Posts Tagged ‘Identity Evropa’

SPLC — “White Nationalists on the Rise!”

September 1, 2019

Ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center released its “Hate Map” fundraising tool for 2018 this past February, the party line has been that “White Nationalist groups are on the rise!” The SPLC bolsters this claim by noting that it had assigned 100 White Nationalist “hate groups” to the US for 2017 and that number had exploded by 48% to 148 for 2018.

Scary news, no doubt, until you recall that the SPLC is the sole arbiter of the “hate group” label. It can claim as many alleged groups as it likes for a given year and nobody in the Media will bother to vet the company’s claims.

Fortunately, we at Watching the Watchdogs are more than happy to take a look. Using nothing more than a desktop computer and basic web searching techniques that any journalist, researcher or donor could easily replicate, we attempted to see how many of the SPLC alleged groups could be located online, if they had physical addresses that could be identified, or any other information that would make their existence seem likely.

We do not claim that these results are absolute by any means. If any of our readers can provide corroborating information we will update our results immediately.

Better still, since the SPLC is known to monitor this blog, perhaps they would be willing to share their information about these alleged groups with us and the donors.

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

We have color coded our results to highlight important aspects of the claims. Those highlighted in red appear to be defunct, based on news reports or results from the Intern Archives amazing Wayback Machine that indicate a website has been offline for months or more.

Those groups highlighted in blue are new to the “Hate Map” tool, or were at least not present on the 2017 map.

Those highlighted in yellow are the SPLC’s infamous “statewide” phantoms for which the company provides absolutely no documentation whatsoever, not even an alleged city or town. As such, these claims are meaningless and discarded from the get-go.

The SPLC lists 322 of its 1,020 alleged groups as “statewide” for 2018. The company added 107 brand new “statewide” phantoms in 2017 alone, and nobody in the Media called them out on it.

Let’s begin with those alleged groups for which no information could be found. If anyone has information on the location of these alleged groups, please contact us directly, especially the claimants from the SPLC.

WN-No Location-2018

The Shieldwall Network is a new addition to the “Hate Map,” which the SPLC attributes to the known neo-Nazi Billy Roper. According to their own estimates, they are a pretty sad “group” and not much of a threat.

The SPLC actually had a pretty good fix on the one-man “group” known as New Albion last year. After his election to the office of Town Manager for Jackman, Maine, (Population 900), Tom Kawczynski, made no secret of his white nationalist beliefs and his plans to establish a “new Albion” populated by whites only.

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.

Jackman’s other “hate group,” the New Right also vanished from the Internet when Kawcynski left town, though nothing definite was found tying the two together.

Identity Evropa was the big winner in this category. In 2017, the SPLC claimed 15 chapters of this group, with four assigned to particular states and the other 11 being “statewide” phantoms. By 2018, the SPLC claimed that the group had more than doubled to 38 alleged chapters, half of which were “statewide,” as we will see below.

From what we can find, Identity Evropa’s main claim to fame is putting stickers on traffic signs and leaving flyers proclaiming “It’s okay to be white!” on college campuses. Other than several “bannering” events where a handful of people have gathered to unfurl banners from overpasses, usually decrying illegal immigration, most of their activity seems to occur late at night as the acts of individuals.

Again, we only have the SPLC’s word for it that these chapters actually exist, as no information for them in these particular states could be found online. Single individuals, just like one-man websites, are not “groups” and the physical threat of Identity Evropa has yet to be proven, especially by the SPLC.

Speaking of one-man websites, we next explore those alleged White Nationalist groups for which nothing more than a website and post office box or private mail box (PMB) from, say, the UPS Store or other mailing services, could be found.

For years, the SPLC denied tracking one-man websites on its annual “Hate Map,” using the boilerplate disclaimer that: “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.” (Ironically, that same year Mr. Potok, quoted in Esquire magazine, described the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, as “mostly Andrew Angelin, his dog, and a computer.”

