Archive for the ‘Southern Poverty Law Center’ Category

Oregon Indictment Guaranteed to Enflame Patriot Paranoia – Southern Poverty Law Center

The new theme-card is this weeks indictment of an FBI agent a member of the bureaus elite Hostage Rescue Team who is accused of an attempted cover-up during last years fatal shooting of an occupier at an Oregon wildlife refuge.

In a five-count indictment unsealed Wednesday in Portland, W. Joseph Astarita is accused of three counts of making false statements lying to supervisors and two additional counts of obstruction of justice.

For an extremist movement whose bread-and-butter is conspiracy theories about governmental violence, overreach and deception, this case is like a lottery windfall, Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told Hatewatch.

The recent indictment of an FBI agent for lying will fuel fair-right conspiracy theories over the justified shooting of antigovernment activist LaVoy Finicum, seen here during the occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (AP Images/Rick Bowmer)

Astarita, a 40-year-old FBI veteran, was part of its specially trained hostage rescue squad deployed early last year to Oregons Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the illegal, armed takeover of the federal preserve by Ammon and Ryan Bundy and assorted militia and antigovernment extremists.

The Oregon siege came two years after an earlier standoff at Bunkerville, Nevada, involving the Bundys and their father, Cliven Bundy, and assorted militia players. They subsequently were charged with pointing firearms at federal agents involved in a failed attempt in April 2014 to roundup Bundys cattle for nonpayment of federal grazing fees.

During the 2016 siege in Oregon, occupier Robert LaVoy Finicum of Nevada was fatally shot by Oregon State Police as they and FBI agents attempted to stop three vehicles and arrest their occupants driving away from the refuge.

His death caught on FBI surveillance video — almost immediately seemed to further galvanize factions inradical right, antigovernment circles.

Astarita is accused of firing two shots that both missed as Finicumgot out of his truck and attempted to reach for a gun after plowing the vehicle into a snow bank at the police roadblock.

After the shooting, the indictment alleges Astarita lied to three FBI supervisors and failed to disclose that he fired his weapon to the FBIs Shooting Response Team.

The indictment was returned after an 18-month long investigation by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice working with detectives from the Deschutes County, Oregon Sheriffs Office.

Billy J. Williams, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said the alleged cover-up doesnt call into question earlier investigative findings that Oregon State Police were fully justified in using deadly force against Finicum.

But already theres evidence that antigovernment, militia extremists arent buying that official U.S. government line and, instead, are pointing to the Finicum shooting and itsalleged cover-up as examples of what they call federal government excesses and corruption.

What did I tell you? Washington state militia organizer Gavin Seimposted on Facebook after the indictment was announced. He disputed claims by the FBI and the Oregon State Police that the shooting of Finicum was justified.

The diversion indictment is not about justice, Seim ranted, rather it is designed to give them the narrative so they can spin it as if they are accountable.

Finicums widow, Jeanette Finicum, a featured speaker at last weekends Red Pill gathering of assorted antigovernment extremists and conspiracy theorists in Montana, claims the federal cover-up in her husbands death is much broader.

After the FBI agent was indicted, she told media outlets that she was grateful, but still believes other officers were involved in the cover-up.

Some in militia and antigovernment ranks continue to maintain, without any forensic evidence, that Finicum was murdered by FBI agents and state police.

Levin, who studies extremists and hate crimes in his position as a professor at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremismat California State University in San Bernardino, said the Oregon case serves up the perfect ingredients for antigovernment conspiracy buffs and bashers.

Finicum already was on his way to becoming a new, folkloric hero in the extremist, Patriot movement, Levin said, referring to Patriot-depictions of the Nevada rancher and foster parent as a quirky, horseback-riding, Constitution-and-gun-loving Patriot who was cut-down by murderous federal agents.

What was missing was a real overt hook of government over-reach, violence andcover-up, and now, with this indictment, all those elements are there for the Patriots who want to believe this stuff, he said.

Antigovernment extremists, as they did after Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco the following year, like to bolster their message by citing such catalytic events involving folkloric victims with any hint of federal law enforcement overreach or cover-up.

In contrast, following the FBIs 1996 standoff with the Montana Freemen, the longest siege in the bureaus history, where there were arrests without gunfire and no casualties on either side, there wereno legacy claims left for antigovernment proponents and fuel for the Patriot movement.

After the Freeman standoff ended peacefully, it knocked the wind out of the movement, Levin said.

In any extremist movement, Levin said, you not only need heroes, you need villains, and here you have it wrapped all into one.

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Oregon Indictment Guaranteed to Enflame Patriot Paranoia – Southern Poverty Law Center

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Michael Swartz: Southern Poverty Law Center Got Rich on ‘Hate … – Patriot Post

Michael Swartz Jun. 30, 2017

Back in 1971, a marketer and attorney co-founded a crusading legal organization that cut its teeth with a series of civil lawsuits that eventually all but dismantled the Ku Klux Klan. Had the organization rested on its laurels with that achievement, as well as other early work in the civil rights arena, perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) would continue to maintain a modest but solid reputation in the legal advocacy community for its impact on that movement.

But co-founder Morris Dees has always had bigger things in mind. So as the SPLC continued to move beyond its original focus on civil rights and issues common in the Southern U.S. to include a plethora of other leftist causes on a national scale, its ambition (and fundraising appetite) became larger as well. Dees once promised to stop the constant appeals for money when the groups endowment reached $55 million, but as that marker drew closer the bar was raised to $100 million, and now the SPLC sits on a $302.8 million pile of cash. Clearly, the Poverty is in name only.

Dees and company havent stopped looking for money either: a guitar that belonged to the late Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia was sold at auction last month for $1.9 million. After expenses, and with a matching donation from the sponsor, the SPLC netted a cool $3.2 million from the event. [I could] indulge two passions of mine at the same time, said winning bidder Brian Halligan, chief executive of HubSpot: social justice and the Grateful Dead.

Meanwhile, since there isnt much need to sue the KKK out of existence these days, the SPLC has turned its attention to advocacy, as in trying to define itself as the sole arbiter of what defines a hate group. One recent case in point: The GuideStar directory of charities ran into controversy when it adopted the SPLCs definition of hate group and applied it to legitimate organizations such as those opposing same-sex marriage or otherwise promoting Bible-based Christian beliefs. The hate group list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies, states a letter to GuideStar that was signed by more than 40 people, many affiliated with these organizations or otherwise sympathetic to their views.

In fact, the conservative Liberty Counsel is suing. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, said, We want to stop the lies because this kind of reporting is defamatory, its reckless, and its dangerous.

One of the supposed hate groups is the Family Research Council, which has its own history with the SPLC. In 2012, a deranged man, Floyd Corkins, walked into the lobby of the FRC offices and began shooting, wounding a security guard before being subdued. (A year later, Corkins was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the shooting.) Corkins later told police his attack was a protest against the FRCs pro-traditional marriage stance, and he was inspired in part by the SPLCs labeling of the Family Research Council as a hate group.

Behind the imposing, nearly prison-like faade of its six-story headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, the SPLC has more than 200 employees tasked mainly with a relentless study and definition of right-of-center organizations as purveyors of hatred merely for their stance on issues like immigration, religious freedom, social issues, and the welfare state. In its Extremist Files, the SPLC does have a handful of fringe leftist exceptions such as the Nation of Islam and a few black nationalists to provide a fig leaf of cover for themselves, but the SPLC seems to believe the hate comes almost exclusively from the intolerant Right so much so that even the Obama administration backed away from using it as a resource.

Yet that mindset has moved into overdrive since the election of Donald Trump. It was made even worse when Trump appointed Alabamas own Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a move Dees called probably the worst mistake Trump could have made for the United States of America.

Theres no question leftists are reeling from the 2016 election: The SPLC board was so confident Hillary Clinton had it in the bag that they were game-planning their next four years shilling for her when they met on the eve of the November election. They couldnt envision a Trump administration, even if 63 million Americans could.

What the SPLC board lacked in vision, though, will more than likely be made up for with ruthless ambition. Once again, with the Right currently controlling all three branches of government, the SPLC will make Donald Trump a fundraising bogeyman. Maybe that wasnt in the original plan 46 years ago, but the SPLC must now feed the beast of the intolerant Left. Indeed, its much more lucrative to build up those feelings of hatred before asking for that donation.

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Michael Swartz: Southern Poverty Law Center Got Rich on ‘Hate … – Patriot Post

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Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case – Southern Poverty Law Center

While a jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, determined there wasnt proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict David Joseph Lenio of aggravated stalking and use of a computer to commit a crime, the panel did convict him of malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor.

Lenio, 30, who has been in jail sincelate February in Grand Rapids, was released on his own recognizance, but the judge banned him from using a phone or the Internet until sentencing in August.

Lenio did not testify in his own defense during the three-day trial.

He was accused of stalking and using a computer to threaten and engage in willful repeated or continuous harassment of Jonathan Hutson, a Maryland anti-gun violence advocate whose Twitter-sleuthing led to Lenios arrest when Leniowas briefly living in Kalispell, Montana, in 2015.

At that time, Flathead County, Montana prosecutors charged Lenio with two felony charges of intimidation and malicious intimidation for making online threats of violence. A search of his apartment in Kalispell turned up a handgun and two rifles a bolt action and a semi-automatic.

Lenio, a former high school cross-country athlete, used his Twitter account to say he wanted to execute 30 or more grade school children — to exceed the number killed at Sandy Hook in December 2012.

He also posted tweets about shooting up a synagogue, boasting that he wanted to put two bullets in the head of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He additionally posted comments about going on a killing rampage until cops take me out.

David Joseph Lenio was convicted of one misdemeanor and found not guilty of two felonies related to online threats made against children and Jews. (AP Images/Flathead Beacon, Greg Lindstrom)

But the Montana prosecutors suddenly dropped the twin felony charges just days before the 2015 trial under a deferred prosecution deal that the charges against Lenio would be dropped in 2018 if he broke no laws, including contact with Hutson.

However, after returning to his hometown in Michigan, Lenio early this year again used Twitter this time to terrorize, frighten, intimidate and harass Hutson in violation of the Montana court order.

During the Michigan trial thatended Wednesday, there was a point of confusion between the prosecution and defense whether Lenio violated the Montana delayed prosecution agreement, according to the news site Michigan Live.

Hutson told Hatewatch he hopes, as a crime victim, that he will be able to address the court at Lenios sentencing hearing.

My primary concern remains that David Lenio should receive the mental healthcare he needs and deserves at his own expense, Hutson said.

He also said he will urge the court to place Lenio on probation for two years, during which time he would be banned from social media, not contact any witnesses, and not own or possess guns.

I hope he will turn his life around, Hutson said. He needs intervention and support to do that.

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Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case – Southern Poverty Law Center

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NGO financial monitor GuideStar may resume using Southern … – Fox News

The worlds largest financial monitor of nonprofits finances, which began applying a left-wing organizations hate group label to some conservative nonprofits but stopped after a backlash, may soon resume the controversial practice.

Earlier this month GuideStar, which monitors the finances of more than 1.6 million NGOs and nonprofits, began adding the Southern Poverty Law Centers (SPLC) hate group labels to more than 40 nonprofits.

But after an outcry last week from 41 people, most affiliated with conservative groups, who signed and publicly released aletter blasting GuideStarfor using the SPLCs labels, the group pulled the labels. But the group implied it was open to reverting back to using the designation after it studies the issue.

They said the SPLC classifications are biased against conservative groups and that — solely because of views that SPLC deems as opposite of theirs — many peaceful organizations were inaccurately lumped with ones that actually promote violence.

If they’re going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists.

They assert that SPLC turns a blind eye to nearly all leftist groups that have been linked to hate-fueling activities and violence, and has no warning labels about them. They are concerned that as the most influential source for information about charities, GuideStars use of a list that targets only groups that lean conservative and that are peaceful could end up costing them donations.

Its a vicious way to smear people by lumping them in with genuinely nasty groups, said Scott Walter, president of Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that monitors nonprofits. I prefer that they not use anybodys list. But at the barest minimum, if theyre going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists.

On Monday, GuideStar saidthat after the many complaints it received about the SPLCs list and approach for labeling a group as one that encourages hate, it was temporarily suspending the annotations. It also cited threats against its employees as a reason for taking down links to SPLC.

