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

Nativist Leader Attacks SPLC Over Missouri Report

By Larry Keller on April 1, 2009 - 6:47 am, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

When Missouri law enforcement officers prepared a controversial report linking some right-wing organizations to the growing militia movement, anti-illegal immigration activist William Gheen knew just who to blame: The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Gheen, the founder of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC, issued a “national advisory” to law enforcement agencies and officers warning “against any reliance upon faulty and politicized research” done by SPLC and the ADL. And, he added, ALIPAC “hopes that future scandals can be avoided by promoting awareness of the faulty information distributed to police and media” by the two groups.

There was just one little problem with Gheen’s screed — it failed to cite a single piece of “faulty information” disseminated by either organization or to show that the watchdog organizations had, in fact, been involved in preparing the report.

What got Gheen in a lather was a report meant to be seen only by Missouri law enforcement officers but leaked to the public recently. Compiled by the Missouri Information Analysis Center — a fusion center where federal and state agencies work together to collect intelligence to combat terrorism — the report linked various right-wing organizations to the growing militia movement in the United States. Fusion centers in some states have come under fire for allegedly spying on groups ranging from Muslim civil rights groups to peace activists.

The Feb. 20 Missouri report was distributed to Missouri law enforcement agencies. It gave a history of the militia movement and said that members typically are fundamentalist Christians active in anti-abortion and anti-immigrant groups, and who support third-party political groups and conservative presidential candidates such as Libertarian Bob Barr, the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin and former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

After the report was leaked, conservatives were furious, complaining that they were being unfairly labeled as criminals. Some said the report amounted to political profiling, saying that it suggests that militia members often display materials related to Barr and Paul. “There’s definitely a propaganda campaign out there to make us look like a problem to law enforcement,” former Internal Revenue Service special agent and anti-tax activist Joe Banister told a militia group conference in Pensacola on Saturday. The Missouri Highway Patrol stopped distributing the report last week, as a result of the outcry.

And what do SPLC and the ADL have to do with all of this? The SPLC was cited as among the sources from which the Missouri report drew conclusions. In his advisory, Gheen wrote that “we felt that the false connections, pseudo research and political attacks found in these documents could have been penned by the SPLC and ADL.”

But in fact, SPLC did not “pen” any part of the report. “The SPLC was not involved in any way in the preparation of this report,” said Mark Potok, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “But to people like William Gheen, we make a convenient target simply because we have criticized his group and many others like it over the years.”

  • April M

    You say….”These are just a few examples of the injustices that confront Latino immigrants as they struggle to gain a foothold in the South…”

    First, use the proper term – there’s a huge difference between “latino immigrants” and “Illegal Aliens” . Shame on you for lumping honest immigrants from one continent in with the rest of the world’s criminals.

    Second, if people are here legally, they can use our legal system against theft and corruption – well, at least as much as any citizen can. They can only be abused this way when they’re breaking a law to be here.

  • neoconsarecommiesisanidiot

    Jiverly Voong was a Vietnamese immigrant! The last time I checked, Viet Nam was in Southeast Asia. Therefore, the chances of him belonging to any white supremacist group is infinitesimal to the extreme. Check your facts before you spout drivel.

  • Larry B.

    Keeping an eye on the radical right is no excuse for COMPLETELY ignoring the radical left wing nut groups.

  • Ryan the non-Aryan

    In my opinion. The main reason why the SPLC concentrates so much on the “radical right” is partly due to the fact that there way too many right wing lunatic fringed groups popping up around the country. It suffaces the need for balanced report. Most of these racist groups only keeps its focus on the radical left. From rabid Nativism to neo-Nazi cesspools, they are numerous to say the least, leaving only a few reliable sources and organizations that keeps tabs on the wacky right. For this I praise the SPLC, because without them, the intelligence information relayed from them would not have been possible for those wanting to know about the very groups who employ such hatred towards nonwhites and jews of various stripes. The number of radical right groups surfacing these days is worrisome. It begs the need for organizations similiar to the SPLC, so that white power or its associated agendas does not spread like an epidemic. The hypocrisy behind some of these so called anti-immigration groups angers me, knowing that their hatred isn’t only limited to illegal aliens but to the entire Hispanic community in general. And we need to inform the people of that to lessen the strength of a dangerous right.

  • Larry B.

    As a resident of Missouri I am aware of the flawed MIAC (Missouri Information Analysis Center) report. One problem with it is that it listed symbols common to non-violent groups (ie the Christian fish, third party candidates, etc.) as potential signs of a terrorist. Another major problem is that it listed ONLY right wing organization and didn’t include left wing terrorists. There are two kinds of lies: Lies of commission and lies of omission. MIAC is guilty of lying by omission. Like the MIAC, SPLC only focuses on right wing terrorists/hate groups. Is SPLC guilty of lying by omission? I think technically no, because SPLC prints (in fine print), “Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right”. A case could be made that SPLC is deceptive since many people (including me for many years), are not aware that SPLC omits left wing terrorist/hate groups. SPLC could improve it’s image by being more open about it’s omission of the radical left.

