JERUSALEM – The official campaign website of Sen. Barack Obama has completely scrubbed a series of user-generated blog postings on the candidate’s site by a former top communist activist who is an associate of former Weathermen terrorist leader William Ayers.
The move has raised questions regarding Obama’s relationship with the deleted blogger, Mike Klonsky, who runs an education organization that was founded by Ayers and that received a substantial grant from a group directed by Obama.
Obama’s official site allows registered users to form groups and post content in online “community” blogs. The site boasts tens of thousands of such community blogs. Obama’s spokesmen previously have stated the campaign does not monitor all content posted on the blogs, but it promptly removes any content brought to its attention that is deemed inappropriate or hateful.
Klonsky posted several blog pieces on Obama’s site on education policy that did not contain what can be described as hateful material, but his postings were entirely deleted in June after several independent bloggers noted Klonsky’s connections to Obama and Ayers.
Klonsky is director of the Small Schools Workshop, an outreach program founded in 1991 by Ayers with the stated goal of providing support for teachers who want to create smaller learning environments. Ayers reportedly recruited Klonsky to head the Workshop.
The Small School Workshop was originally associated with the University of Illinois in Chicago, where Klonsky previously taught in the education department alongside Ayers. The group was headquartered for a time inside the university’s department of education building.
In 1995, with Obama as its chairman, the newly formed Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or CAC, a school reform organization, gave the Workshop a grant of $175,000. The CAC provided another $482,662 to the Workshop over the next few years.
Ayers was one of the original grantees of the CAC and was co-chairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, one of the two operational arms of the CAC.
Klonsky served with Ayers and Ayers’ wife, former Weathermen terrorist Bernardine Dohrn, in the Students for a Democratic Society group, a major leftist student organization in the 1960s that later splintered, with Ayers and Dohrn leading a more activist approach with the Weathermen. Klonsky reportedly favored less aggressive tactics, promoting the philosophy that young workers possessed the potential to be a revolutionary force to overthrow capitalism.
In the 1970s, Klonsky became a top communist activist and leader of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party.
He reportedly identified as a Maoist, and traveled in 1977 to Beijing, where he held friendly meetings with the Chinese leadership.
In a book, “Revolution in the Air,” author Max Elbaum, himself a former Maoist activist, recounts that in Beijing, Klonsky toasted the Chinese Stalinist leadership who, in turn, hailed the formation of his Communist Party group as “reflecting the aspirations of the proletariat and working people,” effectively recognizing Klonsky’s organization as the all-but-official U.S. Maoist party.
In a brief conversation with WND yesterday, Klonsky would not state whether he is still a communist. He did not deny his associations with Ayers or his communist activism in the 1970s.
Klonsky’s blog postings were removed from Obama site during a period the presidential candidate has been repeatedly questioned about his relationship with Ayers, who is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a member of the Weathermen group, which sought to overthrow the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
Ayers has admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s.
Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11, 2001, “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” He posed for a photograph accompanying the piece stepping on an American flag.
Last week, Ayers wrote on his blog he still feels not enough was done to oppose the Vietnam War, although he clarified, “I don’t think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative.”
In 1995, the first organizing meeting for Obama’s state senatorial campaign was reportedly held in Ayers’ apartment. Obama then served on Ayers’ CAC.
In a widely circulated article, WND first reported Obama served on the board of the Wood’s Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit, alongside Ayers from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
The “Friends of Barack Obama” campaign fund lists a $200 campaign contribution from Ayers April 2, 2001.
The two appeared together as speakers at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, “Should a child ever be called a ‘super predator?’” and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002 entitled, “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?”
Ayers wife, Dohrn, has also served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the “most dangerous woman in America.” Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left four people dead.
The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.
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