The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Charlottesville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlottesville. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

ProPublica: White Supremacists Arrested

Image result for antifa arrested after charlottesville 


(photos are not published by ProPublica)

Four Men Arrested Over Unrest During 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally

Image result for Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis,Thomas Gillen, and Cole White

The four are members or associates of the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group based in Southern California, prosecutors say.

by Rahima Nasa
Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. EDT

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced they had arrested four members or associates of the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group, over their alleged role in the infamous 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The four men were charged with having traveled to Charlottesville with the aim of inciting a riot and conspiracy to incite a riot, and prosecutors submitted an array of photographs and videos capturing the men pummeling and choking protesters over two days.

If convicted, the men — Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, California; Thomas Walter Gillen, 34, of Redondo Beach; Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale, California; and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton, California — could face five years in prison for each of two federal riot charges. White has been described as an associate of the group, not a member.

Most of the men charged on Tuesday have been the subject of reporting by ProPublica and Frontline over the last year. RAM, based in Southern California, claimed more than 50 members in 2017 and an overriding purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. Its members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during rallies — not just in Charlottesville, but in the California cities of Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley, as well. Many of the altercations have been captured on video.

The charges announced Tuesday are among a number of prosecutions to stem from the notorious Charlottesville gathering that resulted in two days of mayhem and the death of a young anti-racism activist. The charges brought today are unrelated to the death.

Local prosecutors have also brought charges against a handful of other participants in the Charlottesville rally, successfully convicting several men, including activists on both sides of the clashes. And federal authorities have indicted neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, the man accused of killing counterprotester Heather Heyer and injuring more than two dozen others, on some 30 charges, including 28 counts of hate crime.

“This case should serve as another example of the Department of Justice’s commitment to protecting the life, liberty and civil rights of all our citizens,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said Tuesday. “Any individual who has or plans to travel to this district with the intent to engage in acts of violence will be prosecuted and held accountable for those actions.”

Cullen cited ProPublica and Frontline’s reporting during a news conference Tuesday.

“The news organization ProPublica did in my view a fantastic job in piecing together some of the organized activities that occurred on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, and the work that they did was certainly reviewed by our office as a starting point to understand a little bit about this particular group,” he said.

One of those arrested, Miselis, was a doctoral student at UCLA with a U.S. government security clearance to work on sensitive research for a prominent defense contractor. He was let go by the contractor, Northrop Grumman, after ProPublica and Frontline identified him as a RAM member who had attacked people in Charlottesville. At the time, Miselis denied involvement in the violent weekend two summers ago.

RAM was founded in early 2017 by Robert Rundo, a Queens, New York, native who served an 18-month prison sentence for stabbing a rival gang member six times during a 2009 street fight. The group’s core membership is small — 15 to 20 young men, according to interviews and a review of court records. Before joining RAM, several members spent time in jail or state prison on serious felony charges including assault, robbery, and gun and knife offenses. Daley served seven days in jail for carrying a concealed snub-nosed revolver. Another RAM member served a prison term for stabbing a Latino man five times in a 2009 gang assault.

A RAM recruiting video posted to YouTube and Vimeo highlights the organization’s heavy emphasis on violence, cutting between choppy footage of RAM members brawling at public events and carefully shot scenes of them sharpening their boxing skills and doing push-ups during group workout sessions.

RAM members are frequently praised as heroes on some white supremacist media outlets

The group portrays itself as a defense force for a white Western civilization under assault by Jews, Muslims and brown-skinned immigrants from south of the Rio Grande. At rallies, members have waved red-and-white crusader flags and carried signs saying “Rapefugees Not Welcome” and “Da Goyim Know,” an anti-Semitic slogan meant to highlight a supposed conspiracy by Jews to control the globe and subjugate non-Jews. One RAM banner, which depicts knights on horseback chasing after Muslims, reads “Islamists Out!”

ProPublica interviewed one RAM leader last year on the condition of anonymity. He said the gang came together organically. It started when he encountered a few other guys with similar political beliefs, including two active-duty U.S. Marines, while exercising at different gyms in Southern California. They all liked President Donald Trump but didn’t think his agenda went far enough.

On social media channels, RAM members regularly espouse blatantly anti-Semitic and racist views. They have repeatedly been booted from Instagram and Twitter for offensive postings.

This year, four RAM members attended to a massive neo-Nazi rally in Germany, which was held on Hitler’s birthday, uploading photos and videos from the trip to social media.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court Tuesday cited the group’s racist and anti-Semitic postings online in support of the arrests.

