terrorism." Berger also describes the organization's activities as "a moral, pedagogical, and militant form of guerrilla theater with a bang."[6]

I'm willing to discuss changes to this, but I think this reflects the discussion so far. If anything, the final paragraph may overrepresent the opinion that the group was not really terrorist, but it's a good start. -- Noroton (talk) 16:10, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Like it.   Justmeherenow (  ) 17:02, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
It gives undue detail to accusations of terrorism and too much attention to opinions of unreliable sources. Beyond that I'm reluctant to re-engage in a discussion that so recently broke down among other things (mentioned on the probation page) on the issue of: (1) Wikipedia's endorsing the statement that the Weathermen are tied to terrorism, and (2) using this as a shoehorn to insert terrorism accusations into the Ayers, Dohrn, and Ayers/Obama controversy articles, which are non-starters for me given the NPOV/BLP concerns. Let's wait a few days to see if we can have a proper conversation about this; until then it should stay out.Wikidemon (talk) 17:09, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Please limit discussion to the topic of this article. This is not an Obama-related article, even broadly construed; nor will you ever convince a consensus of uninvolved admins that it is. Your "using this as a shoehorn" is itself trying to shoehorn concerns onto this page that simply don't belong here. The topic is important to this subject quite independently of anything to do with Obama. This discussion should proceed normally. We have waited long enough for you to respond to previous concerns. Your actions have amounted to delaying this matter. There are no BLP concerns whatever with well-sourced material and NPOV concerns will have to be elaborated. This proposal appears to me to reflect what the sources say about this topic. You would need to make a good case for our acting here any differently than we would act in building any other article. -- Noroton (talk) 17:42, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, there is no discussion at this time - you killed it. Now stop please. You need to step away from this subject, at least for a while. Wikidemon (talk 17:50, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
The proposed language looks good to me. I don't see any mention of Obama, so no problem there. I also don't understand Wikidemon's accusations of the sources being unreliable. Which sources do you consider unreliable and why?Verklempt (talk) 02:58, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
I've added the section back to the page, per consensus. It should not be removed without changing the consensus here, first. -- Noroton (talk) 04:00, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
Stop playing games. I have reverted - we have not had a consensus discussion on this. If you are ready to come to the table then we can talk.Wikidemon (talk) 06:26, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to add discussion of terrorism label

There has been a lot of game-playing and tendentiousness over adding "terrorism" to a number of articles relating to Barack Obama, directly and indirectly via articles about Bill Ayers, the Obama/Ayers controversy, Bernadette Dohrn, and here, the Weathermen. Consensus has so far run against doing this on any of the articles, based on a number of objections - NPOV, coatrack, weight, BLP, RS, and so on. I do not believe we have adequate sourcing to say directly that the weathermen are classified as terrorists. We simply have opinions from some sources that the label fits, and opinions from other sources that the label does not fit. In any event it is just a label (albeit a highly charged one), and per WP:TERRORIST and various policies we have to be careful about calling anybody or anything a terrorist. Adding a section on the debate over whether to call them terrorist or not is an interesting alternate proposal, but that too suffers from introducing opinions, and a question of weight. Just how important is it to the article whether or not they are called terrorists.

In any event, we can discuss this or anything else under the sun, but a discussion like this has to be undertaken in a serious, straightforward way. Spoling the discussion with wikigaming and incivilities, waiting for two editors to express support, then immediately declaring consensus to make a disputed edit, is not a serious discussion. I do not want to have to explain this in detail here - it can be seen in the Barack Obama article probation discussion. If we can have a civil discussion, let's discuss. If not, we have no consensus and we need to postpone considering this until there can be a discussion. Wikidemon (talk) 06:43, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

