McVeigh 'did not act alone in Oklahoma bombing'

Independent - London/May 11, 2001

For six years, there have been suspicions that Timothy McVeigh did not act alone when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.

Today, The Independent reveals he was part of an underground network of white-supremacist guerrillas dedicated to the overthrow of the American government, and explains how the group kept its role hidden for so long.

Known as the Aryan Republican Army, the network came to light five years ago when its leaders were arrested for 22 bank robberies committed across the Midwest from late 1993 until several months after the April 1995 bombing.

They were prosecuted and imprisoned for the robberies, but their links to the Oklahoma bomb never came out in court. Those have emerged through the efforts of a handful of reporters, academics and relatives of the bombing victims who found copies of confidential prosecution documents, saw written and video material recovered from the gang and interviewed some of the protagonists.

It is now believed the ARA financed and helped to stage the bombing, the worst peacetime atrocity on US soil, which claimed 168 lives including 19 children. There is also evidence that McVeigh, who faces death by lethal injection at a US penitentiary in Indiana next Wednesday, was part of the robbery gang and participated in at least the planning stage of some of the hold-ups.

The Independent's Review section today demolishes the theory that McVeigh was alone in Oklahoma City on the morning of the bombing. It shows why many of the claims made by McVeigh in a series of interviews for the recently published book American Terrorist do not stand up to scrutiny.

It also explains why the Federal Bureau of Investigation and government prosecutors gave up their efforts to find his accomplices. It describes the extraordinary exploits of the ARA's two ringleaders, Pete Langan and Richard Guthrie, accomplished career criminals who happened to be secret cross-dressers as well as virulent exponents of racist anti- government ideology.

The Independent has obtained a 300-page handwritten memoir penned by Guthrie in prison before he was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell in July 1996. In it, he names one of the robbery gang members as a certain "Tim."

The links between the ARA and McVeigh were established in 1993 and continued regularly until the time of the bombing. All of them led frantically itinerant lifestyles, driving cross-country and staying in motels under assumed names, but on several occasions were in the same place at the same time on similar business.

In January 1995, all of them abruptly left Kansas for a six-week stint in Arizona where there is evidence that a trial fertiliser bomb was exploded in the desert.

The ARA developed the notion of "leaderless resistance", a cell- based guerrilla structure in which individual members knew next to nothing about each other.

Operating out of a safe-house in eastern Kansas, it also developed contacts with various far-right groups including a white supremacist religious compound in Oklahoma, Elohim City, which has long been suspected of involvement in the bombing.

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