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Hate groups: Critics question SPLC’s list, fundraising …

The hate group meets in a beige strip mall. Its pastor sports an Abe Lincoln beard. The congregation sits in chairs instead of pews. Sometimes they have potlucks after Sunday services.

Scenes from Americas early days rifle-bearing pilgrims walking to church through the snow, the first prayer of the Continental Congress decorate the walls, clues to the churchs stance on the Second Amendment and the role of religion in government. Pastor Warren Mark Campbell is not shy about sharing his beliefs: For example, he says gays who flaunt their sexuality should be prosecuted.

This is Lordship Church. Regional human rights watchdogs seem unaware that it exists. But the Southern Poverty Law Center has named it one of 12 hate groups in Idaho under the category general hate alongside infamous, sometimes violent organizations like the KKK and neo-Nazis.

Founded to fight racism and poverty, the SPLC helped bring about Idahos biggest human rights victory: the court ruling nearly 20 years ago that bankrupted the Aryan Nations. But it has also aroused mistrust over how it compiles the Hate Map, a unique online guide to the locations and ideologies of 954 U.S. groups.

The center, a nonprofit based in Montgomery, Alabama, has grown rich. It has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from donations solicited online and by mail. The bulk of that money sits in reserve accounts, some of it parked in places like the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, according to the most recent federal tax records available.

Co-founder Morris Dees and President Richard Cohen draw salaries of more than $350,000, according to those records, last updated in 2015. At least nine executives earn more than $140,000 a year.

The SPLCs opulence has drawn criticism for decades. Outsiders and former employees say the practice of putting violent and nonviolent groups on the same list allows Dees and his cohorts to exaggerate the number, power and threat of hate groups. The goal, they say, is to scare donors, especially uninformed liberals, into parting with their money.

Basically, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a fraudulent operation, said Stephen Bright, a Yale University law professor and former director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which focuses on the death penalty, mass incarceration and other issues. The mailings they send out make it seem like, We need your help. And they have all these celebrities who sign off. Oh man, its sad. Because those people are being duped.

And the centers targets accuse the organization of waging war against conservative, politically active Christians.

The SPLC uses hate as a wedge to marginalize us as Christians, Campbell said.

Thats nonsense, said Heidi Beirich, director of the centers Intelligence Project, which monitors extremism and hate activity across the country.

The range of conservative thought is pretty broad in the United States, Beirich said. If we were to list groups on that basis, which these folks always allege, imagine the number of churches. We would list thousands and thousands and thousands of groups.

Supporters point to the SPLCs accomplishments, such as desegregating the Alabama State Police, forcing the city of Montgomery to pave roads in black neighborhoods, and securing health protections for cotton mill workers. Dees and the SPLC should be feared, they say, but not by honest, tolerant people.

Ive seen Nazis, and you mention Morris Dees, and they start shaking like a leaf, said Norm Gissel, a Coeur dAlene attorney who worked alongside Dees in a 1999 case that bankrupted the Aryan Nations. A, because he is Satans child, and B, because they fear him so much. They just start shaking.

Gissel called Dees very nearly the smartest person Ive ever met and impeccably honest. He wouldnt call all of the organizations on the SPLCs list hate groups, though.

My criteria would be, if theyre not committing a crime, well meet in the marketplace of public policy and have dialogue, he said. Im very Jeffersonian. I believe that my principles freedom, equality, fairness and the rule of law ultimately are going to prevail over any religious set of views that set one group of people over another.

Idaho Statesman efforts to contact Dees were unsuccessful.

Many states have more groups on the Hate Map than Idahos 12. Just in the West, Washington has 26. California has 75.

But in February, financial news blog 24/7 Wall Street examined our population and declared this the state with the most hate groups per capita. Last year, the blog had Idaho at No. 2.

News media regularly share the maps contents without question. It drew major attention last August, shortly after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia left one dead.

It categorizes hate groups by ideologies ranging from neo-Nazi to Black Nationalist. (The latter is this years leading category, with 233 total organizations listed.)

The SPLC says it lists groups that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. These groups vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines.

Researchers compile information from groups own publications and websites, as well as news reports and law enforcement reports, to determine whether they belong on the Hate Map, Beirich said. If theres any question as to whether an organization should be considered a hate group, Beirich said, she reviews the information herself and might talk to other leaders, such as Cohen.

Its unclear if the center contacts the leaders of hate groups as part of this process. Campbell said he never heard from them.

The process is not foolproof. In February, Politico documented an Illinois towns efforts to get off the list after local officials couldnt verify the SPLCs claims. After months of futile appeals, Politico wrote, the town was removed.

Story continues below

How we did this storyThis story comes out of Idaho’s history with hate groups. It’s a history that isn’t yet behind us, and one we continue to confront.Like most news outlets across the country, the Statesman last summer reported on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, N.C.Some parts of the map – a guide to the locations and ideologies of 954 U.S. groups – raised questions. How, for example, did a group that sought a public vote to end refugee resettlement in Twin Falls County end up on equal footing with the KKK? Why was an unknown Coeur d’Alene church on the list? We set out to learn more.Of all the Idaho groups on the list, Lordship Church was the most interested in speaking with us. A reporter and photographer/videographer traveled to north Idaho in March to visit that and another church in person. They also spoke with a lawyer who with the SPLC, helped boot the Aryan Nations from their Hayden Lake compound nearly 20 years ago. And they talked to others in the community about how hate issues have changed in the years since that successful lawsuit.We spoke to a top SPLC official about how it identifies hate groups, and read the organization’s public research on certain groups in the Northwest.And we pored over a mid-1990s series on the SPLC by the Montgomery Advertiser, the organization’s hometown newspaper, that examined its evolution, motivations and fundraising. We studied reports published as recently as this February by Politico and others.What we learned is published here. For all the SPLC’s successes, it is still dogged by questions about its motivation for mixing small, nonviolent groups with more serious threats on the annual Hate Map. Some of those groups are completely unknown, while others seek out attention. But with the Aryan Nations in fragments, Idahoans are more likely to have to confront hate speech rather than violence these days – and there’s no outside consensus on a better way to track it.

According to the SPLC, most of Idahos hate groups proclaim racist or anti-Semitic views. Lordship Church is different.

Campbell took over the church from his son after moving to Athol in 2015. Before that, he shepherded the Church at Kaweah near Visalia, California, which his father founded in the 1960s.

In 2012, the SPLC published a blog post accusing the California-based church of ramping up paramilitary activities and forging alliances with racist groups, patrolling the banks of the Kaweah River and conducting joint exercises with Minuteman groups along the Mexican border.

Campbell said the groups claims were inaccurate. Yes, he and several Kaweah church members operated like a militia, conducting firearms training at a shooting range on church property. But they never patrolled the banks of the Kaweah River, he said.

And Campbell said he went on his own to the Mexican border to watch for people entering the United States illegally, but it was not a joint exercise with Minuteman groups. Its difficult to confirm how the SPLCs Minuteman claim originated; several other online mentions of it refer back to the organizations post.

Lordship Church Pastor Warren Mark Campbell’s belief that people should be prosecuted for displays of homosexuality alarmed the Southern Poverty Law Center. If youre advocating for criminal penalties, criminalization for gay people, youre going to get on our list, said Heidi Beirich, head of the centers Intelligence Project.

Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Now, Campbell said, its absurd to call his church a hate group. He points out that its members include ethnic minorities. He objects to Islam, but not to Muslims ethnicity. He does not believe in using violence against anyone who disagrees with his creed.

I believe that Christianity wins in the marketplace of ideas, Campbell said. We have Gods word. Lets take it out. Lets talk. Lets engage people.

His congregation does not include anyone whos openly gay. I would not baptize a Sodomite, he said. I would call them to repentance.

And, he told the Statesman, he believes anyone displaying overtly gay behavior should face criminal charges.

Thats over the line, Beirich said.

If youre advocating for criminal penalties, criminalization for gay people, youre going to get on our list, she said. We think that its particularly hateful if youre going to go down the road of throwing people in jail for private sexual behavior. In fact, thats a lot worse than saying gay people are diseased. You want to put them in handcuffs.

One of the churchs minority members, Puerto Rico native Ed Reillo, objected to his church being lumped in with all these crazy right-wing extremists.

All that we have experienced here is love from this congregation, Reillo said. I would like to know where (the SPLC is) getting all their facts… I havent seen any crazy guy running around with a pointy hat.

Dees, now 81, grew up on a cotton farm about 25 miles east of Montgomery. He always had a knack for getting money, from selling pigs as a youngster to fundraising for presidential candidates.

Morris Dees

Amanda Edwards Getty Images for Discovery Communications

He earned a law degree in 1960 from the University of Alabama and ran a successful business selling cookbooks, tractor cushions and other products, according to his autobiography and news reports. He sold the business in 1969 for $6 million about $40 million in todays money.

Dees and fellow lawyer Joseph Levin founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971. The centers attorneys, often led by Dees himself, won several landmark civil rights cases. They successfully argued for better representation of blacks in the Alabama Legislature and helped force the Montgomery Police Department to open all of its jobs to female candidates.

There were hiccups. Lawsuits between Dees and another attorney, Millard Farmer, drew public attention amid a dispute over a project aimed at keeping people off death row. The center helped start the Team Defense project in 1976 but backed out the following year.

They quit funding us, Farmer told the Statesman. They called me to Atlanta, very politely, and everything and said, Listen were not making any money with this project. … I said, What do you mean were not making any money? How do you think were going to make money? And they said, Oh yeah, we make money on our projects.

Dees claimed Farmer spread the funds among more cases than the pair had agreed to and wanted a better accounting of the money, according to an Associated Press report from 1977.

Death row and civil rights cases put the SPLC on the map. The next decade, the Ku Klux Klan made Dees a star.

In 1981, two KKK members in Alabama grabbed Michael Donald, a young black man. They beat him with a tree branch, cut his throat and hung his body from a tree on a residential street in Mobile. The murderers, Henry Hays and Tiger Knowles, were convicted.

With the SPLC representing her, Beulah Mae Donald, Michaels mother, sued the United Klans of America in 1984. She won a $7 million judgment against the Klan and several individual members in February 1987.

She collected less than $52,000 because the Klan declared bankruptcy. But the SPLC, which featured the case on fundraising mailers for years, saw a windfall. Between 1985 and 1989, its reserve accounts grew from $12.2 million to $30.6 million, according to numbers the center provided the Statesman.

Bright, the Yale professor, said his colleagues at the center were frustrated by what they saw as a misguided obsession with the KKK.

Thats what you could convince northern liberals, and Jewish people particularly, of that the Ku Klux Klan was still a force to be reckoned with, he said. When, in fact, it wasnt, and there were other kinds of basic things like roads not being paved in the black community and other kinds of discrimination against African Americans. But Dees had no interest whatsoever in pursuing because it didnt have any fundraising potential.

The SPLC formed Klanwatch in 1979 to track the KKK. In 1990, that effort expanded to include other hate groups, eventually growing into the Hate Map.

The centers coffers have also grown. It claimed more than $432 million in its endowment funds net assets on Oct. 31. 2017, according to its annual financial statement.

Donald Trump and the fear of extremism his presidency has stoked has been good for fundraising. The SPLC received $44.2 million from donors in 2015 and $49.1 million in 2016, according to figures obtained by the Statesman. Last year, it raised $129.7 million.

Income from the endowments investments generate tens of millions of dollars every year to sustain the SPLCs litigation and other programming.

Morris had always said, Well, when we get to $50 (million), were going to stop. When we get to $100 (million), were going to stop. But of course, they just breezed right past those, Bright said.

The center no longer has a finite goal for its endowment, according to an email from the organization.

Hate and extremism, poverty, and discrimination, unfortunately, are long-term problems, and our goal is to help as many people as possible, for however long it takes, according to the email. Our donors share the same goal.

Farmer, Bright and other critics say the SPLC uses todays rhetoric and publications, including the Hate Map, the same way it used the Donald case in the 1980s: to hype the powers of relatively toothless groups and attract well-intentioned donors cash.

I reject that criticism completely, said Beirich, director of the SPLCs Intelligence Project. If we wanted to hype the threat, why would we report many times that the numbers (of hate groups) have gone down? It just doesnt make any sense on that front. This is our accurate read of the problem faced in this country.

A few miles west of Coeur dAlene, between the Idaho border and Spokane, Washington, Pastor Shahram Hadian gathers the Truth in Love Christian Fellowship congregation in a small, nondescript event center that mightve hosted a wedding reception just a few hours earlier. Energetic and demonstrative, Hadian talks a mile a minute as he sets up the churchs props: American and Israeli flags, the Ten Commandments and a big-screen image of Truth in Loves sword-heart-Bible symbol.

Hadian himself is caught between two swords. In America, the SPLC has named his ministry a hate group. In his birth country of Iran, he said, hes an apostate a traitor to Islam and could be marked for death if he ever returned.

Hadians family fled Iran at about the time the SPLC was starting Klanwatch.

His father served in the Shahs military until December 1978 three months before the Shah was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution. Hadian said his father could see what was coming. Though the family was Muslim, they were not devout, and his father didnt want to live under the Islamic theocracy the revolution promised.

He just came home one day and said, Weve got to pack our bags. Were leaving, Hadian said. And literally we caught the next flight out.

Hadian was 8 years old when his family arrived in the U.S. He became a Christian in 1999 and a pastor in 2002. He also entered politics, running for governor of Washington in 2012. In 2015, he lectured Idaho lawmakers on his belief that Islamic law could soon apply to Americas courts, contributing to fears that killed a bill on collecting child support and forced lawmakers to hold a special session to fix the problem.

