Welcome to the third installment in my examination of the white supremacist enclave known as Elohim City. In the first part of this series we briefly considered Elohim itself as well as several other prominent movements and groups who adhered to Christian Identity theology. I also briefly touched upon Elohim's ties to the Oklahoma City bombing and other acts of terrorism and crime, which will be considered in much further depth in this edition. In the second installment I began to introduce the figure of Andreas Strassmeir, Elohim City's chief of security at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing and a man reputed to have ties to Timothy McVeigh.
As was noted in part two, Strassmeir is a truly mysterious figure. In many conspiratorial accounts of the Oklahoma City bombing Strassmeir is typically portrayed as some type of an underlying, a kind of hapless figure doing the bidding of the ATF, FBI, and/or CIA. Some have cited Strassmeir's American attorney, Kirk Lyons, as the German national's handler. Indeed, most accounts of Strassmeir's arrival to the United States cite Lyons as the figure instigating it, and even portray his attorney as assuring his parents of his well-being.
"In 1991 Andreas Strassmeir's American attorney, the ubiquitous Kirk Lyons, visited his client's parents at their plush residence in Berlin. Lyons assured Gunter Strassmeir that his son was doing well in the United States. It was Lyons who helped arrange for Andreas to come to America in the first place. Lyons also introduced his young German friend to the folks at Elohim City."
(The Beast Reawakens, Martin A. Lee, pg. 352-353)
Lyons is a prominent figure in the white supremacy underground, having represented former Texas Grand Dragon Louis Beam, White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger, famed Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, and other such 'star' clients. Lyons also had close ties with the Silent Brotherhood (he married the sister of an Order member) and the Aryan Nations. In recent years some researchers have alleged that Lyons worked as an undercover agent and/or an informant for some federal agency.
Lyons certainly would've made an idea informant with his vast connections within the white supremacist underground both domestically and internationally. His involvement may well have even gone beyond informing but Strassmeir seems an unlikely candidate to be manipulated by a figure such as Lyons. Strassmeir was an officer in the German military who had additionally received training in intelligence. He also came from a highly politically connected family. His grandfather was an early member of the Nazi Party while his father, Gunter, was a top official in the Kohl regime and was deeply involved in the reunification of Germany. This hardly seems like the background of a mere footsoldier.
|the Berlin wall coming down, an event that spurred the reunification and which Gunter Strassmeir played a key role in
While many conspiracy researchers have portrayed the 1991 Berlin meeting between Lyons and the elder Strassmeir as evidence of Lyons' domination over the Strassmeir clan such a scenario seems highly unlikely given their political mojo. That Herr Strassmeir, who Andreas indicated had connections to the CIA, would be in the dark about his son's doings also seems highly unlikely. A possibility that many conspiracy researchers have not considered, but which seems infinitely more plausible, is that Lyons was receiving instructions from Strassmeir to pass on to his son. And if the Strassmeir clan was in a position of authority throughout this whole affair, as Andreas' actions at Elohim seem to indicate, then the implications of this are staggering. But first, let us finish considering what happened at Elohim City after Strassmeir's arrival and how it contributed to the Oklahoma City bombing.
|the Elohim City compound
Strassmeir's arrival at Elohim City had a profound effect on the compound. While Elohim had long been associated with paramilitary type organization such as the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord and even had something resembling a security unit it had not been an overly militant organization prior to Strassmeir. But once Andy the German, as he was called there, made the scene all that began to change.
"According to a report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), Strassmeir training platoon-size groups consisting of 30 to 40 individuals from throughout the U.S. every three months at the reclusive compound. acc Ading to a law enforcement source interviewed by the McCurtain Gazette, they consisted primarily of members from the Aryan Nations, and included Timothy McVeigh. As the Gazette reports:
'Strassmeir went out and replaced all our deer rifles with assault weapons,' said [resident Zara] Patterson. 'Next, he wanted us to start going illegal stuff... a lot of illegal stuff. I kept telling Andy that we were defensive here, and we didn't want any problems from the law. During the mid-80s, we had a standoff with the Feds. I told him to keep us out of trouble.
"Was Strassmeir attempting to infiltrate Elohim City? 'If the agent penetrates the group,' Strassmeir said in an interview with the author, 'the first thing they do is try to sell them weapons.' When asked if that wasn't exactly what he did, he replied, 'I just advised them about weapons, as an experienced soldier. That's what I did for years and years. I was an infantry man -- I just gave advice. But, I always obeyed the law.' He then admitted that he 'didn't know the law. I'd have to consult my lawyer.'"
