SLA: Wendy Yoshimura
Wendy Masako Yoshimura is a watercolor artist living in Oakland,
California. She used to be a terrorist with both the Revolutionary Army
and the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). She
was born in 1943 at the Manzanar Internment Camp for Japanese Americans
where her American-born parents were incarcerated.
After the war the Yoshimura family moved to Eta Jima, a small island
off the coast of Hiroshima, where her father worked for the Allied
Occupation forces. The family returned to the US when Yoshimura was 13
years old. She graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts
(now California College of the Arts) in 1969.
Yoshimura left California in 1972 to avoid arrest on weapons charges
related to the so-called "Revolutionary Army," a radical group
founded by her boyfriend Willie Brandt and Paul Rubenstein along with Michael
Bortin. She lived under an alias in New Jersey until 1974.
That year, the three surviving members of the Berkeley terrorist group
Symbionese Liberation Army (Bill
Harris, Emily Harris, and Patty
Hearst) relocated to rural Pennsylvania after six of their comrades died
in a shootout with Los Angeles police. Radial sports activist/writer
Jack Scott, who had helped the high-profile terrorists make their way
east, arranged for Yoshimura to soon join them and handle shopping and
other public transactions. (Yoshimura's fingers prints were later
discovered there, leading indirectly to the arrest
of herself and Hearst the next year.)
After two months, Yoshimura returned alone to California. Some weeks
later, Hearst and the Harrises also slipped back into the state. When
newspaper headlines tied Yoshimura to the SLA, she reunited with the group
at its new hideout in Sacramento, California.
On April 21, 1975 Yoshimura drove one of the two getaway cars at the Carmichael
Bank robbery that left one customer dead. She later received immunity
in the case for testimony she never actually had to give (five others
received lengthy sentences in 2003).
In September, 1975, Yoshimura was arrested in San Francisco with Patty
Hearst. She testified on her own behalf, which opened her up to cross
examination (she could have simply kept her trap shut). Then the SLA
terrorist claimed that "moral principles" prevented her
testifying about those who had aided her. Yet she refused to invoke the
Fifth Amendment. The judge cited her for contempt several times before
eventually striking her testimony from the record.
Among the items entered into evidence as having come from the garage
she admitted to having rented under a false name were communiqués taking
responsibility for a bombing, a large quantity of explosives and weapons,
and more than 20 pictures of Robert S. McNamara's Aspen, Colorado
After a seven week trial and six days of deliberations, the jury found
her guilty on January 20, 1977 of the 1972 weapons charges and she was
sentenced to from one to fifteen years. She began serving her sentence
after the appeals process ended on July 17, 1979 and was paroled on August
Yoshimura's watercolors are frequently displayed in Bay Area galleries,
exhibitions, and arts festivals. She is a member of the Asian American
Woman Artists Association and teaches watercolor technique at the Japanese
Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco.
Susan Choi wrote a "fictionalized" account of her life called
- Shana Alexander, Anyone's
Daughter: The Times and Trials of Patricia Hearst,
- Carolyn Anspacher & the San Francisco Chronicle, The
Trial of Patty Hearst, Great Fidelity Press, 1976.
- Marilyn Baker, Exclusive!:
the inside story of Patricia Hearst and the SLA, Macmillan
- Mary F. Beal, Safe
House: A Casebook Study of Revolutionary Feminism in the 1970's,
Northwest Matrix, 1976.
- Jerry Belcher & Don West, Patty/Tania,
Pyramid Books, 1975
- David Boulton, The
Making Of Tania Hearst, Bergenfield, N.J., U.S.A.: New American
- John Bryan, This
Soldier Still At War, (on Joe Remiro) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
- Patty Hearst with Alvin Moscow, Patty
Hearst: Her Own Story, New York: Avon, 1982. This was the title
after the movie came out. Original title: Every Secret Thing.
- Sharon D. Hendry, Soliah:
The Sara Jane Olson Story, Cable Publishing, 2002.
- Janey Jimenez (U.S. Marshal who escorted Hearst between prison and the
court during the trial) with Ted Berkman, My
Prisoner, Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1977.
- Jean Brown Kinney, An
American journey: The short life of Willy Wolfe, Simon and Schuster,
- Vin McLellan, Paul Avery, The
voices of guns: The definitive and dramatic story of the twenty-two-month
career of the Symbionese Liberation Army, one of the most bizarre chapters
in the history of the American Left, Putnam, 1977.
- John Pascal, The
Strange Case of Patty Hearst, New American Library, 1974.
- Findley & Craven Payne, Life
and Death of the SLA, Ballantine, 1976.
- Robert Brainard Pearsall, Symbionese
Liberation Army: Documents and Communications, Rodopi, 1974
- Fred Soltysik, In
Search of a Sister 1976.
- Steven Weed, with Scott Swanton. My
Search for Patty Hearst, New York: Warner, 1976. Weed was Hearst's
boyfriend at the time of the kidnapping. That was the end of their
- Video: Patty
Hearst, based on Every Secret Thing, directed by Paul
- Video: The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979) (TV)
- Video: Patty Hearst: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000) (TV)
- Video: Neverland:
The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army aka Guerrilla:
The Taking of Patty Hearst, Directed by Robert Stone, 2004,