"The Oklahoma City Bombing and The Politics of Terror"
The image of Timothy McVeigh--the stone-faced killer--would fade in the wake of court appearances and media interviews, as Stephen Jones sought to portray his smiling and chiding client as the simple boy next door.
The enigmatic figure of Terry Nichols, however, would haunt public perception, as his attorney jealously guarded the mysterious, brooding figure from prying eyes.
It was the older, quiet, bespectacled Nichols, some theorized, who was the "brains" behind the bombing, guiding his young friend in the sinister and deadly plot.
Nichols' ex-wife, Lana Padilla, doesn't agree. "I believe that Terry bought his home, brought his family there truly, truly wanted to have a family and just get on with his life. I just don't think this man could have done this I just don't think with any knowledge he could have done this."(331)
Neighbors Bob and Sandy Papovich, long-time friends, wrote the press that Terry Nichols is a "kind, gentle, generous man absolutely incapable of violence." As Papovich told the author, "I've known Terry for over 15 years, and I've never heard this man utter the word "hell" or "damn". Terry doesn't want to hurt anybody. And all these people want me to believe that this man is capable of murdering hundreds of innocent people. It ain't possible."(332)
Terry Nichols told Federal Public Defender Steve Gradert, "Heck, I've got kids, too," in response to the bombing.(333) A peaceful person, Nichols reportedly loved children, including his son Josh, whom he maintained a close relationship with. One day, the astute thirteen-year-old told his mother he had to call the FBI. He was frantic. "I've got to tell them!"
"What do you got to tell them, Padilla asked?"
"I've got to tell them that my dad wouldn't do that. He loves children. He wouldn't do that to those children."(334)
Yet the press would paint Terry Nichols with the same broad brush that they had used to paint Timothy McVeigh--focusing on the fact that Nichols came from a broken home, had dropped out of college, worked a series of odd jobs, and was anti-government. Like McVeigh, the media, anti-militia activists, and scores of pseudo-experts would do their best to cast Nichols in the same extremist mold--a man, authorities claimed--capable of killing 169 innocent people
The third of four children, Terry Nichols grew up on a farm near Lapeer, Michigan. His father, Robert--quiet and soft-spoken--labored hard on the family's 160-acre farm. Like his son, he also worked a series of odd jobs, doing construction, selling encyclopedias, and putting in shifts at the Pontiac and Buick plants, in an effort to keep the family afloat in a county where farming had become less and less prosperous.
His mother Joyce was a sharp contrast. Hard-drinking, often violent with explosive fits of temper, she had once rammed Robert's tractor with her car, and had threatened the local sheriff with a chain-saw. After 24 years of difficult marriage, the couple finally divorced. Padilla said Terry took it hard.(335)
Nichols dreamed of going to medical school but his grades weren't good enough for most pre-med programs. He enrolled at Central Michigan University, but after his parents' divorce in 1974, he dropped out at the request of his mother, who needed help on the family farm in Decker. However, Nichols told friends he would never be a farmer.(336)
Yet, like McVeigh, Nichols was an intelligent man. He passed a difficult test for a securities license with a minimum of study and preparation, but told friends he was bored with college, which he found no more challenging than high-school.
While in Decker, Nichols met his first wife, Lana Padilla, and they married in 1981. Two years later, they had a baby boy, Joshua. Shortly thereafter, Padilla's sister Kelli married Terry's brother James, and the four lived together at James's Decker, Michigan farmhouse.
Not satisfied with farm life, Nichols tried a number of different occupations. He delved into penny stocks, went on to sell insurance and real estate, managed a grain elevator, and worked occasionally as a carpenter. Nothing held his interest.
"No matter what he tried to do, every time he tried to break away, he ended up back on the farm trying to help his mother and James," said Padilla.(337)
While Padilla devoted time to building her real estate career, Nichols cooked, cleaned house, and cared for the kids. Yet he grew increasingly restless and depressed.
"Terry got real down on life," said his father. "He didn't care what he had done . He lost his vitality."(338)
One afternoon Padilla brought home pamphlets from the local Army recruiting office, and laid them out on the table. When she came back, the pamphlets were gone. Like many men uncertain about their future, Nichols decided to try a career in the military.
"He was just searching for a career, something he enjoyed," Nichols' friend Sandy Papovich told the Dallas Morning News. "He thought he would like it."(339)
It was an unusual career move for a 32-year-old man with children. Yet Nichols hoped he would be able to rise quickly through the ranks, and Padilla thought the experience would strengthen Terry and save their marriage.
On May 24, 1988, Nichols was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training. "He said the government had made it impossible for him to make a living as a farmer," recalled assistant platoon leader Glen "Tex" Edwards. He hated the United States government. I thought it strange that a 32-year-old man would be complaining about the government, yet was now employed by the government. Nichols told me he signed up to pull his 20 years and get a retirement pension."(340)
Because of his age and maturity, Nichols was quickly made platoon leader. The obvious discrepancy in years earned him the nickname "Old Man."
"The drill sergeant said that because Nichols was older than the rest of us, he would hopefully be more mature and able to lead the younger guys in the unit. He also had some college background and came into the Army as a PFC," said Edwards.(341)
It was at Fort Benning that Nichols would meet Timothy McVeigh. The two men had enlisted on the same day. According to an account in the Post:
William "Dave" Dilly, who was McVeigh's roommate for about a year in the service, said McVeigh and Nichols "hit it off from the start, like Terry was his big brother. Tim was real frail and unsure of himself. Terry was the oldest guy and real sure of himself."
But the two men found they had a lot in common. McVeigh too came from a broken, blue-collar home and had an abiding interest in firearms and far-right politics. Both men fancied themselves as survivalists, and both loved to spend time on the rifle range. Both were looking for lifetime careers in the service. They quickly became friends.(342)
Another one of their friends was Michael Fortier, who joined Nichols and McVeigh at Fort Riley. The three would spend free time together, going fishing, shooting, and sharing their political beliefs.
Yet while McVeigh would rise quickly through the ranks, Nichols' Army career stalled. It seemed his platoon leadership status had been rescinded due to a prank he and McVeigh had pulled.
Around the same time, Padilla filed for divorce, and made plans to move her real estate business to Las Vegas. On May 15, 1989, after 11 months in the service, Nichols put in for a hardship discharge due to a "family emergency" that was never publicly explained. Yet it apparently had nothing to do with his divorce. He told Padilla it was to take care of his son Josh. As Padilla later wrote, Nichols already had Josh with him at Fort Riley, where the pair lived in a house off-base. As Padilla wrote in her book, By Blood Betrayed:
I've always wondered just why he was released, less than a year after enlisting, and have always been told it was because he had to take care of Josh. But this theory never washed with me because he'd had Josh with him all along. I really believe that Josh was just a convenient excuse and that Terry had become disillusioned with the Army because he believed he would never rise through the ranks.(343)
Perhaps Nichols' "hardship discharge" was similar to Lee Harvey Oswald's "hardship discharge" from the Marines that never was explained. And that of Thomas Martinez, the FBI infiltrator into the Silent Brotherhood (The Order), who was given an honorable discharge during basic training, which was never explained.(344)
Even more interesting is the parallel to McVeigh's discharge after "failing" his Special Forces try-out in April of 1991. McVeigh's sudden and mysterious departure from the Army, like Nichols', was never fully explained. As suggested previously, McVeigh's sudden decision leave a brilliant military career behind may have resulted from his being "sheep-dipped" as an intelligence operative.
Yet mainstream media psychojournalists insisted that Nichols' departure from the Army was nothing more than the inevitable result of a consistent string of life-long failures.
Glen "Tex" Edwards put a slightly different spin on the matter. Edwards said that shortly before he left the Army, Nichols invited him to be part of a "private army" he said he was creating. "He told me he would be coming back to Fort Riley to start his own military organization," recalled Edwards. "He said he could get any kind of weapon and any equipment he wanted."
Nichols also said he intended to recruit McVeigh, Fortier, and others. "I can't remember the name of his organization, but he seemed pretty serious about it," Edwards said, adding that he reported Nichols' offer to the FBI shortly after the bombing.
In spite of the flamboyant tales about recruiting a private army, Nichols returned to his old life in Michigan, working for a time as a carpenter, then moving back to the farmhouse in Decker. In spite of his short career in the Army, or perhaps because of it, Nichols developed a deep distrust of the Federal Government.
It was a feeling that was shared by his brother James, who, as a farmer, had suffered through the worst of the floods of the late '70s and early '80s, and blamed the Federal Government for failing to provide adequate disaster relief. Nichols, along with his Sanilac country neighbors, witnessed dozens of farm foreclosures as a result. It was the Federal Government's policies that led to the rise of such far-Right groups as the American Agricultural Movement and the anti-tax Posse Comitatus. As the Post writes:
Many residents around Decker said they share Terry and James's angry politics, but are less vocal because they fear government retribution. "Much of what the Nichols brothers believe is not that different or radical from what lots of people around here think," said local truck driver Jack Bean. "We feel our liberties and freedoms are being chipped away at and we want all this authority off our backs. The difference between the Nichols and others in this community is that they are just not afraid to say what they think, to challenge what is wrong."(345)
In spite of their differences, Terry and James had a lot in common. Both were fathers, had married sisters, and had suffered through difficult divorces. Both shared an ideological distrust of the Federal Government.
James studied the Constitution, Black's Law Dictionary and the Uniform Commercial Codes. He read the works of Jefferson and Paine and was particularly inspired by Jefferson's maxim, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." Perhaps not coincidentally, this passage was discovered in McVeigh's car upon his arrest. It would later be read into evidence at his trial.
Both Terry and James also held a view shared by many beleaguered farmers: that the Federal Reserve was not empowered to coin money, and that U.S. currency printed after 1930, when the nation went into debt, was valueless. Following the advice of financial books that warned of an imminent crash, the brothers put their money into precious metals such as silver and gold.
Yet their activities took still more dramatic turns. In 1990 James tried to renounce his citizenship, and plastered his car with anti-government and Second Amendment bumper stickers.
Terry purchased a pick-up truck and decided not to register it, instead, making his own tag and placing it on front. Both men renounced their driver's licenses.
In March of 1994, Terry sent a dramatic affidavit to the Evergreen Township claiming himself to be a "Non-Resident Alien" private citizen not bound by the laws of the U.S. government. (See Appendix) He also renounced his voting rights due to " total corruption in the entire political system from the local government on up through and including the president of the United States of America, George Bush."(346)
While he may have been right in principle, his activity was not condoned by the local authorities. In 1992, Chase Manhattan Bank went after Nichols for racking up $17,860 in unpaid credit card debts. The largely out-of-work farmer had spent over $35,000, using Chase and First Deposit National Bank cards, on farm equipment, personal effects, and airline tickets.
He attempted to pay off the debts with his own "Certified Fractional Reserve Check," a bogus check distributed widely among farmers by a group called Family Farm Preservation. He signed the check, "Explicitly reserving all my rights, Terry L. Nichols." He then sent the bank a letter retroactively revoking his signature from the credit card contract.
"There are two sides to that man, maybe many more," said Dennis Reid, a Sandusky, Mich., lawyer who has observed Nichols and his brother, James, during court proceedings in Michigan. "Jim to me I really expect is kind of a sissy. He was always shaking when he'd go into the courtroom and spout off," attorney Dennis Reid said. "Terry seemed to be more level-headed. He was still saying things that were strange, but he was certainly more cold and more calculating."(347)
Terry definitely didn't seem "level-headed" when he went to court to answer the lawsuit by Chase. He refused to come before the bench, shouting to Judge Donald Teeple from the back of the room that the court had no jurisdiction over him. During the hearing, the bitter and sarcastic defendant accused the bank of fraud. "They knowingly and willingly know how to make credit out of nothing and make interest on it and actually steal people's hard earned money," he told the Judge. "They gave me valueless nothing for something they want to take from me that has value. That's not right, is it?"
He claimed to have determined that the bank's business was based upon "fraud and misrepresentation, collusion, color of law, conspiracy, enticement, inducement, seduction, duress, coercion, mistake [and] bankruptcy," and he filed a counterclaim against First Deposit and its attorneys for $50,000 or 14,200 ounces of silver. Nichols charged the bank with "mental and emotional damage, loss of happiness and the unjust destroying of credit history by wanton acts when no probable cause existed."(348)
The judge was not impressed. He accused Nichols of playing with words and ordered him to pay the debt. Nichols didn't pay.
When FBI agents questioned Lana Padilla after Nichols' arrest, they asked her a curious question: Did Nichols ever dye his hair? The Bureau had been investigating a string of bank robberies throughout the Midwest. One of the robbers had dyed his hair, and was Nichols height and weight.
The group, known as the Midwest Bank Bandits, had robbed over a quarter-of-a-million dollars from more than 22 banks between January, 1994 and December, 1995 in a spree that took them across six states, including Kansas. The bandits were tied to a group of men who made their temporary home at Elohim City, a far-Right religious compound in Southeastern Oklahoma. McVeigh and his friend Michael Fortier were known to have visited the compound. Some of the men were also seen in Kansas with the bombing defendants. (See Chapter 4)
If the FBI's question came as a shock to Padilla, she would turn pale when she opened her ex-husband's storage locker on December 15, 1994, and discovered wigs, masks, and pantyhose. The Mid-West Bank Bandits had worn masks.
Could Nichols have been robbing banks? "Not the Terry I knew," said Padilla. "I was just speculating, but everything that has come out about that side of Terry was a total maybe I just turned my face and never noticed it, never wanted to notice it, but I never thought of him of course I never would have thought of him sleeping with a gun under him either."(349)
Yet considering Nichols' hatred of banks and his rallying cry against the monetary system, it would not be too far-fetched a scenario. Such speculation is bolstered by the fact that McVeigh sent his sister a letter in December of '93 informing her that he was part of a group that had been robbing banks. Although he himself didn't admit to taking part in any of the robberies, he asked her to "launder" three $100 bills that "they" had stolen.
McVeigh returned to Decker, Michigan in the Spring of 1993 to see his old Army friend Nichols. Just back from Waco, where he had witnessed the carnage inflicted upon the Branch Davidians, McVeigh was instilled with a new sense of urgency and rage. At the Nichols farm, he would find like-minded souls who shared his frustration.
