Upton Sinclair and Timothy McVeigh
Most educated Americans know that Upton Sinclair wrote a graphic, disturbing novel, published in 1906, about the sorry conditions in the meat-packing industry in Chicago. Some of them might even have been required to read the book, entitled The Jungle, in school. A few more might know that Sinclair is famous for having lamented afterward, "I aimed for the public's heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach." What he meant was that he expected the country to become outraged over the treatment of the workers in the industry, but the main hue and cry that went up was over the filthiness of the meat-packing operations that he described in his book. The most immediate consequence of the book, which created an almost instant sensation and turned Sinclair into an international celebrity, was the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act.
What even fewer Americans are likely to know about Sinclair is the depth of his commitment to the struggle for the rights of working people and his almost complete estrangement from the nation's ruling establishment. He grew increasingly frustrated by how his words were either ignored or twisted by the plutocracy through the newspapers they controlled. It was an era in which working people had very few rights, with many of them laboring in abysmal circumstances for paltry wages. Those who advocated concerted, collective effort to bring about improvements were treated as dangerous subversives. In what would seem to be a positive contrast to the situation prevailing today, every major city had several daily newspapers, but that hardly made a difference when it came to the treatment of organized labor and its advocates. Except in the few, limited-circulation socialist newspapers, the activities of labor organizers were reported on by the rest of them with all the objectivity and honesty usually reserved for an enemy in wartime. Sinclair, in particular, "was frequently pictured as a violent revolutionary, a believer in free love and a social revolutionary of the most insidious sort."
The Jungle was Sinclair's sixth novel and his first commercial success. It was rejected by a number of publishing houses, no doubt because of its explosive subject matter, before Doubleday- Page picked it up. He was only 28 years old when The Jungle was published. He continued to dig and to write and to fight for social justice, but more and more he found himself marginalized, on the fringes of American society. Altogether, in his long and productive life that ended in 1968, he would write 90 books, but The Jungle was his high water mark. From then on he was, in effect, branded. His book, Dragon's Teeth, about the rise of Hitlerism in Germany, did win him a Pulitzer Prize in 1943, but in this instance he was safely pointing out the ills of another country, and one with which we were at war, at that.
His estrangement from the halls of power in America is perhaps best represented by his 1919 book on America's news media, The Brass Check. The title comes from the token given the customer of a bordello to be cashed in at the assigned upstairs room. America's journalists, he revealed from his own experience with them, had completely prostituted themselves. They did not serve the public interest, as the popular imagination would have it, but only the interests of the large monied concerns in the country. The Brass Check had no hope of finding a regular publisher, so Sinclair published it himself. Even without the distribution and publicity muscle of a publishing house, the book sold quite well, as one can determine by the fact that a large number of used copies can still be found.
The Raw Material of Thought
Except for the fact that it is a work of nonfiction, The Brass Check is to the newspaper and magazine industry what The Jungle is to the meat-packing industry. A fatal fire in a chicken- rendering plant in North Carolina a few years ago showed that at least in some corners of the industry, the situation in meat-packing has not improved all that much, but Sinclair's indictment of American journalism has stood up even better with time. The Brass Check, with its numerous examples of egregious news suppression and distortion, all protecting the interests of the powers that be, reads as though it might have been written yesterday though without any chance of publication.
Consider Sinclair's observations about the venerable wire service, the Associated Press:
By far the greater part of the news which the American people absorb about the outside world comes through the Associated Press, and the news they get is, of course, the raw material of their thought. If the news is colored or doctored, then public opinion is betrayed and the national life is corrupted at its source. There is no more important question to be considered by the American people than the question, Is the Associated Press fair? Does it transmit the news?
You can well imagine how firmly in the negative Sinclair answers that question. He does it especially with examples from the Colorado coal miners' strike of 1913-1914.
I arrived in Denver at a time when the first public fury over the Ludlow massacre had spent itself, and silence had once more been clamped down upon the newspapers. I spoke at a mass meeting in the State capitol, attended by one or two thousand people, and when I called on the audience to pledge itself never to permit the prostituted State militia to go back into the coal districts, I think every person in the legislative chamber raised his hand and took the pledge. Yet not a line about my speech was published in any Denver newspaper next morning, and needless to say, not a line was sent out by the Associated Press.
The Associated Press was playing here precisely the same part it had played with the 'condemned meat industry,' that is, it was a concrete wall.
President Woodrow Wilson, about that time, sent a telegram to Colorado's governor, Elias Ammons, threatening federal intervention to settle the ongoing, bloody labor dispute. The news of the President's telegram was suppressed until the Governor offered a reply in which he stated that the legislature had just passed an act that provided, among other things, for the appointment of a "committee on mediation on the present strike."
Then the Associated Press sent out both the President's telegram and the Governor's reply. Shortly afterward, an opposition state legislator pointed out to Sinclair that there was nothing in the act about any such committee on mediation, rather, it only called for the sort of investigation that had been done countless times before to no effect. Sinclair spread the word of this news and one local newspaper then at odds with the mine operators, The Rocky Mountain News, published it. The AP, for its part, completely ignored this information and distributed a dispatch for the rest of the country saying that, in fact, "President Wilson expressed satisfaction with the situation after he received Governor Ammons' reply...."
The Rocky Mountain News, however, revealed the next day that its own Washington correspondent had learned that the White House, in fact, had put out no word that would justify the report that the President was satisfied with the Governor's telegram.
Thoroughly upset by this time, Sinclair, in his own words, "besieged the offices of the Denver newspapers." What he got for his troubles was a major front-page interview of Governor Ammons in the Denver Post in which the Governor characterized Sinclair as an "itinerant investigator" and a "prevaricator." To support this last charge, he said in reference to the Act in question, that while the exact word "mediation" may not appear, "a reading of the resolution will show that it gives the legislative committee power to 'assist in settling the strike.' If that isn't mediation I'd like to know the true meaning of the word."
Taken aback, and fearing that he had indeed erred in his interpretation of the bill, Sinclair read it again carefully and found this time that there was no such phrase as "to assist in settling the strike" or anything remotely resembling it. Once again, the Governor had lied.
This time Sinclair responded with a letter to the Governor proposing that each appoint two friends to go over the bill to see if the words "mediation" or "to assist in settling the strike" appear. Should they find either, Sinclair promised that he would leave the state never to return. He took a copy of the letter to the newspaper that had given the Governor a forum for his lies about the bill and about Sinclair and requested that they set the record straight, which, of course, they did not do. And the AP would not set the record straight, either. They would not tell the country of this letter revealing that the legislation in question actually had nothing to do with settling the strike, the Governor's double affirmation notwithstanding, and they would make no mention of Sinclair's final clarifying telegram to the President about the matter. As his ultimate test of the AP, Sinclair on his own sent the story of his telegram to the President to fifteen of the major AP-using newspapers, and ten of them found the story sufficiently newsworthy to print it.
Oh, but times have changed, you say. That was almost a century ago, and The Brass Check itself "shamed many newspapers into raising their ethical standards" according to The New York Times in its 1968 Upton Sinclair obituary.
But then, we would expect The New York Times to assure us as that news suppression and prostitution of the press to the powers that be are all ancient history in America, wouldn't we?
The AP Flunks a Bigger Test
Let us look at a far more recent test of the Associated Press, one that occurred in the fall of 1997. The report of the Independent Counsel on the death of Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent W. Foster, was about to be released by the three judge panel that had appointed Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.. The aggrieved witness in the case, Patrick Knowlton, and his lawyer, John Clarke, had decided that it would be a good idea to cultivate an association, if not a friendship, with Pete Yost, the Associated Press writer in Washington covering the Foster case. They had been regularly informing him of developments in their law suit against several FBI officers for the harassment of Knowlton on the streets of Washington. The harassment occurred after Knowlton's determined refusal to agree that the Honda he saw parked in the lot of the park where Foster's body was found could have been Foster's car.
Now Clarke and Knowlton had learned of a very exciting development in their case. The three- judge panel had, over Starr's strenuous objections, ordered him to include in the report the 20-page letter that Clarke had written explaining not only what had happened to Knowlton, but why it had happened.
As I show in considerable detail in Part 3 of "America's Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster," the letter presents evidence that thoroughly demolishes the Starr case of suicide caused by depression. Now I reveal for the first time that Mr. Yost was given a very pointed heads-up about the Clarke-Knowlton letter. The latter two arranged a meeting with Mr. Yost. They told him that they had been informed that the letter would be included in the Starr Report as an addendum, and they explained its significance to him. Mr. Yost said that he sympathized with Mr. Knowlton over all that he had gone through, but the story, he strongly implied, was already written and was "upstairs." The matter was now out of his hands. The story would be that Starr had concluded that Foster had committed suicide out of depression, and that was that.
