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FBI Has “Clarity” in Identity of Who Placed Spokane Bomb

2:13 pm in Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Backpack from attempted MLK Day bombing in Spokane, WA. (photo: FBI--detail)

The FBI announced today that while there’s “a lot of work ahead” they have achieved “clarity” in their investigation for a suspect in the bomb placed on Spokane’s Martin Luther King parade route on Monday.

Federal investigators indicated today that they have made progress in their efforts to identify the person or persons who left a bomb Monday along the route of the planned Martin Luther King Jr. march.

“We’ve obtained quite a bit of clarity” as to the identity of those believed to be responsible, said Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI. “But we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

The FBI continues to seek leads from the public in the case, which resulted in the re-routing of the King parade commemoration as well as the clearing of several city blocks and business closures while the bomb squad defused the bomb.

Earlier this week, investigators sent the bomb — which other security sources said could have been detonated by a remote triggering device — to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va.

Harrill has indicated that evidence from that analysis — which could take several days — may be needed before investigators levy charges against any potential suspects.

An anonymous official familiar with the case but not authorized to speak about the investigation yesterday provided a very scary off-the-record quote to the Associated Press:

“They haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” the official said. “This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.”

I marvel at the lack of attention to this case after America’s Legacy Media went wall-to-wall in November over the Portland ‘bomber’ at our city’s Xmas tree lighting. Maybe we only need to wait for a suspect to be in custody before the current case in Spokane — where there was a real bomb with real, or even historic, lethality — gets that same kind of attention.

Potentially Lethal Backpack Bomb Defused on Spokane MLK Parade Route

1:54 pm in Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

The pictured backpack contained explosives and the two t-shirts shown. (photo courtesy of the FBI)

Yesterday, in Spokane, Washington, a ‘potentially lethal destructive device‘ concealed in a backpack on the route of the Martin Luther King parade was disarmed and destroyed before anyone in or viewing the parade was hurt.

A suspicious backpack discovered along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane contained a bomb “capable of inflicting multiple casualties,” the FBI said Tuesday.

The FBI said the bomb was found about 9:25 a.m. PST on Monday on a bench at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.

A bomb disposal unit neutralized the device. The FBI said is a statement that “the backpack contained a potentially deadly destructive device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties.”

A reward has been offered for information regarding the device in the backpack:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terrorism task force is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for planting the bomb. The FBI on Tuesday issued a bulletin asking for the public’s assistance.

Frank Harrill, special agent in the charge of the Spokane FBI office, would not discuss what specifically made the bomb so dangerous but said the investigation has become a top priority.

“It definitely was, by all early analysis, a viable device that was very lethal and had the potential to inflict multiple casualties,” Harrill said. “Clearly, the timing and placement of a device _ secreted in a backpack _ with the Martin Luther King parade is not coincidental. We are doing everything humanly possible to identify the individuals or individual who constructed and placed this device.”

There was more than a bomb in the backpack:

The bomb was discovered in a Swiss Army-brand backpack that was placed on a park bench at 9:25 a.m. at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue.

Two T-shirts were located in the bag. One reads “Stevens County Relay For Life June 25th-26th 2010” and another shirt reads “Treasure Island Spring 2009.” The FBI is working with other federal agencies and virtually all local police agencies with the investigation as part of the Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI isn’t saying whether the current investigation has any links to a previous bomb discovered last year in Spokane:

Meanwhile, federal investigators continue to investigate an explosive device that was discovered March 23 alongside the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse. Harrill said agents have not made an arrest in that previous case.

“We don’t know, at this point, of any linkage to any other incident,” Harrill said, referring to the Monday discovery. “We are not aware of any other events that prefaced this event … or threats associated with this device. Nor does it appear to be linked to any other incidents in Spokane or anywhere else in the country. But, that certainly is a focus for us.”

Surprised Bill O’Reilly is Surprised by Geraldo Rivera’s Calling Terror Theater™ “Bogus”

5:21 pm in Government, Politics, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

I don’t really know what’s surprising about a right-winger being suspicious of federal agents. It seems to me the Feds are who the right-wing feared all the time Bill Clinton was mapping the flight-paths of the black helicopters and Janet Reno was plotting ATF raids on red-state day care centers.

Why would that change now that there’s another Democrat in the White House — especially since he’s a black Democrat? And with that black Democrat having appointed a black Attorney General, isn’t it time for the right-wing to re-discover its anti-authoritarian roots? Isn’t it time for the folks who fear the knock at the door in the night, the warrantless sneak-and-peak, the prying eyes of the feds-bossed-by-Democrats to re-engage in defense of the civil liberties they cherish so much when their GOP Daddies aren’t running things any longer?

Now that the White House is back in the hands of Democrats and the Justice Department is back in the hands of Democrats it’s about time Bill O’Reilly re-engaged with the right wing’s fear of authoritarian government in the hands of the Wrong People.

Geraldo Rivera lays it out for Bill O’Reilly, calling the FBI’s recent Terror Theater™ entrapment projects “bogus” — but Bill has a hard time wrapping his head around opposition to the federal government. He needs to understand it’s being managed by the Wrong People now.

People the right-wing authoritarians don’t take orders from. Read the rest of this entry →

Holder to Muslims Re Stings: Get Used to It

1:14 pm in Executive Branch, Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

Attorney General Eric Holder took his “Get Used to It” entrapment justification tour directly to the enemy this week. He headed to Marin County — gosh, why does that sound familiar, oh, right, that’s where they breed the American Taliban! — to address the annual meeting of Muslim Advocates, a group with two scary words in its name.

(I wonder if they have a gay non-advocacy auxiliary called Fierce Muslim Advocates?)

Anyway, Holder told this national group of Muslims who advocate that when it comes to stings, they better get used to it:

In a 20-minute speech delivered in this suburb of San Francisco at the annual dinner of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and civil-rights organization, Mr. Holder rejected criticism by such groups that sting operations amount to improper “entrapment.”

Using Team Obama’s patented “you don’t have your facts straight” defense against critics, AG Holder told the group they need to look out for sting-y Feebs:

Mr. Holder was given a standing ovation as he took the stage, and many applauded during his speech. But the room fell silent for several minutes while Mr. Holder defended the sting operation in an Oregon bombing attempt last month, calling it a “successful undercover operation” and not a case of entrapment. Those who think otherwise, he said, “simply do not have their facts straight.”

Also, the feds will be on the alert for terror against Muslims, which oddly seems to follow big Terror Theatre™ productions by the FBI’s JTTF:

“I believe that law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship and to practice their faith in peace, free from intimidation, violence or suspicion,” Mr. Holder said.

Seeing no contradiction, Holder went on:

But he also rejected criticism of some counterterrorism techniques used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including sending informants into mosques in search of would-be terrorists and creating elaborate sting operations enabling them to carry out fake attacks using dummy bombs.

Because nothing says “we’re going to let you practice your faith in peace” more than recruiting your children into Terror Theater™ productions they couldn’t possibly carry out without the Feeb’s active intervention. Nothing says “ability to worship freely” like sending informants into mosques. Nothing says that you’re “free from intimidation” like putting you on a watch list to prevent you from accepting a job elsewhere in America. Nothing says “free from suspicion” like isolating children from their loving families through fake-jihad recruitment, cash payments, and provision of Terror Theater™ techniques and traps.

Eric Holder may have thought his speech would make him friends, but the organization’s president, Farhana Khera, has his number:

Ms. Khera emphasized that Muslim Advocates recognized that “there are actual threats that do exist and as Americans who care about the country, we want law enforcement to be effective.”

But the complex “entrapment operations,” she contended, may be getting people involved in terrorism who otherwise would not have done anything. She also argued that the operations divert investigators from “actual threats” and stoke “anti-Muslim sentiment.”

If the FBI spends resources developing Terror Theater™ productions with individuals unlikely or incapable of bringing threats to fruition or reality, then those resources are unavailable to track and identify actual terror threats. And Terror Theatre™ provokes actual terror — terror against Muslims — that the FBI must investigate.

All in all, though, from a bureaucrats’ perspective, Terror Theatre™, the responses to it, and the need to respond to the resultant terror make for a bigger budget request next year. Win!

Portland Mayor Sam Adams: Not So Fast on Re-Joining FBI Terror Task Force

10:58 pm in Government, Local Government, Terrorism by Teddy Partridge

photo: travelportland via Flickr

Sounds like last week’s FBI Terror Theater™ didn’t go all the way to convince Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, that the city must re-join the Joint Terror Task Force. Especially because the City Commissioner who voted against the idea, who Mayor Adams took the Police Commissioner job away from earlier this spring, has asked for discussion of the matter at the upcoming (12/8) City Commission meeting.

A couple of hours after Commissioner Dan Saltzman said Portland should rejoin the federal government’s Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force, calling for city council vote on the controversial issue next week, December 8, Mayor Sam Adams poured all kinds of cold water on the idea.

When asked outside the federal courthouse if he supported Saltzman’s timeline, Adams’ response was fairly curt: “Not at this point.” Although, soon after, the mayor did allow: “That doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future.”

Mayor Adams now seems to have downgraded the five-months-long discussions with the Feebs to ‘sporadic.’

Portland in 2005 became the first city to pull its police officers from a task force—partly because of constitutional concerns arising over how the Bush administration was sidestepping courts, and also because of jurisdictional concerns in lending out its officers. (Then-Mayor Tom Potter also apparently was peeved he only got “secret” clearance, instead of cooler-sounding “top secret.”) But at the time, Saltzman was the only commissioner to say no.

Ironically, it was Adams this weekend—firmly in the majority in 2005—who first raised the issue of rejoining, noting he had had talks with Police Chief Mike Reese after Reese expressed an interest. Adams today said those talks were “sporadic,” and that he had other issues to focus on when he became police commissioner: guns, human trafficking, and hiring more cops.

Of course, it’s not like Team Obama’s record on civil liberties is really any better than the Bush/Cheney crew.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →