Revolutionary Worker #1107, June 17, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to die on Monday, May 11. This will be the first federal execution since 1963--a high-tech return of a brutal American tradition, the public hanging.
Exactly because of all the political symbolism spun around this event--nothing is what it seems to be. Or, more precisely: very little is what it is portrayed to be.
The federal government portrays itself as the agent of McVeigh's victims. It portrays this state killing in the Terre Haute penitentiary as an act of justice.
But in reality, the biggest mass murderers and bombers on the planet, the U.S. government, will only strengthen themselves and their death penalty powers--by executing one of their own foot soldiers.
As opposition to the death penalty increases, the U.S. government is attempting to use Timothy McVeigh to justify a restoration of federal executions.
The federal government has maneuvered, squirmed and schemed to bring back federal executions. They passed new laws under Bill Clinton, creating over 75 new federal offenses people can be executed for.
Faced with widespread exposure of the racist use of the death penalty in the U.S., Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that his agency had reviewed hundreds of death penalty cases and found "no evidence of racial bias." The very idea of Ashcroft (an open admirer of Confederate generals) certifying the federal system as racism-free is absurd. And it is worth noting that he did not address the simple fact that out of the 21 people facing execution on the federal death row, only 3 are white.
In the bizarre psycho-babble of media hype, this government execution is described as a healing act of closure. It will really be an arrogant act of opening for new police state powers that now threaten the masses of people. There is no justice at all in that.
The Hidden Web Around Timothy McVeigh
"They've admitted they've known about the documents since January and didn't say anything. Publicly anyway. That's the greatest concern to me is that you wait until a week before the execution to say 'Oh, by the way, we have your documents.'"
Dan Vogel, former spokesperson for FBI in Oklahoma City
There is another important way in which "things are not what they seem."
The 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City--which killed 168 people and injured hundreds--is portrayed as an isolated act of evil. However, people have all along suspected that there was more to this--wider circles involved in the bombing, and beyond them, links to forces within the ruling class itself.
It then came out, on the eve of McVeigh's first execution date in May, that the FBI had withheld 4,000 pages of documentation on this case. This was illegal and shocking--even within the legal system itself.
Faced with this development, the federal judge in this case, District Judge Richard P. Matsch, made two rulings:
First, he insisted that no one would be allowed to publicly discuss what was revealed by these documents. He placed a gag order on anyone who got permission to read them.
And second, he ruled in early June that there was no reason to explore these hidden documents in court in connection with the McVeigh case. Judge Matsch argued that, even if the documents contained evidence of a larger conspiracy, it was irrelevant to the case of Timothy McVeigh.
McVeigh has openly admitted his involvement in the bombing. But any evidence of a larger conspiracy is obviously important to understanding this case--and the larger political situation in the U.S. If the FBI hid evidence of a larger conspiracy, and if Judge Matsch is continuing that cover-up by suppressing a discussion of those documents-- then what they really mean by "closure" is "cover up" of the wider circles McVeigh was part of.
There has always been a great deal of evidence that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were not "loners"--but foot soldiers for a fascist and racist underground. Timothy McVeigh had ties to the Michigan Militia--a rightwing group that was preparing to wage armed struggle to defend "the American Way of Life."
During the preparations for the Murrah bombing, McVeigh was in repeated communication with operatives of Elohim City, a fascist compound in eastern Oklahoma organized around the white supremacist doctrine of "Christian Identity." In an interview, McVeigh said he wrote to Elohim's Pastor Robert Millar, exploring whether they could help protect him in their networks of contacts.
The L.A. Times reports that the hidden FBI documents contain "witness statements and photographs relating to a mysterious person known as Robert Jacques, as well as surveillance tapes of sightings of 'John Doe No. 2,' an alleged McVeigh co-conspirator."
In the evidence surrounding the Murrah bombing, it is known that various witnesses in Kansas and Oklahoma City saw other people around the Ryder truck used in the blast--including a companion with McVeigh the day he picked it up from the rental company.
