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Timothy McVeigh

Timothy James McVeigh (April 23, 1968June 11, 2001) was a United States Army veteran and security guard who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on the second anniversary of the Waco Siege, as revenge for what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government. The bombing killed 168 people, and was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He was convicted of 11 federal offenses, and was sentenced to death and executed for the April 19, 1995 bombing.

Biography

McVeigh was born to an Irish Catholic family in Lockport, New York, and raised in nearby Pendleton, along with two sisters.

He was picked on by bullies at school, and took refuge in a fantasy world in which he retaliated against them; he would later come to regard the U.S. Government as the ultimate bully. He earned his high school diploma from Starpoint Central High School. His parents, Mildred Noreen ("Mickey") Hill and William McVeigh, divorced when he was ten years old. McVeigh was known throughout his life as a loner; his only known affiliations were voter registration with the Republican Party when he lived in New York, and a membership in the National Rifle Association while in the military. Despite the former, he self-identified as a libertarian in a statement that was reported by MSNBC.com and The Washington Post; and in 1996, while in federal prison, he voted for Libertarian candidate Harry Browne in the United States presidential election, 1996. The LP said that he violated the nonaggression principle and thus was not a true libertarian.

His grandfather introduced him to guns, with which he became fascinated. McVeigh told people he wanted to be a gun shop owner, and he sometimes took a gun to school to impress the other boys. McVeigh was also interested in computers and used to hack into government computer systems on his Commodore 64 under the handle "The Wanderer," which was borrowed from the song by Dion DiMucci. In his senior year, he was named the school's "Most Promising Computer Programmer. After graduating high school with honors, he became intensely interested in gun rights and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and devoured right-wing, pro-militia magazines such as Soldier of Fortune. He went to work for Burke Armored Car Service. McVeigh was shy and was said to have only had one girlfriend during his high school years. He would later tell journalists that he always said the wrong thing to women he was trying to impress. According to his authorized biography, "his only sustaining relief from his unsatisfied sex drive was his even stronger desire to die.

Religious beliefs

After his parents' divorce, McVeigh lived with his father; his sisters moved to Florida with their mother. He and his father were devout Roman Catholics who often attended daily Mass. In a recorded interview with Time Magazine McVeigh professed his belief in "a God", although he said he had "sort of lost touch with" Catholicism and "never really picked it [back] up". The Guardian reported that McVeigh wrote a letter claiming to be an agnostic. He was given the Catholic sacrament of Viaticum before his execution. McVeigh believed the universe was guided by natural law, energized by some universal higher power that showed each person right from wrong if they paid attention to what was going on inside them. He said, "Science is my religion.

Military career

In May 1988, McVeigh enlisted in the U.S. Army. Michel and Herbeck comment on the process of brutalization he went through as a recruit: "During dawn runs and their long, exhausting marches over the Georgia sand, their sound-offs revolved around killing and mutilating the enemy, or violent sex with women. He had little interest in the bar scene, preferring to use his spare time to read about guns, sniper tactics, or explosives. He once ordered a "White Power" T-shirt from the Ku Klux Klan in protest against black servicemen who wore "Black Power" T-shirts around his army camp.

He was a decorated veteran of the United States Army, having served in the Gulf War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. He had been a top scoring gunner with the 25mm cannon of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division to which he was assigned. He served at Fort Riley, Kansas, before Operation Desert Storm. At Fort Riley, McVeigh completed the Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC). McVeigh later would say that the Army taught him how to switch off his emotions. He had special lifesaving training and may have saved the life of a comrade who had life-threatening shrapnel wounds.

McVeigh wanted to join the Green Berets, the Army's elite special forces. After returning from the Gulf War, he entered the program for training to become a Green Beret, but dropped out quickly after sustaining blisters from new boots issued for a 5-mile march. He had disregarded advice to wait until he had rebuilt stamina lost during the war. Shortly thereafter, McVeigh decided to leave the Army and was discharged on December 31, 1991. McVeigh was given an honorable discharge from the Army Reserve in May 1992.

