In the wake of the bombing, the media was abuzz with reports of a Middle-Eastern connection. Reporters were reporting claims of Muslim extremists, and talking heads were talking about a familiar modus operandi. Then on April 21, less than 48 hours after the bombing, the FBI announced that they had snared their elusive quarry, an angry white guy named Timothy James McVeigh. The following day, the Bureau announced that they had captured angry white guy number two: Terry Lynn Nichols.
The mainstream media, having their information spoon-fed to them by the FBI, quickly launched into in-depth analysis of the two "prime suspects." All other information quickly became buried in the great collective memory sink hole. It was as if, with the "capture" of McVeigh and Nichols, all other information became suddenly irrelevant and obsolete. The Justice Department waved their magic wand, President Clinton winked at the Middle-Eastern community, and all the world was set right again.
What remained hidden behind the official curtain of deceit however, were scores of witness accounts, official statements, and expert opinions regarding a Middle-Eastern connection. For 48 hours after the bombing, FBI officials and terrorism experts poured forth their opinions and analyses:
Robert Heibel, a former FBI counter-terrorism expert, said the bombing looked like the work of Middle East terrorists, possibly those connected with the World Trade Center bombing.
Speaking on CNN, ATF director John Magaw said: "I think any time you have this kind of damage, this kind of explosion, you have to look there (Middle East terrorists) first."
"This was done with the attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible," said terrorism expert Steven Emerson on CBS Evening News. "That is a Middle Eastern trait and something that has been, generally, not carried out on this soil until we were rudely awakened to it in 1993."
Former United States Representative Dave McCurdy of Oklahoma (former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) told CBS News that there was "very clear evidence of the involvement of fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups."
Former FBI counter-terrorism chief Oliver "Buck" Revell told CBS Evening News, "I think it's most likely a Middle East terrorist. I think the modus operandi is similar. They have used this approach."
Ex-CIA counter-terrorism director Vince Cannistraro told the Washington Times, "Right now, it looks professional, and it's got the marks of a Middle Eastern group."
Avi Lipkin, a former Israeli Defense Intelligence specialist on the Prime Minister's staff, in Oklahoma City at the time of the bombing, told investigator Craig Roberts, "this is a typical Arab Terrorist type attack."
It was also reported the Israelis gave the Americans a "general warning" concerning the bombing.
CBS News stated that the FBI had received claims of responsibility from at least eight different organizations. Seven of the claimants were thought to have Middle Eastern connections:
An FBI communiqué that was circulated Wednesday suggested that the attack was carried out by the Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed Islamic militant group, said a security professional in California who declined to be named… the communiqué suggested the attack was made in retaliation for the prosecution of Muslim fundamentalists in the bombing of the World Trade Center in February, 1993, said the source, a non-government security professional.… 'We are currently inclined to suspect the Islamic Jihad as the likely group…'
James Fox, former head of the New York FBI office, told CBS News, "We thought that we would hear from the religious zealots in the future, that they would be a thorn in our side for years to come."
On July 2nd, shortly after Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman's surrender to U.S. Immigration authorities, the Egyptian Jama a' Islamiya (the group implicated in the World Trade Center bombing) issued a statement saying that if the Sheik was prosecuted or extradited to Egypt, they would begin a world-wide terror campaign against the United States.
On April 21, 1995, the London Telegraph reported: "Israeli anti-terror experts believe the Oklahoma bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center explosion are linked and that American investigators should focus on Islamic extremists."
The same day, the London Sunday Times carried a report that suggested President Saddam Hussein of Iraq may have been involved in both the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombings:
Iraq was furious with America last week at its United Nations move to foil efforts to overturn Gulf war economic sanctions… Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the recently-captured alleged mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, was directly funded by Baghdad, according to CIA and FBI documents — and evidence so far developed about the latest bomb indicates some similarities in the planning.
If those in Baghdad were angry over the brutal and relentless attack on their country by U.S. forces during the Gulf War, they had additional reason for anger when President Clinton launched a retaliatory raid against Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. The June 26 Cruise Missile strike was directed against the complex after an alleged plot was uncovered to assassinate former president, crook, and mass murderer George Bush during his recent visit to Kuwait. The raid merely destroyed some of the complex, and leveled about a dozen surrounding homes, killing approximately six civilians. Syndicated columnist Charlie Reese called it "high-tech terrorism."
The Net News Service reported the next day that the government-backed Al-Thawra newspaper charged that Clinton had carried out the attack only to bolster his "eroded popularity and credibility... domestically." Both Al-Thawra and General Saber Abdul-Aziz Douri, head of the Iraqi intelligence service, indicated that the Iraqi government had vowed vengeance against the United States.
Backing up Douri's claims was former head of Iraqi military intelligence, General Wafiq al-Sammara'i, who told the London Independent that the June, 1996 bombing of the U.S. military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 servicemen, "strongly resembled plans drawn up by a secret Iraqi committee on which he served after the invasion of Kuwait. He says operations considered by Iraq, but not carried out at that time due to shortage of reliable agents, included exploding large bombs near buildings where American soldiers were living."
One month later, the Washington Post reported:
Early on July 6, Col. Mohammar Qaddafi of Libya issued a warning that President Clinton and the United States had 'blundered' in the recent missile attack on Baghdad, and that the United States should expect 'a lot more terrorism' in the near future. Qaddafi spoke of increasingly violent and spectacular acts to be perpetrated expressly for broadcast on the national and international television.
Shortly after the bombing, KFOR, Channel 4 in Oklahoma City received a call from the Nation of Islam, taking credit for the bombing. Interestingly, the NOI has been directly funded by Libya.
The Post's Jack Anderson added that a direct attack against the U.S. would be unlikely, and that counter-terrorist analysts feared that the only viable avenue for Hussein's revenge would be through the use of terrorism. "A preferable revenge for Iraq would involve having a 'surrogate terrorist' carry out a domestic attack that Hussein could privately take credit for…
According to Dr. Laurie Mylroie, Ph.D., a Middle East expert at the Center for Security Policy, and an authority on the World Trade Center bombing, Iraqi agents such as Ramzi Yousef had infiltrated the original World Trade Center cell, resulting in the construction of a more powerful, sophisticated bomb.
Dr. Mylroie noted that on September 27, 1994, as Iraqi troops tested American resolve by preparing a new assault against Kuwait, Saddam Hussein declared: "We will open the storehouses of the universe" against the United States. Two days later, Babil — a newspaper in Iraq owned by Saddam's son, Uday — amplified, saying: "Does the United States realize the meaning of opening the stores of the world with the will of Iraqi people?...Does it realize the meaning of every Iraqi becoming a missile that can cross to countries and cities?"
Mylroie notes that there may be other Iraqi intelligence agents at large in this country, known as "sleepers," waiting to carry out far more deadly acts of revenge against the U.S. One such cell, planted by the Abu Nidal organization, was discovered in 1986. Four of their Palestinian members were arrested eight years later after one of them murdered the daughter of an FBI agent.
On January 28, 1991, the Washington Post reported:
If Saddam is serious about terrorizing Americans at home, there are several allies he could call on for help. The most dangerous terrorist Organization in the world, the Abu Nidal organization, now based in Baghdad, has a rudimentary infrastructure of about 50 people in the United States. All of them, according to FBI sources, are under surveillance.…
"Among the terrorists who are taking or would take orders from Saddam," added the Post, "are Abu Ibrahim, a pioneer bomb maker who designed the barometric pressure bomb that blew up Pan Am Flight 103, and Ahmed Jibril, who masterminded the Pan Am bombing on a contract from Iran."
Ironically, U.S. interventions abroad have permitted the entry into America of extremist and even terrorist organizations that have subsequently gained footholds in ethnic communities across the country. Texas and Oklahoma, in fact, are major centers of Islamic activities in the U.S.
Steven Emerson was quoted on CBS Evening News as saying, "Oklahoma City, I can tell you, is probably considered one of the largest centers of Islamic radical activity outside the Middle East."
Emerson chronicled the rise of radical Islam in America in a 1994 PBS documentary which showed how fundamentalists had launched a recruiting campaign across the mid- and southwest. An Oklahoma City meeting in 1988 was attended by members of Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), Islamic Jihad (Holy War) and the Muslim Brotherhood, each notorious for their sponsorship of terrorism. The meeting was held only blocks from the Federal Building.
As Stephen Jones stated in his March 25th Writ of Mandamus:
The Murrah Building was chosen either because of lack of security (i.e. it was a "soft target"), or because of available resources such as Iraqi POWs who had been admitted into the United States were located in Oklahoma City, or possibly because the location of the building was important to American neo-Nazis such as those individuals who supported Richard Snell who was executed in Arkansas on April 19, 1995.…
Secret workshops have reportedly been held in the U.S., where HizbAllah and Hamas members have been taught bomb making techniques and small arms practice. HizbAllah, the Iranian-sponsored and Syrian-backed "Party of God," is believed to be behind a series of bombings in July of 1994 that took 117 lives in Argentina, Panama, and Britain. HizbAllah is the same Lebanon-based terrorist group that perpetrated the October 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.
The most notorious U.S. terrorist cell was in Jersey City, led by Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the group responsible for plotting the destruction of the UN building and the Holland Tunnel. Three of Rahman's followers were convicted for bombing the World Trade Center. One of their leaders, El-Sayyid Nosair, spelled out his plans to terrorize the United States: "We have to thoroughly demoralize the enemies of God…. by means of destroying and blowing up the towers that constitute the pillars of their civilization such as the tourist attractions they are so proud of and the high buildings they are so proud of."
Another influential figure in Islamic radical circles — Sheik Mohammad al-Asi, the religious leader of the Islamic Education Center in Potomac, Maryland, was quoted on PBS as saying:
"If the Americans are placing their forces in the Persian Gulf, we should be creating another war front for the Americans in the Muslim world — and specifically where American interests are concentrated. In Egypt, in Turkey, in the Indian subcontinent, just to mention a few. Strike against American interests there."
While the Arab underground structure in the U.S. is generally based on the PLO, not all of its members are Palestinian. Many may emigrate from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Libya, the five nations most often connected with terrorism. According to former Israeli intelligence officer William Northrop, the original PLO structure shifted in 1991, after the PLO/Israeli peace process began. As Northrop writes:
The Texas Cell is based in Houston and is supported by several sub-cells, one of which is based in Oklahoma City. This Texas Cell was tied into the World Trade Center bombing on 26 February 1993.
The Oklahoma City sub-cell originated with the Palestinian students who were sent from various Arab countries to study Petroleum Engineering at OU in Norman. (the current Deputy Petroleum Minister of Iran is an OU graduate.)
Their members may also come from a broader philosophic milieu, and unlike the PLO, have a wider range of targets, including not only Israel, but secular regimes in Muslim countries and those states that support them.
Notes Middle East analyst James Phillips: "Because they are motivated by apocalyptic zeal, and not sober political calculations, their choice of possible targets is much wider and more indiscriminate than that of other terrorists."
The goal of this new breed of terrorist was not aimed at influencing U.S. or world opinion over the Palestinian issue, but to prove the strength of the Muslim fundamentalist cause. As former Dallas Special Agent in Charge Oliver "Buck" Revell said:
"...If you listen to what [the Islamic extremist terrorists] are really saying, they're not just aimed at the Israelis, they are not just aimed at the Jewish state. Their goals are completely and totally to eradicate any opposition to Hamas and to Islam and to move against the United States ultimately."
Obviously, these journalists and experts hadn't developed their theories in a vacuum. The evidence was clear, and the warnings were imminent. Allan Denhan wrote in ASP Newsletter that a Jordanian Intelligence official had passed a "target list" to an American businessman two months prior to the bombing, and the Murrah Building was on that list. Although this information is unconfirmed, it makes perfect sense, since Jordan has a long-standing intelligence relationship with the CIA.
In March of 1995, Israel's Shin Bet (General Security Services, Israel's equivalent to the FBI), arrested approximately 10 Hamas terrorists in Jerusalem, some of whom had recently returned from a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. According to Northrop, interrogation of those suspects was thought to have revealed information concerning the plot to bomb the Murrah Building. "The Shin Bet filed a warning with the Legal Attaché (FBI) at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv as a matter of course," wrote Northrop.
On April 20, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Arhonot wrote:
Yesterday, it was made known that over the last few days, U.S. law enforcement agencies had received intelligence information originating in the Middle East, warning of a large terrorist attack on U.S. soil. No alert was sounded as a result of this information.
Northrop also said that the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND, the equivalent of the American CIA), also sent a warning to the U.S. State Department. That was followed by a warning from the Saudis. "A Saudi Major General… informed former CIA Counterterrorism Chief Vince Cannistraro, who in turn informed the FBI. There is a 302 (FBI report) in existence."
The agent Cannistraro passed the information to was Kevin L. Foust, one of the FBI's leading counterterrorism agents. Ironically, the information was given to Foust on the same day as the bombing.
According to the information obtained by Stephen Jones, the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service reported that Iraq had hired seven Pakistani mercenaries — Afghani War veterans known as the Mujahadeen — to bomb targets in the U.S., one of which was the Alfred P. Murrah Building. They also advised the FBI that — as is often the case — the true identity of the sponsor may not have been revealed to the bombers.
Interestingly, Northrop stated that three Israelis were in Oklahoma before the April 19th attack to "keep an eye on things." Avi Lipkin and William Northrop were two such individuals.
In addition to these warnings — as well as the mighty armada of U.S. intelligence agencies, analysts, and surveillance technology which would have undoubtedly been monitoring the situation — at least one local informant tried to warn authorities in advance. His warnings went unheeded.
The Drug Connection Informant
After the bombing, Cary Gagan stepped forward to tell Jones that he had been present at a meeting of bombing conspirators including Middle-Easterners, Caucasians, and Hispanics which took place in Henderson, Nevada.
In depositions and interviews with Jones and in numerous interviews with the author, the government informant and former drug courier described a number of meetings at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. In 1980, the Soviets asked Gagan to assist them in procuring military secrets from Dan Howard, a contact of Gagan's who worked at Martin Marietta, a large defense contractor in Waterton, Colorado. The Soviets had been watching Howard. Gagan was a friend. He informed the FBI.
In June of 1986, the Soviets again asked Gagan's help — this time, to assist illegal Iranian immigrants needing false IDs. The small-time hustler and counterfeiter met his contact, a man named "Hamid" who worked at Stapleton International Airport in Denver, and secretly recorded the conversation. He turned the tapes over to FBI Agent Bill Maten, and Kenny Vasquez of the Denver Police Intelligence Bureau.
The 51-year-old government informant supported himself by ferrying Cocaine between Mexico and Colorado for Colombians posing as Mexicans, living in Denver. It was through his association with these Colombians that Gagan met "Omar" and "Ahmed," in Las Vegas in March of '94.
"They tried to first play themselves off as Colombians, " said Gagan "but I knew they were Iranians… or Middle-Easterners. They were multi-lingual, with big-time funding.
It was at this meeting that the drug dealer learned he was to transport kilos of cocaine from Mexico to Denver. He informed DEA Agent Robert Todd Gregory. "I told Gregory this dude looked like a banker to me. They had heavy cash. They took care of me. They had all kinds of connections."
On May 16, 1994, Gagan met his new contacts at the Western Motel in Las Vegas, where his brother worked as a pit-boss. There were eight men at the meeting, five of whom were Middle Eastern, including Omar and Ahmed. "Two of them didn't say a word," recalled Gagan, "but they looked like Colombians to me — you know, Latin."
One of the Middle Easterners was from Oklahoma City. He appeared to be the leader. The Eighth man was Terry Nichols. In a sworn deposition, Gagan told McVeigh's attorney:
Gagan: "I met with some Arabs, and in that group, and I did not know it at the time, but in that group was Nichols."
Gagan: "Terry Nichols."
Gagan first recalled seeing Nichols in the parking lot of a bingo parlor the men had stopped at. "He was wearing a plaid, short sleeve shirt and dockers.… I remember going, 'That's kind of a dirty lookin' dude.' That's all I said. I thought, you know, he didn't fit in the picture here. He looked like a scientist."
The men snorted cocaine at the Western Motel and discussed their plans, then drove to an apartment complex in Henderson called the Player's Club. It is not known whom they met with. As far as Gagan knew, they were all there to discuss drug dealing. It wasn't exactly clear what the Colombians were doing with the Arabs.*
Gagan would soon find out though. Omar and Ahmed, who had been paying Gagan with counterfeit money (mostly counterfeit Iranian $100 bills), wanted him to take part in a plot to blow up a federal building in Denver, using a mail truck packed with explosives.
"I was going to be part of it because I could move through… because I'm Anglo and I'm a U.S. citizen and, you know, I wouldn't draw attention.… I'm in and out of that federal building every day."
The truck, purchased from a government auction, was painted to resemble a working mail truck. On January 14, 1995, Gagan picked up the truck at the Metro Bar & Grill and drove it to the Mariott Hotel, just outside of Golden, Colorado.
"Omar came out with me, showed me where the truck was, and said, 'Just get in it and drive down I-70, and here's where you park it. And as soon as you make the delivery, make this call….' And I gave the FBI the pay phone number saying it was there. And I stayed in there and had a drink — in the bar, and came walking out, and the sucker was gone."
Gagan says he talked to the FBI duty agent from a pay phone at 9th and Logan for over 35 minutes. "I said 'Hey, I need you to tell what to do here.' And they never called back."
In the back of the truck were approximately thirty duffel bags of ammonium nitrate marked "U.S. mail," and boxes from Sandex Explosives [in Las Vegas] marked "High Explosives."
Gagan boarded a bus and went home. He said the agents never showed up.
"Can you imagine if I'm driving this truck and it blows up in the city of Denver?" said an incredulous Gagan.
Also in the back of the truck was a Lely farm mixer. Gagan recalls that it was approximately four feet high, two feet across, and "shaped like a diamond."
Interestingly, this was the same description given by witness David King. King, who was staying at the Dreamland Motel in Junction City — where McVeigh stayed — saw a Ryder truck with a trailer attached to it in the parking lot on April 17. Inside the trailer was an object secured by a canvas tarp. "It was a squarish shape, and it came to a point on top," said King. "It was about three or four feet high."
In June, Gagan discovered plastic explosives in an athletic bag packed with cocaine he was to deliver to Denver. The bag, Omar said, was to be left at the Postal Center, a shipping and receiving facility owned by George Colombo, who also operated a Ryder truck leasing center across the street. A friend of Gagan's, Colombo would occasionally let him stay at an apartment he maintained when things got too heavy.
Things were definitely getting heavy for Gagan. When the casual cocaine user decided to open the bag and help himself to a little "blow," he discovered plastic explosives wrapped in brown paper. "And I'm thinking, 'Jesus, how the hell did this get by the airport'? So I packed it up, and I'm thinking, 'I'm going to the feds,' because you know… I'm a felon, this is C-4… I'm going [down] forever."
Gagan asked Colombo to hold the bag for him. He then called the Denver Police Intelligence Bureau and met them at a Burger King in Aurora. Gagan sat in the unmarked car, as his friend Billy, a cab driver, watched from nearby.
"I said, 'Look, there's some C-4…' I'm feeling them out… I give them some names, you know, what the deal was in Las Vegas. I tell them I'm in contact with the DEA — Robert Gregory and all that. They don't say anything. This is June, mid-June of '94. They say they'll get back to me."
Three weeks later, after contacting the FBI, the police called Gagan back. "They tell me quote, 'Since you're the source of the information Gagan, we're not going to investigate.'"
Gagan then called Gregory at the DEA. Gregory told Gagan, "Hey, we can't take you on.'"
The informant claims he continually challenged the police and the FBI to charge him if his information was false. "If all this was a big lie, they could have charged me with lying, but they didn't."
While the FBI and the Denver Police were debating the merits of Gagan's credibility, Omar picked up the bag from Colombo and left.
Three months later, in September, Gagan was approached by Omar and Ahmed again. "They said 'It's going to involve terrorism, do you have a problem with that?' I said 'no.' I asked them, 'What kind of money are we looking at?' They said 'a quarter of a million dollars.' I said 'up front?' They said 'Yes.'
Gagan accepted the money, which he believes was paid out of the Cali Cartel. "The FBI knew it," said Gagan. "They never got back to me."
Were Latin American drug dealers conspiring with Arab terrorists to blow up the Federal Building? Said 25-year DEA veteran agent Mike Levine: "When you consider terrorist actions like TWA 800 (or Oklahoma City), and you omit any drug trafficking involvement, it's insane — it doesn't make any sense…. You know you take for example two years or three years ago the La Bianca plane that was blown out of the sky — it was attributed to drug traffickers. I can think right off the top of my head of another case in Colombia of a plane blown up with a lot of passengers to kill one person, and probably many, many more."
Levine, a highly decorated DEA agent, and the DEA's former Argentine Station Chief, told me that countries such as Bolivia, Paraguay, and Colombia are full of Arabs doing business with Latinos, including drug dealing. "The first thing you have to keep in mind is that drug trafficking is now a half a trillion dollar business around the third-world," said Levine, "and it's mainly a third-world business. The top drug traffickers around the world have more power than presidents. The Mujahadeen for instance, which we supported, were always top heroin smugglers. They were rated one, two and three by DEA as a source, and they right now support every Muslim fundamentalist movement on the face of the earth…."
The parallel may be more than speculative. Shortly after the bombing, on May 8, Tulsa police veteran Craig Roberts received information from a law enforcement source in Texas that "Juan Garcia Abrego was involved in the bombing as a 'cash provider' for the event. The source said that Abrego had sent two Mexican nationals to Oklahoma City with a satchel full of cash to finance the bombing."
Abrego was a Mexican Mafia chieftain involved in the cocaine and heroin trafficking through Mexico from Guadalajara to Texas. He allegedly was the ground transportation link during the Iran-Contra/Mena affair.
This information was forwarded to both the FBI and the DEA who were asked for each to check their files and/or computers, using various spellings, to see if they had heard of such an individual. Neither replied back that they had knowledge and no further action was taken.…
Considering the FBI's apparent lack of knowledge, is curious that Abrego was at the top of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list since March, a month before the bombing and almost two months before Robert's original inquiry.
It seemed the FBI's lack of interest in Robert's information was suspiciously similar to their lack of interest in Gagan's. What is also interesting is that their first effort to discredit Gagan — a drug runner on the periphery of the Iran-Contra drug network — coincided with the Iran-Contra affair becoming public.*
"In my opinion, people were paid massive amounts of dope to carry this thing out," said Gagan. The informant's belief that he was paid by the Cali Cartel may be significant in light of Robert's information that Abrego funneled money to the bombing conspirators.
Was the FBI's attempt to repudiate the Middle Eastern connection tied to their refusal to look at the Abrego lead?
As Levine said: "The minute you start taking about terrorist actions, and you eliminate drug trafficking, well, then… you're just not credible… It's just very unrealistic to look at a situation — any terrorist situation — and not look at a drug trafficking angle anymore. In my opinion, and I think there's plenty of substantiation eventhough the government won't talk about it, you can say, this vast ocean of money traveling around the world — illegal untapped money — pays for an enormous amount of terrorist activity."
If the Cali Cartel and Gagan's Arabs were connected, and in turn tied to a tentacle of the Iran-Contra Octopus through Abrego, it's only natural that the FBI — which played its own role in covering up Iran-Contra — would tend to look the other way.
In spite of the FBI's apparent refusal to act on Gagan's information, and their subsequent attempts to discredit him, on September 14, 1994, Gagan was granted a Letter of Immunity by the U.S. Attorneys Office in Denver. The immunity was arranged through Federal Public Defender Raymond Moore. (See Appendix)
The informant was told to stay with the group and report back to the Bureau. On March 17, Gagan met with his Arab friends at the Hilton Inn South in Greenwood Village, Colorado. On the table were the construction plans for the Alfred P. Murrah Building, bearing the name J.W. Bateson Company of Dallas, Texas.
Still, Gagan alleges that federal agents didn't follow up on any of his leads.
"I knew, when they did not contact me after the truck… when I was moving explosives, I knew something was up. I knew. I figured from that point on, without a doubt, they had a government agent in this ring. Because they cannot let me do that type of stuff.
"And then, after the March 17th meeting, I waited for them to contact me, because I just had a feeling that the dude that had come up [from Oklahoma City] — the new guy on the scene there — was an agent. The way he acted and talked… I just felt different than I did around the other dudes.… That's just my personal feeling."
Did the feds ignore Gagan's warnings because they had their own agent in the bombing cell and wanted to obtain more information to "sting" the bombers later on? Gagan believes this is a possibility. Yet while Gagan had the option of pulling out, he realized it would be too risky to suddenly disappear from the scene. Omar and Ahmed were watching him.
On April 4, 1995, Omar pulled up at the Western Motel in Las Vegas, where Gagan's brother worked. "Come on," said Omar to a somewhat startled Gagan, "I want you to drive with me to Kingman."
The two men then drove to Arizona, where they delivered a package to a man waiting on the corner of Northern and Sierra, wearing a cowboy hat and driving a rusty brown pick-up. Could this mystery figure have been Steven Garrett Colbern, who owned the brown pick-up seen stopped ahead of McVeigh when he was pulled by Trooper Hanger over after the bombing? The description of the man matched Colbern's height and build. But Gagan did not know who he was at the time, or what was in the package.
On the way home, Gagan recalled Omar saying, "we're taking down a building in two weeks."
On March 27 and 28, Gagan made over five calls to the U.S. Marshals Office. None were ever returned. Agent Mark Holtslaw of the FBI's Domestic Counter terrorism Squad, told me, "I can assure you that any info was thoroughly checked out.… There are things that go on in the background that the individual is not aware of." But, Holtslaw added, "there is no statutory obligation to get back to an individual regarding our investigation and its status."
Gagan doesn't buy Holtslaw's explanation. The FBI's procedures regarding informants require that they be controlled and supervised. "How do you investigate a thing if you don't contact me?" asked Gagan. "So they either had another agent or another informant inside the group."
Gagan was getting nowhere with the Marshals, the U.S. Attorneys, and the FBI. It was now less than two weeks before the bombing. On April 6, Gagan drafted a letter and delivered it to Tina Rowe, head of the U.S. Marshals Office in Denver. While Gagan waited outside, his cab driver friend dropped it off. The letter read:
Dear Ms. Rowe:
After leaving Denver for what I thought would be for a long time, I returned here last night because I have specific information that within two weeks a federal building(s) is to be bombed in this area or nearby. The previous requests I made for you to contact me, 25th & 28th of March 1995 were ignored by you, Mr. Allison and my friends at the FBI. I would not ignore the specific request for you personally to contact me immediately regarding a plot to blow-up a federal bldg. If the information is false request Mr. Allison to charge me accordingly. If you and/or your office does not contact me as I so request herein, I will never again contact any law enforcement agency, federal or state, regarding those matters set out in the letter of immunity.
Call 832-4091 (Now)
Rowe did not respond. When she was confronted by KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, she said that she had never received Gagan's letter. (See Appendix)
Yet Gagan's friend gave New American editor Bill Jasper a signed affidavit showing that he personally delivered the warning to the U.S. Marshals.
According to Rowe, the point is moot, because the college graduate and former public school teacher has a history of "psychological problems." It seems that Gagan was sent to the Colorado State Mental Hospital in September of 1986 by Dr. Erwin Levy, at the behest of the feds.*
"That was because I wasn't cooperating with my attorney," he said, referring to a 1986 theft case in Arapahoe County. "You tell somebody you're involved in espionage with the Soviets, and that's what they do, send you down to the James Bond ward."
According to Gagan, the Colorado State Mental Hospital's Dr. Green pronounced Gagan sane, and he seemed level-headed when Representative Key and I interviewed him in March of '97.
Others think the informant isn't reliable. A friend of Gagan's who's known him for 30 years told me he thinks Gagan's "full of shit," and "not in touch with reality."
Another, a Federal Public Defender who represented Gagan, told me, "Cary has an encyclopedic memory, of events, places and times." She said that Gagan was "bright [and] well-intentioned," although she added, "My gut sense is that the pure facts may be right, but I sometimes questioned the legal significance of some of it." Overall, she said she "liked" the informant.
Moreover, if Rowe's allegations regarding Gagan's credibility are valid, why then did U.S. Attorney Henry Solano grant him a Letter of Immunity? If the feds thought Gagan was incompetent, they had a full decade of experience with him [as did the Denver Police] from which to establish his credibility or lack thereof.
"If I had a history of mental illness," explained Gagan, "they couldn't take me on as an informant."
The feds' opinions may have stemmed from a 1983 incident where the informant was blacklisted by the DEA due to allegations he provided false information to the benefit of several drug dealers. Yet Gagan claims he redeemed himself by obtaining sensitive DEA-6 files that had been stolen from their office. Gagan said the DEA noted the informant's assistance on his record.*
Then in 1986, while Gagan was in jail for insurance fraud, he was visited by Kenny Vasquez, Bill Maten, and two FBI agents: Phillip Mann and Stanley Miller. They offered to get him early release if he would work again as an informant. Gagan declined. "They wanted to take me out of jail, and bring me back at night," said Gagan. "I Didn't want any part of it."
In January of 1989, Agents Miller and Mann again asked Gagan to assist them in a joint FBI/Customs counterintelligence sting operation known as Operation Aspen Leaf. Their interest centered on one Edward Bodenzayer, a Soviet spy whom Gagan had met in Puerto Vallerta in 1982. Bodenzayer had been exporting classified technology to Russia through his import/export company.
Finally, on September 14, 1994, the Justice Department granted Gagan his immunity. The agreement, printed on an official U.S. Justice Department letterhead, read [in part]:
This letter is to memorialize the agreement between you and the United States of America, by the undersigned Assistant United States Attorney. The terms of this agreement are as follows:
1. You have contacted the U.S. Marshals Service on today's date indicating that you have information concerning a conspiracy and/or attempt to destroy United States court facilities in [redacted] and possibly other cities.
2. The United States agrees that any statement and/or information that you provide relevant to this conspiracy/conspiracies or attempts will not be used against you in any criminal proceeding. Further, the United States agrees that no evidence derived from the information or statements provided by you will be used in any way against you....
In spite of the sensitive nature of Gagan's information, and the Letter of Immunity, "In the period of one year, from September 14, 1994, to the first week of September, 1995," said Gagan, "not one agent recontacted me, not one U.S. official of any kind recontacted me except [FBI SAC] Dave Shepard in Vegas."
Naturally, the FBI denied any wrongdoing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Allison was quoted in the August 12, 1995 issue of the Rocky Mountain News as saying, "Why would I grant somebody immunity and then not speak with him?"
When this author contacted Allison, he said, "I'm not going to discuss who is or who isn't a federal informant."
Yet U.S. Attorney Henry Solano, Allison's boss, granted an interview with Lawrence Myers of Media Bypass magazine, violating the informant's confidentiality agreement, placing Gagan in danger. In the October, 1995 issue, Myers printed Gagan's letter which had been hand delivered to U.S. Marshall Tina Rowe. When Myers reprinted the letter — which was faxed to him by Solano — "April 6" was changed to "April 1," a weekend, in an attempt to show that Gagan couldn't possibly have delivered the warning. It is not clear whether Solano or Myers changed the date.
Discharged from a mental hospital in 1980 with a personality disorder, Myers was convicted of extortion in 1985 and was later asked by FBI Agent Steve Brannon to work as an informant. Myers denied working for the FBI.
Yet in 1991 he showed up at the trial of Leroy Moody, working as an "explosives expert" on behalf of the defense. Curiously, he then turned around and fed confidential information to the FBI and the state prosecutor.
Interestingly, Myers claimed to have worked for the CIA in Central America, apparently at the behest of Wackenhut, a CIA proprietary infamous for gathering intelligence on U.S. citizens. Even more interestingly, he wrote several books on explosives for Palladin Press, another CIA proprietary, including Counterbomb, Smart Bombs, and Improved Radio Detonation Techniques. One Myers title, called Spycomm, instructs readers on the "dirty tricks of the trade" regarding "covert communication techniques."
Myers also showed up at ex-spook Charles Hayes' home in London, Kentucky on the premise of writing a flattering story on the CIA agent turned whistle-blower. Hayes subsequently wound up in jail on a murder conspiracy charge — a charge he adamantly denies.
Hayes says he thinks that Myers was working for the government when he came to Kentucky to write a flattering profile of Hayes for the magazine Media Bypass, then privately told FBI agents that Hayes was looking for someone to kill his son.
Were Solano and Myers part of a coordinated effort to discredit Gagan? Said a private investigator and retired Army CID officer regarding Myers: "I got the impression he was probably Counterintelligence… just by knowing these parts. The people he mentioned — the people he knew — told me that he was probably in the C.I.C. (Counterintelligence Corps) at one time."
Conetta Williamson, an investigator for the Tennessee Attorney General's office, described Myers in court testimony as "a professional and pathological liar."
Myers also wrote a piece about Federal Grand Juror Hoppy Heidelberg, the only grand juror who dared question the government's line. In fact, Heidelberg never consented to be interviewed by Myers, who had obtained the content of a privileged attorney/client interview of Heidelberg surreptitiously. The information was then crafted into an "interview" and published in Media Bypass, ultimately resulting in Heidelberg's dismissal from the grand jury.
It seemed that Myers, using Media Bypass as a cover, had managed to put a government whistle-blower in jail, discredit a federal informant who had embarrassing information implicating the government in the bombing, and cause the dismissal of a troublesome grand juror.
If the feds were so intent on discrediting their own informant, why had they granted him a Letter of Immunity? Not only did Solano grant Gagan immunity, but the informant had retained it for a full 17 months. If Gagan was actually incompetent, why didn't Solano revoke the immunity instead of letting Gagan continue working with terrorists?
"It doesn't make much sense does it?" said Gagan.
It appears that the Justice Department had granted Cary Gagan immunity so they wouldn't look bad. After all, Gagan had already informed Dave Floyd at the U.S. Marshals office in September about the meeting with Omar and Ahmed.
The cat was out of the bag.
Gagan believes he was granted the Letter of Immunity as part of a more sinister scheme — a plan to allow him to proceed with the bombing plot unhindered — at which point the Letter of Immunity was revoked.
"What if at that time I was told to go in and get immunity by the terrorists, and somebody working with the terrorists… like the U.S. Government?" said Gagan. "I can't get prosecuted, can I? [The terrorists] knew that they would give me a Letter of Immunity and they knew that the FBI would cut me loose. So what's that enable them to do? If there needs to be something moved, and I'm the one that's moving it, I can't be prosecuted. I can haul as much shit as I want, and I have immunity, as long as I call the FBI, and let them know."
As a Florida police detective who's investigated connections between Arab-Americans, the PLO, and the Cali Cartel told me, "Who has the best route for getting something across? Drug dealers."
Was Cary Gagan part of some sinister plot by the feds? Or was he merely used as a "mule," allowing the terrorists to move money, drugs, and explosives while another government agent monitored the situation from within? Perhaps the new man from Oklahoma City who appeared on the scene in March?
Was Cary Gagan a "throwaway?"
Recall that Gagan had transported a duffel-bag filled with C-4 and cocaine, and had driven a truck laden with explosives across the state at the behest of his terrorist friends. He claims the FBI did nothing to stop him.
"You got to understand something here," said Gagan. "Federal law prohibits me from doing what I was doing. You cannot go out as an informant — I'm not an agent — I cannot take drugs and explosives from point A to point B…."
Yet it seems that permitting the informant to commit such illegal acts would focus more light on the government's role — whether it involved foreknowledge or an actual conspiracy — as Gagan began to go public with his story. But Gagan, who believes he was scheduled to be "terminated" after the bombing, disagrees. The informant displayed medical records showing that he was badly beaten, and claims to have been the victim of a drive-by shooting.
Whatever the case, it is interesting to note that authorities alleged that the bombing conspiracy began in September of 1994, the same month that Gagan received his Letter of Immunity and began informing the FBI.
On April 10, four days after he delivered the warning letter to Tina Rowe, Gagan received a note instructing him to appear at the law library of the U.S. Courthouse.
"I just gave the U.S. Marshals a bombing warning," said Gagan. "They didn't call me back. I had to go somewhere to cover my ass. I came back, I got a note saying, 'We need to see you; come to the U.S. Law Library.' I thought it was the U.S. Marshals or the FBI."
When Gagan arrived at the law library, he met his contact: an "athletic looking dude, 40s, short hair," dressed in a blue Nike cap and jumpsuit. "I get there and say, 'Hey, you got the shit?' He said, 'Hey, we've got everything taken care of. We need you to do this….'"
The man was not one of Gagan's Arab friends. "He was government," said Gagan. "He was probably CIA."
The mysterious figure asked Gagan to drive a trailer to Junction City, Kansas. In the trailer was the same Lely mixer that Gagan had driven to Golden on January 14. This mixer — the one that was driven to the Mariott at the behest of an Arab terrorist — was now on its way to Junction City at the request of a government agent!
The date was now April 11, three days before Timothy McVeigh checked into the Dreamland Motel in Junction City. As previously mentioned, David King, who was staying at the Dreamland, recalled seeing a Ryder truck with a trailer attached to it in the parking lot on April 17. The trailer contained a "squarish object about three or four feet high that came to a point on top," secured by a canvas tarp. This was the exact description Gagan gave of the Lely mixer.
On April 13 Gagan drove to Oklahoma City, he said, to case the Murrah Building.
Three days later, Gagan says he drove a van from Denver to Trinidad, Colorado, that was picked up by Omar and Ahmed.
According to Gagan, it wasn't until three months after the bombing, in July of '95, that Las Vegas FBI Agent Dave Shepard agreed to meet him. "We're sitting in the car behind the Sahara, and Shepard tells me we're not interested in pursuing the lead."*
That lead — was the two Arab suspects seen running from the Murrah Building towards a late model brown Chevy pick-up minutes before the blast — the same suspects that the FBI had issued an All Points Bulletin (APB) for on April 19:
"…Middle-Eastern males 25-28 years of age, six feet tall, athletic build, Dark hair and a beard — dark hair and a beard. Break."
"And these two Middle Eastern dudes that were seen running from the scene — that's the same description I had given," said Gagan. "Gray in the beard, you know — Omar and Ahmed — to the FBI… on September 14."
Gagan had provided that information to the FBI six months before the bombing. After the bombing, Gagan contacted Solano and said, "Isn't that amazing. You know, these are the [same] two dudes.…"
In a letter to Gagan dated February 1, 1996, Solano and Allison wrote:
Attempts by federal law enforcement officers to meaningfully corroborate information you have alleged to be true have been unsuccessful.... Therefore, the immunity granted by the letter of September 14, 1994 is hereby revoked.…
You are warned that any statement you make which would incriminate you in illegal conduct, past, present or future can be used against you. You are no longer protected by the immunity granted by letter on September 14, 1994.
Recall that after ATF informant Carol Howe had revealed that her knowledge of the bombing plot was reported to federal authorities before April 19, they tried to discredit her, claiming that she was "unstable," just as they had done with Gagan. While they revoked Gagan's Letter of Immunity, they indicted Howe on spurious charges.
Howe also reported a subsequent bombing plot by neo-Nazi activists, but, like Gagan's warnings both before and after the bombing, she claimed her calls weren't returned.
Interestingly, Howe was also told by her ATF handler, Angela Finley-Graham, not to report her informant payments, and was led to believe that her debriefings were not being taped when they were. Both are a violation of C.I. (Confidential Informant) procedures. Was this a way to discredit Howe in case they needed to distance themselves from her later, as they attempted to do with Gagan?
One year later, Gagan filed a lawsuit alleging that numerous federal officials had failed to uphold their agreement with him; failed to exercise proper procedures in regards to the handling of an informant; failed to investigate a terrorist conspiracy against the American people; failed to warn the public; and failed to properly investigate the crime after it occurred.
It is not surprising that officials wouldn't take Gagan's warning seriously. On December 5, 1988, a Palestinian named Samra Mahayoun warned authorities in Helsinki that a Pan Am 747 leaving Frankfort was to bombed within two weeks.
Two weeks later, on December 21, Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the skies by a terrorist's bomb. Two hundred and fifty-nine people plunged to their deaths over Lockerbie, Scotland, and 11 more died on the ground.
