I wanted to close the loop with you on the feared, primarily in the Media, one year anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia riot and the efforts by “Unite the Right” to hold rallies in both Charlottesville and Washington DC over the weekend. Charlottesville this year was a non-event as the mayor refused to grant the Unite the Right organizers a rally permit. There were a few anti-hate groups/individuals (a mix that was identical to my description of the counter-protesters at the DC rally below) allowed to march but little occurred. Main complaint was that the massive police presence in Charlottesville (700+ Virginia State Police in riot gear as well a local/area departments reinforcing the Charlottesville PD) was intimidating to the anti-hate groups in attendance. Which complaint is inconsistent with my experience with Anti-fa, who have seldom shown themselves to be intimidated by anyone.
DC was a whimper of a rally by “Unite the Right” and typical of the last 30 years of right wing/KKK rallies: small numbers of the right-wingers show up to be confronted by massively larger number of counter-protesters. The police then have to protect the right-wing group members from the opposition. When the police have kept these groups apart, which they did in DC and have almost always succeeded in doing in the past, the rally becomes a non-event, as it was yesterday.
The article below has a nice summary of the DC event, in which Alt-right organizers hoped to bring together 400-500 supporters. They failed, attracting only 30 or so. Counter-protesters far outnumbered them with about 3,000 from Anti-Fa (the Anti-Fascist, left wing, anarchist and extremely violent group which I have described to you on several occasions in the past and are covered in detail on the Internet), Black Lives Matter, various local and religious anti-hate coalitions, anti-Trumpers and scores of Media.
So, after much justified criticism of law enforcement at last years rally in Charlottesville, the law enforcement community is back on track with an example of good intelligence, coordination among police agencies, appropriate deployment of force on the street and a good outcome in DC.
White-supremacist rally near White House dwarfed by thousands of anti-hate protesters
You may find this comprehensive NY Times article on an Iraqi undercover intelligence officer who penetrated ISIS of interest. Captain al-Sudani was the chief of a little known Iraqi intelligence unit, the Falcons intelligence Cell. As the article indicates, few have ever heard of the unit and I am one of those few as it has never come up on my radar. As you all know, remaining anonymous is a very significant advantage to an intelligence unit/service, which this article, like many done by the Media over the years, has now removed from the Falcons.
According to the article, both the Falcons and Captain al-Sudani have been extremenly successful: al-Sudani alone foiled 30 planned vehicle-bomb attacks and 18 suicide bombers. Astonishing!
I will not spoil the end of the story for you, but it does point out that there are some sophisticated intelligence operations being conducted by other than US Special Operations Forces and the CIA in Iraq and Syria, which I find very encouraging.
The Iraqi Spy Who Infiltrated ISIS
I subscribe to “FRONTLINE” and just got this email today. I looked have viewed the program and and can recommend it as a good rendering of the Charlottesville riot in August of last year (I’ve already sent you out three articles in preparation for the “Unite the Right” rally tomorrow in DC). There was supposed to be a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville tomorrow as well, but according to an article I’m attaching from the Associated Press, organizers were not granted a permit by the mayor of Charlottesville and therefore are re-focusing their energies on the DC rally.
One major criticism I have of this “FRONTLINE” piece is that it focuses almost entirely on the Alt-right groups that gathered in Charlottesville last year, making it appear that they were exclusively responsible for the violence that occurred. I would have liked “FRONTLINE” to spend more than a paragraph on the 300+ left wing, Anti-fa, demonstrators that came to Charlottesville (there were approximately Alt-right 500 demonstrators). I do understand that Anti-fa has been only responsible for violence/assaults at demonstrations around the US and that they have killed no one to-date that I am aware of. The Alt-right, on the other hand, and its various splinter movements has been responsible for scores of deaths, including those at the Charlottesville riot last year. Actually Alt-right groups have killed more people in the US since 9/11 that Islamic extremists.
I would also like to point out, as does the article I’ve attached, that the major reason for the violence in Charlottesville last year was the inaction of the law enforcement departments on the scene. It was their failure to keep the two groups apart and then to quickly respond to the violence when it occurred subsequently that led to the rioting. The Associated Press article that I’ve attached points out that, “An independent investigation of the rally violence, led by a former federal prosecutor, found the chaos stemmed from a passive response by law enforcement and poor preparation and coordination between state and city police.”
Specifically, I would point to the Chief Thomas, the chief of Charlottesville Police Department, and the Virginia State Police as the parties who failed in the most basic of law enforcement responses to demonstrations, rallies, demonstrators, counter-demonstrators and riots: that is preventing demonstrators and counter-demonstrators from intermingling. Having been to a half a dozen riots myself, as an Army officer in the Old Guard in Washington DC during the riots in the summer of 1970, and as an FBI agent, it was apparent on watching the early news videos that the two groups were allowed to mix and when the predictable violence then occurred there were no police officers on the scene to restore order .
It will be interesting to watch the rallies tomorrow, I suspect a massive presence of law enforcement in Charlottesville and in DC, backed up by federal and National Guard troops, will be obvious and overwhelming.