The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has published yet another smear article about me, the readers of SurvivalBlog, and the American Redoubt movement. At the SPLC’s “Hatewatch” web page, an article titled “Far-right survivalist and icon of ‘Patriot’ movement predicts religious civil war” was published on January 3, 2019. This latest SPLC attack piece begins:
“The framer of a far-right survivalist movement in the Pacific Northwest rang in the new year by warning of religious civil war. James Wesley, Rawles, (sic) a former U.S. Army intelligence officer and self-described religious separatist who once called Islam a “religion of evil and death,” thinks a “war of world views” may come as early as 2020. And he’s urging his readers to strategically relocate inland to red states.”
By cleverly mixing facts, innuendo, and guilt by association, the SPLC’s Hatewatch editors have repeatedly smeared JWR, SurvivalBlog, and the American Redoubt political migration movement. This is just the latest in their long string of baseless attacks. They published similar smear pieces in 2011, and 2013. Their defaming accusations were also parroted by others on several occasions, most notably in 2017. This modus operandi perfectly matches what Prager University warned about, in their video: The “Anti-Hate” Group That Is a Hate Group.
Crank Up the Sinister to 11
Look closely at the layout of the SPLC’s latest attack piece, The portrait photo of me that they used is blown up and tightly-cropped. It has enhanced contrast, a darkening screen cast over the bottom half (to make me look like I have a Tricky Dick Nixon 10-o’clock shadow), and even darker shading added around my eyes. I can only conclude that this was to make me look sinister.
The article was written in typical SPLC fashion, to wit:
A.) Stringing together disparate quotes that are out of context.
B.) Making 30+ year-old happenings and groups look like they were directly causative of current happenings and groups.
C.) Making the most tenuous connections between people and political groups look like some carefully orchestrated network or conspiracy. This is exactly how they’ve tarnished the name of Washington Representative Matt Shea. In his case, he spoke at an annual event in Republic, Washington that decades before had hosted a speaker who held some racist beliefs.
They’ve done something similar with me, making the false claim that I’m somehow representative of the Sovereign Citizen movement. They’ve also implied that I have some connection to the defunct racist and anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus and the now largely defunct Aryan Nations groups. Why? Apparently because I selected my list of Redoubt States in a region where both groups had many members, decades ago. Note how they cleverly interjected the following:
“The idea of far-right extremists seeking haven in the Northwest is not new; neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, Klansmen and other white nationalists as well as antigovernment extremists have a long, and at times violent, history there.”
Really? And what is my connection to any of them? ZERO. Are they trying to draw some conclusion based simply on similarity of geography but with a time gap of 30+ years? Ask any scientist: Correlation does not equate to causation. To mention those radical groups in their critique of my recent essay is the lowest form of libel and blatant defamation of character.
D.) Amplifying political positions, to make them appear “extremist.” The very first few words in this article’s headline are an exaggeration. I’m certainly not “Far right.” In fact, I’m a conservative Christian libertarian. However, given the distorted leftist perspective of the SPLC’s editors, anyone to the right of Nancy Pelosi might be seen as “far right.” Such is their view of the world, when seen through their reddish-colored glasses.
E.) Not content with just quoting me out of context, they also stretch what I’ve written into something substantially different. For example, note how they wrote “…while hinting at the “New World Order” and Agenda 21…” Did I make any such mention or hint? No, I did not! So why did they feel obliged to include that conclusion? Obviously, to make me look like a conspiracy theorist and to lump me together with unhinged individuals.
F.) Pulling quotes that are vastly divided in time and subject matter. Here is just one example: “Though he doesn’t claim ownership of the movement, he [Rawles] has a vision to “pioneer a nation out of a wilderness” by building a bastion of religious conservatism, which he’s described as “God’s will for the region,” able to withstand a perceived onslaught from liberals and government or an eventual societal collapse. That “pioneer a nation out of a wilderness” phrase was a quote from a radio interview, where I was describing the storyline my fictional novel Land of Promise. That novel is set decades in the future in a fictional (nonexistent) pioneering country called The Ilemi Republic in eastern Africa. That fictional work describes a devastating pandemic and the advent of a global Islamic Caliphate. To include that fiction quote and make it appear that I was somehow describing the present-day circumstances of the completely unrelated American Redoubt movement is not just irresponsible–it is wickedly libelous.
G.) They mischaracterize my prediction of a possible future civil war as a “Religious Civil War”. I never stated that. They blew one part of this sentence out of proportion: “It will be the Second Civil War, here in America and caused by the gulf between the right and left—or between the godly and the godless—or between the libertarians and the statists—or between the individualists and the collectivists.” So by including “…the godly and the godless…” in the list of differences, they amplify this into a claim I’m predicting a “Religious Civil War”! And this mischaracterization wasn’t just an idle aside. No, it is part of their critique’s headline. That is an outright smear. Look for the words “Religion” or “Religious”, “Christian”, or “Islam” anywhere in my January 1 essay. You won’t find them. The main focus of my essay was on politics, not religion.
