Skip to comments.An Oklahoma Mystery New hints of links between Timothy McVeigh and Middle Eastern terrorists
Posted on 07/19/2002 10:28:09 PM PDT by glorygirl
EITHER CONVICTED OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBERS Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were part of a conspiracy, possibly involving Middle Eastern and Filipino connections, or they were not. Seven years later, the authorities have still not fully examined this question.
But taking on this issue would seem to fit the mission of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which are jointly investigating intelligence failures by the FBI and CIA before 9/11. Chaired by two Floridians -- Republican Representative Porter Goss and Democratic Senator Bob Graham -- the Committees' began their closed-door work by focusing on two areas: U.S. investigations of terrorism since the CIA established a counterterrorism unit in 1986 and Osama bin Laden's role in sponsoring international terrorism since the mid-1990s.
Back in 1995, several Congressional Committees did search for international ties to the Oklahoma City attack, but came up empty, explained former Representative Bill McCollum in an interview. Still, the reports issued by the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, which McCollum chaired until 1995, were quite prescient.
"The task force was on the mark when it came to their warnings about the emerging threat of Middle Eastern terrorism," McCollum said. "I can tell you that we were very concerned about the possibility of a Middle East connection to Oklahoma City. But we never found any evidence there was one."
McCollum, however, said he never heard of the reporting done by TV journalist Jayna Davis, which connected McVeigh and Nichols with Middle Eastern figures in Oklahoma City and the Philippines. Nor did he know of Davis' ongoing communications with Yossef Bodansky, executive director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. "Seffy [Bodansky] never told me anything about that," he said. "This is all news to me."
After the bombing, Bodansky marshaled his intelligence sources and began an investigation. He found some of the same Middle Eastern connections uncovered by reporter Davis. "The stories you are telling fit very closely with the stories I have," he told Davis, in a taped conversation on April 24, 1996.
In the tape, Davis asks if the names are tied to the bombing. And Bodansky responds, "I didn't get them because I am trying to run a private, one-man census of the Oklahoma City area."
The government also turned up experts who believed they found possible evidence of a Middle Eastern signature on the bombing. In 1997, Stephen Jones, lead attorney for McVeigh, filed a motion claiming the defense team had acquired a one-page summary of a government report by two unnamed Israeli experts who examined the Murrah Building. "Their conclusion was the Oklahoma City bombing bore the indisputable earmark of Middle Eastern terrorists," said Jones in an interview.
The men were eventually identified as Dorom Bergerbest-Eliom, chief of security for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Yakov (or Yaskov) Yerushalmi, a civil engineer and Israeli government consultant. Attorney Jones filed a court motion complaining to federal Judge Richard Matsch that the government had wrongly denied the document to McVeigh's defense team.
"We never did get the full report," Jones continued. "Judge Matsch reminded the prosecutors they had a legal obligation to turn over any exculpatory material to the defense. However, the judge left it to the Justice Department to decide what was exculpatory."
DAVIS, THE FORMER TV REPORTER FOR KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, began investigating the bombing the day after the attack. In seven years, she's accumulated 26 affidavits and more than 100 hours of taped interviews. In particular, she zeroed in on a group of Iraqis who worked for Samir Khalil, a Palestinian-born businessman and owner of a property-management company in Oklahoma City. Davis also did pieces on John Doe No. 2, the mysterious figure identified in initial police bulletins as having been seen fleeing the federal building after the bombing. The FBI later announced that John Doe No. 2 never existed.
One of the Iraqis, Hussain Alhussaini, later came forward and identified himself as the person being fingered in Davis' television reports as John Doe No. 2. He sued the reporter for defamation. A federal judge dismissed the suit; Alhussaini has appealed. (See: Heartland Conspiracy, published in the L.A. Weekly, Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2001.)
The TV reporter, who has since quit the station, also interviewed Lana Padilla, Nichols' first wife. She told Davis that McVeigh had given her ex-husband thousands of dollars and paid for his first trip to the Philippines. Nichols, who is now awaiting trial in Oklahoma City on state murder charges, traveled extensively to the islands and eventually married a Filipino woman. Padilla has now been subpoenaed as a prosecution witness in Nichols' state case.
Davis also turned up material that appeared to connect Nichols to Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad. Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is now serving a life sentence in federal prison. He also had hatched unrealized plans to blow up 12 airliners and to assassinate Pope John Paul II.
Murad, a confederate of Yousef, is also in federal custody. He told Philippine police about a plot to hijack an airliner and crash it into CIA headquarters. Murad also claimed in 1996 that a large number of Middle Eastern men were being trained at U.S. flight schools in connection with these plots. This information was passed on to the FBI. What the agency did with it is unknown.
