As the OKC anniversary reminds us, America's right-wing mental degenerates stand proudly with the world's most extreme mental degenerates
You notice that right-wingers, confirmed apologists for right-wing degeneracy, react violently any time there's a hint of public discussion of its virulence and scope. You have to figure it hits too close to home. For the record, no, it wasn't "Islamic terrorists" who bombed the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on this day in 1995; it was our very own native right-wing goonybirds.
"The biggest question that continues to hang over the Oklahoma City bombing is whether McVeigh was freelancing -- or whether he was part of a broader conspiracy that extended beyond Nichols. For all their painstaking research, [Andrew] Gumbel and[Roger] Charles can never quite answer this question."
-- Michael Isikoff, in "Oklahoma City Bombing’s
Unanswered Questions in New Book," on The Daily Beast
Unanswered Questions in New Book," on The Daily Beast
That's what I remember most about the event of April 19, 1995 -- beyond the carnage itself, I mean. That while the Right-Wing Noise Machine was able to wallow in its fond fantasy of Islamic terrorists finding their way to Oklahoma City, it was the only thing that was talked about, but as soon as we found out who seemed actually responsible, which is to say crackpots nurtured in the bosom of the right-wing extremist movements, the "discussion" basically went silent. Ideological imbeciles who as recently as hours before had been screaming at the top of their lungs -- and at the limit, I'm afraid, of their flatline-zero functional intelligences -- for bloody vengeance, absolutely lost interest.
It wasn't an aberration, of course, the Oklahoma City bombing. It was simply the philosophy of 21st-century "conservatism," a philosophy that might best be described with the Click-and-Clack phrase as "unencumbered by the thought process," acted out to its fullest degree. And as a new book on the bombing reminds us, we still don't know the extent of the link between bomber Timothy McVeigh and his bomb-building accomplice Terry Nichols and the armed-and-dangerous right-wing movements.
Michael Isikoff has a highly recommended piece on The Daily Beast, "Oklahoma City Bombing’s Unanswered Questions in New Book," based on that new book: Oklahoma City: What the Investigators Missed -- and Why It Still Matters, by Andrew Gumbel and Roger Charles.
"A RESURGENT MOVEMENT OF LOOSELY CONNECTED
EXTREMIST HATE GROUPS, CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
FANATICS, AND GUN-TOTING MILITIA MEMBERS"
We'll never know how long our authorities would have continued pursuing those dastardly Islamic terrorists if "a sharp-eyed Oklahoma state trooper named Charlie Hanger" hadn't seen and pulled over "a beat-up Mercury Marquis with no license plates cruising down a highway headed to Kansas," driven by "a fresh-faced Army vet" -- who proceeded to pull a gun on him!
"The feds," says Isikoff, "certainly had legitimate reason to be worried about Islamic extremists in the mid-1990's."
But there was an equally menacing threat that was being largely ignored by federal law enforcement, a resurgent movement of loosely connected extremist hate groups, Christian Identity fanatics, and gun-toting militia members, all convinced that American liberty was in grave peril.
As Gumbel and Charles amply document, U.S. law enforcement had plenty of warning signals that these groups were planning violent attacks—and even that the Murrah Building itself might well be one of the targets.
There were even, as Isikoff points out, warnings from the right-wing crazies that there would be fireworks on April 19, the anniversary of the carnage at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, a date that live in infamy for confirmed right-wing mental degenerates -- and many right-wing ideologues who pretend not to be mental degenerates -- who are unable or unwilling to grasp the screamingly obvious fact that the root cause of the Waco horror was out-of-control right-wing degeneracy.
The Waco anniversary, Isikoff, notes, "had become a rallying cry for the far right, but for reasons ranging from bureaucratic rivalries to political timidity, few in Washington were paying any attention."
FBI, MEET ATF.
ATF, MEET THE FBI.
Actually, I guess the problem isn't that they don't know each other, but that they do. At the top of the list of "bureaucratic rivalries" is the "virtual war" between ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) and the FBI. "The two agencies barely talked," says Isikoff, "much less shared intelligence about the radical right." And apparently both agencies had potentially important information and what Isikoff described as "a resurgent movement of loosely connected extremist hate groups, Christian Identity fanatics, and gun-toting militia members, all convinced that American liberty was in grave peril."
Specifically, both ATF and the FBI had information about sinister goings-on at Elohim City," a cultish compound of racist oddballs in the remote hills of eastern Oklahoma City whose leader, Robert 'Grandpa" Millar,' had been [white-supremacist convicted double murderer Richard Wayne] Snell's 'spiritual adviser.'" Snell is Richard Wayne Snell, a white-supremacist mastermind and then on Death Row in Arkansas for a double murderer, scheduled to be executed on (when else?) April 19. Snell and assorted disciples of his had all sorts of ties to the right-wing crackpot groups
We know that Timothy McVeigh knew Andreas Strassmeir ("one of the more intriguing stealth characters in this tale"), grandson of a founder of the Nazi Party who at the time was chief of security at Elohim City. We know that Strassmeir had given McVeigh his business card and phone number "and invited him to stop by anytime." We also know, from McVeigh's phone calling card, that he called Elohim City on April 5.
THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK ILL OF RIGHT-WING
CRACKPOTS -- OR PREPARE TO PAY THE PRICE
You might think that at least after the fact, if not before, considering the assorted other information both ATF and the FBI had coming out of Elohim City and other right-wing hotbeds, some relevant law-enforcement authority would have had some some questions to ask, independently if not cooperatively (an apparent impossibility!). Apparently if you think that, though, you're wrong. All we have is unanswered questions about possible links between these shadowy sweethearts and the events of April 19, 1995.
You may wonder, why is that? Isikoff cites one really big reason.
Especially after Waco, the political risks of delving too deeply into the radical right were too great. "Everybody just walked in fear of domestic-terrorism cases," Horace Mewborn, another former [FBI] official told the authors. "They were positive they were going to blow up in their face."
In the years since Oklahoma City and especially after Barack Obama's election, the radical race hatred and anti-government paranoia that infused McVeigh continues to thrive—on Internet chat rooms, in militia hideouts, and at obscure rural compounds like the one that was at Elohim City. Three years ago, a Homeland Security intelligence analyst wrote a scary report warning that right-wing extremist groups were making a comeback and needed to be more closely tracked.
Conservative critics in Congress were outraged, accusing Homeland Security of preparing to monitor American citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Homeland Security scrapped the report and the analyst, Daryl Johnson, soon left his job, only to pop up in the news again last year when a demented anti-Muslim fanatic in Norway blew up government buildings and shot scores of children at a Labor Party youth camp. It was the worst act of terrorism in a Western country in recent years. Such killings "could easily happen here," Johnson told reporters.
Isikoff notes in closing: "As Gumbel and Charles remind us, they already have."
HOW DO YOU TELL FAR-RIGHT CRACKPOTS
FROM SO-CALLED "MAINSTREAM" REPUBLICANS?
This is not a riddle; it's a question, based on the American Right's descent deeper and deeper into its hermetically sealed world of paranoia, lies, and delusion, generously laced with anything from willingness to eagerness for violence, all backed by massive funding from super-rich right-wing magnates who have learned how to wildly compound their fortunes by harnessing the thug power of the foot soldiers and fellow travelers of the Sociopathic Right.
As is true with almost everything that concerns the modern American Right, a double standard is not merely tolerated but celebrated:
* When it comes to people even slightly left of center on the modern-day political spectrum (in which Hitler, for example, is a "socialist"), any indication, even the slightest and least significant, of speech or behavior that deviates from right-wing orthodoxy, whether real or made up, is treated with full blast from the Right-Wing Noise Machine as a clear and present danger to the Republic.
* Whereas it's considered a blood libel against patriotic Americans to cast aspersions on -- or, often, even to mention -- actual documented speech and behavior by people associated with right-wing causes, no matter how extreme.
Bear in mind that it has become less and less possible to separate the most extreme right-wing crackpots and causes from what now passes for "mainstream" Republicanism. Hell, more and more of the far-right-wing crackpots are now certified GOP political officeholders.