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Oklahoma City bombing plot possible background
« on: Jun 14, 2017, 12:25:36 pm »
 

Neuromancer911

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Bombing Plot May Have Had Roots In Idaho Former Supremacist Says Oklahoma City Building Was Targeted During 1983 Hayden Lake Meeting

Twelve years before the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, a group of white supremacists with close ties to the Aryan Nations drew up a plan to bomb the same building in much the same way, according to evidence gathered by a federal prosecutor.

The plot, conceived at the end of October 1983, called for parking a van or a trailer in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and blowing it up with rockets detonated by a timer, the prosecutor, Steven N. Snyder, recalled in a recent interview.

Strangely, and perhaps only coincidentally, Richard Wayne Snell, an Oklahoma man identified by a government witness as a participant in that plan, was executed in Arkansas this April 19, the day of the actual bombing. He was 64 years old, called himself a prisoner of war and had been convicted of two murders. His impending execution had been protested by right-wing paramilitary groups.

The details of the 1983 plan came from James D. Ellison, the founder of the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, an anti-Semitic paramilitary group that now appears to be defunct but once flourished in northern Arkansas.

Ellison’s account first came to light when Snyder, an assistant U.S. attorney in Fort Smith, interviewed him in preparation for his role as the principal prosecution witness against 14 other white supremacists, including 10 charged with plotting to overthrow the government by force. The trial was held in 1988, and all the defendants were acquitted.

In addition to Snell, who was already on death row, the defendants included Richard Butler, chief of the Aryan Nations, in Hayden Lake, Idaho; the late Robert E. Miles, a former Ku Klux Klansman who headed the Mountain Church of Jesus Christ the Saviour in Cohoctah, Mich., and Louis Ray Beam Jr., former grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan and “ambassador at large” of the Aryan Nations. Beam recently moved to North Idaho.

In late-night meetings, Ellison told Snyder, the leaders at Hayden Lake discussed how to topple the government, using as a sourcebook “The Turner Diaries,” an extremist novel that envisions the government’s overthrow by right-wingers.

At the 1988 trial of the 14 white supremacists, Ellison testified that in October 1983, Snell and Steve Scott, an associate, “asked me to design a rocket launcher that could be used to destroy these buildings from a distance.”

“On one of the trips when I was with Wayne,” Ellison said of Snell, “he took me to some of the buildings and asked me to go in the building and check the building out. This kind of thing.”

And before the trial, Ellison told the prosecutor that at Snell’s request he had entered the federal building in Oklahoma City to gauge what it would take to damage or destroy it.

Afterward, he testified in court, he made preliminary sketches and drawings. Rocket launchers were to be “placed in a trailer or a van so that it could be driven up to a given spot, parked there, and a timed detonating device could be triggered so that the driver could walk away and leave the vehicle set in position, and he would have time to clear the area before any of the rockets launched.”

“And I was asked to make it so it would fit in either a trailer or a van or a panel truck,” Ellison continued.

Although his trial testimony did not specify which building Ellison had entered - that detail came only in the pretrial questioning - Snyder confirmed in a recent interview that it was the federal building in Oklahoma City.

“I remember this,” Snyder said, “because I thought it was strange that they would go all the way to Oklahoma City” from Arkansas.

Ellison, Snell and Elohim City

On April 19, 1985, a heavily armed force of 200 state and federal officers surrounded Ellison’s remote mountain compound on the shores of Bull Shoals Lake in northern Arkansas. A four-day siege ended when Ellison was persuaded to surrender by Robert G. Millar, who is still the spiritual leader of an armed apocalypic sect in Elohim City, a rural compound near Muldrow, Okla.

As the day of his execution approached, Snell was frequently visited by Millar, who described himself as the prisoner’s spiritual adviser. He shared Snell’s final hours, witnessed his execution and took his body to Elohim City the next day for burial.Snell watched televised reports of the Oklahoma City bombing on the very day he died, Millar said. According to Millar, Snell was appalled by what he saw.Snell’s last words were also threat ening. He addressed them to Gov. Jim Guy Tucker just as he was strapped to a gurney for execution by lethal injection.

