Monday, 28 January 2002 00:00

OKC Bombing: Precursor to 9-11?

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The Black Tuesday terror attacks on America have prompted some journalists to take a look at the abundant evidence of Middle Eastern terrorist involvement in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the possible connection of that event to the more recent 9/11 attacks. A recent example is Insight magazine. A December 3 article by Kelly Patricia O’Meara reports that Timothy McVeigh’s convicted co-conspirator Terry Nichols "reportedly attended a meeting in the early 1990s on the predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao, a hotbed of fundamentalist activities, at which Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah were present. The themes of the meeting were ‘bombing activities, providing firearms and ammunition, training in making and handling bombs.’ Yousef was the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993; Murad and Shah were convicted in a 1996 conspiracy to blow up 12 U.S. jetliners."

O’Meara interviewed Iraq expert Dr. Laurie Mylroie, author of the newly released book, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and The World Trade Center Attacks. A consultant to the McVeigh defense team, Mylroie told Insight that "the connection of Terry Nichols, the Philippines and Ramzi Yousef is a very important point that neither the FBI nor the press pursued." Mylroie added, "I doubt that Nichols has ever been asked about his connections to Yousef because the government didn’t want to know. It wanted to say, ‘Here are the perpetrators; we arrested them and we brought them to justice. Case closed.’"

Dr. Mylroie’s book marshals convincing evidence that Ramzi Yousef was acting as an agent for Saddam Hussein. The foreword to her book was penned by former CIA Director R. James Woolsey two weeks after the September 11 attacks. In that piece and other articles since Black Tuesday, Woolsey has expressed his support for her thesis and stated his belief that Hussein was behind both the 1993 and the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center Towers. He scorches the Clinton administration (under which he served) for an unwillingness to look at the evidence of state sponsorship of these acts of terrorism.

Familiar Ground

All of this is familiar ground to regular readers of this magazine. For nearly seven years The New American has been publishing stories concerning evidence pointing directly toward Iraqi involvement with McVeigh and Nichols in the bombing. In "A Tale of Intrigue," in our December 25, 1995 issue, for instance, we reported on the evidence pointing toward a possible connection between Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef in the Philippines. It is a theme we have returned to many times, as additional supporting evidence has developed.

In our October 16, 1995 issue ("Startling OKC Developments"), we reported on the series of stories by Jayna Davis, an investigative reporter for the Oklahoma City NBC affiliate, KFOR-TV. Davis had interviewed eyewitnesses who had seen individuals identified as being of Middle Eastern extraction speeding away from the Murrah Federal Building in a pickup truck immediately before the blast. Her investigative reports pointed to at least one Iraqi "refugee," a former soldier in Saddam Hussein’s army, who was living in Oklahoma City. He had come to the United States under a controversial Clinton program that had brought several thousand Iraqis here for resettlement — without screening and security checks to weed out Saddam’s agents posing as refugees. Davis also located credible witnesses who placed this Iraqi in the company of Timothy McVeigh in the days prior to the bombing.

KFOR aired several stories with video footage of the Iraqi bombing "suspect," but digitally blurred his face and did not identify him by name. They identified him only as a "possible John Doe No. 2," presented the considerable evidence pointing to him as a prime suspect, and asked why federal authorities were completely uninterested in questioning him or looking at the evidence. The Iraqi suspect, Hussain Al-Hussaini, identified himself publicly when he launched a defamation lawsuit against Davis and KFOR.

Rather than looking objectively at Jayna Davis’ excellent research, virtually all of the Oklahoma City and national media adopted the Bill Clinton-Janet Reno thesis that the OKC bombing was a domestic "right-wing" attack, and rejected out of hand any evidence of foreign ties to the bombing. A careful review of Davis’ extensive evidence and our own parallel investigation quickly convinced this writer that Davis was on solid ground.

O’Meara’s Insight item singles out as a prime co-conspirator suspect an individual whom this magazine has reported on extensively. O’Meara points directly at a notorious leader of the Ku Klux Klan and White Aryan Resistance, Dennis Mahon, who, she says, was "long suspected of being a player in the conspiracy to bomb the Murrah building." The story notes — as we have reported several times in the past — that "the Iraqi government has given Dennis Mahon thousands of dollars over the past six years, and Mahon has been banned from entering Canada and the United Kingdom and is classified by Interpol as an international terrorist." "The FBI did not bother to interview Mahon in connection to the Oklahoma City bombing," notes O’Meara. That is true; while the Clinton/Reno Justice Department and FBI bragged about the thousands of agents involved in the OKC investigation and the tens of thousands of interviews they conducted, the government never explained why obvious suspects like Mahon and Al-Hussaini were never questioned.

New Evidence

Last October, Paul Bedard, a writer for U.S. News & World Report, dropped a potential bombshell when he reported that top Pentagon officials believe that Timothy McVeigh was an Iraqi agent and claimed that McVeigh was in possession of Iraqi telephone numbers. In a short item entitled "McVeigh’s ghost" that appeared in Bedard’s Washington Whispers column on October 29, U.S. News reported:

Some dismiss it as being akin to Elvis sightings, but a few top Defense officials think Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh was an Iraqi agent. The theory stems from a never-before-reported allegation that McVeigh had allegedly collected Iraqi telephone numbers. Why haven’t we heard this before about the case of the executed McVeigh? Conspiracy theorists in the Pentagon think it’s part of a coverup.

Bedard subsequently appeared on Fox TV’s Fox and Friends show, where he stated that McVeigh "had information about Iraq which has led some officials to think that he was an Iraqi agent and maybe was doing Saddam Hussein’s business in Oklahoma City." Bedard’s reports were the first ever to allege that Timothy McVeigh possessed Iraqi telephone numbers. If true, this would mean that highly significant information had been covered up; nothing of this sort came out during the McVeigh or Nichols trials.

