Terrorism on the Rise Since Oklahoma City Bombing
Terrorism on the rise since Oklahoma City
The April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing has proven to be the opening shot in a new phase of right-wing terror in this country. In the three years since the attack that left 168 people dead, the radical right's antigovernment movement has spawned an escalating number of terrorist crimes and plots.
Conspiracies hatched since the Oklahoma City attack have included plans to bomb buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics and bridges; assassinate politicians, judges, civil rights figures and others; attack Army bases, National Guard armories and a train; rob banks, armored cars and individuals; amass illegal machine guns, missiles and explosives; and engage in huge tax and financial schemes.
Law enforcement officers and others have been killed and injured. The FBI, which just before Oklahoma City had about 100 open domestic terrorism cases, is now working more than 900. Almost every major law enforcement agency has developed a task force or other unit aimed at combating the threat.
Here is a look at key incidents of the last three years:
Sept. 12, 1995 Antigovernment extremist Charles Ray Polk is indicted by a federal grand jury for plotting to blow up the Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Tex. At the time of his arrest, Polk is trying to purchase plastic explosives to add to a huge illegal arsenal he's already amassed. He is sentenced the following year to almost 21 years in federal prison.
Oct. 9, 1995 Saboteurs derail an Amtrak passenger train near Hyder, Ariz., killing one person and injuring scores of others. An antigovernment message, signed by the "Sons of Gestapo," is left behind. The perpetrators are still at large.
Nov. 9, 1995 Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley, his wife and another man are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. The three, and another suspect arrested later, are sentenced to terms of up to 11 years in 1996.
Jan. 19, 1996 Peter Langan and Richard Guthrie, members of the underground Aryan Republican Army, are charged as the main suspects in a string of 22 bank robberies in seven Midwestern states. After pleading guilty and agreeing to testify, Guthrie commits suicide in his cell. Langan is convicted in five robberies, with more trials scheduled.
Eventually, Mark Thomas, a leading neo-Nazi in Pennsylvania, pleads guilty for his role in helping organize the robberies and agrees to testify against Langan and other gang members. Another man, Kevin McCarthy, also pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in Pennsylvania and agrees to testify against his co-conspirators.
April 11, 1996 Antigovernment activist Ray Hamblin is charged with illegal possession of explosives after authorities find 460 pounds of the high explosive Tovex, 746 pounds of ANFO blasting agent and 15 homemade hand grenades on his property in Hood River, Ore. Hamblin is sentenced to almost four years in federal prison.
April 26, 1996 Two leaders of the Militia-at-Large of the Republic of Georgia, Robert Edward Starr III and William James McCranie Jr., are charged with manufacturing shrapnel bombs for distribution to militia members. Later in the year, they are sentenced on explosives charges to terms of up to eight years.
Another Militia-at-Large member, accused of training a team to assassinate politicians, is convicted of conspiracy.
June 11, 1996 Tax protester Joseph Martin Bailie is arrested for trying to blow up the Internal Revenue Service building in Reno, Nev. He is sentenced to 36 years.
June 13, 1996 An 81-day armed standoff between a group of Montana Freemen and federal authorities ends near Jordan, Mont. The standoff began after Freemen leaders LeRoy Schweitzer and Daniel Petersen were charged with millions of dollars' worth of bank, financial and mail fraud, and with threatening public officials.
In March 1998, five Freemen followers are convicted of charges related to the robbery of a television camera, being fugitives and making false tax claims. The Freemen leaders, including Schweitzer and Petersen, are scheduled for trial on May 26.