Monthly Archives: February 2010

What is Project 21?

Project 21s curiously pale director David Almasi

Project 21's curiously pale director David Almasi

Some of James O’Keefe’s defenders are claiming that the mere presence of an African-American Project 21 member named Kevin Martin on the podium with white nationalists like Jared Taylor exonerates everyone involved in 2006 Race and Conservatism event. But what is Project 21? As I wrote in a 2005 piece for the Nation in a profile of one of Project 21′s most prominent figures, Jesse Lee Peterson, the group was created to provide cover and support for white conservatives to attack minorities and civil rights leaders. In fact, on May 9, 2005, Peterson hosted Taylor on his own radio show for a friendly exchange about the evils of civil rights.

Part of a slightly redacted email between the “Race and Conservatism” event’s chief organizer, Marcus Epstein, and Jared Taylor was published by Dave Weigel, who confirmed Taylor as the email recipient. The email appears to reveal that Taylor had a direct role in planning the event, including in booking Martin. (Epstein tells Taylor that Martin “will do it;” the subject line refers to Steve Sailer, a prominent proponent of racialist Eugenics pseudo-science.) What else was in the email thread? Will Epstein release the full email exchange between himself and Taylor to show how Martin was booked?

Here’s some background on Project 21:

In 1992, while race rioting engulfed Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King beating, civil rights leaders and black Democratic politicians took to the airwaves to criticize the draconian policies of the Los Angeles police department as the riot’s root cause. In the absence of a coordinated right-wing response, NCPPR enlisted a coterie of black conservatives, including Peterson, to denounce the rioters as wanton criminals while hailing the LAPD’s ham-handed response. Out of the campaign grew Project 21, a group providing cable news programs with a reliable stable of black talking heads willing and able to say what white conservatives can’t.

Continue reading

Isis: O’Keefe “Was There,” Involved In “Execution”

Greg Marx, the assistant editor of Columbia Journalism Review, is planning to write on the O’Keefe affair. Marx emailed me today about my reporting. Citing the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel’s characterization of his discussion with Isis, Marx wrote me:

I was unable to get ahold of Isis, but Dave Weigel did, and here’s what he writes: “Isis told me: ‘I don’t believe O’Keefe planned the event.’”

Based on this information, I continue not to see support for your published statement that “Together, O’Keefe and Epstein planned an event in August 2006 that would wed their extreme views on race with their ambitions.”

Marx told me he “was unable to get ahold of Isis,” but Isis told me that he made not attempt to call her. He could have easily have obtained her contact information from me or Daryle Jenkins, the founder of One People’s Project. But Marx did not do so. I urged Marx in a subsequent email not to rely on a vague characterization of Isis’ remarks and instead to quote from my interview. After all, Weigel was never a source for my story.

UPDATE: Marx claimed he had attempted to contact Isis through Daryle Jenkins. Jenkins told me, “That’s a lie!” Jenkins went on: “I told him to email me his contact information so I could pass it on to Isis. He never did. He never emailed me.” Marx confirmed to me that he never emailed his contact info to Jenkins. He claimed he spelled out his email to Jenkins on the phone. ”We had a miscommunication,” Marx told me.

UPDATE #2: The Columbia Journalism Review has provided me with an audio file of Marx’s conversation with Jenkins in which Marx asked to be put in contact with Isis. Jenkins told Marx that Isis first wanted confirmation that he was from a “legitimate” news source, since Jenkins seemed unclear about which outlet Marx was from — he asked if he was from “Columbia Law Review.” Jenkins said, “Do you have an email from Columbia Journalism Review because she [Isis] does tend to be a little apprehensive about speaking to folks.” Marx did not have a CJR email but verbally provided Jenkins with his columbia.edu email, stating that he was formerly student at Columbia Journalism School. Jenkins confirmed receipt of the email. I’ll be speaking to Jenkins to get his account of what happened next.

For the record, though Marx has spoken to me and said he was reporting on sources in my story, he did not ask me for Isis’ contact info until today, when I initially reported her statement that he never called or emailed her. The original post continues below:

After Marx’s email, I followed up with Isis. She told me in no uncertain terms that she had witnessed O’Keefe engaged in the “execution” of the white nationalist event of the Robert Taft Club.

