Bringing Down America with the Company You Keep

My husband, Oleg Atbashian, was recently given a 24-hour deadline by Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival to design a new book cover for the re-release of Bringing Down America: An FBI Informer with the Weathermen, a 1976 fact-based story by Larry Grathwohl.

Set in 1970, this riveting narrative chronicles one year of life on the lam with leaders of America’s most infamous domestic terrorist organization, as seen through the eyes of an FBI infiltrator posing as a radical communist. Prior to the publication, Larry Grathwohl testified before several federal Grand Juries, the U.S. Senate, and at the Mark Felt/Ed Miller FBI Trial.  Today he is still an active participant in the national debate on issues related to national security and terrorism.

Kincaid’s project was urgent because of the upcoming (April 5, 2013) domestic release of Robert Redford’s motion picture, The Company You Keep, which negates Grathwohl’s documented testimony and engages in historical revisionism.

While the artistic qualities of Redford’s yet unreleased independent film are being challenged by even liberal critics, Variety magazine has already created sympathetic buzz with a barrage of articles, calling the movie an “unabashedly heartfelt but competent tribute to 1960s idealism,” adding that “[t]here is something undeniably compelling, perhaps even romantic, about America’s ’60s radicals and the compromises they did or didn’t make.”

Redford’s film is based on the eponymous 2004 novel by Neil Gordon, the literary editor of The Boston Review and a frequent book reviewer for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Predictably, Penguin Books has just reprinted his overt romantization of leftist terrorism as a movie tie-in, with a sexy new cover featuring Robert Redford himself.

According to the publisher, “Set against the rise and fall of the radical anti-war group the Weather Underground, The Company You Keep is a sweeping American saga about sacrifice, the righteousness of youth, and the tension between political ideals and family loyalties.”

The Los Angeles Times offers this mind-boggling editorial review:

The Company You Keep works as a thriller, but the adventures … are grounded firmly in larger political and moral issues, in this case the passionate conviction that the radical opposition in the ’60s to the Vietnam War represented the high point of American idealism, the best dream America ever had, a dream embodied in the 1962 Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society (“antiwar, antiracism, and anti-imperialism”), a dream abandoned.

In reality, according to Larry Grathwohl, “[t]he Weather Underground was not anti-war; it was pro-war. In fact, it waged war on the United States, in close consultation with foreign enemies of the U.S. in such places as Hanoi and Havana.”

Notions like “sacrifice” and “ecstatic righteousness of youth” may sound admirable, but Grathwohl, who lived underground with the real characters, witnessed “a world of hatred, drugs, and free sex.” He saw, up close, a gang of thugs who admired the Manson killers, plotted bombings, murders, and political assassinations, and aimed to overthrow the constitutionally elected US government. There is nothing sacrificial about terrorists who shoot up a police station and boast, “Our lawyers will make fools of the pigs.”

At a 2009 “Justice for Victims of Terrorism” conference, Grathwohl recalled: “Bill went on to describe how Bernardine Dorhn, a Weather Underground central committee member and considered the leader of the Weather Underground, had to plan and commit the bombing of the Park Station in San Francisco.  This bomb contained fence staples and was placed on a window ledge during a shift change ensuring the presence of the greatest number of police officers and the greatest possibility of death and injury.  Several Police Officers were injured and one, Sergeant McDonnell, was killed by fence staples used in the bomb. He was in the hospital for two days before he succumbed to his injuries.”

Grathwohl’s book describes military training Weathermen received in Cuba with Russian weapons, and details how sympathetic professors helped set up Weathermen bases across American campuses. The author establishes a link between the Weatherman and Arab terrorists, exposing along the way America’s most radical network made up of lawyers, college professors, and members of left-wing clergy.

In a utopian vision of the new Weather society there was no place for the American family or dissenting opinion; all opposition was crushed and those who held power before the Revolution were executed. Their view of Cuba and Red China as models for a new America was downright chilling.

Weathermen also targeted high schools, which they saw as “prisons.” It is not a contradiction, however, that the most prominent of the erstwhile terrorists, Bill Ayers, later made a career in education. He simply continued to spread the same anti-American radical ideology by other means. By training teachers to indoctrinate American children, he exploded the country from within more efficiently than his homemade bombs ever could.

With the sitting U.S. President effectively starting his political career in Bill Ayers’ living room, the 40-year-old story of the Weather Underground and its radical ideology isn’t going away. Instead, it has moved to the very center of the currently ongoing battle for Americans’ hearts and minds.

