Homeland Security Has Named AntiFA as a “domestic terrorist organization”

by Frank Vyan Walton –

Newsweek reports:

According to Politico, interviews showed federal authorities really became cognizant of the antifa amid the rise of Donald Trump, and law enforcement officials have claimed Trump’s rhetoric and policies helped catalyze left-wing extremism in the U.S.

One senior law enforcement official reportedly stated, “It was in that period [as the Trump campaign emerged] that we really became aware of them. These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the shit out of people…. They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”

I’m not a fan of AntifA, I understand the idea of “fighting fire with fire” but I tend to think that trying to implement an “eye for an eye” ultimately causes escalation that could leave everyone involved blind.  What they do is counter-productive to the goal of highlighting the deadly danger of violent fascists.

But what I’d like to know right now is, have Homeland also made a similar declaration about Unite The Right?

Of course many on the Right are loudly decrying the violence of AntiFA particular after one man in Berkeley was beaten into a coma.

On Sunday afternoon, members of a black-clad, left-wing antifa group violently attacked some pro-Trump demonstrators in the liberal redoubt of Berkeley, California. Thirteen people were arrested and two were hospitalized.

The violence ended quickly, and the vast majority of the day’s events were peaceful. Nevertheless, images of defenseless Trump supporters being mobbed by their ideological nemeses lent stark visual support to the conservative narrative that antifa is a menace equivalent to white nationalism.

I have never seen so many members of  in one place. No signs of police in the fray. “Our park!” they are chanting. 

Not to engage in “WhatAboutIsm” but as Newsweek goes on to point out, the only fatality in Charlottesville wasn’t caused by AntifA, it was cause by a member of Unite The Right.

On this subject, it is worth noting the only death in Charlottesville occurred when a white nationalist—not a member of the antifa—plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters. What occurred has been characterized as domestic terrorism by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a designation the president does not seem to share.

The antifa’s overall aim is to resist fascism—the name is fairly self-explanatory—and it claims to embrace values of anti-capitalism, anti-racism and anti-authoritarianism.

What we know about the violence in Charlotteville with the advantage of hindsight is that Discord Chat logs show that the violence that occurred, including using cars to plow into counter-protestors, during that protest was planned ahead of time by the Alt-Right neo-Nazis.

A steady stream of leaked screenshots from the now-defunct chat server used to organize attendees at this month’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally shows that the white nationalists who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia were well-organized and came with the intention of committing brutal violence.

In some of the chats, posters shared photographs of themselves mugging with semi-automatic weapons or homemade shields. In others, they discussed the ideal thickness of PVC pipes that could be used for “thumping” counter-protesters and shared GoFundMe links urging like-minded people to fund their road trips to Charlottesville.

Most strikingly, a number of posts joked about plowing cars into crowds of peaceful protesters. James Alex Fields, Jr. allegedly killed one such counter-protester, Virginia native Heather Heyer, and injured at least 19 others when he rammed his Dodge Charger down a crowded street at the height of the rally.
In addition to the death of Heather Heyer and the wounding of about 20 others during the car incident, there was also the ambush beating of Deandre Harris as well as the gun the pulled and discharge at Deandre’s friend Corey Long as he attempted to defend an elderly man from a Fascists attack, yet the police stood by and did nothing.

But the 23-year-old said the scene quickly turned violent when one of the thousands of extremists who had taken to the streets fired a gun next to his feet – while police nearby failed to react.

Another extremist later lunged at Mr Long with a confederate flag and he fought back with a spray can he said he found on the ground, putting a lighter to the nozzle and turning it into a weapon.

Mr Long said: “I went out to voice my opinion. To have my freedom of speech. Just like the racist Nazis who took over my town.

“At first it was peaceful protest. Until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.

The cops were protecting the Nazis, instead of the people who live in the city,” Mr Long said. “The cops basically just stood in their line and looked at the chaos. The cops were not protecting the people of Charlottesville. They were protecting the outsiders.”