  • neoconsarecommies

    “Speaking of “Lone Wolf” gunman attacks. There is one just reported today in Binghamton, N.Y. Up to 12(or13) people are said to be dead in the deadly shooting.”

    A white racist lone wolf skinhead belonging to the NSM by the name of Jiverly “Wotansvolk” Voong was responsible for that attack. He was upset that immigrants, given free homes by the bailout, were responsible for him losing his job as a mortgage hedgefund broker which left him homeless. It’s been said that he briefly dated April Geade in the 80s and was spotted at last years AmRen conference.

  • GENO

    Speaking of “Lone Wolf” gunman attacks. There is one just reported today in Binghamton, N.Y. Up to 12(or13) people are said to be dead in the deadly shooting. 41 people taken hostage. The irony of all this news flash is that the shooting took place in the American Civic Assoc. which deals with immigrants and refugees. Although, I did not get the entire details of this story since it just came out. But I’m willing to wager it, that the person or persons(they said 2 people were taken out in cuffs). Are either natavists or members of a racist white supremacist group. We all know how desperate the natavists are becoming and restart of the militia movement. Carter has expressed a valid point. We’ve seen this movement under Bill Clinton’s presidency, perhaps its a rehash to that era. And I’ll say that’s a serious cause for alarm. We gotta start taking steps to protect ourselves from the enemy WN.

  • GENO

    There is no doubt in my mind that William Gheen’s organization has a political vandetta of its own. A message alert sent to me on Thurs. April 2, 2009. The title of the alert reads as follows:
    “Should We Call For The Impeachment Of Barack Obama?”
    Already they are attacking our President prematurely, who BTW been in office almost 3 months. And during that time he has done an exceptional job to secure our borders amid the increased of narco-bloodletting in Mexican border towns. I was satisified by his awareness of the border violence and vowed to do more, that the warmonger Bush was unable to do in 8 years of his tyrannical rule. In fact, the Obama administration has sent its top people into Mexico to address the growing drug warfare, including Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, D.o.J. Eric Holder and eventually the President himself. DHS honcho Napalitano was the former governor of AZ, she was the only Democratic governor to fight the Republican controlled adminstration under war criminal Bush to keep the National Guiard troops at the border during its height of its carnage. This tells me as an Independent, that the Dems are better at enforcing border security than that of the Republifools. Its about time an administration regardless of their political affliation finally take action that Americans like myself who live in states bordering Mexico, take notice of this grave and gathering threat. The Bush administration and the Republicans in general have done nothing to secure the border as drug cartels were at the peak of its narco-powers, which resulted in over 6,000 deaths in 2008. They did not seek additional steps to ensure our border was fully secured. Let alone they thwarted funding to the elite “Shadow Wolves” border agents that patrols a 76 mile stretch of border on the Tohono O’dam Nation, which is a hot bed for illegal crossings etc. The Bush and the Republicans are not fit for our border security, despite their reputation of taking our Nation to wars and practicing imperialism.

  • Carter

    One of the most telling issues is that we are “fact-poor” in our understanding of the illegal immigration issue. we need very independent research that is not imbued with voting block agenda to find out just what impact illegal immigration has upon our country.

    One “side” will say that a larger percentage of prison population are illegals; another will say that illegal contribute to the country financially or via labor pools [that citizens do not care to take part in], etc, etc.

    We need real independent facts with no political agenda attached. With this we can make decisions based on unbiased material that will point to the need to increase or maintain the level of interdiction. It’s no secret that some people feel that voting Latino populations will be influenced by pressure on boarder security or lack-there of.
    If, in fact, there is a problem that is far reaching we need to understand the ramification of a tightened boarder security. It’s long been held that Mexico could be politically destabilized by not having that “pressure release valve” that a loosened boarder presents. The level of corruption in Mexico & the level of narco-terrorism is staggering. Those factors lead to the possibility of another revolution in Mexico & with it larger interests of North America.

    It is exceedingly difficult to move from one economic class to another in many countries. Mexico being a prime example. The level of free flowing cash is unusually high in boarder communities in the USA. In Arizona, Mexican shopper frequently bring enormous amounts of cash with them to shop. This is no secret. The origin of that cash has always been questionable. But yet the towns & cities in the US thrive on the input of such monies.
    This is a very complex issue. It is NOT some simple agenda of how many people stand on a street corner waiting to be picked for a landscape job. The issues & impact are far reaching. many areas could not maintain themselves without the MEXICAN tourist trade.

