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President Donald Trump

It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!   (May 30)

The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent. (May 30)

The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization. (May 31)

Attorney General William Barr

The violence instigated and carried out by antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.  (May 31)

Mark O’Brien National Security Advisor to the President

I think the actual perpetrators of the violence, the ones that are on the street that are burning down minority-owned businesses and restaurants who have already suffered through this terrible COVID situation and are at risk of losing their business and now they’re seeing them burn to the ground, those are antifa radical militants. (May 31)

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL)

“Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?” (June 1)

10 ITEMS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

(1) On May 29 the Department of Homeland Security sent an intelligence note to law enforcement officials around the country warning that “Anarchist and militia extremists could try to exploit the recent nationwide protests spurred by the death of George Floyd,”   The note itself does not use the terms “left” or “right.” But it defines “militia extremists” as people who direct violence at the government because they believe it is taking away Americans’ freedoms and setting up a totalitarian regime. That definition also notes that militia extremists oppose laws regulating gun ownership and often form armed paramilitary groups. Despite the DHS intelligence note, administration officials have focused overwhelmingly on alleged left-wing violence. Politico (June 1).

(2) A report by the FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31 during the D.C.-area protests over the murder of George Floyd, according to an internal FBI situation report.  The report did warn that individuals from a far-right social media group had “called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents, use automatic weapons against protesters.” The Nation, June 2.

(3) NBC News reported on Monday that Twitter had identified a group posing as an Antifa organization calling for violence in the protests was actually being linked to the white supremacist group Idenity Evropa. Business Insider, June 2.

(4) Antifa groups are not that large in their memberships. There are just not enough Antifa members to do this logistically,” Mark Bray, a historian at Rutgers University and author of the book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.“[Antifa] keeps being labelled by policymakers as if it’s this organised group and it’s the complete opposite of what it is,” said Kevin Grisham, assistant director of research at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. Mr Grisham said people who identified with Antifa tended to be less organised than their foes on the far-right. Unlike white nationalists, who communicate frequently online, Antifa groups tended to be much more cautious, even on the internet, making them harder to track. The Financial Times, June 4.

(5) Executive Order 13224, which expanded the ability to apply the terrorism label in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. For this label, they would need proof of foreign operations, such as training camps or foreign leadership, neither of which would really apply to anti-fascist organizations. Antifa would also have to show a clear and present danger to national security interests, which would be a stretch by any definition. On top of that, “antifa” is more an idea or an approach than an actual organization, which would fail to meet the standard of “terrorist organization.” Shane Burley, Think, June 3.

(6) The authorities can use the Immigration and Nationality Act to designate a group as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization,” and they can use Executive Order 13224, which expanded the ability to apply the terrorism label in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. For this label, they would need proof of foreign operations, such as training camps or foreign leadership, neither of which would really apply to anti-fascist organizations. Antifa would also have to show a clear and present danger to national security interests, which would be a stretch by any definition. On top of that, “antifa” is more an idea or an approach than an actual organization, which would fail to meet the standard of “terrorist organization.” Shane Burley, Think, June 3.

(7) Terrorists inspired by Nationalist and Right Wing ideology have killed about 10 times as many people as Left Wing terrorists since 1992. Alex Nowrasteh Cato Institute 2017.

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(10) The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that it will overhaul a six-year-old Obama-era program that had been put in place in the wake of police shootings and other controversial officer incidents.  In a statement released Sept. 15, the DOJ said it would significantly scale back its Collaborative Reform Initiative, effectively putting an end to federal efforts to reform local police departments and improve police-community relations. Instead, the Justice Department will focus on providing more direct support to officers fighting gangs, drugs and violent crime as well as those dealing with protests. J.B. Charles, Governing, Sept 28, 2017.

Earlier Columns by PH Jos can be found on the UP AT NIGHT ARCHIVES page.

One thought on “Our Present Danger

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