You're being disruptive. I'm adding the information back in the article per consensus. If you want to continue discussing the matter that you had previously told us you would not discuss any more, feel free, but your behavior looks like a delaying tactic because you think this sourced information, all of it dated before the Obama campaign, would be embarassing to the candidate you support. Four editors were involved in this discussion and after discussing it for days, three editors decided this language should go in the article after considering the objections you had made. I didn't implement consensus until after everyone had their say and seemed to have nothing more to say -- you yourself said the discussion was over, so for you to say that declaring consensus was precipitous just doesn't make any sense at all. You had plenty of opportunity to state these concerns previously, but you didn't. You state here that you have objections, and you say vaguely what those objections are, but you don't specify what the objections are. State them now, in detail. In the meantime, respect the consensus that has already formed by keeping the consensus material on the page for now. If a new consensus to take it off arises, you can do so. Stop being disruptive and start specifying. I'm sure we're all willing to listen, but not give in to what look like delaying tactics. Noroton (talk) 18:07, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
You are refusing to stop your tendentious editing and personal attacks. If you will discuss properly and civilly we can discuss your proposal. You do not seem ready to, and it is unfair to ask me to participate in your disruptive discussion. Do not revert this contentious material again. I will close this discussion for now. There is no consensus. If you want to propose the material again in a civil, proper way please do so, but I strongly suggest you take some time off rather than simply edit warring.Wikidemon (talk) 18:11, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

It has been suggested that editors fuggetabout discussing the WUO article on its talkpage for the time being

QUESTION to proponent What specific policy would countermand precise WP policies regarding contributors' privilege to discuss the WUO article here? (starting with the definitions of Wiki and talkpage?)   Justmeherenow (  ) 19:22, 2 September 2008 (UTC)


The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Trying again

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
{{Discussion has moved to Talk:Weatherman (organization)/Terrorism RfC -- Noroton (talk) 19:46, 5 September 2008 (UTC)}}

I've closed the above discussion because it was getting way off the point and devolving into personal attacks. Let me try to initiate the discussion that should be had here about the classification as terrorism. First, let me point out that the article is okay the way it is. This is an expansion; the article is already in okay shape with regard to neutrality without covering this issue, so let's not rush to get coverage in there. Second, I think the first thing to do is to clarify the sources and what they say about this. So, who has said what? Once we get that straight we can worry about how to present the information. Mangojuicetalk 04:57, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Okay, so the proposal is to make this edit.[11] In other words, to add the following content to the article. - Wikidemon (talk) 05:28, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Referred to as a terrorist group
Since 1970 the Weatherman organization has often, but not always, been classified in America as a domestic terrorist organization. "Within the political youth movement of the late sixties (outside of Latin America), the 'Weathermen' were the first group to reach the front page because of terrorist activities," wrote Klaus Mehnert in his 1977 book, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy".[7] Neil A. Hamilton, in his 1996 book on militia movements in the United States, wrote, "By and large, though, these Weathermen did not rely on arming and training militia; instead, they resorted to terrorism."[8]
Starting in 1970 newspapers covering their bombing of public buildings identified the group as "terrorist".[9] Michael Charney, a spokesman for the rival Oberlin Radical Coalition, told The New York Times that year that the Weathermen resorted to terrorism because Americans were unwilling to participate in a revolution. Thomas Powers and Lucinda Franks wrote the Pulitzer-prize-winning news series, "Diana: The Making of a Terrorist" about the life and death of member Diana Oughton (later expanded into a full-length authorized biography on the subject). The group fell under the auspicies of FBI-New York City Police Anti Terrorist Task Force, a forerunner of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The FBI, on its website, describes organization as having been a "domestic terrorist group", but no longer an active concern.[10]
Others either dispute or clarify the categorization, or justify the group's violence as an appropriate response to the Vietnam war. In his 2001 book about his Weatherman experiences, Bill Ayers stated his objection to describing the WUO (Weather Underground Organization) as "terrorist". Ayers wrote: "Terrorists terrorize, they kill innocent civilians, while we organized and agitated. Terrorists destroy randomly, while our actions bore, we hoped, the precise stamp of a cut diamond. Terrorists indimidate, while we aimed only to educate. No, we're not terrorists."[11] Dan Berger, in his book about the Weatherman, Outlaws in America, quotes Ayers' objection, then adds, The WUO's actions were more than just educational — one could argue that there was a component of 'intimidating' the government and police attached to the actions — bu the group purposefully and successfully avoided injuring anyone, not just civilians but armed enforcers of the government. Its war against property by definition means that the WUO was not a terrorist organization — it was, indeed, one deeply opposed to the tactic of terrorism." Berger also describes the organization's activities as "a moral, pedagogical, and militant form of guerrilla theater with a bang."[12]

discussion

I will start with a few preliminary observations.

  1. The article is perfectly adequate without this discussion. It describes in a more-or-less neutral way the history of the group, the membership, the various acts it conducted, and the aftermath.
  2. Adding the word "terrorist" to the mix does not make the article any better - it does not explain to the reader any more than before who they are, what they did, etc. It simply tells the reader that some people call them terrorists.
  3. Per WP:TERRORIST we cannot call the group terrorists directly because they have never been officially designated as terrorists, and opinions vary. All we can do is report that different groups have different opinions on the subject.
  4. As a matter of notability / relevance, it does not much matter that people today (and a few back in their day) had the opinion to use the word "terrorist" to describe their actions, while others object to the term. Using the word does seem to make some difference to some people, but the relevance is unclear and sources few on what difference it makes.
  5. A long discussion (3 paragraphs, as proposed) is far too long per WP#weight - it dominates the article with discussion of a contested pejorative term.

Personally, I do not think the addition helps the article, and I think it makes it less encyclopedic. I therefore do not favor it at all. However, I am willing to go along with a consensus should it develop, for a short, informative, neutral mention provided that mention is limited to this article and not used to shoehorn the word "terrorist" into other articles, that we do not use it in connection with living people, and that we report it as some people's opinion rather than as a conclusion we endorse by direct statements or categories. - Wikidemon (talk) 05:28, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

With the above in mind, here are my detailed comments:

  1. "Referred to as a terrorist group" - heading is POV, overemphasizes "terrorist" and aligns with one side of the argument. A more neutral heading is "Differing opinions of how to describe group" or something like that.
  2. "Since 1970 the Weatherman organization has often, but not always, been classified in America as a domestic terrorist organization" - this is a misleading intro. It has never been classified as such, and use of the term has clearly been on the upswing. A more neutral sentence would be "During the group's active years 196X-197X, and particularly more recently, some have used the word "terrorist" to describe the its activities."
  3. "Within the political youth movement of the late sixties (outside of Latin America), the 'Weathermen' were the first group to reach the front page because of terrorist activities," - That is an interesting quote but it is used to support very tangential point that one author deemed the activities "terrorist." "By and large, though, these Weathermen did not rely on arming and training militia; instead, they resorted to terrorism." - that too is interesting, but also used for the same tangential point. It's also rather irrelevant. Arming and training militia has nothing to do with this article. The most we can get out of this is that Author A claimed as early as 1977 that it is the first group outside of Latin America whose "terrorist activities" made the front page, and that Author B claimed in 1996 that the group "resorted to terrorism." If these authors are included at all they should be condensed as such for weight and relevance.
  4. "Starting in 1970 newspapers covering their bombing of public buildings identified the group as "terrorist". Should be "some newspapers" rather than "newspapers covering their bombing of public buildings" (which implies all newspapers did it, and includes POV argumentation that bombing of public buildings was terrorism).

There are too many comments and changes to discuss in this level of detail so I will simply do a rough edit.