By the Fall of '93, McVeigh was living at the farmhouse, helping with the chores, and reportedly urging the Nichols brothers onto more militant activities. The men practiced target shooting and setting off small bombs on the property.
"You know how little boys like to play with things that blow up?" recalled [neighbor Phil] Morawski. "That was what they were like. And everything they mixed out there in the cornfields seemed to work."
The government would focus heavily on this activity later on.
According to Michigan Militia members, the Nichols brothers also began attending meetings, but the militia found their rhetoric too strong. Michigan Militia member John Simpson recalled: "Terry came to one of our meetings and wanted to talk about a tax revolt, having to have a drivers license and eliminating the government. We did not believe in his tactics--particularly the stuff about a revolt."(350) James reportedly talked about the "necessity" of taking on police officers, judges and lawyers. Apparently, McVeigh accompanied Nichols to some of the meetings.
According to Time magazine, McVeigh and the Nichols brothers went on to organize their own militia:
the three men formed their own cell of the "Patriots," a self-styled paramilitary group that James Nichols had been affiliated with since 1992 when he began attending meetings in a nearby town. The trio decided to recruit members and establish other cells around the area, but determined that for security reasons no unit should grow larger than eight members.(351)
If this account is accurate, it would tend to jive with what Nichols told Army buddy Glen "Tex" Edwards about "recruiting" his own private army. Perhaps one of Nichols' recruits was Craig O'Shea, who lived just off Highway 77 in Herrington. A friend of Nichols who was kicked out of the service, O'Shea used to work for Barbara Whittenberg, who owns the Sante Fe Trail Diner in Herrington. Whittenberg described O'Shea as a "demolitions expert," and said she saw him occasionally with Nichols. "He's a very violent man," said Whittenberg, who said O'Shea had once threatened to kill her and her husband.(352)
In March of '94, Nichols took a job at the Donahue ranch in Marion, Kansas.
Co-worker Tim Donahue recalled that Nichols worked long hours, sometimes six days a week, without complaint and appeared to enjoy his job, which he did well. Nichols would grouse about taxes and the government conspiring to seize people's firearms. One day when Nichols and Donahue were talking about the use of fertilizer in farming, Nichols mentioned that he knew how to make a bomb.(353)
Four months later, in August of '94, Nichols gave Donahue 30 days notice. His dream of setting up a private army metamorphosized into simply supplying that army. He told Donahue he was going into the army surplus business with a friend. On September 30, that friend--Timothy McVeigh--showed up to help him pack.
It was during this period that his ex-wife began picking up strange signals from her former husband.
Earlier in the month, he had called her from Kansas. "He was very upset," she said. "He was very emphatic. He talked about Waco and that shooting at the White House (where a Colorado Springs man fired a gun toward the White House). He said, 'You know, that guy wasn't all wrong. There's going to be some civil unrest in this country.'"(354)
During one of his frequent visits to Padilla's house in Las Vegas, Nichols displayed his Glock .45. "I never knew him to carry a gun," Padilla told the Denver Post. "He liked guns and collected them, but this was new. He acted like he was afraid for his life. He slept with it on."(355)
Traveling the gun show circuit with McVeigh, Nichols was now a virtual nomad, living out of his pick-up. His few remaining possessions were stored in a locker in Las Vegas. He also told Padilla that he was he was switching the beneficiary of his life insurance policy from her to his new wife, Marife.
A 17-year-old Filipino mail-order bride, Marife Torres met Nichols through Paradise Shelton Tours, of Scottsdale, Arizona. The young woman looked forward to leaving her life of poverty in Cebu City, Philippines, where the unemployment rate often topped 40 percent. After a year of exchanging heartfelt letters, they married on November 20, 1990 in a small restaurant in Cebu City. Yet it took over four months of bureaucratic hassles and red tape to arrange Marife's entry into the U.S.
"That one episode soured Terry on government," his father recalled. "He originally told me it would take six weeks for her to come here but it was red tape, red tape, red tape."
At first the newlyweds tried life on the Decker farm, where Jason, Marife's son by a former boyfriend, was born on September 21, 1991. Yet Marife found herself "working like a maid," cooking and cleaning for "three husbands," Terry, James, and Tim, who often stayed at the house. She wrote her friend Vilma Eulenberg that she thought the place was haunted, and resented McVeigh, who she thought was a bad influence on her husband.
The couple eventually moved to warm, sunny Las Vegas, but Marife missed her Philippine home. To accommodate his new wife, Nichols moved to Cebu City. But the noise, heat and smog was too much for him, and in mid-1993, after barely a month in the Philippines, they moved back to the States, shuttling back and forth between Michigan and Nevada.
Nicole, their first common child, was born on August 1, 1993.
Two months later, on November 22, tragedy struck, when 26-month-old Jason accidentally suffocated to death in a plastic bag. While Marife wondered if Terry was capable of killing a child, Padilla assured her he was not, then hinted darkly in her book that McVeigh may have been responsible for the death.She neglected to mention the fact that McVeigh and James had tried to revive the youngster for nearly half-an-hour, then called the paramedics.
A month later, the couple moved to Las Vegas, where they rented a condominium for $550 a month. It was during this period that Marife began traveling to the Philippines to finish her physical therapy degree. According to Padilla, Terry also traveled to the Philippines about four times a year over a four year period. She wrote that he sometimes traveled to Cebu City without taking Marife, whom he occasionally left behind.
"Sometimes he went when Marife was in Kansas. It didn't make sense, but I never asked why."(356)
Padilla subsequently told me in July of 1996, "I have not known him to leave her here and just go to the Philippines. If he made a trip by himself, it was because she was already there."(357)
Whichever account is true, Nichols did travel to Cebu City in late November to meet with "potential business partners." According to Padilla, Nichols was making arrangements to bring back "butterflies."
"One time he brought back butterflies--little butterflies that they make over there--he brought them back here to sell."(358)
Butterflies. Curious merchandise for a man trying to set himself up in the military surplus business.(359)*
Then on November 22, 1994 Nichols made a final visit to the Philippines to visit Marife. His parting words to Josh left the 12-year old convinced he was never going to see his dad again. As he got into the car with Padilla after dropping his father off at the airport, he started crying.
"What's the matter?" Padilla asked.
"I'm never going to see my dad again. I'm never going to see my dad again."
"Of course you will," Padilla said reassuringly. "He's gone to the Philippines a lot of times. You know he always comes back."
"This time is different," he blurted through big tears.(360)
Nichols called his ex-wife from Los Angeles several hours later. "Had a little excitement at the airport after you left," he said, laughing. He told Padilla that airport security had stopped him for trying to sneak a pair of stun guns through the metal detector. They called the cop on duty who ran Nichols' name through the computer. Although he had several outstanding traffic warrants, the police let him continue on his way.
Just why was Nichols attempting to carry stun guns on an international flight? According to Bob Papovich, Terry was afraid of the high crime rate in poverty-stricken Cebu City. He also said that Nichols was afraid of Marife's ex-boyfriend. Jason, her son by this man, had died while in Nichols' custody. The ex-boyfriend had allegedly threatened to kill him should he return.
Yet Padilla doesn't think the story is credible. "I think it's something they dreamed up," she said. Yet upon his return he told Padilla that he could get "killed down there" and he was never going back.(361)
Obviously, somebody was out to hurt Terry Nichols, possibly kill him. When he departed for Cebu City, he left a mysterious package for his ex-wife, saying, "If I'm not back in 60 days, open it and follow the instructions." At first, Padilla did as she was told. But her instincts eventually took over.
"I was uneasy about his warning, and Josh's, 'I'll never see my dad again' kept echoing in my brain."(362)
Padilla had secured the package in her office safe. Now she slipped quietly into the conference room, opened the lock, and laid the mysterious brown paper bag on the table. It stared ominously back at her. As she ripped it open, nearly a dozen keys slid out onto the table. She didn't recognize any of them.
There was Terry's life insurance policy with a note saying he had changed the beneficiary from her to Marife, and two handwritten lists saying "Read and Do Immediately." One of the lists directed her to a storage locker in Las Vegas:
All items in storage are for Joshua. The round items are his when he turns 21, all else now.
The note also instructed her to remove a small plastic bag taped behind a utensil drawer in Nichols' kitchen:
All items in plastic bag are to be sent to Marife, for Nicole, if for any reason my life insurance doesn't pay her. Otherwise, half goes to Josh and half to Marife.
She removed a letter to McVeigh's sister, Jennifer. Inside the letter to Jennifer was another one stamped and addressed to McVeigh:
If you should receive this letter, then clear everything out of CG 37 by 01 Feb 95 or pay to keep it longer, under Ted Parker of Decker. This letter has been written & sealed before I left (21 Nov 94) and being mailed by Lana as per my instructions to her in writing. This is all she knows. It would be a good idea to write or call her to verify things. [address redacted] Just ask for Lana (card enclosed). Your on your own. Go for it!!
Also Liquidate 40
At the bottom it read, "As far as I know, this letter would be for the purpose of my death."
"Why would he write that letter?" asked Padilla. "He has been there so many times. Never--ever, has he written a letter like that. Never--ever."(363)
Two weeks later, on December 15, Padilla and her oldest son, Barry, drove to Nichols' apartment. Following Nichols' instructions, Barry reached behind the kitchen drawer and pulled out a plastic bag. It was crammed full of twenties and hundreds--a total of $20,000 cash.
Already in a state of shock, the pair drove to the AAAABCO storage facility and nervously fumbled with the lock. They were stunned when they opened the door.
there were wigs, masks, panty hose, freeze-dried food, and various gold coins (obviously the "round" objects for Josh), along with gold bars and silver bullion stacked neatly in boxes. There were also some small green stones that appeared to be jade. I estimated at least $60,000 street value in precious metals!(364)
There was also a large ring with what appeared to be safe deposit box keys.
Two months later, on January 16, Nichols returned from the Philippines, alive and well. "Where's the package?" he asked Padilla.
"I opened it," she stated boldly.
"Why?!" he exclaimed. "You betrayed my trust. I told you not to open it for sixty days."
"Because I was frightened. I thought something terrible had happened to you. I thought you were dead. And where did you get all that money?"
The couple then argued over finances, but Nichols wouldn't explain the mysterious letters, or where he had gotten the cash, the gold, and the safe deposit box keys. She didn't ask about the wigs, the masks, and the pantyhose, and he didn't tell her. But she was worried nonetheless.
"I think those letters were written because there is somebody bigger than any of us will ever know involved in this," said Padilla. "Why did he change his beneficiary on his life insurance? It wasn't because her boyfriend might take a pot-shot at him and then he said in that letter not to say a word to Josh until it's all taken care of what the hell is he talking about? It isn't the boyfriend."(365)
If the boyfriend story is untrue, perhaps Nichols' "butterfly" partners were out to get him.
Or perhaps it was someone else, someone bigger and more dangerous. Such players aren't hard to come by in Cebu City, home to a number of terrorists groups such as the Liberation Army of the Philippines, the Communist Huk, and the Abu Sayyaf, an organization with close ties to the Mujahadeen and World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef.
Was Nichols meeting with terrorists in the Philippines? Incredibly, FBI 302 reports and investigations conducted by McVeigh's defense team indicate that Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah, and several other terrorists met in Davao, on the Island of Mindanao, in late 1992 or early 1993, to discuss the Oklahoma City bombing plot.
One of the men at the meeting, recalled an Abu Sayyaf leader, introduced himself as "a farmer."(366)
When the "farmer" returned from his November, 1994 trip, and discovered that Padilla had opened the package and read the letter, he turned "white as a ghost," then immediately began making a series of desperate calls to a boarding house in Cebu City.
Curiously, Nichols would call his party, have a brief 34-second conversation, then hang up and immediately redial the number 14 consecutive times, letting it ring each time. This he repeated on January 31, with nine calls and one 14-minute conversation; then on February 14 he placed 22 calls within a 40-minute time-period, with one 23-minute conversation; then on the 28th he made 31 calls within three hours, with no conversations; then finally on March 7 and 14 he made two calls, speaking 24 minutes each.(367)
Since Nichols didn't time-out these consecutive calls (as one would tend to do if there was no answer or the line were busy), but made one call right after the other, is it possible he was sending some sort of signal or code?(368)
Helen Malaluan, who runs the boarding house, told me Nichols was probably trying to reach Marife, who she said was staying there at the time. Her brother Ernesto also said that boarders from the island of Mindanao often stayed at the house. The Abu Sayyaf, coincidentally, is headquartered in Mindanao. Was Nichols using Marife to send a message to someone else?
In February of '95, Terry and Marife moved to Herrington, Kansas, where Nichols purchased a modest home for $25,000.
"We all thought he was just a little bit different," Herrington real estate agent Georgia Rucker said. "We had to pry any information out of him."(369)
In Herrington, Nichols appeared to settle down. He attended army surplus auctions at nearby Fort Riley and tried to make a living selling army surplus gear.
"He spent the morning of April 19, around Herrington, picking up business cards, registering his truck with the state, and calling on a couple of local shops, asking about their interest in buying government surplus," said Padilla. "Those are not the actions of a guilty man."(370)
But are they?
On September 30, the same day that Nichols quit the Donahue ranch, someone using the name "Mike Havens" purchased 40 50-pound bags of ammonium-nitrate from the Mid-Kansas Co-op in McPhearson. Although employees never positively identified Nichols as the customer, a receipt with McVeigh's fingerprint was found in Nichols' home. The FBI asserts that the fertilizer was kept in a storage shed in nearby Herrington, rented by Nichols under the alias "Shawn Rivers."(371)
Then, that same weekend, 299 dynamite sticks, 544 blasting caps, detonator cord, and a quantity of an explosive called Tovex were stolen from the Martin Marietta Aggregates rock quarry just north of Marion. Marion County Sheriff Ed Davies testified at McVeigh's trial that he found metal shavings and tumblers on the ground in front of the magazines. FBI Agent James Cadigal, an FBI firearms and tool marks identification specialist, said that a drill bit in Nichols' home matched the signature of the hole drilled into the lock.