Post-military activities and lifestyle

After leaving the Army in 1992, McVeigh grew increasingly transient. At first he worked briefly near his hometown of Pendleton as a security guard, and sounded off daily to his co-worker Carl Lebron, Jr. about his loathing for government. Deciding the Buffalo area was too liberal, he left his job and began driving around America, seeking out his old friends from the Army.

McVeigh wrote letters to local newspapers, complaining about taxes:

Taxes are a joke. Regardless of what a political candidate "promises," they will increase. More taxes are always the answer to government mismanagement. They mess up. We suffer. Taxes are reaching cataclysmic levels, with no slowdown in sight...Is a Civil War Imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn't come to that. But it might.

He also wrote to Congressman John J. LaFalce, complaining about the arrest of a woman for carrying Mace: "It is a lie if we tell ourselves that the police can protect us everywhere at all times. Firearms restrictions are bad enough, but now a woman can't even carry Mace in her purse?"

The long hours in a dead-end job, the feeling that he didn't have a home, and his failure to establish a relationship with a woman brought McVeigh to the breaking point. He sought romance, but was rejected by his co-worker Andrea Peters, and typically felt nervous around women. He considered suicide, but decided it would cause too much pain to his loved ones. He grew angry and frustrated at his difficulties acquiring a girlfriend, and took up obsessive gambling. Unable to pay back gambling debts, he took a cash advance and then stiffed the credit card company. He then began looking for a free state – one without heavy government regulation or high taxes. He became enraged when the government informed him that he had been overpaid $1,058 while in the Army and would need to pay back the money. He wrote an angry letter to the government inviting them to "Go ahead, take everything I own; take my dignity. Feel good as you grow fat and rich at my expense; sucking my tax dollars and property".

McVeigh introduced his sister to anti-government literature, but his father had little interest in these views. He moved out of his father's house and into an apartment that had no telephone, which had the advantage of making it impossible for his boss to contact him. He also quit the NRA, viewing its stance on gun rights to be too weak. He became fascinated with Star Trek: The Next Generation, admiring Jean-Luc Picard for his knowledge and diplomacy; Worf for being the consummate warrior; Data for his logic; and Geordi La Forge for his proficiency.

In 1993, he drove to Waco, Texas during the Waco Siege to show his support. At the scene, he distributed pro-gun rights literature and bumper stickers such as "When guns are outlawed, I will become an outlaw.". He told a student reporter:

The government is afraid of the guns people have because they have to have control of the people at all times. Once you take away the guns, you can do anything to the people. You give them an inch and they take a mile. I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful, and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control.

For the five months following the Waco inferno, McVeigh worked at gun shows and handed out free cards printed up with Lon Horiuchi's name and address, "in the hope that somebody in the Patriot movement would assassinate the sharpshooter". He wrote hate mail to the sniper, suggesting that "what goes around, comes around", and later considered putting aside his plan to target the Murrah Building to instead simply target Horiuchi, or a member of his family.

McVeigh spent more time on the gun show circuit, traveling to 40 of the 50 states and visiting about 80 gun shows in all. McVeigh found that the further west he went, the more antigovernment sentiment he encountered, at least he until he got to what he called "The People's Socialist Republic of California. McVeigh sold survival items and copies of The Turner Diaries. One author said, "In the gun show culture, McVeigh found a home. Though he remained skeptical of some of the most extreme ideas being bandied around, he liked talking to people there about the United Nations, the federal government, and possible threats to American liberty.

McVeigh had a road atlas with hand-drawn designations of the most likely places for nuclear attacks, and considered buying property in Seligman, Arizona, which he determined to be in a "nuclear-free zone." McVeigh lived with Michael Fortier for a spell, and grew so close to them that he was the best man at their wedding. McVeigh experimented with cannabis and methamphetamine, after first researching their effects in an encyclopedia; however, he was not as interested in drugs as Fortier. Indeed, one of the reasons they parted ways was McVeigh's boredom with Fortier's drug habits.