Court documents, related to this alleged Filipino connection, were attached to a motion filed by McVeigh's defense team in 1996. One is an FBI memo detailing a conversation between Murad and a U.S. prison guard after the Oklahoma City bombing. Murad told his jailer that the Filipino Liberation Army was responsible for that attack. The memo also cites a note Murad gave his guard, reiterating this claim.
Another exhibit from the defense motion is an affidavit filed by Edwin Angeles, a founder of Abu Sayyaf, a Filipino terrorist group. Angeles, who was assassinated by former comrades, wrote in 1996 that he was at a 1991 meeting in Davao City, attended by Yousef, Murad and Nichols, at which, they discussed "bombing activities, providing firearms and ammo" to terrorists and "training in bomb making and handling" of explosives. Nichols, he claimed, was introduced to him as "the farmer."
In February 1995 -- months before the Oklahoma City blast -- the House Task Force on Terrorism issued a warning that Middle Eastern Islamists, under the leadership of Iran, were preparing a series of terrorist attacks against the U.S. An update, issued in March 1995 -- just a month before the bombing -- stated the target list had shifted from Washington, D.C., to government installations and buildings in America's heartland. The task force distributed these alerts to federal intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. In 1996, terrorism-task-force director Bodansky gave a copy of the original warning and update to Davis. Reportedly Bodansky, recently passed on Davis' affidavits and taped interviews to the U.S. House Government Reform Committee, about which he refuses to comment. "I work for the government, and I can't talk about Oklahoma City," he said.
IN THE NINE MONTHS SINCE THE Weekly first published details of Davis' story, new information has emerged that raises more questions about the FBI's investigation into the bombing:
On April 19, 1995 -- immediately after the bombing -- the FBI sent an urgent request to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency requesting 10 Arabic linguists to help in its Oklahoma City bombing investigation. Linguists, serving on a 30-day loan, would not be permitted to monitor electronic surveillance.
After McVeigh's arrest, the FBI was contacted by the Defense Department to see if they still needed the linguists. According to an April 22, 1995 memo from the Department of the Army, an FBI agent said the linguists were being used to "monitor wiretaps of radical fundamentalist Islamists to protect the President from possible attack" during his upcoming appearance at an Oklahoma City memorial service.
On August 2, 1995, Federal Protective Services special agent Thomas Williams sent a memo to his branch chief, John Crowe, detailing his communication with terrorism task-force director Yossef Bodansky. In it, he states Bodansky told him that a lot of names that came up in NBC reports (by TV journalist Jayna Davis) overlapped with the names of suspects Bodansky had compiled.
In a taped conversation between Bodansky and Davis on May 18, 1996, Bodansky tells the reporter that by mid-April, intelligence information suggested that government buildings had been specifically targeted. He said the intelligence had been accumulated over 18 months. He also said he had gotten another warning from Israeli intelligence, a week before the bombing, that an attack would be launched in America's heartland.
Also on May 18, Bodansky faxed two notes to Davis in which he provides more details about the task force's intelligence analysis. Bodansky writes that after the bombing, it was determined that Oklahoma City had been "on the list of potential targets." The second note states that "The initial forensic investigation of the explosion in Oklahoma suggested strong similarities to bombing techniques used by Iran-sponsored Islamist terrorists, including the car bomb that destroyed [a] building in Buenos Aires on 18 July 1994."
An undated intelligence report by Bodansky discusses alleged terrorist training inside the U.S. that included some "Lilly Whites," people whose background would not tie them to terrorism. Bodansky states the training was ordered by Iran and conducted by Hamas operatives. His intelligence sources told him that the training occurred at a camp near Chicago. The first camp was allegedly held in 1990 and included about 25 trainees, who used code names. One group, he states, was reportedly given instructions on building car bombs from available materials. The second training occurred in 1993. It was specifically for Lilly Whites. They also used code names and were given state-of-the-art car-bomb training. Bodansky's sources also report that at least two of the 1993 participants came from Oklahoma City.
During a legal dispute with her former employer Bodansky wrote Davis a letter of support stating, "Having studied the material provided by Ms. Davis very closely, I consider it most sensitive, reliable and important evidence for the Task Force investigation." Bodansky also wrote, "Having carefully studied these tapes, as well as other work of Ms. Davis, I'm convinced that the witnesses she had interviewed provide credible testimony."
