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The Hate Report

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 >

The Hate Report: Infowars is the gateway drug for white supremacists

In this week’s roundup: how Alex Jones’ conspiracy hub and the online message board 4chan breed white supremacists.

Andrew Anglin’s website, The Daily Stormer, is one of the most powerful forces in the online hate ecosystem. But Anglin wasn’t always a neo-Nazi. He used to be hippie vegan who would wear a hoodie with a “Fuck racism” patch on the back.

What changed?

In a 2015 interview on the white supremacist radio show “Stormfront,” Anglin laid out his own radicalization process. It all started at an unexpected gateway: Alex Jones’ conspiracy hub, Infowars.

“I grew up with a pretty serious sense of personal alienation in the modern Jewified society,” Anglin told “Stormfront” host Don Black. “I went and looked for answers of why this was happening. Nothing really felt right about the way the world worked. It was a process. The first thing I came across was Alex Jones.”

Jones and Infowars have been all over the news recently. In the last few weeks, tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Spotify, Vimeo and YouPorn (really) have either banned or significantly restricted the circulation of Infowars’ content on their platforms due to violations of the companies’ hate speech policies.

Anglin’s 2015 interview shows that Jones’ brand of conspiracy peddling also helps usher new recruits into the white supremacist movement. Seeing the whole world as a massive conspiracy is a foundational part of the white nationalist mindset.

“This was when I was 17 or 18,” Anglin told Black. “Back in that period …... Read More >

The Hate Report: The big names in racism aren’t attending Charlottesville 2

In this week’s roundup: What’s going on with the year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, Gab faces a shutdown and a great documentary on hate.  

The one-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was always going to be a significant date.

Apart from being by far the largest overt white supremacist rally in at least a decade, Charlottesville symbolized much more. Seemingly overnight, the nation’s attention focused on a new breed of clean-cut American racists, with their khakis, polo shirts and Nazi slogans. Countless media hours were committed to understanding how, and why, the racist right felt so empowered in 2017.

A lot changes in a year.

While the Charlottesville event was always touted as a way to bring together the nation’s racists, the fallout from the event, in which one counterprotester died, has been swift and brutal. And a commemorative rally planned for this weekend in Washington, D.C., Unite the Right II, is likely to be a shadow of last year’s historic event.

That’s according to Mark Pitcavage, a historian and leading expert on right-wing groups who works with the Anti-Defamation League.

Pitcavage expects perhaps a few dozen white supremacists to show up at Unite the Right II, slated to take place Sunday afternoon in a park opposite the White House. That would be about standard for the average white supremacist rally, Pitcavage said. It’s also a far cry from the estimated 500-600 racists who showed up in Charlottesville last year.

There are two main reasons... Read More >

The Hate Report: How survivors tell the story of hate in America

During the 2016 presidential election, Arjun Singh Sethi became worried about the state of hate in America.

There was a wave of assaults, vandalism and attacks on places of worship. People across the country, he saw, were being targeted on the basis of who they were and what they believed. Something important, and deeply disturbing, was happening, yet he felt the issue wasn’t getting the attention it deserved.

That realization drove Sethi, a professor of human rights law at the Georgetown University Law Center, to spend the subsequent year and a half traveling the country, conducting in-depth interviews with the survivors of hate. Those conversations form the basis of his new book, “American Hate.”

Amid flickers of hope, Sethi paints a bleak, often dispiriting, picture of how hate manifests itself and leaves a path of emotional and physical destruction in its wake. It’s a hard read, but an essential one for anyone looking to understand America in 2018.

In this week’s Hate Report, we talk to Sethi about how the criminal justice system is failing survivors, the invisible victims of hate and the discrimination he personally experienced while researching the book.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you tell me about some of the people you profiled in your book?

Khalid Jabara was an Arab American who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His now-convicted murderer (Stanley Vernon Majors) for years had been harassing and disparaging the Jabara family, calling them things like, “dirty Arabs” or “ISIS.”

Majors ran over Khalid’s mother... Read More >

The Hate Report: The last few weeks have been violent  

In this week’s roundup: A deadly few weeks in hate, the many facets of a once-benign hand gesture, and Charlottesville 2.0.

In recent weeks, people have been injured and murdered in violent assaults that have been potentially linked to hate.

