April 11, 2006
By V.Z. Lawton, OKC Bombing Investigation Committee member
Eleven years after the bombing of the OKC Murrah Building, Lawton asks why we are so often allowed to watch crime-related video tapes on the nightly news and television progams, yet the US Department of Justice continues to fight the release of OKC surveillance tapes, in spite of ongoing FOIA requests. Eleven years? What’s to hide?
Finally, seven years after the King family, represented by attorney William Pepper, won their civil case proving “YES – Others including governmental agencies were parties to this conspiracy,” (see www.thekingcenter.com/tkc/trial.html), the Martin Luther King, Jr. Records Collection Act of 2005 (HR2554/S2499) has been introduced in Congress, “to provide for the expeditious disclosure of records relevant to the life and assassination of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.” After nearly 35 years, we ask, again, why the secrecy? What’s to hide?
Sound familiar? Many FOIA requests have been filed regarding information being withheld by the government that would similarly shed light on the events of 9/11. For instance, at www.flight77.info, one man is documenting his ongoing battle for the freedom supposedly offered in the Freedom of Information Act process. Nearly five years have passed since 9/11/01 … what’s to hide?
April 11, 2006
By V.Z. Lawton
V.Z. Lawton is a survivor of the Alfred P. Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995. He has been an advocate for truth and accountability regarding the federal government’s mishandling and cover-up of the OKC case in which 168 people died, including 58 of his friends and fellow employees in the Department of Housing And Urban Development.
I recently watched Fox News Studio “B” coverage of the Carli Jane Brucia murder case in which the judge read the facts of the case in the pre-sentencing phase of the trial. Among other important details, the judge spoke of the video cameras as being crucial to the prosecution of the lone perpetrator of her abduction, rape, and murder. The film from the cameras in the carwash was used to convict the guilty party, Joseph Smith, and to give him the death penalty. As I watched this 1½ hour program hosted by Shepard Smith, I thought how often videos are used to convict perpetrators. Sometimes a videotape is shown on the nightly news or even all over the country before a trial begins. How wonderful it would be if a federal judge would require the Justice Department to release the surveillance video from the cameras that were on the front of the Oklahoma City Federal Building and other locations in and around Oklahoma City.
You see, I, along with a number other individuals, have been fighting for the release of those surveillance tapes for eight years. We are certain the film would show the other perpetrators of the bombing that killed 168 people which included 19 children under six years of age and caused terrible life-changing injuries to six more children that survived.
Most people don’t know about this alarming aspect of the Oklahoma City case. So far, 24 surveillance videos have been grudgingly admitted to in federal court as a result of a stalled FOI lawsuit. (We have since found out there are more.) The U.S. Justice Department has been fighting the release of any and all videos for over six years.
So what is the problem with letting the American people see these videos? Is there something to hide? All federal and state trials are over and the government has long ago admitted that the investigation is over. One hundred sixty-eight people died in the OKC case. One might argue that is 167 more reasons to release the videos compared to a case such as the Brucia case. That is not to belittle in any way the taking of the life of the beautiful little girl, Carli Brucia. Instead, it focuses the importance of forcing the government agencies that are responsible for stonewalling and coming clean with what is on those tapes.
The government has claimed that McVeigh was solely responsible for driving the Ryder truck into OKC and parking it in front of the Murrah Building. But from eyewitness reports we know that McVeigh exited the driver’s side of the truck and a second passenger (JD #2) left the passenger side of the truck, walked to the rear of the truck, and back again to the front of it. This John Doe then crossed 5th Street and got into a brown Chevy pickup truck with two more John Doe’s. McVeigh continued north across 5th Street, got into his yellow Mercury where a 4th JD had parked it and was waiting for McVeigh. The two of them sped out of the parking lot almost hitting another witness and drove east on the alley between 5th and 6th Streets, across Robinson Street to the north-south alley that is called Wall Street on OKC maps. There they traveled south on Wall St. crossing NW 5th St., then NW 4th ST. stopping in an alley next to the Southwestern Bell Telephone Building. At this location they watched the building blow up. This was confirmed by yet another survivor who was stopped by McVeigh as she was walking south from 5th Street. McVeigh asked her if she was in the building when it blew up and she said she was. When he asked if many people were killed, she replied that there were probably many casualties. I later talked to this woman about her confrontation with McVeigh and asked if there was anyone else with him. She said there was but indicated that she didn’t get a good look at him. She added, “I just knew they were together.”
Besides McVeigh there were at least four other John Does who participated in the bombing: a) The JD in the Ryder truck with McVeigh (1), b) the two JD’s in the brown Chevy pickup with McVeigh (2 & 3) and, c) the JD in the Mercury (4). All four of these participants are still walking the streets breathing free air. Why haven’t they been caught?
The many witnesses (over 20) who saw McVeigh with others were interviewed by the FBI and Justice Department and were led to believe they would be called to testify in the federal trials of McVeigh and Nichols. Of course they never were ? much like the video tapes ? never to be heard of again.
Going back to the link between the video footage in the Carli Brucia case and the subsequent apprehension and conviction of her murderer, the camera was the key to the identification of the killer and was instrumental in obtaining his conviction. Since the use of cameras were so helpful it made me wonder why our investigative agencies had not used them in the pursuit of all those involved in the Murrah Building bombing. There is something about the lack of use of these videos that makes a prudent man wonder why pictures of the four people seen in these videos were not released to the public. Just like the release of the video pictures of Carli Brucia’s killer were what identified him and led law officers to his apprehension, there is reason to believe that the video footage from the Murrah Building cameras would have been instrumental in bringing all those responsible to justice. Since that has not been done and they have fought so hard against it, it leads to questions such as: 1) Is there a reason some in our government do not want these people apprehended? If so, what is the reason? 2) Was it a sting operation by the BATF that went awry? 3) Who are these four individuals that the law enforcement agencies of our federal government may be protecting?
There are many other questions as well. One has to do with the Ryder truck and damage to the building. The morning of the bombing, I was on the 8th floor in the HUD office signing some papers when I felt the building start shaking. Then the lights went out, debris began falling on my desk, and then something hit me in the back of the head rendering me unconscious. I never heard the truck bomb explode which indicates that the building was coming down demolition style just seconds before the truck bomb exploded.
Numerous experts with impeccable credentials from the military and private sector have done in-depth analysis and have concluded that additional explosives were placed inside the building to supplement the truck bomb. Who put the explosive devices in the building to cause this? Another very unusual and questionable aspect to the government’s investigation has to do with the many fingerprints collected, a total of 1,034. An FBI crime lab agent testified that he was ordered to not run a check of the fingerprints against the FBI’s multi-million database of fingerprints. Why? What could possibly justify these actions?
I lost 58 friends in the building that day and the bombers also attempted to murder me. I believe that is reason enough for me to pursue everyone who was involved in the bombing. I want justice but there can be no justice without the truth. It is time for the government to release the videos and then we can identify, pursue, and capture these four co-conspirators that have never been held accountable for their degree of participation in the Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995. Almost 11 years have passed with these four individuals still free men. It is time for justice to prevail over what appears to be a government cover-up.
VZ Lawton April 11, 2006
V.Z. Lawton was born and raised in Oklahoma. He stays active playing golf, racketball, and handball several times a week. He served as an ordance officer in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and is a member of the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee since 1997 which published the “Final Report on the Bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building,” the 555 page expos? of the Oklahoma City Bombing and the flawed government investigation. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at www.okcbombing.org