My major question about today’s arrest in the actual bomb placement at the Spokane, Washington, Martin Luther King Day parade is this: how will America’s media cover the arrest of a non-Muslim motivated by white supremacy who actually placed an operational bomb in a clear hate crime?
The FBI has made an arrest in connection with the attempted bombing along the route of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in downtown Spokane.
An FBI source in Washington, D.C., said one man was arrested Wednesday outside a home near Colville, Stevens County. Agents, including a bomb expert from Quantico, Va., were preparing to search a house where others associated with the suspect were living, the source said.
The suspect is believed to be affiliated with white supremacists, the source said.
That is an excerpt from the Seattle Times, essentially the state paper covering this event. And from MSNBC, now, we have a story that starts out:
A suspect was arrested and charged Wednesday in the foiled bombing of a Martin Luther King Day parade in this city last January.
A magistrate clerk at the U.S. District Court in Spokane identified the suspect as Kevin William Harpham. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance later Wednesday.
Harpham was charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of knowingly possessing an improvised explosive device.
Television station KHQ (NBC) includes the Seattle Times story.
The local ABC station contributed this to the ABC news site:
Investigators are looking into possible ties between Harpham and white supremacist groups, an FBI official told ABC News.
Additionally, a house in the Spokane suburb of Addy, Wash., is being searched by police, according to a report by ABC News’ Spokane, Washington affiliate KXLY.
The bomb was discovered by three workers just half an hour before Spokane’s MLK Day parade was set to begin on Jan. 17, the FBI said.
Authorities rerouted the parade while officers from the Spokane Police Department’s bomb disposal unit worked on the bomb.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed the arrest had been made and said today the bomb “was planted with the aim of injuring or killing people.”
“We were fortunate that it did not go off and people were, in fact, not killed. We were just lucky in that regard,” he said in a press conference.
In the blogosphere, David Neiwert at Crooks & Liars is on the case with a Breaking News update, as this is totally within his wheelhouse; TPM-Muckraker has the KHQ story, reminding us of the very close-call nature in their piece [my bold]:
“Clearly the confluence of the parade route, the timing, the fact that the device was likely placed on that route roughly an hour before the parade … falls squarely within the realm of domestic terrorism,” Frank Harrill, the special agent in charge of FBI operations in Spokane, told TPM at the time.
Later in January, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told a reporter that the bomb had some sort of chemical in it.
City workers found the bomb in a backpack half an hour before the parade began.
The Wall Street Journal online brings this to the story:
Another bomb was found last year near the federal courthouse in Spokane and that case remains unsolved.
The region around Spokane in eastern Washington and northern Idaho has long been a hub for white hate groups. Among the best known was the Aryan Nation, a white-supremacist organization that largely collapsed after a successful civil lawsuit in 2000 against the group and its founder, Richard Butler. The suit was brought by the victims of an attack outside the group’s compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Mr. Butler died at the age of 86 in 2004.
“That part of the world has a very well-developed white-supremacist movement and over the years has produced a great deal of criminal violence,” said Mark Potok, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups and which represented the plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the Aryan Nation.
The Los Angeles Time provides this background:
Most investigators believe race and hate were likely motives for the attempted bombing, The Seattle Times reported.
The “potentially deadly” explosive device that could have caused severe casualties was found along the intended parade route a half an hour before the event was to begin.
The annual march was rerouted after city workers noticed a black Swiss Army backpack apparently abandoned on a bench.
If you see additional stories, it would be wonderful if you could provide them in links in the comments, or simply let us all know what you see on cable television today. Will this story stays aloft tomorrow? Unlike the “Portland Christmas tree bomber,” there were many more elements present in Spokane. There was an actual bomb; the bomb was rather expertly placed; the actual bomb had an actual race-related target. The “ticking bomb” was discovered less than an hour before its likely target went by.
This arrest today has all the elements that one would expect might intrigue media outlets seeking eyeballs around an almost-happened event.
Let’s see if an actual bomb, an actual arrest, and actual hate-motivated action by a white supremacist gets as much media attention as a fake bomb, a set-up, FBI-inspired and -enabled “terror in Portland” — and a Muslim dupe.
I guess that Homeland Security Department report (withdrawn for offending rightwingers and veterans) about ex-soldiers seeking relationships with rightwing radical groups might have been right after all:
An ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement has been taken into custody in connection with the planting of a backpack bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in downtown Spokane, authorities have confirmed.
Kevin William Harpham, 36, of Colville, could face life imprisonment on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device, according to documents on file in U.S. District Court. An initial court appearance is scheduled for this afternoon.
Harpham was arrested this morning during a raid at his home at 1088 Cannon Way near Addy, Wash., by dozens of federal agents who had been assembling in Spokane during the past few days.
The Southern Poverty Law Center confirmed that Harpham in 2004 was a member of the National Alliance, which is one of the most visible white supremacist organizations in the nation. It was founded by the late William Pierce, who authored “The Turner Diaries,” a novel about a future race war. That book was believed to be the blueprint behind the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh.