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

Online ‘Hit List’ Targets Liberals

By Leah Nelson on January 25, 2012 - 4:33 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

Anti-liberal propaganda has been ramping up for years. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck, who was cited as an inspiration for at least three rightwing extremists accused of committing or plotting violence, called himself a “progressive hunter” and attempted to rebrand Hitler as a leftist. Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney routinely warns of a “red-green” alliance between liberals and violent Islamist terrorists.  But the people behind a website called “Target of Opportunity” (motto: “Eliminating the planet of liberals one at a time”) have taken things several steps further, creating a “Hit List” profiling supposed liberal enemies of America.

This website is a list and record of people that betray and endanger America by their Seditious, Treasonous, and/or Terrorist activities,” its homepage reads. “Operating under the false illusion of Peaceful and Non-Violent activism, their methods are anything but Peaceful and Non-Violent. These people present a serious threat to all Americans. Each and every one of them should be considered a “TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY.”

Beyond lies a mission statement proclaiming the website’s devotion to “fighting Terrorism and the forced integration of Marxist oriented ideas and values into the American mainstream,” and a “Hit List” of “groups and people that pose a considerable threat to the citizens of America.”

Some of those listed, like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front (ALF/ELF), have a long history of violence. Others, like the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, which publishes communiqués from underground activists, are linked to violent activists but are not known to engage in violence. A third set includes outspoken individuals with whose politics, typically socialist, anarchist, or pro-Palestine, TOO’s creators vigorously disagree.

Its open use of the term “hit list” notwithstanding, TOO is hardly the first example of radical activists using the Internet to publicize names of individuals they want silenced. Anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley pioneered the technique in the late 1990s with his “Nuremberg Files” site, which lists the names and locations of abortion practitioners and clinics across the country. On the left, the approach has been used by animal rights extremists like Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), six of whose members were found guilty in 2006 of using the Internet to terrorize the employees and business associates of a pharmaceutical research company that uses animals to test drugs and chemicals. More recently, the radical animal liberation group Negotiation is Over (NIO) has begun posting pictures, names, addresses and other personal information about scientists who use animals in their research, urging activists to attack them and offering its followers suggestions about how to carry out those attacks.

(Ironically, SHAC is among the groups named on TOO’s Hit List. So is Steve Best, a philosophy professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who is intimately involved with NIO and rationalizes violence against “animal oppressors” by saying that “since [animals] cannot defend themselves … humans must act on their behalf” – using violence, if necessary.)

TOO insists that its hit list exists for educational purposes only and that it does not want to “stop anyone from exercising their Right of Free Speech or expressing themselves however they choose.”

But the oversized, bold-printed banner at the bottom of its mission statement strongly suggests otherwise. “This is a call to action! These anti-American Liberals are dangerous people that can no longer be ignored! One person can make a big difference!” it says. “There are those that read about history. There are those that make history. Which one do you want to be? It is time to get involved. These people and organizations are Enemies of Freedom, the American people, and the American way of life!!! Each and every one should be considered aTarget of Opportunity.’”

In case there’s any doubt about what it means by “call to action,” TOO directs readers to “Misc Links – To Help You Get The Job Done.” Several lead to online purveyors of ammunition, knives and survival gear.

The rest of the website is devoted to “educating” newcomers about the “liberal threat.” One section lists “Anti-American, Racist, and Terrorist” websites, from which readers can get to know the “enemy.” In keeping with the far right’s tendency to lump together everyone it doesn’t like under the label “leftist,” the list of enemy sites includes genuine purveyors of hate like Stormfront, Nation of Islam, and the National Alliance; radical leftwing entities like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front; old-fashioned lefties like Michael Moore and MoveOn.org; and Al Jazeera English, the award-winning English-language version of the Arabic-language news network.

Readers seeking inspiration from “The True America” are directed to a list of sites including Peter Brimelow’s white nationalist VDARE; the racist and immigrant-hating National Policy Institute; Pam Geller’s virulently anti-Muslim blog Atlas Shrugs; the nativist extremist Minuteman Civil Defense Corps; and Joseph Farah’s far-right WorldNetDaily, an online publication best known for its relentless “birther” propaganda.