McVeigh defended the practice of owning multiple guns, saying it was like the common practice of keeping an assortment of screwdrivers in one's toolbox; one needed to be sure of having the right tool for the job. He said that five particular guns were essential: a semiautomatic, magazine-fed rifle (for defending against large mobs); a bolt-action hunting/sniper rifle (for killing large game or defending against an entrenched marauder); a shotgun (for fowl hunting); a .22 caliber rifle (to hone shooting skills and bag small game); and a pistol (for close-in self defense). He viewed guns as the first tool of freedom, necessary to protect supplies in the event America fell into chaos.

In April 1993, McVeigh headed for a farm where convicted co-conspirator Terry Nichols lived. In between watching coverage of the Waco siege on TV, Nichols and his brother began teaching McVeigh how to make explosives out of readily available materials; specifically, they combined household chemicals in plastic jugs. The destruction of the Waco compound enraged McVeigh and convinced him that it was time to take action. The government's use of CS gas on women and children angered McVeigh; he had been exposed to the gas as part of his military training and thus was familiar with its effects. The disappearance of certain evidence, such as the bullet-ridden steel-reinforced front door to the complex, led him to suspect a cover-up. He believed that even if David Koresh had committed crimes, his followers did not deserve to be killed.

His antigovernment rhetoric became more radical. He began selling ATF hats riddled with bullet holes and a flare gun which he said could shoot down an "ATF helicopter. He distributed cards with the name and address of Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sharpshooter who killed Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge. He created videos detailing the government's actions at Waco and handed out pamphlets with titles like "U.S. Government Initiates Open Warfare Against American People" and "Waco Shootout Evokes Memory of Warsaw '43." He began changing his answering machine greeting every couple of weeks to various quotes by Patrick Henry such as "Give me liberty or give me death. He began experimenting with pipe bombs and other small explosive devices for the first time. The government also imposed new firearms restrictions in 1994 that threatened his livelihood.

He dissociated himself from his boyhood friend, Steve Hodge, by firing off a twenty-three page farewell letter to him. He proclaimed his devotion to the United States Declaration of Independence, explaining in detail what each sentence meant to him. Declaring that "Those who betray or subvert the Constitution are guilty of sedition and/or treason, are domestic enemies and should and will be punished accordingly," McVeigh continued:

It also stands to reason that anyone who sympathizes with the enemy or gives aid or comfort to said enemy is likewise guilty. I have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will. And I will because not only did I swear to, but I believe in what it stands for in every bit of my heart, soul and being.

I know in my heart that I am right in my struggle, Steve. I have come to peace with myself, my God and my cause. Blood will flow in the streets, Steve. Good vs. Evil. Free Men vs. Socialist Wannabe Slaves. Pray it is not your blood, my friend.

McVeigh felt the need to personally reconnoiter sites of rumored conspiracies. He visited Area 51 in order to defy government restrictions on picture-taking, and went to Gulfport, Mississippi to determine the veracity of rumors about United Nations operations. These turned out to be false; the Soviet vehicles on the site were being configured for use in U.N.-sponsored humanitarian aid efforts. Around this time, McVeigh and Nichols also began making bulk purchases of ammonium nitrate fertilizer for resale to survivalists, since rumor had it that the government was preparing to ban it.

According to McVeigh, he had a two-week affair with Marife Nichols; although she denies that it happened. McVeigh told Fortier of his plans to blow up a federal building, but Fortier declined to participate. Fortier also told his wife about the plans. McVeigh composed two letters to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the first titled "Constitutional Defenders" and the second "ATF Read." He denounced government agents as "fascist tyrants" and "storm troopers" and warned, "ATF, all you tyrannical mother fuckers will swing in the wind one day for your treasonous actions against the Constitution of the United States. Remember the Nuremberg War Trials. But...but...but...I only followed orders...Die, you spineless cowardice bastards.