State Department official Frank Moss later called Mahayoun's warning a "goulish coincidence." Mahayoun, they claimed, was just not credible.*
Demonstrating the limits of absurdity the government will go to in order to cover up its complicity and negligence, the U.S. Marshals Service was still insisting — after 169 people lay dead in Oklahoma — that Cary Gagan was still not credible.*
Yet this is not the first time the government has ignored viable warnings. Prior to the World Trade Center bombing, the FBI's paid informant, Emad Eli Salem, had penetrated Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman's Jama a Islamiya and had warned the FBI of their plans. The agent in charge of the case, John Anticev, dismissed the former Egyptian Army Colonel's warnings, calling him "unreliable." On February 26, 1993, a large bomb detonated underneath the twin towers, killing six people and injuring 1,000 more.
At the same time as "unreliable" people like Cary Gagan were warning federal authorities in Denver about the pending attack, The Star Ledger, a Newark, New Jersey newspaper, was reporting:
U.S. law enforcement authorities have obtained information that Islamic terrorists may be planning suicide attacks against federal courthouses and government installations in the United States.
The attacks, it is feared, would be designed to attract worldwide press attention through the murder of innocent victims. The Star Ledger has learned that U.S. law enforcement officials have received a warning that a "fatwa," a religious ruling similar to the death sentence targeting author Salman Rushdie, has been issued against federal authorities as a result of an incident during the trial last year of four persons in the bombing on the World Trade Center in New York.
The disclosure was made in a confidential memorandum issued by the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington calling for stepped-up security at federal facilities throughout the nation….
According to the source, Iranian-supported extremists have made it clear that steps are being taken to strike at the "Great Satan," a phrase that has been used to describe the United States…
Even more strenuous security precautions are being taken in New York, where 12 persons, including the blind fundamentalist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, are currently on trial on charges of conspiring to wage a war of urban terrorism against the United States by blowing up the United Nations, FBI headquarters and the tunnels between New York and New Jersey…
The memo, issued by Eduardo Gonzales, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, warns that attacks may be designed to "target as many victims as possible and draw as much media coverage as possible" to the fundamentalist cause…
The terrorists, possible suicide bombers, will not engage in negotiations," the memo warned, and said "once the press is on the scene, the new plans call for blowing everyone up.
If that last statement is true, it could explain the presence of a box of explosives found in the Murrah Building with a timer on it set for ten minutes after nine. The initial bomb(s) blew up at two minutes after nine.
The U.S. Marshal's Service — the federal agency charged with the task of protecting federal facilities — had clear warning from at least two different undercover informants. Why then was there no security at the Murrah Building on April 19?
It was also reported that the Israelis, the Saudis, and the Kuwaitis all warned the U.S. about an impending attack. Whatever the U.S. Marshals Service felt about Cary Gagan's warning, Gonzales apparently felt his other sources were reliable enough to issue a nation-wide alert. Perhaps that memo, like the one issued by the FBI in 1963 to its field offices warning of an attempt on the life of President Kennedy, just "disappeared."
A Trail of Witnesses
On April 19, Abraham Ahmed, a Jordanian, was detained by authorities as a possible bombing suspect as he attempted to fly from Oklahoma City to Amman, Jordan. American Airlines personnel observed Ahmed "acting nervous," prior to his flight, and notified security personnel, who in turn notified the FBI.
Agents detained Ahmed in Chicago, where the Oklahoma City resident explained that he was on his way to his father's wedding, and was scheduled to return to the U.S. in July.
Yet Ahmed's story changes. He told reporters alternately that he had gone back to Jordan: a) for a wedding, b) to build a house, c) to replace the youngest son who had moved out, and d) to attend to a family emergency.
After being questioned for six hours, the FBI allowed Ahmed to continue on his way. Yet he was detained in London the following day, where he was questioned for another five hours, then handcuffed and put on the next plane back to the U.S.
In the meantime, Ahmed's luggage continued on to Rome, where authorities discovered a suitcase full of electronic equipment, including two car radios, silicon, solder, shielded and unshielded wire, a small tool kit, and, incredibly enough, a photo album with pictures of weapons and missiles! Security sources at London's Heathrow Airport also said that a pair of blue jogging suits and a timing device was found in one of his bags.
When asked what he was doing with these items, Ahmed explained that they were for his relatives in Jordan, who could not obtain good-quality electrical components. Ahmed also had a blue jogging suit similar to what a Middle-Eastern suspect was wearing at the Murrah Building on the morning of the blast. According to an account in the London Telegraph, Ahmed was reportedly in Oklahoma City on Wednesday — the day of the bombing.
If Ahmed had been cleared by U.S. authorities for the worst domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history, why did British authorities refuse to allow him into the country? Did they know something the U.S. did not?
The Justice Department's Carl Stern downplayed the breakthrough saying only, "There are a number of good, solid leads in this investigation."
Yet in FBI agent Henry Gibbons' affidavit, special mention was made of the items in Ahmed's suitcase, and his coincidental April 19, 10:43 a.m. departure time, and Gibbons stated he considered Ahmed's testimony in front of the Federal Grand Jury vital.
One FBI source interviewed by KFOR's Jayna Davis admitted that he didn't think Ahmed was telling the truth on a polygraph test. Yet Ahmed was simply allowed to go on his way, and like so many other suspects and witnesses, was never called before the grand jury.
Interestingly, the Middle Eastern community was apologized to by President Clinton. This is very interesting coming from a president that failed to apologize to Randy Weaver, the Branch Davidians, and the thousands of people wrongly accused, imprisoned and murdered each year by U.S. law-enforcement personnel.
A possible explanation may be found in the bombing of Pan Am 103. In February of 1989, a prime suspect in the case, Jordanian bomb maker Marwan Kreeshat, admitted in a statement provided by Jordanian intelligence that he had manufactured at least five highly sophisticated, powerful bombs for PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command) leader Ahmed Jibril, by cleverly concealing them in portable radios — the same type which destroyed flight 103. Jordanian intelligence officials, who have maintained a close, long-standing relationship with the CIA, admitted that the Jordanian national was actually an undercover agent, and was also an asset of U.S. intelligence.
Could this explain why the FBI released Ahmed?
Taylor Jesse Clear, a retired State Department Counter-Terrorism expert who has studied the case, disagrees with this analysis. Clear believes that Ahmed's conspicuously timed departure, complete with nervous act and a suitcase full of electronic gear, was a diversion. "They wanted to inoculate the media to the Arab connection," explained Clear. Letting Ahmed get caught with a suitcase full of that stuff, then discovering he was innocent, inoculated everybody to the Middle Eastern connection. Then they could come back, beat their chests, and say, 'look what you did to the Arab community.'"*
Yet the brown Chevy pick-up seen speeding away from the Murrah Building was traced to an Oklahoma City business run by a Palestinian, with possible PLO ties. That man… is a good friend of Abraham Ahmed's. According to a witness who worked for the Palestinian, Ahmed was seen driving the pick-up in the weeks before the bombing.
Numerous witnesses also place McVeigh in Oklahoma City in the days before the bombing with a friend of Ahmed's — an Iraqi — a man who bares a strong resemblance to the mysterious, stoic passenger seen in the Ryder truck by Mike Moroz on the morning of April 19 at Johnny's Tire Store.
KFOR reporters Brad Edwards and Jayna Davis broke the story on June 7, 1995 with a series of interviews with witnesses who saw McVeigh with the Iraqi, first in a bar, then in a restaurant, then in a pawn shop.
One of the witnesses, a barmaid at the Roadrunner Tavern on South May Avenue, saw McVeigh buying beer for the man on Saturday, April 15. "He was dark, kind of muscular, he had on a ball cap," said the barmaid. "He talked like they do over in Iran or Iraq, or whatever during Desert Storm, when you would hear the way they talked on TV."
When Davis asked her how sure she was that the man they had been tracking was the man she saw with McVeigh, she replied, "I'm sure."
The tavern owner also saw the Iraqi a few days after the bombing. He picked him out from a group of photos. While the Iraqi claimed he was never in any bar on NW 10th Street, a co-worker interviewed by KFOR said he had drank with him at a bar on NW 10th and Indiana, and in fact he was arrested for driving under the influence around the corner, at NW 8th and Blackwielder in early June.
In another interview, three women who worked at a pawnshop stated that McVeigh and two other men came into their shop twice: "…on April 14 and again on April 17, just two days before the bombing."
"It had to have been McVeigh," said the pawn shop owner. "If it was not McVeigh, it was his twin brother."
"They spoke in a foreign language," said one of the pawn shop employees. "They huddled together and they all three spoke secretively to one another, and it was a foreign language."
A restaurant owner down the street also remembered McVeigh and the Iraqi. "[McVeigh acted] like a contractor coming in and buying his hand lunch, that was the impression I had," recalled the proprietor.
As previously mentioned, restaurant worker Phyliss Kingsley recalled a Ryder truck pulling into the Hi Way Grill at SW 104 and Portland on April 16. Accompanying the truck was a white long-bed Chevy pick-up, and a darker pick-up, possibly blue or brown. She recalls Timothy McVeigh strolling in and ordering two "trucker burgers" and fries to go. Accompanying McVeigh was a short, stocky man of about 5'2", either Mexican or American Indian (or Arabic) descent, with black, curly hair. She said the man closely resembled the FBI sketch of John Doe 2, but with slightly thinner features. Kingsley recalled that the man spoke briefly with McVeigh.
Waitress Linda Kuhlman described him as having straighter hair and being slightly taller. She described him as wearing green army fatigue pants and a white t-shirt.
Kuhlman, who grew up around trucks and hot-rods, is positive that one of the trucks was a Chevy long-bed, most likely an '87 model. When shown photos, including the Iraqi and Michael Brescia, they came close to picking out the Iraqi, but could not positively identify either man. The passenger in the Ryder truck, they said, a man with longish wavy, permed-out brown or dirty blond hair and glasses, never got out.
Dennis Jackson, a VA worker, recalled seeing two or three Arabic men in the Murrah Building the following day, April 17. "There was a distinct air about them," recalls Jackson. "We were working late that day, the office had closed, and they were just kind of hanging around the Social Security office. I thought that was kind of unusual… They might have been there for Social Security, but I hardly think so."
Jackson's co-worker Craig Freeman recalled one of the men as a short, stocky Arabic man, about 5' 2'', 150 pounds, wearing khaki military style pants, combat boots and a white T-shirt — the same combination seen on the Middle Eastern suspect described by Linda Kuhlman.
In a bizarre twist, a white Chevy pick-up showed up a Freeman's house several days after the bombing. Freeman recalls a Caucasian looking man in the truck, which was parked near his house on two consecutive days. "It was right before and right after the FBI and OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) came and interviewed me," recalls Freeman. "I could tell this guy was watching me because when I walked by, he sort of turned away and hid his face. I'm a former Air Force Master Sergeant and a third degree black belt, and I'm trained to be observant."
Could the man Freeman saw have been there to intimidate him?
The barmaid at the Road Runner Tavern also told KFOR's Brad Edwards that after her interview aired, the Iraqi pulled up by the open back door of the tavern and stared menacingly at her. What is interesting is that the Iraqi's Palestinian boss owns a white pick up truck — a Nissan, however, not a Chevy. Freeman and Linda Kuhlman are positive the truck they saw was a Chevy.
Yet another witness to a post-bombing incident involving the Palestinian claimed that he also was followed by the man, who was driving a white pick-up.
Back in Junction City, the manager of the Great Western Inn was watching TV with two reporters when the sketch of John Doe 2 flashed on the screen. The manager immediately recognized the man as the person who had stayed in room 107 on April 17. "He spoke broken English," said the manager. "[He] gave a foreign name and was driving a Ryder truck."
The man's name would never be revealed, however, because the FBI confiscated the hotel's log book.
Several months later, Newsweek reporter Leslie Jorgensen uncovered information that several men had stayed at the Radisson Inn in Oklahoma City the day before the bombing. The men were dressed in Arab garb, but according to an employee, were not Arabs. At the same time, phone calls were placed from the Radisson to one of Timothy McVeigh's friends — a man in Idaho associated with the Aryan Republican Army.
A few days earlier, across town, two men had checked into the Plaza Inn. They told desk clerk Tiffany Harper they were Spanish visitors from Mexico. But Harper thought they were Arabs because of the way they talked.
According to employee Ruby Foos, another man checked into the motel a day or two later, went to his room, then emerged wearing flowing Arab robes. As far as Foos could tell, the man was not connected with the other two men.
While it may not be unusual for Arab-garbed individuals to be in Oklahoma due to its connection with the oil industry, Douglas Boyer, the security guard at the Plaza, said a yellow Ryder truck was parked out front. All of the men checked out a day or two before the bombing.
Interestingly, two Middle Eastern men were spotted driving from Oklahoma City to Dallas immediately after the bombing. The men stopped to ask directions from an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman. When the officer ran their plate, he discovered that it didn't match the vehicle. The plate belonged to a rented blue Chevy Cavalier, which was later found at a motel in Oklahoma City. The driver of that vehicle, Asad R. Siddiqy, a cab driver from Queens, along with the other two men, Anis Siddiqy and Mohammed Chafi, were taken into custody.
While the men were ultimately questioned and released, a blue Chevy Cavalier would be spotted by a witness in downtown Oklahoma City — along with a Ryder truck, a yellow Mercury, and a brown Chevy pick-up — the other vehicles in the bombing convoy.
On the morning of the blast, a woman was riding the elevator in the Murrah building, when she noticed a young Arab man wearing a backpack, hurriedly pushing the buttons as if trying to get off. As previously mentioned, she followed him outside, not suspecting anything was amiss. Moments later, she was sent sprawling to the sidewalk as the building blew up behind her.
Gary Lewis, a pressman for the Journal Record newspaper, had just stepped outside to smoke his pipe when he remembered he had left something in his car. As he walked down the alley, a yellow Mercury peeled away from its spot near the Murrah Building, jumped a concrete barricade, swerved to avoid hitting a dumpster, then bore down on him, forcing him up onto the curb. Lewis got a good look at the driver, describing him as one Timothy James McVeigh, and his passenger as resembling the sketch of John Doe 2. He said the car had an Oklahoma tag which was dangling by one bolt.
Several minutes later, Lewis was thrown to the floor as the Journal Record building rocked with the impact of the blast. As he picked himself up, another, more powerful explosion sent him sprawling again. As he and his fellow workers rushed outside, he noticed a peculiar sight: an Arab man standing nearby, staring at the Federal Building, grinning from ear to ear.
"It unnerved me," said Lewis, who described how the man seemed out of place among the throng of battered and bloody people. He seemed "enraptured."
As discussed earlier, another witness saw two men running from the area of the Federal Building toward a brown Chevy truck just prior to the blast. The witness described the two men as "males, of possible Middle-Eastern descent, approximately six feet tall, with athletic builds." One of the men was described as approximately 25-28 years old, having dark hair and a beard. The second person was described as 35-38 years old, with dark hair and a dark beard with gray in it — the same description Cary Gagan gave. He was described as wearing blue jogging pants, a black shirt, and a black jogging jacket. The witness also described a third person in the pick-up.
Was this the same pick-up seen by Leonard Long and his daughter? Long was driving east on 5th Street at approximately 8:00 a.m. when he was forced to swerve out of the way by a erratically-driven brown pick-up with tinted windows. As the truck pulled up alongside, the passenger, a stocky, dark-skinned, dark-haired man began hurling racial epithets at the black couple. Long said the driver was a tall, thin white man with sharp features, a description not unsimilar to that given by James Linehan. The truck took the I-35 exit and headed south.
Approximately 50 minutes later, as Margaret Hohmann and her friend Ann Domin were pulling into a parking spot in front of the Murrah Building, a brown pick-up peeled away from its parking spot, burning rubber as it tore down 5th Street. "Where's the cops when you need them?" Hohmann thought to herself.
A few blocks away from the Murrah Building, Debra Burdick and her daughter were on the way to the doctor's office. As she stopped for a light at 10th and Robinson, she noticed three vehicles parked on the north side of the street between a church and a garage. One was a brown pick-up, one was a blue Chevy Cavalier, and the other was a yellow Mercury.
"I looked across," said Burdick, "and there was that light blue car, it had a white interior, and there were three men in it. They were dark, but they were not black… I would say they were Middle Easterners. There was a brown pick-up, but I couldn't see in (because of the tinted windows), and behind it was the yellow car with the cream top.
"Now, I noticed the three men in the car, that guy sitting in the middle was kind of staring out…. I said 'Huh, I wonder what they're looking at?' and as I turned around, I said 'there's nothing there but buildings.'"
A few moments later, the bomb(s) went off. Hohmann and Domin, who were inside one of the Murrah Building's restrooms, were sent crashing to the floor. At the same moment, Debra Burdick and her daughter went skidding to the side of the road. When she looked back, the three vehicles were gone.
Five blocks south of the Murrah Building, at Robinson and Main, Kay H. had just raced out of her office. As she stepped on to the meridian, she was nearly run over as the brown pick-up came careening around the corner. The near miss gave her an opportunity to get a good look at the occupants.
"The driver — I made eye contact with him," recalled Kay. "He looked like he was in his twenties — late twenties. [He] had an angry look on his face. I'll never forget the look on his face. It just was full of hate and anger. It really struck me, because everyone else — people were coming out and they looked scared and confused, and he just looked full of anger."
Kay recalled that two of the three people in the truck were Middle-Easterners. When she was shown photos, she picked out the Iraqi — the same one seen with McVeigh — as the driver.
David Snider, the Bricktown worker who had spotted one of the Ryder trucks that morning, ran outside after the bomb went off, and saw the brown pick-up as it flew past. "They were doing about 60 mph," recalled Snider. "They turned north and headed over the Walnut Street Bridge."
An all-points-bulletin (APB) was quickly put out on the pick-up:
Dispatcher: "Be on the lookout for a late model almost new Chevrolet full-size pick-up — full size pickup brown pick-up. Will be brown in color with tinted windows — brown in color with tinted windows. Smoke colored bug deflector on the front of pick-up."
"…Middle-Eastern males 25-28 years of age, six feet tall, athletic build, Dark hair and a beard — dark hair and a beard. Break."
Officer: "Ok, Is this good information, or do we not really know?"
Dispatcher: "Authorization FBI."
Strangely, the FBI canceled the APB several hours later, refusing to say why and demanding that it not be rebroadcast. When KPOC's David Hall asked the FBI why they canceled it, they denied ever putting it out. But when Hall played back his copy for the FBI man, he suddenly had "no comment."
Soon after, Brad Edwards received a tip that the pick-up had been seen several times before the bombing at Sahara Properties (not its real name), a real-estate business in northwest Oklahoma City. The owner of Sahara Properties, an Israeli-born Palestinian named Sam Khalid (not his real name), was the Iraqi's employer.*
Not long after KFOR's reports began airing, the Iraqi sued the station, then held a press conference claiming that he was not a suspect in the bombing, and that he had a solid alibi for the morning of April 19. His name was Hussain al-Hussaini, and he was at work, he said, painting a garage on NW 31 Street. Yet Alvin Devers, a neighbor interviewed by Davis, claimed no one was working on the house that day. "I didn't see anybody," said Devers. "I'd remember…."
In addition, Hussaini's co-worker, Ernie Cranfield, said Hussaini's alibi for the morning of April 19 — a time sheet stating he was at work at 8:08 a.m. — was patently false. Cranfield told Davis that Hussaini was working at a different house by 10:00 a.m., six blocks away, but wasn't there at 8:30 a.m.
"They was out there acting like they was painting on that garage all morning," Cranfield told me. "They didn't know I was already there before.…"
Moreover, according to Cranfield, Sahara Properties doesn't use time sheets: "They use a time clock. They started about five months ago — five, six months ago… I've seem them clocking in every morning." Davis later learned that Khalid's daughter Heather had concocted Hussaini's "time sheet" at the request of her father.
Hussaini also claimed that he worked a second job as at the Western Sizzlin restaurant — as a janitor, three days a week, from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. — which would have kept him too busy to be at the Murrah Building on April 19. Yet when Davis checked with Jeff Johnston, the assistant manager, she was told Hussaini hadn't worked from April 17 through April 20.
According to Khalid's secretary, none of Hussaini's Iraqi co-workers, who started working for Khalid in November, showed up on the 17th. Was it merely coincidental that Craig Freeman and Dennis Jackson saw a suspicious group of Arab men in the Murrah Building on the afternoon of the 17th?
Interestingly, Hussain al-Hussaini reapplied for his job at the Western Sizzlin in May, then quit in June, saying that he didn't need a job. Khalid's secretary said that Hussaini also purchased a Cadillac after the bombing. Had he suddenly come into a large amount of money?