Hence the release of Robert Redford’s film and Gordon’s revisionist novel on the side of the radical Left – opposed by the efforts of Cliff Kincaid and other liberty-loving, patriotic Americans to bring back Grathwohl’s true account of the events and the characters involved.

Among all the dismal realities of radical revolutions, perhaps the most important one barely gets mentioned: replacing the existing monetary system with the government distribution of goods and services.  Money gives people the freedom to choose. Without it, free citizens become slaves to the state.  While we still have the freedom that comes with money, let’s use it.

Don’t give Robert Redford any of your earnings.  When Larry Grathwohl’s Bringing Down America is re-released, buy it, read it, give it to friends and family, and spread the word.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

  • Edward Cline

    I stopped watching Redfod after seeing "Three Days of the Condor." Perhaps he should make another movie called "The Weatherman Whisperer," or "A Raical Flows Through It." I'll probably buy Grathwohl's book. It's about time Bill Ayers and Company were de-romanticized.

  • BS77

    Most of the so called idealists of the sixties were hateful, stupid screaming fools

    • Mary Sue

      hence why i call them stupid hippies.

  • AdinaK

    The company one keeps is emblematic of who one is, regardless of the spin. And "historicism" is the purview of the left, as it allows them to whitewash individuals, as well as ideologies, so horrific, that most would run for their lives from them. But no matter. leftists can't help but back totalitarian and murderous thugs. They are in sync.

    As to "historicism", and the part played by progressives, it is has led to the moral decline of America (and elsewhere) –

    As to Hollywood, in particular, here is another one for the "history" books, even though the mullahs are suing –

    As cultural icons, the damage they wreck is incalculable. They must be held to account. Truly. Finally.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • Larry

    The only "righteousness" that lot had was self.

    The fact that so many of the Weather Underground scum have been rehabilitated as educators by academia is nothing short of disgusting.

  • pierce

    I use to like Redford as an actor, but only as an actor. His politics, and the politics of other Hollywood icons stink. Where do these people get the rights, rather the idea that they are all knowing. All they have is a medium in which they can vocalize their forums, and with the crap that is coming out on the silver screen, role models they aren't, so why do people listen to them.
    Thank god I did not pattern my life after the likes of Robert Redford, or Lindsey Lohan.

  • tagalog

    Having circulated around the fringes of the radical Left in the Sixties, I can assure everyone that there was very little idealism among the hard-core leftists in the U.S. They were pretty cynical pretty much all the time, and spent much of their time (when they weren't posing as and playing at being violent revolutionaries) scheming in the most cynical way to accomplish a Communist revolution. Had they not been fools, I would call them worse than the old-time Bolsheviks, but the Bolsheviks were really serious (not just marking time until they got to grad school) and they actually accomplished their revolutionary goals.

    Today's conservatives are far more idealistic than America's 60s leftists ever were. That may not be as good a thing as it sounds like. Conservatives need to become more realistic about obtaining and keeping power. David Horowitz knew that 25 years ago; that's why this site exists.

  • Brujo Blanco

    It is interesting that many filthy rich liberals talk a lot.of smack about the evils of capitalism while enjoying the fruits of.their own capitalist activities. These people tell the rest of us how much we can do without.

    • silvergonzales

      Many of these honorable lefties ( at least vocally) are or already have moved their $$ off shore. Spend time in Turcos Caicos and you will eventually bumb into Billy Crystal and Billy Cosby and many others.

      Modern Liberalism: do as I do NOT do as I say. The best example is Linda Eastman, better known as Linda McCartney, who said that it is honorable to pay taxes, while booking her estate in the US North East, avoiding all UK taxes. No fool she.

  • john

    There are so many sharp people writing good pieces for and other sites , for sure there are people of great wealth and means who could produce movies and release them for the larger main stream audience using factual history , until that starts happening all the articles and websites [like frontpage] will accomplish virtually nothing . The crowds get there info from the big screen – and the conservative right is invisible there .

  • john

    As one of the senators said in the russell Crowe flick Gladiator – '' Rome is the Mob ''

  • Rifleman

    The Warsaw Pact also trained the cadre and specialists (bomb makers, etc), of muslim terrorist groups hostile to the West, along with the IRA, and Red Euro groups. Ayers was in Egypt a while back helping coordinate the Gaza weapons blockade runs from that end.

    Some of those leftists' and their trainees' are running the democrat party these days. They are making the dollar worthless on purpose to help bring about their moneyless society.

    • Drakken

      I hope the next time Ayers tries that, he meets a most untimely and brutal end.

      • Rifleman

        Untimely only because it didn't happen decades ago, of course.

