Inside the Oklahoma Bombing Conspiracy
By Mark Miller
Was Timothy McVeigh really a lone nut, as portrayed by the national media? Or do darker forces lurk behind this tragic bombing? Why has the involvement of so many intelligence agents been withheld from the public?
"It brings me no joy to watch McVeigh die, no closure, it doesn't bring my grandchildren back. He deserves to die, but with the death of McVeigh, so dies the truth." Cathy Wilburn's words to High Times shortly before being one of the chosen witnesses to watch convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh be put to death via chemical injection by the federal government on June 11, 2001, at the United States penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. McVeigh, 33, was the first person to be executed by the federal government since 1963 when a fatal injection of potassium chloride stopped his heart at 7:14 a.m., CDT.
McVeigh was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997 for detonating a fertilizer bomb concealed in a rented Ryder truck which blew off the front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Collapsing floors in the nine-story structure buried victims under masses of steel and concrete. 168 people were killed, including 19 children attending daycare, and over 500 others were injured in the worst domestic terrorist attack in US history.
McVeigh had originally been scheduled to die on May 16, but on May 10, 2001 the US Justice Dept. turned over more than 4,000 previously undisclosed FBI investigation papers to McVeigh's attorneys. US Attorney General John Ashcroft cited the FBI blunder and delayed McVeigh's execution until June 11. Some of the documents in question relate to the distinct possibility that McVeigh did not act alone in the bombing.
On May 31, McVeigh agreed to seek a further delay based on the notion the FBI papers would have helped him avoid the death penalty at trial by implicating others in the bombing. However, on June 6, Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over McVeigh's 1997 trial and sentencing, dismissed McVeigh's attorney's argument that the FBI had worked a "fraud on the court" by withholding the 4,000 papers. Matsch rejected the request to delay the execution, and on June 7, McVeigh himself decided against further appeals, including to the Supreme Court, and chose to die.
As the international media horde descended on this modest Midwestern town of Terre Haute, Indiana the focus was predictably on McVeigh, portrayed as America's greatest villain, having acted alone in "planting" the truck bomb in front of the Murrah building that fateful morning.
The official version holds that the Oklahoma City federal building was targeted by McVeigh (and co-conspirator) Terry Nichols in retaliation for the FBI's assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993 in which 80 men, women and children died, including David Koresh (see High Times May 2001 for the complete story).
Though McVeigh served in the Persian Gulf War, winning a bronze star for courage under fire, he was extremely anti-government and sought to punish the feds on the second anniversary of the Waco siege. 90 minutes after the Oklahoma City bombing, McVeigh was arrested for driving without a license plate. The next morning, just as McVeigh was about to be released from police custody, he was identified as "John Doe #1," and charged with the bombing.
That McVeigh was "John Doe #1" implies there was a "John Doe #2" -- and there was at the beginning of the investigation. Throughout 1995, the FBI conducted a massive manhunt for "John Doe #2," but then the US Justice Department and the FBI suddenly reversed themselves, and announced it had all been a "big mistake," that there was no "John Doe #2" and McVeigh acted alone.
Cathy Wilburn thinks otherwise. Wilburn's life was changed forever on April 19, 1995 when her grandsons, Chase Smith, 3, and Colton Smith, 2, were killed in the bombing. In addition to being one of the victims of Oklahoma City to be chosen by US Attorney General John Ashcroft to witness McVeigh's execution, Wilburn has been the most vocal and passionate critic of the "official version" during her six-year sojourn to, as she puts it, "gain the truth of what really happened in Oklahoma City."
Wilburn has visited many of the sites connected to the case, be they official or conspiratorial. She has slept in the same hotel room where McVeigh spent the night before his arrest. She has visited Elohim City, the Eastern Oklahoma Christian Identity compound which McVeigh is documented to have visited and phoned in the weeks prior to the Oklahoma City bombing.
Wilburn, her husband Glenn, and their daughter Edye Smith, have filed a $30 million lawsuit against McVeigh, Andreas Strassmeir (of Germany), Michael Brescia and Michael Fortier of involvement in the bombing. Cathy says the suit is still in the courts.
Michael Fortier, an Army buddy of both McVeigh and Nichols, was the government's star witness in both their trials, and was sentenced to 12 years for failing to notify anyone of the bombing plot. Nichols was sentenced to life in federal prison after refusing to reveal any further information regarding his role in aiding McVeigh to plan the bombing.
According to an Oklahoma county grand jury, there were no additional conspirators beyond Nichols and McVeigh. In December 1998, the grand jury found no evidence the federal government had advance knowledge of or any involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing, including the ATF. They found no connection between the bombing and Elohim City, nor to anyone overseas, including Germany.
Despite the findings of that OK county grand jury, Elohim City is clearly at the center of the unofficial investigations into the bombing. Elohim "City" is actually a 400-acre compound located near Lawton, Oklahoma, and is home to approximately 100 men, women and children who are part of the growing Christian Identity movement.
Christian Identity is the racist, anti-Semitic theology which holds that there are essentially three distinct types of "people;" the "true Israelites" created by God, meaning those of Western & Northern European extract, Jews, who are the offspring of Satan, and "mud people" all non-whites descended from pre-Adamic "lower species." The white "Israelites" should rule the world, Jews are to be executed, "mud people" enslaved.
Christian Identity is dangerous in that it is the religion of choice for white supremacist neo-Nazis and Christian Reconstructionists who would establish a theocracy in the US, replacing the Constitution with biblical law. Christian Identity also intersects with Creationism, which appeals to an increasing number of Americans offended by the notion man evolved from a mere monkey, irregardless of facts. The belief that people, or certain people, were created directly by God, and are therefore "superior," plays right into Christian Identity doctrine.
Elohim City was founded in 1973 by Robert Millar, a Canadian Christian Identity preacher who was the "spiritual advisor" for Richard Wayne Snell, executed by the state of Arkansas the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing. Millar brought Snell's corpse back to Elohim City for a hero's funeral.
Snell was put to death for murdering a black Arkansas state trooper and a jeweler Snell thought was Jewish. On April 15, 1995, Snell told prison officials there would be a bombing in an unspecified location the day of his death. Four days later, Snell's startling prediction came true in Oklahoma City.
Snell and his neo-Nazi group, the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord had cased the very same Murrah building for a terrorist attack back in 1983, but abandoned the plan when the rocket launcher to be utilized blew up in Snell's hands during a test-fire.
Cathy Wilburn states, "It's ludicrous to believe it's only a coincidence McVeigh picked the same building Snell targeted in 1983 and that Snell's body was taken to Elohim City (where the Oklahoma City bombing was allegedly planned)."
What of Michael Brescia and Andreas Strassmeir, the two Elohim City roommates also named in Wilburn's suit? Brescia has been identified as "John Doe #2" by Catina Lawson, McVeigh's ex-girlfriend and by Dennis Mahon, former Imperial Dragon of the KKK.
Mahon, like McVeigh, was a frequent visitor to Elohim City. Brescia sports an interesting résumé that includes being part of a bank-robbing speed-metal band called Cyanide, as well as being a member of the Aryan Republican Army (ARA), which boasted of their plans to kill Jews and deport blacks.
Cathy Wilburn believes the string of 22 Midwestern bank robberies by the ARA was intended to fund their racist agenda, including funneling money to McVeigh in the months prior to the bombing, as he traveled the US and stayed in motels with no apparent means of income.
Although the other three ARA members involved in the robberies were arrested shortly after the string of robberies in 1994-95, Brescia himself was not arrested by the FBI until January of 1997. It was members of a militia group headed by Arlin Adams who posted flyers accusing Brescia of being involved in the Oklahoma City bombing throughout Philadelphia.
The posters read: "UNWANTED by the FBI -- Michael Brescia aka 'John Doe #2.'" The poster also contained a photo of Brescia juxtaposed with the familiar sketch of "John Doe #2" which was circulated by the FBI immediately following the bombing. The "John Doe #2" which the FBI said did not exist, and it took a citizen's public pressure campaign for the FBI to finally move in and arrest Brescia. Brescia was only convicted of the bank robberies, not the bombing. Brescia has since been released from prison.
Andreas Strassmeir is a former Germany army official, whose father is Gunther Strassmeir, one of the architects of German reunification and former chief-of-staff for former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Strassmeir was present with his father at the official ceremonies celebrating the annexation of East Germany by West Germany. He came to the US in 1989 and eventually served as chief of security for Elohim City for two years, including the time prior to and following the Oklahoma City bombing. He returned to Germany in late 1995.
According to Strassmeir's attorney, Kirk Lyons, Strassmeir was assisted in his escape from the US by GSG-9, the German counter-terrorism unit. Lyons has been a attorney for neo-Nazi's, Klansmen and Holocaust deniers, and has himself been videotaped participating in neo-Nazi activities in Germany. Carol Howe, informant for the ATF who infiltrated Elohim City, says that the bombing was masterminded by Strassmeir, who allegedly exerted profound control over McVeigh.
