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Figure 1. The remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

On April 19, 1995 the face of domestic terrorism changed in the United States. Timothy McVeigh, along with Terry Nichols, bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and causing an estimate of $652 million worth of damage. [1]

 

 

 

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Figure 2. This is one of the most infamous images from the Waco Siege and shows the burning Branch Davidian compound.

McVeigh’s motivation for this brazen attack was his hatred of the federal government with the catalyst’s being two widely publicized siege/shootouts between the United States government and its citizens, the Ruby Ridge standoff and the Waco Siege. Involved in both of these incidents was the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal law enforcement agency tasked with, among other things, investigating and preventing federal offenses that involve the use, manufacture or possession of firearms and explosives. Both incidences involved violations of federal gun laws and the subsequent handling of both cases lead to many hearings on the standing of the ATF as a federal organization. Furthermore, it led to the creation and promotion of a theory that as a federal organization the ATF was intending to take firearms away from all American citizens.

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Figure 3. This image shows Vicki Weaver under surveillance by federal agents.

It was this idea that led Timothy McVeigh to plant a bomb in Oklahoma City with the intent to strike back against the government. While this is widely accepted as the basic truth of the case, there are those who question this narrative of events and believe in an alternative set of occurrences. The core belief of the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy is that the government either had knowledge forehand of the attack or were directly responsible for the attack itself.

As a fore point the author fully acknowledges the failure of the government to act within reason when acting out on the cases of Ruby Ridge and Waco. However what will not be accepted or entertained is the idea that the US government perpetrated or played a role in the bombing of Oklahoma City.

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Figure 4. Alex Jones – the face of right-wing conspiracy theories in America.

One of the biggest proponents of the theory of government involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing is the radio host, Alex Jones. Jones is a noted conspiracy theorist and uses his show, The Alex Jones Show, to promote such beliefs. Among the beliefs that Jones’ promotes are: the moon landings were faked by the government, the US government perpetrating 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre being a conspiracy to take away guns from citizens. [2] In addition to his presenting his theories on his radio show, Jones promotes his theories and products heavily on his website, InfoWars.com. As for his beliefs on the Oklahoma City bombing, Jones believes this was another attack perpetrated by the government against American citizens. Alex Jones specifically believes that the Oklahoma City bombing was a false flag operation perpetrated in part by the ATF. The goal of this operation was to cast Republicans and right-wing activists in a negative light in order benefit from the resulting fear and enact new legislation. [3] Jones promoted and was interviewed by the documentary A Noble Lie, which promoted the idea of the Oklahoma City Bombing being perpetrated by the US government. Although the documentary is still promoted on Jones’ website, links to purchase this DVD no longer function on the website. [4] This is a conspiracy that Jones holds fast too and frequently promotes. As recently as August 2016, Jones has claimed that Oklahoma City was a false flag operation in order to discredit then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. [5]

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Figure 5. Jayna Davis – former broadcast journalist who now promotes conspiracy theories on the OKC bombing.

The next site that covers conspiracies concerning the OKC is the website American Thinker. This website published an article that supports the idea of a John Doe #2, a second accomplice to McVeigh. The article was written by former broadcast journalist Jayna Davis, the author iterates that there a second willing accomplice to McVeigh and a supposed cover-up by the FBI. Davis was a broadcast journalist at the time of the bombing and covered stories on “Middle-Eastern-looking” suspects wanted in conjunction with the bombing. The article begins with an uncited poll stating that 80% of Americans believe that additional conspirators escaped prosecution in the case. Davis describes a confession from Terry Nichols, the traditionally accepted accomplice to McVeigh, of an unnamed accomplice undiscovered by the FBI. The author treats this supposed accomplice as the true mastermind and as someone who has the power to bring harm to Terry Nichols and his family, with the former serving 161 life sentences with no parole for his role in the attack. According to Davis, the obvious real mastermind was Iraqi soldiers with the help from Saddam Hussein. [6]

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Figure 6. Lorraine Day – a medical doctor who promotes holistic medicine to treat cancer and AIDS.

