Archive for August, 2019

SPLC — North Carolina’s “Hate Groups” 2018

August 24, 2019

As part of our continuing series investigating the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” claims on a state-by-state basis, we will be having a look at the Tar Heel State of North Carolina.

As our decade-long research on the SPLC’s “hate group” methodology indicates, there is plenty of tar, and no shortage of feathers, to go around.

Our choice of North Carolina for the next installment in the series was prompted by a news story about an official proclamation passed by the Boone Town Council on August 15 of this year.  Mixed in among the 14 “Whereas’s” and pithy quotes by Einstein, Emerson and Plato, is the oft-repeated, seldom investigated, claim by the SPLC of 1,020 “hate groups” in the US for 2018.

We broke our results into three separate categories – those with confirmed physical addresses or no confirmed information whatsoever, those appearing to be online entities only (websites, blogs or vendors) and those that the SPLC has designated as “statewide.”

Before we begin, here are a few important points that need to be mentioned:

  • There is no legal or universal definition for “hate group”
  • The SPLC is the sole arbitrator of the lucrative “hate group” label, based on its own intentionally broad definition: “All hate groups attack or malign other groups.”
  • Post Office boxes or Private Mail Boxes (PMBs) are not “hate groups”
  • Web entities are not “hate groups,” even by the SPLC’s own definitions.
  • The SPLC’s “statewide” designation is meaningless, as it provides no verifiable information whatsoever that a donor or journalist could use to verify the claim. The term is therefore meaningless and all “statewide” groups are considered to be null and void. Fully 322 of the 1,020 alleged groups designated by the SPLC for 2018 are “statewide” phantoms, or one-in-three. The SPLC added 107 “statewide” groups in 2017 alone.
  • Watching the Watchdogs reviewed this list using basic web-searching techniques available to all journalists, researchers and donors. We do not imply that the results are in any way flawless, nor does this review imply advocacy or promotion of the beliefs or doctrines of any of the groups listed.
  • We welcome all corrections, comments or other verifiable information. We would especially appreciate hearing directly from the SPLC itself, as they are known to monitor this blog.

With that out of the way, onward to North Carolina!

Of the 40 alleged “hate groups” assigned to North Carolina by the SPLC for 2018, we were able to find physical addresses for 11 of them, using basic web searching techniques and verifying the results using Google Maps’ street view app.

We do not claim that this methodology is fool-proof, or necessarily the final word on the subject. It is not up to us or anyone other than the SPLC to prove that the groups they claim in their fundraising materials actually exist.

Since we know the SPLC monitors this blog, we invite and encourage them to contact us and show their work. If they have the proof in hand, how hard can it be to show it?

NC Address

North Carolina – 2018

Keen-eyed readers may notice that all 11 groups listed fall under the SPLC’s “Black Nationalist” category. In all, 19 of the 40 groups assigned to North Carolina last year are black, or nearly half the alleged total.

According to the SPLC, North Carolina’s 19 alleged Black “hate groups” outnumber all of the state’s alleged Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Confederate, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead and White Nationalist groups COMBINED, and 13 out of 14 of the latter are “statewide” phantoms (versus only one alleged Black group).

As we have noted on numerous other postings, the SPLC claims that Black Nationalist groups are the largest and fastest growing category of “hate group” on its nationwide  “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

According to the SPLC, Black “hate groups” outnumber ALL of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi and Racist Skinhead “groups” on the “Hate Map” COMBINED, at 264 versus 262. Strip out the “statewide” phantoms and Black “hate groups” outnumber the other four categories combined BY THREE TO ONE, at 252 versus 82.

It turns out that 13 of North Carolina’s alleged Black “hate groups” are Black Hebrew or Black Israelite groups, whose main claim to infamy, according to the SPLC, is that they have the hate-filled audacity to “assert that black people are the biblical “chosen people” of God.”