“Governor Tucker, look over your shoulder,” witnesses quote him as saying. “Justice is coming. I wouldn’t trade places with you or any of your cronies. Hell has victories. I am at peace.”

McVeigh and Elohim City?

The only links between McVeigh and people identified as the earlier conspirators are extremely tenuous. McVeigh once got a traffic ticket in the Fort Smith, Ark., area, where some of them lived, and several months ago his sister Jennifer subscribed to The Patriot Report, a newsletter published there.

So what about Elhoim City.

FBI: Documents show connection between McVeigh, separatist group that made threats

Evidence gathered by The Associated Press includes hotel receipts, a speeding ticket, prisoner interviews, informant reports and phone records that suggest McVeigh had contact with a white supremacist compound in Oklahoma known as Elohim City and that members there were familiar with his plan.

"It is suspected that members of Elohim City are involved either directly or indirectly through conspiracy," federal agents wrote in one memo just days after McVeigh detonated a truck bomb April 19, 1995, outside the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City and killed more than 160 people.

The documents also include a teletype from FBI headquarters in August 1996 that reported McVeigh called Elohim City two weeks before his bombing, a call to a home where members of a violent Aryan Nation bank robbery gang were present.

McVeigh made the call April 5, 1995, moments after calling the Ryder truck company where he rented the truck that carried his deadly bomb. The government had known from an informant weeks before McVeigh's call that members of Elohim City were threatening an attack, the documents show.

The FBI teletype revealed that the gang members who were present when McVeigh called were familiar with explosives and had made a videotape three months before McVeigh struck vowing a war against the federal government and promising a "courthouse massacre."

The Murrah Building was across the street from the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City.

The teletype also noted that two of the robbers left Elohim City on April 16 for a location in Kansas a few hours from where McVeigh was doing the final assembly of his bomb.

"I did not see that teletype," retired agent Dan Defenbaugh, who supervised the Oklahoma City investigation, told the AP.

Defenbaugh said he also was surprised to learn, from AP interviews and documents, that prosecutors in 1996 made and then withdrew a plea bargain offer to one of the imprisoned bank robbers, Peter Kevin Langan, who claimed he had information about the Oklahoma City bombing.

Evidence

Documents show the FBI suspected McVeigh participated in a December 1994 Ohio bank robbery with the Aryan Nation robbers, but lab analyses that attempted to match him to a videotape from the bank's security camera were inconclusive.

FBI officials had several reasons to suspect a connection:

• McVeigh's sister told them her brother gave her money from a bank robbery and asked her to launder it in December 1994. Also, they had evidence McVeigh was in Ohio at the time, FBI officials said.

• The leader of the robbery gang, Mark Thomas, initially told agents after his arrest that he suspected some of his members were involved in McVeigh's plot. He later recanted.

• A girlfriend of one of the bank robbers told the FBI her boyfriend had told her beforehand of a plan to bomb a federal building, and that he left days before the bombing for a trip to Elohim City. "We are going to get them. We are going to hit one of their buildings during the middle of the day. It is going to be a federal building," an FBI report quoted the bank robber as telling the girlfriend.

FBI agents stopped pursuing possible connections between McVeigh and the robbers when the suspects all denied assisting the Oklahoma bomber. Most weren't given polygraph tests, officials said.

The robbers, however, weren't the only evidence that led the FBI to suspect a link between McVeigh and Elohim City.

Agents collected a receipt showing McVeigh stayed at a hotel near the compound on Sept. 13, 1994, the day that, a federal grand jury concluded, he hatched his plot to blow up the Murrah Building. The hotel was about 20 miles away in Vian, Okla., one of the closest cities with a hotel near the compound. The FBI also obtained a speeding ticket McVeigh received just 12 miles from the compound.

They also interviewed a witness who had aided government prosecutors in other white supremacist cases.

John Shults told agents in 1997 he was "sure beyond a shadow of a doubt" he saw McVeigh at Elohim City in 1994 at a meeting about a mysterious delivery and the use of a Ryder truck. Shults "felt strongly the delivery may have been a reference to the bombing," according to one federal agent's interview report.