It is a growing concern in the nonprofit community that there are some groups who use a nonprofit designation to advance hateful agendas, GuideStar said in a statement to Fox News. Weve begun to engage the community in a conversation to figure out how we can best go about the process of identifying organizations that use the nonprofit form for this reason. Through these conversations, we hope to find a productive means to serve all the people who use GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles as a valuable resource for reviewing nonprofits missions, operations, goals, and results.

Asked what the next step is and when it will happen, GuideStar said: The timing of the next series of changes is dependent on the outcome of our conversations with the nonprofit community.

SPLC, meanwhile, downplayed the move by GuideStar in a statement to Fox News.

At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information.

At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information, the organization said. We respect that GuideStar is reassessinghowto make that information available.

Some Christian groups complained that they were pegged as hate groups by SPLC because they oppose same-sex marriage. They argued that it wrong to lump them in the same category as, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads.

The Washington Post notedthat SPLC flags 52 organizations as anti-LGBT, among them churches and nonprofit Christian ministries.

SPLC points out that some of the groups support criminalization of gay sex and actively are working against bathroom bills that would ban transgender people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

Those views, conservatives say, do not rise to the level of “hate group” or violence.

“The ‘hate-group’ list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies,” said the letter sent to GuideStar. “The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.”

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The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False Witness – First Things

For years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has enjoyed respect and deference in American political culture, with its list of hate groups frequently invoked as authoritative. All people of good faith, on the right and the left, should lament these facts. The SPLCs hyper-partisanship is bad enough. Far worse is its dilution of the word hate to denote any worldview that is not in step with a specific kind of ideological orthodoxy. The good news? People are beginning to notice.

Maajid Nawaz has noticed. Nawaz, a British Muslim activist who spent his teens and early twenties professing radical Islamist ideology before reforming, intends to sue the SPLC for defamation of character. The organization recently branded Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist, for reasons that even sympathetic media outlets have found puzzling. By all appearances, Nawaz is a serious political thinker whose ideas have found cross-partisan support in the United Kingdom.

Why does the SPLC conclude that Nawaz is a hateful bigot? Its explanation is incoherent and petty, even by SPLC standards. The SPLC includes in its incriminatory In Their Own Words section the following notation: According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammaddespite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge. This is a truly bizarre indictment. As The Atlantics David Graham observes, the SPLC appears to be taking a theological position on the issue of cartoons and blasphemy, and then condemning Nawaz as a bigot based on his opposition to that position.

The SPLCs willingness to designate itself an arbiter of correct Islamic theology would be amusing if it werent so destructive.

Discussing his lawsuit during a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Nawaz posed a question to defenders of the SPLC. Citing the SPLCs longstanding opposition to (and besmirching of) conservative Christian groups, Nawaz asked, They arrogate to themselves the right to criticize their own Bible Belt. But they dont want me to criticize my belt, within my own community? Its this hypocrisy that is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Nawaz is right to point out the hypocrisy, though one wishes hed extend this line of reasoning farther. If the SPLC sees no contradiction between its blackballing of Christianity and its blackballing of Nawaz, could that be because the Center is not, in fact, interested in flagging real hatred?

Of course, the duplicity of the SPLC comes as no surprise to social conservatives. The SPLC has long designated the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson, as an anti-LGBT hate group. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the theology and policy proposals of the FRC is irrelevant. Far more urgent is the need for supporters of the hate group designation to explain how such a pronouncement doesnt immediately apply to thousands of traditional Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, and many millions of religious believers, who take conservative positions on sex and marriage.

The answer, of course, is that it does apply to those millions of believers. Can we really be shocked, then, when such sweeping denunciations trigger political violence? Floyd Lee Corkins, who walked into the FRC front lobby in 2012 with a pistol and fifty rounds of ammunition, told police that he had found the FRC listed on the SPLCs website. And as Nawaz remarked to Maher, Muslim intellectuals who are labeled haters by the SPLC are frequently targeted and sometimes assassinated. Though we should always distinguish clearly between those who use rhetoric and those who use violence, a connection between word and deed in specific instances is inarguable. And it would not be tolerated by the SPLCs supporters, if anyone other than the SPLC were doing the labeling.

The Southern Poverty Law Centers philological gerrymandering has been far too influential for far too long. Liberals and conservatives who want more for the public square than echo chambers and outrage factories should hope that Maajid Nawaz wins his lawsuit, and that the SPLC learns a costly lesson about bearing false witness.

Samuel D. Jamesis associate acquisitions editor for Crossway Books and blogs atMere Orthodoxy.

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Anti-Radical-Muslim Activist Group Labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by Southern Poverty Law Center – National Review

Maajid Nawaz runs Quilliam, a London-based organization that aims to counter jihadism and extremism around the world. Nawaz, who considers himself a former Muslim radical (and still identifies as Muslim), is now fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled his organization a hate group for its strong stance against radicalism. For the record, the SPLC also put Ayaan Hirsi Ali on their list.

Nawaz has filed a lawsuit against SPLC and many are left wondering how Quilliam could have received such a label in the first place. He has admitted he feels like there already is a target on his head from certain people in the Muslim community.

Nawaz appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday to explain the controversy and point out how well-meaning liberals are often way off the mark when it comes to their criticism. He calls it the bigotry of low expectations, saying that liberals fight for causes like gay rights and womens rights in America but refuse to allow people like him to fight for those issues within their own communities. Some liberals commonly ignore the fact that gays are often murdered by being thrown off of buildings or that countries such as Pakistan support spousal abuse.

Maher pointed out that most Muslims are not extremists, but there are many who are. Nawaz said that London police have said they need to be monitoring 23,000 jihadists in London in order to adequately prevent more terrorist attacks. The problem? They only have the capacity to monitor 3,000 and thats in London alone. Nawaz then points out there are even more ideological Muslims who wont attack, but would support the attacks. The numbers are staggering.

Its a scary shame that leftist extremists arent willing to take Nawaz or Hirsi Ali seriously. Just recently, Hirsi Ali and another anti-extremist, Asra Nomani, testified before the Senate. Nomani told Fox News that Democratic female senators refused to even look her in the eye when she addressed them about the abuse happening to women at the hands of Muslim extremists. Watch:

Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we were invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate, the two women wrote in a New York Times op-ed following the hearing, in which they were asked no questions. When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But were still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

When will progressives join Nawaz, Hirsi Ali, and Nomani in their fight to against Islamic radicalism destroying lives around the globe?

