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

New Intelligence Report Released Today

By Mark Potok on November 15, 2011 - 10:31 am, Posted in Intelligence Report

The Southern Poverty Law Center today released the latest issue of its quarterly investigative magazine on the radical right, Intelligence Report. Overall, the issue covers the extreme right’s increasingly heated rhetoric, laced with talk of war and weaponry, as it faces the possibility of four more years under a black president.

The issue’s cover story focuses on Montana, where white supremacists and antigovernment “Patriots” are gathering for a last stand against the greater society that one leader likens to the Battle of the Alamo. Another story, also focusing on increasingly belligerent rhetoric and actions, examines the continuing radicalization of the neo-secessionist League of the South. A third examines the unbelievable vicious rhetoric and background of Bryan Fischer, who has become the main spokesman for the gay-bashing American Family Association. My own editorial discusses all three stories as part of a trend toward radicalization.

Other stories in the new Intelligence Report include:

  • A report on the response of authorities to the burgeoning movement of “sovereign citizens,” people who believe that they do not have to pay taxes and are immune to most criminal laws.
  • A story about a pugnacious Alabama ministry that is being compared to Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church, which has a reputation as the most viciously anti-gay organization in America.
  • An interview with a Miami attorney who has defended several alleged homegrown Muslim terrorists about ways to combat jihadism.
  • An interview with Bryon and Julie Widner, two former racist activists who met, fell in love, and changed course.
  • A look at the racial divisions once again splitting Jasper, Texas, where a black man was dragged to death in an infamous 1998 slaying.
  • An account of the Patriot organization Oath Keepers’ attempts to exploit a local dispute in Quartzsite, Ariz.
  • Lone Wolf

    We live in a community like Moderate Mike..the major hub of culture around here is Wal-Mart and the ATM inside has three choices, English, Spanish, and Redneck. The Spanish button hasn’t been touched but they have had to replace the Redneck button three times. If you are driving thru town, while black or brown, guaranteed you will get to stop and be asked many questions, but no questions about where you are going, the answer to that is “just keep going!”

    Andy and Barney are alive and well up here and the only thing that we have that Mayberry didn’t have is snow. Otis doesn’t have his own key to his weekend cell. They don’t wear hoods around here, they wear flannel. Talk about being suspicious, you would think that Joseph McCarthy was still alive and well and still holding some hearings. The origin of your last name and what you do to who behind closed doors, is what is important around here. A few years ago when they passed a few beastiality laws around here, there were some pretty upset people..about 10 years ago, Charles Manson was interviewed at the Corcoran State Prison in California, and when asked, if he was paroled and could live anywhere in the United States that he wanted to, where would that be? Without hesitation, Charlie named our county…and smiled..some people from our county have been down to see Charlie and are hoping that happens soon…be glad to see that never happen…nothing personal, of course…

  • Jane Schiff

    Hi ModerateMike – thank you explaining. I wonder how many of us live in communities like yours. I know I do. Like you said “Where I live, people are suspicious of most any difference, be it racial, ethnic, religious, or even political, so I definitely understand what you mean.” I’m beginning to wonder if that’s the rule, rather than the exception sometimes.

  • ModerateMike

    @Jane Schiff,

    For what this is worth, I certainly did not mean to hijack the topic, although in looking back through this thread, it was probably not appropriate for me to encourage someone who had already gone off-topic in the first place. At the time, my remarks seemed pertinent to the subject of hate in general, but I didn’t mean to imply that any one group deserved special attention. Where I live, people are suspicious of most any difference, be it racial, ethnic, religious, or even political, so I definitely understand what you mean.

  • Mark Potok

    This is for QuestionYourself, whoever that is. First of all, you’re being disingenuous when you say you realize we’re not a Jewish group — your first comment specifically accuses us of “exempting your own group,” and the context makes it crystal clear what “group” that is. So let’s try to be honest here, not be trying to rewrite your own claims like some opportunistic politician. But I can see why you’re trying — your claim does give off a certain political odor.

