Roundup of "undead" stories?

While I am very skeptical of conspiracy theories, the fact is that occasionally, there are unexplained conspiracies. By definition, unexplained conspiracies (until they are explained) logically demand the utilization of (for lack of a better phrase) conspiracy theories as a tool of examination. There is no question that terrorism -- whether domestic or international -- always involves a conspiracy. In attempting to analyze unsettled and vexing stories, I try to avoid the following common pitfalls:

  • the temptation of believing what I want to believe
  • the temptation of disbelieving (denying) what I don't want to believe
  • the temptation of clinging too tenaciously to my own conclusions (if any)
  • the temptation of being adversely influenced by emotions instead of logic (loud and ugly tones, or harsh rhetoric make me distrustful; reasonable tones engender trust and can create illusions of truth)
  • With that in mind, I want to briefly examine (and provide a roundup of stories on) topic which Glenn Reynolds called the "potential for cooperation between Arab terrorists and domestic extremists."

    It touches on a very troubling story which has not gone away, and won't go away until it is thoroughly investigated: possible connections between Iraq and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. There are numerous conspiracy theories floating around, and some of them are simply nuts. But what I have noticed is that there are too many reports from ordinary, non-conspiracy-minded citizens. Too many to be ignored (even though the conventional wisdom seems to be to ignore them).

    Like this one in the Ether Zone (which I seriously suggest reading in its entirety):

    We, as American citizens, had a right to know that the Iraqi regime was directly implicated in a second terrorist act upon American soil, the first occurring two years prior at the Twin Towers, NYC (1993). With that pivotal knowledge, the American people could have geared up for the "war on terrorism" much sooner, and possibly even averted the 9/11 disaster. Clearly, the Justice Department, under the direct auspices of Bill Clinton and his lackeys Janet Reno and Eric Holder, chose to represent the Oklahoma City bombing as a solely domestic conspiracy, eschewing all indications of Iraqi involvement. Itís bad enough that Clinton patently ignored overseas terrorist assaults on American assets in the 1990ís (Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, our Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, etc.). But to deep-six evidence of an Iraqi connection to the Oklahoma City bombing is no less than mind-boggling, totally egregious. Moreover, if the entire plot had been exposed, the American public would have pressured Bill Clinton to take appropriate military action against Iraq, whether he liked it or not. And Iím not talking about hitting another camel in the rear with an expensive cruise missile. There would have been calls for all-out war against Saddam Husseinís regime. I really donít think that was part of Bill Clintonís agenda while in office. Remember, he had his eye on that Nobel Peace Prize for brokering an Israeli-Palestinian accord that never materialized.

    There seems to be compelling evidence of an "Iraqi link" developed by several individuals including McVeigh defense attorney Stephen Jones, Larry Klayman of the Judicial Watch organization, and Oklahoma City attorney Mike Johnson. Apparently, neither Timothy McVeigh nor his accomplice Terry Nichols knew how to make a powerful bomb capable of bringing down the Murrah building. Nichols, who had been married to a Filipino, traveled on many occasions to the Philippines, a nation known to harbor elements of Islamic fanaticism. Based on the testimony of a variety of witnesses, itís believed that Nichols allied himself with a group of Islamic militants located in Cebu City in the Philippines, where he was instructed in the art of bomb-making by Ramzi Youssef, an Iraqi agent. Nichols, in turn, passed on this know-how to his buddy and crime partner, Timothy McVeigh. Moreover, Ramzi Youssef is the same individual who was subsequently convicted of participation in the 1993 Twin Towers bombing. In the referenced Insight magazine piece, Stephen Jones stated, "We went to the Philippines four times to investigate Terry Nicholsí meetings with Ramzi Youssef and other known terrorists". And Jones believes that there is a "prima facie" case for Iraqi involvement in the terrorist assault upon the Murrah Building. There are also reports that McVeigh had Iraqi telephone numbers on his person when he was arrested.

    Extensive information is presented in the federal lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the nation of Iraq on behalf of those victimized by the Oklahoma City attack (Judicial Watch website). According to the legal complaint, "Plaintiffs assert that the entire plot was, in whole or part, orchestrated, assisted technically and/or financially, and directly aided by agents of the Republic of Iraq". Noteworthy, the attacks upon both the Murrah Building and the Twin Towers (1993) involved the use of fertilizer bombs, reflecting the expertise of Ramzi Youssef. Judicial Watch also indicates that Interpol had linked Ramzi Youssef to the Oklahoma City bombing, as well.

    Certainly, Timothy McVeigh was one of the guilty parties in a truly horrific episode in American history, of that I have no doubt. But the Oklahoma City bombing case should be thoroughly re-evaluated by the Bush Justice Department in light of the suppressed materials, and the emerging information under development.

    There are countless other stories -- from Los Angeles (twice), to London, from the liberal Salon, to the right-wing NewsMax, to the far-right WorldNetDaily (at least twice). TalkLeft explores this tantalizing theory -- even comparing photograph of Jose Padilla with the police sketch of "John Doe 2."

    Then there's Oklahoma City journalist Jayna Davis -- whose reporting had to be vindicated in court! (Getting sued is quite a deterrent for most journalists, no matter how interested they are in a story....) But hey, some of those stubborn Oklahoma journalists just won't stop digging!

    And what did happen to Senator Arlen Specter's investigation? Does anyone know?

