Some critical correspondence about the Southern Poverty Law Center



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Some critical correspondence about the Southern Poverty Law Center


this note is posted at: http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-12-18.rtf
Subject: Where Anti-Immigrant Zealots Like Lou Dobbs Get Their “Facts”

From: JJ Barrera <jjbarrer@austin.rr.com>

Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 06:26:40 -0600

To: Rodriguez Gustavo <gustavorodriguezband@yahoo.com>

BCC: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

 

http://www.alternet.org/story/70489/

Where Anti-Immigrant Zealots Like Lou Dobbs Get Their ‘Facts’

By Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Report. Posted December 17, 2007.

The media keeps turning to racist group FAIR for its “expertise.”

 

The forces seeking to sharply reduce the number of immigrants coming to America won a stunning victory last June, when nativist anger at an “amnesty” for the undocumented scuttled . . .



________________________________________

Oaxaca, Tuesday 18 December 2007

Dear Jean-Jacques,


      Thanks for your e-mail yesterday with the article on nativist (i.e. we hate immigrants) groups by Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This note is to suggest caution regarding the SPLC, an organization I have come to partially distrust. When I saw that Alternet had simply reprinted the article from the SPLC site I went to look at the original and at some of Beirich’s other articles there. The link to Heidi Beirich on the Alternet site brings up five of her articles, in particular:

 

1. Where Anti-Immigrant Zealots Like Lou Dobbs Get Their ‘Facts' The media keeps turning to racist group FAIR for its “expertise.” Alternet post 12-17-2007. SPLC title, “The Teflon Nativists: FAIR Marked by Ties to White Supremacy”, posted at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=846 .

 

2. The Paranoid Style: Xenophobic Conspiracy Theories Explored The far right has always been given to the paranoia of conspiracy theories. Here's a rundown on the two that xenophobes are currently obsessed with: the ‘North American Union’ and the Plan de Aztlan. Alternet post 07-19-2007.

SPLC title, “Paranoid Style Redux: Nativist Conspiracy Theories Explored”, posted at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=797 .

 

3. California Professor Is Font of Anti-Semitism A multiracial Southern California campus would seem to be the last place to find a tried and true anti-Semite and white supremacist lecturing, but it's where Kevin B. MacDonald, “Marx of the anti-Semites” has a teaching post. Alternet post 05-03-2007.



SPLC title, “Promoting Hate: California Professor is Font of Anti-Semitism”, posted at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/news/item.jsp?site_area=1&aid=252 .

 

4. Where Mel Gibson Got His Anti-Semitism Numbering near 100,000, radical traditionalist Catholics, who reject the teachings of the modern papacy, may form America's largest group of anti-Semites. Alternet post 01-27-2007.



SPLC title, “The New Crusaders: The radical traditionalist Catholics, who reject the teachings of the modern papacy, may form America's largest group of anti-Semites”,.posted at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=719 .

 

5. A Split In the Racist Right A rift has opened between those who see blacks, Hispanics and Muslims as the primary enemy, and those who blame Jews for every evil. Alternet post 08-16-2006.



SPLC title, “Irreconcilable Differences: A schism over anti-Semitism threatens a key ‘white nationalist’ group. The outcome could be critical to the radical right, (by Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok), posted at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=644 .
 

      I had for many years been a regular supporter of the SPLC, and remain enthusiastic about its Teaching Tolerance Project. However, 1998 marked my last annual contribution. I had become aware of its incessant promotion of the idea that anti-Semitism and related hate actions were rising at an alarming rate. I think this was most likely a deliberate decision of SPLC motivated by a desire to raise funds for the Center, which seems to have received substantial gifts from Jewish donors. Based upon what I know, both from personal experience and from what I’ve read, my impression is that Jews in the U.S. are probably the ethnic minority least discriminated against. Undoubtedly there are virulently anti-Semitic groups as well as groups virulently anti-Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and so on. But to read about all the unsavory individuals ad nauseam, as in the article you just sent me on FAIR, does not advance our understanding of the fundamental reasons underlying all the hatreds.