    On your more important criticism, the SPLC has always explicitly said that it covers domestic groups with domestic agendas. That means we don’t write about groups in this country that are agitating for the cause of a particular country or group abroad. In the same way, we don’t write about foreign groups operating in this country in some way to support a foreign cause — the IRA, for instance, raising money here. We have some genuine expertise in the domestic groups with domestic agendas; I don’t think we can claim to be experts in the struggle over the Israeli settlements, just as we’re not experts in the struggle of the Chechnyans or any other group like that. I hardly think that ranks as hypocrisy. We’re trying to be honest about our real expertise and not pretend to have all answers to all problems. I don’t know why you assume that we’re somehow protecting American Jews, or some subset of American Jews; perhaps you’ve been reading too many of the neo-Nazi websites.

    And your implication that we only reluctantly criticize groups like the Jewish Defense League — a genuine terrorist organization, at least historically — is real baloney. We’ve listed them and other extremist Jewish groups as hate groups for many, many years and have spoken repeatedly about them to reporters. You’ll also notice that a lot of the anti-Muslim groups we list as hate groups are heavily Jewish or led by Jews. So your suggestion that we’re avoiding criticizing our “own group,” to use your words, is utterly false. In the same way, despite the claims of people like you, we have long listed black supremacist groups as hate groups, and written about black on white hate, along with all the other varieties. So I think the suggestion of hypocrisy is really a false one.

  • Jane Schiff

    QuestionYourself, SPLC uses American lawyers of all kinds to make people whole again after their legal equity has been violated. You said “If they’re going to censure conservative Christians’ belief that homosexuals can change, then why aren’t they also talking about the Jewish-American mainstream’s”… Please think about this – you are all over the place, mistakenly equating all of the following topics amongst themselves: sexuality, popular science medicine, different religions, Zionism, free speech and lobbying. There is no such thing called “Jewish-American mainstream” anything. Your accusations that SPLC has an “ethnocentric” position sounds like you’re spiraling into Jewish lawyer conspiracy theories, international monetary fund jargon phobias with a touch of The Elders of Zion. If I’m wrong about my perception of what you’re saying, please detail how and why!

  • Jane Schiff

    ModerateMike, I can only speak for myself. Sorry, but I’m not interested in knowing more as per your comments above. Consider starting your own blog for topics that cover lobbying, partisan politics, NATO and deregulation that affect foreign policy. SPLC always has had attorneys who specialize in advocating for everything that relates to American Civil Rights for everybody of all ages. I don’t appreciate your attempt to hijack the topic by saying “…. and to the extent that this acts to radicalize U.S. Muslims…” There are plenty of hate crimes being perpetrated against American Muslims, American Jews, Native Americans, American Blacks, American Latinos, American same – sex relationships and American homeless people by all kinds of – Americans.

  • QuestionYourself

    Ruslan: Focusing again on countervailing, irrelevant information. Where is the criticism of the American support for the Israeli government’s policy of expanding the settlements in the link you suggested? I keep on mentioning this specific point. You keep on changing the focus.

    If anything, the link proves my point. No where is there any condemnation of Netanyahu for his government’s OWN activities with regard to the Palestinians. Instead, he’s chastised for meeting with ultra-conservative Christians here in America who have anti-Muslim views. No mention of settlements, at all.

    And the article seems takes a fairly benign approach to Netanyahu the man: “Or maybe he just isn’t aware of the varied “passions” represented by participants at The Awakening.” But, of course, even if that were true, he certainly IS aware that he’s using U.S. money to fund settler expansion.

    MMike: Check this out.
    Why doesn’t the SPLC openly and without pulling any punches criticize the Hebron Fund? Why don’t they send an undercover reporter to a Hebron Fund meeting and write about it?

    Again, it all adds up to SPLC bias. Criticize American Christian mainstream conservatives = Yes We Can! Criticize Jewish-American mainstream conservatives about Israel = well, uh, well, uh, well. . . .

  • ModerateMike


    Perhaps SPLC is trying to emphasize coverage of groups that present an immediate threat to security and stability in the country, rather than deliberately omitting the Palestinian issue. If someone in your own neighborhood were threatening to kill you, I would certainly forgive you for being focused upon that issue to the exclusion of all others.