When KFOR shared their evidence with the FBI, they downplayed their findings. FBI spokesman Dan Vogel said that eyewitness accounts are "notoriously inaccurate. Their credibility must be checked out, their stories corroborated."
Yet KFOR was able to corroborate their story with at least eight different witnesses. They not only placed McVeigh with Hussaini in at least three different locations in Oklahoma City, they were able to trace the brown pick-up to the business where Hussaini worked — to a businessman that had been investigated by the FBI for PLO ties. They determined that Hussaini had a tattoo exactly as described by the FBI, and that his alibi for the morning of April 19 was patently false.
Strangely, the FBI decided to back up Hussaini's story, telling KFOR that it might be difficult to place Hussaini near the Murrah Building on the morning of the 19th. Apparently the government had not counted on a local TV station stumbling onto Hussaini. After KFOR's story broke, a major damage control apparatus went into motion. KWTV, KOCO, the Daily Oklahoman, and the Oklahoma Gazette all ridiculed KFOR's reporting.
Interestingly, when Hussaini appeared before TV cameras on June 15 to dispel the "rumors" about him, it was Abraham Ahmed who appeared as his interpreter!
The Gazette and KOCO also both claimed that Hussaini couldn't speak English, implying that he couldn't have been talking with McVeigh. Yet KFOR learned that he spoke broken English, and a police D.U.I. report indicated that he replied in English when questioned.
"The information quoted on Channel Four is not true," FBI Agent Jeffrey Jenkins told the Daily Oklahoman. Though Jenkins later denied saying that, he admits that "he cringed when he saw the KFOR report."
Perhaps Jenkins cringed when he saw Hussaini on TV because the news station had, quite accidentally, uncovered the FBI's confidential informant. Why else would the FBI act so patronizing towards KFOR, who had clearly established a link between Hussaini and McVeigh?
The FBI wouldn't say if they had checked out Hussaini. Nor would they clear him. They told KFOR that they were "not in the business of clearing suspects." Yet, as Jayna Davis pointed out, they did clear numerous other John Doe 2 suspects, including Robert Jacks, Gary Land, and Todd Bunting, the Army private seen at Elliott's Body Shop. Interestingly, they then used the Bunting incident to say that John Doe 2 had been a red herring all along. John Doe 2, the FBI claimed, had never existed.
Just why would the FBI issue a blanket "no comment" on a suspect who was seen by numerous witnesses with Timothy McVeigh, and was seen speeding away from the bombing?
For his part, Hussaini claims he was an officer in Iraq's elite Republican Guard, and was imprisoned for distributing anti-Saddam literature. According to the Gazette's account, he was released after serving eight years of a 13-year sentence.
But the story changes. According to KWTV, he escaped during a prison uprising at the end of the war, and after searching for his family, he "ran to American soldiers and asked for help." He was then interned in a Saudi refugee camp, where he spent the next four years, until he was relocated to the U.S. in 1995.
The problem with this story is that U.S. forces didn't get within 200 miles of Baghdad, which means that if Hussaini "ran to American soldiers," he would have had to run across several hundred miles of open dessert.
Yet according to his boss, Sam Khalid, Hussaini was never in the Republican Guard at all. A Shíite Muslim, he was imprisoned for his anti-Saddam beliefs, and forced to serve as cannon fodder on the front lines, as the Republican Guard withdrew.
Yet the story changes once again. According to William Northrop, Hussaini served in the Hammurabi Division of the Republican Guard, and "was captured by the American 24th Mechanized Infantry Division in a fight on Highway 8, west of Basra, a few days after the war ended." Northrop stated that the Iraqis encountered the U.S. force, and, thinking it was merely a probe, opened fire. The Iraqis were badly beaten in the ensuing firefight, and Hussaini was wounded. He claims Hussaini was never in an Iraqi prison.
If Hussaini was trying to concoct a cover-story, he apparently wasn't doing a very good job.According to Northrop:
This lad was no ordinary soldier. [He] came to the United States around November of 1991. He triggered a "watch" on the Iraqi community in Boston and shortly thereafter, moved to Oklahoma City. I understand that he is currently residing in Houston.
Northrop also states that "Ramzi Ahmed Yousef (The 'mastermind' behind the World Trade Center bombing) served in the Hammurabi Division of the Republican Guard during the Gulf War.…"
While it is not known how accurate this information is, there is evidence tying Yousef — a Pakistani Baluchi born in Kuwait — to Iraqi intelligence. The Baluch, who are Sunni Moslems, oppose the clerical Shia regime of Tehran, and had forged close links with Iraqi intelligence during that country's 10-year war with Iran. According to Dr. Mylroie, Iraq used the Baluch to carry out acts of terrorism against Iran.
Alias Abdul Basit Mahmud Abdul Karim, Yousef arrived in the United States carrying an Iraqi passport.
Both Yousef and his partner in the World Trade Center bombing, Ahmed Ajaj, worked for Edwards Pipeline Testing and Technical Welding Laboratories in Houston, whose CEO is Maunal Bhajat, a close associate of Ishan Barbouti — an international Iraqi arms dealer who built Libya's chemical weapons plant at Ràbta. Barbouti's son Haidar (like Hussaini) also lives in Houston. According to Louis Champon, who went into business with Haidar, "Haidar Barbouti is an Iraqi agent."
It was Barbouti who financed Champon's Product Ingredient Technology through his son Haidar. Wackenhut (a company with long-standing ties to the FBI and CIA) provided the security. According to Champon, Barbouti (with perhaps a little help from the secretive and mysterious Wackenhut) secretly drained thousands of gallons of ferrocyanide — a naturally occurring Cherry extract used to make cyanide gas — from Champon's plant.
Barbouti's ability to procure U.S. weapons technology for sale to Libya and Iraq wasn't exactly hindered by U.S. officials. While the Bush administration was publicly decrying Hussein's use of chemical weapons on the Kurds, the potassium ferrocyanide was shipped to Iraq to manufacture chemical weapons for Iraq's army, with the full knowledge and complicity of the Bush administration.
Said Champon, "Not one U.S. agent — not one official, ever questioned Haidar Barbouti — for evasion of taxes, where he got his money from, his involvement… in shipping cyanide outside the P.I.T. plant… nothing. I was told — and this is a quote from U.S. Customs [agent Martin Schram] — "This matter is highly political. Haidar Barbouti cannot be indicted, and if he were, he would never be convicted."
The key that allowed the Iraqi "businessman" (Barbouti doesn't like to be called an arms dealer) to interface with the CIA was one Richard V. Secord, an integral player in the Iran-Contra arms-for-drugs network. Secord, it should be noted, was also a business partner of Vang Pao, the Laotian General who ran a heroin smugging ring out of Long Tien Airbase during the Vietnam War, and Monzer al-Kassar, the Syrian arms and drugs dealer who was involved in the Pan Am 103 bombing — another crime that was successfully covered up by the CIA and the FBI. According to Richard Babayan, a former CIA contract employee, "Barbouti was placed in the hands of Secord by the CIA, and Secord called in Wackenhut to handle security and travel for Barbouti and his export plans."
Mike Johnston, the attorney who sued Barbouti on behalf of TK-7, an Oklahoma City company, ran into the same sort of stonewalling by the Justice Department. As Johnston was told by the federal team investigating this little corner of Iraqgate, "Mr. Johnston, you don't understand, we have to limit the objective of the investigation so we can get on with the business of running the government."
"Going into the investigation… was a disguised whitewash," Johnston later told me, echoing what U.S. Customs agent Martin Schram told Louis Champon.
Former CIA asset Charles Hayes said the CIA-connected Wackenhut was helping Barbouti ship chemicals to Iraq, "Supplying Iraq was originally a good idea," he maintains, "but then it got out of hand."
Said Champon, "I can assure you, that if drums of cyanide left our plant, Dr. Barbouti had his reasons, either to be used against American troops or terrorist acts against the United States at home." Cyanide is a necessary ingredient in the development of nerve gas. One thousand grams of cyanide later wound up in the World Trade Center bomb, constructed by Iraqi agent Ramzi Yousef.
Yousef's partner, Ahmed Ajaj, a member of the Egyptian-based Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, lived in Texas. A Texas hamburger stand was reportedly used to relay telephone calls between the World Trade Center bombers as a means of avoiding detection. It was owned by some Palestinian friends of Ajaj, and Yousef and Ajaj used the number for conference calls while Ajaj was in prison.
The records may also indicate a tie between Ajaj and Hussaini's boss, Sam Khalid. Records obtained during TK-7's civil suit against Ishan Barbouti show a phone call to one of Khalid's properties in Houston. The person who made call was Ahmed Ajaj.
Yet Barbouti wasn't just trying to procure material and technology from U.S. companies on behalf of Iraq. Barbouti also built the bunkers used to house Saddam Hussein's Mig jet fighters during Desert Storm. It was during TK-7's suit against Barbouti that the Americans learned of these bunkers. Barbouti's London head of Security, Tony Davisson, decided to sell the Americans the blueprints. It isn't clear whether Davisson had a falling out with Barbouti, or was simply being patriotic. The point may be moot, as Barbouti was apparently dead. The Iraqi arms dealer died (or faked his death) around the same time the Israeli Mossad knocked off his contemporary, Gerald Bull, the developer of the ill-fated Iraqi "Super-Gun."
Davisson called TK-7's attorney, Mike Johnston, who flew to London, where he purchased the plans for $2,700, and promptly turned them over to the CIA. With the plans for Saddam's underground bunkers, the U.S. Airforce was able to practically wipe out Iraq's entire fleet of Mig fighter jets at the start of the war.
This didn't exactly make Saddam happy. In the parlance of the Arab world, this equated to pay-back time. If Hussein thought Barbouti was responsible for the destruction of his air force, he may have insisted the arms dealer cooperate in an act of revenge against the United States.
Yet the destruction of the Hussein's air force wasn't the only motive Iraq had for seeking revenge against the U.S. While Americans were busy tying yellow ribbons on their front porches for our boys in the Gulf, these same brave boys were slaughtering enemy soldiers and helpless civilians by the thousands. As reported by Mike Erlich of the Military Counseling Network at the March-April, 1991 European Parliament hearings on the Gulf War:
…hundreds, possibly thousands, of Iraqi soldiers began walking toward the U.S. position unarmed, with their arms raised in an attempt to surrender. However, the orders for this unit were not to take any prisoners…
The commander of the unit began the firing by shooting an anti-tank missile through one of the Iraqi soldiers. This is a missile designed to destroy tanks, but it was used against one man.
At that point, everybody in the unit began shooting. Quite simply, it was a slaughter.
The government-controlled sanitized media campaign beamed into our living rooms, replete with scenes of high-tech "smart-bombs" whistling through the windows of enemy command centers, merely belied the terrible and deliberate carnage inflicted upon thousands of helpless civilians.
On February 13, 1991, a U.S. Air Force Stealth Bomber dropped two 1,000-pound, laser-guided bombs onto the roof of the Al-Amira air raid shelter in Baghdad. Two hundred and ninety four people — mostly women and children — died in what the U.S. military called a "military surgical strike."
According to William Blum, author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, the bombing of the Al-Amira air raid shelter wasn't accidental, it was deliberate:
The United States said it thought that the shelter was for VIPs, which it had been at one time, and claimed that it was also being used as a military communications center, but neighborhood residents insisted that the constant aerial surveillance overhead had to observe the daily flow of women and children into the shelter. Western reporters said they could find no signs of military use.
An American journalist in Jordan who viewed unedited videotape footage of the disaster, which the American public never saw, wrote:
They showed scenes of incredible carnage. Nearly all the bodies were charred into blackness; in some cases the heat had been so great that entire limbs were burned off.… Rescue workers collapsed in grief, dropping corpses; some rescuers vomited from the stench of the still-smoldering bodies.
Said White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater after the bombing of the shelter: It was "a military target… We don't know why civilians were at this location, but we do know that Saddam Hussein does not share our value for the sanctity of life."
This so-called "value for the sanctity for life" shown by American forces and lauded by the Bush administration, included not only attacks such as the one at Al-Amira, but the bombing and strafing of unarmed civilians who tried to flee to the Jordanian border.
Buses, taxis, and private cars were repeatedly assaulted, literally without mercy, by rockets, cluster bombs and machine guns; usually in broad daylight, the targets clearly civilian, with luggage piled on top, with no military vehicles or structures anywhere to be seen, surrounded by open desert, the attacking planes flying extremely close to the ground… busloads of passengers incinerated, and when people left the vehicles and fled for their lives, planes often swooped down upon them firing away.…
"You're killing us!" cried a Jordanian taxi driver to an American reporter. "You're shooting us everywhere we move! Whenever they see a car or truck, the planes dive out of the sky and chase us. They don't care who we are or what we are. They just shoot." His cry was repeated by hundreds of others.….
Mike Ange, a GI from North Carolina, described the carnage:
I actually went up close and examined two of the vehicles that basically looked like refugees maybe trying to get out of the area. You know, you had like a little Toyota pick-up truck that was loaded down with the furniture and the suitcases and rugs and the pet cat and that type of thing, all over the back of the this truck, and those trucks were taken out just like the military vehicles.
"The U.S. military considers the murdering of our children nothing more than 'collateral damage," said Al Kaissy, an information officer at the Iraqi Interests section of the Algerian Embassy in Washington. "They have never apologized or even admitted their mistake."
At the same time, the American public, fed a daily dose of propaganda generated in Pentagon media briefing rooms, could not understand how terrorists could bomb a civilian building in the heartland of America.
While the estimate of Iraqi forces killed runs as high as 250,000, the actual number of Iraqis killed, including civilians, runs much higher. American planes deliberately destroyed Iraq's power plants, its sewage systems, and its hospitals. The economic embargo severely compounded the situation, forcing an entire population to struggle amidst massive epidemics of starvation and disease. Their infrastructure decimated, without sanitation, food and medical supplies, hundreds of thousands of civilians suffered horrible, lingering deaths — all caused by the U.S. military, the greed of Big Oil, and their life-long friend, George Herbert Walker Bush.
The people of Baghdad have turned the rubble of the Al-Amira air raid shelter into a shrine, complete with mementos and pictures of the children who perished.
In Oklahoma City, victims placed mementos of their dead relatives on a chain-link fence surrounding the remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Building and asked, "Who could do such a thing? Who could kill innocent civilians?"
While the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings may have been the result of Iraqi revenge, what ultimately lay behind the New York and Daharan bombings appeared to stem from a broader-based alliance of Islamic militants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other countries committed to the expulsion of U.S. troops from the region and an all-out attack on the "Great Satan."
It has been reported that groups ranging from the Palestinian-based Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Sudanese National Islamic Front, the Pakistan-based al-Fuqra, and groups funded by Saudi Arabian Osama bin-Laden were involved in the World Trade Center bombing and related plots.
In fact, as early as 1990, World Trade Center conspirators El-Sayyid Nossair, Mahmud Abouhalima, and al-Fuqra member Clement Rodney Hampton-El (an American Black Muslim) had met in New York City with Sheik Abd-al-Aziz Awadah, who is alleged to have been a senior commander engaged in the coordination of terrorist operations with Iranian, Palestanian, and Hizbollah leaders.
Such alliances were also reflected in a major terrorist conference held in Tehran in 1993, where it was decided the terrorists' war against the U.S. would include "targeting buildings for bomb spectaculars."
Another major terrorist conference was held in Tehran on June 20-23, 1996, during which it was announced that there would be increased attacks against U.S. interests. Two days later, on June 25, the military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, was bombed, claiming the lives of 19 servicemen. The Movement for Islamic Change, which had already claimed credit for the Riyadh bombing, took credit.
This was followed by another terrorist conference at the Northwest Frontier Province town of Konli, near the Afghani border in Pakistan on July 10-15, 1996. The meeting saw some of the most important militant Islamic leaders come together under one tent. They included Osama bin Ladin, a Saudi Arabian who funded the Mujahadeen, was implicated in the Riyadh and Dhahran bombings, and was a close associate of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP-GC (who carried out the Pan Am 103 bombing on orders from Teheran), Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a senior representative of Iranian intelligence, senior Pakistani intelligence officers, and senior commanders of Hamas, HizbAllah, and other groups. All resolved to use whatever force was necessary to oust all foreign forces stationed on Islamic holy land.
One Arab observer with direct knowledge of the conference said the participants' resolution was "a virtual declaration of relentless war" on the U.S.-led West. A glimpse of that conference can be seen in Defense and Foreign Affairs:
Rasul Sayyaf stated that "the time to settle accounts has arrived." The senior representative of Iranian intelligence declared that "attack is the best means of defense." He urged a combined offensive, both in the Muslim world, particularly the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula, and at the heart of the West. He repeated Iran's commitment to the cause and reiterated Tehran's willingness to provide the Islamists with all possible aid.
Another commander concurred, adding that "there is an imperative need for an integrated plan to deal a fatal blow to the international forces of arrogance." A UK-based commander from a Persian Gulf state stressed that given the immense strategic importance of the Persian Gulf to the U.S. and its allies, the only way to compel the West to withdraw was through the infliction of so much pain on these countries, that their governments would find it impossible to tolerate the public outcry and be compelled to withdraw as the only way to stop the Islamist terrorism at home.
On July 16, one day after the Konli conference, the U.S. Senate passed sanctions against Iran and Libya. With their continued sanctions against the innocent civilians of Iraq, and now Iran, the U.S. was building to a confrontation with the militant Islamic community. As Ronald W. Lewis wrote in the November, 1996 edition of Air Forces Monthly:
On the following day (after the Konli conference), July 17, the Movement for Islamic Change sent a chilling fax to the London-based Arab newspaper al-Hayat, warning: "The world will be astonished and amazed at the time and place chosen by the Mujahadeen. The Mujahadeen will deliver the harshest reply to the threats of the foolish American president. Everyone will be surprised by the volume, choice of place and timing of the Mujahadeen's answer, and invaders must prepare to depart alive or dead, for their time is morning and morning is near." That fax, and a warning by Israeli intelligence that Iran was likely to launch an attack against a U.S. aircraft, were ignored.
At 8:31:10 p.m. (0031:10 GMT) that evening, nobody could dismiss the horrendous explosion of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island, New York. Attack number three had just been carried out.
That excerpt appeared in a U.S. military newspaper. But Lewis wasn't the only observer cognizant of these facts. As Dr. Laurie Mylroie noted regarding the July 17 attack on TWA flight 800, it occurred precisely on Iraqi national day. The day of the bombing, Saddam Hussein had made his own threats, telling the U.S. that they would be unable to avoid "the sweeping flood and flaming fire that is burning under their feet.…"
The bombing of the World Trade Center occurred on the second anniversary of Iraq's surrender to coalition forces in the Gulf.
While reports from the State Department and such institutions as the Heritage Foundation decry the use of Arab state-sponsored terrorism against the West, the truth is that the West — and especially the U.S. — has been exporting terrorism in the form of economic sanctions, assassinations, coups, death-squads, and covert/overt wars in almost every part of the world since the beginning of the century.
To the Muslim world, and especially terrorist groups such as the PLO, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, and Hamas, the U.S. assault on its ally Iraq represented a turning point in Islam's struggle against the West. The Gulf War marked the first time the United States had used an all-out, full-scale military assault on an Arab country, with devastating results.
Under the influence of religious figures such as Sheik Omar Rahman, the Mujahadeen (the Afghani freedom fighters who had been trained by the CIA) and their allies became staunch opponents of the United States. Thousands of Muslims from almost 40 countries flocked to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the war, and thousands remain there, training for the day when Islam will rise up in its final great Jihad against the West.
To these groups, the Gulf War marked the signal for a new escalation in their war against the U.S. The bombing of the World Trade Center, the Federal Building in Oklahoma, the Al-Khubar military complex in Daharan, and possibly the shootdown of TWA 800, were all expressions of this rage against the United States.
On January 25, 1993, less than one month before the World Trade Center attack, Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani, vented his rage by opening fire with an AK-47 outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Two CIA employees were killed and three others were wounded. Like Ramzi Yousef, Kansi was a native Baluchi. He was involved with the Pashtun Students Organization, the student wing of Mahmood Khan Achakzai's Pakhtoon Khwa Awami Milli Party, which claimed the CIA's sudden pull-out of Afghanistan resulted in millions of deaths at the hands of the Soviets. Kansi claimed the CIA had betrayed his father.