He founded Truth in Love in 2010, moving it to Spokane Valley in 2014. Last year, the church appeared on the Hate Map, labeled as anti-Muslim.

Hadian speaks with conviction about the America he sees: a country and culture under attack from an alien ideology that seeks to overthrow Christianity and undermine the foundations of this nation. He predicts that Islams leaders, left unchecked, will exert Sharia law in the U.S., no matter what the Constitution says. Christians who try to be inclusive of Islam are simply enabling that treachery, he said.

Absolutely, Islam is a false religion, Hadian said. And its not just a religion. Thats the other part of this equation that we are having a hard time embracing here in the West. … It is a political, totalitarian ideology.

But like Campbell, Hadian says hes not anti-Muslim.

If somebody whos supporting our ministry ends up putting something online about hate or wanting to go harm anybody, Ill be the first one to denounce them, he said. We must love individual Muslims and seek to share the truth with them. I want to see them … rescued out of an ideology that is destructive.

Hadian believes the SPLC shares the motivation of Islamic leaders or has at least become their pawn. Due in part to being identified as a hate group, he said, his church has a team of members who greet the congregation and double as an armed security force. They have to pass background checks and obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, he said.

Beirich called Campbells and Hadians anti-Islam, pro-Muslim stance a distinction without a difference.

An SPLC post last year on Hadians ministry included criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose executive director in Seattle said Hadians inflammatory speech leads to kids being bullied in schools, adults being taunted at work, vandalism of property and hate crimes.

Hadian said the quote borders on libel because he knows of no evidence that hes ever directly incited attacks.

The landscape that Campbell and Hadian inhabit has changed since the Aryan Nations collapsed.

Retired Lockheed aircraft engineer Richard Butler formed the group in 1977 in Hayden Lake. He admired Adolf Hitler and preached about creating a homeland for whites. His followers became known for vandalism, harassing families and children, and for setting off a bomb in 1984 at Congregation-Ahavath Israel Synagogue in Boise.

In July 1998, Victoria Keenans Datsun Honey Bee backfired on Rimrock Road outside the groups 20-acre compound north of Hayden Lake. Guards at the compound, reportedly drunk, thought the noise was a gunshot. They piled into a pickup and chased Keenan and her son, Jason, for more than a mile firing at her, running her off the road, beating her and threatening her before fleeing when another car approached.

Keenan told her story to local attorney Gissel, whod already become alarmed at the Aryan Nations increasingly sinister activities. Gissel turned to Dees, who brought star power and deep pockets to bear against the Nazi-sympathizing Aryans.

In September 2000, the Keenans won a $6.3 million judgment, bankrupting the Aryan Nations and forcing the group to turn its compound over to the plaintiffs. Echoing Beulah Mae Donald, the Keenans sold the property to Idaho philanthropist Greg Carr, who destroyed all of the buildings and donated the land to North Idaho College. It lies undeveloped to this day.

I dont doubt that theres still people around that have some of those beliefs, but theyre without any kind of organization, said Jared Reneau, a detective for the Coeur dAlene Police Department. They dont meet and get together, at least that we know about. And Im not saying that we dont have any problems, but we dont see the same problems that we did 10 years ago.

Reneau said hed never heard of Lordship Church.

Today, neo-Nazis and the related Patriot Front groups are the most common hate ideologies in the Northwest, said Dave Neiwert, an SPLC correspondent and author of the book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

The Patriots arent nearly as virulent and problematic as the neo-Nazis are, although the huge numbers that we see in the Patriot movement in the interior Northwest are very much a problem, Neiwert said.

Statesman efforts to contact several other organizations listed as hate groups in Idaho and western Montana were unsuccessful.

Beirich said she doesnt know of any violent behavior on the part of either Truth in Love or Lordship Church. That doesnt mean theyre not dangerous, though, she said in comments that recall how Butler inspired his supporters to action.

People are often critical of us and say, You shouldnt put nonviolent groups on the list, she said. The problem for us is the ideology of the nonviolent groups often ends up justifying violence, right?

If (white nationalist magazine) American Renaissance tells you black people are psychopathic killers, even though no one in that group has committed violence, we know Dylann Roof read American Renaissance and went and killed people.

Here are the 12 groups currently listed on the Hate Map, their location and how the SPLC categorized each.

Endangered Souls RC/Crew 519: Statewide, neo-Nazi

Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: Statewide, KKK

Crew 38: Statewide, racist skinhead

True Cascadia: Statewide, white nationalist

Northwest Hammerskins: Statewide, racist skinhead

Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center: Buhl, anti-Muslim

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Hate groups: Critics question SPLC’s list, fundraising …

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Chat Site for Gamers Got Overrun by the Alt-Right. Now It …

Discord wanted to create a chat platform for gamers. Instead its attracted a community of white supremacists.

Discord is a free voice and text app with invite-only chat rooms, but those private servers quickly found a new fanbase with hate groups, who wanted to discuss plans in secret. After white supremacist groups were revealed to have used Discord to plan the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, Discord started banning those groups en masse. But purging hate from the private chat rooms is no easy task.

In early April, the media collective Unicorn Riot leaked more than a year of Discord logs leaked from the now-defunct neo-Nazi group The Traditionalist Worker Party. The leaked logs showed the TWPs dramatic implosion after an affair and alleged assault among the partys leaders in March. The chat logs also show a splinter group of former TWP members starting their own Discord chat room to discuss launching a new white supremacist group.

The chat logs were the latest in a series of leaked messages from neo-Nazi Discord chat rooms, called servers. But those servers shouldnt have been online at all. After the Unite the Right rally, Discord shut down chat rooms associated with the rally and announced action against white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate.

The public declaration put Discord ahead of larger social media platforms like Twitter, where white supremacist Richard Spencer was verified as recently as November. (He remains on Twitter, albeit without his verified status.)

Discord told The Daily Beast it has also begun working with the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat hate groups on the platform, although it did not specify the details of the arrangement.

Although some far-right extremists continue to return to the platform, Discords decision to ban the most well-known communities has deprived them of a place to openly organize, plan, and promote their poisonous ideologies, Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Centers Intelligence Project, said in a statement. Discords pledge to continue to combat extremist organizing on their platform is critical. This fight is not going to end tomorrow. Other tech companies who struggle with these same issues should know its always the right policy decision to reject organized hatred.

But unlike Facebook and Twitter, Discords semi-private nature lets more hate speech go undetected. Discord told The Daily Beast it does not read users messages, and relies on users to report behavior that violates the apps terms of service.

This fight is not going to end tomorrow. Other tech companies who struggle with these same issues should know its always the right policy decision to reject organized hatred.

Heidi Beirich, SPLC

Discord has a Terms of Service (ToS) and Community Guidelines that we ask all of our communities and users to adhere to, a spokesperson said. These specifically prohibit harassment, threatening messages, calls to violence or any illegal activity. Though we do not read peoples private messages, we do investigate and take immediate action against any reported ToS violation by a server or user. We will continue to be aggressive to ensure that Discord exists for the community we set out to supportgamers.

The reliance on users to report abuse appears to have led some neo-Nazis to think of the platform as a safe space.

I think the alt-right has relied on Discord as a means of communication across distances, with the expectation that whats happening, or what they can talk about is secure, Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative reporter with the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Daily Beast.

Even after alt-right Discord logs leaked last August, revealing how neo-Nazis planned the Unite the Right rally, some groups still believed their messages were safe on the chat app.

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Dont let reporters know what platform we communicate on, Zaine Deal, a former TWP member wrote on Discord on Christmas Day, 2017.

Other extremist groups also lingered on the platform. In February, ProPublica reported on a Discord server for the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group that has been implicated in four murders in recent months. The ProPublica report revealed Atomwaffen members celebrating the most recent murder, that of Jewish teenager Blaze Bernstein.

Shortly after the report, Discord banned Atomwaffen and other white supremacist groups, including the Nordic Resistance Movement, Iron March, and European Domas.

But keeping the groups off Discord is another matter. The Daily Beast observed one 4chan-affiliated Discord group shuffle across at least three Discord servers, always posting a link to a backup chat room in case their primary room was banned.

I think time and time again, especially in the aftermath of Charlottesville, weve seen that Discord is not as secure as the alt-right thought it would be, Lenz said, and that many of their unsavory ideas or true intentions have been laid bare by leaks and otherwise communications on the platform.

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Less Than a Year After Charlottesville, the Alt-Right Is …

Some have turned federal informant. Others are facing prison time. More are named in looming lawsuits. All of them are fighting.

Last summer, the American alt-right was presenting itself as a threatening, unified front, gaining national attention with a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The collection of far-right and white nationalist groups proclaimed victory after President Donald Trump hesitated to directly condemn them and instead blamed both sides and the alt left for the violence. But less than a year after Charlottesville, the alt-right is splintering in dramatic fashion as its leaders turn on each other or quit altogether.

Matthew Heimbachs arrest in a March trailer park brawl with members of his neo-Nazi groupsome of whom he was allegedly screwingfelt like a too-obvious metaphor. Heimbach was the head of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a youth-focused white supremacist group that floated to the front of media coverage and hate rallies in the run-up to Donald Trumps election.

But by March, Heimbach and the TWP had spent the previous months embroiled in a series of online spats with other alt-right factions. On March 14, police in his Indiana hometown arrested Heimbach after he allegedly assaulted TWP spokesperson Matthew Parrott during a fight over their wives, both of whom Heimbach was allegedly sleeping with. Heimbachs wife is Parrotts stepdaughter.

The high-profile bust was an accelerant in what had been a slow-burning feud among the alt-right. Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Centers Intelligence Project, said the schism started after Unite the Right, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. The rally turned deadly after a man affiliated with a white supremacist group plowed a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring more.

Matthew Heimbachs arrest in a March trailer park brawl with members of his neo-Nazi groupsome of whom he was allegedly screwingfelt like a too-obvious metaphor.

I think the splintering started there, but I have to say what happened in the last couple weeks has been at a much higher level, Beirich told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.

Threats from the far-right are by no means over. The SPLC recently released a map documenting 954 hate groups in the U.S., a rise in 20 percent since 2014. In a January report, the Anti-Defamation League found that white supremacists had killed 18 people in 2017.

But the alt-right has had a bad month. In recent weeks, as Beirich described, prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer has dropped a lawsuit against Kent State University and canceled his speaking tour, after anti-fascist protesters opposed him at every stop. Antifa is winning, Spencer conceded in a video. Days earlier, Kyle Bristow, an alt-right lawyer who has represented Spencer, announced he was quitting the movement after the Detroit Free Press wrote an article critical of him.

Heimbach was arrested days after Spencer canceled his tour.

The implosion of the Traditionalist Worker Party, its not exactly as though that was planned in some way, but its a spectacular implosion of a key player in this universe, Beirich said of the alt-rights terrible two weeks.

Even the TWPs diehards say its prospects are bleak.

There is no way for us to continue on with the TWP branding after what happened, Tony Hovater, a TWP leader, wrote on Gab, a social media platform popular among the alt-right. In November, Hovater was the subject of an arguably sympathetic New York Times profile. Now he was on Gab discussing his plans to start a new organization after Heimbachs arrest, which was without a doubt a shameful incident, he wrote. (Journalist Elizabeth King noted on Twitter that the TWP may have rebranded or splintered into something called the Nationalist Initiative.)

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I have no comment, Parrott, the former TWP spokesperson whose wife allegedly slept with Heimbach, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. I am no longer involved in the movement, and I have no stake in all the stupid shit going on in it.

Hes not the only one headed to the exits over infighting.

I am no longer involved in the movement, and I have no stake in all the stupid shit going on in it.

Earlier in Marchafter Bristow quit the movement, but before Spencer canceled his college tourHeimbach and the TWP acted as a security force for Spencer outside a speech to a handful of people at Michigan State University. They scrapped with counterprotesters, resulting in at least a dozen arrestsincluding that of Greg Conte, director of operations for an alt-right group, HuffPost reported.

The physical brawl turned into a Twitter feud between Spencer and Patrick Casey, the executive director of white supremacist group Identity Evropa. Identity Evropa participated in the violent clashes at Charlottesville. But after the deadly rally, and two leadership changes (leader Nathan Damigo quit after Charlottesville, and his successor Eli Mosely quit to join a Spencer-affiliated group before it was revealed that Mosely lied about serving in the Iraq War) Identity Evropa promoted Casey to its head and attempted to rebrand itself as clean-cut.

On Twitter, two days after the TWP got in a brawl while acting as Spencers security force, Identity Evropa claimed to be explicitly non-violent and peacefully effecting cultural change. In a press-friendly, but largely meaningless semantic ploy, the group denied being a white supremacist organization.

Spencer interpreted the tweet as an attack. In a tweet of his own, Spencer said he was baffled and shocked at the behavior of Casey, and accused him of expelling Identity Evropa members who had supported Spencer during the brawl outside Michigan State University.

The spat was the latest over the alt-rights optics, a divisive subject among the movement. The Unite the Right rally was so toxic for the alt-rights image that some members started arguing that in-person protests were bad publicity for the cause.

Currently the biggest divide is between people who believe in online activism versus real-world activism. Beirich said. After Charlottesville, Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin, for example, posted things criticizing in-real-life protests When PayPal and Facebook started banning accounts, he was pointing out that these arent good things for us, taking to the streets isnt necessarily positive, the optics were bad.

I think theres also a lot of, maybe professional is the wrong word, but professional jealousies here.