Finally, Lori Fortier, Michael Fortier's wife, testified that McVeigh told them that he and Nichols had broken into the quarry.(372)
On October 18, 1994, 40 additional 50-pound bags of ammonium-nitrate were purchased from the Mid-Kansas Co-op by "Havens." Havens was reportedly driving a dark-colored pickup with a light-colored camper top--the kind owned by Terry Nichols. (Another version of the story has a red trailer attached to the truck, which didn't appear to be Nichols') The FBI believed the fertilizer was stored in a locker in Council Grove--number 40--rented the previous day by "Joe Kyle." This apparently was the "liquidate 40" that Nichols referred to in his mysterious note to McVeigh.
Jennifer McVeigh later testified that when her brother visited Lockport in November of '94, he confided to her that he had been driving around with 1,000 pounds of explosives. Could these "explosives" have been the ammonium-nitrate purchased at the Mid-Kansas Co-op?
Then on November 5, 1994, several masked men robbed gun dealer Roger Moore. The 60-year-old Moore was surprised by two men carrying shotguns, wearing camouflage fatigues and black ski masks, who bound him with duct tape. They proceeded to ransack his house, making off with a large collection of weapons, plus a number of gold and silver bars, and a safe deposit box key.
Interestingly, Moore (AKA: Bob Anderson) knew McVeigh, who once stayed at his house. Moore had met McVeigh at a gun show in Florida in 1995.
For his part, McVeigh had a solid alibi. He was in Kent, Ohio on November 5, at a gun show. Yet after the bombing, Fortier reportedly told the FBI that McVeigh called him after the robbery and said, "Nichols got Bob!" Some of the guns were later pawned by Fortier at the behest of McVeigh, according to the FBI, which contends that the proceeds were used to finance the bombing.
Interestingly, Nichols was seen in Sedalia, Missouri on February 10 and 11, the same weekend that gun dealer William Mueller was robbed. Mueller's Tilly, Arkansas home, 150 miles south of Sedalia, was burglarized of $40,000 worth of silver coins, gun parts, survival gear, and 30 cases of ammunition.
What makes this even more interesting is that Nichols had checked into the Motel Memory the evening of February 10, after a long drive from Kansas, telling owner Phillip Shaw he was there for the gun show. Yet Nichols had missed the first day of the two-day show.
The next morning, while Nichols was apparently at the show, Shaw's wife Betty opened his room and saw dozens of boxes of ammunition scattered across the floor. The presence of such a large quantity of ammunition puzzled local investigators, who knew there was too small a profit margin in legally-purchased ammo for gun show dealers to bother messing with it. Moreover, if Nichols had planned on selling the ammunition, why had he left so much of it in his room?
Tragically, Mueller, his wife, and their 8-year-old daughter, Sarah, were found murdered on June 28, 1996. Their bodies were by pulled from the Illinois Bayou after a fisherman discovered a portion of a leg. The family had been handcuffed, their heads covered with plastic bags wrapped with duct tape. They were found in 20 feet of water, tied to a heavy rock.
Unaccounted for was some $50,000 the Arkansas Gazette reported the Muellers were believed to have received only days before they disappeared.
While Timothy McVeigh had known Roger Moore, his friend Michael Brescia, and his friend and roommate Andy Strassmeir had met Bill Mueller at a Fort Smith, Arkansas gun show earlier that year. As reported in the McCurtain Gazette:
Mueller then told [Gene] Wergis that he remembered the two because he believed they might be connected with his home's burglary--or even the ATF. Wergis also reported that Mueller showed him a spiral notebook where the exhibitor had gone so far--so great was his concern--as to write down the two men's names.(373)
Both Brescia and Strassmeir, who also knew McVeigh, lived at Elohim City, the white separatist compound near Muldrow, Oklahoma. Two other part-time residents of Elohim City, 24 year-old Chevie Kehoe and his brother Cheyne, opened fired on police during a traffic stop in February of '97. The pair was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Little Rock on murder, racketeering and conspiracy charges, stemming from the Mueller murder.
Guns stolen from the Muellers wound up at a Spokane, Washington motel. The manager told the FBI that he is 75 percent certain that McVeigh visited his motel in late '94 or early '95 when Chevie Kehoe was living there. He said that Kehoe showed up 45 minutes before the April 19 bombing with a request to watch CNN, and seemed elated when he learned of the tragedy.(374)
Michael Brescia was later arrested for his alleged role in the robbery of a Madison, Wisconsin bank--part of the string of robberies committed by the Mid-West Bank Bandits. As previously mentioned, some of the robbers made their temporary homes at Elohim City.
After the bombing, the FBI questioned Padilla about the items found in Nichols' home and storage lockers. Among those items were large quantities of ammunition and a safe deposit box key belonging to Roger Moore. As of this writing it is not known whether the FBI traced the ammo to Mueller.
Also found in Nichols' home, according to ATF Agent Larry Tongate, were 33 firearms, five roles of 60-foot Primadet detonator cord, non-electric blasting caps, containers of ammonium-nitrate, a fuel-meter, and four 55-gallon blue and white plastic drums.
Not exactly the everyday stuff of an ordinary guy from a small town in Kansas.
Similar items were found in James Nichols' farm, including blasting caps, safety fuses, ammonium-nitrate, and diesel fuel. Nichols, who was taken into custody the same day as his brother, denied any wrongdoing, and authorities dropped all charges. As for his brother, he commented, "My gut feeling. I didn't do anything. He didn't do anything." When asked by a reporter, "How about Timothy McVeigh? he replied, "I want to see some facts."
Yet the facts against Terry seemed to be piling up.
On April 15, 1995, Barbara Whittenberg served breakfast to three men at the Sante Fe Trail Diner: Terry Nichols, Tim McVeigh, and a third man with dark features. She also recalled seeing a Ryder truck outside, and asked the men where they were headed. Suddenly, she said, it was "as if ice water was thrown on the conversation."(375)
The men left before 7:00 a.m. Later that afternoon, as Whittenberg and her son were driving to nearby Junction City, they saw the truck parked at Geary State Fishing Lake--where authorities originally claimed the bomb was mixed. The truck was still there when they drove past around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. Whittenberg's son recalled seeing three men along with what he described as a Thunderbird with Arizona tags.
Later that day Nichols visited a Conoco station in Manhattan, Kansas, and a Coastal Mart in Junction City, and bought over 30 gallons of diesel fuel. Nichols' pick-up has a diesel motor, according to his brother, and Nichols' had been a regular diesel customer for over two months prior to the bombing, according to Shan Woods of Klepper Oil Co., purchasing between $20 to $30 worth of diesel fuel "two or three times a week." Receipts were again found in his home.(376)
The next day, Nichols purchased an additional 21 gallons from the Junction City Conoco station.
Then, on the evening of April 17, 1995, a Ryder truck was seen parked behind Nichols Herrington home. A Ryder truck was seen that same week backed up to a storage shed that Nichols rented.
On the morning of the 18th, several witnesses again saw the Ryder truck parked at Geary Lake. Parked next to appeared to be Nichols' pick-up. When the FBI subsequently inspected the area, they allegedly recovered bits of ammonium-nitrate and strands of detonator cord, and saw signs of diesel fuel.
That same day, or possibly the day before, a convoy pulled in for gas at the Easy Mart in Newkirk, 100 miles north of Oklahoma City. It was a Ryder truck accompanied by a blue pick-up with a camper top. Manager Jerri-Lynn Backhous recalled seeing three men. The passenger in the pick-up was dark skinned with black hair, average height, and had a "real muscular build," she said. He was wearing a t-shirt and sun-glasses, and "looked just like the John Doe 2 sketch."(377)
Backhous also saw a reflection of the person in the Ryder truck. He was a short man with close cropped, dark hair and glasses, she said. Employee Dorinda J. "Wendy" Hermes waited on the third man--Terry Lynn Nichols--who came into the store and bought food for the others. Hermes particularly recalled Nichols' pick-up. "It caught me funny because it had street tires on it, but it was all muddy," she said.(378)
But perhaps most interesting was the recollection of Nichols' son Josh, who accompanied McVeigh and his father on the ride back to Kansas that Sunday. McVeigh asserts that he called Nichols from Oklahoma City because his car had broken down, and asked Nichols to pick him up. On the way back, according to Josh, McVeigh made his infamously cryptic remark: "Something big is going to happen."
Nichols reportedly asked him, What, are you going to rob a bank?"
"Something big is going to happen," McVeigh stoically replied.
A curious statement. If McVeigh and Nichols had conspired to bomb the Murrah Building, wouldn't Nichols already know that "something big" was going to happen?
Or was the statement invented by Nichols to exculpate himself from the plot in the eyes of investigators? Given the fact that the statement was relayed to the FBI by Nichols' 12-year-old son, this seems unlikely.
And if Nichols was involved in the plot, there is evidence that in November of '94 he wanted out. Among the documents prosecutors handed over to the defense is testimony from Lori Fortier that McVeigh began to solicit help from her husband because Nichols was "expressing reluctance."
It should be noted however that the FBI and the "Justice" Department is infamous for framing people, and they brought enormous pressure on the Fortiers, threatening them with knowledge of a terrorist plot, weapons violations and other charges if they did not testify against Nichols and McVeigh. Federal prosecutors subsequently coached Lori Fortier heavily before McVeigh's trial, having her practice her testimony in two mock trials.
Yet if Nichols had no involvement in the plot, what was he doing with large quantities of ammonium-nitrate, blasting caps, detonator cord, and a collection of 55-gallon drums? Why the purchases of diesel fuel? Were these items planted by the FBI?
If Nichols was involved in the bombing, why didn't he make any attempt to hide or dispose of these incriminating items before April 19, or even by the 22nd? Why would a man,who had allegedly just blown up a building, killing 169 people, plainly leave a receipt for the so-called bomb ingredient in his kitchen drawer?
In fact, Nichols didn't attempt to hide any of these items, before he casually walked into the local police station on April 22, after hearing his name on TV. Such do not seem like the actions of an intelligent, calculating, cold-blooded killer.
But, then there were the mysterious trips to the Philippines. Those trips, and Nichols' clandestine meetings with some mysterious players in Las Vegas, would begin to intrigue a handful of journalists and investigators, as the Oklahoma City bombing plot took them down an even darker and more insidious road.
Authorities have postulated that McVeigh's "obsession with Waco," and Nichols' hatred of the Federal Government were the driving forces that led them to bomb the Federal Building. Their alleged association with militias and other paramilitary groups, authorities claimed, was the key influence that guided them along their sinister path to their final, vicious act of revenge.
These numerous pseudo-experts also theorized that McVeigh himself was inspired by the Turner Diaries, written by former physics professor William Pierce. In this fictionalized account of white race-warriors' overthrow of the Zionist Occupational Government (ZOG), the "heroes" demolish the FBI building in Washington, D.C. with a fertilizer bomb at precisely 9:00 a.m.
The idea for bombing a federal facility is hardly new. In the mid-1970s Oklahoma resident Harawese Moore was convicted of planting an incendiary device outside both the Federal Courthouse and the Alfred P. Murrah Building--a case, coincidentally, defended by Stephen Jones.
In 1983, members of the Covenant, Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA), a white supremacist group based in northern Arkansas, planned to truck-bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Building. In 1988, former CSA leader James Ellison turned states' evidence and testified that CSA member Richard Wayne Snell and others had participated in the plot. Snell was bitter toward the government, Ellison claimed, because the IRS and FBI had seized his property.
Other defendants included Richard Girnt Butler, chief of the Aryan Nations; Robert E. Miles, a former Ku Klux Klansman; and Louis Beam, Jr., former Grand Dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan, and Aryan Nations "Ambassador at Large"--who led a campaign of terror against Vietnamese-American fisherman.(379)
Ellison, who fancied himself "King James," was surrounded at his CSA compound near the Missouri-Arkansas border on the prophetic date of April 19 (ten years to the day of the Oklahoma City bombing), leading to a four-day standoff against 200 heavily-armed agents. Ellison later testified at his sedition trial that at Snell's request, he had cased several buildings, including the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
"He took me to some of the buildings and asked me to go in the building and check the building out," Ellison said. According to his testimony, rocket launchers were to be "placed in a trailer or a van so that it could be driven up to a given spot, parked there, and a timed detonation device could be triggered so that the driver could walk away and leave the vehicle set in position and he would have time to clear the area before any of the rockets launched."(380)
Ellison would later deny this. Yet on October 22, 1996, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) played a clip of Ellison, where the former CSA leader admitted his involvement in the plot:
Ellison: ...Wayne Snell had been... had made a trip to Oklahoma City, and Wayne came back and told me about different buildings that he had seen, wanted to know if I would look at them with him sometime. And Steve talked to me and gave me a description of these buildings and asked me to design a rocket launcher that could be used to destroy these buildings from a distance... heavy, large buildings.
In the CBC piece, former CSA member Kerry Noble states: "I still look at things like this and realize how close we were, and, you know, that this could have been me having done this." The reformed Noble, now a critic of the militant extreme-Right, spoke openly about the plot with CBC's Trish Wood:
Noble: It was one of the targets that we had talked about at [the] CSA in '83. The day it happened, as soon as I heard it on the news, I said, the Right-wing's done it--they finally took that step.
Noble explained that the Murrah Building was a target because it was a low security complex that housed many different federal agencies. He said the plotters thought it would have more effect on the country "than if you did a building, say, in New York City or something."(381)
Wood: Do you think--and I know this is a guess--that Snell or Ellison told [Reverend Robert] Millar about the early plans to blow up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City?
Noble: I think that probably Millar knew that something major was going to happen. Now, whether he knew the exact details, chances are he probably did not, because he would not want to know specific details at first. But I think he knew something major was going to happen.
Ellison later settled at Elohim City at the behest of Millar, who claims to disavow the bombing. "If I knew something like that was taking place then or today," said the Christian Identity minister, "I'd do everything I could do to prevent it and, if necessary, call in government agents to help stop it."
While all 14 defendants in the original 1983 bombing plot were acquitted, Snell was executed on the ever-prophetic date of April 19, 1995, the very day that the Murrah Building was bombed. Snell was convicted of killing a black state trooper in 1984, and a pawn shop owner he thought was Jewish. While under arrest, Snell called himself a "prisoner of war," precisely what authorities claimed McVeigh said.
Before his death, Snell had time to watch scenes from the bombing on his jail-room TV. Millar, who was with the 64-year-old Snell during his final hours, said he was appalled at the destruction. Yet according to Arkansas prison official Alan Ables, "Snell chuckled and laughed as he watched television coverage of the Oklahoma City disaster."
Both Millar and Snell's wife contend that the convicted murderer was saddened by the bombing. Yet Noble thinks McVeigh was in some way inspired by Snell.
Wood: Did you ever think that it was a coincidence that Tim McVeigh--if, in fact, he did it--chose that building?
Noble: No, I don't think it's any coincidence. When you bring that into account with the declaration of war that we made, the pressure that the older leaders of the groups are putting on the younger followers to do something in a major way before they die--no, it's no coincidence.
Wood: How would McVeigh have known about the earlier plans for the Murrah Building?
Noble: It's very feasible and likely that he would have kept in communication with certain people and said... you know, then if somebody said, well, what would you recommend as a starting place--it's very likely he could have said, well, this is what we had picked out.
Interestingly, Ables told the Denver Post, "Snell repeatedly predicted that there would be a bombing or an explosion the day of his death."
Ables: A few days before the execution I began to hear things from the director, the wardens, just talk in the office, that strange things were going on, Snell was talking strangely, he was, you know, making statements that were a little scary catastrophic events, things were going to happen. This date, April 19th, was going to be something that the governor would regret perhaps.
Snell's parting words before leaving this Earth were, "Look over your shoulder, Governor, justice is coming. I wouldn't trade places with you or any of your cronies. Hell has victory. I am at peace."
Wood: Are those the ravings of a man about to be executed or are they the comments of a man with a plan?
Noble: I think a man with a plan, I think a man who is taking the satisfaction that his death may mean something after all and that it may be the catalyst that puts somebody over the line to do what he himself didn't get the chance to do.(382)
A similar bomb plot surfaced a year after the Oklahoma City bombing, when Richard Ray Lampley, 65, his wife Cecilia, and friend John Baird were convicted of a plot to bomb the ADL office in Houston, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, and various gay bars and abortion clinics. Lampley made his intentions known at one of Dennis Mahon's WAR meetings. A former Grand Imperial Dragon of the KKK, and number three man in WAR, the Tulsan was a frequent visitor to Lampley's place, and to Elohim City.
A self-proclaimed "Prophet of God," Lampley claims he was entrapped by Richard Schrum, an FBI informant. Schrum was sent by the Bureau to infiltrate the Oklahoma white separatist compound, but when he found nothing illegal there, he infiltrated Lampley's group instead.
According to defense attorneys, it was Schrum who ran the militia cell to which Lampley belonged, and threatened to leave when it appeared Lampley was wavering. "If anyone formed any kind of conspiracy, it was Richard Schrum," defense lawyer Mark Green said. Defense attorney Warren Gotcher backed up Green, stating "This conspiracy to build a bomb is totally on the orders of Richard Schrum." Schrum told Lampley that he had a brother in the Special Forces at Fort Bragg, NC, who would provide logistic support when the "New World Order" invasion came.(383)
The bomb, a mixture of homemade C-4, was supposed to tested at Elohim City.(384)
Whatever the reality of that case, it provides a unique insight into the characters and players of the white supremacist community of Southeastern Oklahoma--a community that drew to it like a magnet some of the key players of the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy.
Led by the 71-year-old Millar, Elohim City (Hebrew for "City of God") is a 1,100-acre Christian Identity compound near Muldrow, Oklahoma. Founded in 1973 by the Canadian-born Mennonite, the community is home to approximately 90 residents, about half of whom are direct descendants of Millar.
Christian Identity adherents believe that white Anglo-Saxons, not Jews, are God's chosen people, being descendants of the 12 lost tribes of Israel, and that America, not Israel, is the Promised Land. This sanctified doctrine also holds that Jews are the spawn of Satan, and non-whites are a "pre-Adamic," sub-species.
Only whites are the "true sovereign citizens" of the Republic, and all others are "Fourteenth Amendment citizens"--the creation of an illegitimate "ZOG." Believers of this odd mix of theology not only believe that the end times are near, but that a great messiah will arise to lead these "holy warriors" in a terrible final battle against the evil ZOG.
Those who monitor Right-wing extremist groups say Millar is probably the most influential Christian Identity leader in the Great Plains.(385) As Millar explained it:
"We are opposed to governmental misuse of tax money. We are opposed to some of the actions of government. We're not anti-government... Our people are all self-employed, and we all pay taxes. "We are racist," Millar said, "but we aren't anti-Semitic. I think it's better for races and cultures... to have relationships within their own ethnic group. That doesn't mean isolationism, but it means separatism."(386)
Yet the group does maintain connections to white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations, including WAR, the somewhat defunct CSA, and the violent but largely disbanded Order. The Christian Identity adherents also formed alliances with Richard Butler, Christian Identity "minister," and head of the Aryan Nations in Hayden Lake, Idaho. The Hayden Lake compound served as a nexus for white supremacist groups from all over the country, including the KKK, Posse Comitatus, William Pierce's National Alliance, and Robert Mathews' Order. It was Mathews' group, inspired by Pierce's Turner Diaries, that went on to commit a string of bank robberies, counterfeiting, bombings, and murder throughout the Mid- and Northwest in the 1980s.(387)
Amassing between $2 and $4 million from robberies and heists of armored cars, the group distributed the proceeds amongst the white supremacist movement. They also purchased land in northern Idaho for paramilitary training, but moved to northern Arkansas, linking up with the CSA when they found the harsh climate unsuitable for their purposes.
The Order's exploits came to an end in November of '84, when Mathews died in a shoot-out with police and federal agents on Whidby Island off the coast of Washington. It's members who managed to escape fled across the country, integrating themselves into different white supremacist groups, or went underground altogether.
Richard Lee Guthrie, Jr., the son of a CIA employee, who was discharged from the Navy for painting a swastika on the side of a ship and threatening superiors, his childhood friend Peter K. Langan, and Shawn Kenny, went on to form the nucleus of a group known as the Midwest Bank Bandits. The group stole more than $250,000 from 22 banks between January of '94 and December of '95 in a spree that led them across Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. The four-member group would often wear FBI jackets agents to taunt the Bureau, and create diversions to foil police, including leaving behind inert pipe-bombs to slow pursuit. The bandits even had a macabre sense of humor, wearing a Santa Claus suit during a hold-up around Christmas, and an Easter basket with a gold painted pipe-bomb left inside a bank in Des Moines.
"Wild Bill" Guthrie also admitted to a West Virginia sheriff that he had helped Butler's Aryan Nations raise another quarter million dollars through fraud. Both Guthrie and Langan were regular visitors to the Hayden Lake compound.
The seeds for the mens' dalliance with the paramilitary extreme-Right was sown in 1991, when Shawn Kenny, a friend of Langan and Guthrie, began discussing their plans to further the "cause."
Interestingly, the Secret Service recruited Langan as an informant in August of 1993 to keep an eye on his friend Guthrie, who had made threats against the lives of Presidents Clinton and Bush. Langan was released from his Georgia jail cell (where he was serving time for robbing a Pizza Hut with Guthrie) and set up in a house in Ohio, where he was to assist the Secret Service in locating his old friend. The deal soon went sour.
Secret Service Agent Dick Rathnell summed up the fiasco this way: "Our main interest was to find if there was an interest to harm the President or overthrow the government.... We didn't know they were these bank robbers."(388)
Langan went south on the Secret Service six weeks later, and soon located his old friend Guthrie. The two set themselves up in a safehouse in Pittsburg, Kansas, from which they were alleged to have launched their notorious crime spree.
In November of '94, Mark Thomas, the local Aryan Nations representative, united the two with others of their kind. Thomas' farm, located rather appropriately next to a toxic waste dump, has been the site of skin-head and neo-Nazi rallies such as White Pride Day and the annual Hitler Youth Festival, where participants enjoyed such wholesome activities as pagan rituals and cross burnings.
Thomas introduced the pair to Pennsylvania native Scott Stedeford, a rock musician and artist, and Kevin McCarthy, a bassist in a white-power band named "Day of the Sword." Thomas was instrumental in helping the men form an alliance which they would call the Aryan Republican Army (ARA).
Taking the moniker of "Commander Pedro," Langan became the group's leader. According to testimony provided by Kenny at Stedeford's trial, Langan boasted that the gang was modeled after The Order.
"Learn from Bob [Mathews]," Langan is heard saying on a home-made recruitment video. "Learn from his mistakes. Study your enemy. Study his methods."(389)
The Pennsylvania Posse Comitatus leader would also introduce Stedeford and McCarthy to Michael Brescia, a Philadelphia native and rock musician who would go on to form a speed metal band with McCarthy and Stedeford, called "Cyanide." The rock 'n roll bank robbers decided to recruit the 24-year-old La Salle University student after planning the heist of a large bank in Madison, Wisconsin, which the trio robbed on August 30, 1995.
The three men came to know "Grandpa Millar" at Elohim City courtesy of Thomas, and Brescia was soon engaged to Millar's granddaughter, Ester. Brescia wound up living at the reclusive compound for two years. It was there that he would meet his new roommate, Andreas Karl Strassmeir, the mysterious German who settled there in 1991. It was also at Elohim City that Brescia would meet Timothy McVeigh. As ATF informant Carol Elizabeth Howe recalled:
"Sometime before Christmas [of 1994] a lot of guys showed up at EC (Elohim City). One that I recall was Tim [McVeigh], who I only knew as Tim Tuttle. He was there with a guy who used the name Fontaine, a person I now recognize as Mike Fortier."
Referring to McVeigh, she said, "I never even spoke to him. He was considered a 'good soldier' by the members of the ARA, but not a leader; he was just someone you sent out on jobs, because he was reliable."(390)
Were McVeigh and Nichols involved in bank robberies? Had the robberies financed the bombing? It was a question that has disturbed Nichols' ex-wife Lana Padilla, who discovered masks, nylon stockings, and wigs in her former spouse's storage locker. Nichols was known as a vehement critic of the banking system, had been on the losing end of a large credit card lawsuit, and had declared the Federal Reserve corrupt.
McVeigh himself sent his sister Jennifer three $100 bills, telling her they were the proceeds from a bank robbery. While there was no proof that the pair had actually participated, authorities would ponder the significance of the associations. As the Gazette writes:
A reliable source familiar with the investigation confirmed that admitted co-conspirator Michael Fortier told the FBI that ex-army buddy Tim McVeigh said in February 1995 that he (McVeigh) was going to Colorado to join "The Order."(391)
Interestingly, what is not known is just where McVeigh was on the days immediately before and immediately after 11 of the robberies.
What is known is that Brescia, Strassmeir, and McVeigh became friends, attending gun shows, traveling the white supremacist circuit, and crashing high-school parties in Kansas, not far from Terry Nichols' house. Neighbors recalled seeing men who fit the general description of McVeigh and John Doe 2 at Nichols' Herrington home.
For his part, Strassmeir claims he'd "never been in Kansas," then admitted, " well, once, driving through."(392)
Catina Lawson's roommate, Lindsay Johnson, dated Brescia, and Lawson was close friends with McVeigh. Both she and Lawson recalled seeing Strassmeir, Brescia, McVeigh and Fortier at the Kansas parties around the Summer of '92. The young women allegedly referred to the handsome young Brescia as "Mike Breezy."
It is Brescia, some investigators claim, who is the mysterious John Doe 2 originally sought by the FBI. Bombing victim Glenn Wilburn, along with investigator J.D. Cash, learned of Brescia's relationship to Strassmeir and McVeigh after talking to people at Elohim City and others in the white supremacist underground. The family filed a $30 million lawsuit against McVeigh, which includes Strassmeir, and named Brescia as John Doe 2.
Robert Millar insists that Brescia, who is engaged to Millar's granddaughter, is not John Doe 2, but simply a "cleancut, college type boy."(393)
Yet several witnesses in Kansas claimed that Brescia closely matches the FBI's wanted sketch. Like John Doe 2, Brescia has a tattoo on his left arm. Curiously though, Brescia's tattoo is circular--a cross inside a wheel--the emblem of the Aryan Nations. The tattoo seen by Mike Moroz and other witnesses on John Doe 2 more closely resembled a dragon, an anchor, or a snake. But then again, according to numerous witnesses, there is more than one John Doe 2.
While Brescia's connection to Elohim City centered around his relationship with Ester, it was Strassmeir who was his roommate. A German national, the 38-year-old Strassmeir is the son of Günter Strassmeir, former Parliamentary Secretary of State to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Strassmeir's uncle is in the German parliament, and his brother Alexander sits on the Berlin City Council. Like Langan, Strassmeir's father also reportedly has connections to the CIA.
Andreas served as a lieutenant in the German Panzer Grenadiers (the equivalent of our Special Forces), had formal military intelligence training, and did a stint as a liaison officer with the Welsh Guards. He told the London Sunday Telegraph that part of his work was to detect infiltration by Warsaw Pact agents, and then feed them disinformation. "If we caught a guy, we'd offer him amnesty. We'd turn him and use him to feed false information back to the Warsaw Pact."(394) While Strassmeir would not admit it, it is reported that he is an agent for the German national anti-terrorist police, the GSG-9.(395)
"Andy the German," as he became known, arrived in the U.S. in May of 1991, without being documented by the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), and lived on a credit card provided by sources unknown. He soon became Elohim City's Director of Security.(396)
According to Strassmeir, his path crossed McVeigh's at a Tulsa gun show in April of '93. Strassmeir stopped by McVeigh's table and bought a few military souvenirs and discussed events at Waco. He then gave McVeigh his card bearing the inscription "Elohim City." In an interview in Soldier of Fortune, Strassmeir professed never to of heard of McVeigh, though he later recanted his story for the Telegraph.. "I met the guy once at a gun show," he said. "We spoke for five minutes, that's all."(397)
It would seem the relationship goes deeper than that however. Strassmeir reportedly met McVeigh again at the first anniversary of the Waco massacre in April of '94. And according to journalist William Jasper, sources close to the investigation revealed that McVeigh visited Elohim City on at least 20 occasions. Traffic records show McVeigh was stopped for speeding on October 12, 1993, two miles north of Cederville, Arkansas, less than 10 miles from Elohim City, on a remote road leading to the compound. ATF informant Carol Howe also recalled seeing McVeigh and Fortier at Elohim City during the winter of '94.
