Weather Underground

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1970 FBI poster.JPG

Not to be confused with Wunderground - an online weather service which tracks major storms.

The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), or Weathermen is a radical Left-wing terrorist organization now possibly inactive.[1] Since its inception the Weather Underground identified its fundamental strategic thesis with the Maoist Chinese. In its initial ideological statement, You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows, the objective of wealth redistribution was put forward to justify revolutionary violence:

It is the oppressed peoples of the world who have created the wealth of this empire and it is to them that it belongs; the goal of the revolutionary struggle must be the control and use of this wealth in the interests of the oppressed peoples of the world. It is in this context that we must examine the revolutionary struggles in the United States.[2]

In 2002, Sam Green and Bill Siegel produced a documentary about the Weather Underground.[3]


The lineage of the Weather Underground goes back 6 decades before its creation. Initially, a group called the Intercollegiate Socialist Society was founded to "throw light on the world wide movement toward industrial democracy known as socialism". Then in 1921, the ISS changed its name to the League for Industrial Democracy along with shifting its aim to a larger scope than just the college campus. The League had two student subsidiaries, a Student League for Industrial Democracy which came into existence in 1932 and only lasting for three years. The SLID was reconstituted again in 1945, and would follow the lead of the initial group's history and rename itself; this time changing from SLID into Students for a Democratic Society.

It is SDS that the Weather Underground directly splinters from.


Within SDS, the Weathermen grew out of a faction called the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM).[4] At SDS' Chicago convention in June, 1969, the society found itself split three ways and collapsed shortly after.[5] The Weatherman group took its name and the name for their manifesto from a lyric of a Bob Dylan song Subterranean Homesick Blues,[6] which was published in the June 18, 1969 edition of New Left Notes.[7]

What was left of SDS fell to the control of the Progressive Labor Party (PLP), the oldest Maoist group in the United States.[8]


Organizational Marxism

According to the traditional Soviet sponsored Leninist model, the proletariat is the main revolutionary force, and national liberation movements become its allies. According to Maoist inspired Weathermen, however, the revolutionary national movements were proletarian revolutions in their own right against the world imperialist class, and provided the leadership in the worldwide anti-imperialist revolution.[9] Many WUO members believed that they were a Proletarian vanguard[10] of a revolution that was underway, and they believed they could unite all the Third World revolutionaries into one worldwide communist utopia.[11][12][13]

On May 21, 1970, the organization issued its "Declaration of a State of War" against America, which was written by Dohrn.[14] In many ways, the Underground was structured like a typical cult organization, lacking perhaps one or two key features.[15]

On September 13, 1970, the weathermen helped Timothy Leary escape from a prison in San Luis Obispo.[16]

The words "Death to Pigs" were written on a wall in the blood of Manson Family victims; the WUO and Manson Family had a shared political vocabulary[17] as well as advocacy of illegal drug use, violence, and killing.

High School Jailbreaks

The Weathermen engaged in several forms of recruitment. One of those was the high school "jailbreak", where students would run through campus shouting "jailbreak", in an effort to urge others to join them.[18]

One member remarked of the effort: "If you're too chicken to do anything more than leaflet at your high school, then you're part of the problem."[19]

Days of Rage

In 1969, the Weathermen held a series of protests known as the "Days of Rage"[20] which was timed to coincide with the Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial.[21] Following the events, the FBI arrested activists including Linda Evans and Dianne Donghi.[22]

The use of the moniker Days of Rage would be used by future revolutionary groups and movements, including Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous, and during the Arab Spring.

War Council

At a 1969 "War Council" in Flint, Michigan, spokeswoman Bernardine Dohrn gave her most memorable and notorious speech. Holding her fingers in what became the Weatherman "fork salute," she said of the bloody murders recently committed by the Manson Family in which the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and a Folgers Coffee heiress, and several other inhabitants of a Benedict Canyon mansion were brutally stabbed to death,[23]

Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim's stomach! Wild!"

Bombing activities

Their ideology was explicitly communist and revolutionary. After issuing a formal "Declaration of War on AmeriKKKa"(which they always spelled with three capital "K's") the underground went on a bombing spree.[24]

Ron Fliegelman was the chief architect for bomb devices inside the WUO.[25] In the 1970s, the organization was successfully infiltrated by an informant for the FBI, Larry Grathwohl.[26] Grathwohl wrote about what he had learned in a book he wrote, BRINGING DOWN AMERICA: An FBI Informant with the Weathermen.[27]

Haymarket Police Statue

October 6, 1969 - the organization's first bombing act was at a statue built to memorialize police victims of the 1886 Haymarket Affair in which anarchists violently protested.[28] The underground bombed the statue again exactly one year later on October 6, 1970.[29]

Greenwich Village bomb factory

On March 6, 1970, while preparing for a terrorist attack on Fort Dix, several members were injured in the "Greenwich Village Explosion".[30] Three members were killed: Ted Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins. Other members, Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin, survived and were defended by National Lawyers Guild [31] members. Kathy Boudin later received a 20-years-to-life sentence for her role in the 1981 Weatherman Nyack, New York Brinks armored truck robbery which resulted in the murders of two policemen and an armored truck security guard.[32]

COINTELPRO investigation

For a more detailed treatment, see COINTELPRO.

As a subversive communist organization, the Weathermen were later known to be targets of the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program. In April 1971, an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania was broken into by the "Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI", exposing the program. J. Edgar Hoover shut down the program later that year.[33]

Barack Obama and the Weather Underground

Dr. Quentin Young (left) is personal physician to Barack Obama (right) and Bernardine Dohrn (not shown). Dr. Young was reimbursed by the KGB after he paid rent in advance on a storefront he used to treat injured rioters during the disruptions of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.[34][35] The ringleaders, principally Weather Underground terrorists, received urban guerrilla warfare training in Cuba from the DGI prior to the attacks.[36]

In 1995 a cadre of like minded individuals gathered in the home of Weather Underground (WUO) terrorists Bernardine Dohrn and William "Bill" Ayers. According to Dr. Quentin Young, "I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers' house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress." Dr. Young, a longtime friend of the Ayers' and President Obama, put up the money in 1968 to pay for the office that organized a riot in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. Carl Davidson of Progressives for Obama was told by Fidel Castro in March 1968 that Castro believed the United States was ready for revolution. Several Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and WUO cadre trained in Cuba with the "Venceremos Brigades"[37] prior to the insurgency. The FBI summarized the situation:

Rarely has any city been threatened all at one time with an invasion of 100 to 200 thousand dissidents - plots to assassinate governmental dignitaries and prominent individuals; intentions to instigate major riots in varied ways; widespread sabotage of communication, transportation and electrical systems- proposals to pour hallucinogenic drugs into the water supply; clandestine shipments of arms and ammunition into the city for use in sniper activities - and myriad forms of guerrilla warfare.[38]

One veteran of the guerrilla warfare training in Cuba was Obama's host, Bernardine Dohrn. Young met with Dohrn after her return,

Bernardine went down there already influenced by Cuba and in a state of romantic anticipation. She was at the top of her thermometer going down. I talked to her, sort of debriefed her, when she came back."[39]

Dr. Young related Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer was choosing then Chicago city councilman Barack Obama as her successor.[40] Palmer once served on the executive board of the U.S. Peace Council, a KGB front organization[41] that actively opposed President Ronald Reagan's defense program. Palmer wrote a report on her visit to Moscow for the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) published by the CPUSA's People's Daily World. In the twilight of the Soviet regime Palmer wrote, "Like the Reagan administration, the Soviets talk of increasing productivity among workers and curbing waste...but the Soviets' do not link these issues with ruining the living standards of human beings."

Obama served on the Board of the Woods Fund of Chicago with Weather Underground terrorist group co-founder Bill Ayers[42] at the time this photo appeared of Ayers stomping the American flag in Chicago Magazine in 2001. Ayers, Obama's boss at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, contributes to Obama election campaigns and hosted an important fundraiser in Obama's early career to meet and greet Ayers contacts.

Ayers and Dohrn took credit, and have never denied responsibility for a series of terrorist bombings which included the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and the State Department. The reopening of a cold case homicide investigation of a San Francisco police officer was urged by the San Francisco Police Officer's Association in March 2009.[43] An FBI informant who infiltrated the WUO[44] and was close to Ayers reported an exchange he had with Ayers about a prospective bombing:

INFORMANT: We'll blow out the Red Barn restaurant. Maybe even kill a few innocent customers — and most of them are black.
AYERS: We can't protect all the innocent people in the world. Some will get killed. Some of us will get killed. We have to accept that fact.