The AP reported Tuesday that the government had informant information before the bombing indicating members of Elohim City were discussing bombing a federal building in Oklahoma, and the FBI specifically had worries such an attack could occur April 19 after interviewing a reformed white supremacist familiar with an earlier plot to blow up the Murrah building.

Within a few days of the bombing, FBI officials received intelligence suggesting members of Elohim City had information relevant to the investigation.

Carol Howe, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms informant who had provided information that Elohim City members were discussing an attack, was sent back to the compound in late April 1995.

Howe talked with one member of the compound who "discussed alibis for April 19, 1995, and the components of" McVeigh's bomb, investigative memos show. The same member had claimed, before McVeigh's bombing, that he had detonated a 500-pound fertilizer bomb, similar to the one McVeigh later used.

That compound member also discussed the name of a munitions dealer that McVeigh's phone records showed the bomber called more than two dozen times in the weeks before the attack. McVeigh had the dealer's phone number in his wallet when he was captured.

Andy the German

An informant told the FBI in 1996 that Timothy McVeigh telephoned a German national linked to U.S. white supremacist groups, weeks prior the Oklahoma City bombing. Andreas Strassmeir was a German national and security director for the white separatist compound, sometimes known as "Andy the German."

The claim was made by Kevin McCarthy, a member of a bank robbery gang known as the Aryan Republican Army. McCarthy, who subsequently joined the witness protection program.

According to McCarthy, in April of 1995, McVeigh was staying at Elohim City with Andreas Strassmeir. He had also apparently telephoned Andy Strassmeir in Elohim City "several weeks prior to the bombing."

Whatever the truth of these stories, Strassmeir himself does admit that he had met lead bomber Timothy McVeigh. Strassmeir said the meeting occurred in April of 1993 at a gun show and that he never saw Tim McVeigh again. How he remembered this meeting years later is left unclear.

No one beyond McVeigh

FBI officials acknowledged some of the documents weren't provided to McVeigh's defense team before his trial. For instance, they said FBI teletypes weren't covered by the agreement governing documents to be given to McVeigh's defense.

They also acknowledged that agents suspected at one point that the bomber was linked to Elohim City and the Aryan Nation bank robbers.

But they said that after more than 1 million investigative hours that generated more than 1 billion documents and checked 43,000 tips, FBI agents found no concrete evidence of McVeigh conspirators beyond Terry Nichols, who is in federal prison.

"Every lead, regardless of its credibility, was thoroughly investigated to its conclusions," spokesman Mike Kortan said Wednesday.

"Even though we had our conspiracy theories, we still had to deal with facts, and the fact is we couldn't find anyone else who was involved," he said.
 

Re: Oklahoma City bombing plot possible background
« Reply #1 on: Jun 14, 2017, 01:41:45 pm »
 

EvadingGrid

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Oklahoma City Building Was Target Of Plot as Early as '83, Official Says
By JO THOMAS and RONALD SMOTHERS
Published: May 20, 1995
http://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/20/us/oklahoma-city-building-was-target-of-plot-as-early-as-83-official-says.html?pagewanted=all


Twelve years before the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, a group of white supremacists with close ties to the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations drew up a plan to bomb the same building in much the same way, according to evidence gathered in the late 1980's by a Federal prosecutor.

The plot, conceived at the end of October 1983, called for parking a van or a trailer in front of the Federal Building and blowing it up with rockets detonated by a timer, the prosecutor, Steven N. Snyder, recalled in a recent interview.

In a strange coincidence, Richard Wayne Snell, an Oklahoma man identified by a Government witness as a participant in that plan, was executed in Arkansas this April 19, the day of the actual bombing. He was 64 years old, called himself a prisoner of war and had been convicted of two murders.

 Although no evidence links Mr. Snell to last month's bombing or to either of the suspects now charged with it, his impending execution had been protested by right-wing paramilitary groups, which called him a patriot and termed the Federal Government "the Beast."

Timothy J. McVeigh, the prime suspect in the Oklahoma City blast, has never mentioned Mr. Snell, and Federal officials who investigated Mr. Snell on other charges say they consider it unlikely that he or his supporters were involved. Mr. Snyder -- who gathered evidence of the 1983 plot, including Mr. Snell's role in it, while preparing for trial of a sedition case against a group of white supremacists -- declined to say whether he had brought the similaries between the 1983 plans and the bombing last month to the attention of investigators in Oklahoma City.

Although evidence of an earlier plot does not itself demonstrate any links between those identified as plotters then and those accused now, it does suggest that the idea of bombing this particular Federal building could have been a subject of discussion among small extremist groups for more than a decade.

The only links between Mr. McVeigh and people identified as the earlier conspirators are extremely tenuous. Mr. McVeigh once got a traffic ticket in the Fort Smith, Ark., area, where some of them lived, and several months ago his sister Jennifer subscribed to The Patriot Report, a newsletter published there.

The details of the 1983 plan came from James D. Ellison, the founder of the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, an anti-Semitic paramilitary group that now appears to be defunct but once flourished in northern Arkansas.

Mr. Ellison's account first came to light when Mr. Snyder, an assistant United States attorney in Fort Smith, interviewed him in preparation for his role as the principal prosecution witness against 14 other white supremacists, including 10 charged with plotting to overthrow the Government by force. The trial was held in 1988, and all the defendants were acquitted.

In addition to Mr. Snell, who was already on death row, the defendants included Richard Girnt Butler, chief of the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi umbrella organization for white supremacist groups that is based in Hayden Lake, Idaho; Robert E. Miles, a former Ku Klux Klansman who headed the Mountain Church of Jesus Christ the Saviour in Cohoctah, Mich., and Louis Ray Beam Jr., former grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan and "ambassador at large" of the Aryan Nations.

According to notes Mr. Snyder took before the trial, Mr. Ellison said he attended a meeting of extremist groups in Hayden Lake in July 1983 and told them of the death of Gordon Kahl, a member of yet another right-wing group, the Posse Comitatus. Mr. Kahl was a tax protester who fled North Dakota in early 1983 after a shootout with Federal agents and was subsequently shot to death in a gun battle with agents in Smithville, Ark.

"Kahl was the catalyst that made everyone come forth and change the organizations from thinkers to doers," Mr. Ellison said, according to Mr. Snyder's notes.

In late-night meetings, Mr. Ellison told Mr. Snyder, the leaders at Hayden Lake discussed how to topple the Government, using as a sourcebook "The Turner Diaries," an extremist novel that envisions the Government's overthrow by rightists who then systematically kill Jews and blacks. Mr. Ellison told Mr. Snyder that he himself had volunteered to assassinate Federal officials in Arkansas.

According to Mr. Snyder's notes, Mr. Ellison told him that the Ellison organization had discussed plans to bomb Federal buildings and the Dallas office of a Jewish organization.

At the 1988 trial of the 14 white supremacists, Mr. Ellison testified that in October 1983, Mr. Snell and Steve Scott, an associate, "asked me to design a rocket launcher that could be used to destroy these buildings from a distance."

"On one of the trips when I was with Wayne," Mr. Ellison said of Mr. Snell, "he took me to some of the buildings and asked me to go in the building and check the building out. This kind of thing."

And before the trial, Mr. Ellison told the prosecutor that at Mr. Snell's request he had entered the Federal Building in Oklahoma City to gauge what it would take to damage or destroy it.

Afterward, he testified in court, he made preliminary sketches and drawings. Rocket launchers were to be "placed in a trailer or a van so that it could be driven up to a given spot, parked there, and a timed detonating device could be triggered so that the driver could walk away and leave the vehicle set in position, and he would have time to clear the area before any of the rockets launched."

"And I was asked to make it so it would fit in either a trailer or a van or a panel truck," Mr. Ellison continued.

