The sentence of Terry Nichols is soon to be announced, but why is it there will be no closure? The trial is ended but if anyone was listening to it and did any thinking at all, it seemed to some a Saturday matinee rather than justice. The full story still is not being told. The trial was, in fact, carefully manipulated to avoid any revelations that would implicate anyone beyond McVeigh or Nichols. Although much information exists which implicates others in the bombing, that information has been carefully concealed from the public's view, as has the official mishandling of other evidence.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Washington correspondent for the London Sunday Telegram has done extensive investigation into the official handling of the case. He says, "As for the FBI, the proven malfeasance of the crime labs in the handling of scientific evidence from the crime scene makes it clear that the 'OKBOMB' investigation was rotten from the foundations up. Far from taking extra precautions to uphold the highest standards of forensic evidence, the FBI resorted to methods that cannot be tolerated in a democratic society. The report of the Justice Department's Inspector General lists the Oklahoma bombing case as one of the worst examples of de facto evidence tampering by the crime labs." (The Secret Life of Bill Clinton).
When a crime of this magnitude is committed, it is incumbent upon the justice system to conduct their investigation and prosecution in an entirely transparent manner, ensuring that the highest ethical standards be maintained. This not only ensures justice to those involved, but also brings closure to the families and the nation.
But as Evans-Pritchard notes, "The FBI crime labs sculpted a theory of the bombing that would help the prosecution secure convictions against Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols---and science be damned.... It is my contention that the crime labs were no worse than other divisions of the FBI. The only difference is that the technicians were caught red-handed, while certain corrupt field agents and their superiors have yet to be exposed." (ibid.)
The Inspector General's report reveals that the FBI crime labs had "repeatedly reached conclusions that incriminated the defendants without a scientific basis." [emphasis added]. Evans-Pritchard says this practice is condemned as "framing" in Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence. He goes on to say, "I do not understand why the current director of the FBI is still drawing a paycheck from the U.S. taxpayer after a scandal of this magnitude." (ibid.)
The fundamental responsibility resting upon our justice system is to maintain truth and equity, but the system has perjured itself. Judge Richard Matsch, for whatever reason, has permitted a massive obstruction of justice in the two trials. Instead of making the decision to pursue the truth and to allow the truth to be revealed at whatever the cost to governmental agencies involved, the judge took the path of least resistance. He yielded to the prosecution's wishes to have the Inspector General's report barred as evidence in the McVeigh trial. Thus, he has effectively shielded the criminals in the FBI crime labs and others who have not yet been apprehended as conspirators in the bombing.
Evans-Pritchard continues, "Needless to say, the McVeigh trial was not described in this way by the American media. The outcome was seen as a triumph. Judge Matsch was lionized, praised for restoring confidence in the criminal justice system. The reaction of the press disturbed me deeply. I never imagined that the machinery of a cover-up could be so oppressively efficient." (ibid.)
Many stinging accusations have been leveled at the Nichols jury for its verdict. The media and some bombing victims' families have lashed out calling the jury antigovernment. What precisely is meant by the term "antigovernment"? Exactly what are these individuals opposed to in the government?
Many people in this country are against corruption, whether it be in government or elsewhere. What has happened in some cases is this: when those opposed to corruption speak out against that corruption, those corrupt elements within government or media or any other sector of society, disparage them as "antigovernment". It is a smear tactic used for political advantage by unprincipled elements.
When government oversteps its legitimate function, it becomes self-serving. Rather than fulfilling its true purpose of protecting the God-given rights of the people, it becomes the master instead of the servant which it was created to be.
When this balance is upset, we hear corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and their media mouthpieces labeling those who speak out against this disorder as antigovernment. It could be more truly said that they, the corrupt elements within government and society, are antigovernment. They are the elements that are opposed to the true role of government
Nicki Deutchman, jury forewoman held her now "controversial" news conference following the jury's dismissal by Judge Matsch in the Nichols case. She related to the press the difficulties which the jurors confronted in even arriving at a conviction on the significantly lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy to blow up the federal building. That was followed by the jury's inability to agree on sentencing for Terry Nichols on those lesser charges.
The reaction of some family members of the bombing victims and some of Deutchman's fellow jurors was surprisingly volatile. "I think the jury was very antigovernment from the way that she (Deutchman) talked. They were mad at the government before they ever went in there, they didn't go in with open minds," said one man. Other family members had angry remarks for Deutchman individually, one calling her a communist.
Some jurors said they were livid at Deutchman's condemnation of the government's handling of the case. The head juror did have criticism of the FBI's conduct, but also chided some tactics used by both the prosecution and the defense. A fellow juror said, "I was offended. To me, the shadow she cast was that everyone in the jury was antigovernment."
Deutchman, a Denver obstetrics nurse told The Daily Oklahoman she had "received 'quite a few pretty ugly calls' and one bomb threat. It was someone who said they were going to bomb our house, the way his relatives had been bombed."
At issue are the remarks she made from her position as a juror. She was called upon to decide the destiny of Terry Nichols and the validity and accuracy of the evidence on which she based the decision was of utmost importance. This was the context for her remarks to the press.
Regarding the FBI's policy of taking notes of interrogation sessions rather than simply tape recording them, she said, "It seem arrogant to me on the part of the FBI to say, 'we have good recall, and you can take what we have said.' There was FBI report after report when they were talking with witnesses and the attorneys would say, 'do you recall in your report to the FBI that you said such and such?' And the witnesses said, 'No, I said something else.' It was similar, but it was not the same words and it had a different connotation." Deutchman also criticized Oklahoma City U.S. Attorney Pat Ryan, who "rephrased some of the words of some of the witnesses".
Addressing issues which may have contributed to the cause of the bombing, she said, "I think the government's attitude and the FBI is definitely included in that - is part of where all of this comes from in the first place. It's time for the government to be more respectful and to be more aware of each of us as people with the inalienable rights, equal rights, and not with the attitude of --we know, and you don't; we have the power and you don't."
Implying that such behavior was what led to the bombing, she said, "The recent things in Congress, the findings with the IRS and some of the tactics that they have used, I don't think the IRS is the only government enforcement agency that uses those kinds of tactics. I think that might be part of the message from this whole incident in the first place."
When asked if she thought others could have been involved in the bombing Deutchman replied, "I think that the government perhaps really dropped the ball....There were a large number of sightings right before" the bombing.
She went on to elaborate. "In this trial there was a photograph of someone who may have been involved with mixing the bomb, with putting the bomb together. And that person--it was a photograph from a newspaper, obviously that person's identity is known. I think there are other people out there and decisions were probably made very early on that Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were who they were looking for. And the same sort of resources were not used to try to find out who else might be involved."
Witnesses reported seeing a Ryder truck at Geary Lake on the day and same location which the government says McVeigh and Nichols built the bomb. But the witnesses give details which do not support the government's insistence that only the two men were involved.
Charles Farley said he saw a flatbed farm truck loaded with ammonium nitrate bags parked alongside the Ryder truck at Geary Lake. He said he saw five men around the trucks. He was able to identify a photograph of one of those men. The Denver Post reported that none of the men Farley saw near the trucks were either McVeigh or Nichols.
During the trial, the prosecution insisted that McVeigh and Nichols alone built the bomb on the morning of April 18, 1995. Some jurors said they had a hard time believing that two men could have built the bomb in the "claimed" four-hour time span.
Referring to the government's handling of the case Deutchman said, "I think the government dropped the ball and if there are people who were very actively involved in this horrible crime, that it has an obligation to find them.... I doubt very much that two people--if Terry Nichols was even greatly involved, that two people would have been enough to be able to carry it off."
The candid, straightforward remarks of this courageous woman may have been galling for the establishment to swallow and offensive to some family members who are seeking closure to this tragedy from the wrong sources. Deutchman concluded, saying, "I think that revenge and vengeance is very different from justice, and that just punishing someone because they've been arrested, is not a solution to anything. Even if punishment were the death penalty, it still doesn't fill the holes that have been left when people are gone."
These jurors have taken a courageous stand. They have spoken out and dared to oppose the position of many officials in high places of power. They have spoken clearly and honestly, however offensive that may have been to some.
United States Attorney General Janet Reno was quick to respond. She had praise for the government's handling of the case, saying she was "very, very proud" of the FBI's work. "I think the FBI did an excellent job. They interviewed over 30,000 witnesses, they pursued innumerable leads." Reno continued to defend the government's story that McVeigh and Nichols acted alone in the bombing.
In her weekly news conference, Reno said, "I have gone through all the information. I think the investigation has been as complete as possible. I think we have identified the people responsible."
For two and one-half years the Justice Department has insisted that the government has never had prior knowledge of a possible bombing at the federal building. They have denied unequivocally that there were forewarnings of any kind. Furthermore, it was said that any charge suggesting otherwise was "outrageous."
It has been said that "truth has a way of rising to the surface" and the phrase has been proven true again. This time at the expense of the Justice Department's claims to the contrary.
Now, in addition to the many embarrassing revelations of the government's prior knowledge already documented--the ATF agent's tip to be absent from their office that day; the Oklahoma City Fire Department's prior warning; the bomb squad's prior warning; a federal judge's prior warning--another very incriminating charge has been made by two Oklahoma County Sheriff officers.
Speaking at a January 16, 1998 news conference held near the site of the federal building in downtown Oklahoma City, officers David Kochendorfer and Don Hammons said they were on duty at the bombed-out remains of the federal building at approximately 10:00 p.m. on April 19, 1995. Kochendorfer was assigned to guard duty and had been asked by the U.S. Marshal's office to keep nonessential individuals out of the area. Sometime later he saw several local officials including the mayor, the district attorney, the governor and U.S. Congressman Earnest Istook entering the area.
Kochendorfer said that the Congressman made his way over toward his guard post where he introduced himself and said, "Are you doing ok?" And I said, "Yeah, as well as somebody can do under the circumstances." After a few minutes of small talk he turned to the officer and said, "Yeah, we knew this was going to happen." Kochendorfer said, "I looked at him and I said, 'Sir, excuse me?' And he repeated it. He said, 'Yeah we knew this was going to happen and we blew it. We got word through our sources that there is a radical fundamental Islamic group in Oklahoma City and that they were going to bomb the federal building.'
"And I didn't say anything because I really had nothing to say. But a little bit of small talk later, he kind of looked at me and said, 'What department are you with?'
"He came over in front of me, and at that time I had a raincoat on and my campaign hat from the county. He looked at the emblem on the campaign hat.
"And I said, 'Well, I'm a deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.'
"And he said, 'Oh! I thought you were with the Highway Patrol,' and immediately stopped talking, turned around and walked away."
Don Hammon, the other officer who spoke at the news conference said he, too, was standing guard that night. He noticed a woman taking pictures in the restricted area. Hammon approached her saying, "You can't take pictures here, ma'am." She identified herself as an attorney, Lana Tyree, and she was with Ernest Istook. She said they were friends and she was an amateur photographer and that she was taking pictures for Ernest Istook.
"So I agreed to let her come on in, I was with her as she was taking pictures of the building. And she made a comment to me that Istook told her that they were aware of a bomb threat since April 9th, and that's all she said to me."
Hammon said, "You didn't really think much about it until this grand jury started probing into it and people were claiming that there wasn't any prior knowledge. I started thinking about it and got with Dave [Kochendorf], and we put two and two together. I mean, hey! somebody knew about a prior bomb threat. This ought to be known. I was given a date -- April 9th -- that they knew about it, ten days before. So we feel like it's only fair that everyone knows the truth."
While knowing the truth is a laudable goal, the events in this nation for a number of years have revealed that the truth is not forthcoming. It appears that men have a wonderful wish that things occurred in such and such a way, but are in great denial as to the actual events. Too late the citizens will be brought to see the whole picture but, then again, it seems they want it that way.
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