In what is yet another recent and troubling collaboration between the long-established anti-immigrant movement and the ever-emerging Islamophobia movement in this country, at 1pm next Tuesday, Feb 5, the group America’s Survival will hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The scheduled speakers are Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America & the American Freedom Defense Initiative, one of the leaders of the anti-Muslim/Islam movement in the US; Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival and Accuracy in Media, one of the well-springs of the conspiracy driven far-Right; and Jerry Kenney, founder of the Kenney Broadcasting Corporation. The event will underscore both Geller’s and Kincaid’s overlapping obsessions with a conspiracy regularly referred to as “cultural jihad,” or the bigoted notion that implicit within Muslims plans to overtake and then oppress Western cultures is the incremental, peaceful supplanting of existing markers of a traditional culture with those of strident political Islam.
The announcement reads:
“America’s Survival holds a news conference to call on Congress to investigate the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, arguing that it represents a homeland security threat.”
If the America’s Survival website is anything to go by, we should be very worried. Seventeen of the most recent eighteen postings there scream forth over the impending threat that “Terror TV” poses to our shared freedoms. Geller is concerned because, as she phrased it before the audience gathered for the 2013 Maryland Conservative Action Network conference (MD CAN) back in mid-January, “the [American] media enforces the blasphemy laws of Sharia.”
There, Geller highlighted the topic at hand. “This is a fight I’ve been involved in, led by Cliff Kincaid,” she said, “they’re buying access.”
She went on to proclaim:
“It’s like the Nazis in World War II. [They're] trying to destroy Western civilization from within….They [Al Jazeera] are a terror organization, and they should be designated as a terrorist group.”
One of the the aforementioned 17 posts is titled, “Cliff Kincaid’s 20-page PDF Presentation for U.S Congressional Staffers and other experts and activists on the threat posed by the terrorist-loving Al Jazeera.” But the ridiculousness of this spectacle of manufactured reality stretches even further, encompassing an infamous figure from the anti-immigrant, white nationalist caballing of political activists, thinkers, and writers.
And that figure is Phil Kent, whose communications firm has been hired, presumably, by Kincaid to shape this paranoia into something possibly considered palatable by the Beltway press and beyond.
Those familiar with Kent know his vast and long-standing ties with leaders of varying extremist movements. His CV reads, in part, like this:
- From 1981-82 Kent served as press secretary and public affairs advisor for Sen. Strom Thurmond.
- Kent then served at the anti-immigrant, ethnocentric group American Immigration Control Foundation, Inc (AIC), where he serves on its board of directors and as its spokesperson. He presently serves as the group’s executive director and vice-president of its 501(c)3 foundation of the same name.
- From AIC, Kent worked closely with anti-immigrant movement heavyweights, including the John Tanton founded Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The two groups have collaborated on campaigns like The Coalition for the Future of the American Worker and Arizona’s Proposition 200, which was also guided by Virginia Abernathy, a self-proclaimed “ethnic separatist” and recent vice-presidential candidate for the white supremacist American 3rd Position Party.
- Over a 12 year period of its history, AIC accepted nearly $200,000 from the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund, which seeks to fund projects that promote, in large part, the notion that whites are genetically superior to blacks and other races.
- At one time Kent was director of communications for U.S. Immigration Reform PAC, formerly known as FAIR PAC, the personal political action committee of Mary Lou Tanton, John’s wife. Her PAC is staffed almost exclusively with influential figures from across her husband’s constellation of various nativist organizations.
- He is also chair of the national board of advisors of the anti-immigrant group ProEnglish, where he also sits on the board of directors alongside Tanton, who founded the group after being expelled from US English after a racist memo authored by Tanton was made public. ProEnglish is presently headed by Robert Vandervoort, a white nationalist activist who previously operated Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, a group linked to Jared Taylor.
- Controversially, Kent was appointed to the State of Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review board by Gov. Nathan Deal in September of 2011.
- Kent has been credited as a “founding member” of the neo-Confederate League of the South, an organization that has referred to slavery as “God ordained” and claimed that “the Negroes are better off today because of it.”
- And then there’s the leadership of AIC’s dedicated involvement within the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a group that openly refers to African-Americans as “a retrograde species of humanity”–Sam Francis, AIC’s one-time board chair and editor-in-cheif of the CofCC’s newspaper; Brent Nelson, an AIC board member and president of CofCC’s Conservative Citizens Council; John Vinson, AIC Foundation’s executive director and contributor to CofCC’s newspaper.
Via those three men alone, AIC and its foundation has established connections to the white nationalist/supremacist journal The Occidental Quarterly, the American Third Position Party, and the anti-immigrant, white nationalist website VDARE.com. Yet, at the MD CAN conference, Geller mocked the fact the many sources point out that she’s involved with “hate groups.”
She also boomed that, “Truth is a recognition of reality.”
When one recognizes that Help Save Maryland, an official FAIR state-contact group, sponsored Geller’s MD CAN appearance, and with anti-immigrant power players like Tanton’s Center for Immigration Studies sponsoring of an event for another Islamophobia master builder, Frank Gaffney, the reality is this–the anti-immigrant and Islamophobia movements in our country are mutually exploring their intersecting investments in the ethnic fear-trade.