Despite the evidence of their own numbers, the SPLC continues to claim that white “hate groups” are on the rise, a claim parroted by the Media and ultimately found in the recent Boone proclamation.

NC Website

North Carolina 2018

Next up, we have 12 groups for which no physical address could be found, or only a website or Facebook page was located. Granted, just because we were unable to find any information on these alleged groups it in no way proves that they do note exist. That being said, it’s not up to us to prove a negative.

If the SPLC has the evidence, make them produce it.

To that end, while we were not able to find a physical address for the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, we did find a recent video interview by the Charlotte Observer with three people who claim to belong to the group.

“BeaSSt Productions” would seem to be an online vendor of neo-Nazi music, but no sign of them could be found online today. Our review of other state “hate group” claims have found several cases where the accused has either moved to another state or has vanished from the Internet entirely.

With more than 300 full time employees on the payroll, nobody at the SPLC appears to have been tasked with checking on these older claims. But really, why would they? It’s not as if anyone in the Media is going to call them on it.

Last, and by all means least, we have those infamous groups for which the SPLC can provide no documentation whatsoever. Instead, the company buries them under the categorical slush fund known as “statewide.”

NC Statewide

North Carolina 2018

Since the SPLC couldn’t bother to allege a known city or town for these groups, they can be discarded out of hand. Big claims demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

Just for laughs, since nearly half of the alleged groups the SPLC assigned to North Carolina last year are homeless phantoms, it might be instructive to see how some of those “statewide” groups stack up nationwide.

Statewide 2018

SPLC “Statewide” groups -2018

As it turns out, 169 of the 210 alleged “hate groups” listed above are “statewide,” or 80% of the total. There are still more than 100 others on the nationwide list, but we thought it would be instructive to show in just how many cases all, or nearly all, of the alleged “groups” turn out to be unverifiable, homeless ghosts.

So there you have it. Of the 40 alleged “hate groups” assigned to North Carolina by the SPLC last year, only 11 have verifiable, physical addresses, and all of those are black “hate groups.”

In the final analysis, fully 90% of North Carolina’s alleged “hate groups” are either Black or invisible, and at least two, if not three, of the four groups remaining are websites.

The Town of Boone’s official proclamation, which cites the SPLC’s spurious claims and bemoans an alleged “rise in white nationalism” is little more than self-serving virtue signaling.

Ironically, it seems that Boone’s demographics are 94% white and less than 4% Black. Only one member of the town council is non-white.

North Carolina is only 68% white. Maybe the town council should look into its own issues of “white supremacy” and see what it can do to bring Boone out of 1919 into 2019.

That’s what the SPLC would want them to do.

—————————————————————————————————-

Considering the Southern Poverty Law Center took in over $111 million donor-dollars in 2018 and $130 million more, based largely on these flimsy claims, some of you readers might consider reporting this to your state attorneys general as potential consumer fraud.

Watching the Watchdogs will be happy to provide any additional information upon request.

SPLC — New England’s “Hate Groups” 2018

August 18, 2019

Recently we posted a review of the alleged “hate groups” the Southern Poverty Law Center had assigned to the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2018. We broke our results into three separate categories – those with confirmed physical addresses or no confirmed information whatsoever, those appearing to be online entities only (websites, blogs or vendors) and those that the SPLC has designated as “statewide.”

That review began with a lengthy, but necessary, preamble, which we will condense here:

  • There is no legal or universal definition for “hate group”
  • The SPLC is the sole arbitrator of the lucrative “hate group” label, based on its own intentionally broad definition: “All hate groups attack or malign other groups.”
  • Post Office boxes or Private Mail Boxes (PMBs) are not “hate groups”
  • Web entities are not “hate groups,” even by the SPLC’s own definitions.
  • The SPLC’s “statewide” designation is meaningless, as it provides no verifiable information whatsoever that a donor or journalist could use to verify the claim. The term is therefore meaningless and all “statewide” groups are considered to be null and void. Fully 322 of the 1,020 alleged groups designated by the SPLC for 2018 are “statewide” phantoms, or one-in-three. The SPLC added 107 “statewide” groups in 2017 alone.
  • Watching the Watchdogs reviewed this list using basic web-searching techniques available to all journalists, researchers and donors. We do not imply that the results are in any way flawless, nor does this review imply advocacy or promotion of the beliefs or doctrines of any of the groups listed.
  • We welcome all corrections, comments or other verifiable information. We would especially appreciate hearing directly from the SPLC itself, as they are known to monitor this blog.