    But maybe you could share with us some of your own knowledge about American involvement in the expansion of Jewish settlements. What groups are involved, what politicians do they support, and are they providing active or more tacit support? Certainly the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has negatively impacted relations between the U.S. and Arab countries (and Muslims in general), and to the extent that this acts to radicalize U.S. Muslims, I think that people in this forum would be interested in knowing more.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov
  • QuestionYourself

    Yes, I was aware that the SPLC is not a Jewish organization. Does that prove to you, Ruslan, that it can’t be biased toward Jews or exhibit a pattern of criticism which favors one ethnic group over others?

    I’ve given you reasons I think the SPLC is exhibiting a biased criticism pattern, but you’ve sidestepped those reasons to focus on countervailing information which is irrelevant to my argument.

    “Then why did it post your comment?” MMike: Why don’t they run their own articles on the topics that I mentioned? Is doing so somehow outside of their scope? If not, what’s holding them back?

    It’s really this simple: The Palestinian issue is a liberal issue. So the SPLC can’t dress itself up as a liberal, ethnic-neutral organization which aims to stop ethnocentrism and yet somehow just ignores any problems created by Americans who support Jewish expansion in the Occupied Territories. So far, I’ve seen a lot of ignoring and nothing from this organization directly aimed at this issue.

  • Snorlax

    Santa Clause is a sinner? Whaaaa???

  • ModerateMike

    “Do you really feel that world peace can be brought about by exempting your own group from its share of criticism (while not missing an opportunity to criticize other groups)?”

    If SPLC exempts itself from criticism, then why did it post your comment?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    You do realize that the SPLC is not a Jewish organization, right?

  • QuestionYourself


    Do you think Jewish or Christian Zionist organizations which support expansion of Jewish-only settlements in the Occupied Territories are hate groups?

    Then why hasn’t the SPLC defined them as hate groups? Furthermore, even bracketing this point, why haven’t they in the very least talked about them more–and NOT JUST Jewish extremist groups? Why haven’t they talked about mainstream Jewish community’s reaction to Palestinian dispossession?

    If they’re going to censure conservative Christians’ belief that homosexuals can change, then why aren’t they also talking about the Jewish-American mainstream’s belief that expansion in the Occupied Territories is acceptable? From your perspective, is the first belief worse than the second?

    Tell me when: When and where, specifically, has the SPLC ever reported on more or less mainstream American-Jewish groups who financially aid Jewish-only settlements and seek their expansion in the Occupied Territories?

    Yes, they’ve criticized the JDL a few times, and, sure, they’ll talk about the guy who took an automatic weapon over to Israel and started killing non-Jews, but that’s tantamount to sacrificing a pawn. The JDL has been described as the Jewish KKK. But many mainstream, conservative American Jews support settlement expansion in the Occupied Territories–despite the fact that it’s thoroughly a racist enterprise.

    Where’s the criticism of this?

    The SPLC is itself ethnocentric. Ironic.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    The SPLC does report on Jewish extremist groups and those who demonize Palestinians. Did you even bother to check?

  • QuestionYourself

    So, Mark, couldn’t help but notice that you’ve once again forgotten to include any information on American Jews who support expansion of Jewish-only settlements in the Occupied Territories through fundraisers, etc. located here in America–within our country’s shores.

    But, of course, you’ve managed to bring into your report lots of criticism about white gentiles and white Christians.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

    Do you have an official policy on this matter, or should we go on (not) believing that you just haven’t gotten around to criticizing Jewish sacred cows–especially those related to American support for settlement expansion? Keep in mind that criticizing Pamela Geller isn’t good enough. She’s mostly talking about Muslims here in America. I want the real deal: criticism of American Jews who, while here in America, advocate for racist policies in Israel.

    Do you really feel that world peace can be brought about by exempting your own group from its share of criticism (while not missing an opportunity to criticize other groups)? I wonder what the gentiles on your staff think about what has, apparently, become your de facto stance.

  • Terrie

    Does the AFA quotes article replace the “Quotes from the Mainstream” feature for this issue?

  • Erika

    Its probably wrong, but I could not help laughing at the fact that the top sinner listed on the Repent or Burn in Hell Ministries (catchy name, they obviously they appear to be fans of Jack T. Chick) van was “Santa Claus.”

    If they didn’t seem to be geniunely mentally disturbed, I’d almost wonder if it was performance art.

  • CIA Jon

    can’t wait to receive it