people like Bison Man, T-Shirt Nazi & Lt Col Livestream are some of the more visible faces of all this

but as someone there all day

the crazed conspiracy nuts & vast bulk of obvious rioters were not the most insidious threat

there were organized teams of individuals
there were tens of thousands of people at the rally and subsequent march & it would be difficult to categorize all of the various groups & their ideologies accurately in the absence of a wide-ranging survey of participants
among the crowds of trump flag-waving maga supporters there were states-right militiamen, III%ers, oathkeepers, neo-templars, neo-nazis, neo-confederates, revolutionary war cosplayers, conservative media thinkfluencers, south-vietnamese-refugee anti-communists...
...falun gong-affiliated anti-communists, anti-iranian regime activists, qanon enthusiasts, anti-blm activists, street preachers, anti-tax activists, 2A diehards, militant evangelical christians & anti-vaxxers...
and throughout the day there were numerous people that caught the eye of myself & a fellow veteran i know who was reporting from a different area

these teams had purpose: they were communicating by radio, moving to hotspots & otherwise directing the crowd in low-key ways
no, i’m not taking about extremist groups in “incognito mode” with bright orange tape and hats or other bullshit like that on their tacticool outfits, who are always looking for media attention
i’m taking about dudes who were there trying to avoid overt detection; not to get into street brawls, but to get others to do it for them
at the time these individuals seemed another curiosity of a day that was, in turns, carnival-like, generally bonkers, intensely violent & yet weirdly calm in strange places & at strange times

remember, for those of us in the crowd, most of the time we had no wifi or cell signal
i’ve covered my share of violent street protests over the years - from paris to hong kong, new york to istanbul and everywhere in between - as well as actual conflict

it’s been my experience that there are always self-appointed organizers trying to control the crowd at protests
but the fact is that there were people conducting reconnaissance & probing tactics while making an effort to generally blend-in with the crowd

these individuals encouraged others in the crowd to attack the police directly, urging the protesters to rush weak spots
at the time, i didn’t think much about all that, about seeing people behave that way

as further details emerge, as the fbi and other investigators confirm and allude to various aspects of planning

the less this looks like it was just a bunch of “maga gone wild” rioting
...and the more it looks like at least one extremist group using the rally/protest/riot as cover to attempt something more nefarious
i don’t have clear answers about this, and i have been cautious about interpreting it without further data

but when i see allegations being made, for example, by @RepSherrill about groups potentially conducting reconnaissance on Jan 5th...
it’s worth offering that others witnessed there was more going on than just partisan diehards getting “caught up in the moment”
in any case, the fbi, prosecutors and other law enforcement clearly have their work cut out for them sorting this out & i’m not going to be one of the idiots trying to armchair quarterback their investigation on twitter
but bear in mind that as we move toward the inauguration that this event does not appear to have been a fluke

there is a reason the fbi and others are issuing the warnings they are issuing
finally, i’d note that while i am aware of videos & photos showing apparent cooperation & cordiality between some police & some protesters, and obviously these incidents are being investigated

i personally witnessed nothing like that from my vantage point
from what i saw, the bulk of protesters were immediately & virulently opposed to police efforts to contain them

in every instance i observed directly, police & federal agents acted professionally & courageously while outnumbered & overwhelmed by a violent crowd intent on harm
finally, here is a small sample of the type of crowd-control behavior i saw, conducted by a man in a III% hat, who likely had body armor beneath his jacket

watch as he intervenes with a man trying to tear down a barrier (then, bizarrely, moves it himself)
zoomed in and shortened clip
so while commentators dunk on morons posting videos to parler from inside the capitol, or obsess over crazy lines wolf dudes who drove to dc with a truck full of guns while texting their extended family about plans to murder government officials (& I’m not minimizing that danger)
bear in mind that people who conduct recce & prep comms protocols

probably actually do know something about opsec

and perhaps never even went in the Capitol themselves, or directly interacted with the cops...
ugh *lone wolf* not “lines wolf” obv
argh i really should’ve added that i am highly skeptical of “vast conspiracy” theories at this point

extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
you don’t need to be an ex-special forces ninja assassin to figure out good tactical behavior, just study a bit and prepare

and it didn’t take a rogue group of professional mercenaries to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building

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More from @MacWBishop

15 Nov 20
thought we were done for the day

but there is a bit of a kerfuffle between opposing protesters at the capital hilton next to blm square

police forming a cordon between about two dozen pro-trump activists and maybe 100 anti-trump protesters
police in riot gear have staged around the block
Read 62 tweets
14 Nov 20
overheard from a group of trump supporters at a pizza place in Capitol Hill

“first we’re gonna send in the fbi & then we’re gonna send in the military!”

unclear to which location these federal agents will be dispatched

but first they’re gonna enjoy a pie from we the pizza
Read 15 tweets
12 Nov 20
don’t like the maudlin stuff

but known some good dudes Image
Read 7 tweets
19 Jul 20
[that feeling when you are trying to beat a dude who is twice your size with your baton and he doesn’t seem to notice]
“I need your clothes, your boots and your unmarked minivan.”
turns out that dude getting whaled on in Portland by feds was a Seabee

this explains a fuck of a lot to anyone who has spent time around Seabees on shore leave... 😂

and yes, he is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate

friend of mine now chasing it so i won’t share more
Read 10 tweets
18 Jul 20
Read the thread below.

In a country such as the US, there is an absolute need for highly trained, well-armed federal tactical teams. With an abundance of external and internal threats, and easily available firearms, this is simply a question of public safety.
I have a high regard for such officers; I know many personally as good people, highly professional, who perform extremely dangerous jobs.

We shouldn't blame the officers in Portland for making the practical choices needed to do their job: we should question their leadership.
But these events in Portland ought to be analyzed in context. There needs to be a public conversation about this issue.
Read 16 tweets
17 Jul 20
it hardly seems accidental that the federal officers in portland who seem unfamiliar with law enforcement in a constitutionally protected civil context

are from agencies - CBP & US Marshals - least likely to conduct law enforcement in a constitutionally protected civil context
last time i checked these were border police and fugitive hunters

why should anyone think they are appropriate for policing american streets?
it will be interesting when we learn the details of which federal law enforcement agencies declined such assignments

i'd imagine the FBI's internal lawyers, for example, immediately understood what a perilous thing it would be to accede to such a request
Read 14 tweets

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