by Steven Yates

December 10, 2021

Book Review: Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right, by Anne Wilson Smith. Columbia, SC: Shotwell Publishing, 2021.

This is a book I was anxious to read. The author is the daughter of respected Southern historian Clyde N. Wilson, the leading authority on John C. Calhoun. I had a boots-on-the-ground source for information on what really happened on August 12, 2017 (relayed here and here). I became even more convinced that CNN (for example) is a lie factory.

The year 2017 was a turning point. The unholy globalist-leftist alliance having lost the presidency in 2016, its denizens wanted revenge. Antifa and Black Lives Matter became increasingly violent. Corporate mass media invariably blamed race-related mayhem on “fascists,” “white supremacists,” “white nationalists,” “Nazis.” I knew of just one case where such a description might have been veridical: Dylann Roof shooting nine black people in North Charleston, S.C., which prompted a new wave of cancellations of Southern culture when a photograph surfaced of Roof posing with a Confederate flag. Black-on-white violence, which has always far exceeded white-on-black violence, continued to go unreported except on alternative sites that are now up against Big Tech censorship.

With that as background, Anne Wilson Smith’s book is a welcome treatment of Unite the Right, and what happened that day. It is the only thing I’ve seen that even attempts fair-mindedness. Critics will say she is sympathetic to Jason Kessler, et al. Of  course she’s sympathetic! Has anyone else given them half a chance? Wilson Smith pointedly asks:

Why did a thousand or more people travel from all over the country to attend Unite the Right in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017? Do you really know? Have you heard anyone who was there that day explain it in their own words? If you learned everything you know about the rally from the mainstream news, the answer is almost certainly “no.”

What do you make of the fact that few who were in attendance that day have ever been given a chance to tell their side of the story? Why was the media so disinterested in explaining all perspectives on what happened that day? Perhaps it was because they had already decided what they wanted the public to believe was the truth, and they didn’t want to create any sympathy for those they had cast as the “villain” in their story (pp. 58-59).

That is, Anne Wilson Smith interviewed people who were there — unlike CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, or other “legacy” media.

It’s useful to keep in mind that the Unite the Right rally was legal. Kessler had a permit, and in saner times would have been protected under a First Amendment which in our era of censorship, wokery, and lawfare, is practically a dead letter.

Charlottesville Untold tells of the events that led up to Aug 12, the event itself, and the aftermath leading up to the infamous lawfare case Sines v. Kessler, recently decided for the plaintiffs for $26 million.

The dual purpose of the rally was to protest efforts to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee which had stood in what was then called Lee Park since 1924, and to present a united front against Cultural Leftist cancellation not just of Southern heritage but American history itself.

Kessler’s ire was aroused both by moves against the Lee statue and the open anti-white animus of the city’s vice mayor, Wes Bellamy. Kessler, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia (2009) who had become a professional writer, exposed Bellamy’s anti white racism arguing that Bellamy had irresponsibly used his position as “a bully pulpit to attack White culture and history” (p. 5).

The confrontation escalated, with Bellamy having the backing of Charlottesville’s mayor, Michael Signer. Kessler soon drew fire from local leftists leading to public altercations and a misdemeanor assault charge which he contended was self-defense.

Leftists then began harassing Kessler and his allies in public, putting up “know-your-nazi” fliers aimed at encouraging businesses to deny them service — a now-familiar tactic. Kessler refused to back down. Instead he conceived of Unite the Right, officially announced at a tense city council meeting on June 5, 2017.

He obtained his permit for a rally in support of free speech and the Lee monument to be held Saturday, August 12, from 12 – 5 pm, for an estimated 400 people. He had to distance himself from a Klan rally to be held the month before. What happened then should have opened eyes to what was to come, as roughly 50 people found themselves surrounded by a crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 leftists filling the streets, blocking parking lot exits, throwing objects and damaging vehicles.

The Klan rally proved to be a golden opportunity for the dishonest media to gather photographs and later “confuse” them with those taken at Unite the Right.