I also have a few other more minor quibbles: The top photo montage puts me side by side with Washington Representative Matt Shea. He is a man whom I’ve never met or even spoken with. His ideas do not match my own, but we are in basic agreement on some points–most importantly that Eastern Washington should become the 51st State of the Union. Why would they juxtapose me–someone with zero political ambitions–with someone who regularly seeks political office? What is the subconscious message that the SPLC is pushing? That I’m seeking political power?
One other quibble is that they refer to the Redoubt movement as a political manifestation in the Pacific Northwest. Apparently the SPLC’s writers are ignorant of the geographical distinction between the Pacific Northwest and the Inland Northwest. The American Redoubt movement is definitely in the latter! Most Redoubters want nothing to do with the liberals who dominate The Wet Side of the Cascade mountain range.
What is Conveniently Left Out
The most significant part of the SPLC’s hit piece are some keys facts that it intentionally doesn’t mention about me:
1.) That I’m consistently and outspokenly anti-racist.
2.) That I’m consistently and outspokenly pro-Israel.
3.) That I oppose a violent overthrow of our Constitutional government.
4.) That I’ve never intended the American Redoubt movement to be secessionist. Rather, I have always encouraged state partition, when and where appropriate, following established Constitutional precedents. (The same same way that West Virginia was partitioned from Virginia.) The terms partition and secession are not synonymous! One is constitutionally mandated, while the other is not.
The other thing that is prominent by its absence is a link to the essay itself. By omitting that, they leave their readers only with their selected out-of-context quotes from my essay, previous writings, and from assorted radio interviews.
The SPLC’s Change The Terms Censorship Campaign
One very intimidating part of the leftist SPLC’s War on Anyone to the Right of Us is their censorship campaign dubbed Change The Terms, that began in early 2018 but was not publicly announced until October, 2018. I suspect that the SPLC’s latest hit piece against me is a part of this censorious campaign. In Change The Terms, they have ganged up with 40 other left wing groups with a “set of guidelines” designed to pressure tech companies to de-legitimize, de-monetize, and de-platform their political opponents, by labeling them “hateful.” It appears that the SPLC Change The Terms organizers have had an influence on Facebook, Twitter, Apple (podcasts), Spotify, YouTube, Patreon, and others. Most recently, Patreon’s “Trust and Safety” Committee have de-platformed several outspoken conservatives, cutting off their donations from the public.
The real danger of the SPLC’s Change The Terms campaign is that there is no objective standard of what constitutes “hate speech”. In their own web pages, they admit that “hate speech” is Constitutionally protected. So they instead encourage private corporations–including credit card and online payment processors–to go proactive to ban individuals and groups from having any voice, platform, or means of supporting themselves. Who are they seeking to ban? Anyone who has been identified by their “experts” as being “hateful”. And who are these nameless “experts”? They are liberal activists within their own echo chamber. This is a recipe for blatant censorship of the Internet. The “Change The Terms” ballista can be aimed at anyone whom they dislike. As many have found, the results can be devastating.
Video blogger Matt Christiansen recently posted this: ‘Change the Terms’ — A Look at the SPLC’s Activist Gang Trying to Censor the Internet. I recommend watching that 12-minute video. The censorship campaign coordinated by the SPLC must be stopped. It runs contrary to both the letter and intent of the First Amendment.
I Dare Call It Conspiracy
The SPLC is conspiring with the censorship departments in social media and payment processing companies to deprive selected citizens of their First Amendment rights. This is a criminal conspiracy.
The U.S. Army formerly had SPLC “experts” lecture on domestic terrorism. And the FBI formerly partnered with the SPLC in identifying hate groups and “extremist” individuals. Thankfully, both of those relationships with our government have now been severed. But because SPLC “hate” databases are still used by government agencies such as multi-jurisdictional Intelligence Fusion Centers, there is a nexus to State Action. This makes the SPLC eligible for criminal prosecution per 18 U.S. Code § 242, and also grounds for civil action under 42 U.S. Code § 1983.
Perhaps to fend off any upcoming civil lawsuits, the SPLC’s January 3 critique includes a brief disclaimer, near the end, which reads: “The American Redoubt is not a movement of overt white supremacists, and individuals who identify as Redoubters should not be seen as synonymous with racists.” Well, thank you very much! But “Not… …overt” implies “covert.” If they seek to clarify that we aren’t racists, then why is almost all of the rest of the diatribe a clear attempt to make me, SurvivalBlog, and the American Redoubt movement look like we are somehow connected to racists and antisemites? Their little throw-away disclaimer is insufficient. The damage was done throughout the rest of their smear piece. It will not shelter them from a defamation lawsuit.
I am not the SPLC’s only innocent target. In 2018 the SPLC paid damages of nearly $3.4 million and was forced to publish an apology for similar abuses. There is also a $6.5 million lawsuit now pending, and there are dozens of other suits that could soon be filed. It is high time that they are called to account for their unconscienable defamation and smear tactics. – JWR
Note: Permission to re-post the full text of this particular post is granted, as long as a link to SurvivalBlog.com is included, and the included links are preserved.