“What I told Weigel and what I told him to quote me as saying, is that O’Keefe was involved the same way you would be involved if you went to a party and you put out the cups and stocked the cooler,” Isis told me. “He was helping Marcus Epstein in the execution of the event so I don’t see what the issue is. It was obvious that he was there supporting the event and was involved in its execution.”

Isis added more about her discussion with Weigel. “I told him the same thing I told you,” she remarked to me. “O’Keefe and Luke Pelican and the Leadership guys helped Epstein because they were friends with Marcus [Epstein], and they are friends with him because they agree with his views on the race stuff. And I told him when O’Keefe got there he was helping Marcus set the event up. Nitpicking over where he sat is bullshit. I mean, enough is enough. They were there; they were helping out with the event and they can’t deny that.”

Isis also told me that Weigel told her that Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing blogger who has had O’Keefe on his payroll, ” was acting like a fucking nutcase.”

Andrew Breitbart, O’Keefe’s Pimp

OPP notes the following in its run-down of Breitbart’s lying, distorting of half-truths and manic twittering — he’s lighting up Twitter like he’s been ingesting massive doses of meth purchased from Levi Johnston’s mom:

Breitbart repeatedly received tweets back at him however, from those who were critical of his defenses. “@daveweigel does NOT deny that he saw o’keefe at racist confab, yet you say he does. u=liar,” wrote one poster named “robogreen”, while “polderboy” suggests that “@andrewbreitbart is acting more and more like @JamesOKeefeIII’s pimp.”

And here’s exclusive video of Andrew Breitbart’s public relations mentor.

Update: I am hearing from multiple people that Breitbart has lost it. His Twitter feed seems to back that up.

James O’Keefe and Ben Wetmore get married.

Here’s a blast from the past of Jared Taylor’s “debate” partner, John Derbyshire, who suggested that Chelsea Clinton should be executed.

O’Keefe Contradicts Breitbart, A Source Details O’Keefe’s Role In White Supremacist Confab

Isis photographed the literature table at the 2006 Robert Taft event James OKeefe participated in

Isis photographed the literature table at the 2006 Robert Taft event James O'Keefe participated in

Previously I reported that right-wing prankster James O’Keefe attended a white nationalist gathering in 2006 that featured speakers known for the racist ideology they have proudly espoused: Jared Taylor and John Derbyshire. I called O’Keefe’s lawyer for a comment but neither he nor O’Keefe would respond. O’Keefe has subsequently admitted that he participated in the event. According to an otherwise fact-challenged post on Breitbart, the website that has paid O’Keefe, O’Keefe said that he “attended the event with many of his Leadership Institute co-workers since it was right across the street from their building in Arlington, Va., and it was organized by other LI associates.”

In fact, a photographer who covered the event told me O’Keefe was helping its chief organizer, Marcus Epstein, and was not an innocent bystander, as he has claimed. But more on that later. First, O’Keefe vs. Breitbart…

Andrew Breitbart, who has paid O’Keefe and attempted to defend him by calling my reporting “FALSE,” has been undermined by O’Keefe himself. O’Keefe concedes my report was true — he was at the event. Breitbart has therefore been contradicted by O’Keefe.

Meanwhile, the apologia Breitbart has commissioned Larry O’Connor to write in defense of O’Keefe is riddled with falsehoods, including that I never called O’Keefe for a comment. In fact, I left a message for his lawyer, Mike Madigan, and heard nothing back — I reported this fact but O’Connor chose to overlook it.

Avowed white nationalist Jared Taylor and OKeefe pal Marcus Epstein feel the love

Avowed white nationalist Jared Taylor and O'Keefe pal Marcus Epstein feel the love at their 2006 confab

O’Connor defended Marcus Epstein against charges of racism through deception and deflection. Epstein has indeed been a racist and professional immigrant basher who physically attacked a random black woman he called a “nigger;” who assailed Martin Luther King Jr. as unpatriotic, and who wrote this on VDare, which happens to be a nativist outfit the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a hate site:

“Diversity can be good in moderation — if what is being brought in is desirable,” Epstein wrote in one VDARE.com essay. “Most Americans don’t mind a little ethnic food, some Asian math whizzes, or a few Mariachi dancers — as long as these trends do not overwhelm the dominant culture.”