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Anti-Radical-Muslim Activist Group Labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by Southern Poverty Law Center – National Review

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Hatewatch Headlines 6/27/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

Right Wing Watch: Supreme Court to hear wedding-cake case brought by anti-LGBT hate group ADF.

Reveal News: Trio of domestic-terrorism cases sheds stark light on the systematic skew favoring right-wing extremists.

Miami New Times (FL): White nationalists storm South Florida racial-justice seminar, horrify participants.

Interlochen Public Radio (MI): Kalkaska protesters argue about hate and freedom of speech in response to FB posts.

Raw Story: Trumps racist fans turn on each other over their so pathetic competing weekend rallies.

Huffington Post: Eric Trumps new haircut reminds Twitter of a certain white nationalist.

Mother Jones: Trumps crackdown on immigration is terrible news for anyone who eats food.

Media Matters: Trump ally Michael Savage compares refugees and immigrants to lions tearing entrails out the anus.

Talking Points Memo: Pepe the Frogs creator announces plans to resurrect cartoon figure hijacked by the alt-right.

Chicagoist: Tensions flare after Chicago Dyke March demands Star Of David Pride flag carriers leave rally.

Salon: Maryland councilman Peroutka attacked for his apparent connections to white-supremacist League of the South.

AlterNet: Journalist Patrice ONeill wins Danny award for her dogged work organizing against hate crime.

Washington Post: Some white Star Trek fans are up in arms over the latest entrys ethnic diversity.

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Hatewatch Headlines 6/27/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

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Former Islamist Suing SPLC After Being Labeled ‘Extremist’ for … – Fox News Insider

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A former Islamic extremist is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for defamation after they accused him of being a fame-seeker by exposing his past experiences with terror groups.

The SPLC named Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist,” saying his story is riddled with holes and has been dismissed by fellow jihadists, Trace Gallagher reported.

The SPLC famously brought lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan many years ago, but Nawaz said they have transformed into a left-wing political organization.

Nawaz said he and his Quilliam Foundation expose and critique modern Islamic extremism and try to fight the phenomenon as moderate Muslims.

He said it was ironic that they criticized him because he was once a liberal democrat on a political ticket in London.

“They are ideologically driven to silence any voice that introspects from within the Muslim community,” Nawaz said.

Nawaz said the SPLC went as far as to temporarily name HUD Secretary Ben Carson to their list of extremists.

He said the SPLC is “more interested in point-scoring against the right wing” and was historically a “great organization” when it fought the KKK.

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After conservative backlash, charity tracker GuideStar removes ‘hate … – Washington Post

Earlier this month, GuideStar, the worlds largest sourcefor information about charities, added a new feature to its website: warning labels flagging would-be donors to nearly four dozen nonprofits accused of spreading hate.

The outcry was immediate and most vehement from conservative groups, including Christians who said theyd been targeted as hateful for opposing same-sex marriage.

The complaints prompted GuideStar to reverse its course. The company said its removing the labels for the time being beginning Monday, in part because of concerns raised about their objectivity but also because of the threats against employees.

Dismayingly, a significant amount of the feedback weve received in recent days has shifted from constructive criticism to harassment and threats directed at our staff and leadership, said a statement posted to GuideStars website on Friday. With this development in mind driven by both our commitment to objectivity and our concerns for our staffs wellbeing, the labels are being removed.

The hate group designations used by GuideStar came fromtheSouthern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization that tracks such groups, which it says includesthe Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.The hate group banners used on GuideStars website linked to the law centers website, according to the Associated Press.

The SPLC lists 52 anti-LGBT organizations on its website, including several churches and nonprofit Christian ministries, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which it says has supported the criminalization of gay sex and currently is working to enact so-called bathroom bills around the country to prevent trans people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

These groups are not listed on the basis of opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that the Bible describes homosexual activity as sinful, the SPLCswebsite said.

But some conservativeorganizationscomplained that the centers lumping them together with violent racist groups wasnt based on objective research but on a political agenda. GuideStars usage of the centers designation, they said, undermined the websites policy of neutrality.

One may or may not like the legal advocacy of the Alliance Defending Freedom, but theyre not a bunch of hooded-sheet Klanners burning crosses,wrote Mark Kellnerfor the conservative-leaning Get Religion website, which focuses focused onreligion coverage in the news media.

GuideStar announced its decision to remove the labels last week, two days after being sent a complaint letter signed by 41 people, largely representing conservative organizations, including Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as one of Americas most notorious Islamophobes, and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, a group the SPLC says is staunchly anti-LGBT.

The hate group list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies, the letter said. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.

The letter called the SPLC a progressive political organization that had gained credibility attacking Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and skinheads many of who were engaged in violence. But now, the letter stated, the center had expanded its tactics into debates about immigration and sexual-identity politics.

The letter alsoclaimed the SPLChas been linked to gunmen who carried out two terrorist shootings in the D.C. area, including a 2012 shooting at theFamily Research Council and the recent shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a baseball fieldin Alexandria.

In the first instance, the gunman said that he targeted Family Research Council after seeing it was listed as anti-gay on Southern Poverty Law Centers website. In the second instance, the letter simply stated the gunman liked the SPLCs Facebook page.

The letter complained that the SPLCcontinued to list Scalise on its website. A 2014 posting on the centers website says Scalise gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis years ago in his home state of Louisiana. Scalise said he wasnt aware of the groups views, a claim with which the SPLC took issue.

Conservative media outlets seized upon GuideStars warning labels and the organizations decision to remove them. A headline in the Daily Signal, a news platform for the conservative Heritage Foundation, blared: Nonprofit tracker smears dozens of conservative organizations as hate groups.’ Breitbart News reported: Institutional Left Loses Again: Nonprofit Tracker Withdraws Inaccurate Leftist-Driven Labels Hurting Conservative Groups.

For its part, GuideStar said in itsstatementthat designating hate groups is more complicated than it had realized when it first starting using the labels.

In the weeks and months since, we have heard from both supporters and critics of this decision, many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback. We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address and identify hate groups.

GuideStarsaid it will continue to make the hate groups information available on request.