McVeigh also wrote a letter of recruitment to a customer named Steve Colbern, noting:

A man with nothing left to lose is a very dangerous man and his energy/anger can be focused toward a common/righteous goal. What I'm asking you to do, then, is sit back and be honest with yourself. Do you have kids/wife? Would you back out at the last minute to care for the family? Are you interested in keeping your firearms for their current/future monetary value, or would you drag that '06 through rock, swamp and cactus...to get off the needed shot? In short, I'm not looking for talkers, I'm looking for fighters...And if you are a fed, think twice. Think twice about the Constitution you are supposedly enforcing (isn't "enforcing freedom" an oxymoron?) and think twice about catching us with our guard down – you will lose just like Degan did – and your family will lose.

McVeigh began announcing that he had progressed from the "propaganda" phase to the "action" phase. He wrote to his Michigan friend Gwenda Strider, "I have certain other 'militant' talents that are in short supply and greatly demanded.

McVeigh later said he considered "a campaign of individual assassination," with "eligible" targets including Attorney-General Janet Reno, Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Federal District Court, who handled the Branch Davidian trial, and Lon Horiuchi, a member of the FBI hostage-rescue team who shot to death the wife of a white separatist in a standoff at a remote cabin at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992. He said he wanted Reno to accept "full responsibility in deed, not just words. However, such an assassination seemed too difficult, and he decided that since federal agents had become soldiers, it was necessary to strike against them at their command centers. Moreover, according to American Terrorist, ultimately he decided that he would make the loudest statement by bombing a federal building. After the bombing, he would come to have some ambivalence about his act, as expressed in letters to his hometown newspaper that he sometimes wished he had carried out a series of assassinations against police and government officials instead.

Bombing

Working at a lakeside campground near McVeigh's old Army post, he and Nichols constructed an ANNM explosive device mounted in the back of a rented Ryder truck. This site was regarded as suitable because a moving truck would not seem out of place, given the transient population of the area. The bomb consisted of about 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of ammonium nitrate (an agricultural fertilizer) and nitromethane, a motor-racing fuel.

On April 19, 1995 McVeigh drove the truck to the front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building just as its offices and day care center opened for the day. Prosecutors said McVeigh ran away from the truck after he ignited two time fuse, one was a 2 minute fuse and another one a backup of 5 minutes. At 9:02 a.m., a massive explosion destroyed the north half of the building. The explosion was so powerful that Timothy who was jogging away from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was lifted 2 inches off the ground. The explosion killed 168 people, and 450 were injured. Nineteen of the victims were small children in the day care center on the ground floor of the building. McVeigh did not express remorse for the deaths, what he referred to as "collateral damage", but said he might have chosen a different target if he had known the day care center was open.

According to the Oklahoma City Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), more than 300 buildings were damaged. More than 12,000 volunteers and rescue workers took part in the rescue, recovery, and support operations following the bombing.

In reference to theories that he had assistance from others, McVeigh responded, "You can't handle the truth. Because the truth is, I blew up the Murrah Building, and isn't it kind of scary that one man could wreak this kind of hell?

Arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing

By tracing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a rear axle found in the wreckage, the FBI identified a vehicle as a Ryder Rental Junction City agency truck. Workers at the agency assisted an FBI artist in creating a sketch of the renter, who had used the alias "Robert Kling". The sketch was shown in the area. That day manager Lea McGown of the Dreamland Hotel identified the sketch as Timothy McVeigh.

Shortly after the bombing, while driving on I-35 in Noble County, near Perry, Oklahoma, McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charles J. Hanger from Pawnee, Oklahoma. Hanger had passed McVeigh's yellow 1977 Mercury Marquis and noticed that it had no license plate. While questioning McVeigh, he noticed a bulge under his jacket and ended up arresting him for carrying a loaded firearm; McVeigh's concealed weapon permit was not legal in Oklahoma. McVeigh was wearing a T-shirt at that time with a picture of Abraham Lincoln and the motto: sic semper tyrannis, the state motto of Virginia, and also the words shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Lincoln. The translation: Thus, always, to tyrants. On the back, it had a tree with a picture of three blood droplets and the Thomas Jefferson quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Three days later, while still in jail, McVeigh was identified as the subject of the nationwide manhunt.

