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

Far-Right African Americans Chosen to Testify to Congress on Immigration

By Heidi Beirich on February 28, 2011 - 5:49 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Tomorrow, the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement will hold a hearing at the Rayburn House Building entitled, “Making Immigration Work for American Minorities.” On the witness list are two figures whose views of immigrants are less than charitable: Carol Swain, an African-American professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, and Frank Morris, former head of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and a board member of the anti-immigrant hate group, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Swain has some very odd views for someone selected to lecture Congress on immigration and minorities. In her 2002 book, The New White Nationalism in America, Swain argued, in essence, that America doesn’t need to reject white nationalists — people who want the U.S. to be run by and for whites. Rather, it needs to start talking to them, and taking their ideas seriously, particularly when it comes to immigration and racial preferences. In the book, Swain says that white people have been muzzled by political correctness, while African Americans are allowed “to verbally assault and slander whites with racial epithets and false charges without suffering any serious loss of respect or any financial or social damage in the public arena.”

In 2009, Swain endorsed a slick 58-minute documentary, “A Conversation About Race,” devoted to proving the thesis that racism is a bogus concept invented to oppress whites. In a blurb that was posted on the documentary’s website, Swain called the film “outstanding” and “meticulously done.” “[I]t offers people of all races a rare opportunity to engage in cross-racial dialogue,” she wrote. “I highly recommend this film for social science courses dealing with race, class, and ethnicity.” When it turned out that Swain’s much-lauded filmmaker had long posted regular comments on YouTube and a number of other websites, repeatedly describing blacks as “monkeys” and black men in particular as “EVIL monkeys [who] are DESTROYING” America, and even suggesting that a black former White House adviser be lynched, “[p]ossibly with the aid of a noose,” Swain continued to heartily recommend the film, with its “poignant” scenes, to “multicultural forums across the country.” ( continue to full post… )

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Couple Resigns from Alabama State Defense Force

By Ryan Lenz on February 25, 2011 - 6:59 pm, Posted in Sovereign Citizens

A veteran homicide detective in Sarasota, Fla. – lured by the burgeoning appeal of “sovereign citizen” ideology – was fired last week after  he had “seceded” from the jurisdiction of the federal government, an act he claims was intended to be a political protest more than any sort of act of extremism.

Now, we learn that husband-and-wife members of the Alabama State Defense Force (ASDF), a state-organized volunteer force that supports the National Guard, have resigned after superiors discovered they were deeply involved in the sovereign citizen movement. The couple had joined the Republic for the United States of America, a shadow government formed by evangelical preacher and tax scofflaw James Timothy Turner.

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Bryan Fischer: American Indians Should Have ‘Assimilated’

By Robert Steinback on February 24, 2011 - 1:54 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

Evidently, no amount of scorn is going to prevent Bryan Fischer, chief mouthpiece for the American Family Association (AFA), from asserting that the white European settlers of the New World and their descendants had the moral, Christian authority to conquer the natives of North America and appropriate their historical homelands.

Fischer recently posted an essay on the AFA’s Rightly Concerned blog arguing that Pocahontas — the 17th century American Indian who, according to legend, prevailed upon her father not to execute English settler John Smith, and who later converted to Christianity, married a white European settler, bore him a son, and embraced English culture — is the model that all of North America’s indigenous people should have followed. In that way, Fischer wrote, they would have smoothly adapted to the “superior” culture of the new arrivals and avoided centuries of bloodshed and suffering.

“It’s arresting to think of how different the history of the American settlement and expansion could have been if the other indigenous peoples had followed Pocahontas’ example,” Fischer wrote in his Feb. 15 post. “She not only recognized the superiority of the God whom the colonists worshipped over the gods of her native people, she recognized the superiority (not the perfection) of their culture and adopted its patterns and language as her own. In other words, she both converted and assimilated. … Had the other indigenous people followed her example, their assimilation into what became America could have been seamless and bloodless. Sadly, it was not to be.” ( continue to full post… )

SPLC Hate Group Count Tops 1,000 as Radical Right Expansion Continues

By Mark Potok on February 23, 2011 - 8:11 am, Posted in Hate Groups, Nativist Extremist, Patriot Groups