Prosecutors said the four men will be brought to Virginia next week to be arraigned on the charges.

It was not clear on Tuesday whether the men had yet retained lawyers.

“This wasn’t in our view the lawful exercise of First Amendment rights,” Cullen said. “These guys came to Charlottesville to commit violent acts, and this wasn’t the first time they’ve done it.”

Cullen said that charging the men with inciting a riot and conspiracy to incite a riot was more appropriate and likely effective than arresting them on hate crime charges.

Cullen said there are other ongoing investigations, but he would not say more about them.

There’s a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office who has done nothing else but look into these investigations since Aug. 12, according to Cullen.

“We’re not finished,” Cullen said. “We’re going to continue these investigations until we reach a point where we’re satisfied that our federal interests have been vindicated.”

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Charlottesville A Year Later

After Report, Northrop Grumman Fires Violent Neo-Nazi Engineer
Death in Charlottesville

As the nation moves away from the most horrific example of white supremacy we have witnessed in decades, we are finding the extent to which the tragedy affected and continues to affect some very many people.

WTOP dot com's Neal Augenstein recently published a piece about a US Marine forced out of the military due to his involvement in the Charlottesville, Virginia Torch Light protest support for a Confederate general statue.

WTOP dot com's Neal Augenstein It is interesting the racist at the four-second mark in the video has fizzled down into a shamed felon for his use of Pepper-Spray. 
White nationalist arrested again, faces charges unrelated to ...
Baltimore man among 3 more charged in Charlottesville, Va., white ...
These men have suffered greatly as a result of their involvement in the nation's most horrific anti-Semite and Anti-Civil Rights protest emanating form support for a Confederate leader statue. their suffering is well deserved while standing as an indictment of the local authorities police department. A department which stood by as the racist clashed with the Anti-fascists, ANTIFA, and may have taken a hands-off as some individuals were mercilessly beaten.
Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville —

Before moving to a ProPublica followup piece take a moment, to remind yourself,, the Tiki-Torch racists were not a herd of undereducated dimwits. One Ph.D. UCLA engineering student employed by Northrup Grumman Corporation lost his job after being identified as such...


Another intriguing and sad aspect of the protest march and the Anti-Jewish chant; the Confederate general or confederate leader didn't; go down in US history as an Anti-Semite. 
Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

For Charlottesville Authorities, a Painful Post-Mortem on Preparedness

On Aug. 2, 2017, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer convened a closed meeting of the City Council. The Unite the Right rally was days off, and Signer was concerned about how to manage the potential for trouble. The Virginia State Police were there. So, too, was the chief of the Charlottesville Police Department.

Signer and the council members asked the law enforcement officers present directly: Was there a “specific, credible threat” of violence?

There was none, the elected officials said they were told.

Mayhem, of course, ensued some 10 days later, as marches by white supremacists turned bloody and left a 32-year-old woman dead. The violence set off a national political firestorm, and also a great deal of soul-searching by the city of Charlottesville.

Months later, a 200-page independent review of law enforcement’s handling of the rally excoriated the local and state police for failing to intervene earlier and more effectively to limit the bloodshed.

Buried deeper in the report, however, was a detailed account of the intelligence shortcomings that left the police poorly prepared for what was to come, including the Aug. 2 meeting. Those at the meeting considered relocating the rally, the account reveals, thinking it might be safer away from Emancipation Park, site of the disputed statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. But they didn’t, based on advice from police — and specifically from Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas.

“Council asked the law enforcement officers about imminent danger, but received no information suggesting a ‘specific, credible threat of violence,’” the report said. “Chief Thomas told us that the information presented to the Council did not, in his view, meet the threshold that would justify moving the event.”

Signer, in a recent interview with ProPublica and Frontline, said he never actually saw security plans for the event until weeks after the fatal rally.

“I wish that we had known more. I wish that we had been given more information by the state intelligence apparatus,” Signer said.

Asked if the police had indicated that white supremacists would come heavily armed to the marches on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 — some marchers had guns, clubs and pepper spray, among other weapons — Signer said, simply, “No.”
In an effort to better understand how that could be, ProPublica and Frontline spoke with a researcher hired by a federal agency in the months before Charlottesville to collect information on the aims and activities of white supremacist groups, dozens of which would ultimately make their way to Charlottesville. The researcher, who has decades of experience in law enforcement, would only speak on the condition that his name would not be used because of his ongoing intelligence and undercover work for the government. He said he filed reports roughly every two weeks from January to August 2017 chronicling what he said was clear evidence that extremists on the right and left were destined to meet violently.