(The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, David Hoffman, pg. 130)
The notion that Strassmeir was dispatched to Elohim City to infiltrated it is ludicrous. By the early 90s Elohim was already thoroughly "infiltrated," possibly by the founder and "spiritual leader" himself, Robert Millar.
"Perhaps most surprisingly, during a July, 1997 pre-trial hearing for Howe, FBI agent Peter Rickel revealed that 'Grandpa' Millar was a confidential FBI informant! When asked if Millar had been a source of government information or an informant, Rickel replied, ' generally, yes.'"
(ibid, pgs. 146-147)
The notion that Millar had some type of relationship with the feds is highly plausible as it is the most logical explanation as to how Elohim City has managed operate in relative anonymity for decades. Authorities, both local and federal, were aware that something very strange and potentially illegal was going on at the compound for years. Former FBI agent James Rogers had apparently plotted a major raid on Elohim City in 1988 but it was called off for reasons that have never been made clear, for instance.
What's more, Millar was hardly the only informant residing at Elohim. There was BATF informant Carol Howe, who was a little late in the game having not signed on with the agency until sometime around 1994. There was also potentially Dennis Mahon, a former head of the White Knights of the KKK in Tulsa credited with forging extensive ties between American and German hate groups, who kept a trailer at Elohim.
"Investigator Jeff Steinberg takes this one step further, believing that Mahon himself may be an ATF operative. He says the ATF had him on a charge then dropped it. 'He may have been turn,' said Steinberg."
Easily the most curious of the informants was James Ellison, the founder of the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord. It was Ellison who turned state's evidence in 1988 and testified against numerous figures in the Christian Identity underground.
"In 1983, members of the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA), a white supremacist group based in northern Arkansas, planned to truck-bomb the Alfred P Murrah Building. In 1988, former CSA leader James Ellison turned state's evidence and testified that CSA member Richard Wayne Snell and others had participated in the plot. Snell was bitter towards the government, Ellison claimed, because the IRS and FBI had seized his property.
"Other defendants included Richard Girnt Butler, chief of the Aryan Nations; Robert E. Miles, a former Ku Klux Klansman; and Louis Beam, Jr., former Grand Dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations 'Ambassador at Large '...
"Ellison, who fancied himself 'King James,' was surrounded at his CSA compound near the Missouri-Arkansas border on the prophetic date of April 19 (ten years to the day of the Oklahoma City bombing), leading to a four-day standoff against 200 heavily armed agents. Ellison later testified at his sedition trial that at Snell's request, he had cased several buildings, including the Alfred P. Murrah Building."
(ibid, pg. 115)
|James 'King James' Ellison
Apparently there were no hard feelings between Ellison and the rest of the Christian Identity movement as he was allowed to move to Elohim City after completing his prison sentence.
Numerous other individuals have been cited as potential informants at Elohim, including Timothy McVeigh himself. As the story goes McVeigh was recruited by US intelligence to infiltrate the radical right, a job which he was allegedly immensely suited for.
"Timothy McVeigh would have been what the intelligence community were looking for --a top-notch, gung-ho but impressionable young soldier, a taciturn individual who followed orders without hesitation and who knew when to keep his mouth shut, a prerequiste of any good intelligence operative.
"... intelligence agencies regularly recruit from the military, and military files are routinely reviewed for potential candidates -- those who have proven their willingness and ability to kill on command and without hesitation. Those whose combat training and proficiency with weapons make them excellent candidates for field operations. Having taken the PSYOP course at Fort Riely, McVeigh was well on his way to a career in covert intelligence. His above-average military record and his try out for Special Forces, created as the covert military arm of the CIA, would've made him a natural choice.
"McVeigh's racism and espousal of mila-type views would have made him a perfect operative to infiltrate any far right-wing or white supremacist group. Likewise it would have made him the perfect patsy to implicate in connection with any right-wing group, possessing all the qualities that would have made him an excellent undercover operative and a perfect fall-guy...
"While this explanation may strike one as bizarre, McVeigh wrote his sister Jennifer that he was picked by the Army for a highly specialized Special Forces Covert Tactical Unit (CTU) involved in illegal activities. The letter was introduced to the Federal Grand Jury. According to former grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg, these illegal activities included 'protecting drug shipments, eliminating the competition, and population control.' While all the details of the letter aren't clear, Heidelbergsaid that there were five to six duties in all, and that the group was comprised of 10 men."
