Attorney’s Arrest Highlights SPLC’s Ties to Radical Left
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a public statement Monday voicing their ongoing support of Thomas Webb Jergens, an SPLC staff attorney arrested and charged with domestic terrorism. Jergens was one of 35 agitators arrested, and one of 23 charged with domestic terrorism, in a Sunday night assault on the future site of an Atlanta police training facility. Jergens was the only one granted bail, which the judge set at a piddling $5,000, after his defense attorney argued that Jergens was merely present as a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), marked by one of their bright green hats.
On Sunday night, March 5, approximately 150 individuals armed with stones, fireworks, and Molotov cocktails departed a nearby protest, overran police defenses, and destroyed equipment before attempting to melt back into the crowd. When police received backup, they were able to apprehend 35 of the agitators, including Jergens.
On Monday night, March 6, SPLC and NLG issued a joint statement. SPLC claimed that Jergens’s “arrest is not evidence of any crime, but of heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters” as “part of a months-long escalation of policing tactics against protesters.” NLG agreed that, “Each of these instances, including the many protesters charged with domestic terrorism, make clear that law enforcement views movement activists as enemies of the state.” How silly of them! Those must have been fireworks of friendship they were throwing at officers.
NLG continued to explain its involvement:
“As trained witnesses of police conduct, NLG Legal Observers serve an important role in supporting movement organizers and activists. NLG is proud to contribute in whatever ways we can to advancing the critical work of our movement allies advocating for liberation and community care. NLG remains in solidarity with the movement to Stop Cop City.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said on “Washington Watch” that it was “outrageous” that SPLC is standing behind Jergens. “How do you ‘observe’ domestic terrorism? … Are you coaching them on how to do this?” he asked. He compared it to a pro-life attorney going to observe the firebombing of an abortion facility.
Jergens is not NLG’s only connection to the violence in Atlanta. Law student James “Jamie” Marsicano, another of the 23 Atlanta agitators arrested and charged with domestic terrorism, is also affiliated with NLG. He participated in NLG’s Hayward Burns fellowship in 2022, and he served as a board member for the NLG chapter at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Founded in 1937, NLG has “consistently been identified with radical-left groups and political orientations throughout its history,” according to a six-part series by Capital Research Center (CRC). CRC describes NLG’s embrace of members of the Communist Party USA, Weather Underground, the Black Panther Party, Students for a Democratic Society, Jim Jones’s cult, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, critical race theory, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa. It also supports abortion, the abolition of police and prisons, ending fossil fuels, and slavery reparation payments. CRC said NLG designed its legal observer program after the Black Panthers’ “copwatch.”
In fact, NLG legal “observers” did much more than observe during Antifa’s 2020 siege of the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore. Former FBI agent (and whistleblower) Kyle Seraphin described, from his firsthand experience, “The ‘legal observers’ in Portland were linked via radio to the Antifa mob and acting as countersurveillance and spotters for the Antifa security elements.” He told The Post Millennial that his team observed an NLG legal observer taking down his license plate and radioing their position to warn agitators away, while another agent whose position was reported suddenly found himself surrounded by “activist security” on bikes. They submitted a thorough report on the activism of NLG’s legal observers, Seraphin said, but the city of Portland was not interested.
Regarding Jergens, Seraphin added, “this ‘legal observer’ faces charges for domestic terrorism, so I’m comfortable guessing the local cops saw through the veil.”
NLG and SPLC share a common cause in promoting “anti-fascist movements.” In a 2017 article titled, “Legal Support for Anti-Fascist Action,” NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder wrote that “nonprofit organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, Political Research Associates, and the National Lawyers Guild have important roles to play in research, analysis, and legal support for anti-fascist movements.”
While the SPLC likes to keep its fingers clean, it also provides Antifa with critical intelligence through data-mining. It recently hired Megan Squire as deputy director for data analytics and open source intelligence for its Intelligence Project. Squire built her own program and database to monitor hundreds of thousands of online accounts, according to a 2018 feature article in Wired Magazine, which described her as “Antifa’s Secret Weapon.”
“She’s an intelligence operative of sorts in the battle against far-right extremism, passing along information to those who might put it to real-world use. Who might weaponize it,” wrote Wired’s Doug Clark. The real-world weaponizers of Squire’s information included SPLC [not then her employer], Antifa, and “groups like the gun-toting Redneck Revolt.” Clark added that, “among [Squire’s] strongest allies are ‘antifa’ activists, the far-left antifascists.” He explained that “she is sympathetic to antifa’s goal of silencing racist extremists and is unwilling to condemn their use of violence, describing it as the last resort of a ‘diversity of tactics.’”
SPLC noted Squire’s operation to gather information and disseminate to radical leftists, approved of it, and decided to bring it in-house. Yet an organization comfortable with feeding information to Antifa wants to present itself as the neutral, all-credible arbiter of “hate.”
Last month, the FBI was forced to retract a leaked internal memo from the Richmond field office labelling “radical-traditionalist Catholic[s]” as potential violent extremists. The memo cited the SPLC’s widely-discredited “hate map” designations — which inspired a terror attack at FRC headquarters in 2012 — to support this insinuation. The memo did “not meet the exacting standards of the FBI,” the FBI admitted.
“You and I have known for a long time that the SPLC was up to all sorts of nefarious activity. They are effectively an arm of the radical progressive Left in this country,” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) told Perkins on “Washington Watch.” “But they’re being exposed for who they are. And this is a good moment. The truth is coming out.”
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.