    Of course, there are also articles denying the allegations in these reports: here's one by a member of McVeigh's "federal appellate team". Indymedia scoffs at any McVeigh Iraq connection too!

    Then there's this intriguing comment by McVeigh himself:

    Remember Dresden? How about Hanoi? Tripoli? Baghdad? What about the big ones -- Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (At these two locations, the U.S. killed at least 150,000 non-combatants -- mostly women and children -- in the blink of an eye. Thousands more took hours, days, weeks, or months to die.)

    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.

    Hypocrisy when it comes to death of children? In Oklahoma City, it was family convenience that explained the presence of a day-care center placed between street level and the law enforcement agencies which occupied the upper floors of the building. Yet when discussion shifts to Iraq, any day-care center in a government building instantly becomes "a shield." Think about that.

    (Actually, there is a difference here. The administration has admitted to knowledge of the presence of children in or near Iraqi government buildings, yet they still proceed with their plans to bomb -- saying that they cannot be held responsible if children die. There is no such proof, however, that knowledge of the presence of children existed in relation to the Oklahoma City bombing.)

    When considering morality and mens rea [criminal intent] in light of these facts, I ask: Who are the true barbarians?

    [NOTE: The above comes from a site which claims to have been regularly in touch with McVeigh. While McVeigh was a known Iraqi sympathizer, I have no way of verifying the authenticity of the above. Nor time.... Besides, I haven't had time to analyze the owl wars in my backyard!]

    McVeigh's (well, his alleged) moral equivalency masterpiece was written in 1998 -- and directed at Clinton. (Interesting too, how leftists have also tried to blame Gulf War I for OKC.)

    Had Timmy lived, he could now be writing for Indymedia -- or!

    Well why not? Besides, the McVeigh execution always seemed a bit hurried to me. (Allegations that his conviction was aided by false testimony emerged in May. Too late for a stay of execution now, eh?)

    The most common reason given for hurrying the execution was "closure" -- said to be synonymous with the needs of McVeigh's victims. McVeigh's lawyer, Steven Jones, is someone I can't just ignore, and he simply, steadfastly, refuses to shut up:

    The execution of Timothy McVeigh helped bring a feeling of closure to the family and friends of the 168 people killed in 1995 in the Oklahoma City bombing. But McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones, cautions that if the government thinks it convicted the chief suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing, it got the wrong man.

    "I believe Timothy McVeigh's role in the Oklahoma City bombing was a very minor one," Jones said. "A member of the conspiracy? Yes. The leader? No. The financier? No. The organizer? No. Timothy McVeigh saw his role as the cover for everybody else, to be the person to fall on the sword. It served deep-seated emotional needs that he had, and it furthered the role of the conspiracy."

    Ever since the McVeigh trial, Jones has accused the federal government of a cover-up, and indeed, the government was found to have withheld 4,000 pages of evidence during the McVeigh trial.

    Comfortable lies sometimes offer more closure than uncomfortable truths. But believing a lie, or cutting off inquiry into the truth, simply to have "closure" -- that is not a logical approach.

    UPDATE: Walter in Denver emailed to say that Jeralyn Merritt (the 'we' at TalkLeft) was part of McVeigh's defense team.

    Fascinating stuff -- and very, very hard to ignore.

    posted by Eric on 01.31.04 at 04:20 PM


    I certainly share your unease with conspiracy theories but I agree that there are too many questions unanswered or answered unsatisfactorily about this. Laurie Mylroie believes Kalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef are Iraqi Intelligence who at the outset of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait dummied new IDs for themselves. It seems like a stretch to me some days, then some days I buy it. Also James Patterson in the Indianapolis Star has a whole series of articles about this: Jayna Davis, Nicholls trips to the Phillipines, the whole shebang. Maybe we'll get the truth, someday.

    Rob A.   ·  February 1, 2004 9:32 AM

    Interesting. I have no idea what to make of all this. Only a couple thoughts:

    1) On the matter of McVeigh and the OKC bombing: It always smelled "Reichstag fire" to me. Clinton and the mass media cast the net as wide as possible, launching a "witch-hunt" against "militias", blaming Rightist talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, George Gordon Battle Liddy, and Leonard Peikoff, and every gun owner, Rightist, libertarian, or conservative as child-killers.
    By contrast, ever since 9/11, we were told endlessly by the same people, and even by President Bush, that we must not blame Muslims or Islam, that Islam is the Religion of Peace, that Saudi Arabia is our friend, and that anybody who doesn't agree is a bigot, even a racist (is Islam a race?).

    2) Your honesty. "...the temptation of being adversely influenced by emotions instead of logic (loud and ugly tones, or harsh rhetoric make me distrustful; reasonable tones engender trust and can create illusions of truth)..."
    You're the first person I know to admit that! It's something I've been thinking about: So many people who pride themselves on being cool, calm, logical, and reasonable cannot follow an argument unless it is delivered in a cool, calm, logical, reasonable tone. If the exact same argument or better is delivered in an emotional, heated, impassioned, angry tone, they spend all their time complaining about the tone and never address the argument.
    The kind of writers I like are the ones who are passionate about ideas and the truth, angry at injustice or stupidity, people like G. K. Chesterton, Ayn Rand, Camille Paglia, Jim Goad -- their arguments are almost always irrefutable, yet people complain about their tone instead of trying to refute their ideas.

    Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 3, 2004 12:12 AM

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