This surge to put more focus on AntiFA while ignoring the violence of those whom they oppose feels a bit like the incident with Corey where he was forced to stand and defend himself and others while police never even moved.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — As demonstrators clashed near a downtown park here two weeks ago, a white nationalist protester in a bulletproof vest turned, pointed a pistol toward the crowd and fired a single shot at the ground, in the direction of a black man wielding an improvised torch.

To make his escape, a video recording shows, the armed protester strolled past a line of about a dozen state police troopers who were safely positioned about 10 feet away behind two metal barricades. None of them budged.

The shooter, Richard William Preston — who screamed “Hey Nigger!” before he fired and has been documented as having links to the Klan in North Carolina — has been arrested, but that doesn’t change what happened on that day or that fact that to date only alt-Righters such as Fields, Preston and Christopher Cantwell have been arrested and no terrorism charges have been filed against anyone for what occurred in Charlottesville, yet.

As has been documented by Peter Neweirt of the SPLC along with the Investigative Fund the relative danger of Left Wing violence is fairly low captured either with Islamic or Right Wing Terrorism, but the likelihood of law enforcement putting resources and efforts into preventing that violence is almost directly inverse to that danger.
figure1.png
Number of Terrorist Incidents
  • From January 2008 to the end of 2016, we identified 63 cases of Islamist domestic terrorism, meaning incidents motivated by a theocratic political ideology espoused by such groups as the Islamic State. The vast majority of these (76 percent) were foiled plots, meaning no attack took place.
  • During the same period, we found that right-wing extremists were behind nearly twice as many incidents: 115. Just over a third of these incidents (35 percent) were foiled plots. The majority were acts of terrorist violence that involved deaths, injuries or damaged property.
  • Right-wing extremist terrorism was more often deadly: Nearly a third of incidents involved fatalities, for a total of 79 deaths, while 13 percent of Islamist cases caused fatalities. (The total deaths associated with Islamist incidents were higher, however, reaching 90, largely due to the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas.)
  • Incidents related to left-wing ideologies, including ecoterrorism and animal rights, were comparatively rare, with 19 incidents causing seven fatalities – making the shooting attack on Republican members of Congress earlier this month somewhat of an anomaly.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of Islamist incidents in our database were sting operations, more than four times the rate for far-right (12 percent) or far-left (10.5 percent) incidents.

And there are plenty of specific cases:

July 27, 2008, Knoxville, Tennessee: Jim David Adkisson, the author of a manifesto urging violent war against liberals, opens fire inside a Unitarian church during the youth performance of a musical, killing two and wounding seven.

Feb. 26, 2009, Miramar Beach, Florida: Dannie Bakera former Republican Party volunteer who believed that “Washington D.C. Dictators” wanted to “overthrow us with foreign illegals,” opens fire on a roomful of Chilean foreign-exchange students, killing two and injuring three.

May 20, 2010, West Memphis, Arkansas: Sovereign citizen adherents Jerry and Joe Kane, a father-and-son duo, kill two officers when pulled over by police, then die in a shootout.

Jan. 18, 2011, Spokane, Washington: Neo-Nazi Kevin William Harphamplants a backpack bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Day Jr. Day parade; no one is injured because it is spotted and defused.

Aug. 5, 2012, Oak Creek, Wisconsin: Wade Michael Page, a member of the neo-Nazi group Hammerskin Nation, kills six and wounds fourduring a shooting rampage in a Sikh temple before killing himself.

April 13, 2014, Overland Park, Kansas: Frazier Glenn Miller, a former grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, embarks on a shooting rampage at two Jewish community institutions, killing three.

June 17, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina: Dylann Roof, a white supremacist radicalized online, joins a Bible study session at the Emanuel AME Church, then opens fire, killing nine black worshippers and wounding another.

Nov. 27, 2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Robert Lewis Dear opens fire on patients arriving at a Planned Parenthood clinic, then engages in a gunbattle with police, killing three people, including a police officer, and injuring nine. He says, “No more baby parts,” as he is arrested.

Oct. 14, 2016, Garden City, Kansas: Three Kansas militia members, Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Stein, are arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb an apartment complex, home to Somali immigrants. According to the FBI, which infiltrated the group, they called Muslims “cockroaches” and hoped to inspire other militia members.