Editor’s Note: The Southern Poverty Law Center is today releasing its annual count of groups on the American radical right and analysis. What follows is the main essay from the new issue of the Intelligence Report, the SPLC’s investigative magazine. In the story, you’ll find links to our new hate group map and additional lists of antigovernment “Patriot” groups and nativist vigilante organizations. The issue also contains my editorial and stories on Cliff Kincaid, a homophobic propagandist at the far-right Accuracy in Media group; the adoption of an Oklahoma law forbidding the use of Shariah law; a racist group’s funding of two Mississippi private academies; a white supremacist’s new novel targeting the SPLC; the National Center for Constitutional Studies and its extremist version of American history; candidates with extreme-right ideas who ran in last year’s elections; an interview with a former “esoteric Nazi,” and more. The new issue’s table of contents is here.

Intelligence ReportFor the second year in a row, the radical right in America expanded explosively in 2010, driven by resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the government’s handling of the economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at various minorities. For many on the radical right, anger is focusing on President Obama, who is seen as embodying everything that’s wrong with the country.

Hate groups topped 1,000 for the first time since the Southern Poverty Law Center began counting such groups in the 1980s. Anti-immigrant vigilante groups, despite having some of the political wind taken out of their sails by the adoption of hard-line anti-immigration laws around the country, continued to rise slowly. But by far the most dramatic growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement ­— conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their primary enemy — which gained more than 300 new groups, a jump of over 60%.

Taken together, these three strands of the radical right — the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots — increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%. ( continue to full post… )

Arizona Jury Hands Nativist Murderer Shawna Forde Death

By Mark Potok on February 22, 2011 - 3:52 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime

Shawna Forde, the anti-immigrant vigilante leader who orchestrated the murder of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter, will receive the death penalty, a Pima County, Ariz., jury decided today.

The decision is binding on the judge hearing the case.

The case of Forde, a one-time member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps who went on to found her own Minuteman American Defense (MAD) group, didn’t get much attention from the national mainstream media. But among immigrant rights groups, Forde has become a symbol of the vicious hatreds that seems to lie just beneath the surface of the contemporary nativist movement. Forde targeted the family in the hope of stealing money to fund her MAD organization. ( continue to full post… )

Neo-Confederates March up Dexter Avenue for Second Inauguration

By Ryan Lenz on February 19, 2011 - 4:44 pm, Posted in Neo-Confederate

It’s hard to say exactly what the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) remembered so fondly on Saturday during a sesquicentennial celebration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ inauguration: a way of life that has been dead for a century and a half, or the day when the public at large appreciated their cause.

With booming cannons and bombastic rhetoric, about 1,000 Confederate revelers dressed in period costume marched up Dexter Avenue to the Alabama State Capitol – the end of the very same route taken by Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of others who participated in the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march in 1965. There, on the gold star where former Alabama Gov. George Wallace gave his 1963 inaugural address with the infamous phrase, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” an actor playing the part of Davis became the president of the Confederacy to cheers and hurrahs.

Jefferson Davis in parade

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GOP, Caving in to Anti-Gay Groups, Tells GOProud to Go Home

By Leah Nelson on February 18, 2011 - 4:25 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

It’s official: The “big tent” of conservatism is big enough to include gay men and lesbians – just as long as they don’t support same-sex marriage, gays in the military or other gay rights.

“It’s got nothing to do with the orientation, it’s got to do with the principles that you advocate,” American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Al Cardenas said Wednesday, spinning madly on C-SPAN’s American Journal. “There are a number of gays in America who don’t advocate the gays in the military issue or gay marriage, and so they’ll fit within the tent of what we stand for.”

That pretty much assures the gay conservative group GOProud, which supports letting gays serve openly in the military, will no longer be welcome at the ACU’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

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Grammy Award Given to Jamaican Singer of Anti-Gay ‘Murder Music’

By Leah Nelson on February 17, 2011 - 2:43 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Jamaican dancehall star Buju Banton’s poisonously anti-gay lyrics have made him a target for worldwide boycotts and protests by LGBT rights activists who say his songs encourage anti-gay violence, especially among fans on the heavily homophobic Caribbean island. Despite this history of hate, the singer of what has been termed “murder music” on Sunday was awarded the 2010 Grammy for Best Reggae Album for “Before the Dawn.”

