The twin bombings in the Spokane Valley on Monday resemble crimes carried out in Spokane and Seattle 12 years ago by a neo-Nazi group called The Order.
On Jan. 30, 1984, two men with ties to the Aryan Nations planted what appeared to be a bomb outside the Two Swabbies, a clothing store on East Sprague.
While sheriff’s deputies and bomb squad technicians dismantled that device - only to learn it was a fake - Gary Lee Yarbrough and Bruce Pierce robbed a Washington Mutual bank on East Sprague of $3,600.
It took 12 months before the FBI realized the bank robberies and others like it were acts of domestic terrorism.
The Order, a splinter group of Aryan Nations recruits, used approximately $4 million in robbery money to recruit and pay for a secret army of terrorists who hoped to start a race war.
The Order, whose members believed in the supremacy of the white race, frequently made references to Yahweh, a Hebrew word for God.
A letter dropped off with the bomb at The Spokesman-Review office on Monday also referred to Yahweh.
Kevin Flynn, a Denver newspaper reporter who wrote a book about The Order, said Monday’s bombings in Spokane are strongly similar to acts carried out by the group in 1984.
“Obviously, using a bomb as a diversion is a tried and true tactic of these groups,” Flynn said.
The tactic is described in the fictional book, “The Turner Diaries,” which is believed to have been used as a blueprint by those who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City last April.
The Order started its reign of terror with a phony bomb threat in Spokane, Flynn said. The group also broke windows at Radio Shacks here and stole police scanners. The Order also bombed an adult bookstore in downtown Spokane.
A similar bombing was carried out in an X-rated theater in Seattle while Order members got away with $250,000 in a North Seattle armored car robbery.
“The bombing itself become a vehicle for sending a message, so it’s not just a diversion,” Flynn said.
Bombings strike “fear of people walking down the sidewalks on Main Street, America,” he said.
“They’re accomplishing two purposes - and, it’s sad,” Flynn said.