Patriot Larry Grathwohl, 65, Infiltrated Weather Underground, Indicted Bill Ayers
By Matthew Vadum
A great American who penetrated the Weather Underground terrorist group of longtime Obama pal Bill Ayers and paid a steep price for his patriotism, has died.
Larry Grathwohl passed away suddenly at the age of 65 in Cincinnati last week. Time magazine once described Grathwohl as the only successful infiltrator of the Weather Underground. A highly decorated Vietnam War veteran, he served in a Hatchet Force unit of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Such units located and rescued servicemen in trouble and conducted search-and-destroy missions against Vietnamese communist forces.
“They were among the toughest of the tough,” according to his friend James Simpson. “Larry was an utterly fearless, dedicated patriot.”
He returned to America in 1966 and enrolled in college. Working with the FBI, he infiltrated the Weatherman collective in Cincinnati, rising quickly in the command structure. After fighting communists abroad, Grathwohl had decided he needed to fight them at home too.
After wading through the cesspool of the anti-American left for a year, Grathwohl revealed the treasonable behavior of operatives of the Weather Underground Organization (WUO) who collaborated with communist Cuba and the governments of other hostile foreign nations.
In his recently reissued work, Bringing Down America, a fascinating 1976 memoir co-written with the late Frank Reagan, Grathwohl summed up why he took the unusual step of joining the WUO in order to undermine it. In the chaotic political atmosphere of the Sixties, he feared New Left revolutionary communists like Ayers might actually make headway with their totalitarian program.
“The Weathermen’s government will be one of total control over each individual in the society,” Grathwohl wrote. “In Weathermen terminology, this new society will be ‘one people working in total unity.’”
These terrorists aimed to extinguish “all the individual freedoms we are accustomed to having; it was my absolute belief in the freedoms offered by our form of government that drove me to fight the Weathermen in the first place.”
Although plenty of sympathetic drivel has been written about the Weather Underground, very little scholarship has focused on the truly diabolical plans the group hoped to execute had it succeeded in its stated goal of overthrowing the elected government of the United States.
Ayers spearheaded the group’s effort “to make plans to select and destroy targets that were symbols of authority,” according to Grathwohl. “If necessary, we would kidnap government officials for ransom and assassinate others when it was politically expedient.”
One chilling idea WUO leaders entertained was working enemies of the revolution to death in labor camps.
The Weather Underground also brainstormed a diabolical plan to exterminate those who resisted the communist revolution. Discussing internal debates within the group, Grathwohl told an interviewer:
I brought up the subject of what’s going to happen after we take over the government: we become responsible then for administrating 250 million people. And there was no answers. No one had given any thought to economics, how you’re going to clothe and feed these people. […] They also believed that their immediate responsibility would be to protect against what they called the counter revolution and they felt that this counter revolution could best be guarded against by creating and establishing reeducation centers in the Southwest where [they] would take all the people who needed to be reeducated into the new way of thinking and teach them how things were going to be. I asked, well, what is going to happen to those people that 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 that they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers. And when I say eliminate I mean kill – 25 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.
In 1974, Grathwohl, who went on to make a living as a private investigator, testified behind closed doors before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee about his experiences. (The subcommittee made the transcript public.) His testimony showed that his involvement with anti-American terrorists — or as Reuters might call them, misunderstood social justice activists — ate up years of his life.
While working undercover, at one point Grathwohl was indicted in order to preserve his cover. After the prosecution fizzled, he still had to deal with the consequences of being named in a high-profile criminal case. His name made headlines in his hometown, not as a hero, but as a dangerous fugitive waging war against his own country as a member of a high-profile terrorist group. Even his own mother didn’t believe him at first when he explained he was working undercover. He spent years in limbo, waiting to give evidence in trials as other Weathermen were apprehended.
Grathwohl’s testimony before a grand jury in Detroit was central to the case against Ayers and led to his indictment. The still-unrepentant terrorist eventually got away scot-free and set about poisoning the minds of the young, a task at which he has been enormously successful as an education theorist.
Nowadays, given all the influence he’s had on those who make scholastic policy, Ayers is a kind of shadow education secretary in President Obama’s cabinet.
Disillusioned former leftist academic Tina Trent, one of Grathwohl’s many mourning friends in the conservative movement, wrote the introduction to the recent version of Bringing Down America.
“Larry was a sweet and decent and very wise man,” she said after receiving word of Grathwohl’s passing. “He risked his life to protect us from murderous adolescent Marxists like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.”
Brandon Darby, formerly a far-left community organizer, who, like Grathwohl, worked undercover for the FBI, called Grathwohl “a tremendous friend and a valuable resource.”