We’ll say this for Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees… he’s consistent.
The first of the Norwegian murder victims had not even been buried before Rumpelstiltskin Dees began spinning their tragedy into gold:
July 26, 2011
The terrorist attack that took the lives of so many children in Norway is a sobering reminder that hate and extremism can drive people to commit unspeakable acts of violence.
The problem is just as grave in our country. For the first time, hate groups here have topped 1,000, and the potential for widespread damage is mounting. Just this year, a neo-Nazi was arrested for planting a bomb that could have killed hundreds along an MLK Day parade route in Spokane.
That’s why it’s so shocking that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has bowed to political pressure from conservatives and dramatically cut back the resources it’s devoting to the threat from right-wing extremists. We exposed DHS’ reckless decision in June and have called on the agency to reverse course.
The tragedy in Norway takes me back to the Oklahoma City bombing, the work of a right-wing fanatic that left 168 people dead. Months before that attack, we warned federal officials about the mounting danger from radical extremists. Now, with your help, we’re speaking out again. Too much is at stake to remain silent.
Your voice — your support — is amplifying ours. Thank you for standing with us.”
“For the first time,” Dees warns, “hate groups here have topped 1,000.” Little matter that their is no legal definition of “hate group” or that the SPLC is the sole arbiter of this arbitrary appellation. Dees neglects to mention that his $147,000 donor-dollar a year “Intelligence Director” Mark Potok can’t seem to locate 262 of these groups on the map, or that Potok fails to offer almost any information on the size or location of any of them.
“A neo-Nazi was arrested for planting a bomb that could have killed hundreds…” While no one in their right mind would minimize the very real dangers of a pipe bomb, only a calculating propagandist like Mr. Dees would deliberately exaggerate the deadly potential of the Spokane device.
According to the FBI and news reports:
“Law enforcement sources described the device to ABC News as a “small pipe bomb” designed to be triggered by a radio frequency system.”
“He [FBI agent Frank Harrill] added that authorities believe the device “was potentially lethal and could have had the ability to inflict multiple casualties.”
Again, let no one diminish the danger this device posed to people in the immediate vicinity, but really, Mr. Dees, “… could have killed hundreds?? Nothing like a little groundless hyperbole to pad the numbers, eh, Mr. Dees?
The blood had yet to be scrubbed from the sidewalk in Tuscon, Arizona this past January, after a shooting spree left six dead and thirteen wounded, and there was Mark Potok, on his Huffington Post soapbox, psychoanalyzing accused gunman Jared Loughner. It was only the release of Loughner’s Uncle Fester-esque mug shot that forced Potok to throw in the towel and admit that Loughner was seriously mentally ill.
This didn’t prevent Potok from attempting to gain access to Loughner’s “right-wing” psyche by analyzing a short list of books found on Loughner’s YouTube profile. Forget the fact that nearly every book on the list has been required reading for high school students since at least the 1970s, Swami Potok, who has no legal or law enforcement background, and certainly no psychological experience, (at least not as a practitioner), scrutinized the tea leaves, read the chicken bones and pronounced that “… an anti-government thread runs through all those works.”
Among this chilling list were such anarchical works as “Peter Pan,” “The Phantom Toll Booth,” and a personal favorite of Potok’s boss, Klan lawyer Morris Dees, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Basically, there is no tragedy, no lone-wolf psychopath, that cannot be lumped into a fund-raising ploy by the SPLC.
Morris Dees has a long history of exploiting murder victims for cash in this fashion. During the 1986 civil trial of two Klan thugs who had been convicted and sentenced for the murder of Michael Donald, Morris Dees sent out hundreds of thousands of donor letters featuring a photo of Donald’s bloated corpse.
While the jurors in the trial undeniably had every right to see the photo, what possible reason could there be to send this hideous image out to donors who had no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the trial? Well, as Ken Silverstein reported in Harper’s Magazine, Dees’ gruesome gambit brought more than $9 million tax-free donor-dollars into the SPLC’s coffers.
Dees won a $7 million dollar wrongful death suit against the United Klans of America, which promptly turned over its sole asset to Michael Donald’s mother. Mrs. Donald got a barn worth $52,000 dollars, which is definitely better than nothing, but she never saw a dime of the $9 million Dees made by exploiting her son’s murder. Dees even includes the photo in both iterations of his autobiography.
Dees has used the same gimmick in six other show trials since:
1. The SPLC’s multimillion dollar publicity machine kicks into gear.
2. Hundreds of thousands of donor letters go out on cue.
3. Huge damages far beyond the assets of the defendants are awarded.
4. The victims get a fraction of the amount awarded and the SPLC rakes in millions in donations.
It’s bad enough that the SPLC exploits the deaths of adults to make money, but to exploit the murders of innocent children, before their grieving families have even had a chance to give them a decent burial, is reprehensibly low even for the likes of Morris Dees.
Mr. Dees, have you no decency?