  • SoCalMike

    Redford is just another spoiled Hollywood self loathing scum bag who feels so guilty about his having made it, he has to rewrite history in the service of his ignorant beliefs.
    Jim Carrey, Robert Redford and Oliver Stone just need to shut up and sing.
    Nobody pays them to think.

  • john

    Film – The medium that works . Seems only wealthy leftists use it – No amount of writing and reading can replace entertainment to get a message out – Period .

    • Larissa Atbashian

      Lenin: "…you must remember that, of all the arts, for us the cinema is the most important."

      Communists first tried to infiltrate Hollywood through the unions, but HUAC blocked their efforts, so then they approached celebrities…

  • John Magee

    Robert Redford's ranch in Utah is at least 5,000 acres. That's about 10,000 times the size of the average American home which sits on a half acre of land with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. I wish these hypocritcal modern Hollywood "revolutionaries" would give up their own land and investments to "the people" before they advocate revolutions which want to confiscate my humble home. Redford's ranch would make a wonderful commune for thousands of illegals from across our southern border. He could feed them from his vast fortune.

  • the company we keep

    the majority of american people today are stupid, they love the violent killer gang the weathermen, adore the murderer william ayers, the racists al sharpton, and the goddam america preacher jeremiah wright, and, they literally worship their tyrant, false moloch, lord and saviour, barack obama

    abandon all hope, all those who enter here

    • chingachgook

      Read some books, people. Stay informed, and keep talking. Above all, keep your minds open.

  • john

    Seems most posts are just emotion – fine as far as it goes but it only goes back n forth with the people of the same . Mean while the real media business [motion picture industry] churns out media for every one to see and feel – including readers of frontpage and so many other good info sites – conclusion – frontpage and all the others lose , and america loses with it , the deceived and the clued in , all lose . The left uses money far more effectively with one film then all the frontpages put together , and they get paid way more …

  • AnOrdinaryMan

    Redford attends the Sundance film festival every year. This is a popular meeting place for those who don't like the U.S., and whose films and other works reflect their negative views. To be fair, Redford did make one or two good movies; Jeremiah Johnson(1972), and The Natural(1984); but I strongly doubt whether he believes in the values that made the protagonists in these films appealing characters. Like the post immediately above this one implies, film producers are in business to make money, and they're also most decidedly in the business of illusion. Redford is a propaganda artist–nothing more. Grathwohl's book sounds like a good one.

    • tagalog

      Remember, Redford's Jeremiah Johnson was antiwar, possibly a deserter from the Mexican War, and a greenie ("I've been to a town").

      The Redford character was also depicted as killing Indians who were innocent of killing his "wife" and "son," in surprise attacks in an extended killing spree, engaging in a murder campaign based on the character's assumption of collective tribal guilt.

      Against the Crows, who were the white man's most faithful ally among the Plains Indiians.

      • AnOrdinaryMan

        He wasn't a "greenie," just a frontiersman. There weren't any "greenies" in the 1840's; but just about all of the frontiersmen(including Daniel Boone and his friend, Simon Kenton) talked about civilization that way. You've also got to remember that among fur trappers and frontiersmen, survival was the foremost consideration. The Indians you refer to killed Johnson's friend, the one who played a joke on him by setting a grizzly after him. He did respect the Indians; because he was very reluctant to guide the army pack train through their hunting grounds, and their burial grounds. Don't impose 21st century notions on 19th century characters; that;s the worst sort of historicism.

        • tagalog

          That character was played by Will Geer and the character is still alive and kicking at the conclusion of the movie (Geer: "What you cooking there, pilgrim?" Johnson: "Why? Particular?" Geer: "You've come far"). So is the Del Gue character who rides into the sunset, hair intact, hollering about the Andes being foothills to the Rockies.

          The burial ground thing only depicts respect for the Indians in the sense that the Johnson character doesn't want the army pack train attacked by Indians irate at the alleged desecration of that place. It's not respect for their traditions; it's fear of attack. If he respected their traditions, he wouldn't have "trespassed." Besides, I question if Indians of the time, who were nomadic for the most part, ever had any burial ground of the type depicted. Deceased Indians tended to occupy solitary graves, not "graveyards." So I think that whole depiction is based on false assumptions and is a white man's fiction.