    The “unwritten rule” today is that illegals picked up in breaking the law get sent home. Mostly that has become the standard in states like AZ. However no concerted effort to “gather” illegals for deportation has been made because of the financial impact of such an endeavor. What’s more it’s easier & cheaper to send home illegals from countries closer to the USA than from China.
    The doctrine of people being treated equally under the law makes rules for deportation not as simple as it may appear on the surface.

    The question of a child born in the USA being awarded dual citizenship makes for many pregnant women attempt to cross the desert. This results in great numbers of deaths. Many doctors in Southern Arizona believe that for larger issues of compassion & health care this should be eliminated. But yet those same physicians have been attacked politically. That is obviously a callous political agenda to assure an intended voting constituency. And again, we see the loss of a “big picture” perspective.

  • Gheen Loves This!

    I highly recommend everyone checking out Gheen’s message board. It’s hilarious but can be scary because there are some real nutjobs on there that I have no doubt would harm immigrants or Hispanics if given the chance. It’s mostly just hilarious to read how out of touch with reality they are though.I love showing it to people. The first response is usually, “no way is this real”, “this is a joke right, these people can’t be real”. Oh they are real and every bit as crazy as you think they are.

  • Carter

    All of the above makes sense in the light of “leaderless revolution” (lone wolf murders), white progressive churches being “race traitors” (Aryan Nations, “sermons” & the book “Hunter”, etc. There is enough information available for anyone via the WN movement’s own writings).
    I myself, am no fan of Eric Holder as pick for Top Cop as I see it as a polarization milieu similar to Janet Reno, that serves to make for an easy target for the rhetoric by WN leadership when something goes bad (Waco, etc) Remember that Reno took “full responsibility” when those kids died in the fires of Waco but didn’t step down. The words became a hollow apology for very bad decision making on her part. Most any other country would have had her step aside from the results of such a fiasco.
    Holder is too obsessed with window dressing & his past makes me believe he would have little trouble with bending Constitutional issues to suit his agendas. He would make an easy target for people who would polarize this nation.

    “Prohibitions” on objects have always been the 1st choice for the easy answer; the quick fix for complex problems. I see Holder as targeting objects also instead of dealing with complex issues such as the privatization of the Corrections programs, the Posse Commitatus Law & it’s relationship to dealing with terror or national emergency, the Patriot Act (& related laws that are not common knowledge) and (of course) drugs & violence on the streets of America.

    Information Analysis Centers have always made generalizations in response to queries about broad reaching issues. Their responses have most always come with disclaimers. In both Law Enforcement or Intelligence, generalizations are reached but carefully acted upon by those on the ground. Knowing that any analyst can only make conceptual recommendations because they can rarely see the whole picture.

    With the “Militia Movement”, the Genie is out of the bottle. They exist & flourished under previous administrations mostly due to various fears, played upon by various agenda-oriented individuals or groups. Those [who basically] were not considered to be a threat, are scooped members from Second Amendment groups or individuals who found their “voting hot-button” (in things like gun-control). Just like Abortion is the “voting hot-button” of some; gun control is to others a major concern. Anyone can see that milieu can be exploited. Even Talk Radio knows that when the phones don’t ring, start talking about abortion & gun-control.

    When fear grips the country, the response will be to seek the comfort of the group. Now Militias are a fact of life. They may be mild in structure – with grown men playing soldier in the woods or a problem but they are not of a single nature as they are not distinctly oriented toward a racist agenda. Some may have that component, I don’t really know for certain, but definitely not all.
    What’s more the Militia oriented individual generally sees themselves as siding with the Constitution & “Founding Fathers” approach to a continued American government. Not of a seditious-based thinking like the standard WN street crowd burning the American flag.
    I am NOT a Militia member or supporter but I don’t see them as a serious threat. I do see their numbers grow or shrink as fear of Constitutional issues erode or strengthen. When people FEEL weak, they seek the company of others to bolster their position. If the strength lies in the stroke of a pen to create a “Patriot Act agenda” – they will always grow in number!
    We have made a LOT of mistakes over the past 16 + years: I only hope we learn from them.

  • William Gheen

    Dear Southern Poverty Lie Center:

    In today’s blog, you criticize the advisory that we are sending to law enforcement agencies across America warning them not to rely on your politicized, erroneous, and defamatory reports saying “it (ALIPAC) failed to cite a single piece of ‘faulty information’ disseminated by either organization”.

    The reason we did not include examples in our advisory is because such examples are so numerous that it will require several workers, hundreds of pages, and possibly CD ROM storage to compile the documentation.