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Oregon Indictment Guaranteed to Enflame Patriot Paranoia – Southern Poverty Law Center

The new theme-card is this weeks indictment of an FBI agent a member of the bureaus elite Hostage Rescue Team who is accused of an attempted cover-up during last years fatal shooting of an occupier at an Oregon wildlife refuge. In a five-count indictment unsealed Wednesday in Portland, W. Joseph Astarita is accused of three counts of making false statements lying to supervisors and two additional counts of obstruction of justice. For an extremist movement whose bread-and-butter is conspiracy theories about governmental violence, overreach and deception, this case is like a lottery windfall, Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told Hatewatch. The recent indictment of an FBI agent for lying will fuel fair-right conspiracy theories over the justified shooting of antigovernment activist LaVoy Finicum, seen here during the occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (AP Images/Rick Bowmer) Astarita, a 40-year-old FBI veteran, was part of its specially trained hostage rescue squad deployed early last year to Oregons Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the illegal, armed takeover of the federal preserve by Ammon and Ryan Bundy and assorted militia and antigovernment extremists. The Oregon siege came two years after an earlier standoff at Bunkerville, Nevada, involving the Bundys and their father, Cliven Bundy, and assorted militia players. They subsequently were charged with pointing firearms at federal agents involved in a failed attempt in April 2014 to roundup Bundys cattle for nonpayment of federal grazing fees. During the 2016 siege in Oregon, occupier Robert LaVoy Finicum of Nevada was fatally shot by Oregon State Police as they and FBI agents attempted to stop three vehicles and arrest their occupants driving away from the refuge. His death caught on FBI surveillance video — almost immediately seemed to further galvanize factions inradical right, antigovernment circles. Astarita is accused of firing two shots that both missed as Finicumgot out of his truck and attempted to reach for a gun after plowing the vehicle into a snow bank at the police roadblock. After the shooting, the indictment alleges Astarita lied to three FBI supervisors and failed to disclose that he fired his weapon to the FBIs Shooting Response Team. The indictment was returned after an 18-month long investigation by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice working with detectives from the Deschutes County, Oregon Sheriffs Office. Billy J. Williams, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said the alleged cover-up doesnt call into question earlier investigative findings that Oregon State Police were fully justified in using deadly force against Finicum. But already theres evidence that antigovernment, militia extremists arent buying that official U.S. government line and, instead, are pointing to the Finicum shooting and itsalleged cover-up as examples of what they call federal government excesses and corruption. What did I tell you? Washington state militia organizer Gavin Seimposted on Facebook after the indictment was announced. He disputed claims by the FBI and the Oregon State Police that the shooting of Finicum was justified. The diversion indictment is not about justice, Seim ranted, rather it is designed to give them the narrative so they can spin it as if they are accountable. Finicums widow, Jeanette Finicum, a featured speaker at last weekends Red Pill gathering of assorted antigovernment extremists and conspiracy theorists in Montana, claims the federal cover-up in her husbands death is much broader. After the FBI agent was indicted, she told media outlets that she was grateful, but still believes other officers were involved in the cover-up. Some in militia and antigovernment ranks continue to maintain, without any forensic evidence, that Finicum was murdered by FBI agents and state police. Levin, who studies extremists and hate crimes in his position as a professor at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremismat California State University in San Bernardino, said the Oregon case serves up the perfect ingredients for antigovernment conspiracy buffs and bashers. Finicum already was on his way to becoming a new, folkloric hero in the extremist, Patriot movement, Levin said, referring to Patriot-depictions of the Nevada rancher and foster parent as a quirky, horseback-riding, Constitution-and-gun-loving Patriot who was cut-down by murderous federal agents. What was missing was a real overt hook of government over-reach, violence andcover-up, and now, with this indictment, all those elements are there for the Patriots who want to believe this stuff, he said. Antigovernment extremists, as they did after Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco the following year, like to bolster their message by citing such catalytic events involving folkloric victims with any hint of federal law enforcement overreach or cover-up. In contrast, following the FBIs 1996 standoff with the Montana Freemen, the longest siege in the bureaus history, where there were arrests without gunfire and no casualties on either side, there wereno legacy claims left for antigovernment proponents and fuel for the Patriot movement. After the Freeman standoff ended peacefully, it knocked the wind out of the movement, Levin said. In any extremist movement, Levin said, you not only need heroes, you need villains, and here you have it wrapped all into one.

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July 1, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

