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The Hate Report

The Hate Report: Weird that this keeps happening, right?

In early July, I started a Twitter experiment: Every time I came across an instance of convergence between the white supremacist movement and the Republican Party, I would tweet the link, always appending it with the phrase, “Weird that this keeps happening, right?”

My collection has stretched to include 61 stories. Because President Donald Trump gets plenty of attention for this already, this list excludes statements and policies coming from him.

I’ve catalogued 33 incidents of sitting GOP officials embracing white supremacists, nine cases of GOP officials spouting rhetoric echoing that of white supremacists, nine incidents of white supremacists running for elected office as Republicans and 10 cases of avowed white supremacists expressing strong support for Republican officials or the party’s agenda.

It began as a bit of a joke a rhetorical tweaking of the nose of the political party that, with Trump’s rise, seemed to be dipping into white nationalist rhetoric with increasing frequency. But as the thread grew, the humor quickly faded – news stories about GOP officials palling around with open white supremacists or engaging in rhetoric that wouldn’t seem out of place on a neo-Nazi web forum appeared on a near-daily basis.

The recent arrest of an alleged mail bomber in Florida and a massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh illustrate how this hateful rhetoric can manifest itself in on-the-ground violence against the antagonists of white supremacist rage.

Corey Stewart, a Republican who lost the Virginia Senate race last week, not only had a staffer participate in... Read More >

The Hate Report: Gab got shut down, but only after 11 people died

In this week’s roundup: Tech companies severed support with alt-right social media site Gab this week, but the site’s hateful content was well-known before the Pittsburgh massacre; how President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories help confuse and radicalize terrorists; and how to help victims of hate.

On Saturday morning, a man walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and opened fire. After about 20 minutes of shooting, he had killed 11 people, mostly elderly worshippers, in the worst anti-Semitic attack in the nation’s history. When SWAT teams arrived, the suspect — who police have identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers — returned fire before surrendering to police.

In the minutes before the attack, Bowers had posted three chilling words on his Gab account:

“I’m going in”

That Bowers chose Gab to announce his intention to attack Jews shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The alt-right social network, which we have been reporting on for almost a year, has managed to thrive by courting racists from across the world who were getting kicked off of Twitter and Facebook. Branding itself as a free speech haven, Gab has for months run a propaganda campaign aimed at attracting people exactly like Bowers.

By Tuesday, Gab had stopped functioning. The site’s hosting provider, Joyent, booted the site, as did payment processors PayPal and Stripe. On Sunday, Gab’s chief technology officer announced he was quitting the company. But the site’s founder, Andrew Torba, vowed to fight on: “GAB IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE,” he wrote... Read More >

The Hate Report: The federal government hasn’t abandoned fighting white supremacist terror

In the early months of President Donald Trump’s administration, there was a lot of controversy surrounding a Department of Homeland Security program called Countering Violent Extremism.

Now, almost two years later, we decided to check on the program to see how things have panned out.

First, some background: Last year, we showed how anti-hate groups had been stiffed out of millions of dollars by the program, which issues about $10 million in grants for grassroots organizations that work to deter people from joining extremist organizations, under the Trump administration.

Trump planned to rename the effort “Countering Islamic Extremism,” a move that mirrored the president and his closest advisers’ fiery rhetoric on Islam.

In response, in February 2017, a dozen Democratic senators expressed dismay at the changing direction of the program. They worried that taking the focus away from white supremacists and other homegrown extremists “would severely damage our credibility with foreign allies and partners as an honest broker in the fight against violent extremism, and prove divisive in communities across our country,” the senators wrote.

So what does the program look like now?

First, the program still is called Countering Violent Extremism. No name change. And the fear that the program would become exclusively obsessed with Islamic extremism doesn’t seem to have panned out.

Three recent Department of Homeland Security reports on the program stressed that many of the organizations that received grants target “all forms of violent extremism.” The reports also singled out two programs in Denver and Dearborn, Michigan, that... Read More >

The Hate Report: 3 takeaways from this week’s Charlottesville alt-right arrests

In this week’s roundup: Apple pulls an anti-Semitic app following our reporting, three takeaways from the Charlottesville terrorism case and more.

First, an update to last week’s Hate Report: After we wrote about the anti-kosher app KosChertified? and its corresponding anti-Semitic Twitter feed, Apple pulled the app from its App Store.

The KosChertified? Twitter account tweeted about being removed from the App Store the day after our story ran.

The app is still available on Google Play. We’ve reached out to Google to ask whether if the company plans to keep hosting the app.

Thanks again to our volunteer Hate Sleuths, who helped us find this story.

The Charlottesville charges

Four white nationalists were arrested this week and charged with traveling from California to Virginia last year with the intent of rioting at the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The men, identified as members or associates of a violent and racist Southern California-based group called the Rise Above Movement, are accused of rioting and attacking protesters in Charlottesville. The Rise Above Movement is a collective of white men who train in martial arts together and travel to attend political demonstrations.

The defendants – Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen and Cole Evan White – face up to 10 years in prison. But the charges brought against them have implications beyond their group or even their ideology.

Here are three additional takeaways from this week’s big news in hate:

  1. The Trump administration brought charges related to terrorism by white supremacists.

When Donald... Read More >

The Hate Report: The alt-right’s newest target is kosher products

The podcast ad starts breathlessly:

What I’m about to introduce you to is a segment of our food culture that has been kept so low profile to the American public that virtually no one is aware of how dominant it is on our refrigerator and cupboard shelves.

The mysterious culprit? Products certified as kosher.

This ad, for an app that helps you locate food that isn’t kosher-certified, provides an interesting view into the ads that help fund alt-right podcasts, and the extent to which conspiracy theories drive so much in the alt-right world.

The app is called KosChertified?, and it’s available on Apple’s App Store and Google Android.

The podcast, which we’re not naming because we don’t want to give it more publicity (if you want to know, just email me), has hosted the ad in at least one episode. It was sandwiched between hateful screeds about immigration in the United States and immigration in Europe.

Peter Jalajas, CEO of the company behind KosChertified?, said in an email that the app merely offers education to consumers. One of the websites promoting the app asks why consumers have been “kept in the dark” about kosher certification, and cautions ominously that “the tax exempt revenue flows to many programs and institutions worth examining for its effect on you and your interests” – mirroring the white nationalist conspiracy theories peddled on alt-right websites and podcasts such as the one on which his app is advertised.

Kosher certifiers check, for example, that meat and dairy products are strictly... Read More >

The Hate Report: Woman fakes Trump-driven hate crime, but plenty of real ones exist

In this week’s roundup: fake Trump-related hate and real Trump-related hate.

The story was a familiar one: 19-year-old Adwoa Lewis told police in Baldwin, New York, earlier this month that she was driving home when she was confronted by a group of teenagers who shouted, “Trump 2016,” and stated that she “didn’t belong here,” according to the Nassau County Police Department.

Lewis also told police that she woke up the next morning to find her car’s tire had been slashed and a note had been left on her car saying, “Go home.”

But last week, Lewis was charged with making a false statement to police. Detectives concluded that Lewis had made up the whole thing. She admitted she wrote the note herself.

While Lewis’ claims appear bogus, there have been scores of documented hate crimes and hate incidents in which people have invoked the name of President Donald Trump in the last couple of years. And several of those have resulted in hate crime charges, some of which led to convictions or guilty pleas.

As we documented in our investigation Trumping Hate earlier this year, we identified more than 150 reports of Trump-themed taunts and attacks stretching across 39 states over the past year and a half. We found these cases using the Documenting Hate database, compiled by ProPublica.

While it was not possible to verify the authenticity of every incident reported to Documenting Hate, we outlined cases of hate crimes in which Trump’s name was invoked that led to hate crime charges.

Those... Read More >

The Hate Report: LGBTQ couple told to ‘move or die’

In this week’s roundup: more hate-fueled attacks on LGBTQ victims, Trump’s biggest mistake and the Hate Sleuths are up and running.

In Albany, New York, 37-year-old Hubert Dabbs is accused of attacking a man earlier this month and stomping repeatedly on his head, almost killing him, according to police. The attack was so vicious that it left behind a bloody footprint.

Dabbs allegedly attacked the man because of the victim’s sexual orientation, police say.

Dabbs is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. The victim is recovering from his wounds, and he reportedly lost one of his ears in the attack.

This is just the latest in a string of violent attacks on the LGBTQ community this year.

In Missouri last month, 22-year-old Allen Loftis attacked three men in a bar, allegedly because he believed they were gay because they were flamboyantly dressed. Loftis, who punched at least one man and pulled a wig off another man’s head, told a sheriff’s deputy who responded to the fight that he “does not let gay stuff go on,” The Kansas City Star reported.

