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The Magic Bullet Meets McVeigh
November 22, 2002
By Maureen Farrell

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"The broad mass of a nation," wrote Adolf Hitler, "will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." In that regard, Americans are no different than Germans.

In our lifetimes, we've been told several big lies; held afloat by a subset of ridiculous smaller ones. For years, people believed Lee Harvey Oswald was Kennedy's lone assassin, based upon the patently absurd magic bullet theory used to substantiate that claim. Initially, newspapers and citizens indignantly supported President Johnson's plans for an escalation in the Vietnam War, following a phony attack by phantom submarines in the Gulf of Tonkin. And a single kook is believed to have brought down the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, using one Ryder truck, despite news reports and eyewitness accounts suggesting otherwise.

Atop the most recent pile of lies, of course, rest claims the government was unaware terrorists would use airplanes as weapons, even though G8 Summit organizers took precautions to protect President Bush from such an attack in July, 2001. And as literature from this year's Chicago-based Homeland Security Conference confirms, "On the morning of September 11th 2001, [John] Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building."

How do we sort through the lies?

As always, the most credible witnesses are those with nothing to gain through deceit. Sept.11 widow Julia Sweeney, for example, refused to take the $1.7 million "government buyout" after her husband Brian's plane crashed into the World Trade Center, so she would be free to take legal action. "This is the only way that I can get answers that I want," she told Phil Donahue. "There have been many things swept under the carpet. And I think it's a shame in a government that you trust - I think it's a shame, the things that they choose to tell you and the things they choose not to tell you."

Pundits also pick and chose what to tell. During a recent Crossfire appearance, Frank Gaffney questioned the official story regarding the Oklahoma City bombing. The audience laughed nervously, and Paul Begala likened it to O.J.'s search for the "real killers." But Gaffney's right. The official story is flawed.

Citing the investigative work of Jayna Davis, Gaffney addressed the difficulties she's encountered getting others to take her work seriously. A former television reporter with KFOR in Oklahoma City, Davis was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the 1995 bombing, and one of the first to realize something was amiss. Since then, she's deciphered 80 pages of affidavits from more than 20 eyewitnesses, while sifting through more than 2,000 supporting documents that suggest, among other things, that Timothy McVeigh did not act alone. Davis cites reports McVeigh had an alleged dark-haired accomplice, identified as "John Doe No. 2." But since all 12 surveillance cameras were confiscated, this claim remains unproven.

Live television reports from Oklahoma City substantiate other claims, however, indicating that there were multiple bombs in the Murrah Federal Building, and at least two explosions. (These news reports can be viewed 17 minutes into Alex Jones' "911: The Road to Tyranny" online video, halfway down the page at But while Alex Jones takes a highly sensationalistic and conspiratorial "the government did it" New World Orderly stance, Frank Gaffney takes a more practical approach. He appears to be interested in manipulating questions to coincide with his desire to topple Saddam Hussein.

In a recent column in the Rev. Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times, Gaffney asserted that "there is evidence of Iraqi involvement in at least one and perhaps all three of most deadly terrorist attacks in the United States to date" and reported that Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter "has recently promised an investigation into the matter." (Specter, you may recall, was also the Warren Commission member who authored the "single bullet theory" to prove Oswald acted alone.)

By all means, we should get to the truth regarding what happened in Oklahoma in 1995. But if we reopen the case, we should do so in search of the truth, not in search of propaganda designed to make us feel better about killing innocents and taking over Iraq's oil reserves. Links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein have yet to be proven, no matter how hard Bush, Inc. and Frank Gaffney have tried. The temptation to stretch the truth may extend to Oklahoma City as well.

Though we should recognize and consider Jayna Davis' work, we should also be mindful that investigations have unearthed substantial evidence regarding America's other big lies, too. Nigel Turner, for example, compiled enough information and evidence to fill six hours worth of videotape in his powerful documentary series, The Men Who Killed Kennedy, which (surprise surprise) contains compelling arguments against the magic bullet theory. So, while you're at it, Sen. Specter, why not see if you can unlock the JFK evidence the government refuses to let us see until 2039?

Come to think of it, we can also make certain that the families of September 11 victims need not, as Stephen Push recently told NPR, remain "optimistically cautious" regarding an independent investigation into the attacks, but can be fully confident our government and our leaders will do everything possible to unearth the unvarnished truth. Unfortunately, Push has acknowledged that he's uncomfortable that President Bush gets to pick the chairman of the investigative panel, but nevertheless relieved Sen. John McCain would choose one of the members.

Who to trust, indeed.

But as Sen. Specter and Frank Gaffney lobby for the Oklahoma City case to be reopened, why stop there? Let's investigate all the big lies. As they say, the truth will set us free.

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