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Bombing Questions Still Unanswered

By Gregory Flannery · January 3rd, 2007 · Porkopolis
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  (L-R) The Rev. Matthew Stevens, Gordon Maham and John Henry
Graham Lienhart

(L-R) The Rev. Matthew Stevens, Gordon Maham and John Henry "Be Kind" Simmons celebrate.



We'll probably never know for sure the relationship between the Midwest Bank Robbers and the late Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City. But a report last week by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House International Relations Committee drew the same conclusion as CityBeat's cover story "Queen City Terror" (see issue of Sept. 8, 2004): The FBI should have looked into it more closely.

"It is widely suspected that a group of white supremacist bank robbers, known as the Midwest Bank Robbers or the Aryan Republican Army, helped finance McVeigh's activities," the report says.

The gang's work included robbery of a bank in Springdale. One member, Richard Guthrie, allegedly hanged himself in the Kenton County Jail after being caught.

"Bank robber Richard Guthrie claimed that he would soon be revealing information that would blow the lid off the Oklahoma City bombing case," the report says. "The next day, he was found dead, hanging in his cell, purportedly a suicide. This suspicious 'suicide' mirrored the similar death of Kenneth Trentadue, another prisoner, who may have been tangentially and incorrectly linked to the Oklahoma City bombing. The death of these two prisoners, who happened to be very similar in appearance, is more than disturbing."

When CityBeat contributing writer Leslie Blade interviewed bank robber Pete Langan, serving life in federal prison, he detailed the gang's relationship to McVeigh. But when congressional investigators contacted Langan, he changed his story.

"Contrary to what he told a reporter earlier, when interviewed by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee chairman by telephone in prison, Langan denied any knowledge of or connection to the bombing," the report says.

Federal officials were less than accommodating to the investigative subcommittee.

"Justice Department officials (and perhaps, the CIA) were less than responsive in crucial stages of this investigation, exemplifying needless defensiveness," the report says.

Political Transitions New and Old
Chandra Yungbluth, who has served as executive director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party for the past two years, is leaving to become the Southwest Ohio District coordinator for incoming Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (see "Democrats Rebuilding," issue of July 20, 2005).

"Chandra will be missed enormously," says Democratic Party Chair Tim Burke. "She has guided the party in a series of tremendous transitions. We have a terrific Hamilton County Democratic Party Web site, an effective means of regular mass e-mail communications, a new headquarters that proved to work extremely well during this most recent election season and the largest number of trained precinct executives the party has had in years. It will be difficult to fill her shoes."

Peace activists, environmentalists and advocates for the homeless and for the mentally ill joined together Dec. 30 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Gordon Maham of Colerain Township. The party was at the Community Church of Cincinnati in the West End, where his friend, the late Rev. Maurice McCrackin, had been pastor.

Like McCrackin, Maham has been a peace worker for decades. In the 1940s he worked at the U.S. government's top-secret laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. When he learned the facility was building a nuclear bomb, he quit. That cost Maham his exemption from the World War II draft, and he spent three years in federal prison as a conscientious objector. Two years ago he was arrested at an anti-war protest at the lab, one of many in which he's participated over the years.

One of the things missing in Washington, D.C. and Columbus is a gender-balanced perspective on life in this country and the realities faced by more than 50 percent of our population. With no female representation from Ohio, women will make up less than 15 percent of the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives will include less than 35 percent women. In state legislatures, women currently represent 19 percent in Ohio, 18 percent in Indiana and 11 percent in Kentucky, according to a study by the Women's Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

"Research shows that women holding office and women voting make a difference in the types of issues and actions undertaken by government," says Roxanne Qualls, former Cincinnati mayor and director of the Public Leadership Initiative at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).

This is why the Women's Fund is partnering with NKU's Institute for Public Leadership and Public Affairs to create the Advancing Women in Political Leadership Project. In addition to identifying the real and perceived regional barriers to women seeking and holding elected office, the project will recognize regional programs and activities that inspire and encourage girls and women to see the value in political participation. The project also will review and identify best practices utilized in successful programs that have increased the number of women in political life and public policy formation.

For more information on the Advancing Women in Political Leadership Project and other progressive political initiatives, visit CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at citybeat.wordpress.com.



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