(ibid, pgs. 61-62)
Thus, with so many potential informants present at Elohim, it's easy to understand why Strassmeir didn't raise any red flags when he sought to join up. As was noted in part two, Strassmeir had already been kicked out of the Texas Light Infantry militia after they began to suspect that he was an informant. Shortly after moving to Elohim Strassmeir had another curious encounter with law enforcement that was also apparently ignored by the compound.
"In 1992, Strassmeir committed a traffic offense and his car was impounded by the Oklahoma highway patrol. Inside, police found a valise full of government documents. Strassmeir called in his calvary -- the State Department and the Governor's office phoned police to urge his release, as did an unnamed caller who argued that Strassmeir --his proof of citizenship notwithstanding -- enjoyed the protection of diplomatic immunity."Once this ruckus died down Andy the German got back to work at Elohim. The compound began constructing armored bunkers while rumors of drug trafficking emerged.
(Virtual Government, Alex Constantine, pg. 275)
"ATF agent Angela Finley-Graham, the agent who supervised ATF informant Carol Howell, had aerial surveillance photos of Strassmeir with an assault weapon, and photos of concrete bunkers at Elohim City. In fact, in 1992, some 960 yards of concrete were transported to the compound, presumably for bunkers and weapon storage facilities.
"Law enforcement officials also received reports that the compound was believed to be generating income throug the sale of illegal drugs. A source I spoke with who is familiar with the community told me that Bruce Millar, Robert Mllar's son, was supposedly 'strung out' a methamphetamines. Speed is a highly popular drug among the neo-Nazi crowd, and was in fact invented by the Nazis during WWII to bolster the fighting ability of their troops."
(The Oklaholma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, David Hoffman, pgs. 130-131)
There have also been reports that Timothy McVeigh himself was involved in drug trafficking, potentially supporting himself financially via this endeavor in the years leading up to the Oklahoma City bombing.
"Was there a connection between investigation of neo-Nazis in the Southwest and the bombing? The contents of the files were not divulged, but federal agents told reporters that they were 'looking into the possibility that alleged bomber Timothy McVeigh and his accomplices had targeted the nine-story building in an effort to destroy DEA or ATF investigation files.'In addition to the drug trade there were strong indications that McVeigh was involved with the Aryan Republican Army, a group that pulled off a series of daring bank robberies in the mid-90s.
"Acquaintances of McVeigh told reporters that Timothy McVeigh... supported himself by peddling methamphetamines. McVeigh ran his drug concession in Kingman, Arizona. Ralph McPeak, a Kingman resident and friend of McVeigh's, told the Los Angeles Times: 'When I met him [last year], he was wired up. He couldn't stand still.' McPeak and his estranged wife said in separate interviews that some of the same people who would frequent the house also designed and detonated explosives. Two of the acquaintances fled when a fertilizer and fuel oil bomb damaged their house. They accused 'McVeigh or his associates in the drug trade...'
"A sensitive investigation of Nazi activity in drugs was allegedly underway in Oklahoma City. If the building was destroyed, in part, to bury evidence of virtual government involvement in the distribution of drugs, it's certain that a representative from this murky milieu would step forward to float disinformation and divert attention from higher-ups."
(Virtual Government, Alex Constantine, pgs. 266-267)
"... Aryan Republican Army (ARA), a fanatical neo-Nazi group that pulled off more bank robberies in the Midwest during the mid-1990s than Jesse James managed his day. Another ARA extremist, Richard Lee Guthrie, was found hanged in a Kentucky jail on July 12, 1996, after he pled guilty to nineteen holdups in seven states. These armed assaults were carried out by ARA members wearing Count Dracula and Ronald Reagan masks. Money raised from the robberies were shared among various White Power groups in the United States.
"Timothy McVeigh also participated in a series of Midwest bank robberies, according to his sister. It appears that McVeigh was part of an underground ARA cadre, which function in accordance with the leaderless resistance strategy promoted by militia tactician Louis Beam. The goal of this strategy was to engender antigovernment violence while providing semipublic militia organizations with a built-in means of plausible deniability that would scare any direct link to breakaway terrorist cells."
