Is MILO controlled opposition? Did he set up an alt-right (or alt-light) phony event that was intended to never happen and fail in order to make the right look bad?
It sure seems that way, if the following article is to be believed.
The thing is that it’s not clear if the journalism here is fake news or not.
We’re just going to have to see if the alt-right can score a victory on the left’s turf, with MILO leading the charge.
BERKELEY — A conservative UC Berkeley student group that had been working with right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to host a “Free Speech Week” on campus officially called off the four-day program on Saturday.
But the former columnist for the “alt-right” Breitbart News doubled down on his promise to go through with the event, leaving university and law enforcement officials wading into an unpredictable, potentially violent showdown on Sunday.
During a hastily scheduled Facebook Live news conference Saturday morning, Yiannopoulos, who has made a career of trolling people online with racist and sexist attacks, insisted the event would move forward without the student group, the Berkeley Patriot.
Mike Cernovich and Pamela Geller join MILO in speaking at the 27 minute long press conference.
It’s hard to tell who’s lying. The “journalist” who wrote this piece or MILO. He says that something is going to happen at Berkeley on Sunday.
Let me update this post with this video which shows Sargon of Arkad in Berkeley from the U.K. to participate in Free Speech Week. Tim Pool, a reliable source in my experience, is the interviewer.
“We are going to be hosting an event come hell or high water tomorrow,” he said, flanked by anti-Islam writer Pamela Geller and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, two of only a handful of speakers who had publicly said they planned to attend.
The 33-year-old Yiannopoulos, who earlier this year launched the far-right company Milo Inc., offered few specifics but promised to hold a rally on campus at Sproul Plaza at noon “with or without” the student group, saying that he had a “huge surprise” planned.
But he warned: “I can’t promise you’re going to be safe. It’s not an official event.”
Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, a Portland, Oregon-based group that has attracted “alt-right” fans, has also promised to be in town for Free Speech Week, as have “anti-fascist” demonstrators. The two sides have a history of violent clashes.
Still, it remained unclear Saturday who will show up to campus in the coming days, leaving the school facing exactly the type of situation administrators were hoping to avoid.
In an email chain obtained by the Bay Area News Group, Lucian Wintrich, one of the supposed speakers, told UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof Saturday morning that the event had been merely an attention grab from the start.
“It was known that they didn’t intend to actually go through with it last week, and completely decided on Wednesday,” Wintrich wrote.
“Wait, whoah, hold on a second,” wrote a clearly surprised Mogulof. “What, exactly, are you saying? What were you told by MILO Inc? Was it a set-up from the get-go?”
“Yes,” Wintrich, a writer for the right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit, responded.
When he withdrew his name from the speaker list last week, Wintrich was hit with allegations that he was scared of left-wing “antifa” protesters, he said by phone Saturday afternoon.
“No, no,” Wintrich said. “What’s the point of keeping your name on something that’s set up to fail?”
Mogulof said in an email to the news media Saturday morning: “It is extremely unfortunate that this announcement (about the cancellation of Free Speech Week) was made at the last minute, even as the university was in the process of spending significant sums of money and preparing for substantial disruption of campus life in order to provide the needed security for these events.”
During a late Saturday afternoon news conference that was interrupted by a shouting protester with the group Refuse Fascism, Mogulof said that UC Berkeley was prepared for Yiannopoulos to show up but would not discuss specific security plans.
School officials had said they had expected to spend about $1 million on security and logistics for the event. One reason is that violent demonstrations had rocked the campus the last time Yiannopoulos tried to speak there in February.
When conservative writer Ben Shapiro appeared on campus during what was ultimately a peaceful event earlier this month, the school spent about $600,000 to bring in law enforcement officials from across the University of California system, blowing through its annual “demonstration fund” of $250,000.
The Free Speech Week program had been expected to bring a host of right-wing speakers to the famously left-leaning school, which has been battered with claims in recent months that it doesn’t support conservative free speech. But the event always appeared tenuous.
While a lawyer for the Berkeley Patriot, Marguerite Melo, insisted that Wintrich was wrong and the group had been “fully prepared” to move forward, school officials said the group missed a host of deadlines to secure indoor venues such as Zellerbach Hall for the speakers.
A number of speakers, including conservative firebrand Ann Coulter, backed out amid the chaos. Others who were listed as attendees said they’d never had any intention of appearing.
During his own news conference on Facebook Live on Saturday, Yiannopoulos acknowledged that he had included at least one speaker just to “troll” him.
A person familiar with planning for the event who insisted on anonymity told the Bay Area News Group Saturday that supposed key speakers, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, had never intended to participate at all, and that Yiannopoulos was scrambling ahead of Sunday’s supposed start date to get speakers to Berkeley to participate.
As news of the event’s official cancellation spread on Saturday, some 300 protest marchers — dozens of them masked and some wearing hats of the anarchist “antifa” group — made their way peacefully up Telegraph Avenue toward the southern edge of campus. They were followed by at least a half dozen police cars.
“I’m pleased because I think we need to make it hard for people to incite violence, especially racist violence,” marcher Annie Johnston, a 62-year-old Berkeley resident, said about the cancellation.
Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst who spent years in prison for leaking classified information, also made a surprise appearance.
She told marchers who gathered on campus about her own recent free-speech conflict, when Harvard University canceled her visiting fellowship at the school after receiving pushback from CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
“Where were the free-speech people on that?” she asked to cheers.
Manning, who said she was told not to come to Berkeley because it wasn’t safe, said she came to support the anti-hate movement. “We need each other right now,” she said.
Pablo Espinoza, another marcher, urged protesters not to let up their guard. “Hateful movements don’t have a place, and they should not have a place on a publicly run university” campus, he said.
In a Saturday letter to the school, Melo, the attorney, accused administrators of putting up roadblocks and said the group was “contemplating initiating litigation against the responsible parties and the administration for violation of our clients’ civil rights.”
But Michael Cohen, an American studies professor at UC Berkeley who also attended the march, said, “This has never been about free speech.”
“This is the equivalent of a five-day flat earther conference in front of the physics department,” he said.
Mogulof also hit back at the notion the school wants to restrict conservative speech, saying in an email, “Claims that this is somehow the outcome desired by the campus are without basis in fact. The university was prepared to do whatever was necessary to support the First Amendment rights of the student organization.”
In the days leading up to the supposed start, students and faculty said they were fed up with the time and public resources being spent on accommodating a man known for spewing racist and sexist vitriol.
“It’s just too much,” said UC Berkeley junior Dominick Williams, 20. “We’re just trying to learn.”
Williams, who is black, said he was torn between looking out for his own safety by leaving campus or staying and taking a stand in what could be a volatile environment with demonstrations that have a history of turning violent.
As an African-American, he said, “I’m potentially vulnerable to a lot of the things that go on here.” And yet, he added, “I also feel like I shouldn’t let anyone get in the way of me getting my education. … I shouldn’t be letting these folks win in a sense.