The man arrested today in connection with the attempted Martin Luther King Day parade bombing in Spokane, Washington, appears to have longtime connections to the white supremacist movement.
Kevin William Harpham, 36, was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and receiving and possessing an improvised explosive device.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Harpham was a member of the National Alliance, an infamous neo-Nazi organization, in late 2004. It's not clear when he joined the National Alliance or whether he's still a card-carrying member.
But an individual identifying himself as Kevin Harpham, who says he's a neo-Nazi who lives near Spokane, has been active on the crudely racist, anti-Semitic website Vanguard News Network since joining the online forum in November 2004.
Since then, Harpham has posted 1,069 comments to VNN using the moniker Joe Snuffy, slang for a low-ranking U.S. soldier. (Kevin William Harpham was apparently in the army in 1996-1997 and was based at Fort Lewis, Wash., the Southern Poverty Law Center reported earlier today.)
Harpham last posted to VNN on January 16, the day before the attempted MLK Day parade bombing.
Ten days before that, Harpham offered shelter to violent neo-Nazi activist Craig Cobb, a part-time resident of Kalispell, Montana who is a fugitive from justice in Canada, where he's wanted on hate crimes charges.
"Craig, if you read this and you need a place to stay for the winter I have an empty basement with a couple rooms, a bed and bathroom you can live in till spring," Harpham posted. "I live in Washington not too far from Kalispell."
Kevin William Harpham was arrested today in a rural area south of Colville, Washington, just across the Idaho panhandle from Montana.
A white supremacist website founded by Cobb in 2007, Podblanc, features tribute videos to "lone wolf" white supremacist killers, including Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, who in July 1999 went on a three-day shooting rampage targeting Jews and non-whites. Smith killed two people and wounded nine before turning his gun on himself.
On Jan. 8, Cobb apparently posted a message to supporters on VNN encouraging them to follow the examples of lone wolf terrorists such as Joe Stack, who flew a small plane into a building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas in 2010, and James von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who killed a security guard after he opened fire at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2009.
"Ask all to seriously internally take direct personal action upon furthering Our Cause, doing something they haven't yet done before, or repeating something that has been highly effective," Cobb wrote.
Cobb wrote there was a "small chance" he'd take Harpham up on his offer of basement space.
Harpham wrote about lone wolf violence in response to an August 2009 article in USA Today that reported, "Federal authorities have launched an effort to detect lone attackers who may be contemplating politically charged assaults." Harpham wrote: "A lone Wolf would be hard pressed to compete with the level of destruction the jew bankers are doing to the country right now."
Fox figures and guests have continued their aggressive promotion of Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) upcoming hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims.
From the March 9 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
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From the March 8 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the March 8 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the March 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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On Tuesday, Fox & Friends ran a segment about a new portable DNA analyzer soon to begin testing by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The facts are these: The analyzer is entering preliminary testing, and it will be used in situations where DNA analyses are legal and authorized, such as establishing familial relationships in refugee cases. A document that details USCIS policies clearly explains that all such tests are completely voluntary. The TSA will not be involved in the testing the device, and has no intention to explore DNA testing.
None of that stopped Fox & Friends from pushing the completely concocted falsehood that the TSA will test passengers' DNA at airport security checkpoints. Co-host Steve Doocy teased the segment by saying, "And if you thought you thought pat-downs were bad, just wait. Now the TSA wants your DNA." In the segment, co-host Gretchen Carlson said the government claimed it would "build a database of terrorists and ... profile." On-screen graphics during the segment were particularly egregious, containing phrases such as, "New TSA Device Will Check Genes," "TSA Will Check Passengers' DNA Results," and "DNA Swap At Airports; 'Genetic Patdown' Device To Be Introduced."
Another misleading story about the same device appeared in the February 26 edition of the News Corp. iPad newspaper The Daily. Where the Fox & Friends segment was brazenly false, The Daily article simply fearmongered that the DNA analyzers could be abused. The text of the article did not mention the TSA -- although the URL does -- but the article led by discussing airport scanners: "Airport scanners already get under your clothes, but federal officials aren't stopping there: They want to get inside your genes, too." The implication of the headline presentation is, let's just say, explicitly clear:
The National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF) logo features a young man aiming a shotgun under the watchful eye of an older man, below them is a deer in a forest. Similar imagery is featured in logos used by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
National Rifle Associaition Youth Hunter Education Challenge
These images are attempts to brand the gun industry as focusing on hunting and hunters, but that quaint branding hides the gun lobby's political agenda and the gun industry's increasing emphasis on lethality.
National Shooting Sports Foundation Logo
The gun lobby ceased to be about hunting and hunters long ago, but maintaining that image is a critical marketing tool for the NSSF and the NRA. The NSSF's idea of a modern hunting rifle are AR platforms, such as the M-16 civilian variant AR-15. The blurring of the lines can be explained by the gun industry's need to sell new firearms products to the eroding percentage of the population which owns firearms, when the firearms currently owned by Americans have very long lifetimes. While NSSF may present AR-15's as the modern hunting rifle don't expect them to redo the logo anytime soon.