Yousef himself spent considerable time in Baluchistan. Located in western Pakistan, Baluchistan is a nexus for the Muslim Jihad, and a major arms and drug network. Pakistan has served not only as a training center for the Mujahadeen, but a haven for Philippine terrorist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Liberation Front, who have used the free-flowing Pakistani arms and drugs nexus in an effort to promote and finance their activities.
Support in the form of arms and drugs flowed from Pakistan and Afghanistan to militant Islamic groups around the world, aided by the CIA, rogue intelligence officers, and senior U.S. officials in for their piece of the action — just as Oliver North's "Enterprise" would do with the Contras in Nicaragua. In fact, many of the same individuals were involved.
Yousef next showed up in the Philippines with a Libyan missionary named Mohaimen abu Bakr, leader of the Libyan Mullah Forces. It was there that he joined forces with an Afghani named Wali Khan Amin Shah and his old friend from Kuwait, Abdul Hakim Murad. They were there to train the Abu Sayyaf.
Headquartered on the Philippine island of Mindanao, the 400-member strong Abu Sayyaf has conducted over 10 major terrorist attacks in the last six years in its bid for autonomy, and is strongly allied with other Islamic revolutionary groups, such the Philippine-based Moro Liberation Front. Abu Sayyaf's funding and support comes from high-profile Islamic leaders such as Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, and wealthy Islamic financiers such as Tariq Jana, a Pakistani businessman, and Osama bin Laden.
Considered by the State Department to be one of the world's preeminent sponsors of Islamic radicalism, bin Laden's threats to wage Jihad on Americans in the Middle East immediately preceded the November, 1995 blast at a U.S. military facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which five Americans and two Indians were killed. Eight months later, a massive truck-bomb killed 19 servicemen and injured 400 at Dhahran.
In a March, 1997 interview with the London Independent from his Afghani hideout, bin Laden warned of additional measures against U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, and said he had obtained the support of thousands of Pakistanis.
Readers will also recall that General Wafiq al-Sammara'i, the former head of Iraqi military intelligence, told the London Independent a year earlier that the 1996 Dhahran bombing "strongly resembled plans drawn up by a secret Iraqi committee on which he served after the invasion of Kuwait.…"
Not surprisingly, in February of 1995, U.S. authorities named bin Laden and his brother-in-law, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa among 172 unindicted co-conspirators in the World Trade Center bombing and related plots to blow up New York City landmarks, including the Javitz Federal Building and the United Nations. Those plots were strongly linked to Iraq.
Khalifa also ran an Islamic center in the Philippines linked to similar organizations in countries such as Iraq and Jordan. Given Abu Sayyaf's close ties with bin Laden, Khalifa, and their connections with the Mujahadeen, it is only natural that Ramzi Yousef, a Pakistani who is considered an Iraqi agent, would be involved with the group.
Abu Sayyaf's former military strategist, Edwin Angeles, who surrendered to Philippine authorities in February of '96, admitted that the Abu Sayyaf was in fact linked to Yousef and Murad — both of whom recently went on trial in New York for their role in "Project Bojinka" — a dramatic plan to blow up 12 U.S. airliners in a single day. The plot was foiled when police raided Yousef's Manila apartment on January 6, 1995, after a fire caused by the pair mixing bomb-making chemicals in a sink. While Murad was captured, Yousef escaped, making his way to Pakistan, where he was captured by police in February.
Nine of his accomplices — six of them Iraqis — were rounded up one year later along with plastic explosives, blasting caps, detonating cords, time fuses, and fake passports. The terrorists, including a Sudanese and two Saudis, were part of a plot to bomb various Western targets and assassinate Pope John Paul II during his January, 1995 Philippine visit.
Before his capture however, Yousef, an engineering graduate of Britain's Swansea University, had time to try out his new bomb — an experimental form of nitroglycerin. The small test-bomb, taped under a seat on Philippine Air flight 434, killed one Japanese tourist and injured 10 others. Before the explosion, Yousef had safely departed the plane in Cebu City.
Another temporary resident of Cebu City was Terry Nichols. As discussed, Nichols had moved to Cebu City with his new wife, Marife Torres, a mail-order bride whom he met there in November of 1989. After trying life in Michigan and Nevada, the couple moved back to Cebu City in early 1993, where they lived for a short time.
According to Nichols' ex-wife Lana Padilla, her former husband had traveled to the Philippines about four times a year since meeting Marife. Although some of the visits were to see his new bride and make arrangements for her entry into the U.S., he occasionally traveled alone.*
"Sometimes he went when Marife was in Kansas," wrote Padilla. "It didn't make sense, but I never asked why."
Nichols told Padilla he was traveling to Cebu City to meet "potential business partners." The Michigan farmer was making the multi-thousand dollar trips, he said, to bring back little paper "butterflies" — curious merchandise for a man intent on setting himself up in the military surplus business.
It is also curious why Nichols carried two stun-guns on his last trip, why he left $20,000 taped behind a drawer for his son, and a note to McVeigh telling him "You're on your own," and "go for it!" in case he didn't come back, and why his son cried, "I'm never going to see my Dad again…."
Perhaps Nichols had reason to worry. According to FBI 302 reports and investigations conducted by McVeigh's defense team, Abu Sayyaf leader Edwin Angeles spoke of a terrorist meeting in the vicinity of the Del Monte labeling factory in Davao, on the Island of Mindanao, in late 1992 or early '93. It was there, Angeles said, that Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah, and several others discussed the Oklahoma City bombing plot.*
One of the men at the meeting, recalled Angeles, introduced himself as "a farmer."
When the "farmer" returned home from his last visit to the Philippines on January 16, 1995, and discovered that Padilla had opened the mysterious package and read the contents, he turned "white as a ghost."
On April 19, 1995, Abdul Hakim Murad was sitting in his New York jail cell when the word went out that the Oklahoma City Federal Building had been bombed. Murad casually admitted to a prison guard that the Liberation Army of the Philippines — a group connected to Abu Sayyaf — was responsible.
Abu Sayyaf leader Edwin Angeles later corrected Murad for the record: "It was the Palestine Liberation Army and/or the Islamic Jihad which Murad was referring to," he said. "This army is associated with Hamas and based in Lebanon.…"
However, given the fact that Saudi intelligence informed the FBI that Iraq had hired Pakistanis who might not have known they were operating on behalf of Iraq, it is highly possible that Murad (a Pakistani) and Angeles were unaware of their true sponsor. As the Washington Post's Jack Anderson reported in 1991: "A preferable revenge for Iraq would involve having a 'surrogate terrorist' carry out a domestic attack that Hussein could privately take credit for…."
As Stephen Jones wrote in his March 25th Petition for Writ of Mandamus:
This terrorist attack was "contracted out" to persons whose organization and ideology was friendly to policies of the foreign power and included dislike and hatred of the United States government itself, and possibly included was a desire for revenge against the United States, with possible anti-black and anti-Semitic overtones. Because Iraq had tried a similar approach in 1990, but had been thwarted by Syrian intelligence information given to the United States, this time the information was passed through an Iraqi intelligence base in the Philippines.
The sighting of Terry Nichols with Islamic terrorists in the Philippines dovetails with Cary Gagan's sighting of Nichols with his "Iranian" friends — Omar and Ahmed — in Henderson, Nevada. Gagan recalled how Nichols looked "out-of-place" among his Arab comrades at the May '94 meeting.
Was Terry Nichols associated with World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, a reputed Iraqi agent? Was Timothy McVeigh associated with Hussain al-Hussaini, a former Iraqi soldier? Were Yousef and Hussaini part of a terrorist network set up by Iraq to infiltrate the United States?
On January 28, 1991, the Washington Post reported that an Iraqi terrorist network was being sponsored and planned by Saddam Hussein. The article stated in part:
Highly classified US intelligence reports say that the United States has received information that Saddam has already dispatched more than 100 terrorists, both experienced and novice, to try to infiltrate the United States. One report, quoting sources inside Iraq, cites a specific number of terrorists — 160 — who have been sent off with missions in America.
That coincides with reports that at least two and possibly as many as four Iraqi diplomats in their embassy in Washington were monitored as they attempted to set up terrorist cells in the capital and elsewhere in the United States.…
…A recent intelligence report says that Saddam has deposited money in several Swiss bank accounts that will automatically be paid out to terrorists no matter what happens to Saddam… Iraqis living in the United States who support Saddam strongly enough to resort to violence would probably be used to provide bank accounts, safe houses and materials for the experts who sneak into the country.
According to Northrop, information from a London banker "Sayanin" (source) showed that several million dollars was transferred from the Bank of Iraq, through the SWIFT international banking system in Brussels, Belgium, to a bank in Kingman, Arizona under the account name of "Nayaad." Attempts by Northrop to confirm this information were unsuccessful.
What is also interesting is that Cary Gagan claimed to have received $250,000 from his Arab friend Omar, who wanted to set up an account for him. Omar and Gagan had also traveled to Kingman. The million dollar account was to be wired from a Swiss bank and deposited into the Bank of Cherry Creek in Denver.
Part of the plan was to allow Omar and Ahmed to purchase the Postal Center, a shipping and receiving store in Denver owned by George Colombo, who also operated a Ryder truck leasing operation across the street. Omar had asked Gagan to broker a deal to buy the facility from Colombo. He believes they were interested in the mail and truck rental facility. For some reason, the deal fell through.
While Gagan claims he was paid by Omar, there is no direct evidence that McVeigh or Nichols were funded by Gagan's Arab contacts. Yet there is circumstantial evidence that the two bombing defendants met with Sam Khalid, who spent considerable time in Las Vegas. The Arab high-roller frequented Binyon's Horseshoe, the Glitter Gulch, and the MGM casino, where Nichols would occasionally take his 12-year-old son Josh.
As Northrop said, "gambling is a favorite pastime of Sunni Moslems.…" Was Omar simply there to gamble, or did he have another agenda?
According to Gagan: "Omar and Ahmed were wiring money in and out of MGM. They used to get money — huge amounts of money — they were using these wire transfers."
Former high-ranking CIA operative Gunther Russbacher told author Rodney Stich (Defrauding America) that Binyon's Horseshoe was one of the casinos used for money laundering and political payoffs. Khalid is a regular at Binyon's Horseshoe.
Two other frequent visitors to Binyon's Horseshoe, it appears, were Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh. The two men attended the Claude Hall Gun Show in Las Vegas in November and January of 1994, stayed at Padilla's house, and reportedly frequented Binyon's and a strip joint next door called the Glitter Gulch, where Khalid is also a regular.†
While no one at the casinos would cooperate in placing Khalid with the two bombing suspects, Padilla said that Nichols had met with "Middle Eastern" men while in Las Vegas.
That information dovetails with Cary Gagan's testimony. As stated earlier, the federal informant said he met with approximately eight men — five of whom were Middle Easterners — at the Western Motel in Las Vegas on May 16, 1994. There was an Arab man from Oklahoma City who Gagan referred to as the "leader."
The Eighth man was Terry Nichols.
The question remained, who was Omar, and was he connected with Sam Khalid? Interestingly, Khalid's alias is "Omar."
In an attempt to track Khalid's whereabouts in Las Vegas, KFOR's Jayna Davis hired a security guard and part-time P.I. named Louis Crousette. Crousette had worked at the Glitter Gulch. In a transcript of the conversation, Davis asks Crousette if Angie (not her real name), Khalid's favorite stripper, recognized him:
Crousette: "She knew who he was. Her eyes… her… her… how do I want to say this? Her whole demeanor changed. She went from being a calm person to being a scared little rabbit."
Davis: "All right. And she said she didn't want to get involved…"
Crousette: "Does the word getting up and running and leaving the place tell you anything?
Davis: "Okay. So…"
Crousette: "She left. She got up and left. She left her money and left. She grabbed her stuff and was out the door."
According to Crousette, Angie also described an Arab man in the Glitter Gulch acting as a "recruiter," who introduced Khalid to a pair of "skinny white guys." Could these two skinny white guys have been Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols?
But just who was this "recruiter" that Crousette spoke of? Crousette saw him hobnobbing in a wealthy part of town with a man in a white BMW. Just who was in the car with him wasn't clear. However, the information is curious in light of Gagan's report that he and his Arab friends met at the Player's Club, an upscale apartment complex in a Las Vegas suburb.
Also mentioned in Crousette's phone conversation is "Jaffer," an apparent reference to Jaffer Oshan (not his real name). Oshan, who sometimes goes by the name Ossan Jaffar, is an electrical engineer who works for Khalid, and translates for his rusty Arabic.
Oshan was reportedly the target of FBI surveillance at the same time Khalid was being indicted for insurance fraud. Like Abraham Ahmed, Oshan disappeared just before the bombing, traveling to Jordan. And like Ahmed, he gave a similar story, telling Ernie Cranfield he was going to the Middle East to attend to family matters — in this case — his own wedding. According to Cranfield, he did not marry.
A native Jordanian, Oshan showed up in KFOR's surveillance photos with Khalid and Hussain al-Hussaini. Crousette showed the photos to his "intelligence" source:
Crousette: Three people that I know of that went in service — two feds and two of them were ex-company (CIA). They know who these guys are. When I showed them these pictures they looked at me and told me, "Get the hell out of it. What the hell are you doing doing this?"
Davis: Did they tell you they were Iraqi Intelligence?
Crousette: Two of them did, yes.… The feds know who did it.
Davis: And they're not arresting them?
Crousette: I'm not gonna' get involved.
Davis: Are they Middle Eastern?
Crousette: I'm not getting involved on this. Okay. I'm sending in my bill. I'm getting out of it now….
Crousette has since avoided all attempts to contact him. Gordon Novel, an investigator who used to work for District Attorney Jim Garrison, spent a week in Las Vegas attempting to talk with the former security guard. "He was real adamant about not wanting to be talked to," said Novel.
As a frustrated Novel was about to leave, a large goon appeared at his hotel room with an automatic tucked in his belt and some words of advice: "You betta' stay da fuck out odda Oklahoma thing," he warned. "Work on da Waco thing if ya wanna, but stay out odda Oklahoma thing. There's a lodda sand out dare where no one will ever find ya."
"He had a very serious big gun," said Novel, "and he wasn't a cop — I don't know what he was."
Why would an apparent Mob mule be concerned about steering an investigator away from a Las Vegas connection to the Oklahoma City bombing? Was Khalid connected to the Mob?
KFOR first bumped into Sam Khalid when reporter Brad Edwards received a mysterious phone call from Sharon Twilley. Twilley was working at the time for Khalid's real-estate business, Sahara Properties, which he owned with his ex-wife Carol, who died in the bombing. A three-year employee, Twilley did a variety of jobs for Khalid, including bookkeeping and acting as rental agent for his 500-plus properties.
Twilley told Edwards and Davis that she had seen her boss in the company of Abraham Ahmed, who had been detained by the FBI as a possible suspect on April 19 as he attempted to fly from Oklahoma to Jordan.
According to Twilley and Ernie Cranfield, Ahmed had been seen driving the brown Chevy pick-up seen speeding away from the bombing, back and forth to Khalid's place in the days prior to the bombing. Ahmed's increasingly frequent visits coincided with the arrival of Hussain al-Hussaini and five other Iraqis in November. Twilley also said that Khalid began acting very secretive after the arrival of the six men, and would only speak to Ahmed in Arabic.
Yet, perhaps most incredibly, both Cranfield and Twilley had seen a yellow Mercury Marquis parked at Khalid's office; Twilley said she saw Abraham Ahmed in the passenger seat.
The presence of Ahmed wasn't the only thing that raised eyebrows at Sahara properties in the days following the bombing. Cranfield told the FBI and Edwards that he saw one of Khalid's Arab employees, a man named Haider al-Saiidi, acting strangely ebullient after the bombing.
"When the news reports first came about some Islamic group being responsible, well Haider kind of laughed about that," recalled Cranfield. "I heard they found three babies that was dead from the blast, and I went and told the guys… and John Doe 2 (Cranfield's reference to Hussaini) started crying. He went out on the porch to cover his face and he stood by the wall crying. He was upset that children got hurt. He was really upset. And Haider was laughing because he was crying."*
To make things even stranger, Khalid decided to visit Las Vegas on the evening of April 20, the day after his ex-wife Carol was killed in the bombing. It seems Khalid had asked her to help him with his taxes on Monday, her regularly scheduled day at the Department of Agriculture. Consequently, she went into work on Wednesday, her day off. As news reports showed Dr. Espe, Carol's boss, being carried down a ladder by rescue workers, Khalid's daughter Heather began crying. She knew her mom worked in that office.
"We was all sitting around the office watching the news," said Cranfield. "And when they showed Espe being carried down that ladder, she (Najaya, Khalid's current wife) just burst out laughing. Heather was crying, and Najaya was laughing."
Some might consider it odd that a girl's stepmother would burst out laughing upon learning that her mother had been killed. Some might consider it stranger still for a man to be partying on the eve of his ex-wife's death.
Was there a motive? Did Khalid know there would be a bombing on Wednesday? Did he know Carol would go into work on Wednesday to make up for her day off?
"It was set up," said Cranfield. "I know it was set up. He got rid of her because of the taxes she filed."
According to Cranfield, Khalid reported to the IRS that his employees were sub-contractors, thus avoiding having to pay benefits. Khalid's steady worker of nine years also told me that his boss made up business cards for the employees that purported to show their "independent" status.
It was Carol on whom fell the responsibility of preparing the returns. Cranfield caught a glimpse of her on Monday, two days before her death.
"She didn't look happy that morning when she was doing his taxes," recalled Cranfield. "She did not look happy at all… 'cause he was fucking the government over the taxes."
At the time of this writing there was a case pending against Khalid for tax fraud. Carol most likely would have testified against him in that case.
The circumstances at Sahara Properties in the days after the bombing were too much for Cranfield. "I left the job site and went to the office and said 'I want my money.' I told them I didn't want to work for no terrorists. I was so… I feared that these people were involved, and them workers were involved in this. And with all the strange things that was going on, I wasn't going to take no chances. And when they found Abraham [Ahmed], that was it. That was all I needed to know. That's all I wanted to know. I wanted to get the hell out of there!"
The brown Chevy pick-up that Ahmed had been seen driving was found abandoned the Tuesday after the bombing at the Woodscape Apartment complex on Route 66. Resident Jeannie Royer recalled a heavy-set Middle-Eastern man getting out of the truck which was left near a storage shed. The man gave Boyer a hard look that said, "You'd better forget what you just saw."
The man showed up a week later and followed Royer while she was out walking her dog.† When shown a photo of a heavy-set Middle Eastern suspect by KFOR (one of Khalid's workers), she said, "It sure does look like him. I would sure like to see a close-up of his eyes. Those eyes of his were frightening!"
The abandoned pick-up, incidentally, had been painted yellow, and the serial numbers ground off. "You could see the yellow over-spray all over the chrome fender," said Joe Royer. The FBI then towed the truck to its impound lot, and nothing has been heard about it since.
What is even more interesting (or coincidental, depending on your point of view) is that Khalid owns the property on which a body shop is located — Route 66 Auto Collision — a nondescript, run down place on the far side of town. Route 66, curiously, is two miles directly due west of the Woodscape Apartments.
A body shop would be a very convenient place to paint a pick-up.
Khalid bought the property in 1994 at a tax auction. The sale was disputed by the current owner, Rex Carmichael, and as of this writing, the case was in court. "I'm sure it wasn't painted there," said Carmichael. "Khalid hasn't hadn't had anything to do with that body shop.… he's tried to get it, he's tried to own it, he's tried to possess it from me…."
Interestingly, an anonymous caller to Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key who claimed to be a friend of the brother of a man involved in the bombing, told him that a meeting of bombing conspirators took place at a garage on Northwest 39th Street. Although he didn't state the name, Route 66 is located right on Northwest 39th Street.
After the bombing, Route 66 changed it's name to Tom's, but is not listed in the phone book or the information directory under either name. KFOR's P.I., Bob Jerlow, told me he staked the place out for five days but never saw anybody go in for an estimate. "It's probably a chop-shop," said a retired police officer.
If so, it may fit into what Cranfield told me next: "They (Khalid and his employees) would always buy cars, then I found out that they was taking them and running them to Mexico, running trips to Mexico and selling the cars.… Within two weeks to a month, everyone of them was driving a different car. They wouldn't have it but less than a month, then they'd be rid of it, and you wouldn't see it again.