There is also a tendency for the above cases to be tried locally by the state as standard murders and assaults, but not as Terrorism.

figure9-2.png
Percentage Terror incident when terrorism charges are filed

For instance, 84 percent of Islamist incidents resulting in arrests involved terrorism charges, and all the law enforcement resources that implies, as opposed to 9 percent of far-right incidents.

While federal charges of some kind were filed in 91 percent of the Islamist incidents that led to arrests, federal prosecutors handled 60 percent of far-right cases, leaving many in the hands of state or local authorities.

Moreover, three-quarters of the Islamist incidents in the database were pre-empted plots, including elaborate sting operations, while 35 percent of far-right incidents were pre-empted, a much smaller ratio. That disparity, counterterror experts say, is an indication that far fewer investigative resources – such as analysts, paid informants and undercover operatives – have been deployed to halt far-right attacks.

While over half of the overall incidents which meet the definition of terrorism are coming from Right Wing Groups and Individuals while only 9% — Nine Percent — of those actually result in charges of Terrorism it’s pretty clear that already existing bias to label Islamic or Left Wing attacks as “Terrorism” is baked into the Law Enforcement cake.

AntiFA is indeed becoming a threat and I could see potentially considering them to be something akin to a street gang at worst, but “terrorist organization” is bit strong and would bring elements to bear such as Administrative Warrants or FISA surveillance that is far beyond what is really necessary for handling an unruly crowd.

They certainly aren’t anywhere near as bad as Right-Wing groups noted above or others such as the Army of God who have implemented multiple mass casualty attacks, fire-bombings and murders.

1. The Army of God

A network of violent Christianists that has been active since the early 1980s, the Army of God openly promotes killing abortion providers—and the long list of terrorists who have been active in that organization has included Paul Jennings Hill (who was executed by lethal injection in 2003 for the 1994 killings of abortion doctor John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett), John C. Salvi (who killed two receptionists when he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1994) and Eric Rudolph, who is serving life in prison for his role in the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996 and other terrorist acts. Rudolph, in fact, has often been exalted as a Christian hero on the Army of God’s website, as have fellow Army of God members such as Scott Roeder (who is serving life without parole for murdering Wichita, Kansas-based abortion doctor George Tiller in 2009), Shelley Shannon (who attempted to kill Tiller in 2003) and Michael Frederick Griffin (who is serving a life sentence for the 1993 killing of Dr. David Gunn, an OB-GYN, in Pensacola, Florida).

If we’re going to play this “Both Sides” game, then the simple point of fact is that groups like Army of God, or for that matter Unite The Right are much further along the line of being Domestic Terrorists than AntiFA, but if you’re going to gore one ox, you should being goring them all in proper proportion.

Saturday, Sep 2, 2017 · 1:56:30 PM EDT · Frank Vyan Walton

Hmmm, It was not a coma in Berkeley.

To be clear, there were other moments of actual violence. A right-wing activist in an Augusto Pinochet shirt pepper-sprayed a crowd of people, including me, and was subsequently beaten. Joey Gibson, organizer of the aborted “Patriot Prayer” rally in San Francisco, appeared at the Berkeley protest and was chased and hit with a stick before running to the safety of police officers in riot gear. I also saw the police violently confiscate a woman’s service dog, pin her to the ground, and arrest her. I saw cops escort right-wing activists out of the park for having prohibited items such as helmets and selfie sticks. They were not arrested, but I saw one left-wing activist put in a police car for possessing a face mask.

Why was media coverage so distorted? There are several reasons. One is that many of the people writing about Sunday’s events weren’t on hand to witness them. The Post‘s Kyle Swenson was not in Berkeley, a fact he does not make clear in his article. And some journalists had ideological axes to grind. Far-right twitter troll Hector Morenco hijacked the video I shot of the right-winger being beaten and added a fake caption: “Man walking to grocery store in Berkeley mistaken for being a Nazi is beaten into a coma.” The beating victim was not walking to a grocery store and he was not put into a coma, but this fake news was shared by prominent conservatives including National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough—who later undid his retweet. (Goldberg responds to our dispute here.)

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos