******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Klan In Rhode Island? SPLC Exaggerates Again

The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued its latest screaming report: “Patriot” Groups, Militias Surge in Number in Past Year.

Unfortunately, the hype surrounding the SPLC report is just another indication that SPLC has lost its way and has become a primary source to smear anyone who is against the liberal dogma of big government.

As Robert Stacy McCain documents, the portion of the SPLC report dealing with "patriot militias" is both exaggerated in numbers (for example, if one group has 50 state branches, that counts as 50 groups in the report) and in scope (standard libertarian groups without any "militias" are included).

I pointed out last October the depths to which SPLC goes to smear political opponents, when SPLC falsely accused a black female law professor of being an "apologist for white supremacists."

So it is not surprising that SPLC includes libertarians (whose positions on many issues resemble those of the far left) in the list of "patriot" groups. Nor is it surprising that SPLC, through some linguistic slights of hand, tries to smear the Tea Party movement:
The Patriot movement has made significant inroads into the conservative political scene, according to the new report. "The ‘tea parties' and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism," the report says.
But there was one aspect of the report which really caught my eye. SPLC's report lists Rhode Island as having three hate groups, but the SPLC "hate map" indicates only a single Ku Klux Klan chapter in Rhode Island.

Even that seemed strange to me, because in the 17 years I have lived in Rhode Island, I never had heard of the Klan being active in Rhode Island.

Other gangs, yes. Violent gangs are active among Hmong and other Asian immigrant groups, as are street gangs in black neighborhoods of Providence. But the Klan?

So I did some looking around. First, I checked The Providence Journal website. The ProJo is the only statewide paper, and the paper of record in RI. It is hard to spit on the street without the ProJo writing it up.

A search of the ProJo website did not uncover any Klan activity. The only reference at all was to an allegation by a "mentally disabled" person in 2006 that a police officer stated during an arrest that the police officer was a card carrying member of the Klan. I could find no follow-up or verification of that allegation. That's it for reported Klan activity in RI, unless you count the ACLU's successful 1992 attempt to get David Duke on the ballot (would that make the ACLU a hate group?).

A Google search also reveals no Klan activity in RI in the past several decades. If the Klan is active in RI, it is keeping it very, very quiet.

The Klan group listed by SPLC, the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has an alleged P.O. Box in North Providence, RI. The box number, which is six digits, looks suspicious, but I'm not in RI right now so I can't check out whether it is real. (I tried calling the Postal Service center in the zip code, but they do not pick up the phone.) No contact name is given for the Klan member or members in RI, and there is no other record of the group actually doing anything.

I could not even find a P.O. Box, much less an actual person, for any other Klan group in RI, although SPLC elsewhere lists a second Klan group as being in RI.

Rhode Island may not be representative of the nation, but it is a good example of how SPLC exaggerates the number and scope of hate groups. If the Klan is active in Rhode Island, no one seems to know about it.

Maybe there is someone sitting in a house or apartment somewhere with a white robe in the closet, but I assure you such person wouldn't last two minutes in RI if he tried to wear it on the street.

Who loses from SPLC's political tactics? Most obviously SPLC, whose credibility is undermined. More important, is that the public loses because SPLC's tactics mask the truth.

Undoubtedly there are real hate groups out there, but the identity of such groups gets lost in the avalanche of accusations and numbers run up by SPLC.

Which groups among the 1000 or so "hate groups" listed by SPLC do we really need to worry about? Your guess is as good as mine.

Update: I received this e-mail from someone in Rhode Island, about her unsuccessful attempt to get details from SPLC:
I've been reading your blog for several months now, I live in RI, and wanted to see what I could find out. I would have posted a response, but for some reason I can't post there using the options provided (I don't have a blogger account either). I went to the SPLC page, looked at the "hate map" and then called the national hq of the SPLC. I was put through to a man named Booth, and asked him for whatever substantiation they had to back up their claims. He treated me sarcastically, and basically inferred that he didn't feel that they'd necessarily have to cite sources. That he'd grown up in Alabama and hadn't known there was a kkk group there til he'd grown up. I stated that I believed, that had there been one, let alone three, we'd have heard something about it, but he just laughed. I told him that I wanted some info on what they based their claim on, and he said he would have someone call me. Whether they will, I don't know.
Related Post:
Saturday Night Card Game (Southern Poverty Law Center)

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook
Bookmark and Share


  1. The SPLC appeared on O'Reilly and stated that the Oath Keepers were a militant group that wanted to overthrow the government. O'Reilly had the head of Oath Keepers on the next night and it was clear that this group, where you have to be a law enforcement officer or military (active or retired) was simply a group of public servants that are reaffirming their oath to "protect and defend" the U.S. Constitution. And anyone who has been on their web site would understand that the Oath Keepers are simply saying "We will not honor any unconstitutional order from our government" but they don't preach an overthrow of the government nor have they acted in any militant way. But that didn't stop the moron from SPLC from bashing them and trying to portray them as a good that should be feared by all Americans.

    What is clearly absent from SPLC's report; the Islamic compounds that have popped up all across the nation, Islamaberg, NY being one very prominent one. There is also a large Islamic compound in Mississippi, that, like Islamaberg, is surrounded by a very tall chain link fence, which is patrolled by armed guards, will not allow the police, or even an undertaker, on the grounds, and has instilled fear in the locals.

    These Islamic compounds have been reported on by the Canadian Free Press (complete with photos) but not by our lame stream media.

    But why should we be surprised by SPLCs blatant ommission on these groups? God knows, we have a lot to worry about when it comes to Christian groups (which SPLC lists) flying 757s into tall buildings, killing thousands.

    But what should you expect from SPLC whose first president was Julian Bond? SPLC is as far left as you can get, and they see a white man in a hood behind every tree so it is clear why they would worry about Tea Partiers, Christians and other conservative groups; they are a threat to SPLCs far left agenda.

  2. Thank you for posting this! Keep up the great work!
    Common Cents

  3. http://whois.domaintools.com/unskkkk.com this is the domain search for that particular hate site. It lists a name and address of someone in MI.

  4. It must have been something to have been around 'back in the day' when these various activist groups and persons (yeah, you, Jesse) were fighting the good fight. All we see now is the rediculous caricature that they have become.

    They were worthwhile at one time, weren't they?

  5. retire05: ditto. Oathkeepers is considered the most "dangerous" group. Soldiers and law enforcement officers wanting to protect the rights of every citizen is considered dangerous by this group? Like my father used to say... "that's all I have to know about them." It appears they don't like the idea of men and women that have an allegiance to their country, Constitution, and people they have always protected and defended .... it scares them.

  6. Back in the day, they would have had purpose...now the SPLC has to fudge "facts" to keep their paychecks. Their entire reason for being might be in jeopardy if this country ever became post-hate group. It appears they don't want to let that happen so when and if it doesn't really exist, just stretch the truth as far they can to paint whomeever might have ties. Probably the most glaring example of injustice is that they apply their prejudice with steamroller.

    At the moment, the largest and most widespread hate group in America is Anti-Conservative. Unhinged and rabid.

  7. I read that study as well and was surprised to learn of any Klan group located in Rhode Island. If there was a chapter in the state, I'd expect them to be hiding out in the woods somewhere, but North Providence is highly unlikely. I agree with you that the SPLC's report as it relates to Rhode Island is exaggerated, if not completely made up.

  8. There are some reasonable looking groups that have six digit PO boxes in that area-- so the addie might be real.

  9. Those hate groups are probably in Rhode Island's Sixth Congressional District. Along with goodness knows how many jobs created or saved by the Stimulus.

  10. This same thing happened a few years back when the SPLC said that the Klan was active in Vermont. Vermonters were skeptical, and pressed the SPLC for an explanation. The only evidence of Klan activity Mark Potok could produce was an archived copy of a defunct Web page listing a Klan post office box in Rutland, VT. Four years later, the SPLC still lists this dubious Rutland KKK chapter as an active hate group.

    According to an article that appeared in the Rutland Herald in 2007, "the SPLC does not attempt to confirm the validity of each listing" on its hate groups list, and "an active chapter may not have any members in its given location."


  11. today i was listening to npr and terri gross had mark potok on.

    aside from a couple dozen other weaselly things he said, he claimed that stormfront had over 140,000 members.

    last year, it was discovered that stormfront leaves its media directories public. in there was an annotated map of their membership. stormfront has 42,000 members, worldwide.

    so potok only inflated the "threat" posed by anonymous white nationalist forum trolls by a factor of three. more if you consider that his implication was that there were 140k rabid, fifty-foot skinheads in the u.s. planning terrorist attacks.

    they also spoke at length about an upcoming rally in the capitol to support second amendment rights. the date is set for april 19th to commemorate the first shots fired at lexington and concord. mark knows better. he says that that is also the day that timothy mcveigh bombed the federal building in oklahoma.

    then he says, "i'm not saying that second amendment advocates have that specifically in mind....," BUT, "...it just gives you an idea of where their heads are at."

    if celebrating timothy mcveigh isn't on the organizers' minds, then how can the inference be illustrative of where their minds are at?

    here's an example of this sort of antipluralistic smearing of conservative activism at it's highest expression (third hit down on google search results for "april 19th second amendment"):

    "Ominous 2nd Amendment Rally on April 19th in DC"

    "I also think this is the moment to call out the military to meet these psychos if they dare try anything.

    "I think the tea baggers have a bad intent this time around and our leaders in government and the left should take precautions to keep these nut jobs from forcibly seizing the government.

    "I think they could make the attempt on April 19th. It would be just like these nut jobs to make the attempt and martyr a few of their own to stir the fires for revolution."

    can somebody remind this tool that when bush was president, they threw a rally billed "Surround the White House" and "March on the Pentagon"?