“Allen stated he was not going to allow gay behavior going on around him and this is why he pulled the wig from (the victim),” court records noted. “Allen’s assaults were unprovoked and motivated because of his belief the victim was homosexual.”

Loftis has been charged with three felony counts of third-degree assault motivated by discrimination, a hate crime.

In Washington, D.C., in April, two gay men were beaten so badly that one was left... Read More >

The Hate Report: Police vs. antifa

In this week’s roundup: Cops in Louisiana search for antifa with the help of neo-Nazis, Gab is big in Brazil and sometimes OK is not OK.

High-level officials with the Louisiana State Police emailed around a fake list of purported antifa activists that originated on the conspiracy theory website 8Chan and was shared widely by neo-Nazis, according to a lawsuit filed this week on behalf of a New Orleans lawyer.

As BuzzFeed reported last year, a group of trolls spent months creating a sprawling list of the personal information of people on the political left. They scraped sources like a petition condemning the Trump administration and the personal Facebook pages of people associated with the pro-immigrant group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN. Then they released the document on 8Chan, claiming it was a “full list of antifa members.”

That list was quickly spread on white supremacist and neo-Nazi websites including Stormfront, claims the lawsuit, filed by Harvard Law School lecturer Thomas Frampton on behalf of New Orleans civil rights attorney William Most. And from there it apparently made its way into the hands of Louisiana State Police.

Most is suing to force the Louisiana State Police to release a copy of the document. He learned of the document after seeing it was an attachment in department emails he received in a public records request.

“These citizens have been victimized once by Neo-Nazis; are they now being victimized again by law enforcement?” Most wrote in an email.

The lawsuit echoes recent instances around the... Read More >

The Hate Report: Sikh Americans continue being targeted in hate crimes

In this week’s roundup: Two attacks on American Sikhs this month stir up memories of decades of hate, more Trump administration staff connected to white nationalists, and understanding farm murders in South Africa.  

In the space of three days earlier this month, two Sikh American men were attacked and beaten in California’s Central Valley in seemingly random hate-fueled attacks.

Surjit Singh Malhi said two men grabbed him from behind as he was putting up political signs in his neighborhood. They threw sand in his eyes, he told The New York Times. And, Malhi said, they hit him with a stick and a belt in the head and back.

“You don’t belong here,” the men screamed at him, he said.

The very thing that drew the attackers attention — his turban — ended up protecting him from the beating, Malhi said.

Malhi later found that his truck had been vandalized with what’s become a regular anthem of hate: “Go back to your country.”

Thirty miles or so northeast, and a couple of days later, 71-year-old Sahib Singh said he was enjoying his daily walk around his neighborhood in Manteca when two teenage boys approached him and allegedly asked him for money. During the attack, which was caught on video, the boys shouted at Singh, knocked him to the ground and kicked him. In the video, one then appears to spit on him while he’s lying on the floor. One of the assailants was the 18-year-old son of the local police chief.

The... Read More >

The Hate Report: The story behind Trump’s South Africa tweet

There’s a haunting photo of mass murderer Dylann Roof, who gunned down nine African American worshippers in an unapologetically racist massacre in South Carolina in 2015. In it, Roof stares, vacantly into the camera, his empty eyes ringed with black below his bowl-shaped haircut.

Scan down, and you’ll see Roof has affixed two flags to the breast of his black jacket. One is the flag of Rhodesia, the former British colony that is now Zimbabwe. The other is the flag that South Africa flew over decades of apartheid.

Roof, like many white nationalists, identified with a long-lived trope: that white South Africans — especially farmers — are being slaughtered. And that Rhodesia and South Africa were simply better places under their racist colonial caste systems.

On Wednesday night, a new supporter for at least the first of these talking points emerged: President Donald Trump.

Trump tweeted:

The tweet was just further evidence of the influence of the white nationalist propaganda pipeline, leading directly from old-school white supremacist thinking, and new-school hate forums like 4Chan, to Fox News and then directly to the president’s brain.

These narratives often portray the treatment of South African whites as a critical front in a global fight against white people.

If whites in South Africa are treated so poorly after handing over power to the country’s black majority, the story goes, it’s just a preview of what could happen in the rest of the world as more diverse voices are allowed into the political conversation. This fear has been given a... Read More >

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