          Among the fur trappers, particularly among those of the Jeremiah Johnson period, the 1850s, survival was not the prime consideration. The fur trappers went on their trapping missions in brigades, not alone. Even in the mountain man heyday, in the 18-teens, 1820s and 1830s, the first consideration was getting as many prime pelts as possible so as to make as much money as possible. That's why they put their lives in jeopardy in the first place, for the profit. Furthermore, they traded with the Indians as friends more than they fought them as enemies. And that's why they did their trapping in the fall, for the thicker beaver coats. Those who wintered in the mountains often did so because they got trapped by early snow, not because they didn't want to go down to the settlements (where they could get whiskey, horses, new traps, ammo, and clothing made of fabric, not buckskin).

          Don't put 21st Century values of wanting to go into the wilderness for its own sake in place of what was really going on in the fur trade. Those who wintered in the mountains by choice often did so (like Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger, Joe Meek, Joseph Walker, and Osborn Russell) in order to explore new beaver trapping grounds or find shorter ways to civilization in California and the Spanish settlements in New Mexico and Arizona.

          I didn't impose 21st Century notions on the Jeremiah Johnson movie; I just looked at what Redford put in the story. They would have been 20th Century notions.

          So what about the antiwar and the deserter parts? Any comments on those claims?

  • Reader

    Ummm, it is fiction….

  • Jerry

    If you think the story about Larry Grathwohl is fiction, then your either dumber than a shovel handle or you just haven't been paying attention. I was in law enforcement at the time and I can tell you that what Mr. Grathwohl describes is the way it was. As far as Redford goes, his leftist ideology has ruined and otherwise remarkable career. Just remember when it comes to movie actors there's simply saying words that somebody else wrote. To put another way they are simply robots with a smile on their face. I wish Mr. Grathwohl the best of luck with his new book. I have had this gentleman on my radio show many times I will have him on in the future many more times. Sig Larry Grathwohl is an American hero. Signed: Jerry Pearce The Radio Detective.

  • Ozzy

    Somebody should smoke a joint at them!

  • Ghostwriter

    I doubt I'll be seeing that movie anytime soon.

    • RAS

      The thing that distresses me most are the legion of Lilly White Liberals and bleeding hearts, including many in the Jewish and Christian Faith, that glamorize and follow these radicals. I believe the Communist called them “Useful Idiots.” Having been close to many such in the sixties and seventies I can attest to the ugliness, cynical nature, and hypocrisy of the movement. Sneers and ridicule of typical American values, entertainment, and mores were the order of the day; not smiles and hope as claimed. Disrespect trumped virtue at every turn. And most of them thought that they were doing good; yeah. Good Grief!

  • DebbieOhio912

    I wonder how Redford feels about his former hero, Bob Woodward, who's now on Obama's sh*t list.

  • Brandon

    I saw the film tonight. I liked it. I suggest instead of whining about how liberal Redford and Hollywood is, you get off your funky derriers and make a film that speaks to the values you embrace. Or you could just keep whining on a website.

  • JGP

    I agree with Brandon: all you conservatives either put up about your values could make this country a truly equitable democracy (which it now is not) or shut up!

  • mtman2

    Where’s 60-Minutes, 20-20, History Channels, Military Channel,Bio, Nat-Geo, Disc, PBS, Dstam, Dateline, OWN,C-spans, TLC, TruTV along w/nBC-cBS+aBCw/etc’s = no story here! Should be in text-books!!!

  • zuzu

    Thanks for your review of The Company You Keep. Redford keeps company with elitist rich politicians and Hollywood actors who think they know better than most Americans how this country should be run, and that means ignoring the Constitution and laws under which we are governed.

    Having grown up in California and being in college in the early 70s I remember the unrest and terror brought to our cities by the Manson Family, Weather Underground, SLA, Black Panthers and other radical groups that now seem to be glorified by the media. Watching this movie tonight brought back feelings I had at the time of anger, disbelief and helplessness to stop people who were using tactics to create an atmosphere of fear in order to spread a message of “peace”. It didn’t make sense to me then, and this movie’s slanted excuse for behaviors that result in death, destruction of people’s lives and terrorist behavior still doesn’t make sense. Redford’s character, as a lawyer of 30 years, saying that the reason for his change of mind being that he’s grown up, instead of understanding that what they were doing was simply illegal, unlawful, and wrong, shows just of how wrong the premise of the movie is in the first place.

    No one growing up during the time of the 70s, especially in the areas of CA where these people were blowing things up and shooting people randomly, can watch this movie without knowing that the sympathy they are trying to garner for the characters and the “sacrifices” they had to make because of their early life decisions to stop the “genocide” brought about by the US government’s actions will be tricked into believing these people deserve sympathy. I’m glad I saw it for free on a friend’s tv. Besides that I also had to force myself to quit thinking about how wrong it was for Redford to get his facelift, which ruined the lovely look he used to have.