And with the formalities out of the way… on with the show.

We chose New England for the second review because it covers six states together, many of which are home to thousands of Progressive SPLC donors. It is our hope that this information will help to illustrate just how spurious the SPLC’s “hate group” claims are.

For starters, 19 of New England’s 35 alleged groups are “statewide” phantoms, or 54% of the total, right off the top.

Connecticut 2018

Connecticut – 2018

Four of the six alleged groups the SPLC assigned to Connecticut this year are “statewide” phantoms. All Eyes on Egipt [sic] is part of a chain of black-owned bookstores.

ACT for America is an online advocacy group that no longer identifies local chapters, though some maintain individual Facebook pages, with no physical locations provided. ACT requires new members to register as individual activists only. The SPLC claims 47 ACT chapters across the country, but provides no physical address information.

Maine 2018

Maine – 2018

Two of Maine’s alleged groups are “statewide” phantoms, and while there is a Facebook page for a Maine chapter of ACT, there was no information connecting it to the town of Norway.

A bizarre situation played out in the tiny town of Jackman, Maine, (population 900) last year. The Jackman Town Manager, Tom Kawczynski, made no secret of his white nationalist beliefs (after he was elected to office) and promoted an all-white utopia he called “New Albion.”

As the Daily Kos reported in January, 2018, the people of Jackman pitched in $30,000 out of their own pockets to pay off the racist and send him on his way. Kawcynski told the Daily Kos that he was packing up his one-man website and leaving town.

Even though this “group,” and presumably the “National Right,” also allegedly of Jackman, (one wonders who was behind that site?), have vanished from the Internet, the SPLC keeps them on the 2018 “Hate Map” because all fundraising materials for 2019 are based on a fixed number of 1,020 “hate groups,” and removing any for any reason would smack of fallibility.

Mass 2018

Massachusetts – 2018

Four out of eleven of the Bay State’s alleged groups are “statewide” phantoms. Three of four of its alleged Black Nationalist groups have physical addresses that can be verified on Google Maps. The remainder appear to be websites only.

As we noted on the Virginia groups posting, the SPLC claims that Black Nationalist groups are the largest and fastest growing category of “hate group” on its “Hate Map” fundraising tool.

The SPLC’s Black Nationalist groups fall into three broad segments: Militant groups, such as the New Black Panther Party and its clones. Some 76 Nation of Islam mosques, which are not labeled as “Muslim hate groups,” as they would challenge the existential threat from the SPLC’s 100 highly lucrative “anti-Muslim hate groups,” of which nearly half are ACT for America Facebook pages.

At least another 120 groups are Black Hebrews, whose main claim to “hate” comes from the fact that have the audacity to “assert that black people are the biblical “chosen people” of God.”

According to the SPLC, Black “hate groups” outnumber ALL of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi and Racist Skinhead “groups” on the “Hate Map” COMBINED, at 264 versus 262. Strip out the “statewide” phantoms and Black “hate groups” outnumber the other four categories combined BY THREE TO ONE, at 252 versus 82.

Remember the narrative, folks: “White hate groups are on the rise!”

New Hampshire 2018

New Hampshire – 2018

New Hampshire presents an interesting case as six of ten of its alleged groups are “statewide.” ACT for America maintains a Facebook page for Hollis, NH, which is right next-door to Nashua, and, oddly enough, the Hopkinton Facebook chapter is out of Hopkinton, Massachusetts… oops!

