UPDATE: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who himself is a former white supremacist, announces a federal civil rights investigation of the Charlottesville massacre. In the meantime, Richard Spencer announces he will return to finish the work he started in Charlottesville. Not happy with killing only one person, he wants to return and kill some more:
“You think that we’re going to back down to this kind of behavior to you and your little provincial town? No,’’ he said. “We are going to make Charlottesville the center of the universe.”
Ohio white supremacist, James Fields, has been arrested on charges of second degree murder in the car assault. Southern Poverty Law Center reports he is a member of American Vanguard, a neo-Nazi group. Though the group is now denying Fields is associated with them, others counter that he was with the group all day today in Charlottesville. Another source told me Vanguard has provided security for Spencer at some of his talks. If true, this would bring the terror attack even closer to Spencer’s door. Both men deserve a long stint in federal prison. Let’s see if the Trump-Sessions claque can shut down his machinations.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) August 12, 2017
The president of the University of Virginia, Teresa Sullivan and the town’s police chief must resign. Sullivan is actually in her final months as president, but this tragedy should cast a pall on any future employer who might consider hiring her. Last night, alt-right neo-Nazis staged a mini-Nuremberg rally on the school’s campus while the police stood by and did nothing. Only when the pogromists surrounded a small group of counter-protesters and assaulted them, did the police take any action.
It was then they should have taken decisive action and immediately cancelled the alt-right riot planned for the next day (today). As a result of their inaction, one antifa protester is dead, a car driven by a suspected neo-Nazi terrorist plowed into left-wing protesters and scores are wounded. Only after this mayhem did they finally do what they should have 12 hours earlier and invoked a state of emergency and called out the National Guard.
— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell) August 12, 2017
Let’s cut straight to the chase and shed all the bullshit tweets from Donald Trump, Melania and Pence about ridding hate from our hearts and “uniting together as one.” We are not “one.” We are not united. There is hate in the hearts of some. But the hate is in the hearts of neo-Nazis and the leaders they support. Will a loving quotation from Adolf Hitler decorating a gun-toting protester’s t-shirt persuade Trump and the rest of America of what we’re dealing with here? But of course, Donald’s dad got arrested at a 1927 Ku Klux Klan rally, so I wouldn’t expect too much on that account.
Returning to Charlottesville: this is terrorism. The Justice Department must immediately step in and make this a federal terror case. Understandably, many Republicans will object. Sessions will invariably object. This is a perfect opportunity for the somnolent Democratic Party to arise from its slumber and take action (as difficult as that may be for it). Demand a Justice Department terror investigation and prosecution targeting not just the killer and any accomplices, but Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, the ringleaders of this terror conspiracy.
The statements from police that the driver of the car wasn’t a terrorist, but rather someone petrified by the protesters surrounding his car, that’s ridiculous. It doesn’t even pass the smell test. In fact, it sounds like Charlottesville police are taking sides on this–and the wrong side at that.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 12, 2017
Interestingly, a number of GOP senators including almost unbelievably, Marco Rubio have schooled Trump and told him he must do better and call this by its real name, neo-Nazi terror. Trump tweeted a ridiculous message blaming the violence on “all sides,” as if the ACLU was throwing chairs at Richard Spencer today. Let’s also not forget terrorism the President still refuses to acknowledge: a Minnesota mosque was firebombed last week. Despite calls for him to condemn the attack he not only did not, but his in-house neo-Nazi, Sebastian Gorka, suggested that the attack was a false flag operation by the extreme left.
It is not too much to ask to have a President who explicitly condemns nazis.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) August 12, 2017
It’s nice to have Corey Gardner and Marco Rubio acknowledge that they understand reality well enough to call these thugs by their proper name. But it’s getting to be that time when this is not enough. Republicans will have to totally and fully denounce Trump and everything he stands for–before he skates right up to the edge of nuclear holocaust or something equally catastrophic. Republicans, in your heart of hearts you know that’s where this country (and the world) is headed. How far will you go with him down this path before you’re prepared to abandon him?
Oh and just in case there are any American Jews out there so pro-Israel that they continue to believe that Trump is good for Israel, let me point out that his Nazi acolytes today shouted anti-Semitic slogans like “Jews won’t take our place.” When will you get it through (some of) your thick heads that this guy is as much a disaster for Israel as he is for the rest of the world.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.