47 Groups Weighing SPLC Lawsuit Warn ‘Editors, CEOs’: ‘You Are Complicit’ in Hate Group ‘Defamation’

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map

PJ Media, June 20, 2018:

On Wednesday, no fewer than 47 nonprofit leaders maligned by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — many if not most of whom are considering a lawsuit against the organization — warned a vast array of executives and leaders that if they parrot the SPLC’s damaging “hate group” labels, they would be “complicit” in “defamation.”

“Editors, CEOs, shareholders and consumers alike are on notice: anyone relying upon and repeating its misrepresentations is complicit in the SPLC’s harmful defamation of large numbers of American citizens who, like the undersigned, have been vilified simply for working to protect our country and freedoms,” the signatories wrote.

The letter followed news — broken at PJ Media — that no fewer than 60 organizations are considering suing the SPLC following a groundbreaking settlement in which the organization formally apologized to a Muslim reformer, Maajid Nawaz, for branding him an “anti-Muslim extremist.”

In 2016, the SPLC published its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” listing Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim, as one such extremist. The left-wing group listed various and changing reasons for including him, even at one point mentioning that he had gone to a strip club for his bachelor party. On Monday, the SPLC apologized and paid $3.375 million to settle a lawsuit Nawaz had filed.

“We haven’t filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told PJ Media on Tuesday.

Representatives of the Family Research Council (FRC), the Ruth Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) told PJ Media they were considering “legal options.”

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the charity navigation organization GuideStar for defamation after GuideStar adopted the SPLC’s “hate group” list. That lawsuit is ongoing.

Staver further told PJ Media, “There are probably about 60 organizations that we’re talking to — there’s at least 60.”

The letter published Wednesday featured roughly the same list of groups that denounced the SPLC’s “hate list” in an open letter to the media last year. The SPLC has admitted that its “hate group” list is based on “opinion.”

Worse, in 2012, a terrorist broke into the Family Research Council (FRC) with a semi-automatic pistol, aiming to kill everyone in the building. In later FBI testimony, he admitted to targeting FRC because it was on the SPLC’s “hate map,” and that he intended to shoot up other organizations once he finished there.

The letter’s legal threat should be abundantly clear. Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, signed the letter, as did PJ Media’s J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. Michael P. Farris, president, CEO, and general counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), represents an organization that has won eight Supreme Court cases in the past seven years.

“We, the undersigned, are among the organizations, groups and individuals that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has maligned, defamed and otherwise harmed by falsely describing as ‘haters,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘Islamophobes’ and/or other groundless epithets,” the signatories declared. “We are gratified that the SPLC has today formally acknowledged that it has engaged in such misrepresentations.”

The out-of-court settlement with Nawaz was formally announced Wednesday, and the signatories mentioned it as “tangible proof that the SPLC, which amounts to little more than a leftist instrument of political warfare against those with whom it disagrees, fully deserves the infamy it has lately earned.”

“Journalists who uncritically parrot or cite the SPLC’s unfounded characterizations of those it reviles do a profound disservice to their audiences,” the signatories wrote.

Some might argue — like Reason‘s Robby Soave — that suits against the SPLC are a threat to free speech. In an interview with PJ Media, DJKM spokesman John Rabe explained that the SPLC  has “supplied government and law enforcement with their information.” Given the 2012 attack and SPLC’s work with the government, “it’s no longer a free speech issue, there’s a substantive issue with these false and slanderous claims that the SPLC makes.”

“Slander and malice are never protected,” and such factors loom large in litigation. Rabe argued that DJKM and other organizations suing the SPLC should win partially because the left-wing group has a documented malice against these groups.

The threat to journalists should be taken particularly seriously, as CNN uncritically shared the SPLC “hate map” last year, and outlets like ABC News and NBC Newsuncritically marked ADF a “hate group” using the SPLC label.

The threat to CEOs extends to various companies — like Google and Amazon — that use the “hate list” to marginalize certain groups online. Large companies have also partnered with the SPLC in other ways. Apple pledged $1 million to the organization, along with other key benefits, while J.P. Morgan chipped in $500,000. Companies like Lyft and MGM Resorts have partnered with the group, while Pfizer, Bank of America, and Newman’s Own have each contributed over $8,900 to the SPLC in recent years.

The scope of this potential lawsuit is hard to determine, and the threat is real. News outlets, companies, and organizations that champion the SPLC’s “hate list” should be quaking in their boots.

Also see:

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IPT Exclusive: PR Firm Tied to CAIR Linked to Sliming of Maajid Nawaz

by John Rossomando
IPT News
June 20, 2018

It’s always been curious why Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, wound up in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) controversial journalist’s guide listing “anti-Muslim extremists.” Nawaz is a former extremist who founded the U.K-based Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that counters Islamic radicalism.

The answer may have been hiding in plain sight.

The report, which was removed from the SPLC’s website in April, noted that it was compiled with input from ReThink Media, the Center for New Community and MediaMatters. Now that collaboration has cost the SPLC nearly $3.4 million in a legal settlement and that included multiple apologies to Nawaz.

“Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect. We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a video statement.

SPLC attacked Nawaz in the guide for saying there was little difference dividing non-violent jihadists from the violent ones ideologically, except that “they disagree only on tactics.” Islamists share a common desire to build a global caliphate, but the non-violent ones tend to seek that change through the ballot.