During a civil suit for defamation against Davis and KFOR-TV, Hussain Alhussaini, a former Iraqi soldier, submitted psychiatric reports from 1997, in which he states that he worked for a while at Boston's Logan Airport (where two of the planes were hijacked on September 11). Alhussaini first told his psychiatrist that he quit his airport job because "If anything happens there, I will be a suspect." Then he later contradicts himself, saying that he wants to look for another job "because he feels unsafe in the environment he works in, in the airport, given the recent events involving his being previously suspected of involvement in the Oklahoma bombing." In a 1998 deposition, Alhussaini states he is still working at the airport and has fears of losing his job. Alhussaini's specific job was never identified. Alhussaini still appears to be living in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan's operations, declined comment on Alhussaini's current work status or his airport duties.
Yes, indeed- like a cancre sore, it kind of dies down and then flares up again. I noticed a definite uptick in interest in OKC coincidental with the "dirty bomber" ( Padilla? ) story.
Thanks to better communications, we can bypass the media and spread- keeping alive- stories "they just won't talk about on TV."
The defense has obtained a memorandum of an interview with a high ranking Israeli security figure. See D.E. 2482 (Exhibit "J"). This memorandum confirms the following:
1. The source, who aids the Prime Minister on matters of counterterrorism, confirmed that Israel gave a general warning to the United States shortly before the bombing.
2. The United States approached Israeli "for consultations" and advice concerning the bombing.
3. Although Israel suggested that the bombing was not "Islamically motivated", Israel conceded that the bombing could have implemented "borrowed methods" or could have been inspired by Islamic actions.
4. Israel in fact sent two experts, accompanied by the security officer of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., to the bomb site.
5. Israeli authorities were clearly not pleased that information had leaked of Israeli experts involvement in evaluating the bomb site.
6. The source, since the bombing, met with his American counter-part, Phil Wilcox[l9], on a regular basis to "compare notes."
19 Wilcox is the U.S. State Department's coordinator for terrorism.
It is clear in the defense's view that the Israeli government sent its experts to evaluate the bomb site with full knowledge of the United States government. It is also clear in the defense's view that the one page report submitted by the government is not the complete report of the two Israeli experts.
Counsel sought and obtained permission from the District Court to travel to Israel to investigate the presence of Israeli officials at the bomb site. In order to avoid drawing attention to counsel's visit, counsel entered Israel by a tourist bus over the Allenby Bridge (the King Hussain Bridge) on the West Bank via Damascus and Amman and, once in Israel, contacted very senior Israeli political figures in the late Prime Minister Rabin's government and others who confirmed the presence of Israeli bomb experts at the Oklahoma City bomb site. The defense has learned that two weeks after the bombing, two Israeli officials toured the bomb site in collaboration with the ATF. D.E. 2191 at 9. Their conclusion, as outlined in their report to the United States government, was that the Oklahoma City bomb bore the indisputable earmark of Middle Eastern terrorists. The two Israelis are Dorom Bergerbest-Eliom and Yakov (or Yaskov) Yerushalmi.
 The government failed to produce a copy of this report, or even acknowledge the presence of Israelis in Oklahoma City--despite defense requests for this information. See D.E. 2768 at 54; D.E. 1921 (Exhibit "C" at 16). Instead, a Fort Worth television station interviewed Moshe Tal and he stated that he was personally acquainted with the two Israelis who toured the bomb site, that they had been in Oklahoma City and he had forwarded a draft of a report to Cristi O'Connor of Channel 11. Not until this happened did the government furnish a copy of the report to the defense, even though the ATF had escorted the two men. The copy forwarded to the defense does not mention a Middle East connection to the bombing. The defense believes that the government has not forwarded a true copy of the entire report.
Bergerbest-Eliom was, at the time, Chief of Security for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. Yerushalmi was a civil engineer whom has been described as a "consultant" to the Israeli government. The undersigned counsel has confirmed that these two individuals were in fact sent by Israel and did in fact tour the bomb site. The two Israelis prepared a report on their observations. Counsel for Defendant McVeigh has not obtained a copy of this report but is informed that the report suggests details of the explosive device and that the bombing is a "signature" of Middle Eastern terrorists.
You are suggesting that anybody on this board, save the odd disruptor, might find this construction in any way inconceivable?
Unlikely? Perhaps. But inconceivable? Hardly.
"I doubt okie state prosecutors really want to open this can of worms."
How so? Nichols remains guilty -- an active conspirator in the same plot. We would have merely discovered there were more conpirators, and different motivations, than had been known heretofore. Hardly a justification for a reversal.
Meanwhile, the Okie state prosecutors have the death penalty to hammer Nichols with. Which might inspire Nichols to unburden himself of some vital information...
Unless it's not terrorism. And it's war, instead.
The first WTC bombing, which also had Iraqi connections, could conceivably have been the first blow in what is now a ten-year war.
I've no problem with letting them enter.
So long as they are kept under close surveillance. And, at the first opportunity, collared and confined.
