Atlanta Olympics bomber enters guilty plea

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The Independent US

A defiant anti-abortionist pleaded guilty yesterday to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other attacks, saying he picked the Games to embarrass the US government in front of the world "for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand".

A defiant anti-abortionist pleaded guilty yesterday to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three other attacks, saying he picked the Games to embarrass the US government in front of the world "for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand".

"Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified ... in an attempt to stop it," Eric Rudolph said in a statement handed out by his lawyers after he entered his pleas in back-to-back court appearances, first in Birmingham, Alabama, then in Atlanta.

Rudolph, a 38-year-old American, worked out a plea bargain that will spare him from the death penalty. He will get four consecutive life sentences without parole for the four blasts across the South that killed two people and wounded more than 120 others.

His statement - a rambling, right-wing manifesto on 11 typewritten, single-spaced pages - marked the first time he offered a motive for the attacks.

"The purpose of the attack ... was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand," Rudolph said in the statement, in which he also quotes the Bible repeatedly, condemns homosexuality and complains that the Olympics promote "global socialism".

The plan, he said, "was to force the cancellation of the Games, or at least create a state of insecurity to empty the streets around the venues and thereby eat into the vast amounts of money invested".

He said that because he was unable to obtain the necessary high explosives, he "had to dismiss the unrealistic notion of knocking down the power grid surrounding Atlanta and consequently pulling the plug on the Olympics for their duration".

The bomb that exploded at the Olympics was hidden in a knapsack and sent nails and screws into a crowd at Centennial Olympic Park during a concert. A woman was killed and 111 other people were wounded.

In Birmingham earlier, Rudolph pleaded guilty to an abortion clinic bombing there in 1998 that killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.

Rudolph also admitted bombing a gay nightclub in Atlanta, wounding five people, in 1997, and attacking a suburban Atlanta office building containing an abortion clinic that same year, wounding six people.

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