In accepting the SPLC’s apology, Nawaz asked it to oppose all forms of extremism and join Quilliam in fighting Islamic extremism.

“This should be an instructive moment for all of us. Too much, and for too long, the left – many on the left – have been trying to shut down any debate or critique or criticism around Islam, especially by Muslims within Muslim communities,” Nawaz said.

ReThink’s contributions to the discredited guide are unknown. Neither ReThink nor the SPLC responded to requests for comment for this story.

When the guide was written, ReThink Media employed a former leader with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who has a history of radicalism. And since then, ReThink hired Corey Saylor, CAIR’s former national legislative affairs director.

CAIR and Nawaz hold diametrically opposing viewpoints on a number of key issues. While CAIR has tried to minimize the threat of Islamic radicalization, and its officials routinely accuse law enforcement of setting up innocent Muslims, Nawaz presents his own life story as an example of its lure.

In addition, Nawaz advocates for reform within Islam. CAIR has largely ignored the Muslim Reform Movement, a fledgling group of North American Muslims who aspire to spur “an Islamic renewal [which] must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, which seeks to create Islamic states, as well as an Islamic caliphate.”

And Nawaz does not hate Israel, publicly condemning Hamas and Hizballah, something CAIR officials seem to avoid at all costs, often angrily.

Nawaz also offers the public a different image of a Western Muslim, in contrast to CAIR’s mostly conservative Sunni leadership.

If that didn’t contribute to Nawaz’s smearing, CAIR likely was not upset to see him included in the SPLC report. CAIR’s Florida chapter still has a copy of the report posted on its website even though the SPLC has taken it down, apologized for its content and agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam nearly $3.4 million

ReThink’s CAIR Connection

Zainab Chaudary is a former civil rights coordinator for CAIR’s New Jersey chapter who was part of ReThink Media’s Security and Rights Collaborative in 2016 when Nawaz was added to the SPLC’s list. Chaudary’s LinkedIn profile says she consults with the SPLC and MediaMatters in her role as a ReThink senior media associate.

ReThink Media, a self-described “part PR firm, part advocacy organization,” acts as a “communications hub” to help organizations on the left hone their messages. It also is linked to a funding consortium created by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) to combat anti-Muslim sentiment and undo many of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Combating “Islamophobia” was a key objective for OSF’s board between 2015 and 2018, records show.

Chaudary served as an editor-in-chief of a Rutgers University Muslim student newsletter called Nasihah. Following the 9/11 attacks, Nasihah ran a column defending the Taliban’s decision not to hand over Osama bin Laden.

“I don’t blame the Taliban at all for keeping Osama because, as they say, no proof has been presented against him,” wrote Arif Hussain. “If America is so sure that he is involved, what’s stopping them from coming out with the proof?? Or is it that there is no proof against him?? It seems that Osama has become a scapegoat for every terrorist action anywhere in the world. They just want to get rid of him, regardless of whether he is responsible or not.”

The U.S. military released a video in December 2001 – at least a month before this was published – showing bin Laden discussing his advanced knowledge of the attacks and his expectations for damage.

A letter to the editor in the same issue said that even though a “proper Islamic state” capable of declaring “jihad against the evildoers” didn’t exist, Muslims should protect themselves against “evil oppressors” and prepare for the “ultimate battle that Islam must fight.”

Also during Chaudary’s time as editor-in-chief, Nasihah described Kashmiri jihadists as “mujahideen” and ran a communiqué by Hamas’ Palestinian Information Center.

More recently, Chaudary complained that the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program unfairly targeted Muslims.

“How do you quantify what causes someone to become radicalized? And how do you separate that out from normal teenage behavior? So these kids are finding themselves under scrutiny where they can’t speak out. They can’t be politically active or engaged or activists even because they’re under suspicion of being radicalized,” Chaudary saidin a September 2016 Huffington Post interview.

She also called for the end of CVE programs in 2016, saying there wasn’t a single common profile for terrorists, and “we can’t deal through the lens of law enforcement.”

In addition to working with SPLC, Chaudary served on a 2015 panel that advised CAIR and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender for its report Confronting Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States. That report targeted the Investigative Project on Terrorism among others.

ReThink Media deepened its CAIR connection in December, when it added Saylor as managing director of the firm’s Security and Rights Collaborative. Saylor appeared last month at a “Challenging Islamophobia” conference sponsored by CAIR’s Minnesota chapter. There, he complained that the Justice Department and other federal agencies are more likely to issue a press release about “an incident” when a perpetrator is perceived to be Muslim.

It’s not clear on what Saylor based this claim. But the Justice Department issued two press releases about white supremacist activities that same week. One announced a guilty plea by a white supremacist who threatened two U.S. senators. A second release announced the arrest of 57 white supremacist gang members for conspiring to commit kidnapping and drug trafficking. A month earlier, the DOJ touted the convictionof three white Kansas men who plotted to blow up an apartment complex with predominantly Somali Muslim tenants. Officials credited “a confidential source … for thwarting the attack and saving the lives of innocent victims.”

