- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2001

Was Timothy McVeigh really the mastermind of the Oklahoma City bombing, as he claims? Or could McVeigh have been a dupe a contemptible, despicable dupe in a bigger, more complex plot, even possibly one with a foreign connection?
All America watched the high-profile trials of McVeigh and Terry Nichols and believed it saw two completely American men, with no foreign connections. But Nichols has a Filipina wife. He met her on an Asian sex tour. Nichols has a very intimate foreign connection.
Nichols made many trips to the Philippines and many telephone calls to that country. His last trip there Nov. 22, 1994, to Jan. 16, 1995 was just three months before the bombing. After returning to the United States, he began to call a certain number in the Philippines every other Tuesday morning at the same time in the morning. One day Nichols could not get through and he spent 2 1/2 hours starting before sunrise trying to make the call, from outdoor phone booths, on a cold, wintry Kansas morning.
Is that really how a man calls his wife? Nichols wife, Marife, was in the Philippines then and it is not impossible that he was trying to reach her. But those calls also raise the possibility that Nichols was trying to reach someone else and that his marriage was actually a cover for his conspiratorial dealings with individuals abroad, as McVeighs lawyer, Stephen Jones, has suggested.
This is a critical issue. It should have been thoroughly investigated. But it was not. This author is familiar with the official U.S. investigation into Nichols activities in the Philippines. It was done almost entirely by the FBI and it is exceedingly thin. The inquiry consists of a handful of interviews, transcribed months after they were conducted.
This author also showed the records of Nichols calls to the Philippines to four present or former U.S. officials with backgrounds in law-enforcement or intelligence. One remarked, "It sure looks like the FBI didnt want to know." The others agreed.
One agency, U.S. Customs, which had a minor role in the investigation., seemed far more interested than the FBI in Nichols activities abroad. It inquired after Tom and Earl Shelton, the father and son team who ran "Paradise Shelton Tours," the agency through which Nichols met and married Marife. (By the time of the bombing, the Sheltons had left the Philippines, the son allegedly expelled for pederasty). Warren Marik, a retired CIA officer, remarked that the sex tour agency would have been an ideal place from which a foreign intelligence agency might recruit dissatisfied Americans.
A note written by Nichols also raises questions. Before his last trip to the Philippines, Nichols feared he might die. He left several letters with his ex-wife, instructions to various people, regarding the disposition of his property, if he did not return.
One note, addressed to McVeigh, included the widely publicized phrase, "Your on your own. Go for it!!" That was interpreted to mean that if Nichols did not come back, McVeigh should carry out the bombing himself. But the letter, in its entirety, suggests there would have been no bombing, if Nichols did not return from the Philippines.
The letter begins with directions to McVeigh regarding a storage locker in Council Grove, Kansas. It contained valuables from a robbery, and Nichols referred to it as "CG 37." The first nine lines of the note explain what to do with that locker and include oblique reference to the circumstances under which McVeigh is receiving the note. The tenth line is the phrase, "Youre on your own, go for it," after which Nichols signed his name.
Below Nichols signature are four paragraphs, essentially afterthoughts. The second paragraph contains instructions for forwarding Nichols mail. The third provides more detail about handling the locker with the loot from the robbery. The fourth states explicitly that if McVeigh has received the letter, Nichols has died.
The first paragraph says merely, "Also liquidate 40." That is terribly important. "40" refers to another storage locker. It contained a ton of ammonium nitrate, one of the bombs basic ingredients. "Liquidate 40" in its most obvious sense means get rid of the material. It does not mean mix it with fuel oil, put it in barrels in the back of a Ryder truck and blow up a federal building.
Indeed, "Liquidate 40" is followed by instructions about picking up the mail. The ammonium nitrate has essentially the same status as the mail. Both are entirely secondary. Thus, Nichols note strongly suggests that if he did not return from the Philippines, there would have been no bomb, because McVeigh was told to get rid of the ammonium nitrate. And that suggests McVeigh was not the mastermind of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Laurie Mylroie, author of "Study of Revenge: Saddam Husseins Unfinished War Against America," worked briefly for the McVeigh defense.

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