In arranging the slate of speakers, Kessler later admitted he didn’t choose his “allies” as carefully as he might have— he expressed regret at getting mixed up with Richard Spencer (credited with coining the term Alt-Right). Be that as it may, Kessler’s ideas about what the rally was to accomplish were clear. He wanted…

… to destigmatize pro-White advocacy… To make sure our free speech rights are upheld… I want people to come out and support these monuments…  This is an historic opportunity where you will not be alone. You will be greeted by hundreds, if not more, of your brothers and sisters and we are going to make news around the world….  This is an opportunity to reach out to the average conservative who knows that White people are under attack. Perhaps they’re even as far as being a Confederate heritage supporter but they don’t feel like they can stand up for their own interests…. (p. 57)

I’ve not mentioned what happened the night before, because either my sources were not there or did not share that information. The plan was to gather — privately (unlike Unite the Right, invites were on a private message board) — at the Thomas Jefferson statue on the University of Virginia campus. Why there? To show that it wasn’t just Confederate heritage the Cultural Left was threatening. It was U.S. history itself.

The word reached Antifa.

While corporate media regaled viewers with menacing-appearing images of torch-bearing marchers, Anne Wilson Smith uses first-hand sources to validate that the march was peaceful until Antifa showed up. They began with verbal taunts. Fistfights ensued, followed by pepper-spray attacks apparently from both sides (there is no doubt that some marchers had come prepared).

Law enforcement was standing down. This was not lost on Antifa. Christopher Cantwell, podcaster and marcher, pepper-sprayed an Antifa member and was arrested four days later. No one from Antifa that I know of has ever been arrested for reckless endangerment or criminal assault in Charlottesville. When police responded, it was too late. Marchers were fleeing and their leftist attackers already dispersing into the dark.

Wilson Smith tells us that the chant uttered by the torch-bearers was, “You will not replace us,” audible in the live stream. It is unclear how this became “Jews will not replace us” especially in the hands of mainstream media. Kessler contended later that no such message was ever planned.

What actually happened the next morning?

A mixture of people converged on Charlottesville, some “very fine people” as Trump would call them, and others not so fine. Government agencies were there as well; the Virginia State Police were there. One observer reported a police helicopter circling low over the park early that morning. Rally goers already there might have felt more secure thinking there would be a police presence. They were in for a rude awakening. Antifa was waiting, police again stood down, and things quickly went off the rails.

Wilson Smith allows numerous observers to speak for themselves about what unfolded. Peaceful rally-attendees were harassed, assaulted in some instances, and basically had to fight their way through a hostile crowd. Antifa was clearly there to hurt “fascists” if they could, making no distinction between sexes, or between young and old. A man known only as Jim (several of Wilson Smith’s sources used pseudonyms out of fear of job loss or other retaliation) described what happened to a group of older “history buffs”:

“there was no police cover…. I realized there was going to be a fight…. We were getting attacked from the sides.” Counter-protesters [i.e., Antifa] were throwing punches. Some women got hit. The elderly history buffs were pepper-sprayed by a young man who seemed to be targeting them deliberately…. We were trying to get to the park. We assumed there would be safety there. (p. 95)

A man calling himself Gene stated:

“We got attacked about a block and a half before we got to Lee Park. They had all these big TV trucks parked on one side, so the road was one lane wide. We were easy targets for Antifa.” The Antifa were throwing bags of feces and urine, and glass bottles full of nails and screws. They were spraying people in the eyes with pepper-spray. “It was an all-out assault before we ever got to Lee Park. The police just stood there and watched while we were under attack.” (p. 97).

Chris, a League of the South member, remembered:

When I got there, there were at least 200 communists in a human wall facing us and I was on the front lines. So the first thing they did was begin to throw bottles of urine at us. And also … balloons full of pepper spray that had urine in them and all kinds of concoctions of deadly things, probably even diseases, and one of them hit me in the face, in my helmet, and the flag, my flag got soaked in it….  (p. 96).

This is just a sampling, and further confirming the reports I relied on. Even one of the leftists later acknowledged:

“As we got closer to noon, the Antifascist block was successful in drawing away the most heavily shielded contingent of Nazis. They were successful in drawing them away from the park and making them more vulnerable. As that happened, many people were in the line of fire of projectiles, of pepper spray, of tear gas. A lot of people were hurt and beaten on both sides. I can’t speak from being on the ground but from what I observed from my street, it was mostly Nazis that were getting beaten at that point” (p. 109).

What should be clear is that Antifa came well prepared! They were going to stop a legal and Constitutional rally by any means necessary!

The Charlottesville Police allowed the rallygoers and leftists to fight! This would continue until, and after, the rally was called off. This was done when it became clear that otherwise the violence would escalate until people started getting killed! At 11:28 am, Wilson Smith writes, Virginia’s (disastrous!) then-governor, Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat (of course!), authorized a state of emergency via text message. At 11:31, attendees who had made it that far heard the intercom announcement:

“This has been declared an unlawful assembly. If you do not disperse immediately, you will be arrested.” (p. 110)

The question became, Disperse where? The park was barricaded except at one end, so there was nowhere to go except through a narrow exit — straight into the path of Antifa. By this time, Black Lives Matter had showed up. As had other leftist groups. The fights worsened, although rallygoers were the ones arrested and, in a couple of cases, given jail sentences! Others got separated, ended up in small groups or on their own, and it may be God’s Providence that no one was killed!

After all, to say that what some Antifa people were doing was life-threatening doesn’t begin to cover it! Several of Wilson Smith’s sources reported that several lunatics had converted aerosol spray cans into primitive flamethrowers!

Outfits like CNN reported none of this! I watched CNN for a couple of hours (all I could tolerate!) each evening for several evenings following August 12.

No one so much as mentioned Antifa!

There was plenty about “white supremacy,”with video and images now confusing the Unite the Right rally with that Klan event. The purpose was to portray all rally goers as “violent white nationalists” who started the violence.

No one who was there, or who had sources who were, could come away still believing corporate media is honest, or is not protecting the Cultural Left agenda.

There isn’t the slightest evidence anyone in Unite the Right conspired to provoke violence, although they surely discussed ways of protecting themselves, and retaliating if attacked, perhaps in ways that those predisposed toward hostility chose to interpret as “conspiring to instigate violence” as was alleged in Sines v. Kessler.

It is true that Heather Heyer, 32, lost her life when James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd of leftists a couple of hours later. Several others were injured. I won’t say that the leftists brought this on themselves. For had the Charlottesville Police done their jobs from the outset, Heyer would probably still be alive.

Arguably the Charlottesville Police Department bears the lion’s share of the blame for the injuries, and for Heather Heyer’s death!

I recall the video of the Dodge Challenger backing up at a high rate of speed (0:27-0:33). Since backing up any vehicle straight at that speed for that distance is not easy to do, I wondered if that was a professional driver behind the wheel. I toyed briefly with the idea that there was no ‘James Alex Fields,’ that he was another media fabrication. There was an arrest, however, and a trial, andthen a life sentence, all matters of public record, as were other details about Fields’s life that came to light, so I relinquished the idea.

I did not relinquish my curiosity about how someone (Brennan Gilmore) working in a branch of the governor’s office partly funded by George Soros just happened to be in that exact spot at that exact time to film the most-watched video.

It also seems odd to me that Fields either has not attempted to make public statements via the media, or not been allowed to. Even Dylann Roof was able to do that.

All we have is from someone identified as Jim, jailed that day caught trying to break into his own car having dropped his keys at some point. Referring to James Fields:

“He looked to me like a preppy kid who got a DUI or something”… [Jim] watched as police officers took a statement from Fields, and had him sign some things. They were telling him, “Admit what  you did.” Jim’s observation was that Fields seemed “shocked.” His face was red. Was it from shame? From terror? He looked as though he had been crying. Though the arrestees had been instructed not to speak to each other, Jim offered, “Good luck, Brother” as they escorted Fields away. Fields did not reply. (p. 131)

Two police officers were killed in a helicopter crash that same afternoon. Although the crash was due to mechanical problems unrelated to the rally, the deaths were reported as more “proof” that this had been a “deadly event.”

Because corporate media already had an approved narrative about “white supremacism,” the Unite the Right event backfired badly all the way around!