Like Chaudary, Saylor vigorously opposes CVE programs. In the United Kingdom, Nawaz advised former Prime Minister David Cameron on combating violent extremism. Quilliam Executive Director Haras Rafiq testified in February before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Terrorism, Non-Proliferation, and Trade Subcommittee about the role of women in CVE.

Saylor also has criticized FBI surveillance. FBI recruitment of informants in the Muslim community “impedes First Amendment-protected conversation,” he told the Indypendent, a progressive New York outlet, last year. “So people are afraid to have an innocent conversation about politics, because they might say something wrong.”

CVE outreach programs make American Muslims worry that government friendliness toward them is a ploy, he said in 2013. “That’s because too often in the past you’ve had this hand reached out in friendship while the other is behind their back with handcuffs in it.”

Saylor won’t condemn Islamist terrorist organizations by name, other than ISIS or al-Qaida.

Pressed to condemn Hamas and Hizballah by name in a 2008 Fox News interview, Saylor would only say “CAIR condemns terrorist acts, whoever commits them, wherever they commit them, whenever they commit them.” He also minimized the significance of a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network in the United States called the Palestine Committee. It merely was “a group that existed in the early 1990s that seemed to have strengthening pro-Palestinian work at its core,” he said. Internal committee records seized by the FBI told a dramatically different story. The Palestine Committee, of which CAIR was a member, was created to help Hamas “with what it needs of media, money, men and all of that.”

In addition to its work on the discredited SPLC report, ReThink Media compiled lists of go-to sources on Muslim issues for journalists looking for reaction quotes. Many of those recommended have radical views. A list assembled after President Trump announced his travel ban, for example, lists Chaudary as the ReThink Media contact person. It also created an online initiative called 8.5Million.org that lists many of the same people featured on the travel-ban source list as points of contact for reporters.

“You’re a reporter on deadline. You need a quote or a source quickly, and he or she needs to be responsive, media-savvy, and an expert. You don’t have time to cultivate new relationships or start from square one. Who do you call?” 8.5 Million.org asks.

Well, you might call CAIR San Francisco Bay Area Executive Director Zahra Billoo, whose picture appears on 8.5 Million.org’s landing page. She publicly thankedReThink Media’s staff for visiting her at CAIR’s office, noting she baked cupcakes for them. Billoo admiresSPLC-designated hate group leader Louis Farrakhan, compares the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with ISIS, and openly apologizes for Hamas.

“Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist. #FreePalestine v @KathlynGadd,” Billoo tweeted in November 2014.

Another recommended source on ReThink Media’s 8.5 Million.com list is CAIR Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly. He falsely accused the FBI of shooting a Detroit imam after he had been “tied and bound.”

His animus against the FBI also extends to sting operations aimed at nabbing potential jihadists before they can strike. He defended Sami Osmakac, who was convicted after a 2014 sting operation showed him trying to carry out a “second 9/11” in Tampa. “I’m concerned that the government’s tactics turned him into a greater threat than he could have been on his own,” Shibly said.

Farhana Khera from the legal group Muslim Advocates also appears on the 8.7 million.com site and on the travel ban contact list. She played a central role in convincing the Open Society Foundations to approve creating a program aimed at rolling back Bush-era U.S. national security programs, documents leaked by Russian intelligence-linked hackers calling themselves DC Leaks showed. OSF and its funding partners contributed more than $40 million to the grant program over the past decade.

Khera successfully convinced the Obama administration to expunge law-enforcement training materials she deemed as offensive to Muslims. She and Muslim Advocates also succeeded in getting the New York Police Department to end its mosque surveillance program in 2014 in conjunction with other OSF funded groups.

A 2007 memo Khera co-authored led to the creation the National Security and Human Rights Campaign (NSHRC). It became a collaborative effort funded by OSF, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Proteus Fund.

ReThink Media is inextricably tied to the NSHRC. Its founder and director Lynn Fahselt has served as senior adviser of the NSHRC’s “Security & Rights Communications Collaborative” since 2008. Fahselt lobbied OSF’s board to create “an online communications ‘hub'” on behalf of ReThink Media in May 2008. ReThink Media suggested that this “hub” coordinate messaging and provide media training for groups under the NSHRC’s umbrella.

In a world increasingly hostile to Muslims, “nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups need to be equipped with coordinated messages that will resonate with a broad public, a 2011 OSF document says.

It notes that ReThink Media specifically helped huddle and coordinate messaging with these advocacy groups before and after U.S. Rep. Peter King’s 2011 congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization.

Considering Nawaz’s belief in the reality of Muslim radicalization, his defense of Israel and discussion of the need for reform within Islam, avowed opponents like Chaudary or Saylor could have an ax to grind with him.

Working with ReThink Media and Chaudary may have cost SPLC dearly. It should ask itself whether treating CAIR or ReThink Media as credible partners or advisers was worth it.

‘About 60 Organizations’ Are Considering a Lawsuit Against the SPLC Following $3M Nawaz Settlement

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map

PJ Media, by Tyler O’Neil, June 19, 2018:

No fewer than 60 organizations branded “hate groups” or otherwise attacked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are considering legal action against the left-wing smear factory, a Christian legal nonprofit leader confirmed to PJ Media on Tuesday. He suggested that the $3 million settlement and apology the SPLC gave to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation on Monday would encourage further legal action.