The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are a Catholic organization located in the woods of tiny Richmond, NH, (population 1,155). The group has been disavowed by the Catholic Church proper, all the way up to the Pope.

IHS Media is the online bookstore for the Slaves, located in the same building, but the SPLC likes to count some groups twice.

Rhode Island - Vermont 2018

Rhode Island – Vermont – 2018

Since all three of the alleged groups assigned to Rhode Island and Vermont are homeless phantoms, we’ll just combine the two states and ignore all of the claims at the same time.

Just for laughs, since more than half of the alleged groups the SPLC assigned to New England last year are homeless phantoms, it might be instructive to see how some of the Northeast’s “statewide” groups stack up nationwide.

Statewide 2018

SPLC “Statewide” groups -2018

As it turns out, 169 of the 210 alleged “hate groups” listed above are “statewide,” or 80% of the total. There are still more than 100 others on the nationwide list, but we thought it would be instructive to show in just how many cases all, or nearly all, of the alleged “groups” turn out to be unverifiable, homeless ghosts.

So there you have it. Of the 35 alleged groups the SPLC assigned to the six New England states only a handful have verifiable, physical addresses, and nearly all of those are black “hate groups.” The rest seem to exist only in cyberspace, and more than half exist only in the imaginations and fundraising propaganda of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Considering the company took in over $111 million donor-dollars in2018 and $130 million more, based largely on these flimsy claims, some of you readers might consider reporting this to your state attorneys general as potential consumer fraud.

Watching the Watchdogs will be happy to provide any additional information upon request.

SPLC — Virginia’s “Hate Groups” 2018

August 16, 2019

Every so often, it is useful to take a closer look at the “hate group” claims made by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the first of a series of such claims directed at various states, we have examined the “hate groups” the SPLC has assigned to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

First, a little background information:

  1. There is no legal definition for “hate group.” As abhorrent as most people would find the words and deeds of many of these groups, it is important to remember that it is entirely legal to belong to any of them. This is why the FBI and local law enforcement cannot act against them until they actually break the law, or appear to be on the verge of doing so.This observation is not to be interpreted as any kind of endorsement for any group, but a reminder that as soon as individuals decide that “it’s okay to punch a Nazi,” it is only a matter of time before it’s okay to punch someone who “looks like a Nazi,” or “sounds like a Nazi,” or drives a Volkswagen, etc.Sooner or later, someone will decide that YOU must be a Nazi.Until just recently, the SPLC’s “Hate Map” tool always included the boilerplate disclaimer that:

    Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.”

    That disclaimer went away a couple years ago, leaving the donors to come to their own conclusions. Another SPLC claim that was attached to every new “Hate Map” until recently read:

    Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

    The very idea that an organization purporting to defend civil rights would deliberately conflate six of the most fundamental, constitutionally protected First Amendment rights with “criminal acts” and “hate group activities” is beyond comprehension.

  2. The SPLC’s definition of a “hate group” is intentionally broad, so that the company can apply it as widely as possible, as we will shortly see:“All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”“Attack or malign” is too imprecise to be useful, and, as we have pointed out repeatedly in the past, is all too often applied selectively by the SPLC, so as not to offend the almighty donors.Due to the lack of an official or universal definition for “hate group,” the media and donors rely on the SPLC’s claims, thereby making the company the sole arbiter of that extremely lucrative label ($111 million donor-dollars in 2018, $130 million in 2017, way up from a mere $50 million for 2016). 
  3. The SPLC’s definition of “group” is criminally broad to the point of outright fraud. The company has no benchmark for determining how many people actually constitute a “group,” and makes no verifiable estimates of how many members a “group” might actually have.Laird Wilcox, one of the most respected researchers on the Hate Industry, noted nearly 20 years ago:“What [the SPLC] apparently did was list any group they could find mention of, including groups only rumored to exist. These included the large number of “post office box chapters” maintained by Klan and skinhead organizations. Some Christian Identity “ministries” consist only one person and a mailing list and many “patriot groups” consist of but three or four friends.”More recently, in 2015, Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League repeated Wilcox’s findings in the South Jersey Times:“According to Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) the SPLC has a habit of counting single individuals as groups or chapters, which can give a skewed impression of hate groups in any given state.”