Those reports, he said, were shared with the federal agency that hired him, and he believes, made their way to the local authorities.

“Because of the length of time that the groups had to organize, the extent of their networking, and the logistics in question, there were concerns expressed to law enforcement agencies about the potential for violence,” the intelligence researcher told ProPublica and Frontline in an interview last week.

He would not name the specific agency he worked for or give us copies of the reports he says he submitted. What became of his work is hard to determine. Shortly after the rally, there were published reports that offer support for his claim: The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI had warned the state and Charlottesville police of the potential for violence.

Politico reported late in August 2017 that the Department of Homeland Security had issued a confidential warning to law enforcement authorities three days before the deadly Aug. 12 Charlottesville protest rally. It warned that “an escalating series of clashes had created a powder keg “likely to ignite in Charlottesville. An earlier report that month by Foreign Policy magazine said the FBI and DHS had warned the Trump administration back in May.
“We assess lone actors and small cells within the white supremacist extremist movement likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year,” said the bulletin, which was titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence.”.

The independent review done in Charlottesville does not resolve the question of how and why federal warnings were not heeded by local police. But it makes clear failings on the front end (inadequate intelligence on potential threats) made the failings that came later (inexplicable restraint in the face of bloodshed) all the more likely.

“The planning and coordination breakdowns prior to August 12 produced disastrous results,” the report said.

The report said the Virginia State Police would not cooperate with investigators, and faulted Thomas for trying to limit the participation of officials in his department.

Contacted this week, the State Police said they did the best they could a year ago. The local police had nothing more to say.

Thomas, the CPD chief, retired shortly after the release of the independent report. Thomas, through his lawyer, declined to discuss his performance, including his determination that no “specific, credible” threat of violence surfaced prior to the rally.

ProPublica and Frontline had sent a series of questions to the FBI about its intelligence on white supremacist groups and why the information the bureau developed did not seem to result in better preparedness.

The FBI issued a statement in response.

“The FBI investigates activity which may constitute a federal crime or pose a threat to national security, and cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or exercise of First Amendment rights. We remain committed to protecting those rights for all Americans.”

The statement added that, “the FBI takes seriously all acts or threats of violence and is committed to investigating crimes that are potentially bias-motivated.”

In pages upon pages of fault-finding, the review offers a painstaking chronology of local law enforcement’s struggle to obtain useful intelligence in the weeks leading up to the Unite the Right weekend.

In May, there had been two tense days in Charlottesville involving white supremacists and protesters who challenged them. There was no violence and few arrests, but Thomas told investigators for the independent report that the events amounted to an “operational blind spot” for his department, which had failed to see the potential for trouble in advance.

Thomas and his department had another chance to improve its intelligence when the Ku Klux Klan held a march in Charlottesville on July 8. Thomas said he authorized the purchase of more sophisticated technology capable of “pinpointing potential threats based on social media activity.” He also assigned a captain to oversee the intelligence gathering, but wound up disappointed with the first results of the effort, according to the report.

There was no estimate of how many people would show up; no criminal histories for any of the likely marchers were compiled, and scant information was gathered about the anticipated tactics of the Klan marchers or their expected opponents. The department also had failed to reach out to other jurisdictions that had a history of dealing with Klan gatherings, the report said.

The Charlottesville Police Department’s blind spot, Thomas conceded, had remained so.

There also had been next to no training for officers handling the march.

“CPD’s training efforts to prepare for the Klan event were fragmented, unfocused, and inadequate,” the report concluded.

It showed. The Klan came and went without great incident, but hundreds of protesters who had shown up to confront the marchers swarmed the streets. Groups of officers got separated. More than 20 arrests were made. An officer was spit on. The Virginia State Police and the Charlottesville Police Department used different radio channels for communication, and the state police deployed tear gas without proper authorization.

“You are damn right I gassed them; it needed to be done,” a state police official told Thomas, according to the independent review. The police, he said, were “under attack.”

Seth Wispelwey, a local religious leader, said it seemed as if city leaders and law enforcement “didn’t know what they were doing,” according to the report.
Thomas and his department recommitted to doing a better job with the Unite the Right rally looming. Individual detectives were assigned to research groups on the right and the left that were likely to attend. But this appears to have amounted to not much more than reading old news articles and trying to reach the group leaders to determine their intentions, according to the report.

The report says CPD got some input from “outside agencies and groups.” It lists a police chief in Pikeville, Ky., where there had been a recent rally; an investigator at the Anti-Defamation League; and the FBI’s field office in Richmond, Va. The threat assessments warned that white supremacists were likely to bring bats, batons, knives and firearms, and that anti-racist militants would respond with soda cans filled with cement, bottles filled with urine or fuel, and pepper spray.

How that failed to qualify as a “specific, credible” threat of violence is unclear. But the report makes clear the authorities didn’t believe they had what they needed to try and move or cancel the rally.

“Council was told that generalized threats of violence, promises to use violence in self-defense, and information that counter-protesters planned to use violence….were insufficient,” the report said.

But the full report contains virtually no mention of an intelligence tool typically vital for such events: confidential informants inside extremist groups on both sidesused, such intelligence assets.

William Long, a former FBI agent who retired in 2014, said there were clearly breakdowns in intelligence gathering and sharing in Charlottesville. He spent many years of his career investigating white supremacist groups in the Western United States, probes that routinely relied on the use of informants. He finds it hard to believe the FBI and others didn’t have multiple informants within the groups, both before Charlottesville and after.

“People in this movement, many times they are ripe for development as informants,” Long said. “They’re people who are looking to belong to something. Some of them are overtly racist and believe what they’re spewing. Others are not, they’re weak-minded followers that fall in because others will accept them. There are people in neo-Nazi and white supremacist movement that will mature, realize, hey, my friends are going to prison, I’m going nowhere in life and I’m tired of sleeping on someone’s couch. If you can catch them at the right time, when you get them realizing that this is stupid, you can knock it out of the park.”

He acknowledged that developing intelligence through human sources was far more challenging than tracking material on the Internet, which seems to have been the chief approach taken by local authorities.

“Developing informants who are going to the training sessions with groups, for example, is a whole different thing,” Long said. “You have to make a real effort to either recruit people who are already on the inside, or recruit a capable person with credentials to get there, and once you vet them, move them into that position where you want them, where they’re most useful — that takes some experience and skill to do that. The bureau does emphasize that. Whether it’s being done expertly, across the board, I don’t know.”

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom.  Sign up for their newsletter.

End Pro Publica

"Very fine people on both sides..."


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hate Groups Re Birth In America

Pro Publica Re-Post

Ranks of Notorious Hate Group Include Active-Duty Military
A Marine took part in the violent assaults in Charlottesville last summer and later bragged about it online with other members of Atomwaffen, an extremist group preparing for a race war. The involvement of current or former service members — often with sophisticated weapons training — in white supremacist groups has long been a concern.

    Vasillios Pistolis, a U.S. Marine, clubs a man with a wooden flagpole during the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

    This story was co-published with Frontline PBS.
    The 18-year-old, excited by his handiwork at the bloody rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer, quickly went online to boast. He used the handle VasillistheGreek.
    “Today cracked 3 skulls open with virtually no damage to myself,” the young man wrote on Aug. 12, 2017.
    Vasillios Pistolis had come to the now infamous Unite the Right rally eager for such violence. He belonged to a white supremacist group known as Atomwaffen Division, a secretive neo-Nazi organization whose members say they are preparing for a coming race war in the U.S. In online chats leading up to the rally, Pistolis had been encouraged to be vicious with any counter-protestors, maybe even sodomize someone with a knife. He’d responded by saying he was prepared to kill someone “if shit goes down.”
    One of Pistolis’ victims that weekend was Emily Gorcenski, a data scientist and trans woman from Charlottesville who had shown up to confront the rally’s hundreds of white supremacists. In an online post, Pistolis delighted in how he had “drop kicked” that “tranny” during a violent nighttime march on the campus of the University of Virginia. He also wrote about a blood-soaked flag he’d kept as a memento.
    “Not my blood,” he took care to note.


    Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Parkland Terrorist A Member Of White Supremacist Group?

    Do you recall Donald Trump saying what follows within hours of the Charlottesville Virginia White supremacist rally?


    The Anti-Defamation League

    Group Admits Ties to Alleged Parkland School Shooter Nikolas Cruz

    February 15, 2018

     Nikolas Cruz ROF
    A spokesperson for the white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF) told the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday, February 15, that Nikolas Cruz, the man charged with the previous day’s deadly shooting spree at a Parkland, Florida, high school, was associated with his group. 
    On Wednesday, February 14, , Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, allegedly entered the school with an AR-15 and opened fire, killing at least 17 people and injuring 14 more. Cruz left the scene but was later captured by police and has been charged with premeditated murder. 
    After self-described ROF members claimed on the discussion forum 4chan that Cruz had also been a member, the Anti-Defamation League called the ROF hotline and spoke with an ROF member who identified himself as Jordan Jereb. 
    Jereb, based in Tallahassee, is believed to be the leader of ROF. In 2016, he was arrested on charges of threatening a staffer in the office of Florida Governor Rick Scott because he was allegedly angry at the staffer’s son.
    Read more here

    More via Talking Points Memo, here.