“We haven’t filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC, because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told PJ Media on Tuesday.

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the charity navigation organization GuideStar for defamation after GuideStar adopted the SPLC’s “hate group” list. That lawsuit is ongoing.

In 2016, the SPLC published its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” listing Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim, as one such extremist. The left-wing group listed various reasons for including him, changing the reasons every so often, and even at one point mentioning that he had gone to a strip club for his bachelor party.

On Monday, SPLC President Richard Cohen extended his group’s “sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.” In settling the suit, the SPLC paid Nawaz’s organization $3.375 million.

“This is a significant settlement,” Staver told PJ Media. “3.375 million dollars, and it did not even go to litigation; it was a result of a demand letter.”

Importantly, “the allegations that were at issue here were very similar to the allegations against the other groups,” the Liberty Counsel chairman explained. “The SPLC promotes false propaganda, demonizes and labels groups they disagree with, and that labeling has economic as well as physical consequences.”

The SPLC started as a group to oppose racist terrorism, and its first legal action targeted the Ku Klux Klan. In recent decades, the organization has begun marking mainstream organizations as “hate groups” on par with the KKK. Last year, 47 nonprofit leaders denounced the SPLC’s “hate list” in an open letter to the media. The SPLC has admitted that its “hate group” list is based on “opinion.”

Staver insisted that the settlement with Nawaz “will encourage further legal action.” He suggested that the settlement “helps our lawsuit against GuideStar” and may encourage organizations that were considering suing the SPLC to actually file the paperwork.

“There are probably about 60 organizations that we’re talking to — there’s at least 60,” Staver told PJ Media. He mentioned the group of 47 nonprofit leaders who denounced the SPLC last year, and said “that group has grown since then.”

Furthermore, many of the “hate groups” attacked by the SPLC do not encourage hate or violence, but merely disagree with the left-wing organization’s political views. Many — like the Family Research Council (FRC), the Ruth Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — merely stand for marriage as between one man and one woman. The SPLC has twisted 30-year-old arguments to smear these groups, and in one egregious case the group actually quoted as hateful the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Other organizations attacked by the SPLC also told PJ Media they are “considering their options” regarding a lawsuit.

“Truthfully, I have not been following the activities of the SPLC too closely,” Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, an organization that lost its credit card processor, Vanco Payments, over the SPLC’s “hate group” labeling last year, told PJ Media. “Pursuing our mission is more important than attempting to take on the behemoth of the SPLC.”

“I must say, though, this apology to Mr. Nawaz has caused us to consider our options,” Morse added, cryptically.

“We are reviewing all our legal options,” J.P. Duffy, a spokesman for the Family Research Council, told PJ Media on Tuesday.

A spokesman for Prager University, another organization attacked by the SPLC, said that “at this point” the group had “no intention to sue,” but they “reserve the right to change their mind as the situation evolves.”

Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), echoed this trend, saying his organization is “evaluating all our options,” including a potential lawsuit.

“It’s appalling and offensive for the Southern Poverty Law Center to compare peaceful organizations which condemn violence and racism with violent and racist groups just because it disagrees with their views,” Tedesco told PJ Media. “That’s what SPLC did in the case of Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz, and that’s what it has done with ADF and numerous other organizations and individuals.”

“This situation confirms once again what commentators across the political spectrum have been saying for decades: SPLC has become a far-left organization that brands its political opponents as ‘haters’ and ‘extremists’ and has lost all credibility as a civil rights watchdog,” the ADF senior counsel added.

Tedesco defended the good name of Alliance Defending Freedom, which SPLC falsely maligns as a “hate group.” “With eight wins in the last seven years at the U.S. Supreme Court and hundreds of victories for free speech at America’s public universities, ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful legal advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life,” he said.

“SPLC’s partisan tactics and slander have ruinous, real-world consequences for which they should not be excused; we are evaluating all our options to defend the good name of ADF, including possible legal action,” Tedesco concluded.

Staver noted that the SPLC labels groups “in order to destroy them,” and he pointed out that that characterization comes from the SPLC’s own words. The Liberty Counsel chairman also referenced a terror attack inspired by the left-wing group’s “hate map.”

In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins III broke into the Family Research Council (FRC), aiming to kill everyone in the building. He admitted to targeting the FRC because the SPLC listed it as an “anti-gay group” on its “hate map.” That wasn’t the only incident connecting the SPLC with terror, however.

“Even the shooter last year in D.C. was a Facebook fan of the SPLC and the SPLC ran a false article saying [House Majority Whip] Steve Scaliese was a white supremacist,” Staver added. In a statement, Nawaz himself had highlighted the connection between the SPLC and James Hodgkinson, the Congressional Baseball Game shooter last summer.

“There are people out there that are unhinged. They go out and take action. They assume that somebody hates them,” the Liberty Counsel chairman explained. Due to these radical actors, “You have to be careful with your language. We can disagree but we can’t demonize one another. Certainly, do not do anything that would put somebody that you disagree with in physical danger.”

“The groups that we’re talking to, that have approached us, all of them oppose violence,” Staver said. “None of them advocate violence. They don’t agree with the SPLC on certain issues, but they oppose violence. They have no reason to hate anyone.”

