An anonymous law enforcement official, speaking to The Washington Times, has said that so-called “anti-fascist” groups have been planning unrest like the kind we’ve seen during recent riots for months, perhaps since as early as November.
The official, who the paper reported has “access to intelligence behind the shadowy group,” said the plans “to foment a nationwide anti-government insurgency” began “as early as November as the U.S. presidential campaign season kicked off in earnest.”
The official didn’t confirm antifa groups’ participation in the recent protests, though it certainly seems that such a move would be in keeping with antifa’s modus operandi.
There’s been plenty of talk from officials about outsiders playing a significant part in violence during the riots that came following to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
In New York City, the top counterterrorism official said that unnamed outside anarchist groups — a possible reference to antifa groups — had been involved in much of the unlawfulness authorities had seen during the riots.
“Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said there is a high level of confidence within the NYPD that these unnamed groups had organized scouts, medics, and supply routes of rocks, bottles and accelerants for breakaway groups to commit vandalism and violence,” WNBC-TV reported May 31.
“There are strong indicators they planned for violence in advance using at times encrypted communications, he said.”
One of the reasons for the suspicions was this: By that point, one out of every seven arrests made since May 28 involved people who lived in different states, like Texas, Nevada and Iowa, according to Miller.
“Before the protests began, organizers of certain anarchists groups set out to raise bail money and people who would be responsible to be raising bail money, they set out to recruit medics and medical teams with gear to deploy in anticipation of violent interactions with police,” he said.
“They prepared to commit property damage and directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively and only in wealthier areas or at high-end stores run by corporate entities.”
He made no indication of what groups were responsible, but again, draw your own conclusions.
The Trump administration has also had antifa on its radar, with the president saying he would declare it a terror organization.
On Monday, Trump said that “in recent days, our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa and others.”
While it’s questionable whether or not antifa can be designated as a terrorist organization — the law states that only foreign groups can be labeled as such — National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien says the administration is taking a hard look at the group.
“The president and the attorney general want to know from [FBI] Director [Christopher] Wray what the FBI has been doing to track and dismantle and surveil and prosecute antifa,” O’Brien said this week on CNN. “And if that hasn’t been happening, we want to know what the plan is going forward.”
Antifa’s presence in the United States has mostly been confined to the Pacific Northwest — particularly Portland, where their confrontations with fringe right-wing groups have gone viral in very ugly ways.
“What makes the shadowy group unique is its willingness to use of violence, what Antifa organizers and sympathizers call ‘direct’ action in support of the anarchist and Marxist-Leninist agenda. That often involves setting fires, looting, throwing bricks and bottles at police, and in one case the apparent use of a milkshake laced with quick-dry cement in attacking an opponent in the face,” The Washington Times reported Wednesday.
And yet, there’s always the usual Twitter defense force of progressives who are always willing to defend the group.
You know the tweets: “What part of ‘anti-fascist’ don’t you understand?” That’s what the property damage is for — telling the fascists what-for. What part of that don’t you understand?
Well, it seems the lack of understanding may be on the other foot. As O’Brien pointed out, these are “militant radicals who come into our cities and cross state lines.”
“They’re organized and use Molotov cocktails and fireworks and gas to burn down our cities, especially businesses in minority neighborhoods,” he said. “It’s got to be stopped.”
And, of course, the aim is to create enough chaos to make sure Trump doesn’t get re-elected.
“President Trump’s election and revitalization of America are a threat to antifa’s nihilist goals. They are fomenting this violence to create havoc, despair and to target the Trump campaign for defeat in 2020,” Joe Myers, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, told The Washington Times.
The question is, however, what role antifa played in these riots. We don’t really know. We have intimations and clues and quotes, but none of this is solid proof.
And that’s exactly what antifa wants: They’re a diffuse group of hoodlums that, unfortunately, knows better than to form an overarching organization that law enforcement can go after.
For all we know, this is talk of a chimerical force that never coalesced to cause trouble. For all we know, this was just a canard.
From the sound of things, however, it’s something much more than that.
It’s not about George Floyd and it never was.
And to make things worse, this could just be the beginning.
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