A lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was arrested and charged with domestic terrorism over the violence that broke out in Atlanta on Sunday in relation to protests of a planned training facility for police officers in the city, the SPLC has confirmed.
“An employee at the SPLC was arrested while acting — and identifying — as a legal observer on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). The employee is an experienced legal observer, and their arrest is not evidence of any crime, but of heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters,” the SPLC said in a statement on Monday.
Thomas Webb Jurgens was among the list of 23 suspected domestic terrorists released by the Atlanta Police Department on Monday. Violence broke out in Atlanta on Sunday after protesters of a planned police training facility hurled bricks and Molotov cocktails at officers and set cars on fire.
The SPLC makes its money by smearing anybody and everybody it can on the Right as a “hate group,” and convincing donors, including George Soros, that it fights the good fight against HATERS. More:
In 2012, the Family Research Council, a Christian nonprofit that was labeled a hate group by the SPLC, was targeted by a man who fired a gun in the group’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. A security guard managed to subdue him before he could kill anyone.
The man told investigators he was motivated to carry out the attack after seeing FRC listed as an anti-gay group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website.
They call everybody haters because that’s how the money rolls in from leftists and liberals. Former SPLC writer Bob Moser spilled the secrets of the grifters in this 2019 article in The New Yorker, after co-founder Morris Dees had been cut loose, allegedly for sexually harassing female employees. Excerpts:
In the days since the stunning dismissal of Morris Dees, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on March 14th, I’ve been thinking about the jokes my S.P.L.C. colleagues and I used to tell to keep ourselves sane. Walking to lunch past the center’s Maya Lin–designed memorial to civil-rights martyrs, we’d cast a glance at the inscription from Martin Luther King, Jr., etched into the black marble—“Until justice rolls down like waters”—and intone, in our deepest voices, “Until justice rolls down like dollars.”
Moser says he was shocked to discover that his new employer was housed in a super-fancy modernist building. And that all the black people who worked there were staff to support white lawyers, fundraisers, researchers, and others higher up the hierarchy. Moser:
During my first few weeks, a friendly new co-worker couldn’t help laughing at my bewilderment. “Well, honey, welcome to the Poverty Palace,” she said. “I can guaran-damn-tee that you will never step foot in a more contradictory place as long as you live.”
“Everything feels so out of whack,” I said. “Where are the lawyers? Where’s the diversity? What in God’s name is going on here?”
“And you call yourself a journalist!” she said, laughing again. “Clearly you didn’t do your research.”
In the decade or so before I’d arrived, the center’s reputation as a beacon of justice had taken some hits from reporters who’d peered behind the façade. In 1995, the Montgomery Advertiser had been a Pulitzer finalist for a series that documented, among other things, staffers’ allegations of racial discrimination within the organization. In Harper’s, Ken Silverstein had revealed that the center had accumulated an endowment topping a hundred and twenty million dollars while paying lavish salaries to its highest-ranking staffers and spending far less than most nonprofit groups on the work that it claimed to do. The great Southern journalist John Egerton, writing for The Progressive, had painted a damning portrait of Dees, the center’s longtime mastermind, as a “super-salesman and master fundraiser” who viewed civil-rights work mainly as a marketing tool for bilking gullible Northern liberals. “We just run our business like a business,” Dees told Egerton. “Whether you’re selling cakes or causes, it’s all the same.”
One more clip:
For those of us who’ve worked in the Poverty Palace, putting it all into perspective isn’t easy, even to ourselves. We were working with a group of dedicated and talented people, fighting all kinds of good fights, making life miserable for the bad guys. And yet, all the time, dark shadows hung over everything: the racial and gender disparities, the whispers about sexual harassment, the abuses that stemmed from the top-down management, and the guilt you couldn’t help feeling about the legions of donors who believed that their money was being used, faithfully and well, to do the Lord’s work in the heart of Dixie. We were part of the con, and we knew it.
Outside of work, we spent a lot of time drinking and dishing in Montgomery bars and restaurants about the oppressive security regime, the hyperbolic fund-raising appeals, and the fact that, though the center claimed to be effective in fighting extremism, “hate” always continued to be on the rise, more dangerous than ever, with each year’s report on hate groups. “The S.P.L.C.—making hate pay,” we’d say.
In 2019, the socialist magazine Current Affairs described the SPLC as “everything that’s wrong with liberalism.” Excerpt:
Dees was as successful at selling causes as he had been at selling cakes. Fueled by Dees’ direct mail campaigns, the Southern Poverty Law Center brought in million after million. Last year it took in $136 million, and it now sits upon an endowment of nearly half a billion dollars. Yet even after some within the organization thought it should stop raising money, and despite promises by Dees that it would do so, its fundraising pitches in the mail became ever more desperate and frantic. A 1995 pitch, sent when the SPLC was sitting on more than $60 million in reserves, told potential donors that the “strain on our current operating budget is the greatest in our 25-year history.” All sorts of tricks were tried, and a former Dees associate reported that the organization once used about six different low-value stamps on envelopes, to give the appearance that it could barely afford to cobble together 35 cents of postage.