Credible deniability ?
What "something" are you implying that Israel did so "who" couldn't be blamed?
If something can inspire those prosecutors to try to get the truth out of Nichols.
I don't think Bodansky gave Jayna the 'okay' to release his name as the source of the "prior warning" message, so he's probably sitting on top of a powder keg right now, caught in the political cross hairs. If you'll notice, his comment about not being able to say anything because he works for the government is FAR different than outright denying or discrediting the Middle East connection.
I would imagine that our duly-elected politicians have to tread lightly on this powder keg because they've been sitting on top of Jayna Davis' information for all these years and have done nothing with it. Public pressure from FReepers could do nothing but help.
As for "why the feds are not all over this," see my previous reply to Fred & thinden for my own opinion. In my mind, if the politicos think they can get by with it, they'll bury this after a cursory "investigation" and hope we just forget about it. When will they EVER learn? Two wrongs don't make a right.
Also, I wanted to repeat something you said because it reflects my own thoughts so accurately:
...if by the 21st of April there was no middle east connection, why did the feds and the security detail feel the need for ten [Arabic] translators to assist in the investigation, and just what were they translating? And by their own admission, there were foreign threats in Oklahoma City, which would be a threat to the President, why was the shift turning so quickly to McVeigh and the right wing theory----now as I have stated before, there are only one or two people who could have ordered that drastic a shift in the investigation, and it rested with the man who traveled to Oklahoma City, and had need of the translators?
Like, DUH! I'm sorry, but anyone who opens a supposedly serious article this way isn't gonna be taken seriously.
LOL! Maybe he was trying to go easy on the 'ostrich' reader. You know... Bring him in slowly to avoid information overload. ;-)
Nita, thanks for being the first to try to answer my question after 70 replies. It makes sense that he could be a muzzled civil servant.
And who would muzzle him? I think I just answered my question. Thanks again Nitz!
Since his name appeared recently, I've been trying to figure out whether he's on the side of truth or not, without success. Your explanation is very plausible and likely.
imo, the federal trial of nichols the jury came as close as you can get to "jury nullification" without actually letting him walk.
the reason for verdict could be that tiger introduced enough evidence of other conspirators to cause the jury to have reasonable doubt about the basis of the prosecutions case which had mcveigh & nichols acting alone.
although it has been obvious to many of us that there were numerous co-conspirators (ME, domestic, and gummit) evidence of this, including video surveillance tapes that would identify other perps has been deliberately & admittedly withheld or destroyed.
to allow padilla's testimony re: ME/terrorist participation would contradict the "official gummit" line.
a sharp lawyer could certainly use this to get the federal action declared a mistrial.
who knows what nichols real involvement was? I'm of the belief that nichols may have been a very minor player in the grand scheme of things.
I believe there are several guilty parties still on the streets killing or ready to kill again. I believe the gummit knows exactly who these people are and is doing nothing to bring them to justice.
Al-Hussaini and John Doe 2
20. Three months later, when the Murrah Building was bombed, Abdul Hakim Murad, in a prison cell in New York City awaiting trial for his part in the plot to bomb five American 747 aircraft, admitted verbally on April 19, 1995 and in writing that Ramzi Youssefs liberation army was responsible for the Murrah Building bombing! Murads conspiratorial admission of foreign involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing was revealed by an FBI 302 Report that was referenced in Timothy McVeighs March 1997 Petition for Writ of Mandamus, Case No. 97-1109 (10th Cir.). The 302 Report was sealed. Said conspiratorial admission, however, was never reported by the government to the bombing victims.
GEN. SCALES: Well, the information I have from the FBI is that the -- of the different groups that have claimed responsibility, I think it's eight groups claimed responsibility for this incident and seven of them claim to be from the Middle Eastern countries, so it would just be logical to me that they would ask for Arabic-speaking translators.
Yes, until now, I wasn't aware that seven Middle Eastern groups claimed responsibility for the attack. Or maybe I'd just forgotten it.
I wasn't either. I do recall numerous posts asking "why no ME group ever claimed credit for murrah"
according to Scales statement, the fibbers identified several ME groups taking credit. of course this connection doesn't fit with the "official version" laying all the blame on the right wing militias & talk radio. accordingly it has not been reported.
I don't think anyone has ever questioned General Scales credibility, though.
I'm almost confident he'd give you an honest answer if you asked him about the ME connection.
good question, fred.
Germany paid Bosnian Muslim immigrants $25,000 dollars and up to resettle in the U.S. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims chose Jacksonville, Fl as their new home. Recently, Wolfowitz identified two cities with Al Qaeda terrorist cell nodes, one was Hamburg, Germany the other was Jacksonville, FL.