    Wednesday, January 3, 2018

    An Under Current Of Disaster Going Unchecked

    Whether you believe the US is developing a dangerous sub-culture of white supremacy or you don't believe such, there is growing evidence, if you pay attention.

    Recall Charlottesville Virginia: "Jews Will Not Replace Us!"

    Another existential reality. Growth and proliferation of such groups have increased over time, with what seems an exponential burst of supremacist social regression as Trumpism has developed. 

    Have you noticed the presence of a popular Internet caricature, Pepe The Frog, turned a symbol of white supremacy?  

    Another symbolic manifestation of US White is a hand gesture which delivers a message to any "knowing" observer. 

    We have seen the signal flashed among a few too many White House staffers to refuse to accept its flashing is far more than a coincidence or a "cool" gesture.

    Speaking of the White House.

    Alas, someone caught the gesture at this past weekend's Trump Mar-A-Lago festivities. 

    brat at Mar-A-Lago New Year's Eve gala.
    The following video segments are critical to understanding the reality of growing US white supremacy. The NBC news guest, Christian Picciolini, is a former white supremacist who has taken to appearing on national TV shows (e.g. 60 Minutes) to disavow, repudiate and posit against and reject his 8 years as a supremacist.

    The segments represent a short one-minute version of the 13 minute NBC appearance. The second video is the full segment. As you watch NBC's nascent host Megyn Kelly, conduct the interview, you will notice a clear effort to question the veracity of Fox News as a purveyor of racism. Lest we forget one video segment of Kelly clearly espousing racism and a degree of supremacy regarding an African-American writer's comments about Santa Clause being black.  Comments which fall the realm of Santa as a mythical character from the minds of people who rejoice and celebrate Christmas. Thus the black writer had every right to speak to kids in her community from a position of pure mystic and perception via young minds. Kelly White Santa, white Jesus.  After a few days of unannounced "vacation", Kelly reappeared with what Fox News management must have felt properly addressed Kelly's racist comments about Santa. As you view the embed you will notice a few items which fit Fox News's business model to the letter.  Kelly feigned "tongue in cheek" remarks. Kelly offered the totally implausible regarding joking with kids. She would joke about "white" Santa at 10:00PM EST to what audience of kids? Do parents actually allow their kids to sit and watch Fox News at 10:00PM.  One other matter, notice the "in-your-face" advertisement for the "powerful" Fox News.  

    Kelly's defensive remarks spoke volumes about the underlying broadcast ideology at Fox News.

    Racism and white supremacy aren't always shrouded in a white robe and hood. We offered Fox News as the nation's top purveyor of cable news mind-shaping which often touches on conservatism which in turn exist with much more intolerance of things nonwhite than other political ideology. Megyn Kelly defense of her former employer still sits as a psychic brand she will not and cannot shed.

    Let's now visit with Kelly and her guest.  We hope you watched the 13 minutes 60 Minutes segment liked above. 

    Long Version

    If you continue to shield your psyche form growing US racism and white supremacy, you actually enable its growth. It is unfortunate but your affinity for and closely aligned with US conservatism means you should take extraordinary steps to rid the nation of a disease which history shows contribute to nation killing.

    While it isn't fair to say: "All Republicans are racist."
    It is fair to say:"Racist who are political align with the Republican Party."


    Saturday, December 9, 2017

    Roy Moore Impacts The GOP, Black Surrogates Losing Battles, And One Minority Escapes The Party

    Let us start where it counts: alleged pedophilia.

    What you witnessed in the video segment was the long-term effect of inherent in millions who reside in the deep south. Let there be no mistake, the Republicanism is a common mental state across the nation. But, I wager you will not find such a severe case of chronic republicanism couped with over active disregard for pedophilia in most red states.

    In order to appreciate current conservative mind-shaping and Trump rationalizing , let's step back for a quick CNN segment regarding Trump's "fine people" comments after the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. "....fine people on both sides."


    Now for the point at hand. 

    Watch as Trump's number one "black" presstitute works for his CNN paycheck. I use the word "Black" due to reality African-American conservatives seem to harbor a great deal of disdain for use of the more common vernacular as an identifier of black people who live in America and are of American ancestry (non-immigrant post slavery). 