Howe warned her ATF case agent that the terrorist underground of Elohim City was planning to blow up a federal building in either Tulsa or Oklahoma City with a probable target date of April 19, 1995. Howe also identified Brescia as "John Doe #2" during an ATF debriefing following the bombing, and said McVeigh went by the alias of "Tim Tuttle" when visiting Elohim City.
The ATF confirmed in 1997 that Howe was a source, this after claiming for two years that the idea that the federal government had prior knowledge of the bombing was a "conspiracy theory." US authorities now admit they had advance warning, but that the information provided by Howe was too vague for them to act.
Strassmeir, 42, is an enigma in that his role in and motivation for the bombing is uncertain. He has been portrayed as both a violent neo-Nazi as well as a government informant himself, working undercover for the ATF.
Cathy Wilburn commented, "I don't think Strassmeir was working for the ATF, but he was someone the government didn't want to touch [prosecute]. He was protected by someone, he was working for someone." When US officials sought to question Strassmeir in 1997, they were told by German police and intelligence that neither had any data concerning Strassmeir. This seems improbable given Strassmeir would have needed a security clearance to have attended the reunification ceremonies. Also, his alleged neo-Nazi ties to Elohim City would have been likely monitored by German intelligence.
One possibility for the Strassmeir cover-up was to protect then Chancellor Kohl from scandal preceding the 1998 election, given Kohl's friendship with Strassmeir's father. (Kohl was defeated in 1998 anyway, by Gerhard Schroder).
Kohl himself has long-standing ties to the residual elements of the Third Reich in the former West Germany, including associations with Nazi industrialist Fritz Ries and Eberhard Taubert, a Goebbels propaganda official who was employed by the West German national security establishment.
Besides the German connections, there is also McVeigh's link to the neo-Nazi tract "The Turner Diaries," and its notorious author, William Pierce. The 1978 novel dramatizes a fascist takeover of the US in which federal buildings are blown up. "Diaries" served as a blueprint for The Order, the neo-Nazi group which robbed armored cars and assassinated Alan Berg, the outspoken Jewish radio host in Denver in 1984.
McVeigh was said to be so obsessed with the "message" of "The Turner Diaries" that he sold the book at gun shows and even passed them out to friends. A copy of the book was found in his car the day of the Oklahoma City bombing. Ironically, Pierce himself told 60 Minutes that the Oklahoma City bombing was a "mistake," as it failed to advance the neo-Nazi cause because there was no sustained rebellion. Pierce promised, "One day there will be real, organized terrorism aimed at bringing down the government."
Finally, there is the possibility that fascistic elements within the US military may have been involved, at least in creating the "mad bomber" Timothy McVeigh. According to the book The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, McVeigh claimed that the Army had implanted him with a microchip, a miniature subcutaneous transponder, inserted in his buttocks, in order to keep track of him.
Dr. Carl Sanders, developer of the Intelligence Manned Interface biochip confirmed, "We used this with military personnel in the Iraq War where they were actually tracked using this particular type of device." Following the war, McVeigh took a job at Burns International Security, where fellow employee Lynda Haner-Mele described McVeigh and his personality: "Timmy just wasn't the type of person who could initiate action. He was very good if you said, 'Tim, watch this door; don't let anyone through.' The Tim I knew couldn't have masterminded something like this (the Oklahoma City bombing). It would have had to have been someone who said: 'Tim, this is what you do. You drive the truck..."
That the OKC bombing may have been engineered behind the scenes by fascist elements in the military, the German government and on the neo-Nazi/Christian Identity fringe seems fantastic, yet the mounting evidence continues to point in that direction, regardless of being covered-up by the government or ignored by the mainstream press.
McVeigh was quoted in the book, American Terrorist, as saying, "I did not do it (the Oklahoma City bombing) for personal gain ... I did it for the larger good." Was McVeigh's "larger good" a eventual fascist overthrow of the US government, with Christian Identity zealots and neo-Nazi's ascending to dictatorship? Time will tell if the prognostications in "The Turner Diaries" come to fruition.
As for Cathy Wilburn, she has both a documentary film and book in the works as she continues her personal quest to expose the truth of the Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh's execution may have satisfied the majority of Americans, but for those people like Wilburn, who believe there's much more to this than just a "lone nut bomber," they know that full justice has yet to be served as long as people and groups such as Brescia, Strassmeir, and Elohim City continue to go free.
(Additional research for this story provided by Cheri Seymour.)