Of course not all gun lobbyists are afraid of rejecting the hunting label:
The juxtaposition of these two faces was apparent at the 2011 SHOT Show where Kel-Tec salesman Chad Enos discussed his company's new model the KSG shotgun, which holds more then twice as many shots as a police shotgun, 15, and is designed to be as compact as legally possible. As Media Matters' David Holthouse reported not everyone at the SHOT Show was buying Enos' marketing pitch:
"This is good for self-defense, home defense, quail hunting, you name it," Enos said. "Those gangsters will never know what hit 'em."
One onlooker, Cedric Steele of Knightcross Publishing, replied, "It's a lot of gun for the price, but the problem is, you're going to wind up selling a lot of them to gangsters."
"No, no, no, no," said Enos. "Quail hunters. Not gangbangers. Quail hunters."
That line got a big laugh.
A Fox & Friends segment reported that the Transportation Security Administration will begin testing airline passengers' DNA at airports. In reality, the Department of Homeland Security is planning to test a portable DNA screener for use in certain immigration cases; the TSA is not testing the device and says it has no plans to test DNA.
The right-wing media have repeatedly mischaracterized Attorney General Eric Holder's recent reference to "my people" to claim that he is a "black nationalist" or that the Obama Justice Department is motivated by "racial bias." In his statement, Holder actually took issue with the suggestion that a 2008 incident involving the New Black Panther Party was a more "blatant form of voter intimidation" than what occurred in the 1960s; Holder said the suggestion "does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all."
From the March 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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In a March 1 editorial, The Washington Times stated that "restrictions on things like the size of handgun magazines" are "pointless." The Times also wrote that President Obama is "a bigoted man who derisively describes small-town America as a place where people 'cling to guns.'"
From the Times' editorial:
The left has permanently lost the argument on gun control. Despite their best efforts to take advantage of the tragic shooting in Arizona to promote pointless restrictions on things like the size of handgun magazines, the propaganda campaign is unlikely to go anywhere. Instead, the right to keep and bear arms continues to gain steam as state lawmakers around the country are enacting measures that would have been unthinkable not so long ago.
At the national level, Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, and Rep. Heath Schuler, North Carolina Democrat, introduced a measure providing for national reciprocity of concealed carry permits. That means anyone with the legal ability to carry in his home state could do so in another state as long as he abides by all applicable state laws. It's unfortunate this common-sense bill has no chance of getting past the Oval Office as long as it is occupied by a bigoted man who derisively describes small-town America as a place where people "cling to guns."
Politico reports this afternoon that Attorney General Eric Holder showed real exasperation today at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing when he was asked about the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) case. After being told by Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) that a poll watcher had said the New Black Panther incident -- in which two members of the fringe group stood menacingly outside a Philadelphia polling station and produced exactly zero reports of voter intimidation -- was "the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career," Holder fired back:
"Think about that," Holder said. "When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia, which was inappropriate....to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people," said Holder, who is black.
Holder noted that his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama.
"To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, to say some Black Panther incident is of greater concern to us, historiclally, I think just flies in the face of history," Holder said with evident exasperation.
This followed, according to the report, Culberson saying to Holder: "There's clearly overwhelming evidence that your Department of Justice refuses to protect the rights of anybody other than African-Americans to vote."
That the attorney general should have to remind a congressional panel of America's tragic history of race-based disenfranchisement is nothing short of remarkable. Also remarkable is the fact that these questions are being posed by a member of Congress to the attorney general in the first place. And for that we have the Fox Cycle to thank.
PHOENIX, Ariz.--The endless carnage of the Mexican cartel wars may seem a world away from the climate control and free Starbucks within the Phoenix Convention Center, where leading border security experts gathered this month for the fifth annual Border Security Expo. Yet it's only 150 miles from downtown Phoenix to the northernmost cartel war zone of Nogales, Sonora. Even closer are the badlands on the U.S. side of the border where last December a Border Patrol agent was killed in a firefight with Mexican drug smugglers. They were armed with AK-47s purchased legally from a gun store in Glendale, Arizona, less than a year before.
Weapons seized in March 2010 by Mexican military police from La Familia Michoacana Cartel, more commonly known as La Familia, a Mexican drug trafficking organization and criminal syndicate.
More than 73,000 firearms have been seized in drug raids or recovered from the scenes of cartel gun battles in Mexico since December 2006. According to law enforcement officials, "90 percent of the weapons that could be traced were determined to have originated from various sources within the U.S." Weapons sold over-the-counter in the U.S., including thousands of cheap, military-style assault rifles, are being used in Mexico to commit horrific violence on a massive scale.
Conservative politicians routinely demand that the federal government to do more to secure the border -- often championing nativist and draconian anti-immigrant policies. Yet they reflexively oppose even modest efforts by law enforcement to better track the flow of high-powered weaponry.
Meanwhile, the violence in Mexico continues to escalate. More than 34,000 people have died in the cartel wars since late 2006, many of them law enforcement officers, elected officials, or innocent civilians. On February 15, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was shot and killed and his partner was seriously wounded while they were investigating cartel gunrunning in Mexico.