    The amount of lies we have seen coming out of the SPLC in the last few years are so numerous, that you are talking about a book!

    But perhaps you are correct in your suggestion that there is a need for us to provide this extensive information to lawmakers, law enforcers, the media and the public.

    Just yesterday you blogged the following statement, as the first sentence of your latest mud slinging personal attack, “The founder of a nativist hate group who allowed neo-Nazis to join his anti-illegal immigration rallies has a new job doing public relations work for a government official in Southern California.”

    First off, this a lie. Joe Turner never “allowed” neo-Nazis to join his rallies and you have no evidence of that. Some showed up once and Joe Turner and Save Our State separated themselves from the unwanted attendees because it was a public street. You know this, you ignore this, you omit this and lie when you use the word “allow” to defame Mr. Turner’s character and paint him as a willing supporter of Neo-Nazis.

    Second, while the SPLC has a list of ‘Nativist Extremist’ groups and claims that groups like ALIPAC are on the list for specifically targeting individual immigrants, you can’t name one single immigrant or illegal alien who has not been charged with a crime that we have ever “singled out”. The main groups singling people out for harassment and persecution are the ADL and SPLC spreading lies about people like this Turner example where you are persecuting him and trying to take his job.

    Third, just what exactly do you find so “extreme” about our efforts to call, e-mail, and fax lawmakers? You know full well that the word extremist conjures up images of bombers and terrorists. You are attempting to suppress free speech in America through political intimidation, with your threats to try and compare anyone who opposes your radical agenda as violent and hateful extremists.

    What you are doing is a threat to our nation and you are poisonous to the political process in America. Your little finger prints are all over the Missouri Documents and you were cited as a source on page two. We will do all we can to warn everyone about what kind of seedy little lie factory the SPLC has become and the more you lie and the more you attack peaceful and multiracial groups and American activists, the more people will find out about your lack of scruples and integrity.

    Perhaps it is time to form a whole new organization dedicated to exposing the SPLC Mr. Potok. I can hardly think of a better and more beneficial pursuit than protecting innocent Americans and the political process from your organizational lies.

    William Gheen

  • GENO

    I did received one those ALIPAC’s alerts last week, which I receive daily to stay updated on their activites.

    According to the “advisory alert”, they have also forwarded “copies” to you favorite archenemies everyone loves to disagree with-
    Dobb, Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingram, Beck and Savage. The kind of famous spokeholes that just love to disparage and bash nonwhites, particulary on Latinos/Hispanics regardless of their status quo. I agree with this article. There was *no* mentioning, let alone explaination of which “faulty intelligence” in the report concerning these wing-nut domestic terrorist groups. So I couldn’t help but realized that they are just good at much whining as usual. Many average people seem to have a short memory. History is full of terrorism by these white racist extremists and most notobly McVeigh, who set the new meaning for the term “domestic terrorism”. Those who kept a close eye on Ron Paul have noticed that the former presidential candidate had close ties to the WN. Many of his donors were members of various white supremacist functions. Paul also have attended a dinner benifiting his campaign with Bill White’s neo-Nazi group.

    Nowadays, when it was clear that Barack Obama will be our next president. These white extremist-terrorists were going on a weaponery shopping spree(personally I don’t blame them since I’m an avid gun collector/hunter myself Eric Holder is a known anti-gun top cop).

    Many with a keen eye, who are very informal like myself has seen a growing and gathering trend–mass shooting sprees by white “lone wolves”. Ironically many of the victims are also white. Recent mass shootings and murderous rampage by lone white extremists is evident that there is a possible dangerous movement in the works. “Lone Wolf” style shooting sprees by disturbly white murderers, is something folks living in rural areas should be concerned with. Many of the mass shootings take place in small hick towns and rural parts of the U.S. heavily populated with white people. Christian churches seems to be a popular target by these white extremists.
    It is definately intelligence that law enforcement agencies should not ignore.

  • Carter

    Please heed my words, anything you assume to design & present as “law enforcement only” WILL leak to the public! Never take the leap pf faith that it won’t even if the motives are non-political. Both county and state dept of corrections & civilian level (sheriff’s dept) law enforcement has learned that with things like “security threat groups” in advisories, etc, etc.

    The other thing is to be careful about lumping people together. While SOME Tax Protesters go on to become more radicalized; not all do by any means. MOST militia members were adults playing soldier – and some people actually have gun collections; no real threat at all. You need be careful painting with a broad brush. A man who studies the Constitution can easily be a former Law Student who still has a passion for the constitutionality of wide ranging questions, etc.
    When submitting a set of helpful hints (Profiling…) remember that you may just have profiled the very law enforcement member you wanted to enlighten.