"Ellison," Mr. Snyder recalled, "said that Snell was bitter toward the Government because of the I.R.S. And I think these were agents from the Oklahoma City office, and they had taken him to court, and his property had been seized by the F.B.I. and other agents in a raid. But you can't be sure about any of this, because a Federal raid, to a lot of these people, is any time the postman brings the mail."

In 1984, a black state trooper stopped Mr. Snell for a traffic violation near De Queen, Ark. Mr. Snell shot the trooper, Louis Bryant, as he approached the vehicle, then shot him again as he lay on the ground, killing him. Mr. Snell always contended afterward that he had killed the officer in self-defense.

Mr. Snell fled and was chased to Broken Bow, Okla., where he was wounded in a gun battle with the authorities before he was subdued. In his car, the police found a gun that had been used the previous year in the robbery and murder of William Stumpp, a Texarkana pawnbroker. Mr. Snell was convicted of both murders and sentenced to death in the Stumpp case.

Mr. Snell always denied that murder, but Mr. Ellison said at the sedition trial that Mr. Snell had killed Mr. Stumpp because he believed -- wrongly, as it turned out -- that Mr. Stumpp was Jewish.

Mr. Ellison himself became a Government witness after plenty of trouble with the law. On April 19, 1985 -- 10 years to the day before the Oklahoma City bombing -- a heavily armed force of 200 state and Federal officers surrounded his remote mountain compound on the shores of Bull Shoals Lake in northern Arkansas. A four-day siege ended when he was persuaded to surrender by Robert G. Millar, who is still the spiritual leader of an armed apocalypic sect in Elohim City, a rural compound near Muldrow, Okla.

Three months later, on July 17, Mr. Ellison was convicted of racketeering charges. And two months after that, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The following year, he agreed to become a Government witness.

The defense at the sedition trial contended that Mr. Ellison had farbricated the conspiracy. Having listened for seven weeks, an all-white jury acquitted all the defendants. Afterward, one juror announced that she had fallen in love with one of the defendants and planned to marry him.

After the trial, Mr. Ellison went to prison, entered the Federal witness protection program and eventually ended up living on parole in Jasper, Fla., midway between Tallahassee and Jacksonville. He later left the witness program, finished his parole on April 21, two days after the Oklahoma City bombing, and was last seen that day in Jasper with two women, driving a car with Oklahoma plates.

From his prison cell in Varner, Ark., Mr. Snell began publishing a periodic newsletter, The Seekers, which told of the "war to establish righteousness," a war in which he considered himself a P.O.W.

The Militia of Montana, which rallied to Mr. Snell's cause in the March issue of its publication, Taking Aim, reminded its readers that his execution was set for April 19.

"If this date does not ring a bell for you then maybe this will jog your memory," the newsletter said. "1. April 19, 1775: Lexington burned; 2. April 19, 1943: Warsaw burned; 3. April 19, 1992: The fed's attempted to raid Randy Weaver, but had their plans thwarted when concerned citizens arrived on the scene with supplies for the Weaver family totally unaware of what was to take place; 4. April 19, 1993: The Branch Davidians burned; 5. April 19, 1995: Richard Snell will be executed -- unless we act now!!!"

The action suggested in a note written by Mary Snell, his wife, and published by the newsletter, was to flood the Arkansas Governor's office with letters.

As his execution approached, Mr. Snell was frequently visited by Mr. Millar, who shared Mr. Snell's final hours, witnessed his execution and took his body to Elohim City the next day for burial.

Mr. Snell watched televised reports of the Oklahoma City bombing on the very day he died, Mr. Millar said, and was appalled by what he saw.

Mr. Snell's last words, however, were threatening. He addressed them to Gov. Jim Guy Tucker just as he was strapped to a gurney for execution by lethal injection.

"Governor Tucker, look over your shoulder," witnesses quote him as saying. "Justice is coming. I wouldn't trade places with you or any of your cronies. Hail the victory. I am at peace."

Photos: Richard Wayne Snell, above, executed for murder on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, was identified by James D. Ellison, below, as a conspirator in a virtually identical plot 12 years ago. (Photographs by Associated Press)
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