Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Southern Poverty Law Center Magically Transforms Another P.O. Box Into A "Klan Chapter" - Rutland, VT Designated A "Klan Stronghold"
On their website, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) takes CNN reporter Lou Dobbs to task for providing inaccurate information about illegal immigrants.
However, the SPLC only applies these standards to others; somehow, they themselves are exempt because they've embarked upon a holy crusade to expose "racism", in which any tactic is justified in their corporate mind. The Rutland (VT) Herald reports that the SPLC has identified Rutland on their "hate map" as one of two centers of Ku Klux Klan activity within the state of Vermont. Hardwick is listed as the other location.
The specific Klan organization named by the SPLC is the Brotherhood of Klans Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
But local residents, who would certainly know more about their own city than some "gay Jew" who works for a watchdog group based hundreds of miles away in Alabama, demur. Detective Sgt. Kevin Stevens of the Rutland City Police told the Rutland Herald the first he heard of the supposed Klan chapter was when a reporter contacted him about this story. He said he doubted such a group operated in Rutland, saying militant groups like the Klan frequently have more active existences on paper than in real life.
"There's the Green Mountain Militia, there's four or five other entities that claim they have chapters everywhere. There's nothing cast in stone", Stevens said. "We'd have had some intel, we'd have some names of people if they were here," he continued.
Stevens also said there had not been any bias crimes in the city recently. This is mostly confirmed by the SPLC's website, which shows the last "bias crime" committed in Vermont to have occurred in Rutland in 2005.
Another local group was a bit more cautious, though. The news was greeted with shock by Alis Headlam, steering committee chairwoman for the Multiracial Alliance of the Rutland Area, a group that does racial sensitivity workshops and advocates on behalf of people who feel discriminated against. However, even Headlam said she had never heard of a Klan chapter operating in Rutland. "That doesn't mean it's not here," she said. "It could be very, very underground."
Nevertheless, Headlam asserted that there are still some problems with racism in the area, despite the apparent lack of any organized groups. "In schools, sometimes parents feel there is an issue with a particular teacher or administrator, sometimes housing, but nothing really big," she said. "There are definitely issues in Rutland, but with my organization they don't surface in any critical way."
Hardwick Police Chief James Dziobek likewise said he had not heard anything about the alleged chapter in his town, and he had never seen any bias crimes in the area. "I haven't heard of any cross-burnings or sheet-walkings," he said. "The only thing that's even close that comes to mind was the Irasburg incident 30 or 40 years ago."
The Irasburg Incident occurred in 1968 when an African-American minister who had recently moved to Irasburg was shot at and otherwise harassed. The events were the inspiration for the Howard Mosher novel and Jay Craven film, "Stranger in the Kingdom." "I don't know if that had a KKK undertone," Dziobek said. "I have not seen anything that would lead me to believe there is anyone around here doing stuff like that."
Paul Holstein, media coordinator for the FBI's regional office in Albany, NY, said the Bureau could not comment on whether it is investigating groups or even what groups it is aware of because of concerns about protecting its intelligence-gathering ability.
A search of national and regional racist websites revealed posters claiming to live in Vermont, but with no specific references to organizations in Rutland, Hardwick or anywhere else in the state.
However, Mark Potok (pictured above left courtesy of Natallnews), who runs the center's Intelligence Project and who was outed as a "gay Jew" by Libertarian Socialist News editor Bill White, said each entry on this list is an organization that was active during 2006. He explained that activity must go beyond merely running a Web site — the group must be holding rallies, distributing leaflets or at the very least be open to new members. [Ed. Note: Potok contradicts himself in this paragraph; a post office box does not rise to the level of holding rallies, distributing leaflets, or formally recruiting new members.]
The Rutland chapter was listed with a post office box as an address in a now-defunct web page for the Brotherhood of Klans Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, according to Potok. The URL provided by Potok redirects to a different website for the same group with no listings of any chapters in Vermont.
Potok said the changes to the website were likely because of a reorganization of the Brotherhood of Klans following the death of its founder. He provided the Herald with archived copies of the web page, which listed the Vermont chapter among 26 others. The current Brotherhood of Klans website lacks such listings, but a section promises they are coming soon.
According to Potok, an active chapter may not have any members in its given location. Two years ago, the SPLC listed a chapter in Castleton after a poster on a racist website gave a Bomoseen post office box as a contact address for people interested in joining the Klan. The individual gave his location as New Hampshire.
Potok said the SPLC does not attempt to confirm the validity of each listing. "When a group claims chapters in a given place, we list them unless we have a reason to believe it is false," he said. "Our listings say that at some point in calendar year 2006, this group was active." When asked how active, Potok said, "Very frequently, authorities in a given community are surprised to find a hate group operating in their town or operating a mailbox, especially if it turns out to be a drop box. Especially in a state like Vermont, where the Klan is not very popular, you won't see your local Klan in public. Just because local police and local anti-racism groups don't know about it does not make it not true."
The original Ku Klux Klan was a group of six Confederate Civil War veterans lead by General Nathan Bedford Forrest to combat Reconstruction terrorism against white Southerners, but Forrest withdrew from the organization after many members started using the organization as a cover to intimidate blacks. The group has gone through periodic revivals and today several independent organizations use the name.
Vermont has had a Klan presence in the past, most notably during the height of the group's power in the 1920s.
Commentary: This is not the first time the SPLC has tried to defame and smear an entire town as a Klan stronghold just because a member or supporter opened up a P.O. Box. The SPLC similarly designated the town of Olathe, CO last year for the same reasons. Although local officials protested, not only did the SPLC refuse to retract the designation, but they continue to designate Olathe as a Klan stronghold. And what's even more disturbing, the SPLC, by their own admission, doesn't attempt to confirm the validity of their listings. In the mind of the SPLC, the presumption of innocence doesn't exist.
And this serves their gratuitous interests. The SPLC has a vested financial interest in exaggerating and even inventing racist events and designations. The more shrill their hue and cry, the more donations they can extort from suckers who've been brainwashed to place racism on the same level as terrorism.
And while the SPLC claims to defend the interests of racial minorities, there is a catch - the minority must agree to play the role of victim. Once a minority tries to break out of the shadow of entitlement and strike out for empowerment, the SPLC either drops them like a bad habit or turns on them in full fury.
Case in point: In their latest Intelligence Report, the SPLC castigates a growing group of black pastors who preach against homosexuality. These pastors perceive homosexuality to pose a grave threat to the integrity of the family unit. Well aware of how notoriously fragmented families are within the black community, these pastors work hard to identify, expose, and combat the root causes. Yet this is meaningless to the SPLC, because the gay agenda is more important to them than the family agenda. The SPLC is only interested in blacks as long as they remain "niggers"; the moment they start acting like human beings, they are of no further use to the SPLC, and the organization will even turn against them.
Morris Dees himself has a checkered past. Read this 17-page PDF document on the Westboro Baptist Church website to learn the details about his adulterous affairs and his homosexual experimentation.
Click HERE to view all previous posts on this blog about SPLC abuses.