On August 10, 1995, McVeigh was indicted on 11 federal counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, use of a weapon of mass destruction, destruction by explosives, and eight counts of first-degree murder. On October 20, 1995, the government filed notice that it would seek the death penalty.

On February 20, 1996, the Court granted a change of venue and ordered that the case be transferred from Oklahoma City to the US District Court in Denver, Colorado, to be presided over by U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch.

McVeigh instructed his lawyers to use a necessity defense, but they ended up not doing so, because they would have had to prove that McVeigh was in "imminent danger" from the government. (McVeigh himself argued that "imminent" did not necessarily mean "immediate.") They would have argued that his bombing of the Murrah building was a justifiable response to what McVeigh believed were the crimes of the U.S. government at Waco, Texas. The 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian complex resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidian members. As part of the defense, McVeigh's lawyers showed the jury the controversial video Waco: The Big Lie.

On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was found guilty on all 11 counts of the federal indictment.

McVeigh tried to calm his mother by saying, "Think of it this way. When I was in the Army, you didn't see me for years. Think of me that way now, like I'm away in the Army again, on an assignment for the military.

On June 13, 1997, the jury recommended that McVeigh receive the death penalty. The U.S. Department of Justice brought federal charges against McVeigh for causing the deaths of the eight federal officers leading to a possible death penalty for McVeigh; it could not bring charges against McVeigh for the remaining 160 murders in federal court because those deaths fell under the jurisdiction of the state of Oklahoma. Because McVeigh was convicted and sentenced to death, the State of Oklahoma did not file murder charges against McVeigh for the other 160 deaths. Before the sentence was formally pronounced, McVeigh addressed the court for the first time and said simply:

If the Court please, I wish to use the words of Justice Brandeis dissenting in Olmstead to speak for me. He wrote, 'Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.' That's all I have.

During his time in prison, McVeigh wrote various essays. An Essay on Hypocrisy describes the U.S. Government as hypocritical for justifying its attack on Iraq by stating that Iraq should not be allowed to stockpile weapons of mass destruction because it had used them in the past. He cited Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples of the U.S. using nuclear weapons in the past. On April 26, 2001 he wrote a letter to Fox News, I Explain Herein Why I Bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which explicitly laid out his reasons for the attack. McVeigh read Unintended Consequences and noted that if it had come out a few years earlier, he would have given serious consideration to using sniper attacks in a war of attrition against the government instead of bombing a federal building:

If people say The Turner Diaries was my Bible, Unintended Consequences would be my New Testament. I think Unintended Consequences is a better book. It might have changed my whole plan of operation if I'd read that one first.

Execution

McVeigh's death sentence was delayed pending an appeal. One of his appeals for certiorari, taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, was denied on March 8, 1999. McVeigh's request for a nationally televised execution was also denied. An internet company also sued for the rights to broadcast it. At ADX Florence, McVeigh was housed in the same cell block as Ted Kaczynski, Luis Felipe, and Ramzi Yousef. The latter made frequent, unsuccessful attempts to convert McVeigh to Islam. On July 13, 1999, he was moved to death row in Terre Haute, Indiana.

McVeigh maintained an upbeat attitude, noting that even after his execution, the score would still be "168 to 1" and thus he was the victor. He also said: "I am sorry these people had to lose their lives. But that's the nature of the beast. It's understood going in what the human toll will be." He said that if there turned out to be an afterlife, he would "improvise, adapt and overcome," noting that "If there is a hell, then I'll be in good company with a lot of fighter pilots who also had to bomb innocents to win the war. He noted, "I knew I wanted this before it happened. I knew my objective was state-assisted suicide and when it happens, it's in your face, motherfuckers. You just did something you're trying to say should be illegal for medical personnel.