Varying terms to describe group's activities
During the Weathermen's active years (196X-197X), and more so today, some have used the word "terrorism" to describe the group's activities. Klaus Menhert in his 1977 book, Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy, called it the first radical youth group outside of Latin America to make the front page through "terrorist activities." Neil A. Hamilton, in a 1996 book, distinguished between militia movements and the Weathermen's "terrorism." Some newspaper accounts described the group as "terrorist." (lose the "Weathermen Got" cite and quote because that's a purported admission Dohrn; "Guilty Plea" cite is okay. Drop the claim by the group by rival Charney.) Thomas Powers and Lucinda Franks wrote the Pulitzer-prize-winning news series, "Diana: The Making of a Terrorist" about the life and death of member Diana Oughton (later expanded into a full-length authorized biography on the subject). The group fell under the auspicies of FBI-New York City Police Anti Terrorist Task Force, a forerunner of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The FBI, on its website, describes organization as having been a "domestic terrorist group", but no longer an active concern.
Others either dispute or clarify the categorization, or justify the group's violence as an appropriate response to the Vietnam war. In his 2001 book about his Weatherman experiences, Bill Ayers stated his objection to describing the WUO (Weather Underground Organization) as "terrorist". Ayers wrote: "Terrorists terrorize, they kill innocent civilians, while we organized and agitated... No, we're not terrorists." Dan Berger, in his book, Outlaws in America, states that the Weathermen was not a terrorist organization, and notes that the group was opposed to terrorist tactics, and purposefully and successfully avoided injuring anyone. xxxx argue that domestic movements in the 1960s share little in common with the organizations we think of today as terrorists, and that applying the terrorist label to such groups is a matter of today's politics (need cite but they're out there) xxxx have argued that the US bombing of civilians in the Vietnam war was an outrage, for which domestic sabotage was an appropriate response.(or the like - needs cite)

Again, this is limited to the Weathermen article and I would state for the record that the material is intended for this article only, and not as part of the Ayers, Obama-Ayers, Obama, or Dohrn articles. - Wikidemon (talk) 05:57, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

My opinions, as a relatively ignorant but independent observer:

  1. I agree with Wikidemon that 3 paragraphs is too much emphasis on this issue, given what we currently have to say about it. Let me add to that that the proposed placement in the article (directly below the lead) also over-emphasizes the issue.
  2. I also agree that a heading referencing "terrorist" may be over-emphasizing. I don't like Wikidemon's proposed alternative either, because dancing around the word is just as bad. My recommendation is to restructure the article as follows. The "Dissolution and Aftermath" section should be split into a section on the last period of the group's activities ("Dissolution" seems as good a title as any), and one on the group's historical legacy (the "Aftermath" material), which I think should be called "Legacy" and which should include this material on whether they are labeled "terrorists."
  3. In sections like this, I don't like to include verbatim quotes in the text. This tends to give a lot of emphasis to the opinions in the quoted text, and then it becomes very difficult to balance things. Quotes like these have encyclopedic value, but they can be included in the reference instead of in the text.
  4. Of course we are discussing this article only, as is normally the case on the talk page for a specific article.
  5. Wikidemon's text looks pretty good, though I think it should avoid quoting anyone explicitly. It does really need that citation for "xxxx" though. Mangojuicetalk 13:40, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
That all sounds good - good suggestions. If a consensus decision develops and there is a decision to include the material I or others can fill in the blanks and citations. For now I still disfavor including it at all for the reasons I mention. We can wait and see.Wikidemon (talk) 16:35, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Mangojuice, why don't you propose exact language and citations, either as a restructured article or as a short passage. I'm not interested in seeing this drag on forever. If you want to go ahead and restructure the article, I have no problem with that. The Mehnert quote has value beyond the point about whether the group has been called terrorist because it shows how prominent Weatherman has always been in comparison to other, similar groups, so that quote might even be moved elsewhere in the article, but I might do that sometime later and that's a separate issue. Wikidemon's opposition to the word "categorized" is opposition to language Wikidemon himself put in. My original language was "described as", although that's not ideal, either. The question of exactly how long the section should be is something I doubt any of us can really be sure of at this point, so we shouldn't try to decide that, just leave it open (I have no intention of adding to the length -- as long as the subject is covered). I have no problem with moving the information lower in the article, although it's an important part of the definition of what the Weatherman was, so something should be mentioned in a brief sentence in the lead section, as we commonly do for something this important. -- Noroton (talk) 01:36, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

This discussion just unraveled again. Noroton just added the material to the Dohrn article,[12] another editor reverted the material here,[13] and both are making attacks on my editing. Under the circumstances I will stick by my position, described above, that I do not think this material is appropriate at all for the encyclopedia. Although I am willing to listen and compromise, I cannot be expected to go out of my way in an atmosphere of edit warring, personal attacks, and administrative side attacks against me as an editor. I will likely file an RfC as a content matter about this whole mess in hopes that will bring about a more orderly discusison process than here.Wikidemon (talk) 18:58, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Methinks Wikidemon doth protest too much! The only reason the Weatherman are notable si because they tried to kill people and blow things up. The Weathermen have been widely described by law enforcement, the judiciary, journalists, scholars, journalists and elected officials as terrorists. The exclusion of this is far more of a POV issue then its inclusion in its current form. CENSEI (talk) 19:10, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

RfC on Weathermen, Ayers, Dohrm, Obama, and "terrorism"

Please note that I have created an RfC to discuss the matter of whether, how, and where we should use and cover the designation "terrorist" describe the Weathermen and their former leaders - in which articles an dwhere in those articles. It is located here: Talk:Weatherman (organization)/Terrorism RfC. The intent is to decide as a content matter (and not as a behavioral issue regarding the editors involved) how to deal with this question. Thank you. Wikidemon (talk) 20:14, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Rainbow and lightning bolt

  1. Bill Ayers' blog: Our signature was a warning call[...]to clear a specific area, and then letters of explanation[...]. Each letter had a logo hand-drawn across the page—our trademark thick and colorful rainbow with a slash of angry lightning cutting through it. New morning, it signified, changing weather. Oddly, as intense as it all looks and sounds, it was in our minds then cautious and responsible, a huge de-escalation from the apocalyptic plans of just months earlier.
  2. The New Yorker: Ayers’s memoir, titled “Fugitive Days,” is coming out this fall, and he was handing his guests promotional stick-on tattoos of the Weatherman symbol–a three-colored rainbow crossed by a lightning bolt. He showed me a larger version of the symbol tattooed on his upper back.
  3. Jonah Raskin (in an article in Socialism and Democracy: [...A]lthough the Weather Underground set off several bombs in 1974 -- in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh -- it was moving gradually away from making bombs and planting them in the bathrooms of public buildings like the US Capitol and the Pentagon. It was also moving toward the writing of propaganda for the masses[...]. My collection of communiqués was meant to have the look and the feel of a clandestine publication, and so the cover featured the Weather Underground's symbol of the rainbow with a lightning bolt running through it. It had to be black and red, the colors of anarchism and revolution. I raised money from friends, printed 2,500 copies and sold them for $2 a piece.

  Justmeherenow (  ) 23:20, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Yup. Where do you propose adding this? Erik the Red 2 (AVE·CAESAR) 23:23, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Erik, I'd like to be able to add the logo to the infobox (toward which end I've scoured the Net for a cover shot from The Weather Eye: Communiqués from the Weather Underground to no avail!)   Justmeherenow (  ) 01:40, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Go here for an idea of what the logo looked like after the name change to WU. It's the one diagonal from Che Guevarra. Erik the Red 2 (AVE·CAESAR) 01:48, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Great logo, thanks, Erik. (Now I've found a WU logo on Amazon (See here, but click on the Page 2 of 2 pages" arrow and then the red cover), except this one from '74, on an alternate cover for "Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism: Political Statement of the Weather Underground," is identical to the other, other than its lacking the monogram and the thunderbolt doesn't cross the rainbow diagonally upwards, left-to-right, but instead strikes across both ends of the rainbow diagonally, or almost horizontally downward, right-to-left.)   Justmeherenow (  ) 02:47, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Obviously the logo wasn't consistent, the WU being a small sixties student organization. Now how to obtain a good image for the infobox... Erik the Red 2 (AVE·CAESAR) 03:13, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Even though my preference would be the more symmetrical logo you'd linked to at After Shock mag, I went ahead and uploaded the one on the WU publication, but only since we're thereby able to trace its provenance.   Justmeherenow (  ) 05:27, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I see their design sense even less convincing than their politics - those radical groups all have weak logos, other than the hammer and sickle. That's a good one graphics-wise. Cool, nevertheless. Thanks for finding it. Wikidemon (talk) 05:30, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Lol. The clenched fist is pretty good.   Justmeherenow (  ) 05:36, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Fred Hampton.jpg

