Did neo-Nazis have a role in Oklahoma City bombing

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LONDON — The FBI is investigating claims that there is an international conspiracy behind the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

The Times of London has reported that British and German neo-Nazis are believed to have played a role in the bombing to avenge the execution of Richard Snell, an American neo-Nazi who was put to death on the day of the bombing for murdering a Jewish businessman and an African American state trooper in the United States.

Timothy McVeigh, 27, one of two defendants in the Oklahoma City case, has alleged that there was a European link to the attack.

McVeigh's lawyer has traveled to London to investigate whether British neo-Nazis provided components for the bomb, which killed 168 people, 19 of them children, and wounded at least 400 others.

The defense for McVeigh may seek to prove an international conspiracy behind the bombing in an effort to portray him as a small link in a complex international web rather than the bombing's mastermind.

Three Britons have been subpoenaed to provide information on the alleged European link: Holocaust denier David Irving, who has close links to extremist groups; John Tyndall, leader of the British National Party, an extreme right-wing group with between 800 and 1,000 members in Britain; and Charles Sergeant, a member of Combat 18, an extremist skinhead group whose membership is estimated at between 30 and 100.

The three men have been asked to describe communication between their organizations and American groups.

Combat 18 is the most dangerous Britain-based group, said Tony Lerman of London's Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

"While it is doubtful that Combat 18 is responsible for developing the bomb used in the Oklahoma building, it is not impossible," he said.

"With access to the Internet, any extremist group can develop a bomb."

Meanwhile, Canadian officials are also clamping down on neo-Nazi activity. Jewish officials have expressed their satisfaction with rulings against two neo-Nazis in Britain.

The Supreme Court of Canada last week reinstated the 1992 conviction of James Keegstra, finding him guilty of promoting hatred against Jews.

Keegstra, a former high school teacher in Alberta who now works as a mechanic, taught his students that Jews are "treacherous," "subversive" and "money-loving" and are responsible for most of the evil in the world. He also taught students that the Holocaust was a hoax.

Proceedings against Keegstra began in 1984.

The maximum penalty for his crime — the willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group — is two years in jail.

The second ruling involves a deportation order by Canadian immigration officials against Oliver Bode, the 29-year-old publisher of a neo-Nazi newspaper in Germany. He was detained when entering Canada through Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Bode apparently was carrying a suitcase filled with racist videos for Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.

"This was a textbook example of how the system is supposed to work," said Bernie Farber, national director of community relations at the Canadian Jewish Congress.

However, Jewish officials were not so pleased with the federal government when it again postponed the deportation hearing of an accused Nazi war criminal who had already been given six months to prepare for an appearance in court.

Konrad Kalejs, 82, an Australian citizen, is scheduled to appear in court in May to show why he should not be deported from Canada, which he re-entered six months ago.

Kalejs was a key officer in the notorious Arajs Kommando unit of the World War II Latvian Security Police. He has already been deported from the United States.

In 1993, a U.S. appeals court upheld a 1985 deportation decision in which he was identified as a high-ranking officer in the mobile killing unit, which murdered tens of thousands of Latvian Jews, Gypsies and Communists during the war.