Archive for Washington

Hate message left on US Muslim family’s car

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by loonwatch

Even though they took the time and effort to write the same message in Arabic, they failed to comprehend what an independent sentence is.

Hate message left on US Muslim family’s car

A hate message was left on the car of a Muslim family while they were inside a business in Redmond, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) said Tuesday.

CAIR-WA said a Muslim mother reported that she found the message, which said, “We don’t [want] Muslims in America” in English and “We don’t want Muslims in our country, go away”, in Arabic, stuck to the family’s vehicle when she returned to it Monday afternoon after visiting a Redmond Starbucks.

“I can’t believe someone could hate me because of my religious beliefs,” the victim told KIRO 7. She asked us not to use her name or show her face.

The Muslim mother, who was with her 9-year-old daughter at the time of the incident, wears an Islamic head scarf.

Earlier this month, CAIR’s Michigan chapter called on state and national law enforcement authorities to investigate an incident in which a vehicle was vandalized and defaced with a racially-derogatory phrase and profanity.

CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari said a coalition of some 60 interfaith and community leaders recently asked Everett Community College to drop an “Islamophobic” speaker scheduled to appear Thursday as part of an “Islam in America” lecture series.

Bukhari said that a growing number of hate incidents targeting American Muslims, those perceived to be Muslim and Muslim institutions have occurred in the days since the death of Osama bin Laden.

“Some of the issues we see happening are an increase in rhetoric against Muslims and an increase in mainstreaming of anti-Muslim speech,” Bukhari said.

CAIR-WA held a news conference Tuesday afternoon with the Muslim mother and her daughter to talk about the incident.

The victim said she isn’t angry about the note, but she’s shocked that it would happen in a community she’s grown to love. ”We are just regular people, and I hope this person realizes that they can’t make us afraid to go out and live our lives regularly,” she said.

KIRO TV, 24 May 2011

Kevin Harpham, White Supremacist Left “Sophistacted Bomb” at MLK Parade

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Kevin Harpham is suspected of leaving a sophisticated bomb at an MLK Parade in Washington. We didn’t hear much about this individual but if he were Muslim we might be holding Congressional hearings on the Radicalization of American Muslims…oh wait we are.

MLK Day Parade Bomber Suspect Arrested

SPOKANE, Wash. — A man accused of leaving a sophisticated bomb along a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route in Spokane is known to an organization that tracks hate groups.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center tells The Associated Press that Kevin Harpham was a member of the white supremacist National Alliance in 2004. But Potok says his organization doesn’t know when he joined or if he has left the group.

The 36-year-old Harpham is from the Colville area in northeastern Washington. He was arrested Wednesday and is expected to appear in federal court at 3:30 p.m. on charges of trying to use a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device.

It wasn’t clear if Harpham has a lawyer.

The bomb was discovered before it went off and no one was injured.

Salon.com: The Terrorist Attempt You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by loonwatch

The terrorist attempt you’ve never heard of

(Salon.com)

One month ago, a bomb was found along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., an area with a troubled history of violence by white supremacist groups. The FBI quickly announced that the backpack bomb, which was found by chance not long before marchers were scheduled to walk by, was sophisticated and could have caused “multiple casualties.” Authorities even used the phrase “domestic terrorism” to describe the incident.

Despite all that, the Spokane bomb has drawn little sustained coverage from the national media, let alone attention on Capitol Hill. One reason for the lack of coverage, no doubt, is that the incident does not fit into the reigning narrative of Muslim terrorism.

Take the example of the fake bomb plot by a Somali-born Muslim man in Portland, Ore., in November. This was one of several recent FBI stings in which an informant coaxed the suspect into launching an attack and even provided a fake bomb. A search for the Portland plot on the Nexis news archive, a blunt but fairly effective instrument for measuring the volume of media coverage, came up with 420 hits in the week after the incident. A similar search for the Spokane bomb plot came up with just 139 hits — even though the bomb in Spokane was real and the device in Portland was fake.

To get an update on the Spokane bomb and where the investigation stands, I spoke with Thomas Clouse, a legal affairs reporter with the Spokesman-Review in Spokane. He has been covering the story more closely than any other reporter in the country. The interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

So set the scene, what is this parade like?

There are usually several hundred folks who come out on Martin Luther King Day for what they call a “unity march.” They have members of the black community and black pastors who come and speak about the message of hope and the message that Dr. King lived. They have a route that we publish every year, and it ends up in downtown in River Park Square, where they have speeches.

Where along the parade was the backpack with the bomb found?

About three blocks from the end; it was found right next to or on a park bench. It was found by three contract maintenance workers about an hour before the march. They saw what appeared to be wires coming out of it, so they opened it and became suspicious. They called 911. The police consulted with each other and made the decision that they would not be able to determine whether it was a real bomb or not by the time the march was supposed to go by, so they decided to re-route the march. People were already gathering for the march when the backpack was discovered; it was found 40 minutes or so before people were supposed to walk by.

How was the bomb made?

Most of what we know is from sources who have not been willing to be named. The FBI is trying to preserve details of the case so if someone comes forward trying to take credit, the authorities will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. From what I’ve learned, it was a metal cylinder with some type of explosive inside. It also had a specific type of shrapnel and a substance that they believe was designed to be an anticoagulant, and that was rat poison. We also reported that it had a remote detonating device, meaning the bomb could be detonated remotely. It had an electronic receiver very much like the automatic key entry in a car. That means that the person had to have been nearby to detonate the device.

We’ve learned that they did get surveillance video of a subject nearby but the video was of such low quality that they weren’t able to determine who it was. I’ve learned that they’ve sent that to the FBI trying to enhance that video, but I’ve not heard back that they were able to glean anything from it.

Is there a sense of how much damage the bomb could have done?

They’ve said that it could have caused multiple casualties, though it’s obviously tempered by the amount of explosives one can fit in a backpack. It was placed near a four-foot-tall, two-foot-thick brick wall that would have directed the blast directly out into the street where the marchers were.

Have they said anything about the motive?

They publicly have said that they believe it was a thwarted attempt at domestic terrorism, and that it cannot be lost that it had political and social motives because of the timing and the location — along the path of a Martin Luther King unity march. But there was no note prior to, and no one took credit for it after the fact.

Can you explain the history of racial tensions in the area that you explored in one of your recentarticles?

We’ve had several bombing incidents in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, area [about 30 minutes from Spokane]. There was some activity there in the 1980s. And we had three bombing incidents here in Spokane in 1996. The suspects or the people arrested in all of those cases were either Aryan Nations or some type of white supremacist. There’s been a lull recently in that type of activity.

We have been seeing a lot more racist literature left on cars and in homes. We had a hate crime that made it to federal court in Coeur d’Alene in which some guys scratched out a swastika in the dirt on the side of their rig. Two of the three I believe were convicted of malicious harassment of a Hispanic man in the area. But things really have wound down since 2004 when Richard Butlerdied. He was the founder and leader of the Aryan Nations.

But it’s not as if any of these groups are a constant, visible presence?

No. Into the late 1990s, the Aryan Nations would have an actual parade down Main Street in Coeur d’Alene, with swastikas and boot-stepping and the whole nine yards. But we haven’t seen that since 1998 or 1999.

So where do things stand now in the investigation?

The FBI has not even so much as put out a description of a suspect. Yet, I interviewed a restaurant owner who said the day after the incident an agent with Homeland Security came by, and he got the impression from the questions that the agent had somebody specific in mind. The authorities said that there were interviews done the day of the discovery, and that there was no immediate threat of a second device. That leads me to believe that they have more idea of who is behind this than they’re letting on.

Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott