Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Iraq Connections to U.S. Extremists

By Kelly Patricia O'Meara <>


In the global war on terror, law-enforcement officials may need to look in

our own backyard for clues about who sent anthrax to Capitol Hill and TV



Who's behind the deadly anthrax letters? That is the hot-button question of

the moment. While federal law-enforcement officials have come up short in

connecting the postal poison to Osama bin Laden, Iraq or any other

individual terrorist or state sponsor of terrorism, experts well-versed in

terrorism wonder why more attention hasn't been focused on a connection much

closer to home.


For example, considerable evidence that may prove helpful in the ongoing

investigation has been made public in other recent terrorism cases. Nowhere

is this more evident than in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah

Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the relationship of convicted bombing

conspirator Terry Nichols to elements of Iraqi intelligence.

During the trial of Timothy McVeigh, the convicted mastermind behind the

Oklahoma City bombing, information surfaced concerning Nichols' frequent

visits to the Philippines; McVeigh attorney Stephen Jones later wrote about

this extensively in his book Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the

Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. According to Jones' investigation, Nichols

made numerous trips to the Philippines beginning in 1990, many lasting more

than a month.


Nichols reportedly attended a meeting in the early 1990s on the

predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao, a hotbed of fundamentalist

activities, at which Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah

were present. The themes of the meeting were "bombing activities, providing

firearms and ammunition, training in making and handling bombs." Yousef was

the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993; Murad and Shah

were convicted in a 1996 conspiracy to blow up 12 U.S. jetliners.

Laurie Mylroie, a Harvard-trained Ph.D. who is an expert on Iraqi terrorism

and author of Study of Revenge: The First World Trade Center Attack and

Saddam Hussein's War Against America, was a consultant to Jones during the

Oklahoma City investigation. She tells Insight "the connection of Terry

Nichols, the Philippines and Ramzi Yousef is a very important point that

neither the FBI nor the press pursued." Mylroie adds, "I doubt that Nichols

has ever been asked about his connections to Yousef because the government

didn't want to know. It wanted to say, 'Here are the perpetrators; we

arrested them and we brought them to justice. Case closed.'"


Mylroie continues: "The fact is, Ramzi Yousef was in the Philippines at the

same time as Nichols and visited the same city out of which the Oklahoma

City bombing was planned. I doubt that connection ever was pursued. Only the

people in charge of the investigation can explain their motives in failing

to focus public attention on this, but I can guess. Remember that before the

bombing [President Bill] Clinton was in deep political trouble but, by

dealing with it in the fashion he did, his kite rose and he was able to make

it look like the FBI did a splendid, knockdown investigation. It was kind of

like, 'Okay, Tim McVeigh is the mastermind; Terry Nichols assisted him;

don't ask any more questions.' That settled, with Clinton's tremendous

capacity to feel everyone's pain, he improved his own position."


But suppose the investigation had been done another way, says the terrorist

expert, "such as saying, 'Terry Nichols has all these suspicious contacts in

the Philippines, and we're gonna pursue them because it may be there's been

a foreign bombing on American soil.' More important is that there were other

Americans involved in the McVeigh/Nichols bombing, and they could be

involved today in other terrorist activities. But the FBI just isn't going

to recognize it. The kind of irresponsibility that I and others believe the

Clinton administration committed is so mind-boggling that many well-meaning

people just can't believe it, even though there is significant evidence - a

standard of probable cause. They find it hard to accept because it would

follow that the White House and the FBI were corrupt."


A recent Fox News program appeared to support Mylroie's contention of an FBI

cover-up. Paul Bedard of U.S. News and World Report announced on the Fox and

Friends show that "top defense officials say that in all the evidence used

against Timothy McVeigh to execute him in the Oklahoma City bombing, that he

had Iraqi telephone numbers on his person. He had information about Iraq

which has led some officials to think that he was an Iraqi agent and maybe

was doing Saddam Hussein's business in Oklahoma City."


Bedard further claimed that "the FBI says this is crazy, there is no

evidence. DOD [Department of Defense] comes back and says, 'That's because

you didn't tell us it was a cover-up.' The theory is that he [McVeigh] got

those numbers from some militia groups out west which he was associating

with. This led the FBI to tell the guys at the Pentagon, 'Go fight your



Bedard's "news" is news to those who conducted the investigation of the

Oklahoma City bombing. This startling information never was brought forward

at any time during the investigation or trial. At no point in the last six

years nor the $50 million investigation did such evidence ever surface or

did anyone connect McVeigh to an Iraqi agent, let alone turn up "Iraqi

telephone numbers" on his person or in his effects. Jones tells Insight that

"we spent considerable time and money investigating the connection between

Nichols and the Philippines and Iraq, but I certainly don't know anything

about McVeigh and Iraqi telephone numbers."


While Nichols' ties to the Iraqis are well-documented in numerous books and

independent investigations, such as the recent report of Oklahoma state Rep.

Charles Keys, he also had ties to other militant groups. For instance, he

attended meetings in Michigan of the Posse Comitatus, a militant, right-wing

organization founded by Col. William Potter Gale and headed by James

Wickstrom. Members of Posse Comitatus, according to legal documents released

prior to McVeigh's trial, have for years been in contact with Iraq and other

rogue Arab nations that share a hatred of Israel.


This fits with the Oklahoma City defense team's conclusions concerning

Dennis Mahon, long suspected of being a player in the conspiracy to bomb the

Murrah building. Mahon is described in Jones' book as "a virulent racist and

avowed enemy of the U.S. government" and is a high-ranking member of the

White Aryan Resistance (WAR) movement. The defense team reports that its

investigation shows "the Iraqi government has given Dennis Mahon thousands

of dollars over the past six years, and Mahon has been banned from entering

Canada and the United Kingdom and is classified by Interpol as an

international terrorist." The FBI did not bother to interview Mahon in

connection to the Oklahoma City bombing.


Beyond Nichols and Mahon, there are others with connections to domestic

militant groups sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalists. These include Larry

Wayne Harris, a licensed clinical and public-health microbiologist who was

arrested in Las Vegas in February 1998 for conspiring to "possess biological

agents and toxin, to wit: anthrax and anthrax precursors for use as a

weapon." At the time of Harris' arrest he was on probation for a 1995

conviction for fraudulently obtaining bubonic-plague toxins. According to

the 1998 Las Vegas FBI complaint, "Harris told a group about plans to place

a globe of bubonic-plague toxins in a New York City subway station, where it

would be broken by a passing subway train, causing hundreds of thousands of



Furthermore, in a 1996 letter to Aryan Nation founder Pastor Richard Butler,

the white-supremacist leader says Harris requested that Butler publish his

manuscript on germ warfare, in the preface of which Harris described an

encounter with an Iraqi who provided a lengthy commentary on biological

warfare and detailed the progress of the Iraqi program in the United States.

Butler did not publish the manuscript but confirms that, until his arrest in

1998, Harris had been a member of the Aryan Nation.

Whether any of these men or organizations are involved in or have knowledge

of the current flurry of anthrax attacks is anyone's guess, just as it is

anyone's guess whether anyone in law enforcement is so much as curious about

what these organizations and individuals might have to contribute to the

current investigation.


Still there are other clues pointing to possible domestic involvement in the

anthrax attacks that might be checked. Beyond the acknowledgment that all

the anthrax-infected letters have been mailed from within the United States,

the letters sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and NBC

Nightly News anchorman Tom Brokaw also share similarities to past domestic



For instance, federal law-enforcement officials have confirmed that the

handwriting on both the Daschle and Brokaw letters is the same, and the

media, FBI, and Daschle himself have referred to the handwriting as

"childlike scrawl." An identical reference to a "childlike scrawl" was made

by Associated Press reporter Russ Bynum in a June 1997 article updating the

investigation into a series of bombings around Atlanta. Authorities

"released a letter claiming responsibility for the Jan. 16 [abortion] clinic

blast and the Feb. 21 [gay] nightclub bombing [that] was written by the Army

of God," Bynum reported. "The letter is scrawled in childlike block



That letter spoke of the "ungodly communist regime in New York" and called

for "death to the New World Order," the nom de guerre "signature" of accused

abortion-clinic bomber Eric Rudolph.

In addition to the letters sent to Daschle and Brokaw, more than 100

abortion clinics also received letters containing white powder, of which a

handful made reference to the Army of God, an extremist antiabortion group.

The connection may be of some interest because the FBI charged fugitive

antiabortionist Rudolph for the Atlanta abortion clinic, gay nightclub and

Centennial Park bombings. The Army of God claimed responsibility for those

bombings, but it appears the FBI believes Rudolph himself uses the term the

"Army of God."


It is not known whether Rudolph is a member of the Aryan Nation, but it has

been reported widely that he lived in a trailer at the Christian Identity

Church of Israel in Schell City, Mo., and as a teen-ager participated in at

least one Aryan Nation ceremony. Furthermore, the FBI has produced a profile

of the alleged bomber that states: "Rudolph learned the radical ideology of

the Christian Identity Movement as a teen-ager and espouses the view that

the white race is God's chosen nation." The FBI maintains that Rudolph

appears to have been in contact with the Aryan Nation.


Butler of the Aryan Nation tells Insight any allegations that his

organization is involved in any of the current terrorism events are false.

According to Butler, "We don't have anything to do with the Iraqis. They're

not white people, but we're sympathetic to them. We're not into spreading

plagues, but I say more power to whoever [sic] is doing what he thinks is

best. That's between him and his God. But we've never trained with the

Iraqis or learned from them how to build bombs. For that you just have to go

on the Internet to get the information."


When asked if it was possible that a member of his organization could be

involved in the mailing of the deadly anthrax letters to take advantage of

the current crisis, Butler says he couldn't rule it out. "Biological is

something that is beyond most of us, but it could be a copycat thing or Eric

Rudolph or something like that." Laughing, Butler puts the situation in

perspective, "They had 500 FBI guys looking for him [Rudolph] in the hills

of North Carolina and now we've got an army looking for bin Laden. I guess

this shows that they like to make a target of one man at a time."

Affiliations don't necessarily make a connection or prove culpability, but

in the midst of the largest FBI investigation in history there are many who

are wondering why these groups and individuals have not been questioned.

They might have useful information.

Home - Last Updated: 
 © 2001 Robert E. Donaldson.  All rights reserved