You are hereLA Times: White supremacists revive dream of a homeland in Northwest

LA Times: White supremacists revive dream of a homeland in Northwest


Kevin Harpham's attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King parade in Spokane, Wash., reflects the foothold white supremacy has in the region.

-By Kim Murphy

February 9, 2012- Reporting from Spokane, Wash.— Three sanitation workers found it along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march: a nest of wires in a backpack.

The homemade bomb was equipped with an unusual remote-controlled trigger and stuffed with more than 100 heavy fishing weights coated in rat poison. The Spokane County bomb squad disarmed it hours before the route would have been flooded with marchers last year.

If the device had detonated and the weights had torn into the intended victims, the poison would have prevented their blood from coagulating, all but ensuring their deaths, lab analysts concluded.

The intense manhunt that ensued led authorities to a remote cabin in the pine-shrouded hills north of Spokane. In it lived Kevin W. Harpham, an Army veteran who had posted venomously for years on a white supremacist website, the Vanguard News Network.

"Those who say you can't win a war by bombing have never tried," he wrote. "I can't wait till the day I snap."

At the conclusion of a hurried, tense investigation, Harpham pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and a hate crime and was sentenced in December to 32 years in prison.

A decade after the dissolution of the Aryan Nations compound in northern Idaho and the arrest of the Montana Freemen, white supremacists, far-right militias and radical patriots have revived their dream of a homeland in the Northwest.

In 2010, residents in several parts of Idaho woke to find Easter eggs tossed on their lawns — courtesy of the not-dead-yet Aryan Nations. The eggs contained jelly beans and solicitations to "take back our country and make it great, clean, decent and beautiful once again."

In October, a federal jury convicted Spokane-area resident Wayde Kurt of firearms violations in a case prosecutors said stemmed from Kurt's membership in the white supremacist group Vanguard Kindred.

In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors said Kurt discussed with an FBI informant a plan for what he called an act of terrorism "of the worst kind," comparable to the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, that "would mean a death sentence if he is caught."

"The defendant stated that he needed to make sure that everyone is fed up with [President] Obama," the memo says.

Meanwhile, prominent white nationalists, radical constitutionalists and other apostles of the far right have established beachheads in northwestern Montana. They include April Gaede, who is appealing to white "refugees" to establish a Pioneer Little Europe; Karl Gharst, a former member of the Aryan Nations who has been screening Holocaust denial films at the local library; and Ronald Davenport, a Washington man who was convicted in November of filing more than $20 billion in false liens against government officials seeking to collect $250,000 in unpaid taxes.

FULL STORY HERE:

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