That same day marked the start of the Border Security Expo, a gathering of law enforcement and government officials from the U.S. and Mexico, as well as private security and defense contractors.
Standing at the Phoenix conference hall podium, U.S. border security expert Alonzo Peña, the former Deputy Director of ICE, called for America to own up to its responsibility for the bloodshed in Mexico.
"We are the consumers of the drugs and we are the suppliers of the weapons," said Peña. "The drugs come to America, the money and the guns go back. U.S. weapons are giving these cartels the firepower they need. Much more needs to be done. There is a huge gap between what we are capable of doing to stop illegal gun trafficking to Mexico and what is actually being done."
On February 22, Gun Owners of America (GOA) president Larry Pratt appeared on America Live and presented a variety of misleading reasons for his opposition to Andrew Traver, President Obama's nominee to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Pratt's objections during the segment were political in nature, wholly ignored Traver's distinguished record as a law enforcement officer and veered into far-flung accusations of criminal conspiracies by the ATF.
Asked about why he and other gun lobbyists have opposed the Traver nomination, Pratt first pounced on the opportunity to link the ATF to the case of border patrol agent Brian Terry, who was tragically killed in a firefight with five armed assailants in December. Questions recently surfaced about ATF awareness of the purchase of two of the weapons used in the attack against Terry and his fellow agents.
PRATT: But with the, know the looming crisis that the agency breaking about how they were, their agents were literally running guns into Mexico to jack up the numbers to make it look like they needed more money for their agency. [1:27]
Pratt and the GOA have been advancing the accusation that "the ATF is actually helping to move illegal guns across the border." In fact, according to the Washington Post, the accused straw buyer linked to the Brian Terry shootings has been arrested by the ATF as have 33 others. The paper also reported that court records "do not indicate that the agents deliberately allowed weapons to cross the border into Mexico. On at least two occasions, agents stopped and seized arms shipments headed for the border." The Department of Justice has responded to Congressional inquires regarding this allegation in a February 4th letter saying:
At the outset, the allegation described in your January 27 letter- that the ATF "sanctioned" or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico- is false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico. [Emphasis added]
Pratt's accusation distracts from the role American-bought guns play in fueling cartel violence, and to discredit efforts by the ATF to clamp down on the southward flow of firearms. More then 65,000 guns recovered by Mexican law enforcement have been traced to the United States, so to suggest that American law enforcement -- and not Mexican cartels -- are behind this widespread trend is not only pure fantasy, but deeply dishonest. Finally, there have been zero reports that have linked Traver, who runs the Chicago area office of the ATF, to the Brian Terry case.
When pressed by host Megyn Kelly to actually discuss reasons he opposes Andrew Traver, instead of espousing conspiracy theories, Pratt continued to make unsubstantiated assertions and all but dismissed the relevance of Traver's record as a law enforcement officer.
PRATT: Well, if he wants to be the head of police agency where he has to get congressional confirmation he needs to get off his anti-gun kick. It's just totally unacceptable and we're not going to look at the rest of his record. If he thinks his job is to come after gun owners, legitimate guns owners in this country, then we're against him. And we just really don't care how many arrests he can tout, he will also be making arrests of gun owners who haven't done anything, because those are even easier arrests to make than going after real criminals. [2:50]
Pratt offered no explanation why he thinks that Traver would come after, "legitimate gun owners" as part of his "job." Reached for comment on what actions Traver has taken against "legitimate gun owners," Pratt told Media Matters he was referring to the Great Lakes Summit States Summit on Firearm Violence. Traver was a "Summit Advisor" but the summit did not advocate in any way targeting legitimate guns owners for arrest. Pratt did not respond with any examples of actions Traver took as a law enforcement officer to backup his assertion.
Pratt also seemed intent on exaggerating the influence of the ATF.
KELLY: How much power does he have? Because the Obama administration did not, uh, did not propose to reinstate the lapsed the assault weapons ban. So, can this guy do it as head of the ATF? [3:20]
PRATT: Sure, the ATF intervened with the State Department and got them to cancel permission to import 830,000, almost antique rifles now, M-1 carbines from Korea. That's a huge, that's probably the biggest gun ban in history. It was done all by regulation, by dictate from the FBI and BATF. [3:31]
In fact, Traver would have no authority to reinstate the assault weapons ban, as doing so would require Congressional action. While the State Department's decision to deny permission for the importation of the Korean War-era guns was regulatory in nature, the authority to do so was based in previous legislation and in no way beyond the legitimate authority of the State Department.
Even Kelly seemed to recognize the excessively political nature of Pratt's complaints as she unsuccessfully tried to get Pratt to address Traver's bipartisan support from Illinois' senators and his support from U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, who called Traver's actions to combat gang violence "excellent."
Since 2006 the position of ATF director has been held by temporary appointees as the Senate has failed to confirm both Traver and President Bush's proposed director Micheal Sullivan. The ATF is going on 5 years without a permanent director -- is it time to ask if anyone can be confirmed by the Senate?