And so it was. In "Dreyfus," Part 3, I call it "The Great Suppression of 1997." Pete Yost and the Associated Press were especially blameworthy participants in it. As an example of news suppression it is worse than the one Upton Sinclair gives concerning the Colorado coal strike. There was no Rocky Mountain News to give Knowlton's side of the story. There were no newspapers at all who even hinted at the existence of the Clarke-Knowlton addendum. The Washington Post even put on its web site what it claimed was the entire report of the Independent Counsel, but missing from it was the Clarke-Knowlton addendum. Since it was not reported, commentary on the Foster death proceeded in the press as though the addendum, and the information it contained, did not exist.
Sold Out Scribes, Then and Now
One has to wonder what it must be like to be a Pete Yost or a Michael Isikoff of The Washington Post and later with Newsweek, who told Knowlton that he believed him, but that he wouldn't write about it because it would only raise more questions that had no answers. Later he would write a feature article making sport of critics of the official suicide ruling in the Foster case. I have met Isikoff and have been interviewed about the Foster case by Angie Cannon of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Phil Weiss of the New York Observer. Upton Sinclair had much more experience with the type than I have had, but I would say that they have not changed a bit since he wrote the following:
It happens, curiously enough, that I have met socially half a dozen members of the [Los Angeles] Times staff. They are cynical worldlings, doing a work which they despise, and doing it because they believe that life is a matter of "dog eat dog." I met the lady, Alma Whitaker, who had written the account of my Friday Morning Club lecture. She had enjoyed the lecture, she said, but afterwards had gone to the managing editor and inquired how I was to be handled; she took it for granted that I would understand this, and would regard it tolerantly. I explained to her the embarrassments of an author in relation to an unpaid grocer's bill. As a result of what she had written about me, I had not been invited by any other woman's club in Southern California.
Also I met one of the high editors of the Times, an important personage whom they feature. Talking about the question of journalistic integrity, he said: "Sinclair, it has been so long since I have written anything that I believed that I don't think I would know the sensation."
My answer was: "I have been writing on public questions for twenty years, and I can say that I have never written a single word that I did not believe."
For my own part I can tell Messrs. Yost and Isikoff and the lot of them that it is a very liberating sensation. At least once, a practicing American journalist must have experienced it. Let us return to Sinclair, this time on page 400 of The Brass Check:
As I have said, I know several of the men and women who help to edit [The Los Angeles Times]. These men and women will read this book, and I now request the general public to step outside for a few moments, while I address these editors privately. I speak, not in my own voice, but in that of an old-time journalist, venerated in his day, John Swinton, editor of the New York Tribune. He is answering, at a banquet of his fellow editors, the toast: "An Independent Press":
There is no such thing in America as an independent press, unless it is in the country towns.
You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to writes (sic) his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.
I am paid one hundred and fifty dollars a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with--others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things--and any of you who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.
The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his race and his country for his daily bread.
You know this and I know it, and what folly is this to be toasting an "Independent Press."
We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.
At this point on the road to realizing the promise of the title of this article we must take another small detour. When I encountered this Sinclair quote of John Swinton I knew right away that I had seen it before, but in various e-mails I had received through the years, as I recollected, the toast response had been made some time in the early 1950s. I did a quick search for "John Swinton" and found, indeed, a number of web sites in which the speaker was described as the "chief of staff" at The New York Times, whatever position that might be, and the date was given as 1953. Curiously enough, I found other web sites that gave the date of the statement to be 1936.
None of these attributions, of course, could be correct for Upton Sinclair to be quoting it in a book published in 1919. With a little further web digging I found that John Swinton was born in Scotland in 1829 and died in the United States in 1901. He and his brother, William, had had long journalistic careers. Both covered the U.S. Civil War, John from a managing editor's desk of The New York Times and William in the field. Like Sinclair and the present writer, they both seemed to have had a certain Scottish pugnacity and passion for the truth about them. William was decertified as a war correspondent because of some deadly accurate dispatches he wrote about the actions of one of the most spectacularly incompetent military leaders of all time, General Ambrose Burnside.
John, in spite of his forthrightness and his political radicalism, was a successful editor, including editor of the New York Tribune. For a man like that to have attained such a position in one of New York's notable newspapers, the press of his day, for all of his denunciation of it, must have been a good deal more independent than it is now.
And when, exactly, was that day? Not even Sinclair tells us exactly when the remarks were delivered. One web site, however, delivered the goods, that is, if it can be believed. At the far- left-leaning, www.redthread.f2s.com , we find the assertion that Swinton made his remarks on April 12, 1883. (That link is now dead, but see http://www.radioliberty.com/nlsept04.html and notice that their source is p. 671 of The Great Quotations by George Seldes, 1960.)
How to Think You Know
As it happens, one more noteworthy web site correctly placed Swinton in the late 19th century instead of the mid-20th century. That is a site with the quite pretentious name of "How to Know." operated by former Encyclopedia Britannica editor, Robert McHenry (See www.howtoknow.com . Oops. This is another dead link. Now you'll have to pay good money for this misinformation by first going to http://www.booklocker.com/books/1641.html). Currently, McHenry tells us, he is in the consulting business, and one of the companies he consults for specializes in software for companies to use for monitoring the Internet use of their employees. Now here is a man who, from first-hand experience, ought to know quite a lot about brass-checkery. From his online published mini-book, also titled "How to Know," one sees quickly enough that McHenry is among those "mainstream" opinion-molding types who are fighting a desperate rearguard action against the powerful, liberating new technology of the Net. He seized upon the misinformation about the date of the Swinton speech with a great "Aha," using it as just one more example of why one can't believe anything but what he is told by the mainstream media or similar established authority. The concept of intentionally self-discrediting false critics is utterly foreign to him.
Reading "How to Know" is, for the most part a mind numbing experience. It becomes interesting only when one reads it for purposes unintended by the author. I would recommend in particular the long passage dealing with his great discovery, which is in the chapter entitled "Evidence and Authority." There you will find the familiar mainstreamer's smugness of tone as he mocks those who fail to swallow whole what they are fed by the corporate-government media complex as just so many misguided believers in a "conspiracy of bankers, government, the media, the Trilateral Commission, the pope, the Illuminati, the Masons, or aliens from Dimension X."
McHenry says that "something about the language" in the Swinton quote made him wonder, so he did a little "elementary library research" to establish the real facts. The Net, he strongly suggests, can't be trusted. The date of the speech, to McHenry, makes all the difference:
"[Swinton] became a journalist at a time when there was little professional about that line of work, when newspaper publishers and editors battled for circulation and advertising by means that today would be unthinkable (well, except by the supermarket tabloids, who are following in a long-established, if not particularly admirable, tradition)."
With his library research McHenry was never able to establish a date for Swinton's press attack, only guessing that it was sometime in the 1880s or 1890s. I agree with him that there are some things in the Swinton statement that don't exactly fit today's journalism. Not only is it because we would hardly be likely to find anyone with Swinton's honesty and courage in a high level position at The New York Times at such a late date, but it is also because things are considerably worse now, not better, as he would have us believe. Take, for instance, the first sentence, "There is no such thing in America as an independent press, unless it is in the country towns." With Gannett and Scripps-Howard and Newhouse and other such chains having gobbled them up, any independent press in the "country towns" is a thing of the past. The blackout on the existence of the Clarke-Knowlton addendum to the Independent Counsel's report on Foster was total. Our controllers have long since learned that it won't do to have newspapers breaking ranks like the Rocky Mountain News did in the Colorado mining strike. In how many newspapers do we see, for instance, any serious challenges to the preposterous single-bullet thesis in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?
And this brings us to the real datedness of the Swinton remarks, and The Brass Check, too, for that matter. Swinton says that journalists are the "tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes." In The Brass Check, the buck stops there as well. It is no more than the "Media Monopoly" thesis of the modern fake left media critic, Ben H. Bagdikian (See "Fake Media Critic?" for substantiation of the "fake left" charge.), and it is more than half a century out of date.
The profit motive and the overarching power of the advertisers who account for most of the media revenue are not now at the root of the biggest problem. Why should it be a concern of the department store owners, the soap makers, the automobile dealers, etc., that the truth not come out in such matters as the Kennedy assassination, the Foster death, the crash of TWA 800, the Waco holocaust, or the Oklahoma City bombing, to cite a few important examples? Clearly the hands now working the media puppets are far more monolithic, more powerful, and more diabolical than those described by Swinton and Sinclair. Precisely identifying those hands and exposing them ought to be the primary concern of everyone who would pursue truth and justice. It would be the concern of a real independent press, the sort envisioned by Thomas Jefferson, and I can't help believing that it would be a prime concern of Upton Sinclair if he were alive and in his prime today.
Charlie Rose's Unintended Revelation
It was getting close to 11 o'clock and the ball game I was watching on TV was interrupted by a commercial. At that point I put the remote control into action and stumbled across Charlie Rose and his interview program on Public Television. The trial of accused Murrah Building bomber, Timothy McVeigh was going on at the time--something one would hardly know, so light had the media coverage been--and Rose was interviewing two journalists covering the trial, one from The Los Angeles Times and one from Time magazine. I don't remember the name of the LA Times reporter, who was a white man. The Time reporter was a black man whose name, I believe, is Peter King. At any rate, Rose had been asking the sort of standard questions that confirmed the official story on the bombing until, with time running out, he seemed to have exhausted his prepared script. Off the cuff he asked, "Is there a possibility that we might not be getting the full truth out in this trial?"
At that point, perhaps tired like Rose at the end of a long day, King let the cat out of the bag. "Well," he said, "there were a number of witnesses who say they saw Tim McVeigh in Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing, but none of them were called to testify. They weren't called because the FBI maintains that McVeigh's only accomplice was Terry Nichols, and he was in Kansas that day."
Wow! There you have it. Anyone swallowing the proposition that young foot-soldier Timothy McVeigh was the mastermind and principal perpetrator of this colossal crime had to be extremely gullible in the first place, and here was the Time guy on national television virtually confirming that unnamed others were involved. So how did my fellow eastern North Carolinian respond to this bombshell? Upton Sinclair would not have been surprised in the least. Rose changed the subject.
Think of it. The federal government knows that others were involved with McVeigh, but they show no interest in going after them. The soldier is tried and convicted while the officers are allowed to escape punishment. Why would that be? Does it not strongly suggest that the feds know who the others were who were involved and that they are protected people above the law? At the very least, we know now that at least one reporter from Time magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and Public Television know that others were involved, but you don't hear a peep about it from any members of the mainstream press.
Might Mr. King of Time magazine simply have been mistaken about the witnesses? Actually, when I heard him make his revelation it was already old news to me. I had already read on the Internet about the witnesses who saw McVeigh with others in Oklahoma City that day. It is also something that the independent-minded Oklahoma grand juror, Hoppy Heidelberg, maintains to be true. See http://independence.net/okc/hoppyheidelberg.htm and http://www.thegreatboycott.net/hoppy.html . In a letter to the judge he named some of those witnesses whom he wished the prosecutors to call before the grand jury. See http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/OK/PARTIN/ok6.htm .
Revealing Cover-up Book
Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, authors of American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing, obliquely lend credence to the story of the witnesses seeing McVeigh in the company of others in Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing. This is on page 230 as they describe McVeigh's actions on April 19, 1995: "In the next half-minute, perhaps a dozen people saw McVeigh walking away from the Murrah Building." One hundred and seven pages later in the book we have this: "...not one government witness could place [McVeigh] in the state of Oklahoma at the time of the blast." They make no attempt to resolve the apparent contradiction. But there is no contradiction, of course, if the witnesses who saw McVeigh most inconveniently saw him with accomplices.
The situation is analogous to the magic bullet theory in the Kennedy assassination case. One must wonder why the feds and their lap dog press have chosen to dig in their heels on such indefensible ground. Couldn't they just yield to the preponderance of evidence and admit that there had to have been at least one more gunman besides Lee Harvey Oswald and that Timothy McVeigh was not by himself that day in Oklahoma City? The fact that they don't speaks volumes.
One witness at the trial, according to Michel and Herbeck, did see someone park the truck in front of the Murrah Building and walk away from it. But that person, a female victim of the bombing by the name of Daina Bradley, described a man with dark skin, closer to the famous artist rendering of the mysterious John Doe Number Two, than to Timothy McVeigh. Here the authors, as in other places in the book, simply use the authority of Tim McVeigh to say that Ms. Bradley was mistaken, that he had to have been the person that Ms. Bradley saw if she saw anyone at all.
Michel and Herbeck would make fine characters from The Brass Check. They are long-time reporters for the Buffalo News. They say that they not only interviewed McVeigh over a period of years, but they interviewed 150 other people as well. But with all their expenditure of time and effort they seem to have missed Mr. Heidelberg. Among others they missed are Tonia Yeakey, the widow of Sgt. Terrence Yeakey, the heroic Oklahoma City policeman who turned up in a field a victim of "suicide" by gunshot, but with no gun present. See "Who Killed Terry Yeakey? and www.zetatalk.com for more details. Yeakey had been outspoken in his belief, from what he had seen, that the official story about the bombing was a lie. Unlike Heidelberg, Yeakey does appear in the book's index, but only as one of the April 19, 1995, rescuers. One would never know from these authors that he is now dead and that his likely murder has been covered up by the authorities.
Someone else that Michel and Herbeck show no sign of having interviewed is Edye Smith, the mother of the two small boys, Coulton and Chase, who died in the bombing. The authors perhaps learned their lesson from Gary Tuchman of CNN, who unexpectedly on live television elicited from Edye a tirade against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, all of whose personnel were conveniently absent from the building at the time of the bombing. See www.hoboes.com
Michel and Herbeck also seemed not to have talked with General Benton Partin, the retired Air Force weapons expert who wrote a letter to every member of Congress explaining why a fuel oil ammonium nitrate bomb in a truck out in the street could not have caused the damage to the Murrah Building and urging that the building not be demolished. See www.whatreallyhappened.com . I'm sure that Upton Sinclair would not be surprised that most people have never heard of General Partin, because, true to form in The Brass Check, the press has kept the American public completely in the dark about him. One may attempt to take issue with General Partin's analysis and conclusions, but one can hardly say that what he has said and what he has done are not highly newsworthy. The very fact that his statements on the case have received no publicity at all in the mainstream press is, in itself, very telling.
A number of names associated with the neo-Nazi settlement in eastern Oklahoma known as Elohim City do turn up in the Michel-Herbeck book. That provides a clue that this apparent hot lead is just another "rabbit trail," as Hoppy Heidelberg colorfully puts it. The parallels with the Kennedy assassination are striking here as well. For those who don't buy the single bullet theory, he can find leads strewn about that trace to Fidel Castro or to organized crime. If you can't see McVeigh as a bombing mastermind, you can get yourself all wrought up over the fact that the government seems to be ignoring the fact that BATF informant, Carol Howe, heard people at Elohim City, including Dennis Mahon and Andreas Strassmeir, talking about blowing up something in Oklahoma City well before the bombing occurred. All those names appear in the book. McVeigh tells the authors that he had met Strassmeir at a gun show and that he didn't know Mahon, but never mind, he did the bombing all by himself so one can forget about these people. They also interviewed the founder and head of Elohim City, Robert Millar, who, of course, assures them that he knew nothing about the bombing. They do not tell us that in Howe's trial on some trumped up malfeasance or other for which she was quickly acquitted, it came out that Millar was an FBI informant.
A couple of other rabbit trails have McVeigh as the unwitting agent of Osama bin Laden or of some other Muslim middle easterners. Most recently there has been speculation that there could be some connection of the bombing to people in the Philippines through the Philippine wife of McVeigh's supposed accomplice, Terry Nichols. The fact that all of these theories have managed to make their way into the mainstream press suggests that one can discount them. The best reason to discount them, though, is that the FBI and the federal prosecutors have not vigorously pursued the abundance of leads to accomplices to McVeigh. Their behavior has been that of people who either don't want to know who those accomplices are, or who already know but don't want us to know.
The McVeigh Enigma
"But what about McVeigh," you say, "didn't he confess? Isn't he the one best witness?
Actually, I believe the one best "witness" would have been the Murrah Building, itself. The damage looks, for all the world, like what one would expect from the work of building demolition experts, the kind who bring down buildings by setting numerous charges against the building's foundation pillars, or in holes drilled in those pillars. One does not have to be an Air Force weapons expert to see this. An exclusively outside blast would have produced the sort of damage seen at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in which the entire outer facing was blown away, but the support pillars, which were much less substantial than those of the Murrah Building, were left completely intact. But within a matter of weeks after the bombing, this building that was still basically structurally sound was demolished and all the evidence carted away.