Virginia’s (disastrous!) Governor Terry McAuliffe got this ball rolling that evening:

“I have a message to all the White Supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth…. You came here today to hurt people, and you did hurt people… But my message is clear. We are stronger than you. You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed… There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America.” (p. 149)

This could have come from the mouth of an Antifa member (assuming any are that articulate). Consider the message behind the words: certain people, because of their ideas, no longer have a Constitutional right to assemble in public and speak!

Thus began a process involving demonizing, doxing, and the sadistic financial and personal destruction of Unite the Right participants that continues to this day.

Rally attendees — especially their leadership — continue receiving blame for the violence. Dishonest media still reports that Heather Heyer was killedat a “white supremacist rally” even though the rally had been declared “an unlawful assembly” and called off over two hours before.

Wilson Smith cites two attendees:

“Everything people saw in the mainstream media was not only false, it was the opposite of the truth.” He also notes that the talking heads were complaining about “hate speech” and attributing horrible motives to Unite the Right attendees, despite the fact that nobody who was associated with Unite the Right was ever allowed to speak.

… “It was like the media created a parallel universe where they made up this crisis that did not happen. It was divorced from reality…. They were saying the right wing was rioting. Obviously, the left wing was a mob and out of control.” (p. 163)

These, again, are just samplings.

Kessler’s efforts to set the record straight met with failure. A press conference he called the next day was surrounded by a volatile mob. His voice was drowned out by chants of things like, “Nazis go home! Nazis go home!” Kessler found himself up against a media blitzkrieg; even Fox News refused him airtime as “too toxic” (p. 152).

Kessler was learning what it meant to be a real dissident in “woke” America. A real dissident today recognizes that white people are under attack and that nearly everything corporate mass media states about race and heritage areagenda-driven lies. If you persist, mass media’s allies in Big Tech will cancel your accounts. Kessler and others needing to raise money to fight lawsuits found themselves canceled from PayPal, GoFundMe, and other crowdfunding sites, after losing their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Others lost jobs or were destroyed by doxing, the sadistic practice of posting information about a person which may include home as well as work addresses and phone numbers. This opens the person to job loss, harassment offline as well as online, and physical danger. Andrew Dodson, an electrical engineer pursing clean-energy technology, was doxed because he’d been a rally goer. Having lost his career, he committed suicide the following March (p. 215).

It is safe to say that by 2020,the Dissident Right was nearly destroyed.And the lie factory was humming! According to corporate media, massive riots resulting in entire city blocks destroyed and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage done were “mostly peaceful protests.” “Jan 6-ers,” on the other hand, most of whom merely walked into and through the Capitol, with a couple of people having broken a couple of windowsor pushed a security guard out of their way, became “rioters” and “insurrectionists.” These were just a few hundred out of a crowd of tens of thousands in Washington that day protesting the most questionable election in U.S. history. No police cars were torched, nor buildings burned. No one was killed — except Ashli Babbitt, shot in cold blood by a Capitol cop. She was demonized instead of lionized as was Heather Heyer. A different cop, it turned out, died of pre-existing conditions was described in corporate media as having been attacked and beaten by “rioters.”

These people literally cannot tell the truth about anything!

The “insurrection against democracy” prompted an assemblage of 75,000 troops to protect the inauguration of Joe Biden against the army of “white supremacists” Democrats, the corrupt FBI, and corporate mass media had conjured out of thin air.

There is much more worth discussing in Charlottesville Untold precluded by space limits. Wilson Smith cites the Heaphy Report, commissioned by the City of Charlottesville which paid $350,000, done by Tim Heaphy of the law firm Hunton & Williams, 200 pages long, released December 1, 2017. This report reviews thousands of communiqués, presents numerous interviewsfrom all sides, and criticizes not “white supremacism” but the Charlottesville Police Department and the Virginia State Police for their lack of leadership and the results of what may or may not have been a purposeful stand-down order from somewhere in the upper echelons. In any event, Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas was compelled to resign on December 18.

Wilson Smith, citing a key passage in this important report:

Neither agency deployed available field forces or other units to protect public safety at the locations where violence took place. Command staff prepared to declare an unlawful assembly and disperse the crowd…. This represents a failure of one of government’s core functions—the protection of fundamental rights. Law enforcement also failed to maintain order and protect citizens from harm, injury, and death. (pp. 319-20).

