My response follows. -Karin
Demand for immediate retraction and publication of correction
Saturday, May 16, 2009 1:13 PM
From: "Mark Potok" firstname.lastname@example.org
This is for Karen Friedemann and regards your May 16 "Letter From America"article in the Khaleej Times Online entitled "Americans Divided by HateCrimes Bill." http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2009/May/opinion_May80.xml§ion=opinion&col=
You make the following claim in your article:
"The ADL, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), is alreadyheavily involved in Homeland Security's locally based 'fusion centres,'which collect personal data for intelligence databases that synchronise national intelligence collection with local police. ADL and SPLC have arecord of illegally spying on American citizens and providing falseinformation to law enforcement officials."
The statements about the SPLC -- that we have a record of "illegally spying"on Americans and "providing false information" to authorities -- are both materially false and also libelous and defamatory. Both statements containno shred of truth -- apparently, you've attributed the ADL's problems in the Roy Bullock case to the SPLC. We have never been charged or convicted oreven accused of these things.
As I noted above, these statements arelibelous and false. As a result, I write to demand that you immediatelywithdraw these statements from wherever they have been published, including the Khaleej Times, and publish a correction making clear that SPLC has not done the things you falsely accuse us of. I have written a similar note to the editor of the Khaleej Times and expect action to be taken by this Monday afternoon at the latest.
Director, Intelligence Project
Editor, Intelligence Report/Hatewatch
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104
Response to Mark Potok
The US Department of Justice released FBI documents indicating that the Southern Poverty Law Center engaged in undercover surveillance of Oklahoma militia groups in 1995 before and after the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The local FBI team, which should have obtained a warrant to dispatch real FBI agents, criminally conspired with SPLC agents to get around Attorney General Janet Reno’s legal limitations on domestic spying. Because the conspiracy was criminal, the espionage was illegal.
In “The Watchdogs: A close look at Anti-Racist ‘Watchdog’ Groups,” Laird Wilcox documents the SPLC’s extensive intelligence networks monitoring editorials, observing meetings, and compiling files on people they consider offensive. Wilcox told WorldNetDaily: “By alleging ‘dangerousness’ on the basis of mere assumed values, opinions and beliefs, they put entirely innocent citizens at risk from law enforcement error and misconduct.”
Mark Potok himself admits the SPLC criminally spied on the Animal Rights 2001 Conference by secretly recording attendees. “We were at that conference, we collected the quote ourselves, in person and on a videotape to boot,” he wrote in response to complaints from Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral about misleading SPLC characterizations of her organization.
In an article libeling Muslim clerics, the online SPLC Intelligence Report links videos apparently made in violation of federal wiretapping and eavesdropping statutes.
Many organizations and individuals accuse SPLC of publishing false and misleading information and manipulating crime data and terminology. Federal law enforcement agencies and Homeland Security Fusion Centers were issued a warning against relying upon faulty and politicized SPLC research reports.
The Turkish American Legal Defense Fund is currently suing the SPLC for defaming an 85-year-old emeritus professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts.
Harper's Magazine accused the SPLC of scare mongering to fund relatively lavish lifestyles for the organization's directors.