 

      My understanding of why the SPLC operates at what I see as an ideologically superficial level is that as part of the dominant system it accepts as legitimate the entire governing structure and the economic system of capitalism. Within that perspective it, for example, does not challenge the FBI (part of the oppressive apparatus of the state) but rather appeals to it to enforce the law. Someone like Leonard Peltier, clearly a political prisoner illegally extradited from Canada on the basis of FBI lies and subjected to a shameful trial, will die in prison without the SPLC breathing a sigh on his behalf. If American Indians were able to contribute to the SPLC as American Jews do, it would be a different story, I believe. Likewise with Mumia Abu-Jamal and American Blacks. My take on the SPLC is that much of what they say is factually correct but they also are opportunistic and quite ready to align themselves with dishonest groups when it serves their interest to do so. For now I’ll limit myself to a few remarks.


1. The individuals Beirich discusses in this article are not to be condoned. However, it’s significant that she neglects (I think deliberately) to ask such revealing questions as, “Why does FAIR get so much favorable and dishonest coverage in the ‘mainstream’ media? And why is congress so open to its proffered ‘expertise’?” To ask these questions would set her (and SPLC) in opposition to the dominant social/economic/political forces. So she avoids them like the plague. It’s safer to expose some relatively powerless ignoratnt bigots who unwittingly do the empire’s work by stirring up hatreds and divisiveness than to take on the real power structure.
 2. In this piece Beirich again lines up with the dominant sectors, heaping scorn on Americans who, she mocks, “have always been given to conspiracy theories”, throwing out as one example of their mistaken beliefs “the assassination of President Kennedy”. She complains that “wild-eyed and unsubstantiated theories have been part and parcel of the American political experience.” I doubt that she’s ignorant enough to believe that the bullet from Oswald’s old Italian Carcano hunting rifle managed to pursue the fatal trajectory the Warren Commission assigned it. Why is she, or anyone surprised that in a nation governed by murderous liars who conspire continuously, and who are aided by the so-called ‘third estate’ (headed by The New York Times) that ordinary people try to dope out what’s really going on? We would be idiots if we didn’t. If she were trustworthy she would be demanding an open, honest society instead of mocking everyday people purposely left in the dark by the ruling scum.

Her principal target in this revealing piece relates to the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) signed by the US president, Canadian prime minister and Mexican president on March 23, 2005, at a meeting in Waco, Texas, which, she writes, “set up a series of working groups to study cooperation in transportation, energy, aviation, the environment and more. Most people familiar with the SPP understand that it is a benign and slow-moving attempt to coordinate trade and security policies in a bid to improve the lives of citizens in all three countries.” (emphasis added) Yes indeed, she actually wrote that nonsense. The notion that this is part of the neo-liberal project to facilitate continued rapacious growth of giant capitalism in the Americas is, to her benighted consciousness, pure off-the-wall conspiracy theory. The fact that the nativist crazies are opposed to it for invalid reasons such as nationalism, racism and ra-ra patriotism doesn’t validate her apparent ready blindness to the thrust of global capitalism.


3. I first read this article about Kevin B. MacDonald almost eight months ago, when I wrote him as follows:

Subject: A request for information

Date: Sat, 05 May 2007 18:55:20 -0500

To: Kevin B. MacDonald

I have become engaged in the struggle to prevent the destruction of Palestinian society by the Jewish state of Israel, as my website attests.

The other day I learned of an attack on you by the so-called Intelligence Report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. An article (actually excerpts) had been posted on the Science for the People Discussion listserv by Phil Gasper on 3 May. My caustic comments on the article are below, as they appear on the Science for the People Discussion website on 4 May.

Aside from the obvious effort to smear you by Heidi Beirich, my question is whether there are significant factual errors in her article.

Please be assured that although I completely disagree with the notion of a genetic predisposition of Jews (or any ethnic group) to any particular social behavior, I am not asking for information for the purpose of attacking you. I say this in view of the statement in the excerpt posted by Phil Gasper, “MacDonald refused repeated requests from the Report for comment over the course of several months, writing on his personal website that he had “no confidence” that he would be treated in a “non-biased way.” I think you were correct in that judgment.

