The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Shipwreck: Ten years after the death of its founder, the once-dominant National Alliance has become the joke of the neo-Nazi movement
Five years ago today, we kicked off the Hatewatch blog with a post marking the fifth anniversary of the July 23, 2002, death of William Luther Pierce, the founder and leader of what for three decades was the most important hate group in America. Now, exactly 10 years after Pierce’s death, the neo-Nazi National Alliance is widely seen as a joke on the neo-Nazi scene and has lost most of its members, almost all of its income, and all of its once-substantial prestige. Here is an investigative story on the Alliance that will also be published in the August issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report.
The number of antigovernment “Patriot” groups grew at an astounding pace last year, as it has in all three years of the Obama presidency, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual count of extremist groups, released today. The number of these groups rose from 824 in 2010 to 1,274 last year.
This dramatic expansion of the radical right was driven by fears related to economic dislocation, the country’s changing racial makeup, and the prospect of four more years under our first black president. The campaign season, with its vitriolic rhetoric, has also contributed to the overheated atmosphere that is fostering these groups. In addition, many politicians and other public figures increasingly have been pushing conspiracy theories and demonizing rhetoric into the political mainstream.
The report on SPLC’s annual count and review of the last year in American extremism may be found here. The table of contents for the entire new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report is here. What follows are synopses of the major stories found in the new edition. ( continue to full post… )
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. ( continue to full post… )
The latest issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, released today, focuses on the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorists, even as it warns in an editorial against demonizing Muslims in the U.S. and neglecting threats from white supremacists and others on the radical right. Entitled “Ten Years After,” a reference to the Islamist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the cover story is accompanied by profiles of 10 leading domestic jihadists and a timeline describing 30 plots since 9/11.
The FBI issued its 2009 Hate Crime Statistics report this morning. The report shows that the number of reported hate crime incidents fell from 7,783 to 6,604. But a pattern that has existed since the FBI started tallying these numbers remains: the LGBT community is, by far, the most victimized by violent hate crimes (attacks against people as opposed to property). The rate at which gays and lesbians suffer from such crimes greatly exceeds their presence in the population, a painful reality documented in the Winter 2010 issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, which was released today.
The 2009 FBI numbers show that the LGBT community suffers from violent hate crimes at levels that are more than eight times their percentage in the population. Analyzing the FBI data from 1995 to 2008, the Report found that gays are 2.6 times more likely to be attacked than blacks; 4.4 times more likely than Muslims; 13.8 times more likely than Latinos; and 41.5 times more likely than whites. The basic pattern holds true when looking at individual years. ( continue to full post… )
Today, we’re releasing a major report on “sovereign citizens,” a radical-right movement that has grown to include as many as 300,000 adherents who believe that the government has no right to tax or impose laws on most Americans. Adherents can be incredibly dangerous, especially to police officers, and our new report is pegged to the murders of two West Memphis, Ark., officers who were murdered by a father-son team during a May traffic stop. Like most sovereign citizens, Jerry and Joe Kane did not believe police have any authority to regulate travel on the roads, in particular by requiring driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations.
The Louisiana Klan leader indicted for the murder of a woman who tried to quit his group coerced three of his sons to join the Klan and used threats of violence to keep members from leaving, according to an interview with his wife in the latest issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, released today. The case has brought back troubling memories of a town where Klansmen fiercely resisted the civil rights movement.
Theresa Foster said her husband, Raymond Charles “Chuck” Foster, “threatened everybody,” creating the volatile atmosphere surrounding Cynthia Lynch’s death last November near Bogalusa, La. She also describes the days leading up to Lynch’s death and her attempt to dissuade the Oklahoma woman from joining the Klan.
“The way I look at it is, Raymond Foster is wholly to blame for what happened,” she told the Intelligence Report.
Lynch signed up to join the Sons of Dixie Knights of the Ku Klux Klan after apparently reading Foster’s MySpace page. She traveled to Bogalusa by bus from Tulsa to be initiated into the group. Foster allegedly shot her when she asked to leave, and other members of the group helped cover up the murder.
Lynch’s death put the spotlight on Bogalusa, a town that was once such a hotbed of Klan activity that it was dubbed “Klantown, U.S.A.” Today, local officials who believed the Klan was a relic of Bogalusa’s past are re-evaluating this town where stark racial divisions still exist and the Klan remains a lurking presence.
“The town where Raymond Foster formed his Klan group may be the most telling aspect of this tragic story,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Intelligence Report, a quarterly investigative journal that monitors the radical right. “This is a town where longtime black residents say they still live separate and unequal lives more than 40 years after the civil rights movement.” ( continue to full post… )
Today, we’re releasing the latest issue of the Intelligence Report, the investigative quarterly published by the Southern Poverty Law Center and written by the staff of Hatewatch. Highlights include a cover story about the racist fringe of the black Hebrew Israelite movement, whose preachers are predicting the imminent return of Jesus Christ, who they expect will kill or enslave whites, Jews, homosexuals and others. The story describes how thousands of black men and women have joined this movement, which is spreading rapidly from East Coast inner-city neighborhoods to cities across the country. Other stories include:
• “‘Arming’ for Armageddon” examines the apocalyptic movement Joel’s Army. Numbering in the tens of thousands, members of this movement are breaking away in droves from mainline Pentecostal churches and embracing an ideology of theocratic takeover. The approach is so militant that one Christian ministry worries it may soon produce “real warfare with actual warriors.”
• “Anti-Semitism Goes to School” reports on anti-Semitism on university campuses, including strains that originate on the political left. Two examples — extremist Muslims at a California campus and a once-“progressive” forum in Oregon — serve to illustrate this phenomenon.
• “From Brazil to Auschwitz” describes how twin brothers in Massachusetts who have led a nativist crusade against Brazilian immigrants also may be Holocaust deniers.
Here’s a link to the rest of the issue, which includes an array of other features and short news items. We hope you’ll find it interesting and important.
The latest issue of our investigative Intelligence Report magazine is out today, and it is led by a provocative cover story that exposes a network of U.S. scholars, paid by the government of Turkey, many of whom work to cover up the Turkish genocide of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during World War I — an effort that has found success in Congress and the White House.
Despite abundant documentation and eyewitness accounts of the slaughter of Armenians by Turkey’s Ottoman government between 1915 and 1918, the current Turkish government has paid lobbyists and funded the network of American academics, including several who dismiss or rationalize the killing. A consensus of genocide scholars agree that the slaughter was, indeed, a genocide.
“What we are seeing is a despicable rewriting of history aimed at absolving the perpetrators of mass murder and demonizing their victims,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Report, a quarterly journal published by the Southern Poverty Law Center that monitors the radical right (see Potok’s editorial on the genocide, “Lying About History,” here). “It is no different than the Holocaust denial of Nazi sympathizers who claim there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and Treblinka.”
The story, “State of Denial,” recounts a March 2007 event where Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, told a Harvard University audience that the Turkish government at the time may have been guilty of ineptness and “bungling misrule” — but not genocide. Lewy, one of the most active members of the network of academics, has made similar revisionist claims in speeches at other campuses and in his 2005 book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide.
As early as 1985, Turkey bought full-page newspaper advertisements to publish a letter questioning the genocide that was signed by 69 American scholars. All 69 had received funding that year from the Turkish government or its proxies.
As the only Muslim-dominated country in a troubled region to call the United States and Israel its allies, Turkey also has wielded significant political influence in Washington. Last fall, lobbyists on the Turkish payroll stymied a congressional resolution commemorating the genocide by persuading more than 100 lawmakers to reverse their positions. Even President Bush flip-flopped on a 2000 campaign promise to back official U.S. recognition of the genocide.
“Denial is the final stage of genocide,” Gregory Stanton, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told the Report. “It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world.”
Also, in the Summer 2008 issue of the Intelligence Report:
• “Secret Identity?” probes the ideology of Shepherd’s Chapel, an Arkansas-based television ministry led by Arnold Murray that has an audience in the millions. Despite a theology that identifies an evil race he calls the “Kenites” as the killers of Christ, Murray says his ministry is not anti-Semitic. Mounting evidence suggests otherwise. Along with the story, we’ve posted an audio file of Potok interviewing writer Casey Sanchez about Murray and his theology.
• “Stalked by Skins” tells the story of twin brothers who have lived in fear since a bloody 2003 encounter with a gang of racist skinheads in Illinois that left one man dead. In an interview, Bill and Roger Larson recount how they and their families have been tormented by gang members ever since.
• “North Meets South” reports on the strange alliance forged by a Vermont separatist group in recent years. Born of the left, the Second Vermont Republic has now partnered with the white supremacist League of the South, which seeks a second Southern secession, to build a national movement. Here, too, we’ve posted an audio file of Potok and writer Heidi Beirich discussing the secession movement.
• “Of Race and Rockets” reveals famed aerospace scientist Walter Kistler’s $200,000 in donations to the Pioneer Fund, a racist foundation that funds controversial studies of race and intelligence. A defiant Kistler says he is “not concerned about battles in society about what is and what is not ‘racist.’”
We’ve just released the “Year in Hate” issue of the Intelligence Report, showing a staggering 48% jump since 2000 in the number of hate groups that operate in America. That translates into an increase from 602 groups that year to 888 in 2007 — growth almost entirely driven by the poisonous national debate on immigration. That debate has given hate groups an issue with great resonance that they are using successfully to recruit new members.
Already, recently released FBI statistics had suggested that hate crimes against Latinos — crimes that perpetrators typically think they are carrying out against undocumented immigrants — rose 35% between 2003 and 2006. The Report has now found other evidence to support the notion that a rage against immigrants is being successfully used by hate groups: the largest numerical growth of these groups last year came in the three border states of California, Arizona and Texas.
“Hate groups continue to successfully exploit the immigration debate to their advantage, even though the immigration issue has largely disappeared from the presidential debate,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Report, the staff of which writes this blog. “The fact is that they’ve been aided and abetted by mainstream pundits and politicians who give these haters a platform for their propaganda.” ( continue to full post… )