Yet possibly the most revealing connection surfaced in the form of two phone calls, one placed by McVeigh from the Imperial Motel in Kingman, Arizona to Strassmeir on April 5, just two weeks before the bombing. It was just minutes after McVeigh had allegedly called Junction City to reserve the Ryder truck. According to Millar's daughter-in-law Joan, who answered the phone, the caller asked to speak to "Andy." Andy wasn't in. McVeigh left a message saying, "Tell Andy I'll be coming through."
Robert Millar, Elohim City's "spiritual leader," claimed ignorance of McVeigh or the phone call.(398) He later recanted his story.
Then one day before the bombing, McVeigh called Strassmeir's U.S. attorney, Kirk Lyons, looking for Andy. Not finding him there, he engaged Lyon's assistant, Dave Holloway, in a 15-minute conversation about Waco, Lyons claims, and the need to "send a message to the government." It seemed McVeigh also needed to send a message to Strassmeir.
For his part Strassmeir claims McVeigh never visited Elohim City. "I don't know why McVeigh was trying to contact me," he said.
Catina Lawson, who was close friends with McVeigh for two years, remembers seeing Strassmeir at the Junction City parties. "He was just someone you'd see every once in a while," said Lawson, who, along with friends, would meet and party with the soldiers from nearby Fort Riley. "He was tall, skinny and pale, with crooked teeth and sunken eyes surrounded by dark circles. And he had this accent. "(399)
Larry Wild and his wife Kathy also recall seeing Strassmeir on one of their fishing trips to Cameron Springs Lake, near Fort Riley. The Wilds remember seeing Strassmeir with two other men with an old Ryder truck one week before the bombing. Just who those two other men were they couldn't say. Wild did recall speaking with Strassmeir though. "I said, 'Your dialect is really different. Are you a soldier?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'Do you work for the government?' He just kind of laughed."
Yet still more witnesses recall seeing the two men together. At least five dancers recall seeing McVeigh, Nichols, Brescia, and Strassmeir at Lady Godiva's, a strip joint in Tulsa, which the men visited on April 8, 1995. In an interview with CBC's Trish Wood, the dancers, who wish to remain anonymous, were "positive" of Strassmeir and McVeigh's presence just eleven days before the bombing:
Wood: You saw this man in here?
Wood: And how do you remember? What makes you remember seeing him in here that night?
Unidentified: From one of the girls. I just heard her say something about a couple of guys, there were a couple of weird guys, she wanted somebody to go sit with them.
As discussed earlier, McVeigh bragged to one of the girls that "something big" was going to happen. "On April 19, 1995, you'll remember me for the rest of your life," McVeigh said.(400)
Also present that night was an old, faded Ryder truck, seen by the bouncer. The truck appeared to be privately-owned, adding further proof that at least two trucks were used in the bombing. It was this truck which was seen by witnesses at Geary State Park, several days before authorities allege that McVeigh rented his. J.D. Cash speculates that McVeigh flew to Fort Smith from his motel room in Kingman on April 7 to pick up the truck and meet his comrades, then the men stopped by Tulsa on their way back to Kansas.
If they stopped by Tulsa, maybe it was to check out the Indian Territory Gun Show. It also might have been to meet Dennis Mahon. The WAR official, National Socialist Alliance (NSA) leader, and former KKK Imperial Grand Dragon traveled frequently to the reclusive compound where he kept a trailer, "to visit and fellowship and do some target shooting and military maneuvers," he said. Mahon was close friends with Brescia and Strassmeir, both of whom he "loved like brothers."(401)
In what may seem like an even more bizarre twist, Mahon claims he was funded by the Iraqis during the Gulf War. Like Order leader Robert Mathews, who was reportedly offered funding by the Syrians, Mahon received $100 a month, for a total of $4,800, from the Iraqis to stir up opposition to the Bush/UN-imposed sanctions. Mahon, operator of the Dial-a-Racist hot line, also produced several videotapes which he distributed to public access stations, expressing his dissenting view on the U.S. policy.(402)
Mahon started receiving Iraqi funds shortly after he began holding anti-war rallies, he said. " it's coming from the same zip code where the Iraqi Embassy is, but they don't say it's from the Iraqi Embassy."(403)
Jeff Steinberg, an investigator for the LaRouche Foundation, says such a scenario is not at all unusual. "This kind of stuff happened all the time," says Steinberg. "In the '70s, they had people who's job it was to show up at every sort of Left-wing rally."
Yet why would the Iraqis give money to an avowed white supremacist like Mahon? "Hatred of the Jews," says Stienberg. "Some low-level person at the embassy gives it out to these guys, and you'd be surprised at who they give it to--they're not that bright."(404)
In McVeigh's Petition for Writ of Mandamus, filed one week before McVeigh's trial, Stephen Jones made note of the fact that three members of the American Agricultural Movement also met with Iraqi officials. Their purpose was to work with the Iraqis to negotiate a peaceful withdraw from Kuwait. "We wanted to get a dialogue going and stop a shooting war," said one member. "As Americans, that's what we tried to do."(405)
Yet it seemed the meeting between the farmers and the Iraqi ambassador wasn't the only meeting that took place. Jones stated that Terry Nichols, who he refers to only as "Suspect I," made calls to two Kansas-based Posse Comitatus members--David Oliphant and Buddy Snead. Like Nichols, Snead is married to a Filipino woman. It is not known whether he met her through the same mail-order bride service as Nichols.(406)
A CIA source contacted by Jones indicated that two members of the Posse Comitatus (it is not known who) visited with an Iraqi diplomat in New York City around the same general time. While the author was unable to locate these two individuals to confirm the story, it is possible they met with the diplomat to express their horror over Bush's "Desert Massacre."
It is also possible that the Iraqis viewed the meeting as an opportunity to strengthen their ties to the white supremacist movement. As will be seen, collaboration between Arab states, Mid-East terrorists, and neo-Nazis is a long and well-documented one.
Unfortunately for Dennis Mahon, the Iraqis severed their ties with him after the bombing. " they cut me off, a month after the bombing--bastards!"(407)
It is also likely that Mahon, who traveled to Germany to recruit young skinheads for the KKK, may have met up with Michael Kühnen. A prominent neo-Nazi, Kühnen formed the Anti-Zionist League, which preached hatred of Jews, and sought to form a common bond between Nazis and their Arab brethren. Kühnen also negotiated with the Iraqis, providing them with 200 German, American and British skinheads to fight alongside Iraqi troops. There is reportedly a videotape of these storm troopers in S.S. uniforms being greeted by Iraqi Information Minister Abdel Lateef Jassem.(408)
Kühnen's successor, a name named Hubner, has connections to Kirk Lyons, Andreas Strassmeir's North Carolina-based attorney. Lyons also spoke with Hubner at meetings of the group "Deutsche Alternative." Like Mahon, Lyons traveled the German white supremacist circuit. Strassmeir and Mahon were close friends, until Mahon and his brother Dennis reportedly called Germany with orders to kill Strassmeir.
Another friend of Mahon's is Gary Lauck of Lincoln, Nebraska. The leader of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Worker's Party, Lauck wrote a 20-page manifesto entitled, "Strategy, Propaganda and Organization," about integrating worldwide extremist groups into a tight network, and "military education with terrorist aims." Lauck has reportedly had frequent contact with Arab terrorist groups according to McVeigh's defense counsel.
Finally, there is the Libyan government, widely reported to have funded both the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and U.S. citizens, including a Chicago street gang called the El Rukns--convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts throughout the U.S.
"Upon hearing that Louis Farrakhan had received $5 million from the Libyan government, the leader of the El Rukns actively sought sponsorship from Libya in exchange to an in-kind amount of money. Members of the El Rukns actually traveled to Libya to meet with military official of the Libyan government."(409)
Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI, or "Black Muslims"), carries forth a unique historical precedent. His predecessor, Elijah Muhammad, invited American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell to address an NOI rally on June 25, 1961 in Washington, D.C. There is a photo of Rockwell's Nazis in full regalia (including Swastika arm bands) seated in the front row, with the Black Muslims seated directly behind them.(410)
Rockwell appeared at an NOI rally in Chicago one year later, where he announced, "Elijah Muhammad is to the so-called Negro what Adolph Hitler was to the German people. "
In September of 1985, the NOI invited Tom Metzger, former Grand Dragon of the KKK and current leader of WAR to its forum in Ingelwood, California, and accepted a small financial contribution from the notorious white supremacist. Metzger declared that his alliance with the NOI was a "logical one: They want their territory and that's exactly what we want for them and for ourselves. They speak against the Jews and the oppressors in Washington."(411)
It therefore comes as no surprise that Libya funded the NOI to the tune of $5 million dollars. The motive behind Arab funding of Western racist and dissident groups was--and is--to forment revolution and destabilize the "Great Satan." Just as Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi serves as the inspiration behind many militant Black Muslims, so the IRA served as the spiritual inspiration behind the Aryan Republican Army, the group founded by Richard Guthrie and Peter Langan, which included Michael Brescia.
As Stephen Jones eloquently states, "These people are targeted because their ideological compass is preset against the Federal Government. Although the white supremacist community are diametrically opposed to that of Black Muslims, it is a well known fact that both share a common hatred for the Federal Government."
When the ARA was eventually disbanded, the FBI discovered an IRA terrorist manual called the "Green Book," literature on Ireland, Gaelic language tapes, Semtex explosives, a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, and 11 pipe bombs.(412) Semtex is normally used by Mid-East terrorists, usually being supplied by Russia, China and North Korea.
It seems the connection goes deeper. Dennis Mahon claims he actually provided advice to the IRA, encouraging them to murder "top British officers and police officials" but avoid killing civilians. That statement ties-in to others Mahon has made, including the idea of blowing up the Oklahoma Federal Building at night, when no one was around, and other methods which "are legitimate to save your nation."
It seems the IRA may have returned the favor. According to Carol Howe, the outlawed Irish resistance group supplied the detonator used in the Oklahoma City bombing. The author is not quite sure why the bombers would need to go to the IRA for a detonator, or exactly how such a connection would be arranged, but it seems rather dubious. Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) President Gerry Adams called the claim "preposterous rubbish."(413)
It may seem even more preposterous in light of the fact that Adams had won the political favoritism of President Clinton, having been the guest of honor at a recent White House reception.
Yet Howe alleged that Andreas Strassmeir was the key link between the ARA and the IRA. Interestingly, the Dublin Sunday Times reported on July 13, 1997 that Strassmeir has indeed associated with Sinn Fein:
Strassmeir moved to Dublin last February and is living in an apartment in the city owned by George Maybury, general secretary of the association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors. He has been working on construction sites and has attended Sinn Fein meetings and social events.(414)
Furthermore, federal informant Cary Gagan, who met with Jones after the bombing, told the author he met with an IRA bomb expert while in Mexico City, who instructed him on the use of timers. Gagan claims to have been deeply immersed in the Middle Eastern cell involved in the bombing. (See Chapter 5)
When FOX News reporter Rita Cosby asked Robert Millar if there was any Middle Eastern connection to Elohim City, he answered, "No, not that I can even dream of." Strassmeir likewise denied any Middle Eastern connection to the bombing in an interview with the author.(415) As of this writing, former ABC 20/20 investigator Roger Charles was checking a lead that Middle Eastern individuals were indeed trained at Elohim City. It has not yet been confirmed.
Just what Andreas Strassmeir was doing in the U.S. is not altogether clear. In a five-part interview in the Telegraph, Strassmeir said that he came to the U.S. in 1989 to work on a "special assignment" for the Justice Department. "I discussed the job when I was in Washington. I was hoping to work for the operations section of the DEA," he explained. "It never worked out."
The former German intelligence officer was recommended for these positions by Vincent Petruskie, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. Strassmeir told attorney Mike Johnston, who flew to Berlin to interview him, that Petruskie is "a former CIA guy who my father had known since he (Petruskie) was stationed in Berlin during the Cold War."
In an interview with New American editor William Jasper, Petruski denied any CIA connections:
As for the CIA connection, "That's totally wrong," insisted Petruskie. "I'm a retired Air Force officer, that's all." According to Petruskie, he was a special agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (OSI), and retired as a colonel after serving from 1954 to 1975. Was he a friend of Andreas' father? "I've never met his father; we've only spoken over the phone."(416)
How had Petruskie come to know the younger Strassmeir? Andreas arrived in the late 1980s with some other German lads for the reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg. The German visitors had authentic period uniforms, rifles, bayonets, etc. and an amazingly detailed knowledge of the battle. But they apparently had not done their homework concerning economic realities of contemporary America and so were short of cash for living accommodations and had no credit cards with which to rent a vehicle. That is when a mutual friend put them in touch with Petruskie, who put them up for a while at his home.
Strassmeir was "a mixed-up kid, a very immature 34-year-old when he came over here," recalled Petruskie. "Andy wanted to work for the U.S. government--DEA, Justice--undercover. [He] thought his background with military and German government would help. I explained he'd need a green card, education, and set him down with some people in Washington who explained that it wasn't that simple. I think he went down to South Carolina and then to Texas to go to school."(417)
In an interview with the Oklahoma Gazette, Petruski once again attempted to distance himself from Strassmeir. "This kid is what we would call a putz," he said.
An interesting description for a former intelligence officer and lieutenant in the elite Panzer Grenadiers.(418)
Petruski also claims that Strassmeir's job with the DEA "fell through." Is one seriously supposed to accept the premise that a man with Strassmeir's background, influence, and connections came to the U.S. on the off-chance of finding a job with the DEA? That he traveled all this way to run around playing toy soldier for a couple days? And that Petruski just "happened" to meet him at a battle reenactment at Gettysburg?
More likely, Gettysburg was a necessary cover-story to infiltrate Strassmeir into the country. Appearing to be a military enthusiast makes it easier to infiltrate the extreme-Right. And Petruski's tale about his DEA job falling through is a "limited hang-out," just enough information revealed to satisfy nosy journalists, with enough disinformation mixed in to steer them away from "unapproved" areas. And while Petruski said that Strassmeir never got a job with the DEA, he never said he didn't get a job with the ATF, FBI, or CIA.(419)
With his cover-story firmly in place, Strassmeir then "drifted" into the far-Right circles of the lunatic fringe, stopping long enough to pick an ordinary job as a computer salesman to further enhance his image as an innocent drifter.
"Andy the German" was now ready to infiltrate the neo-Nazi cliques of the far-Right. With his German background and accent, it was easy to convince white supremacists of his legitimacy. In 1991 he settled in Elohim City, where he established himself as Chief of Security and weapons training.
According to a report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Strassmeir trained platoon-sized groups consisting of 30 to 40 individuals from throughout the U.S. every three months at the reclusive compound. According to a law enforcement source interviewed by the McCurtain Gazette, they consisted primarily of members from the Aryan Nations, and included Timothy McVeigh.(420) As the Gazette reported:
"Strassmeir went out and replaced all our deer rifles with assault weapons," said [resident Zara] Patterson. "Next, he wanted us to start doing illegal stuff a lot of illegal stuff. I kept telling Andy that we were defensive here, and we didn't want any problems from the law. During the mid-'80s, we had a standoff with the feds. I told him to keep us out of trouble."(421)
Was Strassmeir attempting to infiltrate Elohim City? "If the agent penetrates the group," Strassmeir said in an interview with the author, "the first thing they do is try to sell them weapons." When asked if that wasn't exactly what he did, he replied, "I just advised them about weapons, as an experienced soldier. That's what I did for years and years. I was an infantry man--I just gave advice. But, I always obeyed the law." He then admitted that he "didn't know the law. I'd have to consult my lawyer."
According to information obtained by the Telegraph, Strassmeir infiltrated the Texas Light Infantry militia between 1988 and 1989, and set up some illegal gun purchases. They soon suspected that Strassmeir was a ATF informant. When some members followed him to a federal building one night, they observed him entering it using the building's combination key-pad.(422)
ATF agent Angela Finley-Graham, the agent who supervised ATF informant Carol Howe, had aerial surveillance photos of Strassmeir with an assault weapon, and photos of concrete bunkers at Elohim City. In fact, in 1992, some 960 yards of concrete were transported to the compound, presumably for bunkers and weapons storage facilities.(423)
Law enforcement officials also received reports that the compound was believed to be generating income through the sale of illegal drugs. A source familiar with the community told me that Bruce Millar, Robert Millar's son, was supposedly "strung out" on Methamphetimines. Speed is a highly popular drug among the neo-Nazi crowd, and was in fact invented by the Nazis during WWII to bolster the fighting ability of their front-line troops.
Several weeks before the bombing, in mid-February, the Tulsa office of the ATF passed on information to the Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Ken Stafford, who put out a BOLO (Be On The Lookout For) on Strassmeir:
ANDREAS STRASSMEIR, W/M, 5/17/59, heavy German accent. Black Hair/ Blue Eyes. 1" scar on chin, wears cammo fatigues. Possible Tennessee driver's license. Came to USA in 5/91, passport was good until 8/91. He never left the country. INS says he does not have an extension of his VISA. Possibly in blue Chevy, late model, tag BXH 346 (not on file), usually has someone driving him. Carries a .45 auto pistol at all times. He is an illegal alien, ATF wants to be notified if he is stopped and has the gun on him. They will file the charges. Contact: Agent Angela Finley, ATF. Office: 918-581-7731 (or) Pager: 918-672-2755.
What's odd is that the BOLO was for an INS violation, not exactly the jurisdiction of the ATF. Moreover, according to a Tulsa police intelligence source, the INS was told not to make any effort to focus on visa violations due to manpower shortages.
The McCurtain Gazette, which uncovered the BOLO, thinks it was put out by the ATF to provide cover for Strassmeir--an aid for his extraction from Elohim City. The OHP subsequently typed up the BOLO, which was eventually "leaked" to various sources, including the residents of the rural community. According to Glenn Wilburn, the BOLO was circulated with the stipulation that Strassmeir not be arrested.(424)
Curiously, when Finley-Graham attempted to get a warrant for Strassmeir's arrest, she was stonewalled by the INS. A Tulsa police intelligence source told me that Finley "was out to get the whole place." This fact was confirmed by information obtained by McVeigh's defense counsel during discovery.(425)
This is also interesting in light of the fact that the INS and ATF had originally planned a joint raid on the compound--a plan which suddenly came to a halt in late February of '95. As one INS memo stated:
Investigation pending--no arrest or warrant as of yet--Northeastern Oklahoma--request participation. Raid--next month.(426)
It seems the ATF and INS weren't the only ones interested in Elohim City. As a report of Finley-Graham's dated February 28 states:
On 22 February 1995, this agent met with OHP Trooper Ken Stafford to exchange certain information regarding this investigation. Trooper Stafford indicated that the FBI also had an ongoing investigation regarding Elohim City. On this same date, RAC David Roberts met with the United States Attorney for the Northern Judicial District of Oklahoma, Steve Lewis, to discuss this investigation.
On February 23, 1995 RAC David Roberts was contacted by FBI supervisor, Marty Webber, who stated that FBI Special Agent in Charge, Bob Ricks, would be available during the week of February 27 through March 03, 1995 to meet with ATF Special Agent in Charge, Lester Martz. RAC Roberts then contacted Dallas Division to request SAC Martz meet with SAC Ricks to discuss the investigation of Elohim City.(427)
As an interesting historical precedent, [former] FBI agent James Rodgers had developed a massive FBI raid on Elohim City in 1988, but it was called off for reasons that have never been made clear.
One month before the bombing Howe got "fed up" with Elohim City and the ATF's attitude towards the investigation. "Angie hadn't made any arrests either," Howe told the Gazette, "and that was frustrating, so I quit going out there... until after the building got blown up!"(428)(429)
Three days after the bombing, the ATF's Washington headquarters pulled the Tulsa office off the case, and the FBI requested them to turn over all their files on Elohim City.
The question is, just who was Strassmeir reporting to? The CIA? The Tulsa ATF office, which has jurisdiction over Elohim City, may not have been informed if Strassmeir were reporting to a higher authority, a different agency, or was a confidential informant (CI) on a national level.
Strassmeir's cover-story that his Justice Department job "never worked out" also smacks of McVeigh's story that his try-out for the Special Forces didn't work out due to a "blister." Perhaps Strassmeir--a seven-year German Army veteran--failed his indoctrination due to a "nose-bleed."
In spite of his vehement denials, Strassmeir practically admitted to the Telegraph that he was an undercover agent. "The Right-wing in the U.S. is incredibly easy to penetrate if you know how to talk to them," he told the Telegraph. "Of course it's easier for a foreigner with an accent; nobody would ever suspect a German of working for the Federal Government."
This certainly appears to be no ordinary slip of the tongue. How would Strassmeir know the extreme-Right is "incredibly easy to penetrate" unless he had penetrated them? His statement that 'nobody would ever suspect a German' is practically an admission that he was doing so.
On February 28, 1992 Strassmeir was arrested and his car impounded by the OHP for driving without a license. When the police opened his briefcase, they found a number of documents, including some in German. There were statements from foreign bank accounts, false identity papers, and a copy of The Terrorist Handbook.
According to the tow-truck driver, Kenny Pence, Strassmeir soon brought heavy pressure to bear. "Boy, we caught hell over that one," he said. "The phone calls came in from the State Department, the Governor's office, and someone called and said he had diplomatic immunity. "(430)
According to Strassmeir, the entirety of the story amounts to a pair of cops who were out to harass him and his friend Peter Ward (recall that Howe identified Ward as John Doe #1). Interestingly, federal prosecutors filed a motion requesting that Judge Matsch block efforts by McVeigh's defense team who was seeking government files on Strassmeir's activities. It was eventually revealed to Jones through discovery that Strassmeir held a tourist Visa with the designation "A O". Neither Jones nor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who reported extensively on Strassmeir, could learn what the designation meant. The INS denied any knowledge of its meaning. Curiously, the entries, which appeared on all of Strassmeir's INS files, suddenly vanished in March of 1996. Somebody had earased them.(431)
All told, these are strange circumstances for a former German intelligence officer--the politically well-connected son to a top aide in Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government. It seems unlikely that this ordinary "computer salesman" and "neo-Nazi" with diplomatic immunity, backed up by the State Department and the Justice Department, brought federal pressure to bear in order to have a minor traffic violation cleared.
More likely, Strassmeir was in danger of having his cover blown by unsuspecting law enforcement agents. The situation had to be corrected, and quickly.
After the bombing, with the increasing attention of investigators, and his cover almost blown, Strassmeir fled to Germany, taking a circuitous route through Mexico and Paris--a route commonly used by spies. Strassmeir's attorney, Kirk Lyons, detailed his client's escape, stating that it was aided by Germany's vaunted counter-terrorism unit, GSG-9, the equivalent of our Delta Force. Curious that GSG-9 would assist in Strassmeir's retreat. Were they helping one of their own?(432)
To help maintain his cover, the Justice Department questioned Strassmeir in North Carolina at his attorneys office, then called him in Berlin to ask about his alleged ties to McVeigh. "The FBI asked where I was on the day of the bombing," he told the Telegraph.. "They wanted to help debunk the rumors spread about me."(433)
Why the FBI would be in the business of debunking rumors, unless it is about them, is unclear. In this case, since any ties between Strassmeir and the Justice Department would lead directly back to the them, it seems that is exactly what they are trying to do.(434)*
If Strassmeir had any ties to McVeigh, or to McVeigh's companions, or to those who had planned the 1983 bombing of the Murrah Building, the Justice Department should have served him with a grand jury subpoena or a warrant. Yet all the FBI did was call Strassmeir on the phone to "debunk the rumors" spread about him.
As one law enforcement officer told the McCurtain Gazette, "We found the axle from the truck that led to Junction City and McVeigh. Our Highway Patrolman arrested McVeigh. And that arrest led to Terry Nichols and Mike Fortier Since then, nothing in this investigation has accomplished anything. But we're told by the Bureau that Strassmeir and his buddies are not important. Bull-shit!"(435)
The Gazette also uncovered an intelligence bulletin issued by the Diplomatic Security Division, Counter Terrorism Unit, of the Department of State on March 18, 1996 concerning Strassmeir's alleged criminal activities in the U.S.
The cable states that Strassmeir overstayed his visa in 1991 and was known to have been the militia training officer for a white separatist group called WAR.
Quoting the cable, "He (Strassmeir) has been the subject of several investigations for purchasing weapons, and making the weapons fire on full automatic. Strassmeir should not be allowed to return to the U.S."
Yet this cable makes it appear as though the FBI didn't know anything about Strassmeir--who was apparently under the protection of the State Department. Was this another cover ploy to protect their informant, or was Strassmeir working for the CIA, who wasn't communicating with the FBI and ATF?
Interestingly, the FBI would claim they weren't aware of Carol Howe's status as an informant either. During her July, 1997 trial (the result of trumped up charges by so-called the Justice Department), FBI agent Pete Rickel told the jury that he spoke to Howe in the Spring of 1996, when she requested protection, complaining that her cover had been blown. "We were interested to see if there might be any further information we could gather about activities involving people at Elohim City who may have been connected with the bombing," said Rickel. Yet the agent insisted he had no idea of who Howe really was when the FBI raided her home in December of '96.(436)
ATF Agent Angela Finley-Graham likewise claimed she was unaware that an FBI raid was planned on Howe's home. Yet as the McCurtain Gazette reported, this premise was destroyed when FBI Special Agent Chris Peters took the stand:
After explaining his role in the raid on the Howe residence, Peters was asked by defense attorney Clark Brewster during cross-examination who he was married to.
"Angela [Finley] Graham," Peters replied.(437)
Strassmeir's own cover would finally be blown when the Gazette reported on July 14, 1996, that "a highly-placed source at the FBI has confirmed that Andreas Carl Strassmeir was a paid government informant sent by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to infiltrate Elohim City. "(438)
For his part, Strassmeir claims he was at work repairing a fence near Elohim City on April 19. Yet Strassmeir hasn't exactly held tight to his story. According to Glenn Wilburn, who has intensively investigated the connection, Strassmeir claimed he stopped working when it started to rain, then went home and watched the bombing on TV. When Wilburn checked the weather reports for the area that day, he found that it hadn't begun to rain until much later. Strassmeir then claimed the farmer he was working for was George Eaton, a friend of the murdered Mueller family. Later, according to Wilburn, Strassmeir stated that he couldn't recall exactly what he was doing until he talked to his attorney, Kirk Lyons.
"Andy has been damaged," exclaimed Lyons, angrily refuting the allegations against his client. "Anybody who puts out the lie that he was linked to the Oklahoma bombing in any way is going to pay for it."(439)
Lyons claims his client had been dragged into the conspiracy by McVeigh's defense team--a ploy, he said, to muddy the waters by painting a vast conspiracy involving neo-Nazis in Europe and terrorists in the Mideast. "I call it the Space Alien Elvis Presley theory, and it's been fueled by nut cases and conspiracy theorists."
Obviously, Lyons himself is no nut case, merely a hardcore racist and neo-Nazi. The simple "country lawyer" married the sister of a prominent member of The Order. The ceremony was performed by Aryan Nations "pastor" Richard Butler at the group's compound in Hayden Lake.
At the 1988 Aryan Nations World Congress, Lyons suggested forming an ACLU of sorts for the extreme-Right, and attended the annual event in Hayden Lake as Louis Beam's representative. Not that Lyons was desperate for clients. He happily defended the Confederate Hammer Skinheads of Dallas, the National Socialist Skinheads of Houston, the White Vikings of Chicago, and WAR leader Tom Metzger, who was accused of inciting the murder of a black student from Ethiopia. Lyons also defended Holocaust revisionist Ernst Zündel, who claimed that the Nazi genocide was a Jewish invention, and other so-called "prisoners of conscience."(440)
Lyons was also the guest of honor at the British Nationalist Party in London, where he applauded the Party's stance on white power, and like William Pierce, predicted a future race war. The erudite, ever-socially conscious attorney was also quick to defend Louis Beam, the Texas Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Beam fled to Mexico after being indicted for conspiracy to overthrow the government. As discussed, Beam was charged with harassing Vietnamese fishermen along the coast of Texas.(441)
Interestingly, when Terry Reed was in Guadalajara on behalf of the CIA, working with Oliver North's "Enterprise," Beam mysteriously showed up as his neighbor. With the help of Lyons, Beam was acquitted after his wife shot and killed a Mexican Federalé.