    Paris Rennard battles with CNN host Chris Cuomo.  I would be amazed it in the segment, Rennard didn't throw out his common defense against people "questioning his blackness."  A common ploy which seems to have roots in his own discomfort with his chosen political affiliation.  He also knows 96% of African-Americans hold the GOP in contempt for reasons he chooses to overlook or simply ignore. 

    Rennard knows, to his core, the GOP doesn't give one damn about the African-American community. If you really need evidence, take a close look.

    Take a close look at the Mitt Romney website from the 2012 campaign.

    Romney campaign website.

    Has anyone ever asked Rennard about the 2012 outreach menu?

    As you watch Rennard go about spewing Trump apologism, notice his demeanor and associated strategy when challenged about Roy Moore's affinity for a tine of US slavery. The "blackness defense" rolls-out on cue.

    Oh, know Rennard isn't the only Trump talking head who earns a nice paycheck from CNN. The following segment is relevant in understanding the level and scope of Trumpism as its fissures into the black community, via another popular CNN Trump surrogate.

    Apparently, one former Breitbart News editor has had enough of the GOP.


    Saturday, October 21, 2017

    Pro Publica's Expose` On Growing US White Supremacy

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it ...George Santayana

    The following piece is an excerpt from a lengthy Pro Publica piece.  While the piece is a tie consuming piece, it sheds light on people that Donald Trump lumped one state as "fine people." Granted Trump made the statement to avoid condemning the far right racist and Nazis, but nonetheless, he made the statement.

    It is also critical to note, the racists in the Pro Publica piece re apparently not receiving the same law enforcement scrutiny as the Jeff Sessions' FBI has a  law enforcement focus  on what they call the "black activist movement." 

    Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace

    They train to fight. They post their beatings online.
    And so far, they have little reason to fear the authorities.

    RAM member Ben Daley (center) attacks an unidentified woman at the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Jason Andrew for Splinter)

    It was about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 when the melee erupted just north of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.
    About two dozen white supremacists — many equipped with helmets and wooden shields — were battling with a handful of counter-protesters, most of them African American. One white man dove into the violence with particular zeal. Using his fists and feet, the man attacked one person after another. 
    The street fighter was in Virginia on that August morning for the “Unite the Right” rally, the largest public gathering of white supremacists in a generation, a chaotic and bloody event that would culminate, a few hours later, in the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was there to protest the racist rally.
    The violence in Charlottesville became national news. President Donald Trump’s response to it — he asserted there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the events that day — set off a wave of condemnations, from his allies as well as his critics.
    But for many Americans, conservatives as well as liberals, there was shock and confusion at the sight of bands of white men bearing torches, chanting racist slogans and embracing the heroes of the Confederacy: Who were they? What are their numbers and aims?
    There is, of course, no single answer. Some who were there that weekend in Charlottesville are hardened racists involved with long-running organizations like the League of the South. Many are fresh converts to white supremacist organizing, young people attracted to nativist and anti-Muslim ideas circulated on social media by leaders of the so-called alt-right, the newest branch of the white power movement. Some are paranoid characters thrilled to traffic in the symbols and coded language of vast global conspiracy theories. Others are sophisticated provocateurs who see the current political moment as a chance to push a “white agenda,” with angry positions on immigration, diversity and economic isolationism.
    ProPublica spent weeks examining one distinctive group at the center of the violence in Charlottesville: an organization called the Rise Above Movement, one of whose members was the white man dispensing beatings near Emancipation Park Aug. 12.
    The group, based in Southern California, claims more than 50 members and a singular purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. RAM’s members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during protests in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley. Many of the altercations have been captured on video, and its members are not hard to spot.
    Indeed, ProPublica has identified the group’s core members and interviewed one of its leaders at length. The man in the Charlottesville attacks — filmed by a documentary crew working with ProPublica — is 24-year-old Ben Daley, who runs a Southern California tree-trimming business.
    Many of the organization’s core members, including Daley, have serious criminal histories, according to interviews and a review of court records. Before joining RAM, several members spent time in jail or state prison on serious felony charges including assault, robbery, and gun and knife offenses. Daley did seven days in jail for carrying a concealed snub-nosed revolver. Another RAM member served a prison term for stabbing a Latino man five times in a 2009 gang assault.
    “Fundamentally, RAM operates like an alt-right street-fighting club,” said Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

    RAM members Ben Daley (front, center) and Tom Gillen (front, right) in Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally (Jason Andrew for Splinter)

