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Spokesman Review: Suspect in MLK bomb tied to racist movement


March 9, 2011- 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 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.

“What to me this arrest suggests is that the Martin Luther King Day attack is what it always looked like: A terror-mass murder attempt directed at black people and their sympathizers,” said Mark Potok,

who is the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project that tracks and investigates hate groups.

Potok said his organization’s records also indicate that Harpham was in the U.S. Army in 1996 and 1997, serving with the 37th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Lewis.

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