Anglin is currently on the run and claims to be in Cambodia while he attempts to avoid a lawsuit by a Jewish woman whose address and phone number he posted online after she argued with Spencers mother. Anglin encouraged readers on his neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer to call the woman and visit her home, unleashing a campaign of harassment against her.

An opposing alt-right movement accuses people like Anglin of optics-cucking, a reference to a porn genre in which a man watches another man have sex with his wife. (The term was in vogue with the alt-right long before Parrott stood on a box outside a trailer to watch Heimbach have sex with Parrotts wife, according to a police report in the incident.) The anti-optics crowd accuses the pro-optics faction of trying to splinter the movement.

Among the optics-skeptical is Chris Cantwell, a white supremacist who featured prominently in a Vice documentary on the Unite the Right rally, and who later became a meme when he cried on camera. Since Charlottesville, Cantwell has produced a podcast, which ran on The Daily Stormer until Anglin allegedly removed it without telling Cantwell earlier this month.

As far as I can tell, thats whats going on and theyre just throwing barbs back and forth over it, Beirich said. I think theres also a lot of, maybe professional is the wrong word, but professional jealousies here. Cantwells blog or podcast gets more popular, that pisses off other members of the alt-right who want to be center-stage.

On Gab, Cantwell alleged a conspiracy.

I found out that new content was not being syndicated to [The Daily Stormer] when somebody asked about it in my Gab mentions. So I cant say with any certainty what the motivation was, Cantwell wrote last week. He suggested that the removal of his show and the flood of negative news about the TWP, in which he is not involved, was part of an effort to discredit the alt-right.

I smell subversion, he wrote.

Hovater, the remaining TWP leader who called Heimbachs arrest shameful, shared the post. Cantwells attack on The Daily Stormer soon landed him in trouble with other members of the alt-right, when one of the blogs contributors revealed that Cantwell was an FBI informant.

Andrew Auernheimer, a Daily Stormer contributor and hacker best known by his screen name Weev, posted screenshots of a conversation with Cantwell, in which Cantwell admitted to reporting members of Philadelphia ARA (anti-racist action groups) to authorities.

I talked to cops too. gonna talk to the feds soon most likely, Cantwell told Weev in the undated conversation, which references Cantwells pending felony case for alleged illegal use of tear gas at the Charlottesville rally. Im going after Philly ARA. Not throwing our people under the bus. We werent the bad guys last August, and Charlottesville is ignoring that fact. The feds want to bust Antifa and Im keen to help them.

Weev replied that if you hadnt talked to cops and media in the first place and had gotten scarce you wouldnt be facing 40 years in prison.

After Weev posted the screenshots, Cantwell confirmed their authenticity in a blog post of his own titled I Am A Federal Informant, in which he attacked Weev as a Jew in a foreign country in reference to rumors that the neo-Nazi blogger is actually of Jewish ancestry. Cantwell also confirmed that his attorney had spoken with the FBI. The admission set off a fresh volley of criticism from alt-righters who are opposed to communicating with law enforcement.

Cantwells attack on The Daily Stormer soon landed him in trouble with other members of the alt-right, when one of the blogs contributors revealed that Cantwell was an FBI informant.

Cantwell has good reason to try to deflect blame onto anti-fascist protesters. In addition to his pending criminal charges, he is named in two civil lawsuits against Unite the Right rioters. (He is only a defendant in one of the cases.) Between them, the lawsuits also name Spencer, the TWP, Identity Evropa, and the League of the South, the latter of which signed an agreement Monday not to host any future armed protests in Charlottesville.

Beirich said the two lawsuits will probably drive some other people to abandon the movement. They just dont want to get caught up in the legal fees.

In her extensive time tracking the far-right, Beirich has seen other similar movements grow and implode. She drew a parallel between the alt-right and the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group that, until the early 2000s, was the biggest neo-Nazi group in America. It was the main player.

But when the National Alliances leader William Pierce died in 2002, the group turned on itself.

Within a very short period of time, the whole group was essentially decimated. One year after Pierce was dead, that group was done and had splintered into a whole bunch of factions, Beirich said. That was the case where a leader died, and I imagine Heimbachs downfall is almost a death to the Traditionalist Worker Party.

Under the pressure of lawsuits, jail time, scandal, and shame, she imagines some current alt-righters will simply slink away, if they havent already.

Im sure were going to lose some people and were going to have some fighting over the crumbs that are left.

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Neo-Nazi Groups Explode Under Trump, Southern Poverty Law …

Neo-Nazi organizations saw the greatest growth among hate groups last year, according to a new report by Southern Poverty Law Center released Wednesday.

There were 954 active hate groups in the United States in 2017, SPLC found, the greatest total since 2011s record-breaking year. About half of the groups are white supremacist groups, including Neo-Nazis, Neo-Confederates, white nationalists, skinheads, and Christian Identitarians. Almost one-quarter of 900 hate groups are black nationalists, and 114 groups are anti-Muslim. Other groups with specific hatred for the LGBTQ community, the government, and women have risen, albeit in smaller numbers.

Within the white supremacist movement, Neo-Nazi groups saw the greatest growthsoaring by 22 percent from 99 to 121, since 2016, according to the SPLC report.

The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of hate in America, SPLC said, because a growing number of extremists, particularly those who identify with the alt-right, operate mainly online and may not be formally affiliated with a hate group.

The report comes after a year of notorious violence by the so-called alt-right. In August 2017, white supremacists gathered for a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to the deaths of Heather Heyer and two local law enforcement officials. In January 2018, a California man who allegedly murdered his gay, Jewish high school classmate trained with Florida-based Neo-Nazi group Attomwaffen, ProPublica reported. In December 2017, a man who frequented alt-right forums and websites like The Daily Stormer killed three people including himself at a New Mexico school, The Daily Beast previously reported.

Since 2014, 43 people have been killed and 67 people have been injured by men associated with the alt-right or white supremacists, SPLC reported earlier this month. Dylann Roof, the man who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston nearly three years ago, regularly commented on The Daily Stormer and admitted to planning the race-based attack. “I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country, Roof wrote in a note used in his prosecution.

Neo-Nazi groups saw the greatest growthsoaring by 22 percent from 99 to 121.

Southern Poverty Law Center

SPLC also counted the murders of Elliot Rodger, the California man who killed seven people, including himself, as one of the first massacres killings carried out by the alt-right before the movement went mainstream. Nikolas Cruz, the alleged Florida school shooter who killed 17 people on Valentines Day, commented Elliot rodger will not be forgotten on a YouTube video last year. Law enforcement said it is investigating whether Cruz was affiliated with a white supremacist group in Florida that initially claimed he was a member.

In a first for the organization, SPLC added two male supremacy groups to its annual report on extremism: Texas-based A Voice for Men and Washington, D.C.-based Return of Kings. The vilification of women by these groups makes them no different than other groups that demean entire populations, such as the LGBT community, Muslims or Jews, based on their inherent characteristics, SPLC said in a statement.

Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said that the organization compares male supremacy groups’ methodsusing slurs and saying women are destroying mento white supremacist groups like the New Century Foundation, which publishes a magazine that focuses on the demonization of black people.

President Donald Trump blamed many sides for alt-right violence in Charlottesville, and the SPLC report says Trumps presidency has emboldened white supremacists. They believed they finally had a sympathizer in the White House and an administration that would enact policies to match their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and racist ideas, the report stated.

The only hate group that decreased its chapters in 2017 was the Ku Klux Klan, the oldest hate group in the country. Its clear that the new generation of white supremacists is rejecting the hooded movement that was founded after the Civil War, the authors of the SPLC report wrote.

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Heidi Beirich, Author at CrimeFeed

Heidi Beirich leads the SPLCs Intelligence Project, one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world, according to theNational Review. She is an expert on various forms of extremism, including the white supremacist, nativist and neo-Confederate movements as well as racism in academia. She oversees the SPLCs authoritative, yearly count of the nations hate and hard-line, anti-government groups and is a frequent contributor to the SPLCs investigative reports and speaker at conferences on extremism. Prior to joining the SPLC staff in 1999, Heidi earned a doctorate in political science from Purdue University. She is the co-editor and author of several chapters ofNeo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, published by the University of Texas Press in 2008.

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The past year has been filled with a series of frightening, and possibly portentous, violent attacks from Americas radical []

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Trump’s long dalliance with violent rhetoric – POLITICO

Beyond his own incendiary comments, he’s done little to mute loose talk of killing Clinton and Obama.

By MICHAEL CROWLEY

08/10/2016 02:19 PM EDT

In May, the Secret Service investigated Donald Trumps butler over a Facebook post saying that President Barack Obama should be shot as an enemy agent.

Secret Service agents also interviewed a Trump campaign adviser last month, after he said that Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.

Story Continued Below

In December, Trump himself appeared on the radio show of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has warned that the federal government might round up gun owners like Jews in Nazi Germany.

And refrains of hang the bitch and kill the bitch have grown increasingly common at Trump rallies.

Even before Trumps Tuesday remark that Second Amendment people might stop Hillary Clintons Supreme Court appointments, his associates and supporters had repeatedly called for violence against Clinton and Obama, while right-wing leaders and militia groups that support Trump speak of an armed response to federal gun control efforts.

Trumps campaign said his Tuesday remark was merely a call for gun owners to unite against Clinton this fall. But outraged Democrats said Trump had, at a minimum, made a horribly ill-advised joke about mounting armed resistance to Clinton.

Some analysts said that, whatever Trumps intended meaning, the comment was dangerous in a campaign already colored by violence, from assaults on protesters at Trump rallies to talk of rebellion and civil war among far-right Trump supporters.

There is no question that theres more violent and hateful speech in this campaign than in past presidential contests, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks domestic extremism and hate speech. Militia groups and others filled with rage against the government and Democrats like Clinton and Obama are emboldened by this campaign and its rhetoric.

Beirich and others blame Trump for legitimizing talk of violence throughout the campaign, including his jokes about punching and roughing up protesters, his defense of torturing terrorist suspects and even his infamous crack complete with a pantomimed gunshot that he could shoot somebody in midtown Manhattan and not lose any political support.

Trump supporters say he cant be held responsible for every incendiary comment made by someone he knows or who supports him, and note that Trump himself has been the target of online death threats, some of which the Secret Service has investigated. Certain members of the media and various organizations seem to expect Mr. Trump to instantly track down and condemn every irresponsible comment posted anywhere on social media by anyone claiming to be a supporter, Jason D. Greenblatt, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization wrote in a letter to The Washington Post in May. Trump, he added, is not responsible for other peoples irresponsible invective.

But Democrats say thats not good enough. The truth is he is responsible, because he could stand there and say, Stop it, and tell them no. But he doesnt, says Robert Shrum, a Democratic strategist who has run several presidential campaigns.

For instance, Trump only mildly rebuked Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative and informal campaign adviser, after he said on a radio show last month that Clinton should be shot for treason related to the lethal September 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Baldasaro advises Trump on veterans issues and has appeared next to Trump at campaign rallies.

After Baldasaros statement circulated nationally, Trumps spokesman Hope Hicks said only that the Trump campaign was incredibly grateful for his support, but we dont agree with his comments. Trump did not sever ties with Baldasaro, whom he called out by name at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday. Al has been so great, Trump said. Wheres Al? Wheres my vet?

By contrast, when Hillary Clintons 2007 New Hampshire campaign co-chairman made a public reference to Barack Obamas use of marijuana and cocaine as a young man, he was forced to relinquish his campaign title, and Clinton personally apologized to Obama on an airport tarmac.

Trump issued a stronger response in May after media reports revealed that a longtime butler at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida had posted several Facebook messages calling for Obamas execution. One April 2015 post by the 84-year-old Anthony Senecal said Obama should be hung for treason, while another in May of this year lamented that Obama had not been shot years ago. In that case, Hicks issued a statement noting that Senecal had not worked for Trump for years and that we totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the President. (According to news reporters, both Senecal and Baldasaro were investigated by the Secret Service, which routinely follows up on threats against presidents and presidential candidates.)

Another Trump associate to call for Clintons death is his longtime political adviser Roger Stone, who tweeted in July 2014 that Clinton must be brought to justice arrested, tried, and executed for murder. (Stone was replying to another tweet which accused leftists of making common cause with jihadis.) Stone spent several years as a Trump confidant and helped to run his 2016 campaign before the men parted ways last fall over undefined strategic differences.

Calls for violence against Clinton are not hard to detect at Trump events. At an event in Ashburn, Virginia, last week, a pre-teen boy in the press area shouted take the bitch down! with his nearby mothers approval. On Tuesday, a reporter at a Trump rally in North Carolina tweeted that someone had shouted, Kill her! Kill her! a refrain that has been heard at more than one Trump campaign events in recent weeks, along with calls for Clintons hanging.

The proceedings at last months Republican National Convention did not threaten Clintons life, but did feature loud calls for her imprisonment for using a private email server while she was secretary of state. Chants of lock her up repeatedly emerged from the crowd on the convention floor on two different nights.

We havent seen anything like this in American politics, said Shrum, who argued that the vitriol around the Trump campaign exceeds even the often-coded racial signals surrounding the 1968 campaigns of Richard Nixon and George Wallace. Those were dog whistles. Trumps a siren.

Of particular concern to experts who track hate speech is the rise of violent rhetoric among anti-government militias and white supremacist groups with which Trump does not directly associate, but that generally root for him.

Trumps comment about the Second Amendment people could resonate with militia groups that often speak of armed resistance to the government. In April, the popular anti-government group Oath Keepers published an essay on its website warning of outright civil war in the event that Clinton is elected. The level of hatred among conservatives for that woman is so stratospheric I cannot see any other outcome, wrote the author, Brandon Smith, a regular contributor to the site.

