"Dirty Bomber" also John Doe 2?
June 12, 2002 2:14 PM   Subscribe

"Dirty Bomber" also John Doe 2? "Here's a discovery to unsettle the average American and elate the average conspiracy theorist: Take a look at these two pictures. Notice any resemblence? The picture on the right is Abdullah al-Muhajir, aka Jose Padilla, whom the U.S. government claims is an al Qaeda operative recently arrested on suspicion of planning a "dirty bomb" radioactive attack on the U.S. And the picture at left? Why, that's John Doe No. 2, the still-unaccounted-for co-conspirator from the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995! What, you say, what? You mean the FBI somehow failed to notice this? Or did they?" (found on rotten.com)
posted by stifford (26 comments total)
I'm not someone that usually goes for conspiracy theories, but this one seemed a little more interesting than most (and topical). The link's webname may not be SFW, but nothing on the page seemed offensive (forgive me, this was my first FPP)
posted by stifford at 2:18 PM on June 12, 2002

Also blogged here.
posted by brownpau at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2002

I dunno. The pictures only seem to have a passing similarity to me. The jawlines are markedly different and the eyes feel pretty different as well. But, admittedly, sketches are pretty sketchy.

Now, I found this Chart of Homeland Security Status pretty damn funny.
posted by warhol at 2:25 PM on June 12, 2002

It's uncanny! My gosh! They both have two eyes, a nose and a mouth!

This sort of reminds me of the "face" they found on Mars. (Sorry, but I'm too lazy to seach for the link. Google it yourself.)
posted by mikegre at 2:26 PM on June 12, 2002

Perhaps it's worth noting that the original FBI sketch of the Unabomber looked like Tom Selleck, whereas the actual smelly fact of the matter is that Ted Kaczynski looks like Joe Esterhaz.
posted by artifex at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2002

He doesnt resemble himself.
posted by vacapinta at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2002

Tom Selleck didn't send bombs to people in the mail though either. The fact that the "dirty bomber" looks strikingly similar to a sketch of someone involved in an anti-american bombing seems to give more weight to this theory. Similar crimes, similar motives, and similar pictures. If he looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, what is he?
posted by banished at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2002

Announcing the real Unabomber.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:44 PM on June 12, 2002

This Salon article is an excellent introduction to John Doe number 2 and some of the unsovlved issues surrounding the bombing.
posted by euphorb at 2:51 PM on June 12, 2002

Jeepers. Count me among those who sees a striking resemblance. I mean, how accurate are police sketches, normally?
posted by mediareport at 3:31 PM on June 12, 2002

The 'false sketching' of John Doe No. 2 looks much like this sketching of John Doe No. 2. The witness providing information on the description of John Doe No. 2 experienced "memory misattribution." According to the ABCNews article, "[t]he FBI says what happened was this: Tom [the witness] took his memory of Bunting [the man in the sketch] from one day, and mistakenly attached it to his memory of McVeigh from the previous day." The witness, however, did provide that there was an accomplice.
posted by quam at 3:35 PM on June 12, 2002

They're both scowling, too. They must be the same!

Those nose is also different.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:02 PM on June 12, 2002

I did some follow-up yesterday on the site posted by brownpau. (Neither of us given to conspiracy theories, FYI.) It's pretty unsettling -- even if inconclusive. There were several witnesses (I got their names from earlier coverage) ranging from a waffle shop to a Subway to the truck rental to someone at the bombing scene who saw someone who couldn't have been, from their descriptions, McVeigh or Nichols. Padilla was already Muslim and in Afghanistan/Pakistan by 1993 or 1994, around the time that Nichols was apparently meeting with Ramzi Yousef in the Philippines. The bomb was a signature technique of Middle Eastern terrorists. And weirdest of all, Nichols's ex-wife briefly married someone else named Padilla.

It's probably just a coincidence of appearance; there surely are plenty of young Hispanic males who would come just as close. It would be interesting to see the results of a photo line-up with those witnesses, though. One doesn't need to follow down any extreme conspiracy narrative to acknowledge the prosecution downplayed the earlier John Doe #2 talk because opening that can of worms could have weakened their own case -- and that doesn't mean there wasn't a John Doe #2, or other unanswered questions.

quam: there was a face-forward sketch without a cap, and a cruder side view with a cap, created by police sketch artists. The 'false sketching' is just the first face-forward view combined with a cap.
posted by dhartung at 4:25 PM on June 12, 2002

paging Mr. Salinger, Mr. Pierre Salinger.
As appealing as dhartung's scenario may be (and I could see this being fleshed out and become real). . . I'll still file this in with the articles about how a plane couldn't have crashed into the pentagon and Bush's question about blacks in Brazil.
posted by rodz at 4:45 PM on June 12, 2002

mediareport: There's an interesting study being done on eyewitness accuracy at Cardiff University.