It is hard to predict how a 60-party lawsuit against the SPLC’s “hate group” labeling would play out. D. James Kennedy Ministries, the Christian nonprofit that sued Amazon and the SPLC over the “hate group” defamation last year, reported in late May that a preliminary hearing on its case was a “positive development.”

Nawaz’s case may be unique, since it involved a devout Muslim slandered as an “anti-Muslim extremist.” Even so, the settlement does give grounds for hope, and the falsely labeled “hate groups” are considering their options.

Also see:

Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter all Work With the Left-Wing SPC

Daily Caller, by Peter Hasson, June 7, 2018:

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center helps Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter determine what organizations are “hate groups”
  • Amazon gave the SPLC the most direct authority while pretending to remain unbiased
  • The SPLC has been plagued by inaccuracies

Four of the world’s biggest tech platforms have working partnerships with a left-wing nonprofit that has a track record of inaccuracies and routinely labels conservative organizations as “hate groups.”

Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter all work with or consult the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in policing their platforms for “hate speech” or “hate groups,” a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.

The SPLC is on a list of “external experts and organizations” that Facebook works with “to inform our hate speech policies,” Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told TheDCNF in an interview.

Facebook consults the outside organizations when developing changes to hate speech policies, Budhraja said, noting that Facebook representatives will typically hold between one and three meetings with the groups.

Citing privacy concerns, the Facebook spokeswoman declined to name all the outside groups working with Facebook, but confirmed the SPLC’s participation.

Budhraja emphasized that Facebook’s definition of “hate group” is distinct from the SPLC’s definition and said that Facebook consults with groups across the political spectrum.

The SPLC accused Facebook in a May 8 article of not doing enough to censor “anti-Muslim hate” on the platform. That article did not disclose the SPLC’s working partnership with Facebook.

“We have our own process and our processes are different and I think that’s why we get the criticism [from the SPLC], because organizations that are hate organizations by their standards don’t match ours,” Budhraja said.

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a process in place, and that definitely doesn’t mean we want the platform to be a place for hate but we aren’t going to map to the SPLC’s list or process,” she said.

Of the four companies, Amazon gives the SPLC the most direct authority over its platform, TheDCNF found.

While Facebook emphasizes its independence from the SPLC, Amazon does the opposite: Jeff Bezos’ company grants the SPLC broad policing power over the Amazon Smile charitable program, while claiming to remain unbiased.

“We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman told TheDCNF.

Amazon grants the SPLC that power “because we don’t want to be biased whatsoever,” said the spokeswoman, who could not say whether Amazon considers the SPLC to be unbiased.

The Smile program allows customers to identify a charity to receive 0.5 percent of the proceeds from their purchases on Amazon. Customers have given more than $8 million to charities through the program since 2013, according to Amazon.

Only one participant in the program, the SPLC, gets to determine which other groups are allowed to join it.

Christian legal groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom — which recently successfully represented a Christian baker at the Supreme Court — are barred from the Amazon Smile program, while openly anti-Semitic groups remain, TheDCNF found in May. (RELATED: Christian Baker Prevails At Supreme Court In Same-Sex Wedding Cake Dispute)

One month later, the anti-Semitic groups — but not the Alliance Defending Freedom — are still able to participate in the program.

Twitter lists the SPLC as a “safety partner” working with Twitter to combat “hateful conduct and harassment.”

The platform also includes the Trust and Safety Council, which “provides input on our safety products, policies, and programs,” according to Twitter. Free speech advocates have criticized it as Orwellian.

A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment on the SPLC specifically, but said the company is “in regular contact with a wide range of civil society organizations and [nongovernmental organizations].”

Google uses the SPLC to help police hate speech on YouTube as part of YouTube’s “Trusted Flagger” program, The Daily Caller reported in February, citing a source with knowledge of the agreement. Following that report, the SPLC confirmed they’re policing hate speech on YouTube.

The SPLC and other third-party groups in the “Trusted Flagger” program work closely with YouTube’s employees to crack down on extremist content in two ways, according to YouTube.

First, the flaggers are equipped with digital tools allowing them to mass flag content for review by YouTube personnel. Second, the groups act as guides to YouTube’s content monitors and engineers who design the algorithms policing the video platform, but may lack the expertise needed to tackle a given subject.

The SPLC is one of over 300 government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the YouTube program, the vast majority of which remain hidden behind confidentiality agreements.

The SPLC has consistently courted controversy in publishing lists of “extremists” and “hate groups.” The nonprofit has been plagued by inaccuracies this year, retracting four articles in March and April alone.

The well-funded nonprofit, which did not return a request for comment, deleted three Russia-related articles in March after challenges to their accuracy followed by legal threats.

All three articles focused on drawing conspiratorial connections between anti-establishment American political figures and Russian influence operations in the United States.

The SPLC removed a controversial “anti-Muslim extremist” list in April, after British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz threatened to sue over his inclusion on the list. The SPLC had accused the supposed-extremists of inciting anti-Muslim hate crimes. (RELATED: SPLC Pulls Controversial ‘Anti-Muslim Extremist’ List After Legal Threats)

Somali-born women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali also made the list.

Ali, a victim of female genital mutilation who now advocates against the practice, is an award-winning human rights activist. But according to the SPLC’s since-deleted list, she was an “anti-Muslim extremist.”

