The John Doe Times
24 January 1997
Vol. III, No. 4
IN THIS ISSUE: J. D. CASH'S SERIES "REBELS WITH A CAUSE" CONCLUDES; OR, HOW A VIETNAM DESERTER, JOHN-DOE-VILLE (ELOHIM CITY) AND SOME TULSA STRIPPERS LINK TIM McVEIGH AND THE ARYAN REPUBLICAN ARMY.
The Last of the Series:
McCurtain Gazette, 2 January, 1997.
REBELS WITH A CAUSE, PART FIVE:
MARK THOMAS AND THE ELOHIM CITY LINK IN THE OKBOMB CASE.
By J.D.Cash with Jeff Holladay.
Links between Elohim City, the Christian Identity redoubt in eastern Oklahoma near Muldrow, and suspects in the Oklahoma City bombing have been previously detailed in the McCurtain Gazette.
But there are also links between some of the Midwest Bank Bandits, the Aryan Nation organization and Elohim City. At the nexus of this connection appears to be a man named Mark Thomas of Pennsylvania.
Bank robbery defendant Kevin McCarthy said that he and Scott Stedeford were introduced to Langan ("Commander Pedro") and guthrie by fellow Aryan Nations member Mark Thomas.
The meeting, the McCurtain Gazette has learned, took place at a Waffle House restaurant in Van Buren, Ark., during Langan's and Guthrie's stay at a nearby motel. (Records indicate the pair was in Van Buren on Nov. 13-14, 1994.)
Thomas claims to be a minister for the Church of Jesus Christ Christian and boasts that he is recognized as the Aryan Nations leader for the eastern United States.
McCarthy recalled during a preliminary hearing this past summer in Columbus, Ohio, that Langan and Guthrie bragged they'd already robbed 12 banks and wanted the potential recruits "to understand what they were getting into."
McCarthy said Mark Thomas was present with Langan and Guthrie.
Later, McCarthy testified, the group went to a nearby motel and continued talking about plans for future heists, including an armored car robbery.
McCarthy's testimony also made reference to Elohim City-- and, in fact, Pastor Robert Millar, leader of the 1,000 acre Christian Identity community, confirmed that McCarthy had actually been a resident there before the Oklahoma City bombing.
Millar said McCarthy had been sent to Elohim City by Mark thomas to receive "his education." And Stedeford, Millar said, had also been a short-term visitor from time to time.
Mark Thomas has already admitted that he'd traveled to Elohim City in the days immediately prior to the Oklahoma City bombing because his son was a resident there. Thomas also admitted to reporters that he introduced McCarthy and Stedeford to Langan and Guthrie. "But the introduction was strictly social, and nothing illegal was discussed," he said.
Pastor Millar also said both McCarthy and Stedeford were closely associated with two former Elohim City residents named Andreas Carl Strassmeir and Michael Brescia.
Witnesses interviewed by the Gazette in Kansas had placed Strassmeir and Brescia at various times with accused Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh-- including the days just before the bombing. (Strassmeir's attorney continues to deny the assertions.)
FBI interviews with two women from Herington, Kan., who knew the trio, say Strassmeir, McVeigh, and Brescia were old friends and that Brescia, in fact, was John Doe #2-- McVeigh's once-highly sought accomplice in the bombing.
These are claims that Strassmeir's attorney, Kirk Lyons, has denied on his client's behalf. Brescia, for his part, has refused numerous attempts by the media for an interview.
Both men have been named, along with McVeigh and Fortier, in a wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by Edye Smith, the mother of two young boys killed in the bombing.
McVeigh's Elohim City Contacts
Besides a documented phone telephone call that McVeigh-- or someone using his credit card-- made to Elohim City on April 5, 1995, there is controversy surrounding his visits there as well.
Law enforcement sources have told the Gazette that their intelligence files indicate McVeigh visited Elohim City on numerous occasions.
When confronted earlier this year with the evidence contained in the telephone records associated with McVeigh and Nichols, Pastor Millar, leader of Elohim City, told an investigator that he believed McVeigh visited Elohim City "on two or three occasions to use the compound's gun range."
Sitting in on this interview, Millar's son John strongly disagreed. He said he was positive McVeigh had never been to the compound. John Millar's vehement denial caused the elder Millar to withdraw his earlier statement-- leaving the matter unresolved.
Other residents also deny the alleged bomber ever set foot on Elohim City property.
But eyewitness accounts, and other evidence, indicate inexplicable activities and events surrounding two of McVeigh's trips to the area. They appear to stretch the limits of chance or mere coincidence that he did not go the Elohim City.
One such visit is believed to have occured when McVeigh and Nichols traveled to Arkansas in October , 1993.
On Oct. 11, Nichols checked into a motel in Fayetteville, Ark., alone.
McVeigh drove somewhere else to spend the night. The next morning, on Oct. 12, 1993, McVeigh received a ticket from an Arkansas state trooper just a few miles from the entrance to Elohim City.
On Oct. 15, a Secret Service agent reported that their "asset", Peter Langan, had turned up missing from his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Then, on Nov. 7, a $50 money order is purchased by McVeigh and Nichols to start up the now-infamous Spotlight phone card. It is this pre-paid phone card, purchased under the alias of Daryl Bridges, that authorities allege the pair used to assist them in various illegal acts-- including the bombing conspiracy.