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  1. ^ Mehnert, Klaus, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy", Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1977, page 47
  2. ^ Hamilton, Neil A., "Militias in America: A Reference Handbook", a volume in the "Contemporary World Issues" series, Santa Barbara, California, 1996, page 15; ISBN 0874368596; the book identifies its author this way: "Neil A. Hamilton is associate professor and chair of the history department at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama"
  3. ^ No byline, UPI wire story, "Weathermen Got Name From Song: Groups Latest Designation Is Weather Underground", as published in The New York Times, January 30, 1975; "On Jan. 19, 1971, Bernardine Dohrn, a leading Weatherperson who has never been caught, issued a statement from hiding suggesting that the group was considering tactics other than bombing and terrorism.""; Montgomery, Paul L., "Guilty Plea Entered in 'Village' Bombing: Cathlyn Wilkerson Could Be Given Probation or Up to 7 Years", article, The New York Times, July 19, 1980: "the terrorist Weather Underground"
  4. ^ Web page titled, "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY: 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing", at F.B.I. website, dated January 29, 2004, retrieved September 2, 2008
  5. ^ Ayers, Bill, Fugitive Days, Beacon Press, ISBN 0807071242, p 263
  6. ^ Berger, Dan, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, AK Press: Oakland, California, 2006, ISBN 1904859410 pp 286-287; the book describes Berger as "a writer, activist, and Ph.D. candidate", and the book is dedicated to his grandmother and to Weatherman member David Gilbert
  7. ^ Mehnert, Klaus, "Twilight of the Young, The Radical Movements of the 1960s and Their Legacy", Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1977, page 47
  8. ^ Hamilton, Neil A., "Militias in America: A Reference Handbook", a volume in the "Contemporary World Issues" series, Santa Barbara, California, 1996, page 15; ISBN 0874368596; the book identifies its author this way: "Neil A. Hamilton is associate professor and chair of the history department at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama"
  9. ^ No byline, UPI wire story, "Weathermen Got Name From Song: Groups Latest Designation Is Weather Underground", as published in The New York Times, January 30, 1975; "On Jan. 19, 1971, Bernardine Dohrn, a leading Weatherperson who has never been caught, issued a statement from hiding suggesting that the group was considering tactics other than bombing and terrorism.""; Montgomery, Paul L., "Guilty Plea Entered in 'Village' Bombing: Cathlyn Wilkerson Could Be Given Probation or Up to 7 Years", article, The New York Times, July 19, 1980: "the terrorist Weather Underground"
  10. ^ Web page titled, "BYTE OUT OF HISTORY: 1975 Terrorism Flashback: State Department Bombing", at F.B.I. website, dated January 29, 2004, retrieved September 2, 2008
  11. ^ Ayers, Bill, Fugitive Days, Beacon Press, ISBN 0807071242, p 263
  12. ^ Berger, Dan, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, AK Press: Oakland, California, 2006, ISBN 1904859410 pp 286-287; the book describes Berger as "a writer, activist, and Ph.D. candidate", and the book is dedicated to his grandmother and to Weatherman member David Gilbert