He was executed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. on June 11, 2001, at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. He had dropped his remaining appeals, giving no reason for doing so. He was 33 years old. McVeigh stated that his only regret was not completely leveling the federal building.

McVeigh invited California conductor/composer David Woodard to perform a pre-requiem (a Mass for those who are about to die), on the eve of his execution. He had also requested a Catholic chaplain. Ave Atque Vale was performed under Woodard's baton by a local brass choir at St. Margaret Mary Church, located near the Terre Haute penitentiary, at 7:00 p.m. on June 10, to an audience that included the entirety of the next morning's witnesses.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote to the warden and to Timothy McVeigh, requesting that his last meals be vegetarian so that he would not be involved in the taking of any more lives. The warden replied that McVeigh had a right to eat what he wanted for his last meal, within reason, and McVeigh himself responded to PETA with a letter complimenting them on their efforts to gain publicity for their cause and expressing concern for animals killed at slaughterhouses (echoing similar sentiments McVeigh penned in a March 10, 1992 letter to a Lockport newspaper, in which he defended hunting as potentially less cruel than factory farming). However, he declined to go vegan, noting that even plants have circulatory systems and feel pain, and opined that humans need to come to terms with their place in the food chain. Ingrid Newkirk describes his concerns as "typical responses of someone grappling with a new idea.

McVeigh had two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream for his last meal, a choice that, while not completely vegan, was still vegetarian. In an interview with the Financial Times, PETA Coordinator Bruce Friedrich said, "Mr. McVeigh's decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world's greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, all of whom advocated vegetarianism as an extension of humanitarianism.

McVeigh chose William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus" as his final statement. McVeigh was the first convicted criminal to be executed by the United States federal government since Victor Feguer in Iowa on March 15, 1963. Jay Sawyer, relative of one of the victims, noted, "Without saying a word, he got the final word." Larry Whicher, whose brother died in the attack, described McVeigh as having "A totally expressionless, blank stare. He had a look of defiance, and that if he could, he'd do it all over again.

Congress passed special legislation to bar McVeigh from being buried in any military cemetery. His body was cremated at Mattox Ryan Funeral Home in Terre Haute. The cremated remains were given to his lawyer, who scattered them at an undisclosed location. McVeigh had earlier written that he considered having his ashes dropped at the site of the memorial where the Murrah building once stood, but decided that would be "too vengeful, too raw, cold." He had expressed willingness to donate organs, but was prohibited from doing so by prison regulations.

Psychiatrist John Smith concluded that McVeigh was a decent person who had allowed rage to build up inside him to the point that he had lashed out in one terrible, violent act. McVeigh's IQ was assessed at 126.

Motivations for the bombing

McVeigh claimed that the bombing was revenge for "what the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge. McVeigh visited Waco during the standoff, where he spoke to a news reporter about his anger over what was happening there.

McVeigh frequently quoted and alluded to the white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries. It described acts of terrorism similar to the one he carried out. While McVeigh openly rejected the book's racism (a roommate said that McVeigh was not a racist and was basically indifferent to racist matters), he claimed to appreciate its interest in firearms. Photocopies of pages sixty-one and sixty-two of The Turner Diaries were found in an envelope inside McVeigh's car. These pages depicted a fictitious mortar attack upon the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

In interviews before his execution, documented in American Terrorist, McVeigh stated he decapitated an Iraqi soldier with cannon fire on his first day in the war and celebrated. But he said he later was shocked to be ordered to execute surrendering prisoners, and to see carnage on the road leaving Kuwait City after U.S. troops routed the Iraqi army. In interviews following the Oklahoma City bombing, McVeigh said he began harboring anti-government feelings during the Gulf War. In 1998, McVeigh while in prison wrote an essay that criticized US foreign policy towards Iraq as being hypocritical.