In particular, right-wing leaders warn of a supposed federal plan to seize firearms on a mass scale that could lead to domestic conflict. Among them is Jones, the Texas-based host of the radio show and website Infowars. A promoter of 9/11 conspiracy theories with a large following, Jones often speaks of a liberal disarmament agenda. In January, he warned listeners that the government is coming for our guns to enslave us, including through the use of Nazi-style ghettos.

Trump appeared as a guest on Jones show a few weeks before, on Dec. 2. During that appearance, Jones told the Trump that 90 percent of his listeners supported him. Your reputation is amazing, Trump said. I wont let you down.

At times, Trump has seemingly condoned the use of violence in politics. During a December appearance on MSNBC, Trump was unfazed by allegations that Russian president Vladimir Putin had ordered the execution of journalists. I think our country does plenty of killing also, Trump replied, adding: Theres a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now. A lot of killing going on and a lot of stupidity and thats the way it is.

Trump has called the 1989 Chinese government crackdown on student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square vicious and horrible, but said it shows you the power of strength. In January, he said of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who had recently executed a group of alleged traitors that included his own uncle: Youve got to give him credit this guy doesnt play games.

There are few clear precedents for Trumps Tuesday comments about Second Amendment people. But his campaigns statement, which attacked a dishonest media, contrasted with past cases where politicians quickly apologized for remarks construed as intimations of violence.

Rejecting calls that she drop out of the Democratic primary race in May 2008, Hillary Clinton cited the June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy to underscore the notion that it was not late in the race by historical standards. After observers thought Clinton seemed to be suggesting that Obama might also be shot, her campaign quickly issued a statement expressing regret if her comment was in any way offensive.

And in November 1994, Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina said Bill Clinton was so unpopular on military bases in his state that he better watch out and have a bodyguard if he were to visit. Helms apologized the next day.

Of course I didnt expect to be taken literally when, to emphasize the cost and concerns I am hearing, I far too casually suggested that the president might need a bodyguard, or words to that effect, the conservative North Carolinian said.I made a mistake …. which I shall not repeat.

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‘Hate in America’ documentary debuts as white supremacy …

Amid one of the most racially-charged presidential campaigns in recent memory, Investigation Discovery is debuting a new documentary series looking at the Southern Poverty Law Centers efforts to fight violent hate crimes across the country.

Hate in America, which debuts Feb. 29, digs into the case files of SPLC to look at racially and ethnically-motivated criminals and supremacist groups that not only remain active today, but according to new data, are growing in number in the wake of Barack Obamas election in 2008 as the first black president. The timing of the series couldnt be better as far as Heidi Beirich, the head ofSPLCs Intelligence Project, is concerned.

Given the vitriol in the presidential campaign and Donald Trumps front-runner status, it reminds us that this kind of hate can be right in the mainstream, she told MSNBC on Thursday. White supremacists love Donald Trump and they are mobilizing politically.

RELATED:Trumps weaknesses seen as strengths with GOP voters

White supremacists have been uncharacteristically active in the 2016 GOP primaries. Although unaffiliated with Trumps campaign, hate groups have recorded robocalls on his behalf. Most recently, people in Ku Klux Klan costumes carrying pro-Trump signs were photographed at the Nevada GOP caucuses. Trump himself has twice retweeted an apparent white supremacist, and his campaign has yet to publicly disavow supporters who spout hateful rhetoric. Meanwhile, earlier in this election cycle, Trumps rivals Sens. Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paulrejected thousands of dollarsin campaign contributions fromEarl Holt III, the president ofCouncil of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group.

Beirich believes that the failure of much of the mainstream Republican establishment to purge hatemongers in their midst speaks to the importance of the Hate in America series, but also the challenging climate for organizations like hers. Ten years ago, when GOPer George Allen had his infamous macaca gaffe, it derailed his campaign and national Republicans distanced themselves from him. But Beirich calls the relative silence of RNC chairman Reince Priebus and other party leaders on Trumps racially-charged language and policies unheard of in modern politics.

There is a real constituency is this country this is not comfortable with changing demographics, she said, citing widely reported exit polling data out of South Carolina from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling which showed that an overwhelming majority of Trump voters (70 percent) still support the Confederate flag and a surprising number (31 percent) who allegedly dont disagree with the notion that white people represent a superior race. When the New York Times analyzed YouGov data, it determined that nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trumps voters disagreed with Abraham LincolnsEmancipation Proclamation, the executive order that freed Southern slaves during the Civil War.

And on Thursday, KKK veteran and white nationalist David Dukeurged listeners of his radio program to vote for Trump.Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage, Duke said regarding the candidacies of Cruz and Rubio, who are both Cuban Americans.

According to a new report from the SPLC, first published in the Washington Post, the number of hate groups rose by 14 percent last year and the number ofKKK chapters in America more than doubledfrom 2014 to 2015 to nearly 200. Some critics have taken issue with their methodology, as well as with the decision to count some Christian conservative organizations likethe Family Research Council as hate groups, but Beirich argues theres no denying that a racial backlash to Obamas presidency and the gradual browning of America exists and that the backlash has manifested in both hateful political speech and, more disturbingly, violent crime.

Despite the preoccupation withpotentialacts of terrorism perpetrated by international suspects, the SPLC has long maintained that homegrown domestic threats are far moreprevalent. In the past year, the massacre at a black church in Charleston and the attack on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado grabbed headlines, but were more often than not downplayed compared to threats from abroad.

Unfortunately, our nation has a history of not recognizing the threat of hate groups and other extremists until they have lashed out with deadly violence, the legendary founder of SPLC, Morris Dees, said in a press release promoting the Hate in America show.

Beirich believes that Hate In America will remind viewers of the serious danger domestic hate groups still present. Although roughly 6,000 hate crimes are reported nationally each year, the SPLC estimates that the actual number is closer to 250,000, especially in light of the fact that many states have neglected to pass protections for LGBT citizens.

Still, despite the seemingly emboldened climate of hate that has in some ways defined the last decade or so, Beirich is still optimistic.When she sees alleged Trump backers clad in KKK outfits, she says its really really upsetting but its almost motivating, because I do believe most Americans are disgusted by this.

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When Hatred Is a Joke – The Atlantic

On Sunday, the president of the United States tweeted out a video. The grainy clip featured old footage repurposed for a new world: It depicted a pre-White House Donald Trump engaged in a bit of theatrical violence that played out during a 2007 WrestleMania event. In it, the pre-president, clad in a suit, body-slammed and then repeatedly punched another mana man made anonymous because his face, in the edited video, had been obscured with the familiar logo of the Cable News Network.

The tweet was, in one sense, yet another volley in the White Houses long-running battle against the American mediaone that has in recent days noticeably ratcheted up. And it was yet another example of the presidents seemingly gladiatorial approach to the world and its doings: a Darwinian environment where lifes inherent rivalries resolve themselves in violence. But the tweet was also something much simpler than any of that: It was, on the most basic level, a joke. The video was absurd on its (logo-obscured) face. The president, fighting CNN! Or, rather, FNN, because fake news! Trump had sent out, essentially, a nationwide wink.

So the tweet took Trumps longstanding animosity toward the news media in general and CNN in particular and distilled it down to something relatable and recognizable and, in theory, unobjectionable: laughter. It washed hatred over with humor.

Are We Having Too Much Fun?

The WrestleMania-ed tweet in that sense was both extremely bizarrean unorthodox way for a sitting president to express himself, The New York Times dutifully summed it upand completely at home in the media environment of the present moment. Jokes, after all, have long been used to soften political point-making: There they are at political protests, and there they are on late-night television, shaping Americans knowledge of the political debates whose outcomes will determine our collective future. And hatred, too, has eagerly adopted the guise of the joke to spread its messaging. Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, has a sly sense of irony. So does 4chan. This is a time in which the most recognizable symbol of white supremacy in American culture is a loopy-grinned cartoon frog.

What happens, though, when hatred renders so easily as a joke? And what happens, in particular, when the president of the United States uses his vast platform not only to celebrate violence, but also to suggest that violence is funny? As the writer Wajahat Ali noted at a recent panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Trump, as the commander in chief, uses the pulpit and the platform of the office to tweet hate. The president eschews the one-America logic that has guided the communications strategies of so many past presidenciesthe language that aims to unify the nation in its measured appeals to the mass publicand uses his platform instead both to pick fights and to maintain the ones he has started. Trump has put the bully in bully pulpit.

Its a significant shiftnot merely because presidential angry-tweets have, in their reach, the potential to incite violence, and not merely because they are, as CNN put it in a statement about the WrestleMania video, notably juvenile. Tweets like that video, and the many others that have preceded it, also normalize hatred itself. They suggest a zero-sum world: a world of friends and enemies, a world of winners and losers, a world in which struggle is not the exception, but, by pugilistic necessity, the rule. The president, with each 140-character message, takes that old, optimistic bromidethere is more that connects us, as Americans, than divides usand flips it. He suggests that division and tribalism and fear and hatred will guide Americas politics and its future.

Whats even more troubling: He might have reason to make that suggestion. Grainy video of a sucker-punching president neatly captures a shift that has transpired slowly and then mind-bogglingly quickly in recent years: Hatred has come into the mainstream. Fear and its common companion, animositydirected toward immigrants, toward minorities, toward women, toward the news mediaare becoming more and more normalized in our cultural conversations. They are living less and less at the margins of American life.

Hatred, of course, has always been part of that life. As Heidi Beirich, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, pointed out on the same panel, the country was obviously white supremacist from its founding. In recent years, however, Ali noted, hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan (the SPLC currently counts 54 such groups) existed for the most part at the outskirts of society. They hated, as is their constitutional right, but they were judged for it and ostracized for it by the broader body of American politics. Their ideas were, in the Overton sense, unthinkable. The window of acceptability was closed to them.

No longer, Ali suggested. The rise of social media has allowed hatred to be both concretizedsharable tracts, meme-able images, Pepeand, then, amplified. Digital capabilities have meant, as well, that haters can find likeminded people, across the distance. Which has meant in turn that hatred has become empowered as never before. Recent months have seen acts of hate directed against transgender women, Jews, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Hindu Americans, Sikh Americans, and others. Acts of anti-semitism, a recent study from the Anti-Defamation League found, spiked 86 percent during the first months of 2017an increase from what had already been a surge of such incidents the previous year.

Into that environment comes a president who regularly makes light of hatredwho implies, one tweet at a time, that hostility is normal and, worse, kind of funny. When the president mean-tweets about Mika Brzezinski, or about Frank Luntz, or about CNN, he is doing it, it seems, out of a sense of real rage, but also because he assumes that animosity itself is entertaining. Slob. Loser. Failing. Psycho. The insults and epithets reduce people to the thing the president best understands: media brands. They treat humans, collectively, as actors in an epic war story in which Trump will always bemust always bethe victor. But they also assume that even war stories can be funny, and that violence, when presented with the right kind of wink, can be a great source of humor. Calm down, the presidents tweets say. Its all just a joke.

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‘White Terrorism’ and Donald Trump: Why Has the President Slashed the Grant for Group Combating KKK? – Newsweek

The Trump administration has slashed funding for a group devoted to tackling radical white extremists. The Department for Homeland Security (DHS)announced Fridaythat $400,000 in federal funding was being withdrawn from Chicago-based Life After Hate, one of the few U.S. groups dedicated to combating white nationalism.The group was awarded the grant in the closing days of the Obama administration.

Neo Nazis (National Socialist Movement) take part in a Ku Klux Klan demonstration at the state house building on July 18, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. John Moore/Getty Images

Run by a former extremistskinhead, the group helps members of hate groups including the KKK and Neo-Nazi gangs to build a life beyond racist nationalism.

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The co-founder of Life After Hate, Christian Picciolini, told the Associated Press, “While it’s disappointing that DHS broke its promise to us by changing the rules to the grant after we’d already won it, it is more alarming that the current administration is refusing to acknowledge that white nationalist extremists are a major domestic terrorist threat.”

Oren Siegel, director of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League criticized the move in a tweet,linkingto a Time article in which he accusedthe administration of underestimating the threat posed by far-right terrorists.

The new list of grant recipients doesn’t include a single organization dedicated to fighting far-right extremism but several that are focused oncountering Islamic extremism.

Reuters reported in February that administration officials were debating changing the name of the Countering Violent Extremism program to Countering Islamic Extremism or Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) claims there has been a significant spike in hate crimes since Trump launched his bid to become president in 2015, when he received considerable backing from the alt-righta loose collection of white nationalist and anti-establishment conservatives.

Heidi Beirich , director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement toNewsweek:The Trump administration doesn t take seriously the threat from the radical right.”

Beirich warned that the U.S. would pay a high price for “wishing away” a movement that, according to the Government Accountability Office, was responsible for 73 percent of deadly terrorist attacks since Sept. 11 2001.

The administration wants Americans to believe the only threat that exists to our democratic way of life comes from Islamist-inspired terror. But the facts and history of our country disprove that utterly. This is a dangerous approach.

Earlierin June, a white nationalist allegedly killed two men who stepped in to defend a woman in a train near Portland being subjected to Islamophobic abuse.

In a statement to Mother Jones, the DHL denied it was cutting funding for Life After Hate because of its opposition to the far-right.

DHS used its discretion…when reviewing each applicant said DHS spokeswoman Lucy Martinez, considering different factors in awarding the grants.

The program has not been altered to focus on any one type of violent extremism, she added.

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June 24, 2017   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

Hate groups: Critics question SPLC’s list, fundraising …

The hate group meets in a beige strip mall. Its pastor sports an Abe Lincoln beard. The congregation sits in chairs instead of pews. Sometimes they have potlucks after Sunday services. Scenes from Americas early days rifle-bearing pilgrims walking to church through the snow, the first prayer of the Continental Congress decorate the walls, clues to the churchs stance on the Second Amendment and the role of religion in government. Pastor Warren Mark Campbell is not shy about sharing his beliefs: For example, he says gays who flaunt their sexuality should be prosecuted. This is Lordship Church. Regional human rights watchdogs seem unaware that it exists. But the Southern Poverty Law Center has named it one of 12 hate groups in Idaho under the category general hate alongside infamous, sometimes violent organizations like the KKK and neo-Nazis. Founded to fight racism and poverty, the SPLC helped bring about Idahos biggest human rights victory: the court ruling nearly 20 years ago that bankrupted the Aryan Nations. But it has also aroused mistrust over how it compiles the Hate Map, a unique online guide to the locations and ideologies of 954 U.S. groups. The center, a nonprofit based in Montgomery, Alabama, has grown rich. It has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from donations solicited online and by mail. The bulk of that money sits in reserve accounts, some of it parked in places like the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, according to the most recent federal tax records available. Co-founder Morris Dees and President Richard Cohen draw salaries of more than $350,000, according to those records, last updated in 2015. At least nine executives earn more than $140,000 a year. The SPLCs opulence has drawn criticism for decades. Outsiders and former employees say the practice of putting violent and nonviolent groups on the same list allows Dees and his cohorts to exaggerate the number, power and threat of hate groups. The goal, they say, is to scare donors, especially uninformed liberals, into parting with their money. Basically, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a fraudulent operation, said Stephen Bright, a Yale University law professor and former director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which focuses on the death penalty, mass incarceration and other issues. The mailings they send out make it seem like, We need your help. And they have all these celebrities who sign off. Oh man, its sad. Because those people are being duped. And the centers targets accuse the organization of waging war against conservative, politically active Christians. The SPLC uses hate as a wedge to marginalize us as Christians, Campbell said. Thats nonsense, said Heidi Beirich, director of the centers Intelligence Project, which monitors extremism and hate activity across the country. The range of conservative thought is pretty broad in the United States, Beirich said. If we were to list groups on that basis, which these folks always allege, imagine the number of churches. We would list thousands and thousands and thousands of groups. Supporters point to the SPLCs accomplishments, such as desegregating the Alabama State Police, forcing the city of Montgomery to pave roads in black neighborhoods, and securing health protections for cotton mill workers. Dees and the SPLC should be feared, they say, but not by honest, tolerant people. Ive seen Nazis, and you mention Morris Dees, and they start shaking like a leaf, said Norm Gissel, a Coeur dAlene attorney who worked alongside Dees in a 1999 case that bankrupted the Aryan Nations. A, because he is Satans child, and B, because they fear him so much. They just start shaking. Gissel called Dees very nearly the smartest person Ive ever met and impeccably honest. He wouldnt call all of the organizations on the SPLCs list hate groups, though. My criteria would be, if theyre not committing a crime, well meet in the marketplace of public policy and have dialogue, he said. Im very Jeffersonian. I believe that my principles freedom, equality, fairness and the rule of law ultimately are going to prevail over any religious set of views that set one group of people over another. Idaho Statesman efforts to contact Dees were unsuccessful. Many states have more groups on the Hate Map than Idahos 12. Just in the West, Washington has 26. California has 75. But in February, financial news blog 24/7 Wall Street examined our population and declared this the state with the most hate groups per capita. Last year, the blog had Idaho at No. 2. News media regularly share the maps contents without question. It drew major attention last August, shortly after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia left one dead. It categorizes hate groups by ideologies ranging from neo-Nazi to Black Nationalist. (The latter is this years leading category, with 233 total organizations listed.) The SPLC says it lists groups that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. These groups vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines. Researchers compile information from groups own publications and websites, as well as news reports and law enforcement reports, to determine whether they belong on the Hate Map, Beirich said. If theres any question as to whether an organization should be considered a hate group, Beirich said, she reviews the information herself and might talk to other leaders, such as Cohen. Its unclear if the center contacts the leaders of hate groups as part of this process. Campbell said he never heard from them. The process is not foolproof. In February, Politico documented an Illinois towns efforts to get off the list after local officials couldnt verify the SPLCs claims. After months of futile appeals, Politico wrote, the town was removed. Story continues below How we did this storyThis story comes out of Idaho’s history with hate groups. It’s a history that isn’t yet behind us, and one we continue to confront.Like most news outlets across the country, the Statesman last summer reported on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, N.C.Some parts of the map – a guide to the locations and ideologies of 954 U.S. groups – raised questions. How, for example, did a group that sought a public vote to end refugee resettlement in Twin Falls County end up on equal footing with the KKK? Why was an unknown Coeur d’Alene church on the list? We set out to learn more.Of all the Idaho groups on the list, Lordship Church was the most interested in speaking with us. A reporter and photographer/videographer traveled to north Idaho in March to visit that and another church in person. They also spoke with a lawyer who with the SPLC, helped boot the Aryan Nations from their Hayden Lake compound nearly 20 years ago. And they talked to others in the community about how hate issues have changed in the years since that successful lawsuit.We spoke to a top SPLC official about how it identifies hate groups, and read the organization’s public research on certain groups in the Northwest.And we pored over a mid-1990s series on the SPLC by the Montgomery Advertiser, the organization’s hometown newspaper, that examined its evolution, motivations and fundraising. We studied reports published as recently as this February by Politico and others.What we learned is published here. For all the SPLC’s successes, it is still dogged by questions about its motivation for mixing small, nonviolent groups with more serious threats on the annual Hate Map. Some of those groups are completely unknown, while others seek out attention. But with the Aryan Nations in fragments, Idahoans are more likely to have to confront hate speech rather than violence these days – and there’s no outside consensus on a better way to track it. According to the SPLC, most of Idahos hate groups proclaim racist or anti-Semitic views. Lordship Church is different. Campbell took over the church from his son after moving to Athol in 2015. Before that, he shepherded the Church at Kaweah near Visalia, California, which his father founded in the 1960s. In 2012, the SPLC published a blog post accusing the California-based church of ramping up paramilitary activities and forging alliances with racist groups, patrolling the banks of the Kaweah River and conducting joint exercises with Minuteman groups along the Mexican border. Campbell said the groups claims were inaccurate. Yes, he and several Kaweah church members operated like a militia, conducting firearms training at a shooting range on church property. But they never patrolled the banks of the Kaweah River, he said. And Campbell said he went on his own to the Mexican border to watch for people entering the United States illegally, but it was not a joint exercise with Minuteman groups. Its difficult to confirm how the SPLCs Minuteman claim originated; several other online mentions of it refer back to the organizations post. Lordship Church Pastor Warren Mark Campbell’s belief that people should be prosecuted for displays of homosexuality alarmed the Southern Poverty Law Center. If youre advocating for criminal penalties, criminalization for gay people, youre going to get on our list, said Heidi Beirich, head of the centers Intelligence Project. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com Now, Campbell said, its absurd to call his church a hate group. He points out that its members include ethnic minorities. He objects to Islam, but not to Muslims ethnicity. He does not believe in using violence against anyone who disagrees with his creed. I believe that Christianity wins in the marketplace of ideas, Campbell said. We have Gods word. Lets take it out. Lets talk. Lets engage people. His congregation does not include anyone whos openly gay. I would not baptize a Sodomite, he said. I would call them to repentance. And, he told the Statesman, he believes anyone displaying overtly gay behavior should face criminal charges. Thats over the line, Beirich said. If youre advocating for criminal penalties, criminalization for gay people, youre going to get on our list, she said. We think that its particularly hateful if youre going to go down the road of throwing people in jail for private sexual behavior. In fact, thats a lot worse than saying gay people are diseased. You want to put them in handcuffs. One of the churchs minority members, Puerto Rico native Ed Reillo, objected to his church being lumped in with all these crazy right-wing extremists. All that we have experienced here is love from this congregation, Reillo said. I would like to know where (the SPLC is) getting all their facts… I havent seen any crazy guy running around with a pointy hat. Dees, now 81, grew up on a cotton farm about 25 miles east of Montgomery. He always had a knack for getting money, from selling pigs as a youngster to fundraising for presidential candidates. Morris Dees Amanda Edwards Getty Images for Discovery Communications He earned a law degree in 1960 from the University of Alabama and ran a successful business selling cookbooks, tractor cushions and other products, according to his autobiography and news reports. He sold the business in 1969 for $6 million about $40 million in todays money. Dees and fellow lawyer Joseph Levin founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971. The centers attorneys, often led by Dees himself, won several landmark civil rights cases. They successfully argued for better representation of blacks in the Alabama Legislature and helped force the Montgomery Police Department to open all of its jobs to female candidates. There were hiccups. Lawsuits between Dees and another attorney, Millard Farmer, drew public attention amid a dispute over a project aimed at keeping people off death row. The center helped start the Team Defense project in 1976 but backed out the following year. They quit funding us, Farmer told the Statesman. They called me to Atlanta, very politely, and everything and said, Listen were not making any money with this project. … I said, What do you mean were not making any money? How do you think were going to make money? And they said, Oh yeah, we make money on our projects. Dees claimed Farmer spread the funds among more cases than the pair had agreed to and wanted a better accounting of the money, according to an Associated Press report from 1977. Death row and civil rights cases put the SPLC on the map. The next decade, the Ku Klux Klan made Dees a star. In 1981, two KKK members in Alabama grabbed Michael Donald, a young black man. They beat him with a tree branch, cut his throat and hung his body from a tree on a residential street in Mobile. The murderers, Henry Hays and Tiger Knowles, were convicted. With the SPLC representing her, Beulah Mae Donald, Michaels mother, sued the United Klans of America in 1984. She won a $7 million judgment against the Klan and several individual members in February 1987. She collected less than $52,000 because the Klan declared bankruptcy. But the SPLC, which featured the case on fundraising mailers for years, saw a windfall. Between 1985 and 1989, its reserve accounts grew from $12.2 million to $30.6 million, according to numbers the center provided the Statesman. Bright, the Yale professor, said his colleagues at the center were frustrated by what they saw as a misguided obsession with the KKK. Thats what you could convince northern liberals, and Jewish people particularly, of that the Ku Klux Klan was still a force to be reckoned with, he said. When, in fact, it wasnt, and there were other kinds of basic things like roads not being paved in the black community and other kinds of discrimination against African Americans. But Dees had no interest whatsoever in pursuing because it didnt have any fundraising potential. The SPLC formed Klanwatch in 1979 to track the KKK. In 1990, that effort expanded to include other hate groups, eventually growing into the Hate Map. The centers coffers have also grown. It claimed more than $432 million in its endowment funds net assets on Oct. 31. 2017, according to its annual financial statement. Donald Trump and the fear of extremism his presidency has stoked has been good for fundraising. The SPLC received $44.2 million from donors in 2015 and $49.1 million in 2016, according to figures obtained by the Statesman. Last year, it raised $129.7 million. Income from the endowments investments generate tens of millions of dollars every year to sustain the SPLCs litigation and other programming. Morris had always said, Well, when we get to $50 (million), were going to stop. When we get to $100 (million), were going to stop. But of course, they just breezed right past those, Bright said. The center no longer has a finite goal for its endowment, according to an email from the organization. Hate and extremism, poverty, and discrimination, unfortunately, are long-term problems, and our goal is to help as many people as possible, for however long it takes, according to the email. Our donors share the same goal. Farmer, Bright and other critics say the SPLC uses todays rhetoric and publications, including the Hate Map, the same way it used the Donald case in the 1980s: to hype the powers of relatively toothless groups and attract well-intentioned donors cash. I reject that criticism completely, said Beirich, director of the SPLCs Intelligence Project. If we wanted to hype the threat, why would we report many times that the numbers (of hate groups) have gone down? It just doesnt make any sense on that front. This is our accurate read of the problem faced in this country. A few miles west of Coeur dAlene, between the Idaho border and Spokane, Washington, Pastor Shahram Hadian gathers the Truth in Love Christian Fellowship congregation in a small, nondescript event center that mightve hosted a wedding reception just a few hours earlier. Energetic and demonstrative, Hadian talks a mile a minute as he sets up the churchs props: American and Israeli flags, the Ten Commandments and a big-screen image of Truth in Loves sword-heart-Bible symbol. Hadian himself is caught between two swords. In America, the SPLC has named his ministry a hate group. In his birth country of Iran, he said, hes an apostate a traitor to Islam and could be marked for death if he ever returned. Hadians family fled Iran at about the time the SPLC was starting Klanwatch. His father served in the Shahs military until December 1978 three months before the Shah was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution. Hadian said his father could see what was coming. Though the family was Muslim, they were not devout, and his father didnt want to live under the Islamic theocracy the revolution promised. He just came home one day and said, Weve got to pack our bags. Were leaving, Hadian said. And literally we caught the next flight out. Hadian was 8 years old when his family arrived in the U.S. He became a Christian in 1999 and a pastor in 2002. He also entered politics, running for governor of Washington in 2012. In 2015, he lectured Idaho lawmakers on his belief that Islamic law could soon apply to Americas courts, contributing to fears that killed a bill on collecting child support and forced lawmakers to hold a special session to fix the problem. He founded Truth in Love in 2010, moving it to Spokane Valley in 2014. Last year, the church appeared on the Hate Map, labeled as anti-Muslim. Hadian speaks with conviction about the America he sees: a country and culture under attack from an alien ideology that seeks to overthrow Christianity and undermine the foundations of this nation. He predicts that Islams leaders, left unchecked, will exert Sharia law in the U.S., no matter what the Constitution says. Christians who try to be inclusive of Islam are simply enabling that treachery, he said. Absolutely, Islam is a false religion, Hadian said. And its not just a religion. Thats the other part of this equation that we are having a hard time embracing here in the West. … It is a political, totalitarian ideology. But like Campbell, Hadian says hes not anti-Muslim. If somebody whos supporting our ministry ends up putting something online about hate or wanting to go harm anybody, Ill be the first one to denounce them, he said. We must love individual Muslims and seek to share the truth with them. I want to see them … rescued out of an ideology that is destructive. Hadian believes the SPLC shares the motivation of Islamic leaders or has at least become their pawn. Due in part to being identified as a hate group, he said, his church has a team of members who greet the congregation and double as an armed security force. They have to pass background checks and obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, he said. Beirich called Campbells and Hadians anti-Islam, pro-Muslim stance a distinction without a difference. An SPLC post last year on Hadians ministry included criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose executive director in Seattle said Hadians inflammatory speech leads to kids being bullied in schools, adults being taunted at work, vandalism of property and hate crimes. Hadian said the quote borders on libel because he knows of no evidence that hes ever directly incited attacks. The landscape that Campbell and Hadian inhabit has changed since the Aryan Nations collapsed. Retired Lockheed aircraft engineer Richard Butler formed the group in 1977 in Hayden Lake. He admired Adolf Hitler and preached about creating a homeland for whites. His followers became known for vandalism, harassing families and children, and for setting off a bomb in 1984 at Congregation-Ahavath Israel Synagogue in Boise. In July 1998, Victoria Keenans Datsun Honey Bee backfired on Rimrock Road outside the groups 20-acre compound north of Hayden Lake. Guards at the compound, reportedly drunk, thought the noise was a gunshot. They piled into a pickup and chased Keenan and her son, Jason, for more than a mile firing at her, running her off the road, beating her and threatening her before fleeing when another car approached. Keenan told her story to local attorney Gissel, whod already become alarmed at the Aryan Nations increasingly sinister activities. Gissel turned to Dees, who brought star power and deep pockets to bear against the Nazi-sympathizing Aryans. In September 2000, the Keenans won a $6.3 million judgment, bankrupting the Aryan Nations and forcing the group to turn its compound over to the plaintiffs. Echoing Beulah Mae Donald, the Keenans sold the property to Idaho philanthropist Greg Carr, who destroyed all of the buildings and donated the land to North Idaho College. It lies undeveloped to this day. I dont doubt that theres still people around that have some of those beliefs, but theyre without any kind of organization, said Jared Reneau, a detective for the Coeur dAlene Police Department. They dont meet and get together, at least that we know about. And Im not saying that we dont have any problems, but we dont see the same problems that we did 10 years ago. Reneau said hed never heard of Lordship Church. Today, neo-Nazis and the related Patriot Front groups are the most common hate ideologies in the Northwest, said Dave Neiwert, an SPLC correspondent and author of the book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump. The Patriots arent nearly as virulent and problematic as the neo-Nazis are, although the huge numbers that we see in the Patriot movement in the interior Northwest are very much a problem, Neiwert said. Statesman efforts to contact several other organizations listed as hate groups in Idaho and western Montana were unsuccessful. Beirich said she doesnt know of any violent behavior on the part of either Truth in Love or Lordship Church. That doesnt mean theyre not dangerous, though, she said in comments that recall how Butler inspired his supporters to action. People are often critical of us and say, You shouldnt put nonviolent groups on the list, she said. The problem for us is the ideology of the nonviolent groups often ends up justifying violence, right? If (white nationalist magazine) American Renaissance tells you black people are psychopathic killers, even though no one in that group has committed violence, we know Dylann Roof read American Renaissance and went and killed people. Here are the 12 groups currently listed on the Hate Map, their location and how the SPLC categorized each. Endangered Souls RC/Crew 519: Statewide, neo-Nazi Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan: Statewide, KKK Crew 38: Statewide, racist skinhead True Cascadia: Statewide, white nationalist Northwest Hammerskins: Statewide, racist skinhead Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center: Buhl, anti-Muslim

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June 5, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

Chat Site for Gamers Got Overrun by the Alt-Right. Now It …

Discord wanted to create a chat platform for gamers. Instead its attracted a community of white supremacists. Discord is a free voice and text app with invite-only chat rooms, but those private servers quickly found a new fanbase with hate groups, who wanted to discuss plans in secret. After white supremacist groups were revealed to have used Discord to plan the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, Discord started banning those groups en masse. But purging hate from the private chat rooms is no easy task. In early April, the media collective Unicorn Riot leaked more than a year of Discord logs leaked from the now-defunct neo-Nazi group The Traditionalist Worker Party. The leaked logs showed the TWPs dramatic implosion after an affair and alleged assault among the partys leaders in March. The chat logs also show a splinter group of former TWP members starting their own Discord chat room to discuss launching a new white supremacist group. The chat logs were the latest in a series of leaked messages from neo-Nazi Discord chat rooms, called servers. But those servers shouldnt have been online at all. After the Unite the Right rally, Discord shut down chat rooms associated with the rally and announced action against white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate. The public declaration put Discord ahead of larger social media platforms like Twitter, where white supremacist Richard Spencer was verified as recently as November. (He remains on Twitter, albeit without his verified status.) Discord told The Daily Beast it has also begun working with the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat hate groups on the platform, although it did not specify the details of the arrangement. Although some far-right extremists continue to return to the platform, Discords decision to ban the most well-known communities has deprived them of a place to openly organize, plan, and promote their poisonous ideologies, Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Centers Intelligence Project, said in a statement. Discords pledge to continue to combat extremist organizing on their platform is critical. This fight is not going to end tomorrow. Other tech companies who struggle with these same issues should know its always the right policy decision to reject organized hatred. But unlike Facebook and Twitter, Discords semi-private nature lets more hate speech go undetected. Discord told The Daily Beast it does not read users messages, and relies on users to report behavior that violates the apps terms of service. This fight is not going to end tomorrow. Other tech companies who struggle with these same issues should know its always the right policy decision to reject organized hatred. Heidi Beirich, SPLC Discord has a Terms of Service (ToS) and Community Guidelines that we ask all of our communities and users to adhere to, a spokesperson said. These specifically prohibit harassment, threatening messages, calls to violence or any illegal activity. Though we do not read peoples private messages, we do investigate and take immediate action against any reported ToS violation by a server or user. We will continue to be aggressive to ensure that Discord exists for the community we set out to supportgamers. The reliance on users to report abuse appears to have led some neo-Nazis to think of the platform as a safe space. I think the alt-right has relied on Discord as a means of communication across distances, with the expectation that whats happening, or what they can talk about is secure, Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative reporter with the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Daily Beast. Even after alt-right Discord logs leaked last August, revealing how neo-Nazis planned the Unite the Right rally, some groups still believed their messages were safe on the chat app. Get The Beast In Your Inbox! Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast. A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don’t). Subscribe Thank You! You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason. Dont let reporters know what platform we communicate on, Zaine Deal, a former TWP member wrote on Discord on Christmas Day, 2017. Other extremist groups also lingered on the platform. In February, ProPublica reported on a Discord server for the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group that has been implicated in four murders in recent months. The ProPublica report revealed Atomwaffen members celebrating the most recent murder, that of Jewish teenager Blaze Bernstein. Shortly after the report, Discord banned Atomwaffen and other white supremacist groups, including the Nordic Resistance Movement, Iron March, and European Domas. But keeping the groups off Discord is another matter. The Daily Beast observed one 4chan-affiliated Discord group shuffle across at least three Discord servers, always posting a link to a backup chat room in case their primary room was banned. I think time and time again, especially in the aftermath of Charlottesville, weve seen that Discord is not as secure as the alt-right thought it would be, Lenz said, and that many of their unsavory ideas or true intentions have been laid bare by leaks and otherwise communications on the platform.

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May 15, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

Less Than a Year After Charlottesville, the Alt-Right Is …

Some have turned federal informant. Others are facing prison time. More are named in looming lawsuits. All of them are fighting. Last summer, the American alt-right was presenting itself as a threatening, unified front, gaining national attention with a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The collection of far-right and white nationalist groups proclaimed victory after President Donald Trump hesitated to directly condemn them and instead blamed both sides and the alt left for the violence. But less than a year after Charlottesville, the alt-right is splintering in dramatic fashion as its leaders turn on each other or quit altogether. Matthew Heimbachs arrest in a March trailer park brawl with members of his neo-Nazi groupsome of whom he was allegedly screwingfelt like a too-obvious metaphor. Heimbach was the head of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a youth-focused white supremacist group that floated to the front of media coverage and hate rallies in the run-up to Donald Trumps election. But by March, Heimbach and the TWP had spent the previous months embroiled in a series of online spats with other alt-right factions. On March 14, police in his Indiana hometown arrested Heimbach after he allegedly assaulted TWP spokesperson Matthew Parrott during a fight over their wives, both of whom Heimbach was allegedly sleeping with. Heimbachs wife is Parrotts stepdaughter. The high-profile bust was an accelerant in what had been a slow-burning feud among the alt-right. Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Centers Intelligence Project, said the schism started after Unite the Right, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. The rally turned deadly after a man affiliated with a white supremacist group plowed a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring more. Matthew Heimbachs arrest in a March trailer park brawl with members of his neo-Nazi groupsome of whom he was allegedly screwingfelt like a too-obvious metaphor. I think the splintering started there, but I have to say what happened in the last couple weeks has been at a much higher level, Beirich told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. Threats from the far-right are by no means over. The SPLC recently released a map documenting 954 hate groups in the U.S., a rise in 20 percent since 2014. In a January report, the Anti-Defamation League found that white supremacists had killed 18 people in 2017. But the alt-right has had a bad month. In recent weeks, as Beirich described, prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer has dropped a lawsuit against Kent State University and canceled his speaking tour, after anti-fascist protesters opposed him at every stop. Antifa is winning, Spencer conceded in a video. Days earlier, Kyle Bristow, an alt-right lawyer who has represented Spencer, announced he was quitting the movement after the Detroit Free Press wrote an article critical of him. Heimbach was arrested days after Spencer canceled his tour. The implosion of the Traditionalist Worker Party, its not exactly as though that was planned in some way, but its a spectacular implosion of a key player in this universe, Beirich said of the alt-rights terrible two weeks. Even the TWPs diehards say its prospects are bleak. There is no way for us to continue on with the TWP branding after what happened, Tony Hovater, a TWP leader, wrote on Gab, a social media platform popular among the alt-right. In November, Hovater was the subject of an arguably sympathetic New York Times profile. Now he was on Gab discussing his plans to start a new organization after Heimbachs arrest, which was without a doubt a shameful incident, he wrote. (Journalist Elizabeth King noted on Twitter that the TWP may have rebranded or splintered into something called the Nationalist Initiative.) Get The Beast In Your Inbox! Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast. A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don’t). Subscribe Thank You! You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason. I have no comment, Parrott, the former TWP spokesperson whose wife allegedly slept with Heimbach, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. I am no longer involved in the movement, and I have no stake in all the stupid shit going on in it. Hes not the only one headed to the exits over infighting. I am no longer involved in the movement, and I have no stake in all the stupid shit going on in it. Earlier in Marchafter Bristow quit the movement, but before Spencer canceled his college tourHeimbach and the TWP acted as a security force for Spencer outside a speech to a handful of people at Michigan State University. They scrapped with counterprotesters, resulting in at least a dozen arrestsincluding that of Greg Conte, director of operations for an alt-right group, HuffPost reported. The physical brawl turned into a Twitter feud between Spencer and Patrick Casey, the executive director of white supremacist group Identity Evropa. Identity Evropa participated in the violent clashes at Charlottesville. But after the deadly rally, and two leadership changes (leader Nathan Damigo quit after Charlottesville, and his successor Eli Mosely quit to join a Spencer-affiliated group before it was revealed that Mosely lied about serving in the Iraq War) Identity Evropa promoted Casey to its head and attempted to rebrand itself as clean-cut. On Twitter, two days after the TWP got in a brawl while acting as Spencers security force, Identity Evropa claimed to be explicitly non-violent and peacefully effecting cultural change. In a press-friendly, but largely meaningless semantic ploy, the group denied being a white supremacist organization. Spencer interpreted the tweet as an attack. In a tweet of his own, Spencer said he was baffled and shocked at the behavior of Casey, and accused him of expelling Identity Evropa members who had supported Spencer during the brawl outside Michigan State University. The spat was the latest over the alt-rights optics, a divisive subject among the movement. The Unite the Right rally was so toxic for the alt-rights image that some members started arguing that in-person protests were bad publicity for the cause. Currently the biggest divide is between people who believe in online activism versus real-world activism. Beirich said. After Charlottesville, Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin, for example, posted things criticizing in-real-life protests When PayPal and Facebook started banning accounts, he was pointing out that these arent good things for us, taking to the streets isnt necessarily positive, the optics were bad. I think theres also a lot of, maybe professional is the wrong word, but professional jealousies here. Anglin is currently on the run and claims to be in Cambodia while he attempts to avoid a lawsuit by a Jewish woman whose address and phone number he posted online after she argued with Spencers mother. Anglin encouraged readers on his neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer to call the woman and visit her home, unleashing a campaign of harassment against her. An opposing alt-right movement accuses people like Anglin of optics-cucking, a reference to a porn genre in which a man watches another man have sex with his wife. (The term was in vogue with the alt-right long before Parrott stood on a box outside a trailer to watch Heimbach have sex with Parrotts wife, according to a police report in the incident.) The anti-optics crowd accuses the pro-optics faction of trying to splinter the movement. Among the optics-skeptical is Chris Cantwell, a white supremacist who featured prominently in a Vice documentary on the Unite the Right rally, and who later became a meme when he cried on camera. Since Charlottesville, Cantwell has produced a podcast, which ran on The Daily Stormer until Anglin allegedly removed it without telling Cantwell earlier this month. As far as I can tell, thats whats going on and theyre just throwing barbs back and forth over it, Beirich said. I think theres also a lot of, maybe professional is the wrong word, but professional jealousies here. Cantwells blog or podcast gets more popular, that pisses off other members of the alt-right who want to be center-stage. On Gab, Cantwell alleged a conspiracy. I found out that new content was not being syndicated to [The Daily Stormer] when somebody asked about it in my Gab mentions. So I cant say with any certainty what the motivation was, Cantwell wrote last week. He suggested that the removal of his show and the flood of negative news about the TWP, in which he is not involved, was part of an effort to discredit the alt-right. I smell subversion, he wrote. Hovater, the remaining TWP leader who called Heimbachs arrest shameful, shared the post. Cantwells attack on The Daily Stormer soon landed him in trouble with other members of the alt-right, when one of the blogs contributors revealed that Cantwell was an FBI informant. Andrew Auernheimer, a Daily Stormer contributor and hacker best known by his screen name Weev, posted screenshots of a conversation with Cantwell, in which Cantwell admitted to reporting members of Philadelphia ARA (anti-racist action groups) to authorities. I talked to cops too. gonna talk to the feds soon most likely, Cantwell told Weev in the undated conversation, which references Cantwells pending felony case for alleged illegal use of tear gas at the Charlottesville rally. Im going after Philly ARA. Not throwing our people under the bus. We werent the bad guys last August, and Charlottesville is ignoring that fact. The feds want to bust Antifa and Im keen to help them. Weev replied that if you hadnt talked to cops and media in the first place and had gotten scarce you wouldnt be facing 40 years in prison. After Weev posted the screenshots, Cantwell confirmed their authenticity in a blog post of his own titled I Am A Federal Informant, in which he attacked Weev as a Jew in a foreign country in reference to rumors that the neo-Nazi blogger is actually of Jewish ancestry. Cantwell also confirmed that his attorney had spoken with the FBI. The admission set off a fresh volley of criticism from alt-righters who are opposed to communicating with law enforcement. Cantwells attack on The Daily Stormer soon landed him in trouble with other members of the alt-right, when one of the blogs contributors revealed that Cantwell was an FBI informant. Cantwell has good reason to try to deflect blame onto anti-fascist protesters. In addition to his pending criminal charges, he is named in two civil lawsuits against Unite the Right rioters. (He is only a defendant in one of the cases.) Between them, the lawsuits also name Spencer, the TWP, Identity Evropa, and the League of the South, the latter of which signed an agreement Monday not to host any future armed protests in Charlottesville. Beirich said the two lawsuits will probably drive some other people to abandon the movement. They just dont want to get caught up in the legal fees. In her extensive time tracking the far-right, Beirich has seen other similar movements grow and implode. She drew a parallel between the alt-right and the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group that, until the early 2000s, was the biggest neo-Nazi group in America. It was the main player. But when the National Alliances leader William Pierce died in 2002, the group turned on itself. Within a very short period of time, the whole group was essentially decimated. One year after Pierce was dead, that group was done and had splintered into a whole bunch of factions, Beirich said. That was the case where a leader died, and I imagine Heimbachs downfall is almost a death to the Traditionalist Worker Party. Under the pressure of lawsuits, jail time, scandal, and shame, she imagines some current alt-righters will simply slink away, if they havent already. Im sure were going to lose some people and were going to have some fighting over the crumbs that are left.

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May 1, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

Neo-Nazi Groups Explode Under Trump, Southern Poverty Law …

Neo-Nazi organizations saw the greatest growth among hate groups last year, according to a new report by Southern Poverty Law Center released Wednesday. There were 954 active hate groups in the United States in 2017, SPLC found, the greatest total since 2011s record-breaking year. About half of the groups are white supremacist groups, including Neo-Nazis, Neo-Confederates, white nationalists, skinheads, and Christian Identitarians. Almost one-quarter of 900 hate groups are black nationalists, and 114 groups are anti-Muslim. Other groups with specific hatred for the LGBTQ community, the government, and women have risen, albeit in smaller numbers. Within the white supremacist movement, Neo-Nazi groups saw the greatest growthsoaring by 22 percent from 99 to 121, since 2016, according to the SPLC report. The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of hate in America, SPLC said, because a growing number of extremists, particularly those who identify with the alt-right, operate mainly online and may not be formally affiliated with a hate group. The report comes after a year of notorious violence by the so-called alt-right. In August 2017, white supremacists gathered for a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to the deaths of Heather Heyer and two local law enforcement officials. In January 2018, a California man who allegedly murdered his gay, Jewish high school classmate trained with Florida-based Neo-Nazi group Attomwaffen, ProPublica reported. In December 2017, a man who frequented alt-right forums and websites like The Daily Stormer killed three people including himself at a New Mexico school, The Daily Beast previously reported. Since 2014, 43 people have been killed and 67 people have been injured by men associated with the alt-right or white supremacists, SPLC reported earlier this month. Dylann Roof, the man who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston nearly three years ago, regularly commented on The Daily Stormer and admitted to planning the race-based attack. “I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country, Roof wrote in a note used in his prosecution. Neo-Nazi groups saw the greatest growthsoaring by 22 percent from 99 to 121. Southern Poverty Law Center SPLC also counted the murders of Elliot Rodger, the California man who killed seven people, including himself, as one of the first massacres killings carried out by the alt-right before the movement went mainstream. Nikolas Cruz, the alleged Florida school shooter who killed 17 people on Valentines Day, commented Elliot rodger will not be forgotten on a YouTube video last year. Law enforcement said it is investigating whether Cruz was affiliated with a white supremacist group in Florida that initially claimed he was a member. In a first for the organization, SPLC added two male supremacy groups to its annual report on extremism: Texas-based A Voice for Men and Washington, D.C.-based Return of Kings. The vilification of women by these groups makes them no different than other groups that demean entire populations, such as the LGBT community, Muslims or Jews, based on their inherent characteristics, SPLC said in a statement. Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said that the organization compares male supremacy groups’ methodsusing slurs and saying women are destroying mento white supremacist groups like the New Century Foundation, which publishes a magazine that focuses on the demonization of black people. President Donald Trump blamed many sides for alt-right violence in Charlottesville, and the SPLC report says Trumps presidency has emboldened white supremacists. They believed they finally had a sympathizer in the White House and an administration that would enact policies to match their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and racist ideas, the report stated. The only hate group that decreased its chapters in 2017 was the Ku Klux Klan, the oldest hate group in the country. Its clear that the new generation of white supremacists is rejecting the hooded movement that was founded after the Civil War, the authors of the SPLC report wrote.

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April 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

Heidi Beirich, Author at CrimeFeed

Heidi Beirich leads the SPLCs Intelligence Project, one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world, according to theNational Review. She is an expert on various forms of extremism, including the white supremacist, nativist and neo-Confederate movements as well as racism in academia. She oversees the SPLCs authoritative, yearly count of the nations hate and hard-line, anti-government groups and is a frequent contributor to the SPLCs investigative reports and speaker at conferences on extremism. Prior to joining the SPLC staff in 1999, Heidi earned a doctorate in political science from Purdue University. She is the co-editor and author of several chapters ofNeo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, published by the University of Texas Press in 2008. Please provide a Twitter Username. The past year has been filled with a series of frightening, and possibly portentous, violent attacks from Americas radical []

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March 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

Trump’s long dalliance with violent rhetoric – POLITICO

Beyond his own incendiary comments, he’s done little to mute loose talk of killing Clinton and Obama. By MICHAEL CROWLEY 08/10/2016 02:19 PM EDT In May, the Secret Service investigated Donald Trumps butler over a Facebook post saying that President Barack Obama should be shot as an enemy agent. Secret Service agents also interviewed a Trump campaign adviser last month, after he said that Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason. Story Continued Below In December, Trump himself appeared on the radio show of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has warned that the federal government might round up gun owners like Jews in Nazi Germany. And refrains of hang the bitch and kill the bitch have grown increasingly common at Trump rallies. Even before Trumps Tuesday remark that Second Amendment people might stop Hillary Clintons Supreme Court appointments, his associates and supporters had repeatedly called for violence against Clinton and Obama, while right-wing leaders and militia groups that support Trump speak of an armed response to federal gun control efforts. Trumps campaign said his Tuesday remark was merely a call for gun owners to unite against Clinton this fall. But outraged Democrats said Trump had, at a minimum, made a horribly ill-advised joke about mounting armed resistance to Clinton. Some analysts said that, whatever Trumps intended meaning, the comment was dangerous in a campaign already colored by violence, from assaults on protesters at Trump rallies to talk of rebellion and civil war among far-right Trump supporters. There is no question that theres more violent and hateful speech in this campaign than in past presidential contests, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks domestic extremism and hate speech. Militia groups and others filled with rage against the government and Democrats like Clinton and Obama are emboldened by this campaign and its rhetoric. Beirich and others blame Trump for legitimizing talk of violence throughout the campaign, including his jokes about punching and roughing up protesters, his defense of torturing terrorist suspects and even his infamous crack complete with a pantomimed gunshot that he could shoot somebody in midtown Manhattan and not lose any political support. Trump supporters say he cant be held responsible for every incendiary comment made by someone he knows or who supports him, and note that Trump himself has been the target of online death threats, some of which the Secret Service has investigated. Certain members of the media and various organizations seem to expect Mr. Trump to instantly track down and condemn every irresponsible comment posted anywhere on social media by anyone claiming to be a supporter, Jason D. Greenblatt, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization wrote in a letter to The Washington Post in May. Trump, he added, is not responsible for other peoples irresponsible invective. But Democrats say thats not good enough. The truth is he is responsible, because he could stand there and say, Stop it, and tell them no. But he doesnt, says Robert Shrum, a Democratic strategist who has run several presidential campaigns. For instance, Trump only mildly rebuked Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative and informal campaign adviser, after he said on a radio show last month that Clinton should be shot for treason related to the lethal September 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Baldasaro advises Trump on veterans issues and has appeared next to Trump at campaign rallies. After Baldasaros statement circulated nationally, Trumps spokesman Hope Hicks said only that the Trump campaign was incredibly grateful for his support, but we dont agree with his comments. Trump did not sever ties with Baldasaro, whom he called out by name at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday. Al has been so great, Trump said. Wheres Al? Wheres my vet? By contrast, when Hillary Clintons 2007 New Hampshire campaign co-chairman made a public reference to Barack Obamas use of marijuana and cocaine as a young man, he was forced to relinquish his campaign title, and Clinton personally apologized to Obama on an airport tarmac. Trump issued a stronger response in May after media reports revealed that a longtime butler at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida had posted several Facebook messages calling for Obamas execution. One April 2015 post by the 84-year-old Anthony Senecal said Obama should be hung for treason, while another in May of this year lamented that Obama had not been shot years ago. In that case, Hicks issued a statement noting that Senecal had not worked for Trump for years and that we totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the President. (According to news reporters, both Senecal and Baldasaro were investigated by the Secret Service, which routinely follows up on threats against presidents and presidential candidates.) Another Trump associate to call for Clintons death is his longtime political adviser Roger Stone, who tweeted in July 2014 that Clinton must be brought to justice arrested, tried, and executed for murder. (Stone was replying to another tweet which accused leftists of making common cause with jihadis.) Stone spent several years as a Trump confidant and helped to run his 2016 campaign before the men parted ways last fall over undefined strategic differences. Calls for violence against Clinton are not hard to detect at Trump events. At an event in Ashburn, Virginia, last week, a pre-teen boy in the press area shouted take the bitch down! with his nearby mothers approval. On Tuesday, a reporter at a Trump rally in North Carolina tweeted that someone had shouted, Kill her! Kill her! a refrain that has been heard at more than one Trump campaign events in recent weeks, along with calls for Clintons hanging. The proceedings at last months Republican National Convention did not threaten Clintons life, but did feature loud calls for her imprisonment for using a private email server while she was secretary of state. Chants of lock her up repeatedly emerged from the crowd on the convention floor on two different nights. We havent seen anything like this in American politics, said Shrum, who argued that the vitriol around the Trump campaign exceeds even the often-coded racial signals surrounding the 1968 campaigns of Richard Nixon and George Wallace. Those were dog whistles. Trumps a siren. Of particular concern to experts who track hate speech is the rise of violent rhetoric among anti-government militias and white supremacist groups with which Trump does not directly associate, but that generally root for him. Trumps comment about the Second Amendment people could resonate with militia groups that often speak of armed resistance to the government. In April, the popular anti-government group Oath Keepers published an essay on its website warning of outright civil war in the event that Clinton is elected. The level of hatred among conservatives for that woman is so stratospheric I cannot see any other outcome, wrote the author, Brandon Smith, a regular contributor to the site. In particular, right-wing leaders warn of a supposed federal plan to seize firearms on a mass scale that could lead to domestic conflict. Among them is Jones, the Texas-based host of the radio show and website Infowars. A promoter of 9/11 conspiracy theories with a large following, Jones often speaks of a liberal disarmament agenda. In January, he warned listeners that the government is coming for our guns to enslave us, including through the use of Nazi-style ghettos. Trump appeared as a guest on Jones show a few weeks before, on Dec. 2. During that appearance, Jones told the Trump that 90 percent of his listeners supported him. Your reputation is amazing, Trump said. I wont let you down. At times, Trump has seemingly condoned the use of violence in politics. During a December appearance on MSNBC, Trump was unfazed by allegations that Russian president Vladimir Putin had ordered the execution of journalists. I think our country does plenty of killing also, Trump replied, adding: Theres a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now. A lot of killing going on and a lot of stupidity and thats the way it is. Trump has called the 1989 Chinese government crackdown on student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square vicious and horrible, but said it shows you the power of strength. In January, he said of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who had recently executed a group of alleged traitors that included his own uncle: Youve got to give him credit this guy doesnt play games. There are few clear precedents for Trumps Tuesday comments about Second Amendment people. But his campaigns statement, which attacked a dishonest media, contrasted with past cases where politicians quickly apologized for remarks construed as intimations of violence. Rejecting calls that she drop out of the Democratic primary race in May 2008, Hillary Clinton cited the June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy to underscore the notion that it was not late in the race by historical standards. After observers thought Clinton seemed to be suggesting that Obama might also be shot, her campaign quickly issued a statement expressing regret if her comment was in any way offensive. And in November 1994, Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina said Bill Clinton was so unpopular on military bases in his state that he better watch out and have a bodyguard if he were to visit. Helms apologized the next day. Of course I didnt expect to be taken literally when, to emphasize the cost and concerns I am hearing, I far too casually suggested that the president might need a bodyguard, or words to that effect, the conservative North Carolinian said.I made a mistake …. which I shall not repeat. Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning in your inbox.

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December 28, 2017   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

‘Hate in America’ documentary debuts as white supremacy …

Amid one of the most racially-charged presidential campaigns in recent memory, Investigation Discovery is debuting a new documentary series looking at the Southern Poverty Law Centers efforts to fight violent hate crimes across the country. Hate in America, which debuts Feb. 29, digs into the case files of SPLC to look at racially and ethnically-motivated criminals and supremacist groups that not only remain active today, but according to new data, are growing in number in the wake of Barack Obamas election in 2008 as the first black president. The timing of the series couldnt be better as far as Heidi Beirich, the head ofSPLCs Intelligence Project, is concerned. Given the vitriol in the presidential campaign and Donald Trumps front-runner status, it reminds us that this kind of hate can be right in the mainstream, she told MSNBC on Thursday. White supremacists love Donald Trump and they are mobilizing politically. RELATED:Trumps weaknesses seen as strengths with GOP voters White supremacists have been uncharacteristically active in the 2016 GOP primaries. Although unaffiliated with Trumps campaign, hate groups have recorded robocalls on his behalf. Most recently, people in Ku Klux Klan costumes carrying pro-Trump signs were photographed at the Nevada GOP caucuses. Trump himself has twice retweeted an apparent white supremacist, and his campaign has yet to publicly disavow supporters who spout hateful rhetoric. Meanwhile, earlier in this election cycle, Trumps rivals Sens. Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paulrejected thousands of dollarsin campaign contributions fromEarl Holt III, the president ofCouncil of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group. Beirich believes that the failure of much of the mainstream Republican establishment to purge hatemongers in their midst speaks to the importance of the Hate in America series, but also the challenging climate for organizations like hers. Ten years ago, when GOPer George Allen had his infamous macaca gaffe, it derailed his campaign and national Republicans distanced themselves from him. But Beirich calls the relative silence of RNC chairman Reince Priebus and other party leaders on Trumps racially-charged language and policies unheard of in modern politics. There is a real constituency is this country this is not comfortable with changing demographics, she said, citing widely reported exit polling data out of South Carolina from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling which showed that an overwhelming majority of Trump voters (70 percent) still support the Confederate flag and a surprising number (31 percent) who allegedly dont disagree with the notion that white people represent a superior race. When the New York Times analyzed YouGov data, it determined that nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trumps voters disagreed with Abraham LincolnsEmancipation Proclamation, the executive order that freed Southern slaves during the Civil War. And on Thursday, KKK veteran and white nationalist David Dukeurged listeners of his radio program to vote for Trump.Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage, Duke said regarding the candidacies of Cruz and Rubio, who are both Cuban Americans. According to a new report from the SPLC, first published in the Washington Post, the number of hate groups rose by 14 percent last year and the number ofKKK chapters in America more than doubledfrom 2014 to 2015 to nearly 200. Some critics have taken issue with their methodology, as well as with the decision to count some Christian conservative organizations likethe Family Research Council as hate groups, but Beirich argues theres no denying that a racial backlash to Obamas presidency and the gradual browning of America exists and that the backlash has manifested in both hateful political speech and, more disturbingly, violent crime. Despite the preoccupation withpotentialacts of terrorism perpetrated by international suspects, the SPLC has long maintained that homegrown domestic threats are far moreprevalent. In the past year, the massacre at a black church in Charleston and the attack on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado grabbed headlines, but were more often than not downplayed compared to threats from abroad. Unfortunately, our nation has a history of not recognizing the threat of hate groups and other extremists until they have lashed out with deadly violence, the legendary founder of SPLC, Morris Dees, said in a press release promoting the Hate in America show. Beirich believes that Hate In America will remind viewers of the serious danger domestic hate groups still present. Although roughly 6,000 hate crimes are reported nationally each year, the SPLC estimates that the actual number is closer to 250,000, especially in light of the fact that many states have neglected to pass protections for LGBT citizens. Still, despite the seemingly emboldened climate of hate that has in some ways defined the last decade or so, Beirich is still optimistic.When she sees alleged Trump backers clad in KKK outfits, she says its really really upsetting but its almost motivating, because I do believe most Americans are disgusted by this.

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November 22, 2017   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

When Hatred Is a Joke – The Atlantic

On Sunday, the president of the United States tweeted out a video. The grainy clip featured old footage repurposed for a new world: It depicted a pre-White House Donald Trump engaged in a bit of theatrical violence that played out during a 2007 WrestleMania event. In it, the pre-president, clad in a suit, body-slammed and then repeatedly punched another mana man made anonymous because his face, in the edited video, had been obscured with the familiar logo of the Cable News Network. The tweet was, in one sense, yet another volley in the White Houses long-running battle against the American mediaone that has in recent days noticeably ratcheted up. And it was yet another example of the presidents seemingly gladiatorial approach to the world and its doings: a Darwinian environment where lifes inherent rivalries resolve themselves in violence. But the tweet was also something much simpler than any of that: It was, on the most basic level, a joke. The video was absurd on its (logo-obscured) face. The president, fighting CNN! Or, rather, FNN, because fake news! Trump had sent out, essentially, a nationwide wink. So the tweet took Trumps longstanding animosity toward the news media in general and CNN in particular and distilled it down to something relatable and recognizable and, in theory, unobjectionable: laughter. It washed hatred over with humor. Are We Having Too Much Fun? The WrestleMania-ed tweet in that sense was both extremely bizarrean unorthodox way for a sitting president to express himself, The New York Times dutifully summed it upand completely at home in the media environment of the present moment. Jokes, after all, have long been used to soften political point-making: There they are at political protests, and there they are on late-night television, shaping Americans knowledge of the political debates whose outcomes will determine our collective future. And hatred, too, has eagerly adopted the guise of the joke to spread its messaging. Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, has a sly sense of irony. So does 4chan. This is a time in which the most recognizable symbol of white supremacy in American culture is a loopy-grinned cartoon frog. What happens, though, when hatred renders so easily as a joke? And what happens, in particular, when the president of the United States uses his vast platform not only to celebrate violence, but also to suggest that violence is funny? As the writer Wajahat Ali noted at a recent panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Trump, as the commander in chief, uses the pulpit and the platform of the office to tweet hate. The president eschews the one-America logic that has guided the communications strategies of so many past presidenciesthe language that aims to unify the nation in its measured appeals to the mass publicand uses his platform instead both to pick fights and to maintain the ones he has started. Trump has put the bully in bully pulpit. Its a significant shiftnot merely because presidential angry-tweets have, in their reach, the potential to incite violence, and not merely because they are, as CNN put it in a statement about the WrestleMania video, notably juvenile. Tweets like that video, and the many others that have preceded it, also normalize hatred itself. They suggest a zero-sum world: a world of friends and enemies, a world of winners and losers, a world in which struggle is not the exception, but, by pugilistic necessity, the rule. The president, with each 140-character message, takes that old, optimistic bromidethere is more that connects us, as Americans, than divides usand flips it. He suggests that division and tribalism and fear and hatred will guide Americas politics and its future. Whats even more troubling: He might have reason to make that suggestion. Grainy video of a sucker-punching president neatly captures a shift that has transpired slowly and then mind-bogglingly quickly in recent years: Hatred has come into the mainstream. Fear and its common companion, animositydirected toward immigrants, toward minorities, toward women, toward the news mediaare becoming more and more normalized in our cultural conversations. They are living less and less at the margins of American life. Hatred, of course, has always been part of that life. As Heidi Beirich, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, pointed out on the same panel, the country was obviously white supremacist from its founding. In recent years, however, Ali noted, hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan (the SPLC currently counts 54 such groups) existed for the most part at the outskirts of society. They hated, as is their constitutional right, but they were judged for it and ostracized for it by the broader body of American politics. Their ideas were, in the Overton sense, unthinkable. The window of acceptability was closed to them. No longer, Ali suggested. The rise of social media has allowed hatred to be both concretizedsharable tracts, meme-able images, Pepeand, then, amplified. Digital capabilities have meant, as well, that haters can find likeminded people, across the distance. Which has meant in turn that hatred has become empowered as never before. Recent months have seen acts of hate directed against transgender women, Jews, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Hindu Americans, Sikh Americans, and others. Acts of anti-semitism, a recent study from the Anti-Defamation League found, spiked 86 percent during the first months of 2017an increase from what had already been a surge of such incidents the previous year. Into that environment comes a president who regularly makes light of hatredwho implies, one tweet at a time, that hostility is normal and, worse, kind of funny. When the president mean-tweets about Mika Brzezinski, or about Frank Luntz, or about CNN, he is doing it, it seems, out of a sense of real rage, but also because he assumes that animosity itself is entertaining. Slob. Loser. Failing. Psycho. The insults and epithets reduce people to the thing the president best understands: media brands. They treat humans, collectively, as actors in an epic war story in which Trump will always bemust always bethe victor. But they also assume that even war stories can be funny, and that violence, when presented with the right kind of wink, can be a great source of humor. Calm down, the presidents tweets say. Its all just a joke.

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July 4, 2017   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed

‘White Terrorism’ and Donald Trump: Why Has the President Slashed the Grant for Group Combating KKK? – Newsweek

The Trump administration has slashed funding for a group devoted to tackling radical white extremists. The Department for Homeland Security (DHS)announced Fridaythat $400,000 in federal funding was being withdrawn from Chicago-based Life After Hate, one of the few U.S. groups dedicated to combating white nationalism.The group was awarded the grant in the closing days of the Obama administration. Neo Nazis (National Socialist Movement) take part in a Ku Klux Klan demonstration at the state house building on July 18, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. John Moore/Getty Images Run by a former extremistskinhead, the group helps members of hate groups including the KKK and Neo-Nazi gangs to build a life beyond racist nationalism. Daily Emails and Alerts- Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox The co-founder of Life After Hate, Christian Picciolini, told the Associated Press, “While it’s disappointing that DHS broke its promise to us by changing the rules to the grant after we’d already won it, it is more alarming that the current administration is refusing to acknowledge that white nationalist extremists are a major domestic terrorist threat.” Oren Siegel, director of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League criticized the move in a tweet,linkingto a Time article in which he accusedthe administration of underestimating the threat posed by far-right terrorists. The new list of grant recipients doesn’t include a single organization dedicated to fighting far-right extremism but several that are focused oncountering Islamic extremism. Reuters reported in February that administration officials were debating changing the name of the Countering Violent Extremism program to Countering Islamic Extremism or Countering Radical Islamic Extremism. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) claims there has been a significant spike in hate crimes since Trump launched his bid to become president in 2015, when he received considerable backing from the alt-righta loose collection of white nationalist and anti-establishment conservatives. Heidi Beirich , director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement toNewsweek:The Trump administration doesn t take seriously the threat from the radical right.” Beirich warned that the U.S. would pay a high price for “wishing away” a movement that, according to the Government Accountability Office, was responsible for 73 percent of deadly terrorist attacks since Sept. 11 2001. The administration wants Americans to believe the only threat that exists to our democratic way of life comes from Islamist-inspired terror. But the facts and history of our country disprove that utterly. This is a dangerous approach. Earlierin June, a white nationalist allegedly killed two men who stepped in to defend a woman in a train near Portland being subjected to Islamophobic abuse. In a statement to Mother Jones, the DHL denied it was cutting funding for Life After Hate because of its opposition to the far-right. DHS used its discretion…when reviewing each applicant said DHS spokeswoman Lucy Martinez, considering different factors in awarding the grants. The program has not been altered to focus on any one type of violent extremism, she added.

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June 24, 2017   Posted in: Heidi Beirich  Comments Closed


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  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."