----My caustic comments----

As it happens, just last night I finished reading Norman G. Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah. I've been trying to focus more on the struggle in Oaxaca, but keep getting dragged back into ‘The Jewish Question'. So I went to the link in the article Phil Gasper posted and read the “Intelligence Report” article in its entirety. It's at

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=741 . The “Intelligence Report” is one of the projects of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

      The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), started by attorney Morris Dees, is an organization of which I used to think very highly, say ten to twelve years ago. Until 1998 I was a regular annual contributor, but not since then. This smear job by Heidi Beirich is of a piece with what I would now expect from the SPLC. She doesn't even miss telling us the very revealing piece of information that Kevin MacDonald grew up in the state whose junior senator (Joe McCarthy) was busy attacking supposed Communists as un-American. Of course not a few of them were Jewish. With such a background naturally MacDonald became a ‘Font of Anti-Semitism'.

      As a non-profit organization the SPLC's major interest is in obtaining funding, which makes it quite selective in choosing what to do. Exposing anti-semitism is a great activity for attracting contributions from well-to-do Jewish people. Since I've not been getting SPLC publications for almost a decade I don't really know whether they are busy now fighting for the rights of the most oppressed in America, say Indians (Leonard Peltier), Black Panthers (Mumia Abu-Jamal), Chicano wetbacks, and so on, but I tend to doubt it. I don't know of Dees (or any SPLC attorneys) ever tackling the FBI's Cointelpro operation.

      Of course I think Kevin MacDonald is way off base in believing that Jews are genetically predisposed to be destructive of Western Civilization. Just like Richard Herrnstein, when he was the chairman of the Psychology department at Harvard was absurdly off base when he argued in his infamous I.Q. article in the “Atlantic” that the U.S. is a ‘meritocracy'. About all I can say for MacDonald, in contrast to Herrnstein, is that he's not pandering to the ruling class. The evil of Sociobiology, largely legitimized as a so-called scientific discipline in those hallowed halls of Harvard, is alive and thriving.

----end of My caustic comments----
MacDonald replied,

Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 08:01:43 -0700
Mr. Salzman: The reason I didn't have confidence in Beirich is that they had already published things about me that weren't true and they wouldn't retract them when I called them on it. Obviously, it was reasonable for me to refuse an interview with her. See: http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/Beirich.htm Regarding your other point, my theory emphasizes Jewish culture, not Jewish genetics as influencing their behavior, although I do argue that Jewish culture has typically served the interests of Jewish peoplehood and there is definitely a genetic basis for that. I have an enormous amount of writing on my website on those points. Kevin M
I wrote back,

Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 14:15:34 -0500

      I read through the posted material to which you referred me in justification for your refusing an interview by Heidi Beirich. I strongly differ with you on a substantial number of issues that to me are fundamental, but I believe the effort to smear you (by her and others) is not less reprehensible than the effort to smear Norman G. Finkelstein. My position is that your ideas should be challenged by those who disagree with them ... but not by attacking you personally or even professionally ... some of what you have to say may be correct and valuable.


On re-reading Beirich’s article today, I remain convinced that it is a despicable smear job.
4. Beirich’s article on so-called radical traditionalist Catholics is yet another foray into the world of virulent anti-Semitism within the U.S. I found the information on Mel Gibson’s background and on the Jew-hating Catholic faction interesting.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Where Anti-Immigrant Zealots Like Lou Dobbs Get Their “Facts”

From: JJ Barrera <jjbarrer@austin.rr.com>

Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2007 06:26:40 -0600

To: Rodriguez Gustavo <gustavorodriguezband@yahoo.com>

BCC:George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>
http://www.alternet.org/story/70489/

Where Anti-Immigrant Zealots Like Lou Dobbs Get Their ‘Facts'



By Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Report. Posted December 17, 2007.

The media keeps turning to racist group FAIR for its “expertise.”

 

The forces seeking to sharply reduce the number of immigrants coming to America won a stunning victory last June, when nativist anger at an “amnesty” for the undocumented scuttled a major bipartisan immigration reform package backed by President Bush. Many members of Congress were completely unprepared for the flood of angry E-mails, phone calls and faxes they received -- an inundation so massive that the phone system collapsed under the weight of more than 400,000 faxes.



 

They should not have been surprised. The furious nativist tide was largely driven by an array of immigration restriction organizations that has been built up over the course of more than 20 years into fixtures in the nation's capital.

 

The vast majority of these groups were founded or funded by John Tanton, a major architect of the contemporary nativist movement who, 20 years ago, was already warning of a destructive “Latin onslaught” heading to the United States. Most of these organizations used their vast resources in the days leading up to a vote on the bill to stir up a nativist backlash that ultimately resulted in its death.



 

At the center of the Tanton web is the nonprofit Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the most important organization fueling the backlash against immigration. Founded by Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. Just last February, FAIR President Dan Stein sought “advice” from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.

 

FAIR officials declined repeated requests for comment.



 

None of this -- or any other material evidencing the bigotry and racism that courses through the group -- seems to have affected FAIR's media standing. In just the first 10 months of 2007, the group was quoted in mainstream media outlets nearly 500 times with virtually no mention of its more unsavory aspects. Stein was featured on CNN's “Lou Dobbs Tonight” at least 12 times in the same period, along with countless appearances on other television news shows. And, perhaps most remarkably of all, FAIR has been taken seriously by Congress, which has called upon its officials to testify on immigration more than 30 times since 2000.

 

“The sad fact is that attempts to reform our immigration system are being sabotaged by organizations fueled by hate,” said Henry Fernandez, a senior fellow and expert on immigration at the Center for American Progress, a “progressive” think tank. “Many anti-immigrant leaders have backgrounds that should disqualify them from even participating in mainstream debate, yet the American press quotes them without ever noting their bizarre and often racist beliefs.”



 

The Founder: Early Hints

 

For decades, John Tanton has operated a nativist empire out of his U.S. Inc. foundation's headquarters in Petoskey, Mich. Even as he simultaneously runs his own hate group -- The Social Contract Press, listed for many years by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its anti-Latino and white supremacist writings -- Tanton has remained the house intellectual for FAIR. In fact, U.S. Inc. bankrolls much of FAIR's lobbying activity and, at least until 2005, Tanton ran its Research and Publications Committee, the group that fashions and then disseminates FAIR's position papers. In its 2004 annual report, FAIR highlighted its own main ideologue, singing Tanton's praises for “visionary qualities that have not waned one bit.”



 

But what, exactly, is Tanton's vision?

 

As long ago as 1988, when a series of internal 1986 documents known as the WITAN memos were leaked to the press, Tanton's bigoted attitudes have been known. In the memos, written to colleagues on the staff of FAIR, Tanton warned of a coming “Latin onslaught” and worried that high Latino birth rates would lead “the present majority to hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile.” Tanton repeatedly demeaned Latinos in the memos, asking whether they would “bring with them the tradition of the mordida [bribe], the lack of involvement in public affairs” and also questioning Latinos’ “educability.”



 

Echoing his 19th-century nativist forebears who feared Catholic immigrants from Italy and Ireland, Tanton has often attacked Catholics in terms not so different from those used by the Klan and the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s. In the WITAN memos, for instance, he worried that Latino immigrants would endanger the separation of church and state and undermine support for public schooling. Never one to miss a threatening and fertile Catholic, Tanton even reminded his colleagues, “Keep in mind that many of the Vietnamese coming in are also Catholic.”

 

The leaked memos caused an uproar. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Walter Cronkite quit the board of a group Tanton headed, U.S. English, after the memos became public in 1988. U.S. English Executive Director Linda Chavez -- a former Reagan Administration official and, later, a conservative commentator -- also left, calling Tanton's views “anti-Hispanic, anti-Catholic and not excusable.”



 

In 1994, Tanton's Social Contract Press republished an openly racist French book, The Camp of the Saints, with Tanton writing that he was “honored” to republish the race war novel. What Tanton called a “prescient” book describes the takeover of France by “swarthy hordes” of Indians, “grotesque little beggars from the streets of Calcutta,” who arrive in a desperate refugee flotilla. It attacks white liberals who, rather than turn the Indians away, “empty out all our hospital beds so that cholera-ridden and leprous wretches could sprawl between white sheets ... and cram our nurseries full of monster children.” It explains how, after the Indians take over France, white women are sent to a “whorehouse for Hindus.” In an afterword special to Tanton's edition of the novel, author Jean Raspail wrote about his fears that “the proliferation of other races dooms our race, my race, to extinction.”

 

Tanton's view of the book he published? “We are indebted to Jean Raspail for his insights into the human condition, and for being 20 years ahead of this time. History will judge him more kindly than have some of his contemporaries.”



