Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Anti-illegal immigrant group CCFIILE likened to neo-Nazis. By Peter Reuell/Daily News staff.
FRAMINGHAM — Local Anti Immigration group CCFIILE is an extremist, nativist group that has attracted a number of hard-core racists and neo-Nazis, an investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center has found.
The investigation, published yesterday in the group's quarterly magazine, found CCFIILE, or Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement, has targeted Brazilians throughout the region.
Co-founder Jim Rizoli yesterday dismissed the report.
"It's not true," he said. "I read what the SPLC wrote, and it's laughable. It's laughable what they wrote."
The report details links between CCFIILE and other extremist groups.
"There are ties between the CCFIILE membership and blatantly white supremacist and anti-black groups," the report reads.
At least two prominent CCFIILE members Kevin O'Neil and John Kennedy are also members of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the SPLC report found.
Among the platforms of the Council of Conservative Citizens is "oppos(ition to ) all efforts to mix the races of mankind." The group has also called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity," according to statements in the SPLC report. O'Neil is the leader of the CCC's regional New England Council.
CCFIILE's Web site has also apparently been a frequent destination for Mark Martin, head of the Ohio division of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement.
Posting under an alias on a site maintained by the group, Martin advocated violence against minorities, even suggesting putting a bounty on their heads and "shooting them for sport," according to the SPLC report
Rizoli yesterday insisted he quickly removes such offensive postings from the group's site.
"First of all, my list is an open list," he said. "I don't even know some of the people on that list. One day someone posted something about killing or hurting illegal immigrants. I said, 'That's absolutely wrong.'
"I took him off the list immediately. I will not tolerate violence to anybody on my list. I will not tolerate anything like that."
Electronic records, though, suggest otherwise.
Martin's message suggesting shooting minorities for sport was posted to the CCFIILE site in November 2007, but was not downloaded by SPLC investigators until mid-January, records show, meaning Rizoli allowed it to remain on the site for at least two months.
In another case, a flier created by the National Socialist Movement was posted on the CCFIILE site. Typically such files can only be posted by site administrators, according to SPLC investigators.
Rizoli, for his part, said he merely maintains the list, and simply cannot monitor every message as it is posted.
"I'm probably looking at that list a good hour a day," he said. "My list is a place where people can have freedom of speech, and I let them have freedom of speech. When I see it's of a violent nature, I take it down, that's all I can say."
While he insisted he removed the offensive postings from the site, Rizoli also suggested many of the statements may have been posted by SPLC staff hoping to bait CCFIILE members into making racist statements.
"They were posting things to cause people to react," he said. "I get this (investigation) and then all of the sudden everybody knows what's going on on the site."
It was a charge SPLC editor Mark Potok rejected out of hand.
"That is utter and complete hogwash," Potok said yesterday. "Rizoli can think of any conspiracy he wants to think of to explain the posting in his own group. We didn't do that. This is what CCFIILE is, we're merely trying to show the world."
To read Southern Poverty Law Center's report, go to www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=882