(The Beast Reawakens, Martin A. Lee, pg. 354)
|members of the ARA
More information on the ARA, which had deep ties to Elohim, was presented in part one of this series. As was noted there, several members of the ARA actually lived at Elohim for a time, most notably Michael Brescia. Brescia was actually engaged to Millar's daughter, Ester, for a time though I have been unable to determine if they actually married. He also was the roommate of Andreas Strassmeir, who likely had a role in the training of the ARA at the very least and possibly had a spot in the command structure.
"According to ATF informant Carol Howe... both McVeigh and Fortier visited Elohim City, as did Langan, Guthrie, Stedeford and McCarthy. A secret recording made by the informant apparently reveals discussions between Andreas Strassmeir, Elohim City's chief of security (also suspected of being an informant), and various ARA members, discussing plans to blow up federal buildings. While it is not known if McVeigh was intimately involved with the ARA bank robberies, he was seen with Strassmeir and ARA associate Michael Brescia at parties in Kansas, and at a bar in Tulsa shortly before the bombing."
(The Oklaholma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, David Hoffman, pg. 84)
At this point it behoves us to consider the relationship between Strassmeir and McVeigh. For his part, Strassmeir has acknowledged meeting McVeigh, but only once. Much evidence has emerged over the years that strongly contradicts Strassmeir's claim.
"According to Strassmeir, his path crossed McVeigh's at a Tulsa gun show in April, '93. Strassmeir stopped by McVeigh's table and bought a few military souvenirs and discussed events of Waco. He then gave McVeigh his card bearing the inscription 'Elohim City.' In an interview in Soldier of Fortune, Strassmeir professed never to heard of McVeigh, though he later recanted his story for the Telegraph. 'I met the guy once at a gun show,' he said. 'We spoke for five minutes, that's all.'
"It would seem the relationship goes deeper than that. Strassmeir reportedly met McVeigh again at the first anniversary of the Waco massacre in April, '94. According to journalist William Jasper, sources close to the investigation revealed that McVeigh visited Elohim City on at least 20 occasions. Traffic record show McVeigh was stopped for speeding on October 12, 1993, two miles north of Cederville, Arkansas, less than 10 miles from Elohim City, on a remote road leading to the compound. ATF informant Carol Howe also recalled seeing McVeigh and Fortier at Elohim City during the winter of '94.
"Yet possibly the most revealing connection surfaced in the form of two phone calls, one placed by McVeigh from the Imperial Motel in Kingman, Arizona to Strassmeir on April 5, just two weeks before the bombing and minutes after McVeigh allegedly called Junction City to reserve the Ryder truck. According to Millar's daughter-in-law Joan, who answered the phone, the caller asked to speak to ' Andy.' Andy wasn't in. McVeigh left a message saying, 'Tell Andy I'll be coming through.'
"Robert Millar, Elohim City's 'spiritual leader,' claimed ignorance of McVeigh or the phone call. He later recanted his story.
"Then one day before the bombing, McVeigh called Strassmeir's U.S. attorney, Kirk Lyons, looking for Andy. Not finding him there, he engaged Lyon's assistant, Dave Holloway, in a 15 minute conversation about Waco, Lyons claims, and the need to 'send a message to the government.' It seemed McVeigh also needed to send a message to Strassmeir."
(ibid, pg. 123)
Carol Howe, the ATF informant who resided at Elohim City in the years leading up to the Oklahoma City bombing, believed that Strassmeir played a significant role in the events that transpired on 4/19/1995.
"ATF informant Howe has gone so far as to peg Andreas Strassmeir as the prime instigator of the bombing. She alleges that Strassmeir exerted an extraordinary influence over McVeigh. Strassmeir, who is since moved back to his parent's house in Berlin, denies any involvement in the Oklahoma City massacre."Strassmeir's alleged "extraordinary influence" over McVeigh is extremely interesting in light of several conspiracy theories depicting McVeigh as some type of "Manchurian candidate" or programmed killer. Strangely, McVeigh himself believed that the government implanted something in his posterior that enabled them to control him.
(The Beast Reawakens, Martin A. Lee, pg. 353)
"It was in Buffalo that McVeigh's rage peaked. He complained that federal agents had implanted him with a microchip and left him with an unexplained scar on his posterior. It was painful, he winced, to sit on the chip.