Michael Swartz: Southern Poverty Law Center Got Rich on ‘Hate … – Patriot Post

Michael Swartz Jun. 30, 2017 Back in 1971, a marketer and attorney co-founded a crusading legal organization that cut its teeth with a series of civil lawsuits that eventually all but dismantled the Ku Klux Klan. Had the organization rested on its laurels with that achievement, as well as other early work in the civil rights arena, perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) would continue to maintain a modest but solid reputation in the legal advocacy community for its impact on that movement. But co-founder Morris Dees has always had bigger things in mind. So as the SPLC continued to move beyond its original focus on civil rights and issues common in the Southern U.S. to include a plethora of other leftist causes on a national scale, its ambition (and fundraising appetite) became larger as well. Dees once promised to stop the constant appeals for money when the groups endowment reached $55 million, but as that marker drew closer the bar was raised to $100 million, and now the SPLC sits on a $302.8 million pile of cash. Clearly, the Poverty is in name only. Dees and company havent stopped looking for money either: a guitar that belonged to the late Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia was sold at auction last month for $1.9 million. After expenses, and with a matching donation from the sponsor, the SPLC netted a cool $3.2 million from the event. [I could] indulge two passions of mine at the same time, said winning bidder Brian Halligan, chief executive of HubSpot: social justice and the Grateful Dead. Meanwhile, since there isnt much need to sue the KKK out of existence these days, the SPLC has turned its attention to advocacy, as in trying to define itself as the sole arbiter of what defines a hate group. One recent case in point: The GuideStar directory of charities ran into controversy when it adopted the SPLCs definition of hate group and applied it to legitimate organizations such as those opposing same-sex marriage or otherwise promoting Bible-based Christian beliefs. The hate group list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies, states a letter to GuideStar that was signed by more than 40 people, many affiliated with these organizations or otherwise sympathetic to their views. In fact, the conservative Liberty Counsel is suing. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, said, We want to stop the lies because this kind of reporting is defamatory, its reckless, and its dangerous. One of the supposed hate groups is the Family Research Council, which has its own history with the SPLC. In 2012, a deranged man, Floyd Corkins, walked into the lobby of the FRC offices and began shooting, wounding a security guard before being subdued. (A year later, Corkins was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the shooting.) Corkins later told police his attack was a protest against the FRCs pro-traditional marriage stance, and he was inspired in part by the SPLCs labeling of the Family Research Council as a hate group. Behind the imposing, nearly prison-like faade of its six-story headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, the SPLC has more than 200 employees tasked mainly with a relentless study and definition of right-of-center organizations as purveyors of hatred merely for their stance on issues like immigration, religious freedom, social issues, and the welfare state. In its Extremist Files, the SPLC does have a handful of fringe leftist exceptions such as the Nation of Islam and a few black nationalists to provide a fig leaf of cover for themselves, but the SPLC seems to believe the hate comes almost exclusively from the intolerant Right so much so that even the Obama administration backed away from using it as a resource. Yet that mindset has moved into overdrive since the election of Donald Trump. It was made even worse when Trump appointed Alabamas own Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a move Dees called probably the worst mistake Trump could have made for the United States of America. Theres no question leftists are reeling from the 2016 election: The SPLC board was so confident Hillary Clinton had it in the bag that they were game-planning their next four years shilling for her when they met on the eve of the November election. They couldnt envision a Trump administration, even if 63 million Americans could. What the SPLC board lacked in vision, though, will more than likely be made up for with ruthless ambition. Once again, with the Right currently controlling all three branches of government, the SPLC will make Donald Trump a fundraising bogeyman. Maybe that wasnt in the original plan 46 years ago, but the SPLC must now feed the beast of the intolerant Left. Indeed, its much more lucrative to build up those feelings of hatred before asking for that donation.

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Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case – Southern Poverty Law Center

While a jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, determined there wasnt proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict David Joseph Lenio of aggravated stalking and use of a computer to commit a crime, the panel did convict him of malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor. Lenio, 30, who has been in jail sincelate February in Grand Rapids, was released on his own recognizance, but the judge banned him from using a phone or the Internet until sentencing in August. Lenio did not testify in his own defense during the three-day trial. He was accused of stalking and using a computer to threaten and engage in willful repeated or continuous harassment of Jonathan Hutson, a Maryland anti-gun violence advocate whose Twitter-sleuthing led to Lenios arrest when Leniowas briefly living in Kalispell, Montana, in 2015. At that time, Flathead County, Montana prosecutors charged Lenio with two felony charges of intimidation and malicious intimidation for making online threats of violence. A search of his apartment in Kalispell turned up a handgun and two rifles a bolt action and a semi-automatic. Lenio, a former high school cross-country athlete, used his Twitter account to say he wanted to execute 30 or more grade school children — to exceed the number killed at Sandy Hook in December 2012. He also posted tweets about shooting up a synagogue, boasting that he wanted to put two bullets in the head of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He additionally posted comments about going on a killing rampage until cops take me out. David Joseph Lenio was convicted of one misdemeanor and found not guilty of two felonies related to online threats made against children and Jews. (AP Images/Flathead Beacon, Greg Lindstrom) But the Montana prosecutors suddenly dropped the twin felony charges just days before the 2015 trial under a deferred prosecution deal that the charges against Lenio would be dropped in 2018 if he broke no laws, including contact with Hutson. However, after returning to his hometown in Michigan, Lenio early this year again used Twitter this time to terrorize, frighten, intimidate and harass Hutson in violation of the Montana court order. During the Michigan trial thatended Wednesday, there was a point of confusion between the prosecution and defense whether Lenio violated the Montana delayed prosecution agreement, according to the news site Michigan Live. Hutson told Hatewatch he hopes, as a crime victim, that he will be able to address the court at Lenios sentencing hearing. My primary concern remains that David Lenio should receive the mental healthcare he needs and deserves at his own expense, Hutson said. He also said he will urge the court to place Lenio on probation for two years, during which time he would be banned from social media, not contact any witnesses, and not own or possess guns. I hope he will turn his life around, Hutson said. He needs intervention and support to do that.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

NGO financial monitor GuideStar may resume using Southern … – Fox News

The worlds largest financial monitor of nonprofits finances, which began applying a left-wing organizations hate group label to some conservative nonprofits but stopped after a backlash, may soon resume the controversial practice. Earlier this month GuideStar, which monitors the finances of more than 1.6 million NGOs and nonprofits, began adding the Southern Poverty Law Centers (SPLC) hate group labels to more than 40 nonprofits. But after an outcry last week from 41 people, most affiliated with conservative groups, who signed and publicly released aletter blasting GuideStarfor using the SPLCs labels, the group pulled the labels. But the group implied it was open to reverting back to using the designation after it studies the issue. They said the SPLC classifications are biased against conservative groups and that — solely because of views that SPLC deems as opposite of theirs — many peaceful organizations were inaccurately lumped with ones that actually promote violence. If they’re going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists. They assert that SPLC turns a blind eye to nearly all leftist groups that have been linked to hate-fueling activities and violence, and has no warning labels about them. They are concerned that as the most influential source for information about charities, GuideStars use of a list that targets only groups that lean conservative and that are peaceful could end up costing them donations. Its a vicious way to smear people by lumping them in with genuinely nasty groups, said Scott Walter, president of Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that monitors nonprofits. I prefer that they not use anybodys list. But at the barest minimum, if theyre going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists. On Monday, GuideStar saidthat after the many complaints it received about the SPLCs list and approach for labeling a group as one that encourages hate, it was temporarily suspending the annotations. It also cited threats against its employees as a reason for taking down links to SPLC. It is a growing concern in the nonprofit community that there are some groups who use a nonprofit designation to advance hateful agendas, GuideStar said in a statement to Fox News. Weve begun to engage the community in a conversation to figure out how we can best go about the process of identifying organizations that use the nonprofit form for this reason. Through these conversations, we hope to find a productive means to serve all the people who use GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles as a valuable resource for reviewing nonprofits missions, operations, goals, and results. Asked what the next step is and when it will happen, GuideStar said: The timing of the next series of changes is dependent on the outcome of our conversations with the nonprofit community. SPLC, meanwhile, downplayed the move by GuideStar in a statement to Fox News. At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information. At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information, the organization said. We respect that GuideStar is reassessinghowto make that information available. Some Christian groups complained that they were pegged as hate groups by SPLC because they oppose same-sex marriage. They argued that it wrong to lump them in the same category as, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads. The Washington Post notedthat SPLC flags 52 organizations as anti-LGBT, among them churches and nonprofit Christian ministries. SPLC points out that some of the groups support criminalization of gay sex and actively are working against bathroom bills that would ban transgender people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. Those views, conservatives say, do not rise to the level of “hate group” or violence. “The ‘hate-group’ list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies,” said the letter sent to GuideStar. “The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.”