"I seen them many times up there at this garage (Route 66). It was the same guys that came in [in November]. The same six that came in. Just them — them six."
One of the six was Hussain al-Hussaini.
The date November, 1994 may be prophetic. Three witnesses in Stillwater, about an hour's drive north of Oklahoma City, saw a man who closely resembles Ramzi Yousef in late October, early November, 1994. The man, who called himself Y.T., was managing Boomer's Used Auto Sales in Stillwater, along with a man who resembled John Doe 2. He drove a yellow Mercury Marquis similar to Timothy McVeigh's, albeit with a vinyl roof.
Ronnie White (not his real name), who was working as a mechanic for Boomer's at the time, said the men ran a "shoddy" operation and were "hostile" towards customers. The business, he said, was buying used cars and shipping them overseas, possibly to Kuwait. while in itself not an unusual practice, White said he saw as much as $100,000 pass through per month, which is unusual for such a small operation.
White says the two men suddenly departed for Ohio the last week of October, 1994. They told him "Don't tell anybody where we're going." They left no forwarding address and no way for the customers to pay their bills. (Coincidentally perhaps, Timothy McVeigh was in Kent, Ohio on October 5.)
Said customer Michael Reed, "They were some pretty strange people. They were supposed to be running a car lot, but they were always gone." They returned from their supposed car-buying trip the first week of November, with one used Honda.
White went to the FBI when he saw Yousef's wanted poster in the local police station. Like many witnesses, the FBI appeared to show no interest.
Was the man these witnesses saw really internationally wanted fugitive Ramzi Yousef? A Washington source familiar with Yousef and the World Trade Center bombing doesn't think it likely that Yousef reentered the county after the 1993 attack. The FBI put Yousef in the Philippines in November and December of '94, just in time to launch an ill-fated attack on President Clinton during his APEC visit, but his exact timeline was never established.
Yousef himself is a chameleon. One FBI photo depicts him as a thin, haunted-looking criminal, the other a boyish-looking foreign exchange student. Yet all three witnesses in Stillwater are adamant. "I was shocked," said Michael Reed, "it looked just like him."
Had the Arab cell involved in the bombing reinlisted the aid of expert bomb maker Ramzi Yousef for the Oklahoma City attack? A U.S. Marshall told Jayna Davis that he believed the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings were linked. Other sources expressed similar opinions.
Finally, the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General report on the Oklahoma City bombing indicates that nitroglycerin was was found at the scene. As previously stated, Yousef had been experimenting with a new form of nitroglycerin.
If Y.T. was Ramzi Yousef, he didn't seem too concerned that he was operating in the U.S. as a wanted fugitive.
Samir Khalid, who by now was being investigated by KFOR and surveilled by Jerlow, apparently didn't seem too concerned he was being watched either. At one point he casually strolled up to Jerlow and Edwards, who were staking out his house, rapped on their window, and said "What do you want with me?" Jerlow, his hand on his gun, watched in amazement. Later, Khalid called him on the phone. "Which country hired you to investigate me," Khalid demanded to know, "and how much are they paying you?"
A curious question. If Khalid wanted to know what country had hired Jerlow, it would subsume, at least in his mind, that the U.S. would have no reason to investigate him. Why would he assume such a thing? Was Khalid an operative or an informant for the U.S. Government?
When Hani Kamal, a Lebanese/Jordanian businessman, occasional FBI informant, and long-time acquaintance of Khalid's was shown KFOR's surveillance photos by OCPD officer Don Browning, he reportedly became frightened and said, "You have to leave this alone. This is the Mossad. You do not know what you're messing with." After that, Kamal would no longer talk to the cop.*
Jerlow's sources also came up dry. When the P.I. asked his phone company source to pull Khalid's records, they had mysteriously "disappeared." An attorney friend of Jerlow's who had some dealings with Khalid told him, "Khalid is a dangerous motherfucker. You stay away from him." He didn't explain why.
His warning may have been well-founded however. Three months after the bombing, on July 3, a man matching Khalid's description, and driving his truck, showed up at Sharon Twilley's house, pulled out a pistol, and fired four shots. Two of the bullets went into Twilley's bedroom, one went into her car, shattering the windshield, and another lodged under a neighbor's window.
A terrified Sharon Twilley rolled out of bed, clutching the phone in her hand, and dialed 911. She then ran over to neighbor Glenn Moore's house. "He knows where I slept!" she told Moore, who had watched the scene from his window. "He could have killed me if he had wanted to!"
Just why Khalid would want to scare Sharon Twilley literally to death is an interesting question. This excerpt from the police report may shed some light on the motive:
Twilley stated she worked for the suspect until after the bombing of the Murrah building when the F.B.I. came out and questioned her about the suspect's activity. The next day she was fired. Since that time the suspect has tried to kick her out of his rent [sic] house. He had refused to accept her check & had taken her to district court & the judge ordered him to serve a 30 day notice. Twilley stated that since that time her residence was burglarized and then this incident of the shooting took place. Twilley stated the F.B.I. had spoke [sic] with her a few times since she was fired & then it all started. Twilley stated Khalid was furious when he found out she had spoken to the F.B.I.
Just what had Twilley told the FBI? When I interviewed the OCPD detective who wrote the report, he told me that Twilley had seen "some new deal he was into," and was "nervous."
"She didn't want him to know that she had talked to the FBI," said the detective. "She was definitely afraid."
FBI agents James Strickland and Dave Swanson's names also appeared on the report. Why would the FBI take an interest in a local assault case? Although Khalid later admitted to the author that he had been interviewed and polygraphed by the FBI in regards to the bombing, Strickland wouldn't comment.
In spite of the bullet holes in Twilley's house and car, and Moore's eyewitness account, the OCPD did little. Assistant DA Sherry Todd declined to prosecute the case on "lack of evidence." The police report stated it as follows:
Moore stated on the morning on 7-3-95 at approx. 3:30-4:00 he heard gun shots. Moore got up & looked out the window and saw a dark skinned male running from the house. I asked him if it was Mr. Khalid. Moore stated "I think it was him, but I'm not sure. It looked like him but I'm not positive. He was driving the same white Nissan pick-up that he drives. But I'm not sure.
Moore seemed a bit more certain when I spoke to him. "He was a short guy that smokes a cigar," said Moore. "[He] looked real aggravated. He was randomly shooting; he shot four times."
In fact, the police report had previously stated Moore's identification in more positive terms:
Moore recognized the suspect as the landlord who rented the house out prior to Twilley living there & knew him as having a white Toyota pick up & he said that was him, meaning the suspect.
As if to add more grist to the mill, Khalid and an associate had shown up at Twilley's house the previous day and had smashed a brick through her window. Moore told me he recognized Khalid by his baseball cap, cigar, and white pick-up.
I began to suspect that Todd's refusal to prosecute came from DA Robert Macy, who had blindly cooperated with the Justice Department by refusing to pursue a local investigation of the bombing. Todd dismissed that notion. "It's very, very rare when he's involved in the decline or acceptance of charges," she said, then added, "I felt there were some problems with the witnesses statements."
Although initially polite, when I suggested that Khalid might be involved in the bombing, and that she should re-open the case, she turned suddenly hostile, and said, "I'm gonna' go back to work. This case is closed," then abruptly hung up.
Some time later, Mike Johnston, a local attorney familiar with the case, ran into Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Richardson in the courthouse. Johnston raised the issue of Sam Khalid. "Oh you must have been talking to that guy from San Francisco," Richardson replied, referring to the author. When Johnston siad that he had gleaned his information from other sources as well, and suggested that Richardson look into the matter, Richardson looked at his watch and said, "Well Mike, that's an interesting theory. I gotta' run."*
As for Glenn Moore, he told me he was being followed by Khalid and didn't want to get involved. And Sharon Twilley? Moore said she was scared and had probably moved back to Georgia.
Was Khalid guilty of assault with a deadly weapon? Was he involved in the bombing? His attorney, Francis Courbois, put it eloquently when he said, "…he is typical of those immigrants who work hard to achieve the opportunities America offers."
In 1973, Khalid was convicted of Grand Larceny.
In 1991, he was indicted in Federal Court on eight counts of insurance fraud, which included setting fires to some of his 500-plus properties. He served nine months out of a year at El Reno Federal Prison.
Robert Kulick, a former employee of Khalid's, told the FBI that Khalid had instructed him to set fires to four of his properties. When agents questioned Kulick and his wife about Khalid's associations, Mrs. Kulick blurted out, "We don't want to get Sam [Khalid] in any trouble," whereupon the agents immediately advised Kulick of his Miranda rights.
Kulick later jumped bond and fled to California after claiming he had received "threatening phone calls." He didn't say from whom.*
Yet the FBI's interest seemed to lay more in Khalid's connections to the PLO than in arson. According to Northrop, the FBI investigated Khalid for alleged PLO activity in 1991. Khalid's attorney insisted that it would have been precisely the FBI's interest in Khalid — "the microscope under which he, as a Palestinian, has been monitored" — which would have revealed any wrongdoing.
For all intents and purposes, Sam Khalid appears to be just what his lawyer says he is, a hard-working immigrant out to achieve the opportunities America has to offer. A 56-year-old Palestinian, Khalid was born Samir Abdul-Ghani Sharif Khalid, and emigrated to the U.S. from Kuwait in 1968.† He received his M.A. from Oklahoma City University in 1975, his Ph.D. in psychology from O.U. in 1979, and went on to teach at public schools and at nearby Tinker Air Force base. He also did a brief stint in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Khalid claims to have relatives in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, who provided the money for his education and real-estate investments. In 1982, Khalid quit teaching and devoted himself full-time to his burgeoning real-estate business. By 1995 he had acquired over 500 properties, mostly through HUD, the federal agency besieged with corruption in the late '70s and early '80s.
Hani Kamal was surprised when I told him Khalid owned over 500 properties: "In the '70s this son-of-a-bitch did not have a dime to his name. He couldn't survive. He used to ask me for money. Where did he get 500 properties? Where did the money come from?"
Kamal, who claimed to have worked with the Insurance Fraud Division of the FBI (Browning said he was merely an informant), believes Khalid is a money launderer. "Khalid should be a millionaire with that much property," exclaimed Kamal, "but he lives in a dilapidated shack on 32nd Street." Sure enough, Khalid makes his home in a run-down, low-income part of town. It is Kamal's opinion that Khalid is just an "errand boy," and somebody else really owns the properties.
Northrop agrees. He says the money to fund this burgeoning real estate empire comes from the PLO, which instructs him on how to live for appearance' sake. Northrop also indicated that Khalid's claim of numerous relatives — an apparently false claim — merely provides a cover for the funneling of money to his business.
Do these largely circumstantial facts make Sam Khalid a terrorist? That depends on who you talk to. According to Northrop:
[By information and belief] Khalid is a long-standing participant in PLO fund-raising activities in the United States. He is most probably a sub-cell leader, part of the intellectual fringe that guide the cell, a classic Russian Nihilistic Terrorist structure. The destruction of the fringe leadership can be seen in the so-called Spook War between the Israelis and the PLO that took place in Europe and the Middle East between 1972 (the Munich Massacre) and 1986 (the death of Abu Jihad).
Khalid fits the pattern of the well-funded, well-educated father figure who takes care of his flock, remaining outside the center core of sub-cell foot soldiers (the hel in the Nihilistic structure).
A West 57th Street documentary described how fund-raising by insurance fraud is a classic PLO technique. The May, 1989 episode, entitled, "Palestinians: Dirty Business," focused mostly on insurance fraud in Miami in the early to mid-'80s. Sunrise, Florida Police detective Don Cannon said the money was "being sent back to fund the PLO or the PFLP or the Intifida."
The principals of this fund-raising scheme, CBS reported, hailed from the West Bank town of Deir Dibwan. Reporter Karen Burnes received confirmation from the FBI that a number of scams were going on throughout the U.S. at the time.
One method of raising money involved small store owners who would open businesses, buying merchandise on credit, then quickly close shop and vanish with the proceeds. There were other scams. California insurance lawyer Gordon Park told CBS, "What they would do is throw a brick through their front window and say, 'Ok, gosh, I got burglarized.'"
In Brooklyn, investigators discovered a phony coupon redemption center run by Mahumud Abouhalima — currently serving 240 years in prison for his role in the World Trade Center bombing.
"Insurance scams first surfaced in the United States in the mid-1970's," wrote Northrop, "when California authorities busted a PLO cell in Los Angeles." The Israeli said that Khalid travels to Israel at least once a year, and avoids any contact with the PLO, but communicates through a "cut-out," a member of his family. Northrop also stated that Khalid had been transferring funds from the Bank of Oklahoma in Tulsa to Bank Hapolim, an Israeli bank in Jerusalem:
The signatory on this particular account in Israel is a member of the Nashashibi clan, a prominent Palestinian family who live in Jerusalem and the surrounding area (West Bank). These funds have been used to help finance 'Palestinian aspirations" (and all that implies).
While this information in itself is largely circumstantial, it begins to look less exculpatory when combined with other evidence.
In May of 1996, U.S. Customs agents in Los Angeles seized a shipment of weapons — Semtex plastic explosives and small arms — bound for Florida. The North Korean-manufactured ordinance had been shipped through Manila, and was bound for a Hamas group in Miami.
The co-founder of Islamic Jihad — a close cousin of Hamas — Fathi Shikaki, had been assassinated in Syria by the Shin Bet (Israeli Secret Service) in October of 1995. Islamic Jihad now needed a new leader, and they sought him in Professor Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, an adjunct political science teacher at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Shallah co-founded the World and Islam Study Enterprise (WISE), linked to the Islamic Committee for Palestine, both of which have been accused by federal authorities of fronting for terrorist groups.
While Shallah vehemently denied these allegations, he suddenly appeared in Syria in November of 1995 as the new head of Islamic Jihad.
Cary Gagan claims to have seen Shallah in late 1994 and February of '95 at Caesar's Palace and The Racetrack — two Las Vegas casinos. "Who is this dude?" Gagan asked Khalid about the short, fat, balding man with a mustache and beard. Gagan was simply told he was a professor from Florida.
Shallah also appeared in Teheran in June of 1996 as HizbAllah International was organizing its joint working committee to coordinate international terrorist attacks. Authorities later discovered that Shallah had been Jihad's number two man in Tampa.
While the Florida group had made threats over the extradition of one of their operatives — Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzuk — to Israel, the FBI and the Jewish community hadn't taken them seriously. After the Oklahoma City bombing however, and the interception of the arms shipment in May, the scenario changed. The FBI and the Jewish community were now taking a keen interest in the Miami group.
Back in Houston, Northrop was checking into some PLO suspects. He punched up an inquiry into the Aman (Israeli military intelligence) computer on Hussain al-Hussaini. It came up empty.
But the FBI had a list of 27 PLO and Hamas operatives in Florida and Oklahoma. Ten of those individuals had previously been arrested by the Israelis in March of '96, and the FBI needed their help. When an Israeli agent in New York named Avi ran the names through the computer, he noticed Northrop's inquiry on Hussaini. He called Northrop and asked him to fly to Miami.
What Northrop discovered when he arrived was that the same group he had been investigating in Oklahoma and Houston had been seen in Miami. Hussain al-Hussaini, Sam Khalid, Jaffer Oshan, and Haider al-Saadi — six to seven in all — were positively ID'd by Israeli Sayanim in Ft. Lauderdale. They were there, according to sources, meeting with members of Hamas.
It appears that the Khalid family's activities in the terrorist underworld date back at least to 1982. According to Army CID (Army Criminal Investigation Division) records, Khalid's brother Mike, (AKA: Ahmed Khalid, Mike Yousif, Wahid S. Yousif), was involved with a group of Iranians in Huntsville, Alabama who were romancing local female enlisted personnel in an attempt to procure military secrets.
Yousif/Khalid's mission was to court a woman named Walker from Tuskumbee, AL, whom he had met in Oklahoma City in late 1982, when they worked together at Shotgun Sam's Pizza Parlor. Walker's brother, Jimmy, was the pilot for General Robert L. Moore, Commander of the Redstone Arsenal U.S. Army Missile Command in Huntsville. As commander, Moore had responsibility for the Army's missile program worldwide.*
"What he had wanted, according to her," said a retired Army criminal investigator who wishes to remain anonymous, "was all kinds of information about General Moore."
Moore also recalled the case. He told me the Army had stepped up security around him during this time. Interestingly, this was around the same time that attacks on U.S. military installations were occurring in Europe.
The Army investigator also recalled that "Huntsville, Alabama, at that time, was a hotbed of espionage. There were 27 known KGB agents in Huntsville. They were known. They were known to the Bureau (FBI); they were known to military intelligence."
This espionage activity was due to the close proximity of Redstone Missile Command, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, and similar high-tech facilities located throughout the area. The investigator has no doubts that the Iranians and the KGB were cooperating.
This account also jives with Gagan's story. The Soviets had asked Gagan's help in obtaining classified information from his friend at Martin-Marietta. Later, the Soviets introduced the informant to a man named Hamid who needed fake documentation for illegal Iranians entering the country.
"Back at the time we had a big problem with Iranians," said the former CID investigator, "a big problem. They were always trying to infiltrate the arsenal. A number of them were attending Alabama A&M University under student visas, but most of them didn't go to school. They were involved in a lot of different criminal enterprises, drugs, stolen property, prostitution, all sorts of things.…"
The suspects were also linked to a string of convenience stores. Interestingly, Northrop believes that Sam Khalid is a "money man" for Arab immigrants wishing to open businesses — namely convenience stores. Those wishing to do so must split the profits with the "money man" fifty-fifty. Could this be another PLO funding scam?
CID opened their case on Yousif/Khalid in September of 1982. "During the course of all this, to verify that the guy was real, we got his phone number… and I called the number one night, and I asked for Ahmed Khalid, and this guy got on the phone and said, 'I don't know him.' And I said, 'Well, it's got to be you. I got to talk to you — it's important.' Twenty-four hours later that guy was in Tuskumbee, AL."
Like his brother Sam, Wahid was never prosecuted. "The FBI [officially] took no interest.… Another CID investigator got reprimanded by our SAC, because he went and did this (interviewed Walker). That was the total gist of the FBI's involvement."
The Army investigator's experiences paralleled that of Gagan's. "That's a pretty common thread when you deal with them (the FBI)," Gagan explained. "You bring them information, and you never hear another word about it."
Florida police who investigated Arab links to insurance scams and organized crime received the same treatment from the FBI. "People didn't want to investigate this," said a police detective I spoke with. "Things weren't right. It was as if someone was looking at this and saying, 'stay away from it.'"*
In spite of the FBI's stonewalling, the Army investigator remembers the case well: "The female soldiers would go out at night to the different clubs and discos and stuff… we caught one out there, and he supposedly ran a convenience store.… And we caught him on the arsenal.…
"Hassan Niakossary — he was the big leader of this gang. He was associated with a local gangster named Dewy Brazelton, who ran a club called the Plush Horse. He had a lot of Cosa Nostra connections into New York — a lot. Hassan worked for him."†
Middle Eastern terrorists involved in espionage with the KGB, associated with the Mob? The Army investigator said Niakossary traveled frequently to Las Vegas, a known Mob town. So does Wahid's brother, Sam Khalid. A regular high roller, Khalid reportedly shows up with at least $10,000 in his pocket.
As Hani Kamal pointed out, the Cosa Nostra has cooperated with Iranians in money laundering in the past. Could this explain Khalid's frequent visits to Las Vegas? Were his trips part of a money laundering operation?
As Gunther Russbacher explained, several Las Vegas casinos, including Binyon's Horseshoe, are pay-off points for political and judicial slush-funds. Federal judges and others are allegedly paid off through Shamrock Development Corp. in Ireland, via off-shore banks and Las Vegas Casinos. The bribe recipients collect their money in the form of gambling chips, then cash them in.
Is Khalid receiving money this way? It's hard to say, but it is worth noting that the CEO of Shamrock, Donald Lutz, was on the management staff of Silverado Savings & Loan, the S&L case tried by Judge Matsch, who would later try McVeigh and Nichols (Neil Bush, a board member of Silverado, walked).
And what about Omar's trip(s) to Kingman? It was there that Omar and Gagan drove from Las Vegas, two weeks before the bombing. Why would a high-roller like Omar drive to the dusty, isolated desert town of Kingman? One possible reason may have been to make contact with Timothy McVeigh, who was holed up in the Imperial Motel at the time.
Another reason may have revolved around drugs. Recall that Gagan's original relationship with Omar was under the guise of drug dealing. "I brought some back from Puerto Vallerta for him," said Gagan, "using a camper with a false top… through San Diego. At one time I saw 10-15 kilos. That's quite a bit of dope."
Recall that Gagan had delivered a bag of cocaine from Kingman to Denver (which contained plastic explosives), and he believes the $250,000 Omar paid him came from the Cali Cartel.
As mentioned earlier, on April 4, 1995, Gagan and Omar delivered a package to a man in a cowboy hat in Kingman, driving a rusty brown pick-up. Authorities reported that a brown pick-up, belonging to Steven Garrett Colbern, was caught on Trooper Hanger's video camera as he stopped McVeigh on I-35 an hour and-a-half after the bombing.*
A chemist who knew McVeigh under the alias of "Tim Tuttle," Colbern had recently been spotted with a bag of ammonium nitrate in his truck. His roommate, Dennis Malzac, was being held on charges of arson for a small explosion that had damaged a house in town two months earlier. That house was owned by Rocky McPeak, a friend of McVeigh's. Colbern, who shared a mailbox in Kingman with McVeigh, was absent from work four days prior to and ten days after the bombing. He claimed he was in California visiting his parents.†
Interestingly, FBI agents digging in the desert outside Kingman for evidence, found more than 150 pounds of ammonium nitrate buried in the sand.
Colbern was arrested in May of 1995, and released on April 23, 1997, after serving time in Lompac Federal Prison on illegal weapons charges.
Despite the incriminating connections, Colbern disappeared from the official radar screen almost as quickly as he had appeared. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol video showing the brown pick-up — like the numerous surveillance tapes showing the activity at the Murrah Building on the morning of April 19 — was "seized" by the FBI.
Was Colbern the man to whom Omar delivered the mysterious package on April 4? Was the it meant for Timothy McVeigh?
Did Khalid meet Terry Nichols in Las Vegas in May of 1994? Were Nichols and McVeigh the "two skinny white guys" he met at the Glitter Gulch in November?
Was McVeigh's yellow Mercury at Sahara Properties as Ernie Cranfield claimed? And was McVeigh with Hussain al-Hussaini at the pawn shop and the Roadrunner Tavern in Oklahoma City as KFOR's witnesses said?
Ultimately, were McVeigh, Nichols and their friends in fact plotting with Arab extremists to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Building?
"He (McVeigh) had mentioned before that he wanted to become a mercenary in the Middle East, because they paid the most," recalled former Army buddy Greg Henry, "But we just took it as a joke. But he's the kind of person that would have become that."
Was McVeigh some sort of intermediary between neo-Nazi groups and Arab terrorists? While this may sound bizarre, as previously noted, cooperation between such groups has been well documented.
The origins of Arab-Nazi collaboration go back to WWII. The Mufti of Jerusalem, who was Hitler's guest, actually raised Muslim SS units for the Nazi war effort, culled from Bosnian Muslims and Arabs.
ODESSA, the Nazi organization formed to funnel support to ex-SS members, arranged rendezvous with representatives of various Arab organizations after the war, as part of the Dulles/McCloy/OSS Ratlines. This secret CIA operation also funneled Nazis to various Latin American countries, where they set up "security services" (death squads) for their respective government employers.
One ODESSA member, former Gestapo Chief General Ernest Rhemer, settled in the Middle East, where he set up intelligence operations for several Arab countries, including Syria and Egypt. Rhemer, who is currently active in the "Revisionist" scene, for several decades played a key role in coordinating German Right-wing activity with the Arab world.
Alois Brunner, Aldoph Eichmann's chief, who murdered 128,500 people during the Nazi Holocaust, played an early role in Arab-Nazi collusion.
Also playing a role in Arab-Nazi cooperation was Hitler's "favorite commando," Otto "Scarface" Skorzeny, who helped install Gamel Abdul Nasser as Egyptian president with the assistance of an elite corps of former SS storm troopers. Skorzeny also helped train early PLO groups for commando raids into Israel. The ardent Nazi, who conveniently missed his day at the Nuremberg trials courtesy of the U.S. Government, was stationed in Egypt at the behest of the CIA.
One of Skorzeny's subordinates, a Swiss Nazi named François Genoud, served with Skorzeny's troops in Egypt. Genoud also befriended Ali Hassan Salameh, the leader of Black September, the group which murdered nine Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. Currently a banker in Geneva, Genoud reportedly masterminded several airplane hijackings for the PLO.
A close friend of Genoud's, French attorney Jacques Vergès, defended several members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and spoke as a "character" witness on behalf of the notorious Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (the "Butcher of Lyon"), who murdered hundreds of French resistance fighters, and deported 7,000 Jews to the death camps.
And as recently as the early 1980's, a neo-Nazi named Odifried Hepp was responsible for attacks against at least four U.S. military and NATO installations, as well as German nightclubs frequented by U.S. servicemen. Hepp worked with the PFLP, and was also financed by Yasser Arafat's Al Fatah, who in turn was supported by François Genoud.
As another example of Arab-Nazi collaboration, when members of Abu Nidal, and Abu Abass' Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) hijacked the Greek cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, they demanded Hepp's release. "I know Hepp quite well," Abass told the French daily Liberation in 1985. "He is a friend."
The German magazine Der Speigel reported on a group of neo-Nazis called Kampfsportgruppe, headed by a man named Hoffmann (a Hoffmann member had blown himself up, along with 11 others, at the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich in 1981). Kampfsportgruppe, it seemed, was connected to terrorist groups in Beirut. At the same time, a number of German terrorists have reportedly been trained in Palestinian camps in Jordan, South Yemen, Syria, and Iraq.
Iraqi arms dealer Ishan Barbouti met with former Nazi scientist Volker Weissheimer in order to recruit other former Nazis to work on Libyan and Iraqi chemical weapons projects.
The Syrians — who are well-known sponsors of terrorism — offered funding to Robert Mathews, the former leader of The Order, also known as "Der Buders Schweigen" (The Silent Brotherhood). Mathews, who was killed in a shoot-out with police in 1984, had issued a "Declaration of War" against the so-called "Zionist Occupied Government, including Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and white "race traitors" who didn't agree with white supremacist goals. Mathews' Order was responsible for a string of armored car robberies and the machine-gun killing of Jewish talk show host Allen Berg in Denver.
As discussed earlier, reports of other Middle-Eastern "terrorist" states such as Libya funding or offering funding to neo-Nazi and other dissident groups such as the Black Muslims and the El Rukns has been reported. One of Libya's primary beneficiaries was the Nation of Islam (NOI), whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, received $5 million dollars from Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi.
As previously discussed, Farrakhan's predecessor, Elijah Muhammad, had formed a pact with the KKK and American Nazi Party in 1961. This unusual alliance stretched right up to the present day. In the fall of 1992, WAR leader Tom Metzger appeared on the Whoopi Goldberg Show preaching the benefits of young blacks joining the NOI.
In 1985, Metzger and Farrakhan spoke together in Los Angeles, and in October of 1996, David Irving, a British Nazi Holocaust Revisionist, showed up with a pair of NOI bodyguards.
Twenty-five year DEA veteran Mike Levine described to me the unique connection between Nazis and Arab terrorists: "Years ago I was undercover in the American Nazi party, and it was an odd mix of people that I ran into. First of all, I'm very dark, and my undercover I.D. said I was Italian — Mike Picano. But, what I found interesting was that members of the American Nazi party were Arabs, you know, [and] there were light-skinned Latinos… There were Arab members of the American Nazi Party going all the way back to 1968, when I was a member. The mutual hatred was the Jews and the blacks.
As Levine says, the ties that bind these two seemingly disparate groups is a loathing of the U.S. and hatred of "World Jewry," which they see as the dominating force behind all world political and financial power.
In April of 1991, Ahmed Rami, European correspondent for Al Shaab newspaper, urged a "Western Intifada" against alleged Jewish dominance. Rami's call was duplicated in several Right-wing German publications, including Deutsche Rundschall, Remer Depesche, and Recht Und Wahrheit, which wrote:
One can say that the only winner of WWII was the organized World Jewry… attained through Auschwitz, a never-before existing freedom to unrestricted development of power. Today, Jews control all important positions of power in the U.S.A.
Similar twisted sentiments were echoed by the Islamic Association of Palestine, which published a communiqué urging Muslims to die in a holy war against Jews, who they call "enemies of humanity, the bloodsuckers, and the killers of prophets." The principle American support group of Hamas, is the IAP in Dallas, Texas.
According to ABC 20/20 reporter Tom Jarriel, law-enforcement sources said that Iranians had emigrated to the U.S. for the purpose of "recruiting" Americans for homegrown terrorism. The January, 1996 episode focused on David Belfield (AKA Daoud Salahuddin), a young black man who became disenchanted with American social and economic life and was drawn to the militant Islamic movement.
In 1980, Salahuddin assassinated a former Iranian Embassy official, Ali Tabatabai, who had advocated the overthrow of the Ayatollah Khomani. Like Cary Gagan's "Iranian" friends who had planned to bomb a federal building using a postal truck packed with explosives, Salahuddin used a postal jeep to gain entry into the official's home. He then fled the U.S. and assimilated himself into the Arab terrorist underground. According to the report, Salahuddin was typical of many young black males indoctrinated into the Islamic faith by Iranian agents, who convinced them that terrorism was a legitimate means of protest.
With the help of Washington, D.C. private investigator Carl Schoffler, ABC 20/20 investigators were able to obtain police intelligence reports which established that "the Ayatollah had established a recruiting and training program within the U.S. for home-grown terrorists."
Calling themselves the Islamic Guerrillas in America (IGA), the group, originally comprised of approximately a dozen young black men, became involved in murder, bank robbery, and threats on the lives of judges and prosecutors.
Regarding the assassination of Tabatabai, Salahuddin told 20/20, "I assume that the decision came from what was the Revolutionary Council in Iran, in Tehran. That's my assumption."
Another of Salahuddin's close pals was Cleven Holt, who under his Islamic name, Isa Abdullah, fought against the Israelis in Lebanon and was seen extensively outside the Marine Corps compound in Beirut just before it was bombed in 1983. Shoffler recalls that Abdullah was once arrested while casing Air Force One, the Presidential jet.…
According to Schoffler, "There are clear signs that constant recruitment's going on.…"
Some of this recruitment was for a group known as al-Fuqua, which claims between 200 and 300 operational members. A splinter from the Da'ar al-Islam sect, al-Fuqra was founded in Brooklyn in 1980 by a Pakistani cleric named Shaykh Mubarik Ali Gilani. Al-Fuqra's international headquarters is in Lahore, Pakistan, and they maintain strong ties to both Pakistani intelligence and the Mujahadeen.
The group, which is based on the classical terrorist cell structure, is thought to have at least five operational cells in the U.S., and is suspected of 17 bombings and assassinations throughout the country, including the murder of at least 12 people.
In September of 1989, the FBI confiscated the contents of a storage locker in Colorado Springs owned by al-Fuqra members, including 30 pounds of explosives (three pipe-bombs, homemade plastic explosives, hand-grenades, mines, fuses, mercury switches and timing devices), weapons (10 handguns and silencers), military manuals, bomb-making instructions, a photo of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, target-practice silhouettes with such headings as "FBI Anti-Terrorist Team" and "Zionist Pig." Also included in the lot were plans to attack Colorado military installations, and Colorado utilities and aviation infrastructures.
Cary Gagan was already familiar with Al Fuqra from his time in prison. Omar had asked Gagan to "take care of" an al-Fuqra member named "Eddie," should he call. Gagan believes the man was Edward Flinton, a Colorado-based al-Fuqra member charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the August 1984 firebombing of a Hare Krishna temple, and the February 1993 murder of Rashid Khalifa, an Iman of a Tucson mosque.
In August of 1995, six months after the bombing in Oklahoma City, "Eddie" called. Gagan met the al-Fuqra member, and the two allegedly discussed plans to detonate car bombs outside the Governor's Mansion, the Attorney General's office, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The plan included not only blowing up buildings — but assassinating a federal judge — Lewis Babcock. Babcock was one of several judges and federal agents on the terrorists' hit list.
"He was my guy up here," said Gagan. "I was to take him out."
The idea was to take Babcock's upstairs neighbor, John Strader, hostage, tie him up, then plant a bomb in his apartment. Apparently, this time the U.S. Marshals took Gagan's warning seriously. A call to Babcock and Strader confirmed that the judge had extra security around him during this time. Nevertheless, Gagan said Agent James Tafoya didn't want to follow up.
On October 20, 1995, Gagan returned to Denver at the behest of his "Hizbollah" contact, where he met two Americans named "Paul" and "Daniel" at the Broadway Plaza Motel. "I had just come back from Kingman, where I dropped off money to a militia-looking dude," said Gagan. The men discussed bombing targets in Denver and Phoenix. "Daniel deals with these dudes (al-Fuqra)," said Gagan. "They were connected to Hizbollah."
Although the agencies targeted for the attacks stepped up security at these facilities, the FBI began a concerted effort to discredit Gagan.
Then in early February, Gagan says he met at the Tomahawk Truck Stop in Watkins, Colorado, where he helped load approximately 300 pounds of high-grade explosives allegedly stolen from Explosives Fabricators. Also loaded into a van were anti-tank weapons stolen from the Army, electronic circuitry, and boxes of chemicals marked Ammonium Silicate. Gagan says he drove the van to Denver, whereupon he contacted Agent Matt Traver of the ATF.
Gagan said he informed FBI Agents Johnson and Holtslaw and U.S. Attorneys Allison and Solano. Gagan told Holtslaw he would take a Polygraph test, requested that he confirm the status of his Immunity Letter, and meet with his family to assure them that precautions would be taken for their safety. Gagan alleges that Holtslaw refused, and ceased all contact with him. The FBI claims that Gagan refused to take a Polygraph, and was therefore unreliable.
Yet Gagan's involvement with al-Fuqra is significant in light of several factors. First, Clement Rodney Hampton-El and Earl Gant, both al-Fuqra members, were indicted in the World Trade Center bombing and the subsequent plot to blow up four New York City landmarks by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman's Jama a Islamiya. Hampton had fought with Gulbaddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-I-Islami (Islamic Party) during the Afghan War, and assisted in the testing of explosives for the New York City bombings, although he didn't actually take part in the final plot.
Second, al-Fuqra is aligned, not only with Pakistani intelligence, which supports the Mujahadeen (World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef is a Pakistani who reportedly fought alongside the Mujahadeen), but to the HizbAllah International through leaders such as Gulbaddin Hekmatyar. Al-Fuqra's contacts also include Hamas, and the Moro Liberation Front, based in the Philippines, where Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef allegedly rendezvoused.
Third, an individual claiming to be the brother of the friend of a man involved in the plot called Oklahoma State Representative Key to provide him with information after the bombing. According to the anonymous caller, one of the bombers was a black Muslim. He spoke of a man named "Colonel Hardin" from Arizona, whose "supposed to be deeply involved in this, along with some with some Middle Eastern and some black Muslims."
The reader should take note that this conversation occurred before any discussion of Middle Eastern involvement became public as a result of Stephen Jones' Writ or other investigations:
Caller: So, according to him there was nine people that he knows of that was supposedly involved in this. Now there was… there was two white guys and a black dude. And he said that he thought one of the white guys could possibly be a short-haired girl that she looked like she might be from the Middle East or something.
But the second time that he saw the car, he said it was about ten minutes before the bombing, he said they drove up to him and told him to get the hell out, that there was gonna' be a bomb. And he said it was the same car only that it had the white guy and the black dude in it. The other person, he said thought might be a female wasn't in the car at that time. Now this about ten minutes before.…
And this black dude-he's a member of the Nation of Islam, but he's also prior service military. And this stupid asshole, he supposedly called Channel Four after the bombing, claiming credit for it.
Key: Well I heard that… I forget who called in to where but somebody called in and said, you know, it was the Nation of Islam.
Caller: Well, he was supposed to have been the one. And another thing… Channel Four said late last night that this leg was supposed to have had some PVC embedded it. And, you know, you use PVC pipe to pack plastic explosives in. It greatly increases the detonation of it and the shear power of it, and it's also a tidy way of handling it.
Finally, there is the unidentified leg found in the rubble of the Murrah Building. The severed leg, allegedly belonging to a black female, was clothed in combat boots, two pairs of socks, and an olive military-issue blousing strap.
Authorities eventually claimed the leg belonged to 21-year-old Air Force Airman Lakesha Levy, who was in the Social Security office at the time of the blast.
What is strange is that there were eight bodies with missing or severed limbs. If the leg was clothed in military garb, it should have been a simple task to match it with Levy, who likewise would have been wearing a military uniform. Eventhough Levy was buried before this leg was found, it should have been a simple task to go back and see which of the bodies with severed limbs belonged to military personnel wearing military uniforms. Yet authorities originally buried a different leg with Levy before finding this one on May 30.
The State Medical Examiner's Office originally claimed the leg belonged to a white or light-skinned male, most likely under 30 year of age. This finding was later recanted by the FBI, who "decided" that it belonged to Levy. Of course, By stating the leg belonged to Levy, the FBI conveniently removed all speculation as to whom the leg really belonged to. As Stephen Jones stated, "[Perhaps] the experts are more interested in proving the non-existence of a different bomber at the scene than validating the Oklahoma Medical Examiner."
Could the unidentified leg have actually belonged to the real bomber — a black Muslim prepared to sacrifice himself or herself for the cause? Perhaps this explains why authorities allegedly recovered no bodies that matched this leg. It is possible the leg belonged to an additional bomber who was disintegrated by the blast. This could also explain the confused look Daina Bradley witnessed on John Doe 2's face after he walked to the back of the Ryder truck. Perhaps upon opening the door, he was confronted with a comrade who ordered him away, then set off the device, neatly severing himself or herself in the process.
While the Nation of Islam (NOI) are supposedly enemies of Al Fuqra, it should be pointed out that the NOI has forged links with the KKK, the American Nazi Party, and Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance (WAR).
The Tulsa, Oklahoma leader of WAR, Dennis Mahon, freely admitted to William Jasper and other journalists that the Iraqis paid him $100-a-month — $4800 total — between 1991 and 1995, to stir up dissent among the neo-Nazi/White Supremacist community against the Gulf War sanctions. (At least Mahon believes the money came from the Iraqi embassy.)
A former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Mahon had visited Germany in an effort to recruit young Germans into the KKK. Also recall that during the Gulf War, the Anti-Zionist League's Michael Kühnen, working with his old mercenary friend Michel Faci, negotiated a contract to provide 200 German, American and British neo-Nazi volunteers to fight alongside Iraqi troops.
As previously discussed, Kühnen was succeeded by a man named Hubner, who has spoken with Kirk Lyons at meetings of the group "Deutsche Alternative." Lyons' client was Michael Brescia's roommate Andreas Strassmeir, a good friend of Dennis Mahon's. A frequent visitor to Elohim City, Mahon was close friends with Brescia. He almost certainly knew Brescia's friend, Timothy McVeigh.
Again, the question must be asked: Were McVeigh, Nichols, and their comrades in fact plotting with Arab extremists and their black Muslims counterparts to blow up the Federal Building, and was Iraq behind it?
As the Washington Post's Jack Anderson stated: "A preferable revenge for Iraq would involve having a 'surrogate terrorist' carry out a domestic attack that Hussein could privately take credit for…"
Anderson's analysis may be rather prescient. States and their intelligence agencies have being using terrorist groups as "cut-outs" for years in order to maintain deniability. Defense & Foreign Affairs, stated it thusly:
…despite the important evolution in the role of the terrorist organizations and other entities through the HizbAllah International, the actual control over the operations themselves remains firmly in the hands of, and under the tight control of, the sponsoring states, being perpetrated by operatives of intelligence services.…
It is through these "organizations" that the sponsoring states in effect take credit for their terrorist operations and have their message clear and explicit. Given the marked escalation of international terrorism and the higher stakes involved, the importance of the front groups "speaking" for the sponsoring states — particularly Iran and the global Islamic Revolution it is running — is of growing importance and centrality to international terrorism.
Another example of such methodology was the World Trade Center bombing. As Ramzi Yousef's accomplice Mahmud Abu Halima put it, "The planned act was not as big as what subsequently occurred.… Yousef showed up on the scene… and escalated the initial plot.… Yousef used [Salameh and the others]… as pawns and then immediately after the blast left the country." Some terrorism experts think Yousef was working for Iraq.
Stephen Jones believes a similar plan unfolded in Oklahoma City. As he stated in his March 25th Writ of Mandamus:
The plan was arranged for a Middle Eastern bombing engineer to engineer the bomb in such a way that it could be carefully transported and successfully detonated. There is no reported incident of neo-Nazis or extreme Right-wing militants in this country exploding any bomb of any significant size, let alone one to bring down a nine (9) story federal building and kill 168 persons.… This terrorist attack was "contracted out" to persons whose organization and ideology was friendly to policies of the foreign power and included dislike and hatred of the United States government itself, and possibly included was a desire for revenge against the United States.…
In November of 1994, Gagan said he made a trip to Mexico City with Omar, where he ran into a familiar face amongst the terrorist crowd — Frank Terpil. "I saw him down in Mexico City… with Omar," recalled Gagan. "We met him in the Zona Rosa area."
A retired CIA communications specialist, Terpil had been convicted, along with rogue CIA agent Edwin Wilson, of selling 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives and 50,000 electronic timers to the Libyan government.
Terpil had also lined his pockets by supplying torture devices to Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin, and sophisticated detonators and communications equipment to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He and Wilson had also set up a terrorist training camp in Libya, and had recruited U.S. Green Berets to train Arab terrorists in bombing and assassination techniques.
After being indicted, Terpil fled the country, and was last seen hiding out in Cuba, until he showed up in Mexico City… with Omar. "They met at the bar," said Gagan. "Terpil and Omar spoke for about fifteen minutes, alone."
"Who's that dude?" Gagan asked Omar as they left the bar.
"An ex-CIA agent named Terpil," came the answer. "He lives in Cuba."
"Frank Terpil? I thought he was dead? What's up with him?"
"He lives in Cuba. He's hands-off.…"
Considering Terpil's well-documented relationship with Arab terrorists, and his "wanted" status in the U.S., it is understandable why he would choose to meet Omar in Mexico City.
Gagan himself was no stranger to Mexico City. As previously discussed, the Soviets had solicited Gagan's help in 1980 to procure military secrets from his friend at Martin Marietta. They requested his help again in 1986 to assist illegal Iranian immigrants who needed false IDs.
While in Mexico Gagan had also met an Austrian, Eduard Bodenzayer, a Soviet spy, and had been to the Russian embassy repeatedly. As he told Stephen Jones, "My contacts there were a guy named Vallery and Elyia."
Did Omar, Sam Khalid, or their associates have contact with the Russians? Considering Khalid's reported ties to the PLO and Hamas, and the long history of Soviet-Arab cooperation, it is highly likely.
Like Nazis and neo-Nazis who've forged links with Arab terrorists, the Soviets have provided wide-ranging support to Arab terrorist groups throughout the years. As James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation writes:
During the 1970s the Soviet Union and its satellites greatly expanded their support for terrorist groups. Moscow often used Middle Eastern client states such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the former People's Democratic Republic of South Yemen as intermediaries to mask Soviet arms, training, intelligence, and logistical support for a wide variety of terrorist groups.
If the Russians were sponsoring their Arab friends in terrorism, it is likely the Arabs may have wished to maintain further deniability by engaging the assistance of American neo-Nazis. This possibility became more apparent as connections were drawn, not only between Dennis Mahon and Iraqi embassy officials, but between Terry Nichols and Iraqi terrorist Ramzi Yousef, and between Timothy McVeigh and former Iraqi soldier Hussain al-Hussaini.
This likelihood became clearer after interviewing Michele Torres, the daughter of a former Communist Party official (P.R.T. Party) in Mexico City. An intelligent young woman, Michele had been raised under the harsh regimentation of a person destined for a position in the Communist Party, but had rebelled, and at age 17, fled to the United States.
Torres recalled the numerous and strange faces that would often pass through her home and her father's office. Arab men from Jordan, Palestine, Iraq… she was not allowed to ask them their names or their business.
Torres also claimed to have overheard conversations between her father and PLO representatives some years earlier. The meetings, she said, involved discussions of a bombing plot to be carried out in the U.S.
It was the winter of 1992, and Michele's father, Hirram Torres, was working in the office of the PLO in Mexico City. He was speaking with a man from Palestine, and another from Jordan or possibly Iraq. In broken English, Torres recounts the conversation:
Torres: They were saying: "What do you think about the new plan?" And the other man says: "Well, we can… the Russian officers told us we can probably blame the fascists." You know what I mean? "Americans — the American Patriots, and all the stupid stuff with the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis. So we can give two strikes at once."
Hoffman: Did he explain what he meant by two strikes?
Torres: They didn't explain it but I understood it.
Hoffman: Did they say anything about the Patriot Movement or the Militia Movement?
Torres: They don't say anything about militia. When they want to talk about militia, they say fascists or neo-Nazis. And when they speak about Patriots, or Yankees… the way they say. They used to speak about white supremacists… all Americans… white Americans are white supremacists. Yankees and fascists.
Hoffman: Tell me what they meant by the two strikes at once.
Torres: They wanted… the Arab people wanted… to make a terrorist act. They needed to make a terrorist act. There was like, some of the Arab leaders — wanted to make — wanted to give a strike to the United States. They didn't even understand why. But at the same time, the Communist Party tells them that it was a great idea to…
Hoffman: Now are you relating the actual conversation?
Torres: Yes. They were saying that it was… all the time they were talking about… what the Russian officers told them to do. So that man who was talking was the Palestinian man — my father told him that it was very good, and that they would probably find an easy way — an easy way to blame that kind of people. That he was trying… that he had tried to contact neo-Nazi people to help him…
Hoffman: Did he say who?
Torres: Yes. He tried to contact any kind of National Socialist people (American Nazi Party)… I tell you the way I heard it: "We can probably use those neo-Nazi bastards. I tried to contact them, but they refused to do it, and they don't want to get involved in that kind of stuff with Communists. And I don't think anyone can get those fucking idiots, but I don't care." He said something like, "I don't care. We are anyway going to blame them."
Hoffman: We don't want to get involved with Communists and that kind of stuff and what…
Torres: "But anyway can blame them. No matter if they want to cooperate with us or not." Then he told me… he told that guy that… he was going to hire a white man.
Hoffman: To act as a neo-Nazi? You mean to play the part of a neo-Nazi?
Torres: To play the part of a neo-Nazi. And… and to participate with his comrades… he spoke about his Arab comrades.
Hoffman: In what respect?
Torres: His Arab comrades… and he used to call them brothers or some kind of thing…
Hoffman: Your father spoke of them this way?
Torres: Yes. But, well, he told it in Russian, that he was — that boy who they were going to hire, was going to work together with the Tobarich (Russian for comrade). With the Tobarich.
Hoffman: Do you remember any names — any specific names of any people — anybody?
Torres: No. That time, they were just going to plan it. That was the plan…
Hoffman: This was in the winter of '92?
Torres: Yes. They were just discussing the plan. They didn't even know the names. My father was… by that time my father was… deciding.
Hoffman: Now why do you think so long ago? That's four years between now and then.
Torres: They always plan it in that way. They take their time, and always a very long time. They always take a very long time…
Hoffman: Is there anything else about what they discussed that you haven't told me that you think is important?
Torres: They said they were going to do it in the middle of the country. And they were going to do it in a business office.
Hoffman: Did they say how big?
Torres: Yes, big. And they wanted… children to be victims of it. There must be children there — it must be an office where children were somehow. They had to kill children. Because it was a very important part of the emotional part of the strike….
Hoffman: Did they ever mention Pan Am 103 or the World Trade Center bombings in reference?
Torres: They talked something about… trade centers. Anyway they spoke about trade centers — about places where business were made, because Americans regard so much their money and their business. That was the explanation my father gave to the Palestinian guy. They spoke about places where business were made, and that it was not the only strike they were going to make.
You know one of the reasons I am not scared of this conversation (this interview) is because I heard — I listen to this kind of conversation all of my life. My father — he has killed a lot of people — he has done a lot of wrong things. He was involved…
While Torres' mention of Russian intelligence seems to have all the makings of a Claire Sterling novel, it should be mentioned that Mexico City is home to one of the largest Soviet consulates in the Western hemisphere, with its attendant Soviet intelligence apparatus.
It appears that what Torres was describing was more than a loose-knit group of terrorists, but a sophisticated centrally-controlled state-sponsored terrorist apparatus. As Defense & Foreign Affairs stated:
Despite the unprecedented role of the HizbAllah International in the decision making process, all major terrorist operations remain state- controlled. These operations are conducted by agencies of states and in pursuit of the long-term and strategic interests of the controlling and sponsoring states. The "names" and "profiles" of the organizations and groups issuing the communiqués and claims constitute an integral component of the state sponsorship mechanism. These named entities serve a specific function: stating the identity of the interests involved in, and the outlining of the logic and objectives behind, these operations without having the sponsoring states assume formal responsibility.…
Incredible as it sounds, Torres' story may be the key piece of the puzzle linking the Arab and neo-Nazi contingents. Her story is significant in light of the fact that Dennis Mahon was being paid by the Iraqis to stir up dissent amongst the white supremacist community.
Her story also ties into the fact that Omar allegedly met with Frank Terpil in Mexico City; and Terry Nichols reportedly met with Ramzi Yousef in the Philippines.
Finally, Timothy McVeigh, an alleged white supremacist, was seen with Hussain al-Hussaini, an Iraqi.
Interestingly, within hours of the blast in Oklahoma City, Radio Tehran in Iraq had the answer. "…the perpetrators were Christian extremist militias from Montana and Oklahoma observing the two-year anniversary of the U.S. government killing of 86 men, women, and children in the Branch Davidian Waco massacre."
Was Timothy McVeigh the "neo-Nazi bastard" that Michele's father talked about hiring?*
And were the Russians using Middle Eastern terrorists as proxies — who in turn were using American neo-Nazis — to destabalize the West while maintaining deniability? While the apparent demise of the Soviet Union convinced a lot of people that the long-feared Communist threat was over, many within the intelligence community disagree.
A recent Rueters report quoted Raymond Mislock, Chief of the FBI's National Security Division, as saying that the Russians "still are on the scene," and continue to employ intelligence officers in this country. In fact, the FBI was investigating over 200 cases of suspected Russian espionage activity at the time of this writing.
And what about Khalid's employees trips to Mexico? Was Khalid liasoning with terrorists there? Ultimately, the question was, who was Khalid working for?
Although Louis Crousette avoided any further attempts to contact him, he left Jayna Davis with one final word of advice. Echoing Hani Kamal's words of warning regarding Israeli intelligence, Crousette said, "You know who's your best bet to talk to, if you haven't thought about it… the Mossad."
That final adage led me straight back to Northrop, who stated in his report that Khalid "fit the role" of a PLO operative, and insisted that the bombing was the work of Iraqi terrorists. But if Khalid, Hussaini, and Oshan were simple Arab terrorists — and they had left a trail of evidence a mile long — why were they still walking around?
In spite of Novel's and Davis' unsuccessful attempts to positively I.D. Khalid with McVeigh or Nichols, Gagan stated that he had seen Nichols with Omar, at a meeting which took place just outside of Las Vegas.
The FBI had also investigated Sam Khalid for PLO fundraising activities, and had looked into the shooting assault of Sharon Twilley.
They had put out an APB on the brown pick-up driven by Hussain al-Hussaini, which was seen speeding away from the scene of the bombing. And Hussaini's alibi for the morning of the April 19 was patently false.
KFOR's witnesses who placed Hussaini with McVeigh seemed perfectly credible, and KFOR had passed on their information to the FBI.
Khalid had access to an auto body shop, and one of Khalid's employees had been seen abandoning the re-painted pick-up in a nearby apartment complex.
Then there was the mysterious disappearance of Khalid's phone records, and the strange comments he made to Ernie Cranfield when he was asked why Abraham Ahmed had been seen hanging around Khalid's place in the brown pick-up.
Khalid had been placed by Northrop's sources with the same Hamas operative in Miami — Ramadan Shallah — that Gagan had seen in Las Vegas.
Finally, Omar (Khalid?) was seen meeting with Frank Terpil — a rogue CIA agent who had supplied Arab terrorists with several tons of C-4.
Although circumstantial, the facts were sufficient to make an incontrovertible case, and yet these people seemed to walk through walls. Could the FBI be so inept? Were their agents so compartmentalized that they couldn't put two and two together? Or had the Justice Department's investigation become so politicized that bureaucratic ineptitude had become the desired and inevitable result? It would seem all of the above, and yet this still seemed too simple an answer.
Even Northrop's report seemed a bit one-dimensional. While the former Israeli intelligence agent drew a picture of Arab terrorists forged in the fire of the PLO, the image that lurked just beneath the surface, one drawn in invisible ink, was that of intelligence operatives conceived in the secret chambers of the Mossad… or the CIA.
This was the one remaining possibility that lent credence to the seemingly irreconcilable facts which presented themselves. After all, why had the FBI ignored a veritable mountain of damming evidence? Why had they suddenly and mysteriously canceled the APB on the brown pick up? And why, after 48 hours of reporting nothing but Middle Eastern connections, did the Justice Department and their obedient lap dogs of the mainstream press suddenly announce that no Middle Eastern connection existed?
Certainly the capture of McVeigh and Nichols did not repudiate the still-standing Middle Eastern connection. Nor could the sudden change have been the result of information from low-level agents in the field. No. It could have only been the result of one thing — a strategic decision from the Justice Department, which had as its basis, a political directive from the White House.
It was to Washington that Khalid traveled shortly after the bombing, according to employees, to meet with a Congressional representative. The purpose? As an emissary to discuss the problem of "Muslim bashing."
Yet KFOR's P.I., Bob Jerlow, claims he spoke to the Representative's aide who checked the Congressman's schedule and claimed she never saw the name Khalid.
If Sam Khalid was a run-of-the-mill Arab terrorist who had just played a role in the biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history, why would he attract attention to himself by firing shots at Sharon Twilley? A convicted felon like Khalid would easily earn a stiff prison sentence for possession of a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon.
Unless he was "protected."
This would tend to explain why he acted so non-chalant towards Ernie Cranfield, Bob Jerlow, Brad Edwards, and the author. It would likewise tend to explain the FBI's lack of interest in Khalid.
If Khalid and Hussaini were run-of-the-mill Arab terrorists, what was Khalid doing meeting with such high-level U.S. officials? It would seem that President Clinton's publicly televised admonishment not to blame the Arab community also served as a handy excuse to cover up the Middle Eastern connection.
Yet why would Clinton want to cover up their connection to the bombing? There are two reasons: First, Clinton needs an excuse to crack down on the Patriot/Militia community, who represent a threat to Clinton's anti-constitutional plans for America, and the establishment's plans for a "New World Order." This Clinton did with a vengeance. Once the Justice Department had announced the capture of McVeigh and Nichols, the mainstream media, with information supplied mainly by the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith (ADL), and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was able to focus their anti-militia spotlights, launching vitriolic attacks against anyone connected with the far-Right. Under the orchestration of the ADL, attacks on the Patriot/Militia movement continued for months, eventhough there was no documentable proof of the suspects' connections to the militias, or the militias' connection to the bombing.
Number two, Clinton and Bush were responsible for bringing individuals like Hussain al-Hussaini into this country. Between 1992 and 1995, over 18,000 Iraqi refugees and their families were resettled into the U.S. under a largely unknown and hotly debated program initiated by President Bush and followed up by President Clinton. They were part of a contingent of Iraqi refugees that flooded the Saudi border during and after the war, including many former Iraqi soldiers and deserters.
According to Oklahoma Senator David Boren, approximately 950 of these former soldiers were resettled in the U.S. in 1992 and 1993. Congressional Research Service figures indicate that an additional 549 soldiers were resettled in 1994, and 219 in 1995.
A "Sense of the Congress" resolution initiated by Republicans Don Manzulla of Illinois and Clifford Stearns of Florida attempted to halt the resettlement.
"We're rolling out the welcome wagon to prisoners of war, yet our own veterans who fought there are having trouble getting any help," Sterns said. Some of the refugees included Shi'ite Muslims who were oppressed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and in some cases rebelled against him. Others included Iraqi soldiers who Hussein vowed to execute because they didn't fight to the death. "I'm sympathetic with the idea that people who opposed Saddam Hussein should not be allowed to be massacred," said Tennessee State Republican Representative John L. 'Jimmy' Duncan Jr., "but we should give the benefit of the doubt to our own people and put the burden of proof on the people who want to come in."
In spite of the resolutions, the White House backed the program, officially admitting approximately 18,000 Iraqi refugees into the U.S. According to Manzulla's office, the figure may be higher. Some figures put approximately 5,000 Iraqis in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas alone.
Others fear that such a resettlement would create a sort of "blowback." The U.S. already has Muslim extremist cells, and it is difficult to gather accurate intelligence on all those admitted under the program. According to the Congressional Research Service Report, "…there has been no contact with Kuwaiti intelligence services in the effort to verify that the refugees are not Iraqi agents."
If Hussain al-Hussaini, a former Iraqi officer, was resettled into the U.S., it is possible — highly possible in fact — that he was recruited by the CIA or DIA as part of a deal.
There is a precedent for such collaboration. In 1949 and 1950 the National Security Council issued NSC Intelligence Directive 13 and 14, which expanded the CIA's authority to function inside the U.S. (in violation of the CIA's charter.) One of their programs involved bringing "favored European exiles" into the country.
"Favored European exiles" was a euphemism for Nazi war criminals.
It may not be fair to compare Iraqi war refugees with Nazi war criminals or Islamic terrorists. But given the United States' precedent in using expatriated Nazis and Cubans for their covert operations, and the extremely low-key nature of the Bush/Clinton Iraqi resettlement program, one has to wonder what Hussaini's real purpose was.
As former Pentagon investigator Gene Wheaton observes: "Every major Middle-Eastern terrorist organization is under surveillance and control of the intelligence agencies in the U.S. None of these guys move around as freely as they'd like you to think."
If Hussaini was working for the Mossad, the FBI, the DIA, or the CIA, who have been known to cooperate with each other on "special projects," he may have been a double-agent, working for Iraq at the same time. Remember that Saddam Hussein had threatened revenge against the United States ("Does the United States realize the meaning of opening the stores of the world with the will of Iraqi people?...Does it realize the meaning of every Iraqi becoming a missile that can cross to countries and cities?")
If an element of the United States Government played a role in the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Building, using an Arab to do its dirty work would prove far easier than attempting to recruit an American citizen.
Sam Khalid's ability to monitor the activities of a group of Middle Easterners with dubious connections (through hiring and renting homes to Arab immigrants), and his status as former felon, make him a likely candidate as an operative or informant.
Was he playing both sides of the fence?
Politically, the government's refusal to concede the complicity of Iraq in the World Trade Center bombing, and possibly to the Oklahoma City bombing, may stem from its desire to halt any public outcry against U.S. policies. One major example is the government's refusal to face the consequences of its immoral, brutal, and devastating actions in the Gulf.
Dr. Laurie Mylroie believes the Clinton administration's failure to address the problem lies in its refusal to face the specter of state-sponsored terrorism. Instead it chooses to adopt a microcosmic "law-enforcement" approach to what she perceives as an international problem — hence the focus on "domestic terrorists."
Moreover, the White House may not want to admit the specter of state-sponsored terrorism because it might panic the populace. Such is the case of a state-sponsored biological attack which has been increasingly threatening our population.
If Iraq indeed proved to be behind the Oklahoma City bombing, it would not fare well for the Clinton administration, who followed up on President Bush's Iraqi resettlement program. It would not fare well for Bush and his business and political cronies — the same CIA/Iran-Contra coterie who armed and fueled Saddam Hussein's military machine with conventional and biological weapons.
And it would preclude this same international arms/drugs cabal from profiteering by re-supplying Iraq in the future. In short, it would preclude "business as usual."
Whatever the reason, certainly the public wasn't being told the full truth about the Oklahoma City bombing. They would never be allowed to glimpse any evidence of the Middle Eastern connection.
Yet this was only part of the picture.