Ayers and Dohrn were not prosecuted because of tainted evidence gathered by the FBI. Assistant Director of the FBI Mark Felt, also known as “Deep Throat” in the Watergate Affair,[45] was prosecuted and convicted for civil rights violations of Jennifer Dohrn, Bernardine's sister, while tracking the terrorist pair. Ayers boasted in his book that he was "guilty as hell, free as a bird," and Felt was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan who noted Felt followed procedures he believed "essential to keep the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General, and the President of the United States advised of the activities of hostile foreign powers and their collaborators in this country.[46][47]

Ayers, Dohrn and Barack Obama's relationship went back several years and they were lending their notoriety among radical leftists to launch Obama's career as Palmer's successor. Ayers' and Dohrn's first book written with Jeff Jones, the title Prairie Fire is taken from the sayings of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, [7] "a single spark can set a prairie fire"," announces,

we are communist men and women.[48]

Co-author and co-Weather Underground founder Jeff Jones[49] worked for several years with Obama administration Green Czar Van Jones, another self-described communist arrested in the aftermath of a deadly riot. Like Frank Marshall Davis, there is no indication Ayers, Dohrn, Jeff Jones, Dr. Young, Anita Dunn, or other close associates of Obama have renounced their faith in what Allen Weinstein describes as "a murderous and discredited ideology."

Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and served there for the next eight years.

President Obama is the first person having ties to a known former terrorist to gain control over America's nuclear weapons.[50][51] Author and blogger Jack Cashill requisitioned a comparison of the writing style of Bill Ayers' 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days, with Barack Obama's earlier 1995 book, Dreams From My Father, and came to the conclusion that Obama's former boss Ayers may have ghostwritten Dreams.[52] Ayers confesses to violent acts, planting bombs, says he has no regrets and feels he "should have done more."[53]


First page of WUO Declaration of a State of War with Amerika issued by Bernardine Dohrn, May 21, 1970.[54] Dohrn was instrumental in launching the career of Chicago City Alderman Barack Obama, later elected President of the United States.

Founding/Supervisory Organizations:

Supporting Organizations:

Type of Organization: Terrorist/revolutionary

Location: United States

Ideological cover: Openly Marxist-Leninist

Activities: Urban guerrilla warfare; bombings; assassinations; riots; armed robbery; prison organizing; prison breaks

Target countries: United States

Status: Inactive

Osawatomie, a publication of the WUO named after John Brown.

Assisted Organizations:

Derivative/Controlled Organizations:

Family Tree

Intercollegiate Socialist Society
    ↳ League for Industrial Democracy     →                    →                    →
            ↳ Student League for Industrial Democracy (1932)     → American Student Union
            ↳ Student League for Industrial Democracy (1945)     → Students for a Democratic Society
                                                                                                            ↳ Weather Underground