Could it be that a violent confrontation was wanted all along? Two witnesses claim to have overheard:

“Let them fight. It will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.” (p. 320).

Enrique Tarrio, of Proud Boys:

“[The police] failed miserably at their duty of protecting the public…. What they should have done—I’ve been to a million of these things—the street should’ve been barricaded and the cops in the middle. It’s not f****** rocket science.” (p. 327)

This may be the one thing where Right and Left might have agreed! A Black Lives Matter interviewee stated:

“I’ve been protesting in this movement for six years, and the police always form barricades between hostile groups. Today was the first time I didn’t see that happen. And that’s a fact…. [Police] always stand in between hostile groups. But they didn’t do that here today. Why? They wanted us to fight each other. They wanted that.” (p. 333)

In that light, consider Sines v. Kessler. This lawfare suit was the intended coup-de-grace against the Dissident Right.

The utter lopsidedness in terms of actual power relations ought to be evidentto anyone with functioning brain cells.

One of the most powerful law firms in New York City, backed by the Soros-funded Integrity First For America, set about taking down a group of people two of whom could not afford attorneys, and so were representing themselves (Richard Spencer and Christopher Cantwell).

The New York firm was Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, which takes up afloor of the Empire State Building. What they set out to establish was that the Unite the Righters had “conspired” to commit acts of violence that day. The plaintiffsalleged injuries and long-term mental trauma following the Dodge Challenger incident.

Spearheading the allegations was senior partner Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan, who has worked with superelite entities such as Goldman-Sachs and on Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

Sines v. Kessler was a civil suit, moreover, meaning that the plaintiffs win if they can establish their case with a “preponderance of the evidence” as opposed to “beyond a reasonable doubt” as in criminal cases.

Kaplan’s intent, in her own words:

“We absolutely can and will bankrupt these groups. And then we will chase these people around for the rest of their lives. So if they try to buy a new home, we will put a lien on the home. If they get a new job, we will garnish their wages. The reason to do that is because we want to create a deterrence impact. So we send a message to other people that if you try to do something like this, the same thing will happen to you. And it already has been a deterrence.” (p. 303)

Thisis the essence of lawfare, which weaponizes the legal system to destroy those it targets. Welcome to Woke America 2021. As Sines v. Kessler went to trial, the approved narrative of who caused the Charlottesville violence was simply presupposed. It was never argued for. When Cantwell tried to draw attention to the massive Antifa presence, Judge Norman K. Moon shut him down.

Naturally, it was a slam-dunk for the plaintiffs. The defendants had no chance whatsoever.

No one thinks it possible to extract $26 million from these Enemies of the Woke America. But Kaplan’s sadistic effort might make it impossible for them to ever again pursue normal lives— in the U.S., anyway. Another purpose of lawfare is to create an ambience of intimidation and fear-based self-censorship to silence future political dissent. The ploy has been largely successful. Kessler’s efforts at a subsequent eventlargely fizzled in the face of mass protests and further social media censorship.

For those who have jobs and families, free speech in Woke America has become a luxury they can’t afford!

This is where we are at, as 2021draws to a close. The empowered Cultural Left has no belief in a First Amendment, or Constitutional government. It is an Orwellian phenomenon that would set up a thought-controlled police state, with corporate media and Big Tech helping every step of the way. Orwell would gasp if he saw how the Cultural Left has achieved the kind of society he warned us about in 1984 without an actual Big Brother or Ministry of Truth.

You don’t have to have a special interest in Southern history, or even in what happened in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, to find Charlottesville Untold important, not to mention finding Anne Wilson Smith’s exhaustive documentation quite impressive.

You only have to see her book as highlighting one steppingstone of Western civilization’s descent toward global totalitarianism, since GloboCorp will be the ultimate beneficiary of the destruction of American Constitutionalism, history, and heritage by the Cultural Left; and by the lawfare-controlled demolition of those who dissent. Though this was not her subject, I imagine Anne Wilson Smith realizes this.

Istrongly recommend Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right, therefore. Don’t read it before going to bed. It’ll definitely cost you that night’s sleep.

Steven Yates’s new book What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory (Wipf and Stock) is available here and here.

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