In Ames, Iowa, on Jan. 25, 1994, the first of the 22 banks believed to involve the Midwest Bank Bandits, is robbed.
McVeigh's presence in and around Elohim City is also documented on Sept. 12, 1994, when he checks into the El-Siesta Motel in Vian, Okla. He is believed to have traveled some 30 miles to Elohim City the next day, taking part in military maneuvers that Strassmeir had organized for 70 participants.
A couple who had visited Elohim City during that time with their teenage daughter could not identify McVeigh by name, but the description from the daughter matched: well over 6-feet in height, slim, youthful, boyish in mannerisms and very shy.
Family members, who didn't want their names used, said the man was in the company of Elohim City residents who who had particpated in the extensive para-military field exercises.
The family said they'd visited Elohim City countless times over the years, but said in the fall of 1994 they begand to sense a marked change in the religious community that they found offputting.
"That guy Strassmeir was too crazy to even to be allowed to have a gun," the head of the family said. "He was leading a group of these 'skinhead types' in military exercises that last two we were there....After the second trip in a row, I decided that they were headed for a Waco-type disaster and quit taking my family out there."
Interestingly, the grand jury investigating the Oklahoma City bombing reported that the conspiracy to bomb the Alred P. Murrah Federal Building was hatched on Sept. 13, 1994-- the day after McVeigh checked into that motel near Elohim City,
Days later, McVeigh returned to the Kansas home of Terry Nichols, where on Sept. 24 (according to telephone records) someone at that residence began making the first calls connected with the acquisition of bomb-making components.
Authorities contend that calls were made to businesses that sell fertilizer and racing fuel, asserting these were the ingredients used to make the bomb that destroyed the Murrah building.
The Lady Godiva's Link
Witnesses at a strip club in Tulsa provide one of the most compelling links between a shadowy figure believed to be a government informant-- the "mystery suspect" in the bank robbery conspiracy-- and the alleged bomber himself.
Accounts provided by several women who worked in the strip club Lady Godiva's indicate that Strassmeir, Brescia and McVeigh were in the bclub only 11 days before the bombing, hustling the girls and spending large amounts of cash.
A video tape made in the dressing room of the club was obtained by the McCurtain Gazette, and it records one of the dancers referring to a man in the club that night boasting to her that, "On April 19, she'll never forget him."
Witnesses interviewed at the club say it was McVeigh who'd done the bragging.
"Farm Compound" Link.
During the Stedeford trial last month, McCarthy's grandmother testified that she received a telephone call from her grandson on April 5, 1995, stating he was heading for a "farm compound" in eastern Oklahoma where he was to pick up some equipment.
Then, on April 18-- the eve of the Oklahoma City bombing-- Eleanor O'Neill recalled for the court that she decided to telephone Elohim City. She said she was told that Mark Thomas had just left the compound and that her grandson and Stedeford were preparing to leave as well.
O'Neill further testified that the spokesman at Elohim City said all three men were headed Philadelphia. She said, however, that McCarthy and Stedeford did not arrive until May 4-- two weeks later and coincidentally-- two weeks after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Leaves in the Wind
Months after the bombing, Brescia and Strassmeir abruptly parted company. Strassmeir's attorney said his client had to be smuggled secretly to his native Berlin, where his father is a powerful political figure, because of death threats and fear of being arrested by the FBI.
Meanwhile, Brescia in January made his way to Philadelphia, where he stayed for a time at the Mark Thomas farm.
Friends say that soon after returning to Pennsylvania, Brescia formed a rock band called Cyanide with bank robbers McCarthy and Stedeford.
Significantly, the Gazette had learned earlier, the FBI never formally interviewed Strassmeir about the bombing--- because he was an ATF mole at Elohim City.
Authorities meanwhile say they have finally located and questioned Mike Brescia in Philadelphia. Those same sources confirm that he is a suspect in the August 30, 1995, robbery of a bank in Madison, Wis.
McCarthy, who was asked by prosecutors not to mention Brescia by name in open court, nonetheless came within an eyelash of doing so when he testified that a former member of the gang particpated in the Madison robbery-- and then returned with Stedeford to a "farm compound" in eastern Oklahoma.
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported in November that they had learned the man referred to by McCarthy was a "neo-Nazi extremist living in the Philadelphia area" and that the compound referred to was Elohim City.
Subsequently, the Ohio newspaper quoted the Gazette's confirmation that the mystery man was indeed Michael Brescia, also believed to be the infamous "John Doe #2" originally sought in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing.
On Nov. 17, the Dispatch reported that officials familiar with the bank robbery investigation said additional indictments were likely to be handed down from a grand jury in Philadelphia.
Mentioned as targets of the investigation were Michael Brescia and Mark Thomas, the Gazette has learned.
Morever, a source familiar with the strategy surrounding the upcoming bank robbery trial of Peter Lanagn says he expects a member of the Aryan Republican Army to eventually lead authorities into other areas the home grown revolutionaries were involved in-- "areas" such as the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy... and the identity of at least one new name in the conspiracy.
One thing is certain, the flames of Whidbey Island continue to produce heat more than a decade after the ashes ceased to smoulder, and somewhere, perhaps in a hotter place, Bob Mathews is smiling.
Back to John Doe Times Index