One witness, Charles Farley, testified that he was at Geary Lake in Kansas on April 18 (when the FBI claims that the bomb was built). Farley says he saw three other vehicles there, including a truck piled with bags of what looked like fertilizer, and a group of men.
The FBI itself initially acknowledged that there must have been other conspirators and even released sketches to the public. Later, they changed their story.
Thanks to the FBI the details of their hidden files are not known. And the recent Matsch ruling in district court means that federal agents have a lot of time to prepare (doctor, delete, dispute, dispose of) their documents--in case they eventually end up in court.
Soldiers and Generals
Repeatedly over the last decade fascist cadre have carried out brutal actions against the masses of people. They have operated in a number of guises and forms--from the "Army of God" forces that target women's clinics and even assassinate women's doctors, to the "Aryan Brotherhood" forces that have carried out racist and anti-Semitic attacks, to the McVeigh case and the military/militia circles he is connected to.
And repeatedly the U.S. government and its police agents have sought to shield the actual networks and circles that produce these actions.
Recently, the official media has reported that the militias have faded--citing a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center. What they have not widely reported is that this same study found 194 of these "patriot militias" in operations. And the author of the study has pointed out that significant numbers of the militia members had moved on to join the police, the military, and more hardcore, underground, fascist organizations.
The ruling class has worked to protect and unleash these fascist movements--even while they have worked to channel and focus them. When such groups have targeted the government directly, the federal authorities have acted against them--but carefully, in ways that left the larger movements and their ties to ruling class forces intact.
Much of recent U.S. politics has been marked by aggressive attempts by powerful sections of the ruling class to demand a reshaping of U.S. society--a slashing of major social programs and a heightening of the repressive powers of the government, and the fostering of a repressive social atmosphere--the politics of poverty, punishment and patriarchy.
It is a sign of the extremism of these times that the Clinton administration pursued these policies (cutting welfare, pressing for capital punishment, restricting abortion) and was relentlessly pursued by forces wanting an even more aggressive approach.
And as part of the intensity of these conflicts, there has been growing mutual delegitimization of opposing bourgeois political forces. This appeared with a vengeance in the attempt to impeach the Clinton administration--and the fierceness with which the right wing tried to topple a sitting president. It appeared again after the tied election of 2000, when both sides questioned the legitimacy of the other. And again last week, when Senate leader Trent Lott responded to Republican loss of the Senate by saying "We must begin to wage the war" and by charging that "the integrity of our democracy" had been usurped by a Democratic Party "coup."
It is widely reported that rightwing conservative views have become almost universal within the U.S. military, including among higher level officers. There is a "partisan-ing of the military," where the Democratic Party is widely considered unpatriotic and even treasonous, and where significant organized fascist forces operate.
It is worth remembering in this connection the famous incident of the early 1990s when Jesse Helms, "the Senior Senator from North Carolina," explicitly warned the president that he was so unpopular on military bases in North Carolina that "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a bodyguard."
In his book Making the Corps, Thomas E. Ricks writes that "the military increasingly appears to lean toward partisan conservatism." Ricks notes that William S. Lind, "a military analyst who has been influential on the doctrinal thinking of the Marines," comes to the "startling conclusion" that "the next real war we fight is likely to be on American soil."
This is exactly the outlook of Timothy McVeigh, who sees himself as a hardened soldier of that internal war-to-come.
In fact, it was this U.S. military, and these political currents, that produced a Timothy McVeigh. He was trained as a cold killer during the Gulf War and, in the process, was trained in the political program that the U.S. has to be purged by blood--not to create a new just society, but to defend the one that exists.
It was there in the military that McVeigh read and circulated "The Turner Diaries"--a manual-as-novel promoting a "Day of the Rope" when white racist armies rise up to kill Black people and Jews. Even McVeigh's language from prison today is the language of the military--as when he recently said that the kindergarten children killed in his bombing were "collateral damage" in a war that needed to be fought.
On Monday, June 11, Big Brother intends to kill a rightwing foot soldier--while giving itself new powers to use the death penalty against the masses of people.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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