Good News About God promotes the idea that Tim McVeigh is still alive in an article entitled, Tim McVeigh is Still Alive! Then article written by Lorraine Day, a medical doctor who promotes alternative cancer treatments, claims the Holocaust was a lie and advocated the idea of testing surgery patients for AIDS. To begin with her article interesting acts from a presumption that the readership knows of the supposed evidence that Timothy McVeigh did not detonate the Oklahoma City bomb. The author explains this reasoning as “We won’t go into the extensive evidence showing that Tim McVeigh did not blow up the building, and I’ll show who really did it.  …  The evidence is in many places on the internet, and eventually I will write about it on my website.  But it takes time to write these extensive exposes.” The article glosses over proving one of the main points to their argument and instead focuses on the “faked” execution of Timothy McVeigh. Among the facts cited to support the theory are: McVeigh choosing not to appeal his case and having his execution date moved up, prison visits from a psychiratrist, Dr. Louis Jollyon West, who she claims was in charge of the MK Ultra Mind Control program, the state not donating the executed prisoners organs, the sealing of the prisoners’ medical records for 25 years, McVeigh’s lawyers petitioning the court that an autopsy not be done, the placing of the IV tube used for the execution in McVeigh’s leg, and the claims of a witness that McVeigh has signs of life after he was ruled dead. [7]

By discussing these theories it is worth mentioning that they are not completely wrong or that there is some factual truth within them. Jayna Davis is correct in that there was initial searching for additional suspects in addition to those already captured. However these searches were cancelled and official reports concluded the involvement of two suspects. In addition Lorraine Day is right in calling into question the practicality of executing someone in the leg. However, it is not impossible for this to work and the work of executing someone is often performed by untrained interns. The most recurring logical fallacy occurring in these theories is cherry picking. All the theorists’ pick facts that support their viewpoint and then ignore any evidence that contradict or alter this perspective. Evidently the people who promote these theories, Alex Jones in particular, profit from the ideology these theories collaborate. They create an us vs. them mentality of the public vs. the government and sell products that profit from this type of mentality. The entire theory relies on the belief that the United States government is malicious enough to bring harm against the American and skilled enough to perpetrate such a crime. In addition, this theory also relies on the fact that the United States government had no clear goal in this plan and no way to benefit. All it leads to are more theories that never have a concrete standing and only rely on leaning on each other.

Looking back, the handling of Waco and Ruby Ridge could have been better and lessons can be learned. However these possible lessons are now muddled under the bombing that occurred in Oklahoma City and the aftermath. In regards to conspiracy theories, what can be learned from the Oklahoma City case is to question seemingly qualified sources; be they journalists or doctors. In addition, that people will distort facts and look for singular points to justify their own ideas and claims. While official accounts should never be taken for-granted, it is important to ideas that are harmful or created for entirely selfish purposes.

[1] n.a. “Oklahoma City Bombing.” History.com n.d. Web. 7 November 2016.

[2] n.a. “Alex Jones (radio host).” Wikipedia.org n.d. Web. 7 November 2016.

[3] The Alex Jones Channel. “How OKC Bombing Was A False Flag To Blame Liberty Movement.” YouTube.com 19 April 2015. Web. 7 November 2016.

[4] Craig McKee “DOCUMENTARY A NOBLE LIE EXPOSES OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING AS GOVERNMENT BLACK-OP.” TruthAndShadows.com. 27 September 2012. Web. 7 November 2016.

[5] n.a. ‘Alex Jones Responds To Clinton Speech By Doubling Down On Conspiracy Theories: “We’re Covering Real Things”.’ MediaMatters.org. 25 August 2016. Web. 7 November 2016.

[6] Davis, Jayna. “Confession of the Oklahoma City Bomber: John Doe 2 Exists.” AmericanThinker.com. 11 April 2016. Web. 7 November 2016.

[7] Day, Lorraine. “Tim McVeigh is Still Alive!.” GoodNewsAboutGod.com. n.d. Web. 7 November 2016.

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