The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Alleged Spokane Bomber Fantasized about Killing Anti-Racists

By Heidi Beirich on March 10, 2011 - 12:39 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Neo-Nazi

Kevin William Harpham, the alleged Martin Luther King Day bomber who was arrested yesterday, was deeply involved in the white supremacist movement and once fantasized about killing anti-racists.

The Army veteran posted his thoughts, in fact, more than 1,000 times on the racist and anti-Semitic internet forum Vanguard News Network (VNN) since 2004.

“I can’t wait till the day I snap,” Harpham wrote under the pseudonym “Joe Snuffy” in a 2006 message. Harpham was responding to a post about German anti-racists protesting white supremacists. The post claimed the police cared only about the anti-racists and “turned their loaded guns on the neo-Nazis.”

“Videos like that bring me closer to it every time I watch them,” Harpham wrote. “Fear of death is the only thing stopping me and it is a fear that is hard to get over if you can relate to that.”

Harpham also showed a deep interest in bombs. “Who was the person during WW2 that said something like ‘Those who say you can’t win a war by bombing have never tried,’” Harpham posted to VNN, also 2006. In a 2010 VNN discussion of  thorium, a slightly radioactive element sometimes used in nuclear reactors, Harpham mentioned “its uselessness in building bombs,” indicating some real knowledge of explosives.

In 2004, Harpham signed on as a member of the National Alliance, for years the most prominent neo-Nazi organization in the United States.The year after he joined the NA, in 2005, Harpham participated in a VNN thread devoted to The Turner Diaries, the race war novel written by the founder and leader of the National Alliance, William Pierce (Pierce died in 2002). The novel inspired Timothy McVeigh’s attack on the Oklahoma federal building in 1995, and pages of it were found in McVeigh’s car when he was arrested. That bombing killed 168 men, women and children.

Harpham wrote on VNN that while he was in the Army, “my lieutenant told me Tim McVey [sic] read The Turner Diaries and that there was a blueprint for a truck bomb in it.” But Harpham ended up disappointed with the book because “there was [sic] no plans for a bomb inside.”

Besides the National Alliance, Harpham was a contributor to the white nationalist newspaper, The Aryan Alternative, published by longtime white supremacist Glenn Miller. Miller, who was the head of the White Patriot Party in the 1980s and before that of the Carolina Knights of the KKK, was convicted of contempt of court in a federal civil case (filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center) for raising a paramilitary army and using explosives. After the conviction, he declared war on the United States, went underground and was subsequently captured with a cache of weapons and explosives after an armed standoff in Schell City, Mo.

Thanking Harpham for supporting his newspaper, Miller wrote in 2007 on VNN, “You rank among the top 5-6 VNN’ers in total amount of money contributed. When [we] needed a boost, you were always among those who stepped up.”

KXLY in Spokane also reported today that Harpham had expressed interest in the mid-2000s in joining the Aryan Nations, long a major neo-Nazi group in Idaho until the group lost its compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, as the result of another SPLC lawsuit.

David Holthouse at Media Matters disclosed yesterday that Harpham had offered to house Craig Cobb, a longtime neo-Nazi now on the run from hate crimes charges in Canada and an advocate of “lone wolf” violence. The offer was made just 10 days after Harpham’s last post on VNN, on Jan. 16, which was also the day before the attempted bombing. Cobb created the virulently racist and anti-Semitic website Podblanc in 2007, which encourages hate crime murders of non-whites and Jews. It 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.

“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 [your home] Kalispell [Montana].” Cobb replied that there was a “small chance” he’d take Harpham up on his offer.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Who knows, maybe when he posted his messages on a forum, he also might have been joking at that point.

    No, of course not. Their killing firepower would probably be too low for your liking.”

    A clear historical reference to 19th century weaponry would suggest the post is a joke to all save for those with a certain, controversial mental disorder.

    “Chairman Mao and his apparatchiks would be the biggest murderers of the Chinese people since Chinggis Khan and his Mongol hordes.”

    With one important difference. Since the 1990s, China has seen the largest decrease in poverty in modern history. Moreover, China’s relations with the US were crucial for the latter in not only winning the Cold War, but also providing its citizens with loads of cheap goods(also vital for that effort). You should thank Mao every time you get up in the morning.

  • Nikita Vissarionovitch Trotsky

    “my statement about “double canister” for the Confederates was clearly a joke”

    Who knows, maybe when he posted his messages on a forum, he also might have been joking at that point.

    “Are you trying to imply that I was literally advocating the use of 19th century weaponry on protesters?”

    No, of course not. Their killing firepower would probably be too low for your liking.

