18th November 2010: Oklahoma Bomber (1995)

Gavin Hewitt’s 1995 investigation for the BBC’s Panorama, re-broadcast on ABC’s 4 Corners (29th May 1995),  suggests Timothy McVeigh found his identity in a meshwork of military training manuals, gun culture and militia conspiracy theories. Hewitt documents how McVeigh grew up in the GE company town Pendleton, attended Starpoint High School, and graduated in the 1988 recession. McVeigh joined the First Infantry at Fort Riley, Kansas, read training manuals on the weekend, and was dubbed a “30 year man” with the goal to join the Special Operations Forces. In 1990 he went to the Gulf War in Charlie Company’s First Platoon and was angry that US forces did not go to Baghdad to capture Saddam Hussein. McVeigh returned and on his second day of training failed the psychological test for the Green Berets. He drifted, moved in with farmer Jim Nichols, and was introdicued to the Michigan Militia movement. Hewitt the documents the milita’s conspiracy theories about the United Nations and the ‘new world order’ as a reaction to globalisation, economic recession, and outsourcing/offshoring. The Michigan Militia planned an attack on Camp Grayling to recover Russian tanks that were used for training purposes. McVeigh later met the Montana Militia, and became personally galvanised by the FBI face-off with the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas on 19th April 1993. He listened to shortwave radio; Hewitt watches Linda Thompson‘s videos and examines the growth in the early 1990s of online groups and ‘how to’ manuals. Finally, Hewitt traces how McVeigh met Terry Nichols in Herington, Kansas, before hiring a Ryder truck and parking an amminium nitrate fertiliser and diesel fuel bomb outside the Alfred P. Murray Building in Oklahoma City on 19th April 1995.