The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
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… )
We’re pleased as punch to report that we just learned that the Intelligence Report — the quarterly magazine published by the Southern Poverty Law Center and written by the authors of this blog — has won an important award. The Utne Reader, which aggregates and reprints selected articles from some 1,300 publications around the country, gave the Report its award for best U.S. periodical in the “In-Depth/Investigative Reporting” category of its 2007 Utne Independent Press Awards. Publications cannot apply for the Utne Awards — Utne’s editors make the selections completely on their own initiative. This was not the first award for the Intelligence Report. The magazine has won two Society of Professional Journalists awards — for Non-Deadline Reporting in 2003, and for Investigative Reporting in 2005. In 1999, shortly after converting to color, it won the Society of Publication Designers’ award for Best Redesign.
Here’s what Utne Reader had to say about us:
In a time when media reflection on the country’s race issues comes down to parsing the latest celebrity gaffe, Intelligence Report reminds us that organized, violent racism — often written-off as a troubling relic of a bygone era — endures. Published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the venerable Montgomery, Alabama-based civil rights organization, the magazine tracks extremist movements and their ideological ripples throughout society. In the Spring 2007 issue, for instance, it was reported that the number of hate groups in the United States has swelled along with the nation’s rising tide of populist anti-immigration sentiments, climbing 40 percent to 844 in a six-year period (2000 to 2006). The Winter 2006 cover story took aim at Latino gangs targeting African Americans in Los Angeles. In Fall 2007, the magazine exposed the “Watchmen on the Walls,” a virulent anti-gay group fomenting hatred among fellow Slavic immigrants in Sacramento. Managing their wide-ranging mission by carrying on the fine but increasingly rare tradition of old-school investigative journalism, the writers and editors weed through mountains of paper, work the phones, hit the pavement, and connect the dots.
Charles Barefoot, the leader of a North Carolina Klan group that plotted to blow up the local sheriff’s office in 2001, has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for orchestrating the murder of a fellow Klansman. After reviewing a psychologist’s evaluation, a Sampson County Superior Court judge ruled that Barefoot, 45, was “not competent to stand trial because he currently does not possess a rational understanding of the proceedings against him.”
The judge ordered that Barefoot be committed indefinitely at Dorothea Dix Hospital in order “to determine whether there is a substantial probability that his competency will be restored in the foreseeable future.”
Barefoot and his KKK splinter faction were examined in last summer’s edition of the Intelligence Report, which detailed how the criminal investigation of Barefoot “opened a rare window into the inner workings of the modern-day Klan in the South, a secret and sordid culture of violence, racism and paranoia, where coon dogs are traded for liquid dynamite, crosses are burned next to the local Waffle House, and a Klan grand dragon presides over meetings in a ramshackle clubhouse on the edge of a swamp.” ( continue to full post… )
This morning, the FBI released its hate crime statistics for 2006. The report showed a rise of 7.8 percent from 7,163 to 7,722 criminal incidents in 2006 targeting victims or property as a result of bias against a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin or physical or mental disability.
As in prior years, the data collected by the FBI was severely flawed. Only 12,600 of the nation’s more than 17,000 local, county, state and federal police agencies participated in the program. Certain states barely participated. Alabama reported only one hate crime in 2006. Mississippi and Hawaii did not report any hate crimes at all. A major Intelligence Report study released in 2001 that details the problems with the FBI’s data can be found here.
Unfortunately, the FBI’s data gives a false impression of the level of hate crime in the United States. In fact, the level of hate crimes in the United States is astoundingly high — more than 190,000 incidents per year, according to a 2005 Department of Justice study, which analyzed a more comprehensive data set than that compiled yearly by the FBI.