I never killed or injured anyone . . . In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village.
The explosion was that of a pipe bomb loaded with roofing nails, meant as a present to the Fort Dix enlisted club. I think a bomb is bad enough, but when you include roofing nails, are you trying NOT to kill or injure anyone?
The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices — the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious — as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.
No, Bill--you had already plotted to explode 44 sticks of dynamite at a Detroit police station adjacent to a restaurant. And your participation in the failed 1969 Days of Rage is well-known. I say failed, even though innocent people were hospitalized and one district attorney (Richard Elrod) was paralyzed for life, a maiming Ayer's fellow Weathermen mocked with the crude lyrics of “Lay Elrod Lay.”
We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war. . . But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends.
As a famous tennis player once said, "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!"
The NYT had no problems running the Ayers fantasy--I mean op-ed piece. However, they refused (twice) to run a rebuttal piece by Larry Grathwohl, the FBI informant who had infiltrated the Weather Underground at the time, and who was responsible for saving many of the lives that Ayers was ready to sacrifice. Here it is in full:
“Response to ‘The Real Bill Ayers’”
By Larry Grathwohl
My name is Larry Grathwohl and I infiltrated the Weather Underground for the FBI. I had no idea when my journey began in August 1969 that I would see and experience the degree of violence and hatred of our democracy that existed in the Weather Underground. Bernardine Dorhn, Bill Ayers, and the other people I would meet had as their sole purpose the destruction of the United States. The fact that I ultimately became the only source of information regarding the activities of the Weather Underground and the fact that Bill Ayers now claims their goal was only to bring about the end of the war in Vietnam requires me to respond.
At least Bill admits the Weather Underground “crossed” the line of legality but mitigates this admission by stating that the effectiveness of the “symbolic acts of extreme vandalism” is still being debated. He further states that the selected targets were “property, never people” and that their only purpose was to end the war in Vietnam. Bill is simply not being truthful and is rewriting history to reflect a completely different role for himself and the Weather Underground from what actually took place. “Bring the war home, kill your parents” was the mantra being chanted when the group decided to go underground in December 1969 and there certainly isn’t anything anti-war in that statement. I’m also curious as to who is debating their status. When I think about the Weather Underground my immediate thought is “terrorism and death.”
Billy goes on about how the Weather Underground came into existence because “peaceful protests had failed” and “after an accidental explosion killed three comrades.” The explosion of the townhouse in Greenwich Village was the result of a bomb factory which was preparing bombs containing roofing nails for use at a Fort Dix enlisted club. The inclusion of roofing nails can have but one purpose and that’s to injure or kill people. Prior to this event Bill’s wife, Bernardine Dorhn, placed a bomb of the same design at the Park Police Station in San Francisco and killed Officer McDonnell. Additionally, I was still inside the Weather Underground when the townhouse blew up and the commitment to sabotage and terrorism had already been established and the purpose was the overthrow of the United States government.
Bill implies that the questioning of his activities is dishonest and that at worst he may have made some mistakes in judgment but his motivations were just. Personally, I can think of nothing that would justify the activities of the Weather Underground and am astonished by Bill Ayers’ attempts to corrupt the historical facts by making himself a misunderstood leader of the anti-war movement. Robert Kennedy, possibly the most notable anti-Vietnam war leader of the late 60s, was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968. The Weather Underground published Prairie Fire in 1974 and dedicated it to Sirhan Sirhan. Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dorhn, and others signed this dedication but now they would ask us to accept their explanation that all they wanted to accomplish was an end to the war in Vietnam.
I could go on with many other contradictions in the new history Billy is attempting to impose on us. Today we are supposed to believe that Bill is merely an educator with no interests in the political aspects of our society. If this is true then why the picture of him standing on our flag? Why the statement that his only regret is that they (the Weather Underground) hadn’t done enough? What is the meaning of “I now consider myself an anarchist”? I can only conclude that Billy is a confluence of contradictions and revised history meant to confuse us as to what he is really about. Consider “guilty as hell, free as a bird, America is a great country.” Do you think he really means that?
I must conclude by acknowledging that in one respect Bill is probably being absolutely truthful. When he says that “I never killed or injured anyone,” he is most likely being totally honest. Bill, like Charles Manson, never exposed himself to any kind of danger. He always gave orders and then left it to his then-girlfriend, Diane Oughton, and others to implement his plan. If you listen closely you can even hear the similarities in the arguments Manson and Billy use today to justify what they did: the 60s made me do it.
No amount of inspired fantasy, however, can omit the simple truth that there is only one significant difference between Bill Ayers and Timothy McVeigh.