 

Tanton has repeatedly suggested that racial conflict will be the outcome of immigration, saying in the WITAN memos that “an explosion” could be the result of whites’ declining “power and control over their lives.” More than a decade later, in 1998, he made a similar point in an interview with a reporter, suggesting that whites would inevitably develop a racial consciousness because “most people don't want to disappear into the dustbin of history.” Tanton added that once whites did become racially conscious, the result would be “the war of each against all.”

 

In 1997, Tanton spelled out his views on the inevitability of immigration overwhelming American whites. “In the bacteriology lab, we have culture plates,” he explained. “You put a bug in there and it starts growing and gets bigger and bigger. And it grows until it finally fills the whole plate. And it crashes and dies.”



 

The Founder's Friends

 

It's no surprise that Tanton employs people with similar views. His long-time deputy, for example, is Wayne Lutton, who works out of Tanton's Petoskey offices and edits the journal, The Social Contract, published by Tanton's press. Lutton is not just linked to white supremacist ideas, many of which he publishes in his journal -- he has actually held leadership positions in four white nationalist hate groups: the Council of Conservative Citizens, the National Policy Institute, and The Occidental Quarterly and American Renaissance, both racist publications. Lutton has written for the Journal of Historical Review, which specializes in Holocaust denial. Early on, Lutton and Tanton collaborated on The Immigration Invasion, a nativist screed that has been seized by Canadian border officials as hateful contraband.



 

Under Lutton's editorial leadership, Tanton's journal has published dozens of articles from prominent white supremacists. One special issue was even devoted to the theme of “Europhobia: The Hostility Toward European-Descended Americans” and featured a lead article from John Vinson, head of the Tanton-backed hate group, the American Immigration Control Foundation. Vinson argued that multiculturalism was replacing “successful Euro-American culture” with “dysfunctional Third World cultures.” Tanton elaborated in his own remarks, decrying the “unwarranted hatred and fear” of whites that he blamed on “multiculturalists” and immigrants.

 

Presumably, these articles and more are well known to Stein, the president of FAIR -- until 2003, he was an editorial adviser to The Social Contract. And Stein had lots of company. FAIR board members Sharon Barnes and Diana Hull also have been on the journal's board of editorial advisers. FAIR's current media director, Ira Mehlman, was an adviser in 2001 and 2002, and his essay, “Grand Delusions: Open Borders Will Destroy Society,” was published in the journal's pages. Today, FAIR still advertises The Social Contract on its website, saying the journal “offers in-depth studies on immigration, population, language, assimilation, environment, national unity and balance of individual rights and civil responsibilities.”



 

So where does FAIR stand on the matter of Tanton's views? The group has never criticized or sought distance from its founder. In 2004, in fact, Stein insisted that Tanton “never asserted the inferiority or superiority of any racial, ethnic or religious group. Never.” The same year, FAIR hosted a gala event honoring Tanton for his 25 years of service. To this day, Tanton remains on FAIR's board.

 

The Eugenics Connection



 

Probably the best-known evidence of FAIR's extremism is its acceptance of funds from a notorious, New York City-based hate group, the Pioneer Fund. In the mid-1980s, when FAIR's budgets were still in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the group reached out to Pioneer Fund, which was established in 1937 to promote the racial stock of the original colonists, finance studies of race and intelligence, and foster policies of “racial betterment.” (Pioneer has concentrated on studies meant to show that blacks are less intelligent than whites, but it has also backed nativist groups like ProjectUSA, run by former FAIR board member Craig Nelsen.)

 

The Pioneer Fund liked what it saw and, between 1985 and 1994, disbursed about $1.2 million to FAIR. In 1997, when the Phoenix New Times confronted Tanton about the matter, he “claimed ignorance about the Pioneer Fund's connection to numerous researchers seemingly intent on proving the inferiority of blacks, as well as its unsavory ties to Nazism.” But he sounded a different tune in 2001, when he insisted that he was “comfortable being in the company of other Pioneer Fund grantees.” Today, Tanton's defense is that he is no different than the “open borders crowd” that accepts money from the liberal Ford Foundation, which was founded by Henry Ford, the anti-Semitic auto manufacturer. What he ignores is that the Ford Foundation, unlike the Pioneer Fund, is not promoting racist ideas.



 

Some have called for FAIR to return the Pioneer money, but that has not happened. In fact, when asked about it in 1993, Stein told a reporter, “My job is to get every dime of Pioneer's money.” One reason for Stein's lack of hesitation may be that FAIR has long been interested in the pseudo-science of eugenics.