    Despite their prior records, and open boasting of current violence, RAM has seemingly drawn little notice from law enforcement. Four episodes of violence documented by ProPublica resulted in only a single arrest — and in that case prosecutors declined to go forward. Law enforcement officials in the four cities — Charlottesville, Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley — either would not comment about RAM or said they had too little evidence or too few resources to seriously investigate the group’s members.
    In Virginia, two months after the deadly events in Charlottesville, Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, would not say if the police had identified RAM as a dangerous group.
    “We’re not going to be releasing the names of the groups that we believe were present that day in Charlottesville,” she said. Investigators, she added, are still “reviewing footage” from the event.
    Law enforcement has a mixed record when it comes to anticipating and confronting the challenge of white supremacist violence.
    Often working undercover at great personal risk, federal investigators have successfully disrupted dozens of racist terror attacks. In the last year, agents have captured three Kansas men planning to bomb a mosque and an apartment complex inhabited largely by Somali immigrants, arrested a white supremacist in South Carolina as he plotted a “big scale” attack, and investigated a neo-Nazi cell that allegedly intended to blow up a nuclear power plant.
    But there have also been failures. During the past five years, white supremacists, some of them members of gangs or organized political groups, have murdered at least 22 people, according to the Global Terrorism Database and news reports. And some government insiders say the intelligence services and federal law enforcement agencies have largely shifted their attention away from far-right threats in the years since 9/11, choosing instead to focus heavily on Islamic radicals, who are seen by some to pose a more immediate danger.
    State and local police have struggled to respond effectively to the recent resurgence in racist political organizing. Police in Sacramento were caught unprepared in June 2016 when neo-Nazis and anti-fascist counter-protesters, or “antifa,” armed with knives and improvised weapons, clashed outside the California State Capitol during a rally. Ten people were sent to the hospital with stab wounds.
    Taking a different tack, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida took the aggressive step of declaring a state of emergency in the run-up to this week’s appearance by Richard Spencer, a white supremacist scheduled to speak in Gainesville.
    Michael German is a former FBI agent who during his career infiltrated a Nazi skinhead gang and militia organizations. German, now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, said he is worried that law enforcement doesn’t comprehend the threat posed by this latest iteration of the white supremacist movement.
    Police and federal agents, in his view, are “looking at this whole thing so narrowly, as two groups clashing at a protest.”
    In reality, German said, “it is organized criminal activity.”

    One of the first people known to have been targeted by RAM was a journalist working for OC Weekly, an irreverent liberal publication based in Orange County, California.
    The date was March 25, and writer Frank John Tristan was covering a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach. The event, which had drawn more than 2,000 Trump supporters, marked what seems to have been RAM’s public debut. About a dozen RAM fighters showed up, with members carrying an anti-Semitic sign and a massive banner emblazoned with the words “Defend America.”
    The march also drew a small contingent of anti-Trump protesters, including some militant antifa activists, and some people intent on physically blocking the procession as it moved along the Pacific Coast Highway. Before long, the scene turned violent and brawls between the political foes swept across the beach. 

    RAM members Daley, nearest at right, Tyler Laube, holding an American flag, and Robert Rundo, far left, display a “Defend America” banner at a pro-Trump rally on March 25, 2017, in Huntington Beach, California. (Brian Feinzimer for OC Weekly)

    Tristan and two OC Weekly colleagues, photographers Julie Leopo and Brian Feinzimer, wound up in the conflict.
    “The Trump supporters felt empowered to ridicule and intimidate me,” Leopo recalled in an OC Weekly article. “I kept shooting despite the insults and just as I was about to click the shutter on my camera, I looked up and locked eyes with a white woman carrying a flag.”
    The woman struck Leopo and Feinzimer with the flagpole. A man shoved Feinzimer, sending him reeling. Tristan intervened, trying to calm the situation.
    That’s when two men attacked him. One was a RAM member who charged at Tristan and began punching him in the face. The other assailant, who wasn’t a RAM fighter, grabbed Tristan’s sweatshirt and hit him with a series of punches.
    Tristan was staggered. Someone standing nearby fired off a thick stream of pepper spray, and Tristan’s beating ended. Then RAM members fanned out and began fighting with other people.
    Another RAM member confronted a masked counter-protester, grabbed the man, and threw him into the sand. From there he pummeled the counter-protester with his fist and elbow. Captured on video and shared through social media, the spectacle became a meme of the so-called alt-right.
    In the days after the mayhem, Tristan spent hours studying shaky smartphone videos and scrolling through social media posts trying to identify the men who attacked him. He concluded that a 21-year-old man named Tyler Laube was the RAM member who struck him. Laube appears with his face uncovered in several group photographs of RAM from their training sessions in an Orange County park and at the Huntington Beach rally.
    ProPublica was unable to contact Laube, but court records show he has had many entanglements with the law in recent years.

