Time Bomber Book Videos, with other odds and ends


Thursday, July 18, 2013


- Chapter Opening: Time Bombs Across America -

This chapter covers the news of the bomb plot as it was reported on January 7, 1972.  It tracks closely to the way I remember hearing and reading about it.

Beyond this preview, the chapter continues with early connections that could have been made between the bomber and others.  Information that was in the notes appears here, as well as information about the bombs that was not widely reported.

Update: Moving photos of the bomber's 4 page note along with a transcription, to this chapter.  The bomber's punctuation will be corrected in the transcript.  If anybody wants to read the annoying version as he wrote it (the letters A and L are capitalized throughout the note), they can look at the note itself.  I will place the annoying version of the transcript in another page on this blog.

The embeded news clip on this page is the same one referenced in the book.

n Friday January 7th a particular story grabbed my attention.  Harry Reasoner announced[1] on the ABC Evening News that someone had planted time bombs in safe deposit boxes of prominent banks across the country.  Instead of sending audio tapes to the Marxists at KPFA-FM ala the Weather Underground, this bomber sent hand written notes.  Not to them, but to other Marxists and the rest to more mainstream outlets in Chicago, New York city, and the San Francisco Bay area.  He printed in block letters and had a quirky capitalization of the letters A and L no matter where they appeared in his text. 
Use of the scribe method usually results in some differences in notes, which may account for some differences in transcription; even though newspaper reports said the notes were “identical,” save for the notation to which safety deposit box an included key belonged.  The version sent to the Berkeley Tribe then edited by Matthew Landy Steen of the Weather Underground was transcribed, distributed by the Associated Press wire service, and printed by papers from the New York Times to the Geneva Times.[2]  The Chicago Daily News transcribed and published the copy sent to their columnist Mike Royko.[3] 
All were mailed from the Lincoln Park postal station in Chicago, located at 2643 North Clark Street, all stamped Special Delivery.  The letters destined for Chicago addresses were postmarked within a few minutes of 4:35 PM, January 6, 1972.[4]  The letters for San Francisco addresses were mailed one day earlier, all were delivered on January 7, 1972 to the following recipients: 
·         Dave McQueen, news anchor KSAN, San Francisco
·         Tim Findley, San Francisco Chronicle·         Walter Jacobson, news anchor for WMAQ-TV Chicago (NBC)
·         Walter Cronkite, CBS Network News Anchor, New York city
·         David Brinkley, NBC Network News anchor, New York city
·         Tom Fitzpatrick, Chicago Sun-Times writer
·         Nicholas Von Hoffman, Washington Post·         Seed, Chicago "underground" newspaper outlet of the Weather Underground
·         Paul Jacobs, news anchor for KQED-TV, PBS affiliate, San Francisco channel 9
·         Jack Mabley, Chicago Today·         Ron Dorfman, Chicago Journalism Review·         Mike Royko, Chicago Daily News[5]
While not included in the criminal complaint, the Berkeley Tribe received a letter too.
The selection of recipients was a calculated move.  Sending to network news anchors in New York increased the chances that the news would hit the national airwaves.  Although nobody at ABC received a copy, they appear to have obtained one from a newspaper. 
The mainstream newspaper selections, especially one morning paper and one evening paper in Chicago, were papers whose articles were regularly reprinted across the country. Of course, the “underground” papers would spread the news across the country from their Chicago and San Francisco centers. In those days, newspapers ruled the news, and if you wanted to get the word about something out there, you needed to get it into the big papers of the big cities.

[1] ABC Nightly News, “Jan. 04, 1972: Terrorist Bomb Threats.” Title and page note the wrong date.  Video shows correct date. Accessed June 21, 2013
[2] “Text of the plot to free prisoners,” Geneva Times, January 7, 1972, p. 2 from the Fulton History collection.  Clip of headline featured on the cover.  Accessed June 21,  2013
[3] “Text of letter on bombs,” Chicago Daily News, p. 2, January 7, 1972
[4] “6 bomb letters mailed at Lincoln Pk. station,” Chicago Daily News, January 14, 1972
[5] Recipient list from Ninth District Court complaint, see Documents chapter.
 Note: The footnotes here begin at 1, but in the book they do not reset by chapter.

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