Please, everyone, don't mess up their science by posting the explanation given on completion of the test. Or by cheating. If valid, the findings could improve techniques used.
posted by southisup at 6:40 PM on June 12, 2002

Seriously... they do look very similar. And both images are at the center of bombing cases. It's at the very least an eerie coincidence.

Quite frankly, I hope they investigate the hell out of an eerie coincidence.
posted by dopamine at 7:04 PM on June 12, 2002

Some months ago, a guest on a local radio program spoke at length about phone records and other evidence which linked Terry Nichols to militant Islamic terror cells in the Phillipines. Those cells were, of course, linked to al-Qaeda. While I don't know that Padilla and John Doe no. 2 are one and the same (sounds a little too neat for me) I wouldn't be surprised if a link were eventually fleshed out. Not one bit.
posted by Dreama at 7:59 PM on June 12, 2002

I dont' think they are the same person, the jaw is totaly diffrent. Pedilla has a very angular jaw, and the sketch has a really square one. Police sketches might not be perfict, but I would expect them to at least get that right.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 PM on June 12, 2002

I always wondered what became of John Doe #2. The resemblance is very spooky.

I don't see how this would really be a 'conspiracy theory', I would rather call it a new lead in an old investigation, one which left a lot of unanswered questions, ones that this conspiracy theory site isn't afraid to ask. Nevermind that the OKC building looked just like the Khobar towers after the blast, and the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Some people speculate that all the scams in Nigeria (maybe you've heard about the email scam snookering lots of gullible Americans) may have helped fund terrorism. So much for the drugs=terrorism ploy.

Remember, the Khobar Towers, and the two embassy bombings were all committed with truck bombs, all committed by Al Qaida. So was Oklahoma City. I don't think it's unreasonable at all to connect Oklahoma City to Al Qaida.

I've even heard discussion from military folks who said that the way the roof caved in on the building in Oklahoma City usually indicates the placement of charges on support structures. Probably all just vain conjecture, I'm sure.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:02 PM on June 12, 2002

Some years back, Oliver Stone wrote a screenplay where domestic militias teamed up with foreign terrorists to wage war on the American government on American soil. At the time no studio wanted to touch the project because it seemed too far-fetched. These days, who knows?
posted by artifex at 10:12 PM on June 12, 2002

Sketches aren't intended to get everything right--try watching an episode of America's Most Wanted, when they compare sketches against the actual criminals. Sketches are made of what people remember, and well, people don't always remember everything--sketches are done to give some visual representation, to have something to go on.

Point is, given the margin of error, and keeping in mind the circumstances, the resemblence between those two pictures could possibly have merit.
posted by precocious at 11:32 PM on June 12, 2002

At the time no studio wanted to touch the project because it seemed too far-fetched. These days, who knows?

Today it would seem too realistic.
posted by kindall at 12:13 AM on June 13, 2002

I would think that if there were any validity to this that Terry Nichols would soon be in a chair with a bright light in his face for hours.
Maybe he will get a bit of rendition to a less hospitable country where questions can be asked in a more demanding manner?
If this turned out to have any truth to it, it would be by far, one of worst failures of our collective intelligence and law enforcement agencies to date.
posted by a3matrix at 5:14 AM on June 13, 2002

Point is, given the margin of error, and keeping in mind the circumstances, the resemblence between those two pictures could possibly have merit.

Or, by the same token, the resemblance could have absolutely no merit at all.

If you ask me, the two faces look like completely different people. Different jaw, different nose, different head-shape. The only thing that links them is evil eyebrows. This leads me to speculate...
posted by Marquis at 6:35 AM on June 13, 2002

This is a chapter that discusses the Nichols/Yusef Ramsi connection in a book published by Feral House that had to be pulped last year after a lawsuit. (It's a tinfoil-hatted jeremiad but since we're all throwing our favorite conspiracy sites out there...)
posted by cowboy_sally at 6:46 AM on June 13, 2002

Gore Vidal's Vanity Fair piece on McVeigh is a good summary of alot of the unresolved issues from that investigation and a much more entertaining read than most of the other links on the case.

I think the sketch is awfully similar... jawlines appear different from even slightly different angles (go try it in front of a mirror). Merits investigation along with all the other loose threads, strings, ropes, steel cables surrounding that case.
posted by mantid at 10:45 AM on June 13, 2002

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