    Identifying the Members of RAM

    He has been convicted of fighting with a paramedic at a supermarket, illegally possessing a switchblade, disturbing the peace, and DUI, according to Los Angeles County court files. In 2015, Laube pleaded no contest to felony robbery charges — prosecutors said he partnered with another man to rob a 7-Eleven and another convenience store at gunpoint. While in jail before trial, Laube told a detective that he’d gone to a Hollywood strip club and gotten high on Xanax — the potent, often-abused prescription benzodiazepine — before acting as the wheelman in the robberies, which occurred early in the morning in Redondo Beach, according to court transcripts.
    Laube, court records indicate, was on probation on the day he allegedly assaulted Tristan.
    In the six months since the violent rally, state parks police have opened no criminal case in connection with the assault on Tristan and made no arrests. It is unclear how much of the abundant photographic evidence and video footage the authorities have reviewed, if any.
    Capt. Kevin Pearsall, a regional superintendent with the parks police, says his officers can’t act because they’ve received no complaint from Tristan. However, former OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano says he’s repeatedly contacted parks police via phone and email in hopes of getting them to investigate. Parks police documents and internal emails obtained by ProPublica show that Arellano has reached out to police brass and that detectives are aware of the assault on Tristan.
    Arellano said since the assault not a single law enforcement agency or official had contacted him about the alleged perpetrators.
    “We know their identities,” said Arellano, who supervised Tristan and the other journalists until recently, when he left the paper amid staff cuts. “But what good is the truth when the law doesn’t give a shit?”
    No charges have been brought against the people who attacked Leopo and Feinzimer, either, though Pearsall says those incidents have been examined by police. According to Pearsall, his agency, which is tasked with maintaining order in California’s vast network of parks and recreational areas, doesn’t have the resources to carry out extensive investigations and must turn to outside police forces for assistance in such cases.

    In an undated photo posted to their since-deleted Instagram account, RAM members pose in skull masks.

    Most of the time, the young men of the Rise Above Movement, nearly all of them in their 20s, look perfectly innocuous: close-cropped hair, clean-shaven faces, T-shirts and jeans.
    But for public events, RAM has developed its own menacing signature look, with members often wearing skull masks and goggles to ward off pepper spray. At times, RAM fighters have tied American flag bandannas around their faces to conceal their identities.
    A RAM recruiting video posted to YouTube and Vimeo highlights the organization’s violent raison d’être, cutting between choppy footage of RAM members brawling at public events and carefully shot scenes of them sharpening their boxing skills and doing push-ups during group workout sessions.
    There is an entire ecosystem of low-budget white supremacist media outlets — websites, blogs, forums, podcasts, YouTube channels and the like — and RAM members have been hailed as heroes on some of these platforms.
    “They kicked the shit out of people in Berkeley. It was great,” said a host on a racist podcast called Locker Room Talk. “They like to go to rallies and beat up Communists.” YouTube talker James Allsup saluted RAM members as the embodiment of the ideal American man.
    The group portrays itself as a defense force for a Western civilization under assault by Jews, Muslims and brown-skinned immigrants from south of the Rio Grande. The RAM logo features a medieval sword with a cross on the pommel — a symbol of the crusades — and an evergreen tree. On T-shirts they wear while training, the logo appears above three words, “courage, identity, virtue.” At rallies, members have waved red-and-white crusader flags and carried signs saying “Rapefugees Not Welcome” and “Da Goyim Know,” an anti-Semitic slogan meant to highlight a supposed conspiracy by Jews to control the globe and subjugate non-Jews. One RAM banner, which depicts knights on horseback chasing after Muslims, reads “Islamists Out!”
    A ProPublica reporter recently met at a restaurant in Orange County with a man who says he’s a leader of the organization. This man, who appears frequently in the videos of RAM members fighting, would only agree to talk openly about the group’s origins and intentions if we didn’t reveal his name. No other RAM members or associates would speak to us.
    RAM, the leader said, came together organically. It started when he encountered a few other guys with similar political beliefs, including two active duty U.S. Marines, while exercising at different gyms in Southern California. They all liked Trump but didn’t think his agenda went far enough.
    The men began hanging out. Their numbers grew. Many came from rough backgrounds — they’d been strung out on drugs or spent time behind bars — and currently labored at tough blue-collar jobs. Soon they had a name and a mission: They would physically take on the foes of the far-right.

    Read more, here.