Idaho Aryan Denies Link to MLK-Day Bomb

Says the group's leader: "It was probably a racist."

The FBI suspects that Idaho-based white-supremacist group Aryan Nations is responsible for the backpack bomb planted last month in Spokane along the route of the city's Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. But in a phone interview last week, an Aryan Nations leader denied responsibility, telling Seattle Weekly, "My organization had nothing to do with any such bomb planting. It was probably a racist who did it." Lt. John Brown is the Idaho state leader of Aryan Nations, according to the group's website. Brown seemed offended when asked point-blank if his group was responsible for the bomb, which, as The Seattle Times detailed, was packed with gunpowder, lead pellets, and rat poison, and "placed in such a way as to maximize casualties." "Let me tell you something," said Brown. "We are all Christians, our whole organization. We do not promote violence. We reprimand people for violence and terminate people for violence." Brown referenced the 2000 civil lawsuit and court judgment that led to the bulldozing of the group's compound outside Coeur d'Alene, and added "They celebrated the burning of our church. It makes me feel like a very angry man who feels like retaliating, but I'm a civilized white man, so I don't do that." Brown said he was "told by his superiors" in Aryan Nations that he "might be hearing something about a bomb" from the media, but he was unaware of the details surrounding the incident. Informed that the bomb coincided with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he seethed. "I hate this fucking month," he said. "I really do. Anybody out there supporting MLK blah blah blah, whatever, really. I'll tell you this, buddy, my organization had nothing to do with any such bomb-planting. It was probably a racist who did it. I'm speaking honestly. I swear on my kids, there's no truth in what you heard. I don't care what the FBI says." Brown said he only joined the Aryan Nations recently, after being released from prison. (He didn't say what crime he had committed.) He formerly had been involved with an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan, but had to leave the group because "they have a militant way of dealing with things" and he would have been required to own an assault rifle. "Being a felon and being recently released from prison, me carrying an automatic weapon was probably a bad idea," he said. He explained that Aryan Nations in Idaho had dwindled to about 30 members. After Richard Butler, the group's founder and leader, died in 2004, he said, the group "broke up into small factions," but they have "banded back together and we're rebuilding. We are recruiting new members on a regular basis." Brown claimed the group "preaches love, not hate—it's a different spin on the Bible." That seems to contradict the content of the group's website, which includes all kinds of anti-Semitic propaganda and neo-Nazi materials such as a "Handbook for Schooling the Hitler Youth." Still, Brown strongly denied Aryan Nations was involved in the Spokane bombing. "I am the state leader," he said. "If anyone from Aryan Nations did act and I find out about it, they will be dealt with, and I mean severely. All the leaders of Aryan Nations do not support that kind of thing, and insubordination is not tolerated. I think I know my members fairly well enough, and the regional director and those organization members enough, to know that none of them would do this shit."

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