Posts Tagged ‘PATRIOT Act’

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.

SPLC – “Domestic Terrorism” Watershed Moment

August 13, 2012

In the last few weeks a relatively new term has cropped up in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s media and fundraising fear campaigns: “Domestic terrorism.”

Long-time readers will no doubt note that the SPLC’s public relations guru, Mark Potok, never misses an opportunity to link lone-wolf nut jobs, regardless of how tenuous the links, to the Oklahoma City attack of 1995, a true case of domestic terrorism.

But lately, Mr. Potok and his minions, like Dr. Heidi Beirich, have been tossing the term around in an attempt to associate it with their most profitable brand name, the subjective and legally undefined term “hate group.”

The purpose of this is two-fold: First and foremost, “domestic terrorist,” like “hate group,” is what persuasion experts call a “devil term,” which is designed to evoke disgust, revulsion or fear, and ultimately, for the SPLC, donations. That the SPLC is trying to expand its market share and increase profits is nothing new and hardly surprising.

After all, they are down to their last quarter of a billion dollars.

It’s the second purpose that warrants greater scrutiny. Even Mr. Potok concedes that the FBI and law enforcement cannot “track” hate groups, because until they actually do something illegal they are doing absolutely nothing illegal. That pesky old “Constitution” thing is always getting in the way of Mr. Potok’s vigilantism and extra-judicial justice schemes.

In recent years, however, Mr. Potok’s boss, Richard Cohen, has insinuated himself onto a Dept. of Home Land Security advisory board, and SPLC fundraising rhetoric has since turned up in a number of D HS documents. Mr. Potok’s propaganda now has the weight of the highest law enforcement body in the land behind it, and one that hasn’t always been too picky about Constitutional formalities.

It’s bad enough that Mr. Potok designates hundreds of “hate groups,” something even the FBI cannot do, but by branding his arbitrary “hate groups” as “terrorists” Mr. Potok can inflict far more mischief on those whose beliefs and activities, while distinctly unpalatable to many, are nonetheless protected by the First Amendment.

Those who believe that such things cannot happen in a Democracy need only look back to Hitler’s Reichstag Fire Decree, which ultimately spelled the end of the Wiemar Republic:

Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State

On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:

§ 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Compare it with the with the sweeping powers granted the D HS by the eerily similarly named Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, also known as the USA PATRIOT Act.

“Communist,” “Terrorist,” “Hate Group,” “Conservative,” “Christian,” really, what’s in a name, right? What’s the worst that can happen? Safety first. Stamp out “wrong thoughts” before they become wrong acts. “Nits make lice,” don’t they?

On the plus side, we hear that the winters in Gitmo are rather mild.

You heard about it here first, folks.


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