The administration has said that Iraq has no right to stockpile chemical or biological weapons (“weapons of mass destruction”) — mainly because they have used them in the past.

Well, if that’s the standard by which these matters are decided, then the U.S. is the nation that set the precedent. The U.S. has stockpiled these same weapons (and more) for over 40 years. The U.S. claims that this was done for deterrent purposes during the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. Why, then is it invalid for Iraq to claim the same reason (deterrence) — with respect to Iraq’s (real) war with, and the continued threat of, its neighbor Iran?
If Saddam is such a demon, and people are calling for war crimes charges and trials against him and his nation, why do we not hear the same cry for blood directed at those responsible for even greater amounts of “mass destruction” — like those responsible and involved in dropping bombs on the cities mentioned above?

The truth is, the U.S. has set the standard when it comes to the stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction.

McVeigh had contemplated suicide on many occasions. Anticipating that he would probably be caught and executed, he referred to the bombing as "state-assisted suicide."

Accomplices

In addition to McVeigh, Terry Nichols was convicted and sentenced in federal court to life in prison for his role in the crime. At Nichols' trial, evidence was presented indicating that others may have been involved. Several residents of central Kansas, including real estate agent Georgia Rucker and a retired Army NCO testified at the Terry Nichols' federal trial that they had seen two trucks at Geary State Lake, where prosecutors alleged the bomb was assembled. The retired NCO said he visited the lake on April 18 1995, but left after a group of surly men looked at him aggressively. The operator of the Dreamland Motel testified that two Ryder trucks had been parked outside her Grandview Plaza motel where McVeigh stayed in Room 26 the weekend before the bombing. Testimony suggested that McVeigh may have had several other accomplices, but no other individuals have been indicted for the bombing.

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) informant, Carolyn Howe, told reporters that shortly before the bombing she had warned her handlers that guests of Elohim City, Oklahoma were planning a major bombing attack. McVeigh was issued a speeding ticket there at the same time. Other than this speeding ticket, there is no evidence of a connection between McVeigh and members of the MidWest bank robbers at Elohim City.

In February 2004, the FBI announced it would review its investigation after learning that agents in the investigation of the Midwest bank robbers (an alleged Aryan-oriented gang) had turned up explosive caps of the same type that were used to trigger the Oklahoma City bomb. Agents expressed surprise that bombing investigators had not been provided information from the Midwest bank robbers investigation. McVeigh was given a one-week delay prior to his execution while evidence relating to the Bank Robbers' gang was presented to a court.

McVeigh declined further delays and maintained until his death that he had acted alone in the bombing.

Islamist and Neo-Nazi conspiracy theories

In Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy, Stephen Jones, McVeigh's first, court-appointed lead defense counsel (prior to the death-penalty phase of the case), and Jones's co-author Peter Israel discuss several other possible suspects and continued to implicate Terry Nichols' brother, James.

Jones and Israel suggest in Others Unknown that Terry Nichols had come into contact with suspected Islamic terrorists during his frequent visits to the Philippines before the attacks. Nichols' father-in-law then was a Philippine police officer who owned an apartment building often rented to Arabic-speaking students with alleged terrorist connections.

Richard A. Clarke, former counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council suggested that the improvement in Nichols's bomb-making techniques, along with telephone calls to the region upon his return to the U.S, pointed to a possible link to Philippines-based Islamist terrorists in Cebú and the southern islands. These accounts were detailed in Richard A. Clarke's 2004 work Against All Enemies, a memoir of his public service spanning several administrations.

McVeigh's defense attorneys also submitted a theory to the court that Islamist terrorists and American Neo-Nazis conspired in the bombing. They pointed out that location and day of the attack indicated the possibility that those seeking revenge for the execution of Richard Snell may have been involved.

Judge Matsch rejected these theories and did not allow them to be presented as part of the official defense.