On September 13, two days after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., listeners to WRRK in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were stunned to hear Chicago attorney David Schippers state that he had attempted to warn Attorney General John Ashcroft and other federal officials about the catastrophic attack weeks before it occurred. Schippers, the author of Sellout: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment, gained international fame as the chief investigative counsel for the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives’ successful impeachment of President Bill Clinton. According to Schippers, he had received information from intelligence sources, including FBI agents, that a massive terrorist attack was being planned for lower Manhattan (where the World Trade Center was located). Schippers said that he began trying to get this information to Ashcroft six weeks before the Black Tuesday attacks.

Currently representing Jayna Davis, Schippers had attempted even earlier to get her information concerning the OKC-Iraq connection to the attorney general. In both cases, he said, he had been stymied by lower-level Department of Justice officials who would not give him access to Ashcroft or any of his top lieutenants. Schippers repeated these charges in several other radio and print interviews.

On March 20, 2001, Fox TV’s Bill O’Reilly interviewed Jayna Davis, providing the first major national coverage of her OKC-Mideast research. Subsequently, O’Reilly has focused his program, The O’Reilly Factor, on a related aspect of the OKC-Mideast connection, achieving some very positive results. His September 26 broadcast entitled "What is Going On at the University of South Florida?" asked some piercing questions of USF Professor Sami Al-Arian and his connections to the Islamic Jihad terrorist group. We had asked similar questions in a detailed article ("America the Vulnerable," September 14, 1998) about Al-Arian, Ramadan Shallah, Khalil Shikaki, and others at USF connected to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. That article pointed out that Al-Arian and company were operating through USF-affiliated "think tanks" such as the World Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE) and the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP) to give terrorist leaders access to the United States and to radicalize American Muslims for recruitment into the extremist networks. We noted therein that an ICP/WISE speaker, Kamal Helbawi, a Hamas leader based in Pakistan, was one of several militants who had addressed Muslims in a very inflammatory speech at a conference in Oklahoma City.

"Oklahoma City has played host to other leaders associated with Hamas, ICP, WISE, and other suspected terrorist fronts," we reported. "And evidence developed by this magazine and other investigators indicates that locally based and foreign individuals associated with these long-established terrorist networks were involved in the April 19, 1995 bombing. Unless officials are pressured to conduct an honest and thorough investigation, more atrocities and tragedies are sure to follow."

Thanks to Bill O’Reilly’s coverage on Fox, USF announced last December 19 that Dr. Al-Arian was being dismissed from employment at USF. That will be a rather empty victory, however, if federal immigration, intelligence, and law enforcement officials do not follow up with an intensive investigation into the vast terrorist support network within this country, of which Al-Arian’s USF band appears to be a significant part.

Many people held high hopes that the important OKC-Mideast evidence that the Clinton-Reno regime had suppressed would be acted on under the new Bush-Ashcroft management. But the Department of Justice under Ashcroft is thus far following the Reno script on OKC. On October 29, Oklahoma Judge Ray Dean Linder ruled that, because of objections from the Bush-Ashcroft Justice Department, retired FBI Agent Dan Vogel would not be allowed to testify about evidence he had received concerning Mideast connections to the OKC bombing. Vogel, an Oklahoma City FBI Special Agent, had volunteered to testify in the upcoming state trial of Terry Nichols, who has already been convicted on federal charges as an accomplice with Timothy McVeigh in the bombing. Among the things that Vogel could testify about is that he received 22 affidavits and more than 30 witness statements describing sightings of Middle Easterners with McVeigh. The information was transmitted to him at the FBI’s Oklahoma City office on January 28, 1999 by reporter Jayna Davis, accompanied by her husband, Drew Davis, and her attorney, Dan Nelson. Vogel has said that he is willing to testify before a congressional committee if he is subpoenaed to do so.

Last November 17, Indianapolis Star writer James Patterson wrote a story on the Davis-Vogel-OKC-Ashcroft developments that was picked up nationally by the Associated Press. In the article, entitled "Missing evidence from Oklahoma City," Patterson wrote: "The FBI doesn’t want to talk about it, but the evidence keeps mounting. Critical evidence that several Middle Eastern men may have been connected to the Oklahoma City bombing appears to have been kept from the public by the FBI."

"Officially, the FBI has dismissed the possibility of a John Doe No. 2, an olive-skinned man whose sketch they released immediately after the bombing, or other suspects," said Patterson. "But current and former FBI agents in Oklahoma City say they received documents pointing to another person or even a cell of Middle Eastern operatives. At a minimum, Congress should question one former FBI agent who says he obtained 22 affidavits and more than 30 witness statements describing sightings of Middle Easterners with McVeigh."

The Star article states that FBI "agents believe if that evidence had not been suppressed by the FBI, it could have helped uncover plans leading to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon." Patterson quotes an unnamed former FBI agent as stating: "We did have some Oklahoma connections to the events in Washington, D.C., and New York City. We did find out that one of these individuals was trying to take flight training at a Norman [Okla.] flight instruction school."

Why do the Bush administration and Congress continually avoid looking at this evidence, especially the more recent evidence Schippers claims to have about forewarning of the 9/11 attacks? It is absolutely imperative that Congress and the White House be held accountable for this gross dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice. How many more attacks must we suffer and how many more lives must be lost before this very reasonable, common-sense request to investigate prime suspects and examine available, credible evidence is finally acted upon by officials in Washington?

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