About that SPLC report...
March 29th, 2010 by MOTHAX
The American Legion has a bit of a history with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and it's not a good one. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), according to Wiki: is an American liberal non-profit legal advocacy organization, internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of organizations it calls hate groups. If only they stuck to that agenda, unfortunately however, the SPLC now seems far more interested in sensationalism and stirring up controversies to fill their coffers than engaging in legitimite campaigns to rid the world of perfidious groups like the KKK. Take for instance this screen-cap here that the SPLC asserts (but does not name) The American Legion a hate group, even as it fairly clearly makes that association: Almost exactly a year ago The American Legion was busy fighting the prejudicial report that the DHS put out on Veterans being recruited into various militia and racist groups. National Commander Rehbein at the time sent a letter to Secretary Napolitano about our concerns, which read, in part:
First, I want to assure you that The American Legion has long shared your concern about white supremacist and anti-government groups. In 1923, when the Ku Klux Klan still yielded unspeakable influence in this country, The American Legion passed Resolution 407. It resolved, in part, "we consider any individual, group of individuals or organizations, which creates, or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties, and destructive to our fundamental law." The best that I can say about your recent report is that it is incomplete. The report states, without any statistical evidence, "The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."It came as no surprise to many of us that this DHS report was sourced to a HUGE degree on the reports of the SPLC. Around that same time a story came out in the Stars and Stripes entitled: Watchdog group: Dozens of active-duty troops found on neo-Nazi site. One section in particular struck out at me:
One participant under the username “WhitePride85,” who said he is a 24-year-old staff sergeant from Madison, Wis., wrote: “I have been in the Army for over 5 years now ... I am a SSGT ... I have been in Iraq and Kuwait ... I love and will do anything to keep our master race marching. I have been a skinhead forever.”Anyone see a problem in that quote? Anyone? How about the fact that any staff sergeant in the Army who had spent 5 years, and been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait would probably have been aware that the abbreviation in the Army for Staff Sergeant is not SSGT, but rather SSG. In fact, with the exception of Brigadier and Major Generals, all abbreviations are 3 letters. I've never met a Staff Sergeant yet who didn't know that. So, I wrote to Mark Potok about it, and suggested they take another look at folks who are claiming to be vets and active duty. He declined to even respond. In fact, even the DHS acknowledged that the military and veterans status of these folks had not been verified:
Figure 1 illustrates the distribution of the 203 individuals among major categories of white supremacist extremism. Although the count of 203 includes persons with unverified military backgrounds—some of whom may have inflated their resumes with fictional military experience to impress others within the movement—this number is helpful in identifying those groups which most attract and value military experience.So, let us use that as our start point, that essentially I do not trust anything that the SPLC puts out. To set the record completely straight, I must include what Mr Potok stated with regards to the Legion being on their "Hate Watch" website:
The SPLC never listed, and does not list today, the American Legion as a hate group. Perhaps you should study up a little before launching your little attacks on us. We wrote about the legion because of its gross distortion of facts about immigrants. We did not list it as a hate group.While strictly true, what possible inference can one make from attacking the Legion on a blog entitled "Hate Watch." In introducing their new report, SPLC asserts:
The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation. Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called "Patriot" groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.Now, the problem here is that anyone that goes to the website will see The American Legion listed (even if not as a hate group) and conflate that with the proliferation in these groups. Mind you, we have absolutely NOTHING to do with any facet of these groups and what they are doing, and yet, our name still appears there. We are on record denouncing the KKK before the SPLC was even organized, but that has done nothing to inure us from the charge. Let me post this hypothetical statement: The Department of Homeland Security arrested a man in Washington DC today who was driving to the Captiol Building with a truck loaded down with nearly 3 tons of weapons, explosives and jelly beans. Now, wouldn't you want to know the relative numbers there? If 2.9999 tons of that was Jelly Beans, would it not change your view? And so it is with the SPLC, they use guilt by association, and then change definitions so that there is an ever expanding list of scary groups out there. I have yet to meet a single individual who wouldn't want to see groups like the KKK, the Aryan Nations, the Neo-Nazi organizations completely irradicated. And were that the goal of the SPLC, I would laud it endlessly. But what SPLC does is list groups like Federation for American Immigration Reform, and then lists ties that The American Legion has had in the past with groups like that. And, with this great proliferation of hate groups, what share of the total is "anti-immigrant" hate groups? Less than 1%. Now, I bring this up today because the FBI (and presumably the ATF) took down a militia group that is being billed as a group of "Christian warriors". I can just about guarantee that this will ensure numerous interviews with the SPLC over the next few days. So far, I can't really find any information about this group, or the indictments. I heard that there were weapons charges etc, but nothing on the genesis of this huge arrest. Since I don't have any info, I'll just wait to see what comes of it. But the good money would be laid on somehow this getting tied to other organizations, and I pray (that is still allowed) that none of those arrested are veterans, because it will set off another round of recriminations about veterans. Remember James Von Brunn, the lunatic that shot up the Holocaust Memorial? We heard repeatedly how he was a veteran, and thus the DHS report was vindicated. Mind you that Von Brunn served before even Lee Harvey Oswald, and that Brunn was a PT Boat guy, not exactly line infantry, it was his service that made him commit an act of unadultered evil more than 60 years later. So bear all this in mind as we watch the coverage unfold. If the Gov't moved on these guys, the safe bet is that they are bad news. Not a certainty perhaps, but a good bet. And taking out domestic terrorists is exactly what we pay our fine FBI agents and their allies to do. But, watch to make sure that some of us innocent folks don't get roped into an alliance with folks we comdemn using the faulty logic of ascribing views opposing illegal immigration with people who engage in outright violence. UPDATE: Here is the indictment, you can read all about Screwball and the Family Stone there.
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