The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Minuteman Project spokesman Raymond Herrera voiced the organization’s support for U.S. Border Patrol agents engaged in racial profiling in cities well north from the border.
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A recent story in The [Everett, Wash.] Daily Herald detailing the troubled past of border vigilante Shawna Forde has provoked yet another round of crossfire among leaders of rival Minuteman factions and other prominent nativists.
It all began when Forde, who heads Minutemen American Defense (MAD), reported several brutal attacks this winter and implied that she’d been targeted because of her anti-illegal immigration efforts. Although the incidents are still under investigation, The Herald published a revealing profile of Forde in late February that provided more fodder for both her critics and her supporters within the anti-immigration movement. The article described a difficult childhood — including a stint in foster care and allegations of physical and sexual abuse — a lengthy criminal record that began when she was 11, the loss of a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and problems with mental illness. Forde also told The Herald that the perpetrators of the attacks might have been local criminals rather than Hispanic gang members.
Forde ally and Minuteman leader Jim Gilchrist wrote that he’d spoken to Forde about the article and that she thought it was “reasonably fair and balanced.”
“Despite Shawna Forde’s checkered past, here is a woman who really has been a ‘victim’ throughout her life, perhaps willingly, perhaps unwillingly,” he posted on Immigration Clearinghouse the day after The Herald article appeared. “To have come through the trials and uncertainties of adolescence and young adulthood with odds stacked against you, and to have overcome those odds, is a statement of her willingness to ultimately do the right thing.”
Then he took aim at Forde’s detractors. “Few of us do not have a skeleton in our closet, especially some of Forde’s harshist [sic] critics.”
One of those critics is William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, who alluded to The Herald article in a message posted on his website. “This e-mail is to inform you that some of our worst fears are now confirmed in the media and the damage to our movement is getting worse,” he wrote. “Despite new revelations that there are major problems with Shawna’s story, that she is refusing to fully cooperate with police, has an extensive criminal record, has made outlandish claims in the past, proclaims she has mental illness and disorders, has made false claims to the media, etc. … Jim Gilchrist is standing by Shawna Forde and her story!” ( continue to full post… )
A bizarre trio of American anti-gay leaders arrived in the Ugandan capital of Kampala Thursday to stage a three-day seminar, “Exposing the Truth Behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda,” in a country where homosexuality is already a crime. They are:
• Caleb Lee Brundidge, a “sexual reorientation coach” for the International Healing Foundation, whose signature technique, as demonstrated on CNN, involves patients “beating on chairs with tennis rackets and screaming, “Mom, Mom, why did you do this to me?” Brundidge also counsels men struggling with their sexuality to visit mortuaries with a fringe Charismatic ministry team to “practice raising the dead.”
• Don Schmierer, a board member for Exodus International, an international umbrella group covering hundreds of “ex-gay” ministries. Schmierer warns parents in his guide to preventing homosexuality to watch out for boys who show “extreme macho behavior” are “frail, deformed, deaf” or “avoid fights/physical altercations.”
According to Steven Langa, executive director of the Family Life Network, the New York-based Christian right advocacy group that organized the seminar, Lively, Brundidge and Schmierer were called to Uganda because gay activists in that county are recruiting children to homosexuality.
That justification seems farcical, considering that death threats and the fear of state-sanctioned execution have forced gay rights activists in the African country underground. For decades, homosexuality in Uganda has been a crime.
The Mississippi Legislature has voted once again to honor an occasion organized by a staunch white supremacist.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate approved resolutions last week designating March 2 “The Spirit of America Day” to commemorate the achievements of standout male high school athletes in Mississippi. What the resolutions fail to mention is that “The Spirit of America Day” events are hosted by Richard Barrett, an attorney in Learned, Miss., and the head of the Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist organization that advocates striking down civil rights laws and organizes white power events nationwide.
He’s also chairman of the board of America’s Foundation, the Mississippi sports organization that’s sponsoring “The Spirit of America Day.” The day involves bringing the chosen students to the Mississippi capital of Jackson for an awards ceremony and other activities. This year, seven teenagers were selected on the basis of their athleticism, leadership and citizenship.
“The endeavors of these individual students to be productive and contributing members of society provide the model example for other students to pattern themselves after, in efforts of becoming notable and model citizens for future generations to come,” states the resolution adopted by the House.
That resolution passed on a voice vote even after Democratic Rep. Robert Johnson told his fellow representatives that Barrett was “an avowed racist,” according to the Associated Press. “He’s not ashamed of it; he doesn’t apologize for it,” Johnson said.
Some lawmakers seemed to feel that the resolution was acceptable because it honored the students rather than Barrett. “I’m not concerned about this individual,” Democratic Rep. Joe Warren told the AP. “I’m concerned about these young people being honored by this.”
The resolution is expected to be reconsidered this week; some lawmakers have suggested omitting the “The Spirit of America Day” references from the resolution as a way to avoid helping Barrett while still commending the teenagers.
Nonetheless, Barrett sounded pleased about the resolutions’ passage in an interview with the AP on Friday. “I think that’s a good lesson of how patriotism and Americanism depend on majority rule,” he said. “It’s a great lesson in democracy that we’re learning.”
This isn’t the first time lawmakers have hailed “The Spirit of America Day,” now in its 39th year. “The Mississippi government’s repeated recognition of him [Barrett] would be a comical Ground Hog Day parody but for the vitriol of his bigotry,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, told Hatewatch.
Police said that Keith Phoenix, 28, was caught on videotape laughing just minutes after he and his partner, Hakim Scott, beat to death an Ecuadoran immigrant they mistakenly believed was gay after spotting him walking arm-in-arm with his brother.
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The California Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch that seeks to end the city of Laguna Beach’s support of a day-labor center.
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In a speech at American University, former Congressman Tom Tancredo argued that immigrants who fail to “become American” by adopting “white Anglo-Saxon culture” are a destructive force in America.
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Our old friend Lou Dobbs is at it again.
Last Thursday, after stories about our latest hate group count ran around the nation, Dobbs offered CNN’s viewers his own peculiar take. He started by sneering at the scores of “media organizations” that he said were “just lapping it up,” and then told his viewers that the Southern Poverty Law Center report — documenting an increase in hate groups in 2008 — “could be an outright distortion.”
That’s about the place where Dobbs, assisted by reporter Kitty Pilgrim, started his own series of distortions. (A little background for the uninitiated: Dobbs has been angry at SPLC, calling us “fascists” and all kinds of other cruel and unusual names, ever since we began to criticize his falsehoods about immigrants several years back. After a long exegesis of our battle with the host of CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” New York Times financial columnist David Leonhardt concluded in print that Dobbs “has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.” Dobbs had insisted on defending a false claim about immigrants and leprosy and was widely mocked as a result. Leonhardt continued: “The problem with Mr. Dobbs is that he mixes opinion and untruths. He is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans.”)
First, Pilgrim promoted me to “the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” a career leap also “reported” by Dobbs, who made me “the head” of SPLC — much, I assume, to the chagrin of my apparently former boss, Richard Cohen.
Then Pilgrim launched into a bizarre “report” in which she said the FBI has no definition of a “hate group” and, moreover, does not “monitor individuals or groups of individuals based on what they think or say.” Although both Pilgrim and Dobbs wore shocked expressions at that revelation — they apparently felt that if the FBI wasn’t “monitoring” the groups, then neither should the SPLC — anyone with a minimum of knowledge about federal law enforcement knows that agencies are prohibited from monitoring groups based on their political ideas. Only when evidence of a crime or planned crime is found can the agencies begin investigations of any kind. If the FBI indeed investigated groups without evidence of criminality, we would be the first to object. The COINTELPRO scandal of the 1970s showed what can happen when agencies like the FBI are allowed to “monitor” groups simply because of their ideas.
Pilgrim went on to accuse the SPLC of having an “utterly fuzzy” definition of a hate group because it relied on the group’s ideology, as Dobbs vigorously nodded his agreement. But neither suggested any groups that had been wrongly listed because of that definition or suggested an alternative definition. Was it the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan that should have been excluded? The National Socialist Movement? The Aryan Nations? Sons of Adolf Hitler, perhaps? We don’t know, because neither Pilgrim nor Dobbs would say.
Next, Dobbs and Pilgrim hauled out the FBI’s national hate crime statistics — presumably to show that the number of hate groups could not be going up if hate crimes were going down (although it’s well known that more than 95% of hate crimes are carried out by people who do not belong to hate groups). Those statistics run from 1992 to 2007, the latest available. But for some peculiar reason, Dobbs and Pilgrim chose to highlight the total number of incidents from just two years — 1995 and 2007. They then pointed out that hate crimes had actually decreased by about 4% in that period (they also bolstered their case a bit by falsely claiming that the 1995 number was 7,974 when it was actually 7,947). Why did they choose 1995 for their early number? Well, if they chose 1994, the number of hate crimes would have been 5,987 — and that wouldn’t have worked too well for their propaganda, seeing as how that would mean a 28.5% increase by 2007. In fact, every year before 1995 — 1994, 1993 and 1992 — would have produced increases when compared to 2007 instead of decreases. Go figure! ( continue to full post… )