(Editor’s Note: This column by Larry D. Grathwohl, a former FBI informant in the Weather Underground, was written in response to Charles Lane’s December 11, 2008, Washington Post column, “The Unreal Bill Ayers: Three Decades After the Weather Underground’s End, He’s Still Justifying Its Means.” This Grathwohl column was rejected for publication by the Washington Post.)
I am Larry Grathwohl and have been acknowledged as the only person to infiltrate the Weather Underground as an informant for the FBI. I offer the following comments and observations regarding the article “The Unreal Bill Ayers” recently written by Charles Lane for the Washington Post.
There isn’t much for me to disagree with in the article. I’m not surprised by Bill’s unwillingness to allow the terrorism of the Weather Underground to disappear into the historical past. Bill Ayers’ ego will not permit that to happen. He has got to legitimize himself and the numerous violent acts of his organization, the Weather Underground. He wants a place as a hero in the legacy of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960’s. But the Weather Underground was anything but anti-war. How many times did I hear Bill and Bernardine Dohrn, Bill’s wife, say, “Bring the war home…kill your parents.”
The bombing of the Police monument during the “National Action” was only a beginning. During the preparations for the “Days of Rage,” it was clearly stated that if the police won’t attack us, we’ll attack them. Bill Ayers knows this and simply chooses to ignore it. Also interesting is that Bill states that the Weather Underground was created after the townhouse explosion which resulted in the deaths of Ted Gold, Terry Robbins and Diana Oughton.
The decision to go underground was made at the “National Council” meeting in December of 1969. Bill’s admission is about two months late and the townhouse blew up while bombs with roofing nails were being created for use at Fort Dix. The purpose of roofing nails was to kill and injure people. Bill Ayers was the Central Committee representative in charge of New York and his claim of not knowing about the nails is not true.
Bill avoids saying anything about his wife’s involvement in the bombing of the Park Police station in San Francisco. A police officer was killed in this act of terrorism and Bill told me and others of this while criticizing the cell I was assigned to in Buffalo, New York. Bill Ayers has written in his book Fugitive Days and stated in many interviews that the Weather Underground never hurt anyone. Again, Bill is not being truthful and is rewriting history to aggrandize himself and his associates.
The Weather Underground was not an anti-war group. They saw themselves as part of an international revolution with connections in Cuba, China and North Vietnam. They believed they were going to be part of a revolution that would cause the collapse of the United States. Plans for the creation of camps for “re-educating” Americans―and the elimination of 25 million people―were discussed with the belief that protecting the NEW order from a counter-revolution justified wholesale murder.
If Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground were just about ending the war in Vietnam then why did they dedicate their political manifesto to Sirhan Sirhan? Robert Kennedy, a leading anti-war leader, was murdered by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968. “Prairie Fire” was published in 1974 and this dedication would not appear to support Bill’s statements that the Weather Underground was merely an anti-war organization.
Bill Ayers’ memories of those days are very different than mine. I have testified before grand juries, Senate committees and at the Felt/Miller FBI trial, under oath. Reports of these events were given to the FBI and are now part of the recorded history. Can Bill say the same?