Lyons has likewise vehemently defended Strassmeir's role in the bombing, and claims he is not a government agent. Interestingly, Lyons arranged Strassmeir's stays in Knoxville, Houston, Elohim City, and even Lyon's own home in North Carolina.
One thing that can be deduced from all this is that Strassmeir and Lyons aren't very good liars.
According to Stephen Jones, Dennis Mahon made statements to the effect of, "If a person wanted to know about the bombing, then they should talk with Andy Strassmeir because he knows everything."
For his part, Strassmeir claims he's not a government agent. In his Telegraph interview, he states, "I've never worked for any U.S. government agency, and I've not been involved in any intelligence operation since my discharge from the German army in 1988. This family (the Wilburns) is on a fishing expedition."
Yet in the very same article, Strassmeir admits that the bombing was the result of a government sting gone bad--a sting involving agents of the ATF. Considering the revealing nature of Strassmeir's information, the article, entitled "Did Agents Bungle U.S. Terror Bomb?" might just as well have been called "Thank You Andy." As Strassmeir states:
"The ATF had an informant inside this operation. They had advance warning and they bungled it," he said. "What they should have done is make an arrest while the bomb was still being made instead of waiting till the last moment for a publicity stunt."
Asked if he thought the alleged informant would ever speak out, he replied with passion: "How can he? What happens if it was a sting operation from the very beginning? What happens if it comes out that the plant was a provocateur? What if he talked and manipulated the others into it? What then? The country couldn't handle it. The relatives of the victims are going to go crazy, and he's going to be held responsible for the murder of 168 people. Of course the informant can't come forward. He's scared shitless right now." Before and after this outburst he kept repeating that he was not making veiled references to himself.(442)
When I interviewed Strassmeir, he insisted that he had been quoted out of context. That statement, he claimed, was made to him by a former ATF agent. "He made some hints that the ATF probably knew that this was coming down," said Strassmeir. The source, he said, was "pretty reliable," although he was quick to qualify it by stating that he wasn't certain of the information.(443)
Referring to the sting, he said, "What kind of gives me a bad taste, is that all the ATF agents were apparently not in the office during the blast, all of them." As to just what the sting involved, Strassmeir claimed he didn't know. But regarding John Doe 2, he said, "For some reason they don't look for this guy anymore. That, for some reason, I think is very strange."(444)
If Strassmeir was involved in a sting operation, it may have been to stop the flow of Nazi propaganda emanating from the U.S. Such influences have made their presence felt in an unsettling way in Germany in recent years. It is likely that the FBI requested the assistance of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the German FBI, and the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German CIA, to help gather intelligence on such groups as Michael Kühnen's Anti-Zionist League, and their connections to both Arabs and American neo-Nazis.
FBI Director Louis Freeh had announced a joint U.S.-German intelligence gathering operation on neo-Nazi groups as far back as 1993. Freeh pledged to work alongside German law-enforcement to stem the spread of Nazism emanating from the United States.
On April 20, 1995, the American National Socialist Worker's Party announced that the Secret Service and ATF had been investigating Gary Lauck, leader of the domestic NSDAP/AO. Lauck, who publishes the neo-Nazi newsletter N.S. Kampruf, had been a major influence in Germany and was an object of concern among German authorities (German sedition laws forbid the publication of Nazi literature).(445)
It seems that certain information provided by Strassmeir resulted in Lauck's arrest. With Strassmeir's help, the "Farm Belt Fuhrer" was arrested in Copenhagen and extradited to Hamburg. The arrest coincided with major raids by German police of NSDAP/AO cells all over Germany.
Lauck wasn't the only one beckoning young Germans to join the white supremacist movement. Research conducted by McVeigh's defense team indicates that Dennis Mahon traveled to Germany to recruit individuals into the Ku Klux Klan. A video reportedly shows Mahon in Germany in full KKK regalia, lighting a cross. Mahon himself joked that if he was fined the usual 1,000 Deutsche Marks for every time he gave the Nazi salute, he would owe 10,000,000 Marks.(446)
Only a few weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, Mahon received a phone call from Lauck. "Yeah, I got a call from Lauck sometime before the bombing... He told me that he was making another trip to Europe. I told him he was too hot, and he shouldn't go." Shaking his head, Mahon says now, "He should have listened."
Did the authorities know Lauck was coming? "Well, I did tell Strassmeir about the trip," said Mahon. (Or did Mahon tell the government himself?)
With Lauck's European arrest, the NSDAP noted, "U.S. officials have been doing extensive surveillance of Lauck's contemporaries in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and north Texas. These surveillance activities were being coordinated out of the OKC offices, according to our sources."
Interestingly, the newsletter added that "the OKC office of the ATF had plans to serve search warrants 'by the beginning of Summer' on several well-known white supremacists."
It seems the warrants were never issued.(447)
Interestingly, Lyons told the German magazine Volkstreue: "There are many spies within [the Klan] and most of its best leaders have left the Klan to do more effective work within the movement. The man who is mainly responsible for the success of the Klan in Germany--Dennis Mahon--has left the Klan."
Apparently, Mahon is still concerned enough about his responsibility to the white supremacist movement to have telephoned Germany with orders to kill Strassmeir. According to a conversation overheard by Cash, "[Mahon] wanted Andreas shot in both kneecaps and a confession elicited from him, then hold a 30-minute trial and then execute him."(448)
Investigator Jeff Steinberg takes this one step further, believing that Mahon himself may be an ATF operative. He says the ATF had him on a charge then dropped it. "He may have been turned," said Stienberg.
Obviously, Strassmeir wasn't the only informant at Elohim City. Mahon, who knew Guthrie, McCarthy, Stedeford, and Langan, had introduced his new-found friend Carol Howe to the white separatist community. It was there that the attractive 24-year-old daughter of a prominent Tulsa businessman would meet Strassmeir. As Howe told the Gazette:
"I kinda had a relationship with him for a while. We talked about relationships once, and he said he wasn't interested in settling down with a woman. All he wanted to do was blow up federal buildings. It was also at that same meeting that he shoved his hand down my dress and I thought, well, he was doing something else, but now that I think about it, I think he was feeling for a wire."
Howe also said she overheard Mahon and Strassmeir discuss plans to bomb the Oklahoma City Federal Building. As Howe related it:
"I started going to as many of their meetings as I could and met a lot of people who were very secretive. But sometime in November there was a meeting and Strassmeir and Mahon said it was time to quit talking and go to war, and time to start bombing federal buildings."
"I reported all this to Angie."(449)
According to her attorney, Howe provided telephone numbers, license tags, names, family trees, (including the location and design of tattoos) drawings of buildings, pictures, and descriptions and lists of individuals who were involved in criminal activity.
In fact, Confidential Informant 53270-183, or CI-183 (whose neo-Nazi handle was "Freya" and "Lady MacBeth") made over 70 reports to Finley-Graham during 1994-95 time frame. Finley paid Howe $120-a-week to provide the ATF regular updates on the activities at Elohim City, and those of Strassmeir and Mahon in particular. Finley-Graham filed her preliminary ROI (Report of Investigation) on Carol Howe on August 30, 1994. Entitled "White Aryan Resistance, W.A.R." It states, in part:
On August 24, 1994 this agent met with CI-183 in the Tulsa ATF Field Office and discussed in great detail the federal firearms and conspiracy violations of the White Aryan Resistance, "W.A.R."
W.A.R. is described breifly as being radical, paramilitary, Neo-nazi, anti-government, and violent. W.A.R. has national and international affiliates to include the KKK and a racist following in Germany.
W.A.R. has several training sites in Oklahoma. The primary training location is called Elohim City which is in a rural area near the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas in Adair County, Oklahoma. The members of the religious organization, The Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord live at Elohim City. The The Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord is a separatist organization that conjointly trains with and exchanges weapons with W.A.R.
Regarding statements by Mahon that were secretly videotaped by Howe, Finley-Graham writes:
Mahon has made numerous statements regarding the conversion of firearms into fully automatic weapons, the manufacture and use of silencers and the manufacture and use of explosive devices. Mahon has stated both the knowledge and ability to manufacture a range of explosive devices. Mahon intends to manufacture and use any or all of the above when he deems necessary. Mahon and his organization are preparing for a race war and war with the government in the near future and it is believed that they are rapidly stockpiling weapons.(450)
Mahon responded to Howe's allegations in the Village Voice: "This woman has got some shit on me. They're lies. But it's my word against hers. "
Some shit indeed.
It was after Mahon and Howe had a romantic falling-out that the 24-year-old Howe switched from being an avowed white supremacist to a ATF informant. A temporary protective order was issued against Mahon by a Tulsa court in August of '94 after Howe alleged that Mahon threatened to "take steps to neutralize me," by breaking her knees if she tried to leave the white supremacist movement.(451)
"I was contacted by Dennis Mahon after I ordered some literature from this group called White Aryan Resistance," Howe told the McCurtain Gazette. "He wanted to have a closer relationship than I did, and later he threatened me when I tried to get away from his group.(452)
It was after Howe sought the restraining order that Finley-Graham recruited her into the ATF. Mahon claims it was Howe-the-informant who advocated most of the violence. Depicting himself as the fall-guy in the affair, he told the press, "They want to drag me into this thing and I barely remember even meeting Tim McVeigh. It was Strassmeir who was meeting with McVeigh, not me."(453)
Curiously, Mahon later sent a videotape to McVeigh's prison cell expressing his views on the "movement." McVeigh's defense team was concerned about the video, not knowing whether the intended message "was to encourage the Defendant to 'sacrifice' himself for the eventual 'justice' of the cause or was a subtle threat intended to remind the Defendant that members of his family were vulnerable."(454)
While Mahon vehemently denied Howe's allegations, the ATF's ROI of January 11, 1995 (three months before the bombing) states, in part:
During the Sabbath meeting, Millar gave a sermon soliciting violence against the US government. He brought forth his soldiers and instructed them to take whatever action necessary against the US Government. It is understood that ATF is the main enemy of the people at EC. He explicitly told 183 that they were preparing to fight a war against the government.(455)
Howe reported to Finley-Graham that James Ellison also planned to reconstruct the CSA. Her report also stated that Millar planned to consolidate his compound with groups in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma to prepare to fight a war with the government. Posse Comitatus members from Pennsylvania allegedly lent a hand by helping Elohim City residents convert their weapons to full automatic.(456)
"These people have the means and the desire to start a terrible war in America," wrote Howe in a letter to her father in August of 1994. "They must be stopped, one group at a time."(457)
To precipitate that war, Strassmier was apparently willing to procure grenades, C-4 and other explosives.(458)
This is hardly surprising. In 1979, ATF informant Bernard Butkovich and FBI operative Edward Dawson led a group of KKK and Nazi Party members on a shooting spree during a parade in Greensboro, North Carolina, which led to the deaths of five members of the Communist Workers Party.(459)
Interestingly, the Washington Post reported how Butkovich "urged members to buy equipment to convert semi-automatic guns to fully automatic weapons, and offered to procure explosives (including hand grenades)."
According to the New York Times, witnesses reported that Butkovich, a veteran demolitions expert, also offered "to train them in activities such as making pipe bombs and fire bombs," and that "the Nazis take weapons to the [Communist] rally in the trunks of their cars."(460)*
With a map of the parade route supplied by Greensboro Police Department Detective Jerry Cooper, Dawson, Butkovich, and their KKK and neo-Nazi comrades were able to select the most advantageous site for their ambush.
According to Stephen Jones's appeal brief, Finley-Graham's handwritten notes confirmed a report from Howe that Dennis Mahon had bomb-making expertise, including allegedly exploding a 500lb ammonium-nitrate bomb in Michigan five years earlier.(461)
Howe also told the agents that Strassmeir and Mahon cased the Tulsa IRS building and the Oklahoma City Federal Building in November and December of 1994, and once during February of '95. Interestingly, Mahon told reporters that as a "revolutionary," he would indeed blow up the Federal Building, but do it at night, when no one was around.
Shockingly, most of this information was provided to the ATF before the bombing.(462)
J.D. Cash, reporting for the McCurtain Gazette, claimed to have received information from an intermediary that a source at the headquarters of the Aryan Nations in Hayden Lake, Idaho, said that Mahon was "one of the ring leaders in the group that bombed the Federal Building." Cash, who interviewed Mahon on numerous occasions by posing as a white supremacist, wrote the following in the Gazette:
And he (Mahon) indicated that the results of the bombing were not as he anticipated. He felt like this would cause a coming together of radicals around the country who would begin a campaign of terrorism. In retrospect, he feels like the IRS building should have been bombed instead of the Murrah Building and probably should have been bombed at night. The day care center and the killing of the children was having a negative effect.
For his part, Mahon claims he has an alibi for the morning of April 19. Yet Bricktown witness David Snider is sure the driver of the Ryder truck which slowly made its way past his warehouse that morning was Dennis Mahon. Although the driver had long hair and was wearing sunglasses, Snider is adamant. He showed the Oklahoma County Grand Jury a video showing Mahon wearing the same sunglasses he was wearing on the morning of the blast.(463) (See drawing)
Mahon, who said he believes there were others involved with McVeigh, told the Daily Oklahoman, "I have never been in downtown [Oklahoma City]. I am squeaky clean."(464)
Interestingly, Mahon also claimed himself to be a make-up artist, and described himself as "the master of all disguises." In a somewhat startling statement, Mahon told Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Sunday Telegraph:
"I always deliver my bombs in person, in disguise," he said mischievously. "I can look like a Hispanic or even a Negro. I'm the master of disguise."(465)
Reverend Johnny Lee Clary, a reformed Ku Klux Klansman who also testified before the County Grand Jury, told the Daily Oklahoman: "There is no mistake that the lips and chin and facial features [of the man Snider saw] is Dennis Mahon in one of those disguises."