"It's conceivable, given the current state of the electronic mind control art, a biocybernic Oz over the black budget rainbow, that McVeigh had been drawn into an experimental project, that the device was the real McCoy. Ironically enough, McVeigh's contention that he had been implanted and tracked was laughed off by most sensible, media-fed folk, even as an electronics firm in Tampa, Florida -- Pro-Tech Monitoring, Inc. in Tampa, Florida -- introduced a satellite-tracking system, SMART (or Satellite Monitoring and Remote Tracking device) for use by the criminal justice system, a 'parent-protected, space-age device that tracks and continuously monitors offenders, stalkers and provides advance warning for victims.'"
(Virtual Government, Alex Constantine, pgs. 247-248)
But I digress. Let us return to the plotters behind the Oklahoma City bombing for a moment. ATF informant Howe specifically cited Strassmeir and former Imperial Dragon Dennis Mahon as the chief instigators of the Oklahoma City bombing.
"Howe also said she overheard Mahon and Strassmeir discuss plans to bomb the Oklahoma City Federal Building. As Howe related it:
'I started going to as many of their meetings I could and met a lot of people who were very secretive. But sometime in November there was a meeting and Strassmeir and Mahon said it was time to quit talking and go to war, and time to start bombing federal buildings.'"
(The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, David Hoffman, pg. 139)
Howe also asserted that several residents of Elohim City participated in the Oklahoma City bombing.
"Howe, it was debriefed by the ATF and FBI after the bombing, told agents...that the sketches of the suspects who rented the Ryder truck appeared to be Elohim City residents (and Mahon and Strassmeir associates) Peter or Sonny Ward. She also reportedly told the agents, 'No one in the world looks more like the sketch of John Doe 2 than Michael Brescia.'"
(ibid. pg. 143)
Keep in mind that Brescia was Strassmeir's roommate at Elohim. Other witnesses present at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing have alleged seeing Dennis Mahon driving a Ryder truck near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building shortly before the blast. Some have even alleged that Strassmeir himself was present but his presence in Oklahoma City on that day is far less certain than other members of Elohim.
With all these connections to Elohim City and especially Strassmeir one would think federal authorities would have been gung ho to investigate the compound and the German national in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. While Strassmeir and Mahon were subject to investigation in the days following the terror attack they were subsequently dropped from any follow-ups, even after Howe fingered them as the chief architects of the attack in her April 20, 1995 FBI debriefing. Indeed, the FBI seemingly went out of their way to debunk the notion of any involvement by Andy the German while Strassmeir himself would remain at Elohim until August 1995. From there he would take a curious route back to Germany, arriving there in 1996.
"After the bombing, with the increasing attention of investigators, and his cover almost blown, Strassmeir fled to Germany, taking a circuitous route through Mexico and Paris --a route commonly used by spies. Strassmeir's attorney, Kirk Lyons, detailed his client's escape, stating that it was aided by Germany's vaunted counter- terrorism unit, GSG-9, the equivalent of our Delta Force. Curious the GSG-9 would assist in Strassmeir's retreat. Were they helping one of their own?
"To help maintain his cover, the Justice Department questioned Strassmeir in North Carolina at his attorney's office, then called him in Berlin to ask about his alleged ties to McVeigh. 'The FBI asked where I was on the day of the bombing,' he told the Telegraph. 'They wanted to help debunk the rumor spread about me.'
"If Strassmeir had any ties to McVeigh, or to McVeigh's companions, or to those who had planned the 1983 bombing of the Murrah Building, the Justice Department should have served him with a Grand Jury subpoena or warrant. Yet all the FBI did was call Strassmeir on the phone to 'debunk the rumors' spread about him."
(ibid, pg. 134)
And it is here that I shall wrap things up for the time being. To recap: Over the course of this installment we've seen how Andreas Strassmeir, a German national from a politically connected family, migrated to the United States in either the late 80s or early 90s and soon established himself at Elohim City, a notorious Christian Identity compound with ties to various paramilitary groups within said movement. There Andrea set up shop and began arming and training the endless stream of people flowing through the compound while calling for a violent revolt. Incidentally (or not) Elohim City soon became a mecca for a whole host of illegal activities, including bank robberies and possibly drug and gun trafficking. At least one paramilitary outfit, the Aryan Republican Army, seemingly began using Elohim City as a base of operations for a crime spree. And then came the Oklahoma City bombing, an event Strassmeir has been pegged as a key player in.
In the next installment we shall finally get to the good stuff. The ramifications of the Oklahoma City bombing and, more importantly, who was behind it shall finally be considered. Stay tuned.