Robert Manning, Santana, FBI discussed on The Times: Daily news from the L.A. Times
Palestinians who live in Israel proper. On the West Bank and in exile. That was Alex O'Day from an interview on Pacifica radio on August 22nd, 1985. Odes assassination drew condemnation from Jewish civil rights groups and galvanized Arab American ones. A statue of him now stands in front of the Santa Ana public library within walking distance of where he lost his life. Gabriel San Roman writes for times OC, which is part of the Los Angeles Times. He has followed the investigation into a day's assassination for over a decade. Gabrielle, welcome to the times. There's always nice to be on. I have to admit I did not even know about the ode case until I became a reporter, even though I know that statue. So if you're walking through Santana, you see this big, you know, very serious statue of a man and you think, oh, you must be either some Roman or maybe a Mexican 'cause Santana is such a Mexican city. And then you go and you see the name Alex ode. Who is he? So it's almost like his case is a ghost in Santana. It's there, but the people who remember are mostly gone. Absolutely. And that statue plays that role in a sense because cast like a ghostly apparition over the city. And then two, it also just remains there for people to inquire and ask questions. But yeah, you know it's this case from 1985, it's 36 years old now. And surprisingly, it doesn't go away. New generations will learn about him, even above and beyond the Arab American community. I think the Latino community in Santana has learned a lot about Alexander in the last ten years. And I think it's because of that persistent unapologetic push for justice that continues against the odds against what seems politically possible. What does a U.S. government officially say about the assassination of Alex O'Day? Well, the U.S. government doesn't say a whole lot. The FBI has been the lead agency in the murder investigation since 1985. And basically what they do year after year every October 11th is reassuring the Arab American community that the investigation is a priority that it is ongoing, and what they don't say is who they believe to be the authors of the crime. They have never publicly named the suspects that there are any that they have. And investigative journalism suggests that they do. I mean, they have a $1 million reward that has been promoted since about 1996 for information leading to a conviction of the crime. But it's just a very peculiar purgatory for the case, and it doesn't seem to break with any new developments over the course of the past few decades. So there is understandably a lot of cynicism within the Arab American community. But some of my most recent journalism suggests that it looks like the FBI has been, at least in the early onset of the investigation, pretty active in terms of trying to prosecute, but there's stymied. And according to my interview with retired lieutenant humi, it wasn't the FBI in 1996 that basically wasn't proactive. It was the State Department official in his recollection that said we need to look at the bigger picture of the U.S. Israeli relations in this case is going nowhere. There's a lot of speculation about oday's killer, but this is speculation that also comes from government statements and actions that sometimes contradict each other in 2016, for instance said, Department of Justice said that the oday family was actually victims of Robert Manning. Who's he? Robert Manning was one of three Jewish defense league members that had been discussed privately according to my reporting and others in connection with the Audi bombing. Never has he been officially named as a suspect we can't even say that. He was extradited in 93 from Israel to the United States in he stood trial for a male contract bombing. He was a hitman in a sense and sent him mail bomb at the behest of the person who paid for the crime, and unfortunately, Patricia wilkerson, a secretary in Manhattan beach, opened up the package and the bomb detonated and it exploded and killed her. So he is serving a life sentence for that crime. A retired FBI agent wanted to question him in the aude case and essentially he denied having been a member of the JD L, which was an extremist Jewish group founded by the late rabbi honey. And essentially, he says, I know nothing I did nothing, so he still in Phoenix Arizona is serving out his prison sentence. So why then does the United States government and Department of Justice say that the uday family is a victim of Robert Manning if they're not saying anything officially that Manning has anything to do with the killing of Alex O'Day? It's just this really peculiar legal predicament. It makes no sense, right? The American Arab anti discrimination committee, which is the group that Alex Audrey belonged to and was the West Coast regional director for, they are also deemed by the DOJ as they told me as victims of Manning's. And how can that be? It clears the way that classification internal classification clears the way for Helena ode to speak at the parole hearing as she did in 2018 in person in Phoenix, and then also in 2020 remotely. And the ADC president is also able to address the parole hearing in those years too as well as a victim of Manning's. But he's never been indicted. He's never been charged. He's never been convicted of that 1985 office bombing. In saint Anna that killed Alex Saudis. So it's a contradiction. It's a paradox. It just doesn't make any sense. What other hints have come out over the years about how much the U.S. government knows about the identity of a day's killers? It's been pretty well reported for the course of 30 plus years. Again, what I was able to do was corroborate a unnamed anonymous source, recounting of the scene in 85 in Santa Ana, where the FBI and LAPD joint terrorism task force members descended on the scene via helicopter and probably pretty dramatically in a little unusual for an Orange County city like that. They got off and they told lieutenant at the time it was the acting captain that day. And at the command center, one of the persons in the group of four basically said these are the people that we've been training, flying from New York to LA. They were lost at LAX. And the three names have been spoken of privately and then publicly and journalism and Andy green, who now goes by bruk Ben Joseph, Keith, Israel fuchs, and then Manning. So it's been an open secret who the investigation has looked at. And again, the FBI, according to the lawsuit documents that I referenced earlier, wanted to question and according to their field director that I interviewed a few years back, did question Manning about the audit crime. So at the bare minimum, you can call Manning a person of interest, and then with the parole hearings, the victimizer of the organization and the family, but in terms of the criminal conviction, something's getting in between. Some things in the middle, the ADC has long wanted to see the extradition agreement between the U.S. and Israel and with regards to Manning to see if there's answers there as to why that gap exists. Robert Friedman was a Village Voice journalist, and wrote a op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in 1990, where he was in Israel. And basically saw green and Manning at that time, and said they're here. They're living freely in these Israeli settlements. One was at that time it was also a particular settlement that followers of kahani would live in and basically they couldn't be arrested if they were in the settlements they had to be in Israel proper. But, you know, Friedman said you can find them there too. So it's not a secret who has been discussed in connection with the case, and it's not a secret and it hasn't been a secret where they are,.