    “The [SPLC’s] list is wildly inflated,” said Pitcavage. “They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it’s just a couple of individuals.”

     

  4. In addition to numerous PO box “groups,” the SPLC’s “Hate Map” is loaded with one-man websites, something the company has denied counting for years:”Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. “The 2017 “Hate Map” included this disclaimer, which was subsequently dropped for the most recent, 2018 map:“Entities that appear to exist only in cyberspace are not included because they are likely to be individual Web publishers who likely to falsely portray themselves as powerful, organized froups [sic].”Also in 2017, long-time SPLC frontman Mark Potok was claiming that: “We make a big effort to separate a man, his dog and a computer from a group with on-the-ground activity.”

    In February, 2019, the SPLC’s new outreach director, Kate Chance, told a gathering in Mankato, Minnesota: “An online presence isn’t enough to be added to the list; a group has to meet at least once a year at a physical location.”

    As we shall see in our examination of Virginia’s SPLC-designated “hate groups” below, these claims are patently and demonstrably false.

The Southern Poverty Law Center assigned 39 “hate groups” to Virginia for 2018. Using basic Internet search skills that any journalist or donor could easily duplicate, we searched for information on each group.

While thorough, we do not in any way claim that these searches are infallible or that other information may not be available elsewhere. If any readers have verifiable information on any of these groups, please contact us through the Comments section at the end of this post.

Better still, since the SPLC is known to monitor this blog, perhaps they would be willing to show their work and share their information with the world and their donors.

Big claims, after all, demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

To simplify our results, we broke our findings into three basic sections. The first consists of alleged “groups” where either a physical address could be identified, or those where no information could be found whatsoever.

The second section identifies “groups” that appear to exist only as websites. The last section contains alleged “groups” that the SPLC has designated only as “statewide,” a dubious device that we will explore further in detail.

VaGroups2018-3

Group One

As our Group One results indicate, we were only able to identify five alleged groups with verifiable physical addresses. Using Google Maps street view tool, we were able to identify brick-and-mortar locations with appropriate signage.

Using this tool, we were able to eliminate several other groups listing physical addresses on their websites when those addresses turned out to be private mail forwarding services, such as the UPS Store.

It’s worth noting that the advocacy group, ProEnglish, has been residing in Washington, DC, since at least 2017, according to the Internet Archive’s amazing Wayback Machine, and should not be on Virginia’s list to begin with.

In fact, whether or not you agree with ProEnglish’s stated mission to make English the official language of all federal and state governments, the argument is a legitimate political position, which in no way “attacks or maligns” anyone. Calling the organization a “hate group” because you disagree with the position is disingenuous at best, especially since the vast majority of the world’s nations have one or more official languages.

Three of Virginia’s alleged Black Nationalist groups had verifiable addresses as well. The rhetoric of the Nation of Islam’s leadership clearly falls within most people’s definition of anti-Semitism.

Seventy-six of the 264 Black Nationalist groups the SPLC designated nationwide last year are Nation of Islam mosques, but surprisingly, the company does not consider them to be “Muslim hate groups,” as that would clash with their more lucrative “anti-Muslim hate group” category.

The largest single alleged anti-Muslim group on the map is ACT for America, at 47 iterations, but the national website no longer tracks local units and all new members must sign on as individual activists. If the SPLC can show proof of the locations of any of their ACT groups we’d be very interested in seeing it.

It’s also noteworthy that Virginia’s remaining Black Nationalist “groups” are Black Israelite churches, who are “hateful” because, as the SPLC notes, “Some religious versions assert that black people are the biblical “chosen people” of God.”

Think about that for a moment.

VaGroups2018-Full

Group Two

Group Two of our results are those for which nothing could be found beyond a website and Post Office or Private Mail Box (PMB). While people may gain access to these “groups” through their websites or snail mail, there was nothing on any of the sites to indicate any extensive jackboots-on-the-ground, with one glaring exception.

The Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation (FGF), whose mission since 2003 has been “…to promote and preserve the glorious traditions and culture of Western civilization and Christianity,” invited its members to join them this past February for a magnificent “Evening of Viennese Waltzing” in DC.

Waltzing

If Western Civilization and Christianity were not enough to trigger SPLC donors, a night of waltzing would be money in the bank.

The event previous to the Grand Ball was an 80th birthday tribute to publisher Jon Utley in 2014 and a PowerPoint presentation from 2011.

VDARE and American Renaissance are both online blogs. Washington Summit Publishers, IHS Press and even FGF are online booksellers. In the Spirit of Chartres Committee, “Dedicated to promoting and defending Pre-Vatican II Catholic social teachings…,” offers books like Ethics and the National Economy and Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, as well as DVDs of lectures recorded in the early 2000s.

The American Immigration Control Foundation is located in picturesque Monterey, Virginia (population 156), which is also home to one of the best maple syrup festivals this side of northern New England. There is more of hotcakes than “hotbeds” in that part of the world.

Red Ice, as its website explains, “delivers videos” and offers “an alternative to the mainstream, covering politics and social issues from a pro-European perspective.” Based in Sweden, they recently announced a presence in Harrisonburg, Va, but the address given is for a UPS Store in a strip mall, and their website ISP is registered in Montreal, Canada.

Harrisonburg is a college town and the local colleges and universities compete nationwide for the best students. Does the town really deserve to be tarnished with a “hate group” over a private mail box for a foreign website?

In all, 15 of Virginia’s alleged “hate groups” appear to exist only as online entities. We won’t pretend that some, perhaps many, will find their content to be offensive, but it is still protected speech and do one or two social Neanderthals running a website really constitute a “group”?

Is it really “attacking and maligning” when you have to physically search these “groups” out in order to be properly outraged?

Perhaps the biggest question would be how many people would ever have heard of these “groups” without the free worldwide publicity generated by the SPLC?

VaGroups2018-Statewide

Group Three

Our last section deals with those alleged “hate groups” the SPLC has merely designated as “statewide,” without even going through the motions of making up an alleged city or town.

As many Watching the Watchdogs readers are painfully aware, our primary focus is to get out the word that the SPLC’s “statewide” designation is worthless for verifying any claims about these groups. As the data provided above demonstrates, even the inclusion of a known location is no guarantee that a “group” actually exists there.

Imagine telling someone that your organization had identified hundreds of active UFO bases across this great land of ours.

“Great Scott!,” they might exclaim. “Where are they?”

“We found 17 in Georgia, 23 in Wisconsin, four more in Rhode Island…”

“This is incredible news! You have to take us there!”

“Um, well, we don’t actually know WHERE the sites are, but we sure as heck know that they are really out there. Trust us!”

People would throw rocks at you, and rightly so. Tell the same folks that you found hundreds of invisible “hate groups,” with no verifiable proof whatsoever, though, and they will throw millions of donor-dollars at you instead.

Incredible news, indeed. Literally.

Nationwide, fully 322 of the 1,020 “hate groups” designated by the SPLC for 2018 are “statewide” phantoms. That works out to one-in-three, just as it does with Virginia’s alleged count. In many states, 80-, 90- and even a full 100% of the groups designated are homeless “statewide” phantoms.

The SPLC padded its “Hate Map” with 107 brand new “statewide” phantoms in 2017 alone. And nobody in the Media said a word.

Just for fun, check out how some of Virginia’s invisible “groups” fare across the country:

VaGroups2018-Statewide-Nationwide

Nationwide “Statewide Groups”

In all, 153 of 194 alleged “groups” turn out to be “statewide” across the country, or, once again, roughly one-in-three. Do you see a pattern here?

We found this exercise to be illuminating and we hope you did as well. As mentioned, we plan on examining the “hate groups” designated to several other states, though we will skip the lengthy preamble next time and get right to the meat.

It is our intention to pass this information along to the Attorney General of Virginia’s consumer fraud division. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars the Southern Poverty Law Center takes in from peddling these faulty figures, the matter deserves to be brought to the attention of the proper legal authorities.

Maybe that will induce the SPLC to show its work. If they have the proof in hand already, how hard can it be?

 

SPLC — The Real Threat from “Domestic Terrorists”

August 9, 2019

In the aftermath of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been garnering a lot of media attention. While there is nothing unusual about an “advocacy group” with hundreds of millions of dollars of cash on hand and a huge publicity staff attracting attention, this time the stakes are higher.

In the old days, whenever a mentally disturbed individual shot up the place, the SPLC would do everything it its power to attempt to tie the perpetrator to a known “hate group,” with varying success. Failing that, the company’s Intelligence Director, Mark Potok, would eventually concede that the shooter was probably a lone-wolf lunatic.

“And I would say as a general matter, it is extremely unusual these days for an organization to plan and carry out a criminal act where mainly for the reason that they are so likely to get caught.

So what we really see out there in terms of violence from the radical right is by and large what we would call lone wolves, people operating on their own or with just one or two partners. As opposed to, you know, being some kind of organizational plan.” (www.npr.org, October 30, 2008) [Emphasis added]

And:

“Still, [Potok] said the public should remain vigilant about the activities of hate groups, even though individuals are responsible for the majority of hate crimes in America. (www.courier-journal.com, July 21, 2009) [Emphasis added]

The problem with the “lone wolf” scenario is that there really wasn’t any good way to make money from it. While the SPLC rakes in hundreds of millions of donor-dollars a year by selling dire warnings of hundreds of “hate groups” it is allegedly “tracking,” lone wolves don’t usually appear on the radar until after they have struck.

When Jared Loughner shot 20 people in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2011,  including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the SPLC’s Intelligence Director, Mark Potok, tried to tie Loughner to the militia movement by analyzing a list of his favorite books. Among the right-wing screeds listed were “Peter Pan,” “The Odyssey,” ‘Aesop’s Fables,” “The Phantom Tollbooth,” “The Communist Manifesto,” “Mein Kampf,” “Gulliver’s Travels” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Despite a valiant effort, once Loughner’s Uncle Fester-esque mug shot was published, even Mr. Potok had to write him off as a likely lunatic, acting alone.

Jared

Jared Loughner

That was then. Flash forward to 2019 and the “Lone Wolf” has suddenly morphed into the “Domestic Terrorist.” As we first warned in 2012, when the SPLC was first playing with the “Domestic Terrorist” tag, there are some very serious civil liberty issues that come into play now.

Whereas the FBI and local law enforcement can do little against so-called “hate groups” until they actually break a law or pose a reasonable threat to public safety (beyond “wrong thoughts”), alleged “terrorists” do not enjoy such Constitutional niceties. Law Enforcement agencies, from the DHS down to the local police, can detain alleged “terror” suspects with far less due process.

With a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality prevailing, every law-abiding citizen would be under the threat of detention, or at the very least of harassment, from law enforcement officials who are obligated to investigate every charge of alleged terrorism.

This is no longer simply a matter of the Southern Poverty Law Center scaring blue-haired Progressives out of donor-dollars. Everyone’s civil rights are now under threat.

We saw the devastating loss of Constitutionally protected civil rights after Congress rammed through the USA PATRIOT ACT in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The SPLC’s “Domestic Terrorist” slur threatens to be every bit as dangerous.


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