See also


  1. ATTAC Report
  2. Foreign Influence - Weather Underground Organization (WUO). FBI Chicago Field Office Report, August 20, 1976, Influence of China, Page 143 in original (p. 31 pdf).
  3. Weather Underground Documentary Counters MSM Claim That Ayers Merely a Benign '60s Radical'
  4. CQ Press Guide to Radical Politics in the United States
  5. Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons
  6. Independent Lens, PBS
  7. Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies
  8. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today
  9. The Way The Wind Blew: A History Of The Weather Underground, Ron Jacobs, Verso, 1997, p. 81 ISBN 1-85984-167-8
  10. Anti-Disciplinary Protest: Sixties Radicalism and Postmodernism
  11. Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiques of the Weather Underground 1970-1974
  12. Unearthing the Weather Underground, National Review
  13. Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies
  14. Chronologies of Modern Terrorism
  15. I was a terrorist., Washington Post
  16. Disorders and Terrorism: Report of the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism
  17. For more on the Marxist concept of a "shared political vocabulary" see Reclaiming Revolution: history, summation & lessons from the work of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), Spring 2004, Edited by Van Jones et al, p. 9 pdf (link inactive, for the archived version, see here).
  18. The Weather Underground: report of the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, first session
  19. Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity
  20. Homeland Security: An Introduction to Principles and Practice, Second Edition
  21. FBI 100 Years
  22. Chronologies of Modern Terrorism
  23. Manson Family Carnage
  24. The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, David Horowitz
  25. Book: Weather Underground ‘Bomb Guru’ Taught At NYC Schools For 25 Years, The Daily Caller
  26. RIP Larry Grathwohl, Weather Underground Infiltrator, American Spectator
  27. Bringing Down America: A Review, American Thinker
  28. Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent
  29. Illuminating the Dark Arts of War: Terrorism, Sabotage, and Subversion in Homeland Security and the New Conflict
  30. Court TV – Crime Library: Terrorists, The Weather Underground
  31. NLG: The Legal Fifth Column, By Jesse Rigsby,, April 25, 2003.
  32. Court TV – Crime Library: The Brinks Robbery of 1981
  33. Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity
  34. The Stealth Candidate, Transcript, Cliff Kincaid and Herbert Romerstein, May 22, 2008, p. 16.
  35. House Committee on Un-American Activities, Subversive Involvement in Disruption of 1968 Democratic Party National Convention, and Hearings Before the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate. Ninety- Fourth Congress. First Session. Volume 6. Federal Bureau of Investigation. 1976, Exhibit 68-13., cited in Communism in Chicago and the Obama Connection, Cliff Kincaid and Herbert Romerstein,
  36. Final Talk to the Fourth Contingent, Julian Rizo DGI.
  37. Informing Statecraft, by Angelo Codevilla
  38. Declassified U.S. Government intelligence information regarding the communist and foreign connections of the Weather Underground. Presented as evidence, on the agreement of the prosecution and defense counsel, in the trial of W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller, p.10.[1]
  39. Georgie Anne Geyer and Keyes Beach "Cuba: School for U.S. Radicals", Chicago Daily News/Chicago Sun-Times five part series October 1970, excerpted in FBI file Weather Underground Organization (Weatherman), Part 1c pp. 5-7 pdf (113-115 in original). [2]
  40. Obama once visited '60s radicals., Ben Smith, Politico, February 22, 2008.
  41. The Apocalyptic premise : Nuclear Arms Debated, By Ernest W. Lefever, E. Stephen Hunt, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C., 1982, pp. 127-137.
  42. FBI file Weather Underground
  43. S.F. police union accuses Ayers in 1970 bombing, Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle March 12, 2009.
  44. Bringing down America : an FBI informer with the Weathermen, by Larry Grathwohl, Frank Reagan, 1976. [3]
  45. Nixon and the FBI: The White House Tapes, National Security Archive, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  46. Statement on Granting Pardons to W. Mark Felt and Edward S. Miller, April 15, 1981.
  47. Two Top F.B.I. Officials Cleared, New York Times, December 1, 1983.
  48. Harvey Klehr, Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today (Transaction Books, New Brunswick, 1988), 109.
  49. Obama's 'green jobs czar' worked with terror founder Van Jones served on board of activist group where ex-Weatherman serves as top director, By Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily, August 13, 2009.
  52., Who Wrote “Dreams From My Father"?, by Jack Cashill, October 9, 2008, retrieved on 10/16/2008 [4] Cashill states that a computer comparison of Obama's so-called autobiography with that of the terrorist Bill Ayers, supports the theory that Ayers actually wrote parts of Obama's book; also he wrote "None of this, of course, proves Ayers' authorship conclusively, but the evidence makes him a much more likely candidate than Obama to have written the best parts of Dreams". "In assessing the signature of sample passages from Dreams," the experienced analyst found "a very strong match to all of the Ayers samples" that he processed. He did not address the possibility that Ayers had plagiarized from Obama's earlier book. A philosophy professor from England disagreed.[5]
  53. [6]
  54. FBI file, Weather Underground Declaration of a State of War
  55. Propagandizing the Police, By William Norman Grigg, New American, 1999-11-08.
  56. Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960–1975, Revised Edition
  57. MH/CHAOS: The CIA'S Campaign Against the Radical New Left and the Black Panthers
  58. Armed Resistance Unit Bombs US Capitol, Death To The Klan, Winter, 1984, No. 3.

External links