Ali criticized Apple CEO Tim Cook in August 2017 for donating to the SPLC, which she described as “an organization that has lost its way, smearing people who are fighting for liberty and turning a blind eye to an ideology and political movement that has much in common with Nazism.”

Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is now the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was surprised to find out in February 2015 that the SPLC had placed him on an “extremist watch list” for his conservative beliefs.

“When embracing traditional Christian values is equated to hatred, we are approaching the stage where wrong is called right and right is called wrong. It is important for us to once again advocate true tolerance,” Carson said in response.

“That means being respectful of those with whom we disagree and allowing people to live according to their values without harassment,” he continued. “It is nothing but projectionism when some groups label those who disagree with them as haters.”

Following a backlash, the SPLC apologized and removed him from their list. Carson was on the list for four months before the SPLC removed the “extremist” label.

Floyd Lee Corkins, who attempted a mass shooting at the conservative Family Research Center in 2012, said he chose the organization for his act of violence because the SPLC listed them as a “hate group.”

The SPLC has faced tough criticisms not just from conservatives, but from establishment publications, as well.

“At a time when the line between ‘hate group’ and mainstream politics is getting thinner and the need for productive civil discourse is growing more serious, fanning liberal fears, while a great opportunity for the SPLC, might be a problem for the nation,” Ben Schreckinger, now with GQ, wrote in a June 2017 piece for Politico.

Washington Post Reporter Megan McArdle, while still reporting for Bloomberg, similarly criticized the SPLC’s flimsy definition of “hate group” in  September 2017. Media outlets who trust the SPLC’s labels, McArdle warned, “will discredit themselves with conservative readers and donors.”

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Southern Poverty Law Center Quietly Deleted List of ‘Anti-Muslim’ Extremists After Legal Threat

Maajid Nawaz on the April 18, 2018, edition of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. (via YouTube)

National Review, by Jack Crowe, April 19, 2018:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” from their website after attorneys for Maajid Nawaz, a practicing Muslim and prominent Islamic reformer, threatened legal action over his inclusion on the list.

The report, which had been active on the SPLC’s website since it was published in December 2016, was intended to serve as a resource for journalists to identify promoters of hateful propaganda; but it included a number of liberal reformers such as Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist who has since dedicated his life to combating the hateful ideology.

“A shocking number of these extremists are seen regularly on television news programs and quoted in the pages of our leading newspapers. There, they routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods, all designed to make Muslims appear as bloodthirsty terrorists or people intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms. More often than not, these claims go uncontested,” the report, which still exists in PDF form, reads.

Nawaz, who founded the anti-extremist think tank Quilliam, said during a Wednesday night appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, a popular podcast hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, that the report was removed from the SPLC website under legal threat sometime in the last two days.

“We have retained Clare Loch, they are writing to the Southern Poverty Law Center as we speak. I think they’ve got wind of it — the Southern Poverty Law Center — and as of yesterday, or the day before, they’ve removed the entire list that’s been up there for two years,” Nawaz said on the podcast.

Nawaz — informed by his experience as a former member of a global terror organization and a political prisoner in Egypt — routinely criticizes the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that gives rise to terrorism. As a result of that work, the SPLC and a coalition of partner organizations that helped create the list accused him of “savaging Islam.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born liberal feminist who fled her home country amid civil war and now works at the Hoover Institution, was also branded an “anti-Muslim extremist” by the SPLC.

Like Nawaz, Ali routinely criticizes inhumane practices that are common in majority-Muslim countries, including female genital mutilation, which she herself was subjected to before fleeing Somalia. The report branded her discussion of such topics “toxic.”

The inclusion of Nawaz and Ali on the “anti-Muslim extremist field guide” was the subject of criticism by conservative commentators and prompted a petition on Change.org, which drew thousands of signatures.

The SPLC did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

47 Nonprofit Leaders Denounce the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Hate List’ in Open Letter to the Media

SPLC Hate Map

PJ Media, by Tyler O’Neil, Sept. 6, 2017:

On Wednesday, 47 leaders of conservative nonprofits sent an open letter to the media warning against using the notorious “hate map” put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The leaders denounced any news organization that would cite the SPLC’s list of “extremists” and “hate groups” as if it carried moral authority. “The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left” and should be treated as such, the leaders wrote.

“To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism,” the leaders declared. “All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices.”

The letter addressed “Members of the Media” and strongly warned against the SPLC. The leaders characterized the organization as “a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.”

Leaders from across the nonprofit spectrum signed the letter, including: L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC); Frank Gaffney, president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy; Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel; Frank Wright, president and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries; Brigitte Gabriel, founder and chairman of ACT for America; J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation; Jennifer Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute; and Edwin Meese III, a distinguished fellow emeritus from the Heritage Foundation.

The leaders pinned the letter to the fifth anniversary of a terrorist attack inspired by the SPLC’s hate list. “On August 15, 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the Family Research Council offices in Washington, D.C. and shot and badly wounded its building manager, Leo Johnson, who stopped his intended killing spree,” the letter explained. “According to his own statements to the FBI, Corkins intended to kill everyone in the building, and then go on to terrorize additional organizations.”

As the letter noted, Corkins pled guilty to committing an act of terrorism and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During an FBI interrogation, he said he targeted the FRC because of the SPLC “hate map.”

