The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
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.
Over the past two years, the Watchmen on the Walls have brought their traveling anti-gay road show to Sacramento, Seattle and Riga, the Latvian capital. In Seattle last month, they were greeted by more than 100 protesters, who challenged the Watchmen’s beliefs that gays are a threat to society and were instrumental in orchestrating the Holocaust. In Latvia this March, American Watchmen leaders tried to pass themselves off as envoys of the US White House, a claim refuted by White House spokesmen.
This Nov. 14-18, they’ll return to Riga, where they will be joined by Americans Larry Jacobs and Don Feder of the World Congress of Families. Feder is involved with several extremist groups. He is a member of the board of advisers of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-immigrant group whose leader has compared immigrants to bacteria. Last year, speaking at a conference put on by the anti-gay group, Vision America, Feder said the goal of the gay rights movement was to “transform us so that Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning looks like today’s San Francisco on a Saturday night.” ( continue to full post… )
The first week of October was a rough one for World Pastor Tony Alamo, the cult leader who for decades has claimed “homosexuality is caused by demon possession” and the U.S. government is an agent of the “satanic” Catholic Church.
On Oct. 2, Tony Alamo Christian Ministries member Leslie Ray “Buster” White was indicted by a federal grand jury in Tyler, Texas, on charges of trafficking in 1,475 pairs of counterfeit Nike tennis shoes as well as illegally copied CDs. (White has been described as the associate pastor of Alamo Ministries, although Alamo denied that to the Texarkana [Texas] Gazette.) During an FBI raid of White’s Great American Outlet Mall — where the counterfeit goods were allegedly sold — federal agents also seized nearly $110,000 in cash. ( continue to full post… )
The Washington Times, which has a long history of shoddy journalism and extremism, has recently endured a spate of staff departures, including that of Washington insider Tony Blankley. Blankley, the newspaper’s editorial page editor and former press secretary for then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), joined the PR firm Edelman on Sept. 18 as its executive vice president for global public affairs. Following him out the Times’ door in October will be Cathy Gainor, the business news editor. Earlier this year, two of the Times’ top advertising salesmen, Michael McGrath and Aaron Finely, bolted as well.
These resignations come after an onslaught of press accounts revealing white supremacist thinking by Managing Editor Francis Coombs (pictured right, see Coombs’ blog here), whose wife Marian has direct ties to white supremacists (as revealed in 2005 by the Intelligence Report). One of Coombs’ favored editors, Robert Stacy McCain, is an ardent foe of interracial marriage and a former member of the white supremacist League of the South. Most damaging to Coombs have been recent revelations of the Coombses’ alleged associations with neo-Nazi leader Bill White. White, the leader of the American National Socialist Workers party, is currently being probed by the FBI after suggesting that the “Jena 6” should be lynched and listing the home addresses and phone numbers of five of the teenagers on his website.
San Diego’s KPBS-FM, a National Public Radio affiliate, aired a story Aug. 2 detailing the links between the white supremacist activities of two high-profile supporters of the San Diego Minutemen, a nativist extremist group whose bellicose tactics and internal feuding are detailed in the current issue of the Intelligence Report.
The KPBS story revealed that San Diego Minutemen activist Ray Carney worked for 11 years as a computer expert for White Aryan Resistance, a neo-Nazi hate group lead by Tom Metzger. The story also quotes Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok describing the white supremacist tattoos and symbols featured on a MySpace page belonging to Steven Shine, another frequent participant in San Diego Minutemen protests. ( continue to full post… )
Growing up, CNN host Glenn Beck thought the extreme-right John Birch Society was “a bunch of nuts.” But on his July 25 Headline News show, Beck told his JBS guest, “You are starting to make more and more sense to me.”
The visitor to the “Glenn Beck” show was Sam Antonio, the 31-year-old Southern California coordinator of the John Birch Society. Antonio said JBS believes a 2005 agreement with Canada and Mexico “has allowed the Mexican government to get a hold on our enforcement of laws here in America.”
Antonio was referring to the SPP, the Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement. The pact, aimed at easing regulatory barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico, has been seized upon by nativists and far-right groups as a secret conspiracy to eliminate borders and replace the dollar bill with the “Amero,” accepted everywhere from Toronto to Mexico City. No one has done more to promote this bogus conspiracy theory than JBS, which in the bad old days saw communists hiding under every bed — including President Eisenhower, hardly a commie candidate in most minds. ( continue to full post… )
The latest edition of our quarterly magazine hit the streets last week. Take a read. The cover story details how two North Carolina criminal cases against Klansmen open a window onto a bizarre Southern underworld of murder, cocaine and a plot to murder a sheriff and blow up a county courthouse. Others dig into facts, fiction and conspiracy theories about undocumented immigration; escalating hate violence against the homeless; a battle between anti-Semitic “radical traditionalist Catholics” and townsfolk in New Hampshire; the re-emergence of David Lynch as a racist skinhead leader; and a whole lot more. Read it and let us know what you think.