Here are some of the incidents we’ve been following:

  • MeShon Cooper, a black Kansas woman, was found dead earlier this month. After being arrested, Robert Lee Kidwell told law enforcement officials he killed Cooper because she threatened to expose his HIV-positive status. However, Kidwell’s estranged daughter, Crystal Foster, tells a different story. Foster told the Kansas City Star that Kidwell has long been active in white supremacist groups and has a history of befriending African Americans before ultimately attacking them. “He’s been a monster his whole life,” Foster said. “He’s the true definition of evil.”
  • Murder charges have been filed against John Cowell for fatally stabbing an 18-year-old black woman, Nia Wilson, at a train station in Oakland. Cowell allegedly attacked Wilson and her sister with a knife. While Wilson’s motive in the unprovoked attack hasn’t been established, there’s been widespread speculation that racism may have played a role in the slaying. “Although investigators currently have no evidence to conclude that this tragedy was racially motivated or that the suspect was affiliated with any hate groups,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement, “the fact that his victims were both young African American women stirs deep pain and palpable fear in all of us who acknowledge the reality that our country still... Read More >

The Hate Report and Kids on the Line: Hate doesn’t stop at the border

In this week’s roundup: Alongside the chaos unfolding at the nation’s borders, hate has continued to flow toward immigrants across the country. This week, we are combining two of our newsletters to track this: The Hate Report and Kids on the Line.

With the country’s eyes focused on the crisis unfolding at America’s borders, where immigrant children were being separated from their families and, in some cases in Phoenix, even housed in office buildings, hate has continued to flow toward immigrants in America.

In late June, just as the border controversy was heating up, the leader of a fraternity council at Texas Tech University had to step down after it was revealed that he had shared messages in a group chat suggesting that they “hunt” illegal border crossers.

Inside Higher Ed reports that Kyle Mitchell, the Interfraternity Council president, declared the “hunting” would create “a new ‘sport’ and ‘tax revenue stream’ for the government.”

Also last month in Chicago, a man unleashed a racist tirade against 24-year-old Mia Irizarry for wearing a T-shirt featuring the Puerto Rican flag. As a police officer stood by, apparently ignoring Irizarry’s pleas for help, 62-year-old Timothy Trybus shouted at Irizarry, “You shouldn’t be wearing that,” and “You’re not going to change us.”

Irizarry, who had a permit to be at the park and was trying to celebrate her birthday, posted a video of the attack on Facebook. It quickly went viral. After public outcry, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office filed felony hate crime charges against Trybus. The officer... Read More >

The Hate Report: Hate for sale (on Etsy)

In this week’s roundup: Swastika pendants and Hitler gnomes are just some of what’s for sale on Etsy, an update on Charlottesville 2.0, good hate reads and impact!

On Etsy, the online crafts marketplace, sellers are offering hundreds of items bearing symbols with close associations with hate – ranging from swastika jewelry to decals bearing white nationalist slogans.

Sellers generally purport to be offering these items outside of their Nazi-era context, as part of a real effort to return the swastika to its origin as a Hindu religious symbol.

A Ukraine-based seller offering a “Stainless Steel Ganesh Buddha Cross Necklace” noted in the item’s description that, “The word ‘Swastika’ came from the Sanskrit word, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and might thus be translated literally as ‘that which is associated with well-being.’”

However, this same user is also selling Iron Cross earrings. Based on a prominent Nazi-era symbol, the Iron Cross has been adopted as a symbol by white supremacist groups, although it’s also in use among bikers and skateboarders in the United States.

Many of the symbols are subtle, like in this pair of sunglasses.

Or this bodysuit.

Citing the company’s privacy policy, an Etsy spokeswoman declined to comment on any specific items for sale on its marketplace.

“It is important to understand that Etsy is not a curated or juried marketplace, which means that anyone can list anything on the site at any time,” she wrote in an email.

Etsy isn’t the only platform selling items associated with hate. A recent report... Read More >

The Hate Report: Government officials donate to alt-right politicians

In this week’s roundup: The connection between white nationalist political candidates and the U.S. government, an alt-right street protest erupts into violence and more.

A number of government officials have donated money to the political campaign of white nationalist Paul Nehlen, reports Sludge, a newly launched news site focused on money in politics.

Sludge reporter Alex Kotch discovered donations to Nehlen from an employee of the State Department, a local elected official in Wisconsin and a pair of public university professors.

For example, Matthew Gebert, who works for the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, gave a total of $225 to Nehlen’s campaign.

Nehlen gained national attention in his unsuccessful primary campaigns against GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan. He was banned from Twitter after making a racist post about Meghan Markle, the biracial actress who married the Prince Harry. He’s also published a list of his political enemies, specifically pointing out which of them he believed were Jewish. In addition, he’s posted favorably about the white supremacist slogan, “It’s okay to be white.”

Nehlen has a complex relationship with the conservative movement. While he’s been shunned by the GOP mainstream, Nehlen’s efforts to unseat Ryan got the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Last year, he gave a speech onstage at a campaign rally for failed GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore.

More from our hate coverage

Gebert also gave money to Corey... Read More >

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