“We believe the media outlets that have cited the SPLC in recent days have not intended to target mainstream political groups for violent attack, but by recklessly linking the Charlottesville melee to the mainstream groups named on the SPLC website — those that advocate in the courts, the halls of Congress, and the press for protection of conventional, Judeo-Christian values — we are left to wonder if another Floyd Lee Corkins will soon be incited to violence by this incendiary information,” the leaders wrote.

The letter did not mention the more tenuous — but still concerning — connection between the SPLC and Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson, the man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) this summer. Hodgkinson “liked” the SPLC on Facebook, and the SPLC had repeatedly attacked Scalise — even after he apologizedand distanced himself from the remarks that earned him a spot on the SPLC “extremist” list.

After mentioning Corkins, the letter went on to describe the history of the SPLC. Although the group “evolved from laudable origins battling the Klan in the 1970’s, the SPLC has realized the profitability of defamation, churning out fundraising letters, and publishing ‘hit pieces’ on conservatives to promote its agenda and pad its substantial endowment (of $319 million).”

“Anyone who opposes them, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives is slandered and slapped with the ‘extremist’ label or even worse, their ‘hate group’ designation,” the leaders wrote. “At one point, the SPLC even added Dr. Ben Carson to its ‘extremist’ list because of his biblical views (and only took him off the list after public outcry).”

Other recent examples also back up the argument that the SPLC is carless in its defamation. Just last week, the group removed the innocent historic town of Amana Colonies from its “hate map.” While the SPLC eventually removed Amana Colonies, it first defended the “hate” label because a white supremacist website claimed to have had a book club in one of the town’s restaurants.

In a series of three videos, the anti-terror group Quilliam International revealed the SPLC’s ever-changing reasons for listing Muslim Maajid Nawaz as an “anti-Muslim extremist.” One of the reasons the SPLC gave for targeting Nawaz? His visit to a strip club for his bachelor party.

Such errors are no laughing matter. Not only has CNN recently broadcast the SPLC’s “hate map” on its website and Twitter account (which still includes FRC, by the way), but two other major media outlets, ABC and NBC, parroted the SPLC’s “hate group” label against ADF last month.

Furthermore, some companies are already blacklisting any group on the SPLC “hate group” list. Vanco Payments just withdrew its service from the Ruth Institute, taking away that organization’s ability to process donations online.

More concerning are the contributions from big influential companies like J.P. Morgan ($500,000 to the SPLC) and Apple ($1 million, with other benefits, to the organization). Companies like Lyft and MGM Resorts have also partnered with the group, and many companies match employee contributions. Pfizer, Bank of America, and Newman’s Own have each contributed over $8,900 to the SPLC in recent years.

(The SPLC does not need this money, by the way. The Washington Free Beacon recently reported that the group sent multiple transactions to foreign entities, including two cash payments of $2.2 million into funds in the Cayman Islands. As the letter noted, the SPLC takes in $50 million in contributions each year, and had $328 million in net assets as of 2015.)

In June, the charity navigation website GuideStar adopted the SPLC “hate group” list, marking each profile of the targeted organizations as a “hate group.” This action inspired the first of three lawsuits against the SPLC, launched by the Christian nonprofit Liberty CounselMaajid Nawaz followed up with his own lawsuit soon after, and D. James Kennedy Ministries has been the most recent group to sue the SPLC for defamation.

In the case of D. James Kennedy Ministries, the group was denied access to Amazon Smile because it was on the SPLC’s “hate group” list.

The letter, which includes signatories from both Liberty Counsel and D. James Kennedy Ministries, insisted that the SPLC has been “discredited,” and it cited experts to back up that claim. Laird Wilcox, one of America’s genuine experts on political extremism, said the SPLC’s work was “completely unreliable.” The 47 nonprofit leaders also cited Ken Silverstein at Harper’s, who wrote that “the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used in behalf of poor people.”

In 2013, Secretary of the Army John McHugh dissociated his service from use of SPLC materials on two occasions. In March 2014, the FBI removed the SPLC from its list of “trusted resources” on its Hate Crimes page.

The letter concluded with a compelling hypothetical. “We wonder how the media would react if a corresponding situation arose on the center-right of the political spectrum,” the leaders wrote.

“Let’s assume that congressional debate were racing as to whether or not taxpayers should continue to fund Planned Parenthood, which receives about $500 million a year from Congress. If a national pro-life advocacy organization were to release a map with caricatures of abortionists and title it, ‘Here’s Where the Baby Killers are Located in Your State,’ would the media run the story? Would it reprint the map and discuss the location of these ‘pro-death’ doctors throughout the news day? Clearly, it would not.”

So why does the media prop up the SPLC? Why do Apple, J.P. Morgan, MGM Resorts, and other companies partner with the organization?

The letter was remarkably restrained, given the most recent map published by the SPLC. Last month, the group published a map of every single Confederate monument across the United States, but it did not just include monuments.

This Confederate “hate map” included elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The SPLC’s post publishing the map also warned of “turmoil and bloodshed” if Confederate monuments were not removed.

Now, such a map may not inspire a terror attack like that perpetrated by Floyd Lee Corkins at FRC, but it could easily inspire protests. Americans have seen recent protests against Confederate monuments break out into violence, and no kid deserves to walk to school amidst flying rocks, spraying mace, and the kinds of disruptions associated with “antifa” activists.

According to a recent poll, a plurality of Americans oppose companies going after conservative groups on the SPLC hate list. When asked if Internet companies like Paypal, Google, Facebook, and Twitter should use the SPLC list “as an excuse to censor or suppress mainstream and non-violent conservative groups by denying them access to their services,” more Americans said no (43 percent) than yes (32 percent). Many Americans frankly admitted they did not know (25 percent).

The media’s malpractice in reporting this story has already damaged public opinion, leading almost a third of Americans to support internet companies silencing conservative voices in the SPLC marks them as “hateful.” This letter could not come out fast enough.

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Southern Poverty Law Center Operates as a Terrorist Support Arm in the Counter-State

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Sept. 4, 2017:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a U.S. based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that claims to “battle racial and social injustice” in America, yet SPLC’s words and actions reveal it is a terrorist support organization which actively works to accelerate the Islamic and hard-left Counter-States in their goal of overthrowing the United States government.

As Understanding the Threat (UTT) consistently reports, the war in which we are engaged consists of two major Movements acting as “Counter-States” to the United States of America;  The Global Islamic Movement and the hard-left Marxist/Communist/Socialist Movement.

This is a war primarily fought in the Information Battlespace where Propaganda, Influence Operations and Political Warfare are the key lines of operation.

Political Warfare is defined as the synchronization of non-violent and violent actions in support of the strategy.  The “victim/grievance creation” tactic used by the Islamic and hard-left Movements is Political Warfare at its finest.

Both the Islamic and hard-left Movements take a series of actions within their strategies to create the illusion of unjust wrongs, and then work within communities to redress these “wrongs.”  In all cases, the actions of redressing of “wrongs” advance the ultimate goal of destroying the underpinnings of our nation which will necessarily lead to the overthrow of the United States system of government.

One example in the Islamic Movement is when suit-wearing jihadis’ claims “terrorist attacks” create “backlash” against the Islamic community which necessitates law enforcement, churches, synagogues, political leaders, and others to take actions to “protect” muslims.

The violent jihadis thus work with the non-violent jihadis to create more room for the Islamic Movement to operate and gain ground.

Similarly, the hard-left Marxist/Communist/Socialist Movement create a straw-man by grossly exaggerating the racist problem in America and likening anyone who speaks truth about SPLC-protected groups as “racist” in order to destroy their ability to operate in the public arena.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s spokesman, Mark Potok, who just retired this year after 20 years with the SPLC, made clear why the SPLC created and keeps current their “Hate Map.”  At a 2008 speech in Vermont, the SPLC’s Potok explained:

“We see this political struggle…We’re not trying to change anybody’s mind.  We’re trying to wreck the groups.  We’re trying to destroy them…You are able to destroy these groups sometimes by the things you publish.  It is not so much that they will bring down the police or the federal agents on their head, it’s that you can sometimes so mortally embarrass these groups that they will be destroyed.”

At a speech in Michigan in 2007, the SPLC’s Spokesman Mark Potok said, “I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups (SPLC “Hate” groups), completely destroy them.”

It was reported this week by the Washington Freebeacon that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s business income tax return from 2015 and other records from 2014 show the SPLC has “financial interests” in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda, and has moved millions of dollars overseas into unregistered accounts.

These are strange transactions for a U.S.-based non-profit organization, unless it is actually a propaganda and political warfare arm of a hostile Counter-State actor.

The article also noted that SPLC leaders Richard Cohen and Morris Dees are paid nearly $330,000 per year for leading the SPLC, a non-profit organization.

None of this activity is shocking for those who know the Southern Poverty Law Center is an advocate for terrorist organizations like Hamas.  The SPLC regularly defends and advocates for the terrorist group Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Examples of SPLC defending/advocating for Hamas (dba CAIR) can be found herehere and here.

At no point has the Southern Poverty Law Center ever published the evidence regarding CAIR revealing it was created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee (Hamas) to be a node for Hamas in America.

In the war in which the U.S. is engaged domestically against the Islamic and hard-left Counter-States, the SPLC is engaged supporting both enemy entities in the propaganda and political warfare spheres, which makes them a hostile entity against the United States in this war.

The SPLC cannot feign ignorance.  SPLC’s President Richard Cohen sat next to UTT’s Vice President Chris Gaubatz in 2016 during Mr. Gaubatz’s testimony before Senator Ted Cruz’s Committee when Mr. Gaubatz detailed the threat of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas (dba CAIR).

Chris Gaubatz posed as a converted muslim and went undercover at Hamas headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Council on American Islamic Relations), removing over 12,000 documents from their offices and obtaining 300 hours of covert audio and video recordings.

SPLC’s Richard Cohen (left) listening to UTT’s Chris Gaubatz discuss the activities of Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

See Chris Gaubatz’s 7 minutes of testimony here.

The SPLC lies, deceives, and obfuscates the truth about the jihadi threat to America because it is participating in its advancement and the advancement of the Islamic and hard-left Counter-States.

The SPLC should be investigated for its irregular financial activities, its support for terrorists, and for participating in actions taken by hostile entities to overthrow the United States government.

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