(Sometimes all of this became downright grotesque. In the 1980s the SPLC sued the Klan over the lynching of Michael Donald, and won a $7 million verdict for Donald’s mother. The Klan, however, had by this time diminished to almost nonexistence. Its sole asset was a warehouse that was sold for $55,000, which was all Donald’s mother got. She apparently used a large portion of this to pay back an interest-free loan that the SPLC itself had extended her. Afterward, the SPLC began using photos of Michael Donald’s corpse in its fundraising letters, raising $9 million off the case. Donald’s mother evidently saw none of this money, though when she died barely a year later Morris Dees was quoted in her obituary praising her bravery.)
Yet the SPLC has been criticized for decades for doing very little with its vast resources. It spent less than a third of the money it took in on its programs. (The NAACP, by contrast, spent nearly everything it took in. So did the Southern Center For Human Rights.) A death penalty lawyer who collaborated with the center said: “I was naive at first… I thought the Southern Poverty Law Center raised money to do good for poor people, not simply to accumulate wealth.” The SPLC did spend $15 million on its current office building, a 150,000 square foot behemoth designed by a New York architecture firm and dubbed the “Poverty Palace.” Dees and Cohen also earned over $300,000 a year each. But the tragedy of the SPLC has long been that there is so much it could be spending its money on and isn’t.
And so on. Look at this screenshot from the most recent Federal tax form 990 available online, from 2019, listing the salaries and compensation of its top executives. Poverty is a great way to get rich!
Even though these cretins call just about any organization on the Right a “hate group” and raise money off of it — even when they get it wrong, as they did with the anti-violence Muslim activist they smeared as an anti-Muslim bigot, and had to pay over $3 million and apologize to settle the lawsuit he filed — the fact that many corporations, news organizations, and individuals take the grift seriously can have dire consequences:
However, inclusion on the SPLC’s “hate group list” still has negative consequences. For example, online retail giant Amazon has used the list to disqualify nonprofit organizations from using the “Amazon Smile” program to receive donations.
Last year, NBC reported as scandalous that as 14 organizations designated “hate groups” by the SPLC benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to provide relief to small businesses affected by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Among the groups listed was the Ruth Institute, a pro-life organization based in Louisiana. Its founder and president, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, said the group faced bad publicity and unfair bias from the report.
“NBC relies on the Southern Poverty Law Center for the ‘hate group’ designation. This just means the Ruth Institute is a group the SPLC hates. Big deal. They raise a lot of money with their hate-mongering tactics. In 2018, their net assets were a half billion dollars,” Morse said.
Morse said “the Ruth Institute is a global, non-profit organization leading an international, interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. If fighting sex abuse, pornography, and divorce makes us a hate group, so be it.”
By the way, in its 2020 Form 990 filing, The Ruth Institute took in $564,116 the previous year, and ended up with $173, 275 in the bank after expenses. By contrast, that same year, according to the Form 990 filing, the SPLC, which smeared the Ruth Institute as a hate group, took in $108,078,656 that year, and ended the year with $587,803,614 in the bank. These people are left-wing bullies — and worse:
Consequences of the “hate group” designation have also been more serious. In 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II, wielding a 9mm pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition, entered the lobby of the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. He shot an unarmed security guard, who survived the attack and wrestled Corkins to the ground. Authorities said the security guard’s actions may have prevented a mass shooting.
Corkins, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, confessed being motivated by the “anti-gay” label given to FRC by the SPLC.
William Boykin, executive vice president of Family Research Council, said the SPLC “is a political defamation machine that has little respect for freedom of thought and expression.”
And now they’ve got a staff attorney charged with domestic terrorism for being part of a violent antifa attack on a police training facility — and worse, they’re defending the guy as an innocent “legal observer” for the old communist front National Lawyers Guild! Wonder if ol’ Tommy was masked. The NLG defended Jurgens and the other antifa attackers today in a statement:
Law enforcement detained at least 35 people in Atlanta on Sunday, March 5, at a solidarity music festival over a mile away from the Cop City construction site. Among those arrested was an NLG Legal Observer. All of these arrests are part of ongoing state repression and violence against racial and environmental justice protesters, who are fighting to defend their communities from the harms of militarized policing and environmental degradation on stolen Muscogee land. Each of these instances, including the many protesters charged with domestic terrorism, makes clear that law enforcement views movement activists as enemies of the state.
Here’s a link to a video produced by Antifa, documenting its attack on “Cop City”. Remember, this is what these people are bragging about having done.
Somebody should ask Amazon, Microsoft, PayPal, Alphabet, Apple, and all the other companies that have donated bigtime to the SPLC if this is the kind of thing they’re proud to pay for. And they should keep asking them.