Government persecution conspiracy

Various speculations have suggested that "the government" was involved in a conspiracy behind the bombing, or that the government planned the attack as a false flag operation in order to justify persecuting right-wing organizations. They pointed to Nazi prosecution of legislators after the Reichstag fire.

In 1995, Brigadier General Benton K. Partin (Ret.) published an analysis of the bombing. From General Partin's analysis:

“It is impossible that the destruction to the building could have resulted from such a bomb [as McVeigh's] alone.

To cause the damage pattern that occurred to the Murrah building, there would have to have been demolition charges at several supporting column bases, at locations not accessible from the street, to supplement the truck bomb damage. Indeed, a careful examination of photographs showing the collapsed column bases reveals a failure mode produced by demolition charges and not by a blast from the truck bomb.”

Later he writes:

“Although the truck bomb had insufficient power to destroy columns, the bomb was clearly responsible for ripping out some floors at the second and third floor levels.”

Jose Padilla

Conspiracy enthusiasts have speculated that José Padilla was an accomplice of McVeigh. Both of them lived in the greater Fort Lauderdale area in Plantation, Florida. Following Jose Padilla's arrest, several media outlets pointed to a resemblance between Padilla and police sketches of an Oklahoma City bombing suspect known as "John Doe No. 2".

Inside job

In 2007, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols claimed that a high-ranking FBI director, Larry Potts, directed Timothy McVeigh in the plot to blow up a government building and might have changed the original target of the attack, according to a new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah on February 9th, 2007. Nichols also claimed that the government was protecting the official and other conspirators "in a cover-up to escape its responsibility" for the attacks.

The suit, which seeks documents from the FBI under the federal Freedom of Information Act, alleges that authorities mistook Kenneth Trentadue for a bombing conspirator and that guards killed him in an interrogation that got out of hand. Trentadue's death a few months after the April 19, 1995, bombing was ruled a suicide after several investigations. The government has adamantly denied any wrongdoing in the death. Trentadue's brother, attorney Jesse Trentadue is suing for FBI teletypes to support his belief that Federal authorities were tipped to McVeigh's plans, but failed to stop the bombing and let others walk away from prosecution. A US District court judge Dale A. Kimball ruled in September 21, 2007 that Trentadue can question and videotape David Paul Hammer and Terry Nichols. The FBI has opposed these videotapings. The FBI claimed "there no longer existed any 'case or controversy' sufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction" to the court after the agency's previous document disclosures. The court disagreed, noting that the FBI's responses were marked by a "troubling absence of documents to which other documents referred."

In his affidavit of February, 2007, Nichols says he wants to bring closure to the survivors and families of the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which took 168 lives. He alleges he wrote then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2004, offering to help identify all parties who played a role in the bombing but never got a reply.

McVeigh and Nichols were the only defendants indicted in the bombing. However, Nichols alleges others were involved. McVeigh told him he was recruited for undercover missions while serving in the military, according to Nichols. He says he learned sometime in 1995 that there had been a change in the bombing target and that McVeigh was upset by that.

References and notes

See also

Further reading

  • Hoffman, David. The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror. Los Angeles: Feral House, 1998. ISBN 0-922915-49-0. (Complete book accessible online; Chap. 2: "'The Face of Terror'" concerns Timothy McVeigh.)
  • Jones, Stephen, and Peter Israel. Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. Rev. ed. (paperback). 1998; New York: PublicAffairs, 2001. ISBN 1-58648-098-7.
  • Michel, Lou, and Dan Herbeck. American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. New York: ReganBooks (A Division of HarperCollins Publishers), 2001. ISBN 0-06-039407-2.
  • Vidal, Gore. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002. ISBN 1-56025-405-X. (Chapters "How I Became Interested in Timothy McVeigh and Vice Versa" and " The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh")
  • Walsh, David. "Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh: the making of a mass murderer." April 19, 2001, ''World Socialist Web Site. Accessed August 8, 2006.
  • Davis, Jayna. "The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing" (WND Books ISBN 0-7852-6103-6).

External links

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