O’Connor went on to call Jared Taylor “controversial.” So an avowed white nationalist who argues in virtually every public appearance he makes that blacks and Latinos are genetically inferior, is merely “controversial?” Was John Derbyshire, another VDare contributor, “controversial” as well? That’s the Derbyshire who warned that Obama would shut down federal funding of biology because the science supposedly proved whites were genetically superior. (More here). Between O’Keefe, Derbyshire and Taylor, it’s hard to find a racist that Breitbart and his minions won’t defend.

I just spoke to Isis, an independent photographer who covered the event, and who frequently reports on extreme right-wing gatherings in the Washington area. Isis told me she saw O’Keefe seated at a literature table filled with racist tracts (see photograph of table above), and that O’Keefe was actively engaged in the organization of the event (which was promoted on the neo-Nazi chat site Stormfront).

“I saw O’Keefe seated at the literature table,” Isis told me. “He was there and he was supporting the event. It looked like Luke Pelican [my note: Pelican has been a member of  the racist hate group MSU YAF] and O’Keefe were helping Marcus Epstein with everything. They were clearly part of his little posse.”

Isis observed that the audience treated Kevin Martin, a black conservative speaker added at the last moment to provide cover for Taylor and Derbyshire, with palpable hostility. “So many of the people in that event were like [racial separatist] Michael Hart; they were the Jared Taylor crowd. And when Kevin Martin was trying to speak you could sense the hostility. Besides, how you are going to have a fair debate with two white supremacists and one black conservative who didn’t even know what he was getting into?”

Isis said she had a long conversation with Martin after the event. “He was not happy at all. He said Epstein told him to dress down and dress casual. And the other two speakers were in suits, looking like two professional white guys and poor Kevin, he was totally set up. Jared Taylor spent the whole time talking about statistics about racial differences and how blacks were less intelligent. He said it in front of Kevin,who was freaked out.”

“I’d like to know if Leadership was supporting the Robert Taft Club because all the Leadership interns were all there like a little posse helping Marcus out with his club,” Isis added.

Lady Liberty’s Lamp has more.

Now, here is a question Breitbart: Why are you paying and defending a racist?

And for O’Keefe: Since you are publicly discussing  your participation in the Robert Taft event with Jared Taylor, John Derbyshire, and Marcus Epstein, can you explain why were you there? And why didn’t you leave when you heard Taylor insist blacks were genetically inferior, or when racist literature was offered for sale on the literature table? Or did you place it there?

James O’Keefe, Race Man

Its hard out here for a white nationalist ersatz pimp.

It's hard out here for a white nationalist ersatz pimp.

[This post has been changed to match the version of the article on Salon.com]

Many of the conservatives who gleefully promoted James O’Keefe’s past political stunts are feigning shock at his arrest on charges that he and three associates planned to tamper with Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone lines. Once upon a time, right-wing pundits hailed the 25-year-old O’Keefe as a creative genius and model of journalistic ethics. Andrew Breitbart, who has paid O’Keefe, called him one of the all-time “great journalists” and said he deserved a Pulitzer for his undercover ACORN video. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly declared he should have earned a “congressional medal.”

His right-wing admirers don’t seem to mind that O’Keefe’s short but storied career has been defined by a series of political stunts shot through with racial resentment. Now an activist organization that monitors hate groups has produced a photo of O’Keefe at a 2006 conference on “Race and Conservatism” that featured leading white nationalists. The photo, first published Jan. 30  on the Web site of the anti-racism group One People’s Project, shows O’Keefe at the gathering, which was so controversial even the ultra-right Leadership Institute, which employed O’Keefe at the time, withdrew its backing. O’Keefe’s fellow young conservative provocateur Marcus Epstein organized the event, which gave anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism an opportunity to share their grievances and plans to make inroads in the GOP.

Continue reading