MSNBC Pulls Libelous Article
Updated- March 16, 2011
MSNBC pulled the article that contained a vicious libel against me shortly after I contacted the network. Here is the email correspondence between me and Gina Stikes of Media Relations at MSNBC:
To: Gina Stikes
Subject: MSNBC Libels Christopher Bollyn
MSNBC.com has published an article that contains a blatant libel against me. I understand that while MSNBC has not produced the article, by publishing it on the Internet MSNBC has commited a prosecutable offense. The libelous statement is found in this article, entitled "We're Learning More About Kevin Harpham & The Dramatic Arrest": http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42012541
The statement that concerns me is the following: "Leading anti-Semites, including Christopher Bollyn, have suggested that Jews were responsible for 9/11."
This statement is a case of malicious libel. It is not true, as I am not an anti-Semite nor have I ever been. Furthermore, it is malicious because it is meant to harm me as a journalist. It does not even seem to fit into the context of the article and appears to be a case of intentional libel.
I contacted KHQ-TV in Spokane over the weekend and they pulled the piece from their website immediately. I would hope that MSNBC would do the same or remove the libelous statement from the article. I intend to defend my name to the full extent of my ability. Please let me know what MSNBC intends to do about this libelous statement.
Thank you for your consideration of my request.
Gina Stikes of MSNBC responded:
I did follow up. MSNBC does not believe the article is libelous. But to amicably resolve this dispute, we have removed it from our website.
MSNBC (a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal) and the NBC-TV affiliate in Spokane, Washington, KHQ-TV, committed a serious libel against me on their websites, MSNBC.com and KHQ.com. In a March 10 news article about a suspected terror bomber in Spokane entitled, "We're Learning More About Kevin Harpham & The Dramatic Arrest", they commited a prosecutable libel against me by publishing this comment:
"Leading anti-Semites, including Christopher Bollyn, have suggested that Jews were responsible for 9/11."
Calling an honest investigative journalist an "anti-Semite" is a clear case of libel. To libel a person is to publish in print, writing, or broadcast an untruth which is intended to harm that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others. I am not an anti-Semite, nor have I ever been one, and it is libel to say in print that I am.
Agents of the 9/11 cover-up constantly seek to marginalize my 9/11 research and writing by claiming that I am anti-Semitic. In this way they aim to discredit my work by portraying it as the product of an irrational anti-Semite, which it is not. A person who criticizes Israeli war crimes, for example the military assault on the helpless population of Gaza during Christmas 2008, cannot be called an anti-Semite for doing so, but defenders of Zionist crimes rely on that charge to attack such critics. My investigation concerns the evidence of Israeli and Zionist involvement in the false-flag terrorism of 9/11.
CNN asked me about this during an interview in January 2007 and I stated clearly that I am not an anti-Semite. By inserting a segment with a spokesperson from the Anti-Defamation League immediately after I said that, CNN tried to give viewers the impression that critics of Zionist crimes are really anti-Semites, which is nonsense. Investigating the evidence of who is really behind the false-flag terrorism of 9/11 does not make one an anti-Semite. The evidence doesn't lie. Zionist Jews and Israelis, like Michael Chertoff, played key roles in covering up the truth of 9/11. Investigating their involvement in the cover-up does not make me an anti-Semite. Branding me as one because of my research on the Israeli/Zionist connection to 9/11 is simply a propaganda device to try to marginalize my research and writing.
The libelous article, which has been spread around the world on the Internet, appears to have been written by the Southern Poverty Law Center and was posted on the MSNBC.com website at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42012541
I am considering legal action against the authors, the station, the webite, and the owners of these outlets for this egregious libel against me. The KHQ station is owned by the Cowles Publishing Company, which is a powerful family-owned company that operates the Inland Empire Paper Company, television stations in Washington and California, and who has extensive interests in real estate, insurance, marketing and financial services. It would certainly not be an easy task to sue them but it needs to be pointed out that what they have done in publishing this libel is wrong.
I called KHQ on Saturday and let them know that I was serious about defending my name against this libel. KHQ immediately pulled the piece, but it remained on MSNBC.com until I contacted the network and the article was pulled on March 15. The following is the complete text:
SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: So who is the suspect accused of building a "weapon of mass destruction" and planting it along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day unity parade route?
The emerging picture suggests 36-year-old Kevin William Harpham is a "lone wolf'' with a military ordnance background and apparently increasingly extreme radical-right views that may have prompted the attempt to carry out a mass murder on the late civil rights leader's birthday. He is also a man who has joined a neo-Nazi group, apparently posted to racial extremist websites and worried that the 9/11 attacks were actually a government conspiracy.
The domestic terrorism suspect faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted of the initial two charges he faces: attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an improvised explosive device. Other federal charges could come when a federal grand jury in Spokane reviews the case on March 22.
"This one is very serious," federal defender Roger Peven said outside the courtroom, moments after he was appointed to represent Harpham.
The backpack bomb, reportedly containing shrapnel dipped in rat poison to enhance bleeding, was spotted moments before hundreds of people were to march by it. Authorities rerouted the parade immediately.
At some risk, a bomb squad defused the device and kept it intact — likely leading the FBI to capture a windfall of forensic evidence, possibly including fingerprints and DNA that could have identified Harpham as the suspect.
The affidavit of probable cause used to affect the suspect's arrest is sealed from public inspection — another indication of the secrecy surrounding the 51-day investigation by the FBI's Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Despite the official secrecy, Hampton has left Internet fingerprints and other public records that give a glimpse of him.
Internet postings believed to be those of the former Army artillery soldier suggest he had an interest in old cars, metal fabrication, the neo-Nazi National Alliance and conspiracy theories associated with the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Harpham, who was raised Stevens County in the rural northeast corner of Washington state, was a member of the National Alliance in late 2004, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed yesterday.
He also lived in Spokane from 1999 to 2004 and in East Wenatchee, Wash., from 2004 to 2006. His parents live near Kettle Falls, another Stevens County community, not far from Harpham's home in Addy, Wash.
A man using the name "Kevin Harpham" posted a message in 2008 on the anti-Semitic Vanguard News Network, operated by Alex Linder of Kirksville, Mo., himself a former member of the National Alliance.
On another Web site, Harpham posted that he watched the video "Loose Change" — popularized by the antigovernment "Patriot" group We Are Change — that the U.S. government was behind the attacks of Sept. 11.
Leading anti-Semites, including Christopher Bollyn, have suggested that Jews were responsible for 9/11.
On the "Loose Change" Facebook page, there are references to a "Zionist connection" and links to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion — a famous forgery that is a touchstone for the neo-Nazi right, including the late founder of the Aryan Nations, Richard Butler, who accuse Jews of plotting to control the world.
"I typically don't buy into these conspiracies, then my friends told me to watch this video called ‘Loose Change,'" Harpham posted on another website forum devoted to steam automobiles.
"Some of the stuff was speculation but overall it changed my opinion greatly,'' the Harpham posting said.
Harpham served in the U.S. Army in 1996-97, when records suggest he was part of the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash.
It's not been public divulged if Harpham's military training includes exposure to improvised explosive devices like those encounter by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — and like the one found sitting on a corner park bench in downtown Spokane on Jan. 17.
During Harpham's time in the U.S. Army, as the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report first reported in 2006, military investigators identified 320 extremists in the Army ranks at Fort Lewis, the sprawling military base near Tacoma in western Washington. (Eventually, the Pentagon tightened its rules in response to that and subsequent articles in the Report.)
It's not known if Harpham shared antigovernment, anti-Semitic or racist views during his time in the military.
In media interviews Wednesday, various people who knew or lived near Harpham's isolated mobile home at Addy, Wash., described him as a loner and not overly neighborly.
Once FBI agents identified him as a suspect, they weren't taking chances.
A SWAT team of agents was brought to Spokane in advance of the Wednesday's early morning arrest of the suspect.
Armed FBI agents, using Stevens County road department equipment, appeared to be working on a road near a narrow bridge as Harpham left his residence.
According to various media accounts, as Harpham's vehicle slowed for the construction workers, a "flash-bang" device commonly used by SWAT teams as a distraction, was fired through one of the car's windows.
In no time, Harpham was arrested without incident and whisked to the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane, about 52 miles away.
Other FBI agents then served a search warrant and spent the day combing Harpham's residence for evidence that could be tied to the backpack bomb.
Authorities were mum about what they found.
In court, Harpham appeared a bit bedraggled, dressed in blue jeans and a gray "Wells Fargo-Petty Racing" shirt. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno.
Looking like he hadn't shaved for a few days, Harpham poured himself glasses of water and didn't look around the crowded courtroom during the brief proceeding.
He told the judge he understood his constitutional rights to remain silent, the charges against him, the possible penalties and asked the court to appoint a public defender.
Peven, chief trial counsel for the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, and Assistant Federal Defender Kim Deater appeared to represent Harpham.
Peven told the judge Harpham would waive his right to have a bail hearing within three days, meaning he will be held in federal custody.
The federal defender can attempt at a later date to request a bail hearing, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington is expected to argue that Harpham is either a flight risk or danger to the community, or both, and should not be released under any circumstances.