This was Banton’s fifth Grammy nomination and first win. In 2009, when he was nominated for the same award, gay-rights groups led by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) mounted furious protests and called on the Recording Academy to use the telecast of the awards ceremony to “denounce such music.” The Academy responded that it had in the past featured “a variety of political or cultural perspectives” and would continue to do so.

Ironically, the Grammy awards ceremony came one day after a new report that 28 gay Jamaicans had been granted political asylum in the United States in 2010 because they were persecuted in their native land. The Jamaica Observer said the would-be immigrants had been represented by Immigration Equality, a group of lawyers who help immigrants persecuted in their home countries because of their sexual orientation. The U.S. has recognized such persecution as a basis for seeking asylum since the 1990s, it said. ( continue to full post… )

Defending the Antebellum South, Neo-Confederates To March on Montgomery, Ala., Saturday

By Heidi Beirich on February 16, 2011 - 4:18 pm, Posted in Neo-Confederate

This coming Saturday, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is holding a major event to honor the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of the beginning of the Civil War. The festivities will “commemorate” events that most Americans see as a terribly dark period in American history: “the founding of the Confederate States of America, the inauguration of Jefferson Davis and the raising of the first Confederate Flag.” Little mention is made by the SCV, which calls the Civil War a “Second American Revolution,” of the widespread devastation and death that accompanied the war the Confederate States of America (CSA) fought to defend slavery.

Taking the end of the same route as Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of others who participated in the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march in 1965, the celebrations will include a march up Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue to the Capitol, with participants festooned in hoop skirts, battle flags and other period dress. On the steps of the Capitol, the group will reenact the swearing in of Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the CSA. The march begins at 11 a.m.

Expect to see the SCV joined by members of local hate groups active in the neo-Confederate movement, in particular members of the racist League of the South, which believes that slavery is “God-ordained” and that “Anglo-Celts” should be put in charge of an independent South, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that argues that black people are “a retrograde species of humanity.” The SCV will visit Montgomery again in July, when it plans to hold its “Confederate Sesquicentennial SCV Reunion” at the downtown Embassy Suites hotel. ( continue to full post… )

Pamela Geller’s New Film: The Next Wave of Anti-Muslim Propaganda

By Robert Steinback on February 15, 2011 - 5:49 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Anti-Muslim zealot Pamela Geller’s new film starts with a thud – literally. It’s the sound of a body striking a ground-level roof after plunging from lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center towers shortly after Islamic terrorists flew two jetliners into them in 2001.

Just in case that gratuitously shocking audio image wasn’t gut-wrenching enough, video clips of people leaping from the burning towers – and one striking a roof below – follow. Indeed, the greater part of Geller’s film, “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks,” is devoted not to making the case for its hyperbolic title, but merely stirring once again the pain, loss and outrage of the 2001 attack. The movie was screened for the first time at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) annual convention Saturday. The film will make its New York City premiere on Feb. 20 – Muhammad’s birthday.

The movie, produced by Geller, founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), and Robert Spencer, principal of the Jihad Watch website, examines the controversy over the Park51 project – the so-called Ground Zero “mega-mosque.” Developer Sharif El-Gamal purchased the unoccupied building at 45-51 Park Place in lower Manhattan – two blocks from the World Trade Center site – in June 2009. He and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf received city approval to build a 13-story mosque and community center there.

The “seminal, ground-breaking” film (as described on SIOA’s website) is intended to cast the Park51 controversy as a critical turning point in America’s war on terror – but despite incessant yanks on the viewer’s heartstrings, the 87-minute film makes a remarkably thin case for its provocative claim that it represented “the second wave of the 9/11 attacks.” The first 35 minutes and the last 20 minutes are almost entirely devoted to an emotional recounting the horror of the 9/11 attacks – often from the viewpoint of surviving family members – and a belabored critique of the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring or slanting the mosque controversy. The half-hour in between takes a cursory, one-sided look at questions about Rauf and El-Gamal, their financing, and about their alleged connections to radical Islamic figures. ( continue to full post… )