 

One of FAIR's long-time leaders, and a personal hero to Tanton, is the late Garrett Hardin, a committed eugenicist and for years a professor of human ecology at the University of California. Hardin, who died in 2003, was himself a Pioneer Fund grantee, using the fund's money to expand his 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” In it, Hardin wrote, “Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.”



 

Race War and the Duty to Die

That was the least of it. In a 1992 interview with Omni magazine, Hardin said he supported infanticide -- “A fetus is of so little value, there's no point worrying about it” -- as “effective population control.” He argued the Third World is filled with “the next generation of breeders” who need to be stopped. He discouraged aid to starving Africans because that would only “encourage population growth.”

 

Hardin wasn't alone. A current FAIR board member, three-time Democratic governor of Colorado Richard Lamm, sounded a similar theme in 1984, while still governor, saying “terminally ill people have a duty to die and get out of the way.”



 

Like Tanton, Lamm seems to fear a coming race war. In his futuristic 1985 novel, Megatraumas: America at the Year 2000, Lamm sketches it out like this: “[O]ur lack of control of our borders allowed 2 million legal and illegal immigrants to settle in the United States every year. That caused unemployment to rise to 15.2 percent by 1990 and 19.1 percent this year. ... [T]he rash of firebombings throughout the Southwest, and the three-month siege of downtown San Diego in 1998 were all led by second-generation Hispanics, the children of immigrants.”

 

As late as 2004, Lamm was sounding similar racial fears, telling a reporter that “new cultures” in the U.S. “are diluting what we are and who we are.”



 

For his part, Stein was asked about Hardin's belief that only “intelligent people” should breed for an editorial by Tucker Carlson in the 1997 Wall Street Journal. “Yeah, so what?” Stein replied. “What is your problem with that?”

 

After Hardin's death, John Tanton created in honor of his mentor a group called The Garrett Hardin Society, devoted to “the preservation of [Hardin's] writings and ideas.” On the society's board are Tanton, Wayne Lutton and U.S. Inc.'s recently appointed chief executive, John Rohe, the author of an adoring 2002 biography of Tanton and his wife that reads like the life of a saint.



 

Hiring Haters

 

In late 2006, FAIR hired as its western field representative, a key organizing position, a man named Joseph Turner. Turner was likely attractive to FAIR because he wrote what turned out to be a sort of model anti-illegal immigrant ordinance for the city of San Bernardino, Calif. Based on Turner's work, FAIR wrote a version of the law that is now promoted to many other cities. (The law almost certainly violates the Constitution, but that has not stopped many municipalities’ interest.)



 

But there was more to Turner than FAIR let on. In 2005, Turner had created, and then led, a nativist group called Save Our State. The group was remarkable for its failure to disassociate itself from the neo-Nazi skinheads who often joined its rallies -- something that virtually all other nativist groups, worried about bad publicity, worked hard to do. Save Our State's electronic bulletin board, too, was remarkable for the racist vitriol that frequently appeared there.

 

It was in that forum that Turner made one of his more controversial remarks, amounting to a defense of white separatism. “I can make the argument that just because one believes in white separatism that that does not make them a racist,” Turner wrote in 2005. “I can make the argument that someone who proclaims to be a white nationalist isn't necessarily a white supremacist. I don't think that standing up for your ‘kind’ or ‘your race’ makes you a bad person.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed Save Our State as a hate group since it appeared in 2005.



 

Turner's predecessor in the FAIR organizing post, Rick Oltman, was cut from the same cloth. Oltman has been described as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) in the publications of that hate group, which is directly descended from the segregationist White Citizens Councils and has described blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.” He has spoken at at least one of the CCC's conferences and has taken part in one of its rallies. And he wasn't alone.

 

According to the CCC newsletter, FAIR's longtime associate director, Dave Ray, was scheduled to speak at another CCC event. And, in September 2002, FAIR Eastern Regional Coordinator Jim Stadenraus participated in an anti-immigration conference on Long Island, N.Y., with Jared Taylor. Taylor is both a CCC member and the founder of the racist eugenicist publication, American Renaissance.



 

FAIR has also produced programming featuring hate group leaders linked to the CCC. According to the anti-racist Center for New Community, FAIR's now defunct television production, “Borderline,” featured interviews with Taylor and Sam Francis, who edited the CCC's newsletter until his death in 2005.

