By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
When it came to depicting Terry Nichols, Tigar produced not only alibi witnesses (inluding the Herington, Kansas, Future Mart clerk who said Nichols bought a doll from her on the morning of the bombing), but also character witnesses like his young Filipino mail-order bride, Marife Nichols. Marife testified that she tried to get Terry to stay away from McVeigh. But she could not provide an alibi for her husband on the day before the bombing, when the government says Nichols helped build the bomb.
Whether or not the defense's strategy saves Terry Nichols from conviction or even the death penalty, it has helped to elaborate the dimensions of a wider plot whose contours fit the models provided by the far-right racialist movement itself, but whose members remain a mystery. For more than a decade, leaders of the movement have urged their followers to form underground leaderless resistance cells, made up of five to eight individuals, to carry forward the revolution. McVeigh and Nichols may have been members of a cell, and if Farley's account is accurate, he saw other members of the cell on April 18 at Geary State Park. Previously portrayed as just another citizen angry at the government, McVeigh emerges from testimony in the Nichols trial as a man with ties to the Klan, the National Alliance, and Elohim City. Whether he was acting alone, the leader of a cell or just a member remains unknown.
Meanwhile, the government's adamant refusal to address these arguments for a wider conspiracy can only lend credence to the theories floated by the militias and other groups--who all along have argued that official Washington is trying to cover up what happened. (One of the more far-out of these theories claims that the bombing was actually an FBI sting operation gone awry.) And about 170 families of Oklahoma City victims plan to join a civil suit against six government agencies, charging them with prior knowledge and a cover-up. Richard Beeder, the attorney in the case, plans to file the action formally within a month.
So we haven't heard the last of the argument for an Oklahoma City bomb plot conspiracy. And meanwhile, the movement goes on. There have been eight violent actions by racialist groups since the bombing, and just last week the government indicted three men in Little Rock, charging them with trying to create an Aryan Peoples Republic through a campaign of murder, robberies, and kidnappings.
Additional reporting: Gaelle Drevet