Potok claimed 32 chapters of The Daily Stormer website for 2017 (one in Ohio and 31 “statewide” phantoms) and 21 for 2018, all of which are “statewide.”

On February 21, 2019, SPLC “Outreach Manager” Kate Chance told a crowd of 300 in Mankato, MN, that: “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.”

WN-Website 1-2018

WN-Website 2-2018

We counted six alleged “groups” that had physical addresses that could be verified by Google Maps street view tool, but several turned out to be private residences or online vendors.

Patriotic Flags of Summerville, SC, an online vendor, has been on the “Hate Map” for ten years now. While they do offer Confederate battle flags, they also offer historic Confederate state flags, numerous iterations of the US flag with varying numbers of stars, flags of every nation on Earth, including all of Africa, Asia and Israel, “Peace” flags, as well as a number of LGBT “rainbow” flags. Not your typical “white nationalist” fare.

Radix Journal is the blog for the National Policy Institute website, but the SPLC counts them as two separate “groups.”

The H.L. Mencken Club is primarily a website, though they do offer annual conferences, with registration fees starting at $250.

The Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation is another website that offers the occasional get-together. In February, 2019, they invited members to join them for an evening of Viennese waltzing at the Organization of American States embassy in Washington, DC.

The FGF event previous to the Grand Ball was an 80th birthday tribute to publisher Jon Utley in 2014 and a PowerPoint presentation from 2011. This spotty social calendar would seem to fall short of Kate Chance’s claim that “groups” needed to meet at least once a year.

Red Ice Radio, as the name implies, is an online radio station based in Sweden. Its Internet ISP provider is listed as Magill University, in Montreal, Canada. The physical street address given is for a UPS Store in Harrisonburg, VA. Does it seem right that Harrisonburg should be tarred with a “hate group” for a private mail box to a Swedish website?

Website Right Stuff 1

The Right Stuff is the big winner of the website category, growing from 21 alleged chapters with ten “statewide” for 2017, to 34 alleged chapters with 14 “statewide” for 2018. Even the SPLC describes TRS as a blog, but that doesn’t stop them from counting it 34 times.

It’s worth noting that ten TRS chapters are making their “Hate Map” debut this year, with eight others that were listed in 2017 having vanished altogether.

This takes us through 91 of the SPLC’s 148 alleged White Nationalist “hate groups,” and we don’t have a lot to show for it. Let’s wind this up with a peek at the SPLC’s “statewide” phantoms for this category, for which they provide no proof whatsoever.

WN-Statewide-1-2018

As mentioned previously, many of Identity Evropa’s alleged chapters are “statewide,” including many that are making their debut. (Editor’s note: The Washington DC chapter should have been included in the previous IE graphic and not this one. Our apologies.)

WN-Statewide-Evropa-2018

Also mentioned were The Right Stuff’s phantoms, including many new chapters claimed by the SPLC.

WN-Statewide-Right Stuff-2018

The Patriot Front grew from four alleged chapters in 2017, with one assigned to Chicago and the other three “statewide” phantoms, to 15 alleged chapters for 2018, all 15 of which are “statewide.”

The SPLC appears to be losing its “hate groups” faster than it can create them.

WN-Statewide-Patriot-2018

And there we have it. Of the 148 White Nationalist groups claimed by the SPLC for 2018 a full 57 of the alleged groups, or 39% of the total, are “statewide” phantoms, up from 35% in 2017. Another 41% appear to be mainly websites, with little, if any, on-the-ground activity.

Using the same tools available to journalists and donors, we could not find any verifiable evidence for the remaining 20%.

Again, we don’t claim that because we could not find a group that it did not exist, but it is not up to us, to journalists or to donors to prove the SPLC’s claims. It falls squarely to the Southern Poverty Law Center to show their work, to document their claims where everyone can see their proof.

With the hundreds of millions of donor-dollars the SPLC took in over the past two years alone, based largely on their “hate group” claims, we do not feel that this is too much to ask.

Trust, but verify.

 


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