When Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn led the domestic terrorist group Weather Underground in 1969, a chance meeting led Army veteran Larry Grathwohl into joining the group. Grathwohl served as a courier, running messages between the group’s leadership (called the “Weather Bureau”) and individual cells that were to carry out attacks.
Grathwohl was also an informant for the FBI.
In an interview from the 1982 documentary No Place To Hide that recently surfaced, Grathwohl discussed what the Weathermen intended to do after overthrowing the U.S. government, including what they would do with those Americans who refused to embrace communism.
I asked, “Well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.
And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.
And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”
Twenty-five million people.
I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
And they were dead serious.
Twenty-six years later, I caught up with Larry Grathwohl, and asked him about the Weathermen, their leaders then and now, and what he thinks about the relationship between Bill Ayers and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
PJ Media: You stated in your interview in No Place to Hide that you wanted us to “imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.” A lot of people have now had the opportunity to listen to you, and contemplate the horrors these people planned. Can you recall who these people are by name, and who the ringleaders of this plan were?
Larry Grathwohl: Conversations regarding this occurred in Cincinnati, Detroit, Flint, and Buffalo. Participants included Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, Linda Evans, Jeff Jones, and many others.
PJ Media: Was this merely an academic matter to them, or were they serious about killing 25 million Americans that would not bend to their political will?
Larry Grathwohl: I suppose you could consider this a purely academic discussion in that the Weathermen never had the opportunity to implement their political ends. However, I can assure you that this was not the case. There was an absolute belief that they, along with the international revolutionary movement, would cause the collapse of the United States and that they would be in charge. Nixon was of great concern and how his end would be conducted. This may sound absurd in today’s context, but the Weatherman believed they would succeed.
PJ Media: Did they ever devise a cover story to explain to the rest of America how roughly one in ten disappeared?
Larry Grathwohl: When I suggested that this might be a difficult proposition they looked at me like I had three heads. They would be in charge! They would be in control! Who would oppose them? Lambs to the slaughter I guess.
PJ Media: Were any of those Weathermen involved in concocting this plan particularly excited or enthusiastic about the death camps, or was it merely a means to an end?
Larry Grathwohl: Of course they were enthusiastic as it was representative of the success of “the revolution.”
PJ Media: Scattered news accounts on the Internet note that you were instrumental in foiling Weather Underground attacks in February of 1970, in Detroit. The Weathermen built two bombs targeting the Detroit Police Officers’ Association (DPOA) building and the 13th Precinct. Were the goals of these attacks symbolic property damage as were some other Weathermen attacks, or were these targets selected to kill police officers?
Larry Grathwohl: The instructions I received from Billy Ayers was that the bombs to be used in Detroit must have shrapnel (fence staples, specifically) and fire potential (propane bottles). The intention was to kill police officers.
PJ Media: One of the Detroit bombs was to be placed on the side of the DPOA building, and the blast was likely to cause damage to the adjacent Red Barn Restaurant, which had mostly African-American customers. Who ordered the attack, and what did he say when you told him that innocent civilians would be killed?
Larry Grathwohl: When I objected to Billy Ayers that more innocent people would be killed in the restaurant, he replied, “Innocent people have to die in a revolution.” Billy also acknowledged during a criticism session in Buffalo that Bernadine placed the bomb at the Park Police Station which resulted in the death of Police Officer McDonnell.
PJ Media: Bill Ayers came out of hiding around 1980, became an college professor, and has served on numerous boards and foundations. Do you think he’s changed in his radicalism?
Larry Grathwohl: Has Billy changed? I hardly think so.
PJ Media: If conditions permitted, do you think Ayers would still engage in violence to further a political agenda?
Larry Grathwohl: He has acknowledged his support of anti-American groups and stated he felt that the Weathermen hadn’t done enough.
PJ Media: Do you consider Bill Ayers an attempted mass murderer?
Larry Grathwohl: I’m not certain Billy is a mass murder; his ego just wants him to be in charge. Note that Billy never does anything that involves risk. He has no problem allowing his women to do the evil task, Diane Oughton and even Bernardine, but never him. As for what he might do, hasn’t he said he doesn’t rule out the possibility of future bombings? [Ayers said he didn't "want to discount the possibility" in this New York Times article from September 11, 2001. -- Ed.]
PJ Media: Would you let your children attend a college or university class taught by Ayers or his wife, Bernadine Dohrn? What would you tell parents who have had their children exposed to Ayers’ academic programs, like the Small Schools Workshop?
Larry Grathwohl: As for Billy’s ideas on education, isn’t it apparent? Reading, writing, and arithmetic aren’t important! Radicalism is what’s important. Fits right in with the Billy Ayers view of creating mindless soldiers to follow his commands — where best to lay the foundations of a revolution than with the young?
PJ Media: Do you think there is there any way that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama could not have known that Bill Ayers was a domestic terrorist? Is there any reason that the American people should accept Barack Obama’s newest excuse about his relationship with Bill Ayers, where Obama claimed that he thought Ayers was “reformed”?
Larry Grathwohl: If we are to believe Mr. Obama, he just didn’t know Billy was as radical as he apparently is. Really? Just like he didn’t know the Rev. Wright was as radical as he is? Obama is a politician and he wants me to believe that he never discussed politics with the Rev Wright or Billy Ayers?
Mr. Grathwohl concluded the interview with a question of his own.
“Have you seen the [Bill] O’Reilly attempts to interview Billy? He called the police to ‘protect’ him! Doesn’t surprise me a bit: Billy needs others to stand up, not him. He’s too important! Do you think his new book [Race Course Against White Supremacy, co-author Bernardine Dohrn] has something to do with his position? I bet we hear a lot from Billy and Bernardine after the election. Especially if Obama wins.”