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False Witness – First Things

For years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has enjoyed respect and deference in American political culture, with its list of hate groups frequently invoked as authoritative. All people of good faith, on the right and the left, should lament these facts. The SPLCs hyper-partisanship is bad enough. Far worse is its dilution of the word hate to denote any worldview that is not in step with a specific kind of ideological orthodoxy. The good news? People are beginning to notice. Maajid Nawaz has noticed. Nawaz, a British Muslim activist who spent his teens and early twenties professing radical Islamist ideology before reforming, intends to sue the SPLC for defamation of character. The organization recently branded Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist, for reasons that even sympathetic media outlets have found puzzling. By all appearances, Nawaz is a serious political thinker whose ideas have found cross-partisan support in the United Kingdom. Why does the SPLC conclude that Nawaz is a hateful bigot? Its explanation is incoherent and petty, even by SPLC standards. The SPLC includes in its incriminatory In Their Own Words section the following notation: According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammaddespite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge. This is a truly bizarre indictment. As The Atlantics David Graham observes, the SPLC appears to be taking a theological position on the issue of cartoons and blasphemy, and then condemning Nawaz as a bigot based on his opposition to that position. The SPLCs willingness to designate itself an arbiter of correct Islamic theology would be amusing if it werent so destructive. Discussing his lawsuit during a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Nawaz posed a question to defenders of the SPLC. Citing the SPLCs longstanding opposition to (and besmirching of) conservative Christian groups, Nawaz asked, They arrogate to themselves the right to criticize their own Bible Belt. But they dont want me to criticize my belt, within my own community? Its this hypocrisy that is the soft bigotry of low expectations. Nawaz is right to point out the hypocrisy, though one wishes hed extend this line of reasoning farther. If the SPLC sees no contradiction between its blackballing of Christianity and its blackballing of Nawaz, could that be because the Center is not, in fact, interested in flagging real hatred? Of course, the duplicity of the SPLC comes as no surprise to social conservatives. The SPLC has long designated the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson, as an anti-LGBT hate group. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the theology and policy proposals of the FRC is irrelevant. Far more urgent is the need for supporters of the hate group designation to explain how such a pronouncement doesnt immediately apply to thousands of traditional Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, and many millions of religious believers, who take conservative positions on sex and marriage. The answer, of course, is that it does apply to those millions of believers. Can we really be shocked, then, when such sweeping denunciations trigger political violence? Floyd Lee Corkins, who walked into the FRC front lobby in 2012 with a pistol and fifty rounds of ammunition, told police that he had found the FRC listed on the SPLCs website. And as Nawaz remarked to Maher, Muslim intellectuals who are labeled haters by the SPLC are frequently targeted and sometimes assassinated. Though we should always distinguish clearly between those who use rhetoric and those who use violence, a connection between word and deed in specific instances is inarguable. And it would not be tolerated by the SPLCs supporters, if anyone other than the SPLC were doing the labeling. The Southern Poverty Law Centers philological gerrymandering has been far too influential for far too long. Liberals and conservatives who want more for the public square than echo chambers and outrage factories should hope that Maajid Nawaz wins his lawsuit, and that the SPLC learns a costly lesson about bearing false witness. Samuel D. Jamesis associate acquisitions editor for Crossway Books and blogs atMere Orthodoxy. Become a fan ofFirst ThingsonFacebook,subscribe toFirst ThingsviaRSS, and followFirst ThingsonTwitter.

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Anti-Radical-Muslim Activist Group Labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by Southern Poverty Law Center – National Review

Maajid Nawaz runs Quilliam, a London-based organization that aims to counter jihadism and extremism around the world. Nawaz, who considers himself a former Muslim radical (and still identifies as Muslim), is now fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled his organization a hate group for its strong stance against radicalism. For the record, the SPLC also put Ayaan Hirsi Ali on their list. Nawaz has filed a lawsuit against SPLC and many are left wondering how Quilliam could have received such a label in the first place. He has admitted he feels like there already is a target on his head from certain people in the Muslim community. Nawaz appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday to explain the controversy and point out how well-meaning liberals are often way off the mark when it comes to their criticism. He calls it the bigotry of low expectations, saying that liberals fight for causes like gay rights and womens rights in America but refuse to allow people like him to fight for those issues within their own communities. Some liberals commonly ignore the fact that gays are often murdered by being thrown off of buildings or that countries such as Pakistan support spousal abuse. Maher pointed out that most Muslims are not extremists, but there are many who are. Nawaz said that London police have said they need to be monitoring 23,000 jihadists in London in order to adequately prevent more terrorist attacks. The problem? They only have the capacity to monitor 3,000 and thats in London alone. Nawaz then points out there are even more ideological Muslims who wont attack, but would support the attacks. The numbers are staggering. Its a scary shame that leftist extremists arent willing to take Nawaz or Hirsi Ali seriously. Just recently, Hirsi Ali and another anti-extremist, Asra Nomani, testified before the Senate. Nomani told Fox News that Democratic female senators refused to even look her in the eye when she addressed them about the abuse happening to women at the hands of Muslim extremists. Watch: Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we were invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate, the two women wrote in a New York Times op-ed following the hearing, in which they were asked no questions. When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But were still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation. When will progressives join Nawaz, Hirsi Ali, and Nomani in their fight to against Islamic radicalism destroying lives around the globe?