As for McVeigh, the parallels to the Kennedy assassination are, once again, remarkable. Lee Harvey Oswald was a young Marine who had worked at a base responsible for top secret spy work in Japan. The manner of his separation from the Marines was quite a bit out of the ordinary. Sgt. Timothy McVeigh was a crack infantryman, so gung ho that he tried out for the Special Forces. We were first told that he washed out because he failed a psychological test. More recently we are being told that it was because he developed blisters on his feet during the physically demanding training for which he was insufficiently prepared. Neither explanation seems sufficient to explain why McVeigh would turn into an anti-government militant or why he would turn his wrath upon innocent civilians instead of upon the military and para-military perpetrators of the Waco outrage.
The way McVeigh parrots the anti-government cant of the militia movement is very reminiscent of how Oswald parroted the Marxist line in his famous televised debate in New Orleans when he was plugging the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Discrediting the communists was obviously just a small, secondary part of the Kennedy assassination, whereas, discrediting the more trenchant critics of our ruling establishment, particularly those with the temerity to call the Waco massacre what it was, was the main purpose of the Oklahoma City bombing. In this latest outrage, the actual killing was secondary.
But if McVeigh, like Oswald, is an agent, isn't he carrying things a bit far to confess to the capital crime and let himself be executed? First, the record shows that he did not confess in court. We have the word of these two prototypical American journalists that he has confessed. If you can believe their book generally, perhaps you can believe this.
Second, I don't believe that I am the only one to notice that McVeigh's general demeanor is more than a little bit, shall we say, robotic. Those early reports that he told a friend that he had had a computer chip implanted in his buttocks perhaps reflected a bit more than the ravings of an anti- government paranoid nut. As sure as there is a mind-manipulation technique known as hypnotism, there is something known as mind control. You can read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MK-ULTRA or www.sonic.net or you might prefer to do your own web search. Bear in mind that with a subject such as this a lot of what is put out is likely to be from the very same people who are guilty of the practice, so you should read with great care and discrimination. One might also want to read the books Journey into Madness: The True Story of Secret CIA Mind Control and Medical Abuse, by Gordon Thomas, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control by John D. Marks, or Bluebird: Deliberate Creation of Multiple Personality by Psychiatrists by Colin A. Ross. For an update on this subject as of November 9, 2009, go to http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/042415.html.
If you can't spare the time, a good beginning is to go to www.amazon.com and to read the readers' comments on these and related books. What you will find is that government mind control is a good deal more real than are magic bullets. Since people are, indeed, subjected to it, Timothy McVeigh certainly appears to be very high up the list of likely subjects.
That, perhaps, takes care of McVeigh, but how can one explain all those people in the government and the news media who are willing to go along with the cover-up of such a heinous crime, who are willing to be accomplices after the fact of mass murder. It looks to me like this would be a good time to introduce Hannah Arendt's famous observation about the "banality of evil."
Upton Sinclair, not being a religious man, would perhaps not couch his explanation in terms of the workings of the devil, that is, of the forces of evil, but he certainly had a very good take on the sell-out's psychology:
If you are the publisher of a great newspaper or magazine, you belong to the ruling class of your community. You are invited to a place of prominence on all public occasions; your voice is heard whenever you choose to lift it. You may become a senator like Medill McCormick or Capper of Kansas, who owns eight newspapers and six magazines; a cabinet-member like Daniels, or an ambassador like Whitelaw Reid or Walter Page. You will float upon a wave of prosperity, and in this prosperity all your family will share; your sons will have careers open to them, your wife and your daughters will move in the "best society." All this, of course, provided that you stand in with the powers that be, and play the game according to their rules. If by any chance you interfere with them, if you break the rules, then instantly in a thousand forms you feel the pressure of their displeasure. You are "cut" at the clubs, your sons and daughters are not invited to parties you find your domestic happiness has become dependent upon your converting the whole family to your strange new revolutionary whim! And what if your youngest daughter does not share your enthusiasm for the "great unwashed"? What if your wife takes the side of her darling?
The context may be somewhat different, but the dreaded sanctions for failing to "stand in with the powers that be" are very much the same. This time the powers that be are clearly protecting the perpetrators of a mass murder. One does ultimately need an explanation for such shockingly vile behavior that is grounded in religion, and Sinclair's precursor, John Swinton, has provided it: The people in America's opinion-molding industry do not stand up for truth and justice in this case because they "fawn at the feet of Mammon."
June 2, 2001 (with later edits)
Addendum, January 5, 2012: See also A Noble Lie Trailer #1 and Threats, intimidation, and murder: the silencing of OKC Bombing witnesses.