 

Donald Collins, a member of both FAIR's board of directors and its board of advisers, has his own ties to white supremacy. Collins posts frequently to a hate website called Vdare.com, which is named after Virginia Dare (said to be the first white child born in the New World) and publishes the work of white supremacists and anti-Semites. Collins also has been published in The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, a periodical run by longtime academic racist Roger Pearson. (Pearson founded the Eugenics Society in 1963 and worked with at least one former SS officer in England. He is also the recipient of several Pioneer Fund grants.)



 

Several of Collins’ articles have attacked Catholics and their church for their pro-immigrant stances. In one, he accused Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahony of selling out his country “in exchange for more temporal power and glory.” Collins has also accused Catholic bishops of “infiltrating and manipulating the American political process” in order to undermine the separation of church and state.

 

Collins is not FAIR's only link to the Vdare.com hate site. Joe Guizzardi, a member of FAIR's board of advisers, is the editor of Vdare.com. He writes there frequently about how Latin American immigrants come to the United States in order to “reconquer” it -- a conspiracy theory pushed by numerous hate groups.



 

Bad Press

 

By and large, FAIR has escaped negative publicity, generally being depicted as a mainstream critic of American immigration policy. But there are exceptions.



 

In 2000, FAIR ran ads opposing the reelection of Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), a Lebanese American who defeated Tanton in the primaries, because he had supported issuing more visas for immigrants with high-tech skills. The ads featured side-by-side photos of Abraham and Osama bin Laden and this question: “Why is Senator Abraham trying to make it easier for terrorists like Osama bin Laden to export their war of terror to any city street in America?” The ads also accused the senator of pushing a bill that would “take American jobs. Our jobs.”

 

The ads produced an immediate controversy, and a staunch conservative, Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), quit FAIR in protest. Under attack, Stein insisted the ads weren't racist and later claimed that he'd thought Abraham was Jewish.



 

That same year, FAIR helped fund ads in Iowa that were rejected as “borderline racist” by the general manager of WHO-TV in Des Moines. When the same ads appeared in Nebraska, Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, lost his temper. “The trash that this crowd puts out is just beyond terrible,” Hagel said.

 

Four years later in Texas, the Coalition for the Future of the American Worker -- a FAIR front group designed to look like it represents labor interests -- ran ads heavy on images of dark-skinned men loitering on corners and running from police cars. One of the ad's prime targets, Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas), condemned the ads as racist. His Republican challenger, Pete Sessions, found them so repugnant that he joined Frost in calling for them to be yanked off the air in their district.



 

In 2004, FAIR made an extremely unusual criticism of a fellow nativist, a woman named Virginia Abernethy who had just joined the national advisory board of Protect Arizona Now (PAN). PAN, aided by some $600,000 from FAIR, had worked to collect signatures for a referendum (which ultimately passed) to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote or signing up for public benefits. But as Election Day neared, newspapers trumpeted the revelation that PAN's new adviser was a self-declared “white separatist” who had long been active in the CCC.

 

FAIR reacted instantly with a pious press release denouncing “Abernethy's repulsive views.” The release left many scratching their heads -- FAIR, after all, had CCC members on its payroll, and any number of other ties to the group. Its own officials had in several cases endorsed similar separatist views. And Tanton, FAIR's founder and chief ideologue, was intimately familiar with Abernethy's work. After all, he had published her writings frequently in The Social Contract and his editor, Wayne Lutton, had shared the podium with Abernethy at forums of the CCC.



 

Whither FAIR?

 

Following the defeat of the bipartisan immigration package this summer, FAIR flew into action one more time. This time, it went after the DREAM Act, a widely supported, bipartisan bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant students accepted to college. FAIR was the key advocate for its defeat and, sure enough, the DREAM Act finally died this October.



 

Is this the future for FAIR? Will journalists, politicians and the general public continue to take the organization and its nativist propaganda seriously?

 

Dan Stein thinks so.



 

As he put it at FAIR's 25th anniversary celebration in 2004, just when the American nativist movement had begun to sense its own strength: “[T]oday,” he said, “as the country moves finally into a serious and realistic debate, the founders have created a mature and knowledgeable organization prepared to lead.”





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