"He always bragged he is the master of disguise," said Clary, who claims to be an ordained minister in Tulsa. Mahon "used to dress up like Mexicans and Orientals or like blacks."(466)
Howe, who was debriefed by the ATF and FBI after the bombing, told agents Blanchard and Finley-Graham that the sketches of the suspects who rented the Ryder truck appeared to be Elohim City residents [and Mahon and Strassmeir associates] Peter or Sonny Ward. She also reportedly told the agents, " no one in the world looks more like the sketch of John Doe 2 than Michael Brescia." Howe's report to Finley-Graham stated, in part:
SA BLANCHARD and SA ANGIE FINDLEY, ATF, talked with SA FINDLEY's confidential source "CAROL." CAROL stated she believes in 1994, she saw an individual resembling the composite of UNSUB # l in a white separatist paramilitary camp called "Elohm City" (phonetic) (EC). This camp is located around Stillwell, Oklahoma. CAROL knows this person as "PETE." CAROL has seen an individual named "TONY" resembling the composite of UNSUB # 2. TONY is PETE's brother, and is not well liked at EC. TONY would do as his brother directed however.
When CAROL saw the television pictures of TIMOTHY JAMES MCVEIGH, she said MCVEIGH doesn't look like "PETE." CAROL recalled that she did see a person who looked like MCVEIGH in a photograph in a photo album she saw at a 1994 Klan Rally.
NBC, putting the official Justice Department spin on the story, claimed Howe's reports contained no specific information regarding the plot. Yet according to the Gazette, "Howe was routinely polygraphed by the government during the time she was making her monthly reports. The government's own documents indicate she passed, 'showing no deception on her part in any polygraph examination.'"(467) As Finley-Graham testified during Howe's pre-trial hearing:
Brewster: "Now, you were interested in knowing as much as you could about Mr. Strassmeir, weren't you?"
Brewster: "What kind of guns he had?"
Brewster: ''And the kind of threats he made about wanting to blow up federal buildings? You were interested in that, weren't you?"
Graham: "I was interested in anything I could find out about any violation."
Brewster: "And Ms. Howe told you about Mr. Strassmeir's threats to blow up federal buildings, didn't she?"
Graham: "In general, yes."
Brewster: "And that was before the Oklahoma City bombing?"
At the time of this writing, federal authorities were still insisting that Howe's reports contained no specific warnings of any plot to bomb any federal building. They also claimed that they were only alerted two days after the bombing, when they debriefed their informant.(468)
Yet seems Howe's reports were specific enough to warn the ATF not to be in the office the day of the bombing. No ATF employees were among the 169 killed.
Nevertheless, federal prosecutors still insisted, after Howe went public, that the informant couldn't have had any specific information about the bombing, because she was "terminated" on March 27, three weeks before the attack.
Also "terminated" it seems, was the ATF's December, 1994 report regarding Howe's activities at Elohim City. That report, sources told The New American, contained specific warnings about the pending attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building. Had this report, like so much of the ATF's evidence concerning their and the FBI's atrocities at Waco, conveniently "disappeared?"
Unfortunately for the ATF, the records which show that Howe remained an active informant until January 9, 1996, hadn't disappeared. As Finley-Graham's ROI of January 31, 1996 states:
It is requested that CI 53270-183 be retained as an active informant. It was requested by the Dallas Division office that this informant be retained as an active informant for the duration of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.
On April 22, Finley-Graham sent the following memo to Lester Martz, SAC of the Dallas Field office:
This informant is involved with the OKC bomb case which is pending prosecution in Denver and was the key in identifying individuals at Elohim City, which is tied to the OKC bomb case.(469)
In addition to denying her employment with the ATF, the bureau attempted to claim that Howe was "unstable," her emotional state and her "loyalty" to the ATF being in question. Yet once again, the official records, which describe Howe as "stable and capable," contradict these claims. As the ATF's ROI of April 22, 1996 notes:
[This agent has] known CI 53270-183 for approximately two years and can assert that this informant has not been overly paranoid or fearful during undercover operations.
As 24-year ATF veteran Robert Sanders told The New American, "Howe was 'a very good informant. She is obviously intelligent, resourceful, cool and convincing under pressure,' and has a good sense for 'the kind of detailed information that is most helpful' to law enforcement and prosecutors."(470)
Yet the feds would make every attempt to distance themselves from their own informant in the aftermath of the bombing. Not surprisingly, this was the same ruse the FBI used in the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing--pulling undercover operative Emad Salem off the case two weeks before the tragic attack (which he had also warned them about) then claiming that he was "unreliable."
Yet the FBI reactivated Salem after the bombing, just as they did with Howe, sending her back to Elohim City to gather additional information on Mahon, Strassmeir, and the others. Her new contract raised her pay from $25.00 per day to $400.00.
Curiously, neither the ATF nor the FBI offered Howe any protection. FBI agent Pete Rickel admitted during subsequent court testimony that Howe had come to him in May of '96 seeking protection, but he had offered none. In fact, Rickel said he didn't even make a note of their conversation.
Not only did the FBI fail to protect what the ATF called their "key" witness linking Elohim City to the bombing, but the FBI went one step further, leaking a confidential report to the press. As Finley-Graham wrote in her April 1, 1996 report:
On March 29, 1996 this agent received a telephone call from S/A Harry Eberhardt. S/A Eberhardt stated that the identity of CI 53270-183 had been severely compromised. S/A Eberhardt stated that a report by FBI agent James R. Blanchard II contained the formal name of CI 53270-183 and enough information to reveal the identity of CI 53270-183 without his/her name being used. S/A Eberhardt stated that he had attempted to relay this matter to FBI ASAC Jack McCoy, however ASAC McCoy showed little concern and denied that S/A Blanchard was at fault. S/A Eberhardt stated that he became irate because it was apparent that nothing was going to be done in an effort to rectify the problem or at least provide help for the safety of CI 53270-183.
Finley-Graham "immediately telephoned CI 53270-183 and informed him/her that their name had been disclosed and that he/she should take every precaution for their safety.... This agent told the CI that anything and everything will be done to insure his/her safety." It seems the government was fully aware of the danger posed to their informant, as Finley-Graham's report of April 22, 1996 notes:
Individuals who pose immediate danger to CI 53270-183 are: (1) Dennis Mahon, (2) members of Elohim City, and (3) any sympathizer to McVeigh.... This agent believes that s/he could be in serious danger when associates discover his/her identity.
In fact, one of Finley-Graham's initial reports indicates that Dennis Mahon "stated that he would kill any informant." Mahon subsequently sent Howe on a "night reconnaissance mission" to a secluded area--straight into the arms of a black gang, whose members pistol-whipped her and cut her with a knife. In what looked like a deliberate attempt to rid itself of an embarrassing informant, Howe was provided with no protection by the government which she had so loyally and courageously served.
When public criticism and liaze a' faire attempts to make Howe "disappear" failed, the government resorted to silencing her on phony, trumped up charges.
The "Justice" Department found it expeditious to indict Howe just in time for McVeigh's trial, putting her safely behind bars. The charge? Compiling a list of bomb ingredients, acquiring photographs of federal offices in Tulsa, and using her home telephone to distribute racist information--all undercover activities committed on behalf of her employer--the ATF. Howe was unanimously acquitted.(471)
Attorney Stephen Jones believes that Howe was indicted "for the purposes of 'leverage' against her in order to keep her mouth shut about what she knows about the activities of Mahon and Strassmeir," and her employer, the ATF.(472) As the reader will soon discover, this is not be the time the Federal Government would seek to silence and discredit one of its own informants.
Perhaps most surprisingly, during a July, 1997 pre-trial hearing for Howe, FBI agent Pete Rickel revealed that "Grandpa" Millar was a confidential FBI informant! When asked if Millar had been a source of government information or an informant, Rickel replied, "generally, yes."
It now appeared that there were at least three government informants inside Elohim City--Howe, Strassmeir, and Millar, the later two who were inciting a war with the Federal Government. Add to that the probability of Brescia, Mahon, and McVeigh being informants, and Elohim City begins to look like one great big government-run neo-Nazi training camp.
According to a former government informant interviewed by the Gazette, "It is typical for agencies such as the CIA, FBI and ATF to place multiple 'moles' inside a place like Elohim City and play one resource off the other, without either one knowing the identity of the other." Federal law enforcement, even different offices of the same agency, often do not share informants' names unless the mission calls for it.
"The reasons are obvious. First, there is no way a law enforcement agency is going to risk exposing the life of one of their assets should the other 'resource' succumb to torture or decide to double-cross the agency. And, of course, the monitoring of information can best be verified if neither resource knows who the other is. That's the only way this game works, and it's the only way it succeeds."
And what of Michael Brescia? Was he also an informant? Given the close, often revealing nature of a roommate relationship, it is likely that an undercover agent would room with another agent, even if nothing more than one might overhear the other talking in his sleep.
Strassmeir himself admitted the difficulty of going "deep cover," and having to keep your guard up 24 hours-a-day. "If you were an undercover agent," said Strassmeir, "you have to keep your guard up, you can't get close."
Is that why he roomed with Brescia, so he wouldn't have to maintain his guard? Not according to Strassmeir: "I would be very surprised if he (Brescia) was an undercover agent. He's a very honest, straightforward guy."
Strassmeir, along with friends Peter and Sonny Ward, fled Elohim City in August of '95, after McVeigh defense team investigators began looking into activities at the secretive compound.
Brescia left Elohim City around the same time as Strassmeir, with his fiancé Ester, traveling to Canada, and remaining mostly underground. He subsequently returned to his parents' house in Philadelphia, where he was actively sought by the media.
Curiously, like his friend Strassmeir, Brescia was completely ignored by federal authorities for his possible role in the bombing. He was finally arrested for the Wisconsin bank heist in February of 1997. Was it a legitimate bust, or did the arrest serve to silence him for his role in the bombing as the government tried to do with Carol Howe?
Shawn Kenny gave the FBI the tip that led to the arrest of Guthrie, who was apprehended after a high-speed chase outside of Cincinnati in January of 1997. He was found dead in his cell in Covington, Kentucky six months later, on July 12, hanged with a bed sheet. Authorities quickly ruled his death a suicide. According to a note found at the scene, Guthrie was apparently feeling guilty over his turncoat attitude, and didn't want to endanger his family.
"Sometimes it takes something like a suicide to settle a problem," he'd written to his attorney. "Especially one that's like mine."(473)
Yet Dennis Mahon told Village Voice reporter James Ridgeway he believes Guthrie was murdered because he had threatened to reveal information about the proceeds of the loot, which was believed to have gone to the Aryan Nations and other neo-Nazi groups. Guthrie was found dead only a few hours after telling a reporter from the Los Angeles Times that he intended to write a tell-all book that "would go a lot further into what we were really doing."(474) He was also just days away from appearing before a grand jury.
With Guthrie's help, Stedeford was arrested on May 24 at the Upper Darby recording studio where he worked as a guitarist, and McCarthy was captured in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia. Thomas was eventually arrested in conjunction with several robberies as well.(475)
Langan was arrested at his rented house in Columbus, Ohio several days after Guthrie, in a fusillade of bullets fired by over-eager FBI agents. The wanted fugitive, who had fired no shots, likened the arrest to an assassination attempt. Another silencing attempt perhaps? (The FBI claimed they were warned that Langan wouldn't be taken alive.)
Ironically, during his trial, the self-styled revolutionary shouted hackneyed phrases such as "Power to the People!" and told the judge that the ARA's mission was to overthrow the government and "set free the oppressed people of North America." Except, apparently, for Blacks, Jews, and homosexuals.(476)
Yet eyebrows everywhere raised when Langan showed up in jail with pink-painted toenails and long manicured fingernails. Langan's lover, a transsexual named Cherie Roberts, appeared at the trial and exclaimed during a scene with U.S. Marshals, "I can't even talk to my wife!"
Roberts, who met Langan at a Kansas City group called "Crossdressers and Friends," called the neo-macho revolutionary bank robber by his charmed pet moniker, "Donna."(477)
In a "recruitment" video confiscated during a search of Langan's house, "Donna" appears in a black ski-mask, exhorting potential revolutionaries to eradicate all non-whites and non-Christians from the country, and eliminate federal "whores."
"In solidarity with our Serbian brothers we understand the meaning of ethnic cleansing. To us, it's not a dirty word." Apparently, preoperative transsexuals were not included in Langan's targeted population group.
The 107-minute propaganda film, entitled "The Aryan Republican Army Presents: The Armed Struggle Underground," plays out like a bad Monty Python skit. Langan shouts orders in Spanish from behind a desk festooned with hand grenades and bank booty, while his "troops" goose-step in the background. "Our basic goal is to set up an Aryan Republic on the North American continent," states "Commander Pedro."(478)
The neo-revolutionaries also expound their philosophy and tactics, which include, not surprisingly blowing up federal buildings. "We have endeavored to keep collateral damage and civilian casualties to a minimum," announces their leader, "but as in all wars, some innocents shall suffer. So be it."
The video was completed in January, 1995, four months before the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building. Langan, for his part, says he had nothing to do with the bombing. "Most of my family, my siblings work in federal buildings," he told the Washington Post.(479)
Yet given Langan's connections to Brescia, Strassmeir and Mahon, and their connections to Nichols and McVeigh, and the group's ties to the violent neo-Nazi underground, it is singularly curious why the FBI hasn't seriously pursued these leads.(480)
Then there is the CSA's 1983 plot to blow up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, and Snell's strangely fortuitous statements about April 19, 1995.
What is even more shocking is why the ATF apparently ignored warnings from it's own informant, Carol Howe. Had they figured they could ensnare the bombers in a highly publicized bust?
"Elohim City is not a current subject of interest," a law enforcement official in Washington told the Associated Press, almost two years after the blast.(481)
Was Elohim City of so little interest to authorities because it was a government-infiltrated spook center, kept on hand for contingencies, much as elements of the KKK were by the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover?
And what of Iraq's connections to Dennis Mahon? Is this a subject of interest? Was it just an innocent business relationship, or, like the Syrian's offer of funding to Robert Mathews, was it something more?
Part 4 was missing...Millar's Rent-A-Nazi
Links concerning Millar
The John Doe Times Vol. VI, Special Edition 1 July 1997
http://www.aci.net/kalliste/jdt7071.htmBOMBSHELL!!! THE REV. ROBERT MILLAR IDENTIFIED AS FBI INFORMANT
continue to Part 5
American Patriot Friends Network
"....a network of net worker's..
APFN Contents Page
APFN Home Page
Last updated 09/01/2004