Friday, February 26, 2010

The Ba'athists Are Coming The Ba'athists Are Coming

Its party time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Information has been received indicating that the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is planning protest activity within the region. The group is described as an extremist hate group opposed to the military and homosexuals. The WBC has garnered media attention by protesting at the funerals of service members, famous people, people who have died from AIDS, as well as military installations and political events. The activity is planned to target schools, Jewish facilities, and military events in Henrico County, the City of Richmond, and the Tidewater area.

The WBC is a highly organized group based out of Kansas. The WBC has a history of seeking confrontation in order to file lawsuits that may result in settlements to fund the group's activities. The protests focus on provoking responses which provide the basis for confrontation and litigation. Historically the group has not engaged in violence when left alone.

The following is a list of planned WBC events in the area:
27 Feb - Virginia Beach 1115 hours Funeral of Staff Sergeant Mark A. Stets,
Wave Church, 1000 N. Great Neck Road

1 Mar - Norfolk 1400 - 1430 Granby High School
1445 - 1515 Bina High School (in B'nai Israel Congregation)
1520 - 1550 Ohef Sholom Temple
1610 - 1640 Norfolk Naval Station
1700 - 1730 Temple Israel

2 Mar - Virginia Beach, Richmond, Henrico
0655 - 0725 Landstown High School, Virginia Beach
0800 - 0830 Simon Family JCC, Virginia Beach
0900 - 0930 4th Annual Naval Expeditionary Forces Symposium, Virginia Beach Convention Center
1145 - 1215 Virginia Holocaust Museum, Richmond
1240 - 1310 The Jerusalem Connection, 210 Giant Dr, Richmond
1330 - 1400 University of Richmond Hillel, Richmond
1540 - 1610 Hermitage High School, Henrico

3 Mar - Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Norfolk
0650 - 0720 Churchland High School, Portsmouth
0845 - 0915 Torah Day School of VA, Portsmouth
1130 - 1230 4th Annual Naval Expeditionary Forces Symposium, Virginia Beach Convention Center
1400 - 1430 Norview High School, Norfolk

Although these types of demonstrations are generally peaceful or nonviolent, they are assessed to present a potential domestic Force Protection issue.

While the protests staged by anti-war and anti-military groups/organizations are legal, the controversial nature of the protests tends to invoke counter protests and creates a hostile environment that could easily evolve into violence. Counter protest groups such as Gathering of Eagles, a pro-soldier group, have appeared at events involving protestors from the WBC. There is generally an overwhelming support provided to the US military in the local community; however the potential exists for a spontaneous, unprovoked attack against either the demonstrators or pro-US Military persons.

Please inform your Soldiers, civilians, and family members of the potential for protests. Instruct them to avoid these events and not to interact with these individuals in any way. If they do come into contact with these protesters and are harassed or assaulted in any way, they should immediately report the incident to the Military Police or local police. The single best preventive measure is to AVOID the areas where anti-war and/or similar protests are projected to or are actually taking place. If you witness a suspicious incident in your community, at work, or while commuting you should report it to Law Enforcement immediately.

Ensure that personnel are advised that the practice of OPSEC is critical in protecting the integrity of the operations and missions, and as a result protects the lives of the Soldiers, family members, and community.

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