After a rash of attempted violence against a group of 30 sullen, soggy soi-disant neo-Nazis in Washington’s Lafayette Park — who were vastly outnumbered — antifa and its tactics are coming under the microscope again.
There was only one arrest made at Sunday’s “Unite the Right” event, a surprisingly low number, considered the contentiousness of the event and the videos coming out of the nation’s capital.
Indeed, it was almost profoundly pathetic, with antifa members chanting threatening slogans like “Any time! Any place! Punch a Nazi in the face!”
Anti-fascist protest making its way down 17th — “anytime, anyplace, punch a Nazi In the face” pic.twitter.com/xIlKg85CIm
— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) August 12, 2018
An unappetizing sight, I’m sure you’ll concur. But am I just playing into a conservative narrative — the idea that antifa is inherently dangerous and needs to be controlled at all costs?
Well, actually not so much. The evidence that the far-left constellation of antifa groups represent a serious threat has been around for more than a year, as Politico reported last September, citing interviews and “confidential law enforcement documents.”
“Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as ‘antifa’ had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as ‘domestic terrorist violence,'” the website reported.
“Since well before the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, DHS has been issuing warnings about the growing likelihood of lethal violence between the left-wing anarchists and right-wing white supremacist and nationalist groups.”
What’s more, federal law enforcement had come to the conclusion by April of 2016 that “anarchist extremists” were in fact primarily responsible for the instigating the violence seen at so many rallies. That shifted into high gear when Trump was elected the most violent faction of the far-left had a new target.
“Those reports appear to bolster Trump’s insistence that extremists on the left bore some blame for the clashes in Charlottesville and represent a ‘problem’ nationally. But they also reflect the extent that his own political movement has spurred the violent backlash,” Politico reported. “In interviews, law enforcement authorities made clear that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and policies — first as a candidate and then as president — helped to create a situation that has escalated so quickly and extensively that they do not have a handle on it.”
“It was in that period (as the Trump campaign emerged) that we really became aware of them,” one senior state law enforcement member said. “These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the s*** out of people. … They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”
Because of this, the Trump administration now considers the group to be engaged in “domestic terrorist violence,” at least according to Department of Homeland Security sources.
You may also notice a few words missing from antifa’s rationale here: “Fascism.” “Racism.” “Oppression.” Trump’s administration is none of these things unless you want to stretch their definitions beyond comprehension. But apparently, police refuse to contain these thugs. A good use of our tax dollars, if I do say so myself. At least they’ve got assault straws under control, though.
“In recent decades, authorities have focused almost exclusively on right-wing groups as the most likely instigators of domestic terrorist violence, especially since Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, killing 168 people,” Politico reported. That’s changing, though.
“Some of the DHS and FBI intelligence reports began flagging the antifa protesters before the election,” they wrote. “In one from last September, portions of which were read to POLITICO, DHS studied “recent violent clashes … at lawfully organized white supremacist” events including a June 2016 rally at the California Capitol in Sacramento organized by the Traditionalist Workers Party and its affiliate, the Golden State Skinheads.”
“The intelligence assessments focus less on guns than handmade weapons used by antifa, with photos of members brandishing ax handles and shields, often with industrial-sized bolts attached to create crude bayonets,” they added. “A senior state law enforcement official said, ‘A whole bunch of them’ have been deemed dangerous enough to be placed on U.S. terrorism watch lists.
That means you’re going to see a lot more scrutiny on antifa in the coming months — and the far-left isn’t going to like it.
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