    “the biggest mass murderer was Mao”

    Chairman Mao and his apparatchiks would be the biggest murderers of the Chinese people since Chinggis Khan and his Mongol hordes.

  • Jordan

    Mike,
    “It may be that the best I can hope for is to prevent a few people from adopting this ideology rather than trying to turn those who have already become rigid, but at least that is something.” The SPLC is attempting with these lists and articles to inform people of exactly what they’re signing up for when they join these organizations and follow these ideals. If someone should choose hate over logic, than that is their choice, no amount of anything can change that. We can only inform and teach why logic is a better stance than hate.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “So how does just “fantasizing” alone about doing something against one’s opponents actually constitutes a felony?”

    In the course of this obsessive rant, you obviously didn’t notice that THE ARTICLE DIDN’T SAY his “fantasizing” is a felony. Constructing and deploying an explosive device is the felony. His fantasies only tell us about his political motives.

    ” Especially since we have this Ruslan here who frequently expresses his own murderous fantasies, like “mowing down” with cannon fire the crowds of elderly and middle aged men who hold Confederate flags, devotingly defends Stalin, the NKVD and USSR crimes against humanity with passion, and glees with joy about past historical misfortunes and tragedies that have happened against Europeans.”

    You’re a laugh riot. First of all, my statement about “double canister” for the Confederates was clearly a joke, in reference to Pickett’s Charge. Are you trying to imply that I was literally advocating the use of 19th century weaponry on protesters? Really?

    And as for your other nonsense, defending actual history vs. rabid anti-Communist hysterical claims cannot be considered “fantasizing” by any stretch of the language. You say I am defending these tragedies? Well then so are you, in a fashion- you speak of these “crimes” as “tragedies that have happened against Europeans.” Yet even the most rabid anti-Communists claim the biggest mass murder was Mao; and in the USSR supposedly millions of non-Europeans died. But you don’t care about them.

    If you want to see “misfortune” and “tragedy” happening to Europeans, just look at Eastern Europe today. In the FSU alone, people have experienced the largest increase in poverty in history(not involving a war).

    ” I was kinda surprised that he didn’t say how much he wishes if only there was GPU and NKVD death squads, to slaughter and annihilate the entire portions of U.S population that don’t follow his Soviet way of thinking, so that there would be no one left to hinder the leftist wet dreams of creating a beige-complexioned Stalinist utopia”

    Have you ever managed to actually address someone’s argument, or is it always strawmen? Nevermind, rhetorical question. There’s something about your last line that piques my curiosity. Do you believe me to be “non-white”(in your view of white)? It helps if I understand the depths of your fantasy.

    Next time try READING the article you are commenting on rather than obsessing over me. (Or at least come out against me sooner rather than gnashing your teeth and saving up for a pathetic broadside like this).

  • Nikita Vissarionovitch Trotsky

    So how does just “fantasizing” alone about doing something against one’s opponents actually constitutes a felony? Especially since we have this Ruslan here who frequently expresses his own murderous fantasies, like “mowing down” with cannon fire the crowds of elderly and middle aged men who hold Confederate flags, devotingly defends Stalin, the NKVD and USSR crimes against humanity with passion, and glees with joy about past historical misfortunes and tragedies that have happened against Europeans. He “respectfully refuses”. Mike, I was kinda surprised that he didn’t say how much he wishes if only there was GPU and NKVD death squads, to slaughter and annihilate the entire portions of U.S population that don’t follow his Soviet way of thinking, so that there would be no one left to hinder the leftist wet dreams of creating a beige-complexioned Stalinist utopia.

  • ModerateMike

    Jordan,

    “Unfortunately most extremists have rendered themselves incapable of thinking,” I agree, but where I live, this kind of thinking has really caught fire, and the teacher that I mentioned earlier is passing along his beliefs to young students; no one else is standing up to him from what I can see. It may be that the best I can hope for is to prevent a few people from adopting this ideology rather than trying to turn those who have already become rigid, but at least that is something.

  • Jordan

    ModerateMike,
    “But if I can get even a small number of people to stop and think, I will do so.” Unfortunately most extremists have rendered themselves incapable of thinking, you can’t shout at them, but you can’t dispute them with logic either, because logic only works on the sane.

  • ModerateMike

    @Ruslan

    Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I’m suggesting that we go running up to people like this and burying them in a hug. I don’t like how they’re behaving any better than you do. It’s just that every time I have confronted an extremist with an angry tone, I just ended up getting into a shouting match (and in one case, I very nearly got into a fight).

    I realize that some people are too dangerous and cannot be swayed, and we need to protect ourselves from them. But if I can get even a small number of people to stop and think, I will do so.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “It is up to all of us to confront intolerance, but to be effective, we need to set a good example by treating everyone whom we confront with unconditional civility, no matter how cruel or insensitive they seem to be.”

    I respectfully refuse.

  • ModerateMike

    I have thought often about the general rise of extremism in the last decade, and I think that much of it has to do with the fact that the quantity of information has grown much faster than our ability to be good consumers of that information. With the rise of the Internet, almost anyone can claim to be an expert on a particular subject via personal blogs, and news outlets no longer have to be selective about whose comments they run. I have watched as journalistic websites that otherwise adhered to high standards of accuracy have been inundated with comments that made unsubstantiated claims. Unfortunately, comments are information, too, and I have no doubt that they continue to be accepted as fact by many readers. Whether the people doing the ranting are radical Muslims, white supremacists, or even well-meaning liberals, their statements are no longer subject to the “natural vetting process” that resulted from the time and space constraints of television and newspapers.

    What can we do about this? For starters, I think that it is more important than ever for us to teach youths how to be “smart info shoppers” on the Internet. For example, we can give them a standard list of questions to ask themselves before taking something that they read as fact. Here are some questions that would be on my list: Does the author provide facts to back up his/her opinions? Does the author cite the sources of his/her information? What do other websites and/or non-Internet-based sources have to say about this subject? Do the author’s statements coincide or conflict with your personal experiences?

    But we need to talk to adults as well. Here’s a real-life example of how I’m going to approach it: One of the social studies teachers at a high school in my town constantly remarks to his class about how much he dislikes the President and Nancy Pelosi. At one point last semester, he stated that he was going to write the name of the (now former) Speaker of the House on the board; he then wrote “Nancy Witch Pelosi”. Another time, he told his students that if the President were ever to walk into his classroom, he would order him to leave immediately. My first inclination was to lecture him sternly about how it was not appropriate for him to use classroom time to preach intolerance toward politicians, but I realized that he had probably already heard things like that before. Instead, my letter to him will go something like this: “I have heard that you once told your students that if President Obama were to enter the room, you would order him to leave. You certainly have the right to say what you believe, but I am concerned that what your students will take away from this is that it is ok to be openly disrespectful to anyone with whom they disagree. Please elaborate on why you believe your remarks were appropriate in the classroom.” Instead of making an accusation, I intend to simply state a concern and invite the teacher to explain his intentions.

    It is up to all of us to confront intolerance, but to be effective, we need to set a good example by treating everyone whom we confront with unconditional civility, no matter how cruel or insensitive they seem to be.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “There really isn’t any white supremacist movement.”

    Yeah, like there’s no mafia.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Todd,

    It shows us that the lunatic is suffering from mental illnesses. And possibly off his meds. His mental breakdown, isn’t uncommon. As many WNs suffer from extreme cases of paranioa, fear and other sorted afflictions. His supposed fears wasn’t of the unknown. But fear of the non-White, unity and change.

    Everyone else is advancing forward, while his kind is retrograded.

  • Pensacola

    There really isn’t any white supremacist movement.

  • Nomi

    Thank you, SPLC, for the research & the writing & this post.

    Non Sequitur: I do recommend the novel by Francine Prose, A Changed Man. The title might be, *The* Changed Man.

  • majii

    @Todd

    As someone who grew up under segregation in this country, there were many times I lived in fear, including the very real fear of losing my life and of losing family members due to the hatred others had for us because we did not look like them, but we never thought of attacking them in violent ways. IMO, anyone who endorses the use of violence against others for any reason doesn’t value our Constitution, or the principles on which this country was founded.

  • Jordan

    “Mr. Harpham is expressing fear. And hopelessness.
    He feels backed into a corner. Under attack.”
    By the unceasing advancement of human civilization, yes. Humanity is advancing and he was being left behind, I suppose many terrorists share his sentiment, Al-Qaeda’s fanatics probably know the feeling well.

  • William Rogers RN (Ret.)

    Well, I have been afraid, many people LIVE in fear, AND hoplessness, and backed into a corner, and feel under attack- we have all felt this way at one tme or another about many things-the point being that we did NOT choose to express that in a cowardly act of trying to kill, maim, and bomb innocent people. Sorry, but that type of behavior is UNACCEPTABLE! And he certainly is not helping his own cause by doing so.

  • Todd

    Mr. Harpham is expressing fear. And hopelessness.
    He feels backed into a corner. Under attack.

    Right or wrong, this is what he’s expressing.
    What do most people do when they are in this state of mind?

    Does your rhetoric represent a shield…….
    or a sword.