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

Hatewatch Headlines 6/27/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

Right Wing Watch: Supreme Court to hear wedding-cake case brought by anti-LGBT hate group ADF. Reveal News: Trio of domestic-terrorism cases sheds stark light on the systematic skew favoring right-wing extremists. Miami New Times (FL): White nationalists storm South Florida racial-justice seminar, horrify participants. Interlochen Public Radio (MI): Kalkaska protesters argue about hate and freedom of speech in response to FB posts. Raw Story: Trumps racist fans turn on each other over their so pathetic competing weekend rallies. Huffington Post: Eric Trumps new haircut reminds Twitter of a certain white nationalist. Mother Jones: Trumps crackdown on immigration is terrible news for anyone who eats food. Media Matters: Trump ally Michael Savage compares refugees and immigrants to lions tearing entrails out the anus. Talking Points Memo: Pepe the Frogs creator announces plans to resurrect cartoon figure hijacked by the alt-right. Chicagoist: Tensions flare after Chicago Dyke March demands Star Of David Pride flag carriers leave rally. Salon: Maryland councilman Peroutka attacked for his apparent connections to white-supremacist League of the South. AlterNet: Journalist Patrice ONeill wins Danny award for her dogged work organizing against hate crime. Washington Post: Some white Star Trek fans are up in arms over the latest entrys ethnic diversity.

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Former Islamist Suing SPLC After Being Labeled ‘Extremist’ for … – Fox News Insider

Sanders Deflects FOX Question on FBI Probe, Gives Health Care Criticism Instead WATCH: Trump, Indian PM Modi Share Hug at WH Presser A former Islamic extremist is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for defamation after they accused him of being a fame-seeker by exposing his past experiences with terror groups. The SPLC named Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist,” saying his story is riddled with holes and has been dismissed by fellow jihadists, Trace Gallagher reported. The SPLC famously brought lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan many years ago, but Nawaz said they have transformed into a left-wing political organization. Nawaz said he and his Quilliam Foundation expose and critique modern Islamic extremism and try to fight the phenomenon as moderate Muslims. He said it was ironic that they criticized him because he was once a liberal democrat on a political ticket in London. “They are ideologically driven to silence any voice that introspects from within the Muslim community,” Nawaz said. Nawaz said the SPLC went as far as to temporarily name HUD Secretary Ben Carson to their list of extremists. He said the SPLC is “more interested in point-scoring against the right wing” and was historically a “great organization” when it fought the KKK. Watch the clip above. HI Dem: Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito ‘The 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ LISTEN: CNN’s Acosta Confronts Spicer Over Off-Camera Briefing

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After conservative backlash, charity tracker GuideStar removes ‘hate … – Washington Post

Earlier this month, GuideStar, the worlds largest sourcefor information about charities, added a new feature to its website: warning labels flagging would-be donors to nearly four dozen nonprofits accused of spreading hate. The outcry was immediate and most vehement from conservative groups, including Christians who said theyd been targeted as hateful for opposing same-sex marriage. The complaints prompted GuideStar to reverse its course. The company said its removing the labels for the time being beginning Monday, in part because of concerns raised about their objectivity but also because of the threats against employees. Dismayingly, a significant amount of the feedback weve received in recent days has shifted from constructive criticism to harassment and threats directed at our staff and leadership, said a statement posted to GuideStars website on Friday. With this development in mind driven by both our commitment to objectivity and our concerns for our staffs wellbeing, the labels are being removed. The hate group designations used by GuideStar came fromtheSouthern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization that tracks such groups, which it says includesthe Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.The hate group banners used on GuideStars website linked to the law centers website, according to the Associated Press. The SPLC lists 52 anti-LGBT organizations on its website, including several churches and nonprofit Christian ministries, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which it says has supported the criminalization of gay sex and currently is working to enact so-called bathroom bills around the country to prevent trans people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. These groups are not listed on the basis of opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that the Bible describes homosexual activity as sinful, the SPLCswebsite said. But some conservativeorganizationscomplained that the centers lumping them together with violent racist groups wasnt based on objective research but on a political agenda. GuideStars usage of the centers designation, they said, undermined the websites policy of neutrality. One may or may not like the legal advocacy of the Alliance Defending Freedom, but theyre not a bunch of hooded-sheet Klanners burning crosses,wrote Mark Kellnerfor the conservative-leaning Get Religion website, which focuses focused onreligion coverage in the news media. GuideStar announced its decision to remove the labels last week, two days after being sent a complaint letter signed by 41 people, largely representing conservative organizations, including Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as one of Americas most notorious Islamophobes, and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, a group the SPLC says is staunchly anti-LGBT. The hate group list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies, the letter said. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven. The letter called the SPLC a progressive political organization that had gained credibility attacking Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and skinheads many of who were engaged in violence. But now, the letter stated, the center had expanded its tactics into debates about immigration and sexual-identity politics. The letter alsoclaimed the SPLChas been linked to gunmen who carried out two terrorist shootings in the D.C. area, including a 2012 shooting at theFamily Research Council and the recent shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a baseball fieldin Alexandria. In the first instance, the gunman said that he targeted Family Research Council after seeing it was listed as anti-gay on Southern Poverty Law Centers website. In the second instance, the letter simply stated the gunman liked the SPLCs Facebook page. The letter complained that the SPLCcontinued to list Scalise on its website. A 2014 posting on the centers website says Scalise gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis years ago in his home state of Louisiana. Scalise said he wasnt aware of the groups views, a claim with which the SPLC took issue. Conservative media outlets seized upon GuideStars warning labels and the organizations decision to remove them. A headline in the Daily Signal, a news platform for the conservative Heritage Foundation, blared: Nonprofit tracker smears dozens of conservative organizations as hate groups.’ Breitbart News reported: Institutional Left Loses Again: Nonprofit Tracker Withdraws Inaccurate Leftist-Driven Labels Hurting Conservative Groups. For its part, GuideStar said in itsstatementthat designating hate groups is more complicated than it had realized when it first starting using the labels. In the weeks and months since, we have heard from both supporters and critics of this decision, many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback. We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address and identify hate groups. GuideStarsaid it will continue to make the hate groups information available on request. More from Morning Mix Professor who said clueless white male Otto Warmbier got what he deserved wont be rehired Audiences of Broadways graphic portrayal of 1984 faint and vomit Professor fired after defending blacks-only event to Fox News. I was publicly lynched, she says.

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