A 265-point questionnaire titled “Are you a liberal” includes statements like “You believe America deserved 9/11”; “You fail to see the connection between Lenin and Lennon”; “You believe that pornography should be federally protected as ‘Freedom of Speech,’ but public profession of Faith should be outlawed”; and “You only see white people and Jews as racists.”

  • Karsten

    My lord. You people are crazy. At one point in my life, I actually thought that the Southern Poverty Law Center did meaningful work and refrained from political bias. It’s become obvious to me that this is not and has never been the case. This is as slanted of an organization as I have seen, unfairly characterizing right-wing groups as extremist and even going so far as to label others as “hate-groups.” SPLC loses its credibility when it targets groups like Focus on the Family and other faith-based institutions due to their differing views on hotly contested issues of morality

  • TC

    Hmm, John MJ has certainly gone quiet now.

  • Larry

    These folks would have KILLED our founding Fathers who weren’t just Liberal, they were RADICALLY so. The Right is without leadership and the Southern/Western Wing of the Republican Party is without anchor right now. When you are in that position hate and division is all you have. Hating Liberals is about as Un-American as it can get.

  • Larry Guss

    It seems that the art of debate has been reduced to extreme hatred and the violence flowing therefrom. Political debate of this ilk will result in anarchy. This is as disfunctional as it is ridiculous. American education has failed. The future of life in the USA appears to be in question !! Ignorance is now glorified as religious philosophy. The LIBERAL ARTS education that was destroyed by Corporate skill centered education, ignored the human values and traditions upon which the west was founded. And it simplified everything down to the temple of corporate profit, dis-allowing any value as equal or superior.

  • http://Twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Celiene,

    It’s certainly possible. Everyone knows that Jesus of Nazareth HATED the poor. He was even known to burn down their hovels just for his own entertainment.

  • celiene

    How can they hate Liberals, but love Jesus? Jesus was the original Liberal. Disconnet much?

  • Michael

    What I found noteworthy about TOO’s “hit list” is how incomplete it is. As someone who is a progressive/leftist activist and works with many such groups, I can state that TOO’s list is remarkably lacking. They clearly do not know much about the political left.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “There have been no parliamentary enquiries, documents or reputable testimonies from believable, reputable, university based and trained historians, Ruslan, and there never have been so please stop trying to invent evidence. ”

    Really? What’s this then: “Christian Democrat Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti publicly recognized the existence of Gladio on October 24, 1990. Andreotti spoke of a “structure of information, response and safeguard”, with arms caches and reserve officers. He gave to the Commissione Stragi, the parliamentary commission led by senator Giovanni Pellegrino in charge of investigations on bombings committed during the Years Of Lead in Italy, a list of 622 civilians who according to him were part of Gladio.”

    “2000 Parliamentary report: a “strategy of tension”
    In 2000, a Parliament Commission report from the “Gruppo Democratici di Sinistra l’Ulivo” concluded that the strategy of tension had been supported by the United States to “stop the PCI, and to a certain degree also the PSI, from reaching executive power in the country”. A 2000 Senate report, stated that “Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.” According to The Guardian, “The report [claimed] that US intelligence agents were informed in advance about several rightwing terrorist bombings, including the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan and the Piazza della Loggia bombing in Brescia five years later, but did nothing to alert the Italian authorities or to prevent the attacks from taking place. It also [alleged] that Pino Rauti [current leader of the MSI Fiamma-Tricolore party], a journalist and founder of the far-right Ordine Nuovo (new order) subversive organisation, received regular funding from a press officer at the US embassy in Rome. ‘So even before the ‘stabilising’ plans that Atlantic circles had prepared for Italy became operational through the bombings, one of the leading members of the subversive right was literally in the pay of the American embassy in Rome,’ the report says.”

    I thought there weren’t any parliamentary inquiries, commissions, etc. And that’s just in Italy, BTW.

    Keep grasping at those straws.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Hold on,

    After reading your biographical blurb at Mr Joyce, I saw you are not, in fact, an intellectual. You’re a businessman. And your interest lies in philosophy. Not exactly the person I would turn to for twentieth-century politics.

    A decent attempt at credibility. But a failure, nonetheless. Have fun with Artemis and Granny Weatherwax.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    MJ,

    Wait a moment here. Now you’re claiming that ‘Dominionism’ doesn’t exist? Uhm… Perhaps you’re not familiar with current events?

    And before you say anything, I don’t care how eloquent you are, or that you are somehow associated with the ‘New English Review,’ whatever that is. Operation Gladio and the ‘Years of Lead’ did exist. The bombings in Florence are proof enough.

    If you are the intellectual that you claim to be, why would you so readily dismiss the opposition out of hand? Whenever I face opponents supporting some ridiculous conspiracy or another (chemtrails, FEMA camps, the non-existence of human originated climate change, etc.) I always read up on them. And there is always at least even the tiniest hint of truth to what they are saying. It may be misinterpreted, but it is still there.

    Yet we aren’t even worth your time or attention. I’m sure your professors would be MOST proud of you.

  • http://www.newenglishreview.org John MJ

    There have been no parliamentary enquiries, documents or reputable testimonies from believable, reputable, university based and trained historians, Ruslan, and there never have been so please stop trying to invent evidence. There simply is no evidence of any sort to back up the conspiracy theory which you seek to pass of as fact. Such things are just figments of your imagination and the fevered maunderings of left-wing conspiracy theorists. You would love them to exist so therefore you invent them.

    Next you’ll be telling me that we are really ruled by lizards from another planet that disguise themselves to look like humans. Honestly, the things some people will believe in never fails to astonish me.

    What you posit, on absolutely no credible evidence at all, is just another extension of the old ‘New World Order’ conspiracy theory
    ( see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.....onspiracy) and also the completely loony site, which you will probably believe is true, at: http://educate-yourself.org/nwo/ )
    and it comes perilously close to the discredited idea of ‘dominionism’ as beloved of conspiracy theorists just like you everywhere.

    What you’re short of, what anybody who believes in any silly conspiracy theory like this one is short of, is good, hard, reputable evidence from renowned and trustworthy academic sources to back it up.

    Your continued assertions that this ridiculous conspiracy theory is true, when palpably it isn’t, is very clever and very typical of the way people like you operate. What you are doing is asking me to disprove a lie which you maintain to be a fact and that, as any logician knows, is an almost impossible thing to do. Therefore you will continue to maintain that the lie is true until one of two things happens: either I leave in disgust and you claim to have won the argument or you claim to have won the argument anyway and leave whilst asserting that you cannot continue to speak to someone like me who is obviously stupid (you came perilously near that position in your last post). Either way, you will have avoided actually addressing the complete lunacy which is involved in your favourite conspiracy theory which is precisely, of course, what people like you on the left always do.

    In your own words: “Come back when you have something.”

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    MJ, you can continue to cry and pretend that all these parliamentary inquires, documents, testimonies, etc. are a big “fiction” as you say, but it doesn’t change anything. You have no credentials yourself, and no refutation other than “It’s all a big lie!”

    Come back when you have something.

  • John MJ

    Ruslan, The article you link to at Wikipedia is one that I am well aware of, and have so been for some time. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a load of unmitigated rubbish riddled with factual inaccuracies and unprovable allegation and assertions. At the very top of the article the Wikipedia moderators state quite clearly that “the article has multiple issues” and that “its factual accuracy is disputed” and that “its neutrality is disputed”.

    In short, the Wikipedia article – just like everything else written on this subject – is nothing more than a fiction. Its just a myth, yet another of the countless conspiracy theories abroad on the internet today. Even small-town librarians know enough to dump this sort of stuff in the waste-paper bin rather than let it onto the shelves.

    Despite a plethora of freedom of information requests in many different countries under manifold pieces of legislation not one single document has been discovered that backs up this weird thesis. Everything ever written about this peculiar conspiracy theory is nothing more then press speculation by wild-eyed journalists keen to tar the right with any brushfull of muck that they can and they are occassionaly inspired by left-wing propaganda merchants such as you.

    If you truly believe that governments throughout the free world have kept a lid on this alleged rint-wing plot for over sixty years, have nurtured it, funded it and been dominated by it for over sixty years, then I think that you should go back to college and learn about how to recense documents and detect historical fact from historical fiction.