Documents obtained by Al Jazeera appear to show Washington, DC’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) used a training document to justify “an aggressive police response” to left-wing demonstrations and legal observers, according to experts. Ransomware group Babuk stole the documents from MPD several weeks ago and asked a bounty of $1m for their return. MPD did not pay, resulting in their leak. The documents include a January 2019 PowerPoint training presentation hacked from an MPD intelligence officer entitled “First Amendment Training Presentation”. The majority of the presentation features images of myriad left-wing groups, causes and demonstrations, including Antifa, environmentalists, the Women’s March and more.
Mainstream Democrats are in a hawkish mood when it comes to “domestic terrorism.” That is bad news for the left. Immediately upon taking office, President Biden “tasked the director of national intelligence, in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, with compiling a comprehensive threat assessment on violent domestic extremism,“ according to The Washington Post. This request was prompted by the right-wing attack on the Capitol on January 6. The resulting report, “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” was submitted on March 1, and its executive summary was released publicly a few days later.
I read Glenn Greenwald’s latest article titled “Violence in the Capitol, Dangers in the Aftermath” and found myself nodding in agreement with 95% of what he wrote. But there was one big problem with this article that I just couldn’t leave alone – so here I am with a little note on a big problem. The issue I have comes at the end of his piece where he severely downplays the threats of right-wing violence while simultaneously raising the threat level of left-wing violence. He writes: “there are right-wing activists filled with rage and who are willing to engage in violence. Some of them are dangerous (just as some Muslims in the post-9/11 era, and some Antifa nihilists, were and are genuinely violent and dangerous).”
Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat to the safety and security of American voters. Throughout the summer and leading up to the general election, these groups have become more assertive, with activities ranging from intervening in protests to organizing kidnapping plots targeting elected officials (CNN, 13 October 2020). Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have specifically identified extreme far right-wing and racist movements as a primary risk factor heading into November, describing the election as a potential “flashpoint” for reactionary violence
In an email message, Betsy Reed, the editor-in-chief of the Intercept reports, "Hundreds of thousands of files from the FBI and local police departments have been leaked, exposing serious abuses of power by law enforcement." She writes, Blue Leaks "are like the Pentagon Papers for U.S. law enforcement." The leaks show how political activists are targeted and monitored on social media, that there is widespread racial bias by police and that police exaggerate threats by antifa to justify violence against protesters.
Many of those who organised around the exemplary “no evictions” campaign over the last couple of years gathered to show solidarity and support for people with no vote, no opportunity to work, no money, and living in a new country having fled conditions which were often the stuff of nightmares. Sadly, this was met with a “counter-protest.” Quite how anyone could protest against people being given decent food to eat should be beyond comprehension – but for the far-right, this seemed too much like treating people from other places and races with dignity. Two sets of people faced-off. One set of working-class people who defended those who had nothing, who stood by the oppressed in the best traditions of the city – and another set defending the establishment, its grubby treatment of the most marginalised and its statues, including many of those in that square who would never have lifted a finger for the working-class in their lives.
Antifa is a leaderless, direct action platform, making it unusually easy for police, intelligence groups, and rival organizations to infiltrate and frame for violence. For example, on the same day that Trump tweeted his wish to see Antifa banned, a livestreamer was forced to run away after he incited a New York BLM group to “flip” over a truck before the crowd called him out. So, let’s see how the federal authorities infiltrate, provoke, and subvert. As usual, the state is the most violent of all the institutions involved. It subverts and oppresses as methods of its survival. The state typically directs its energy against left-wing groups while allying with far-right and fascist elements as proxies against progressives. None of this can be uttered in mainstream media, lest one is accused of conspiracy theorizing. Grassroots activists, on the other hand, are all-too-aware of these tactics.
A Twitter account that claimed to represent a national antifa organization and that urged protesters to loot "white" neighborhoods was actually run by white nationalist group Identity Evropa, according to a Twitter spokesperson. The account, which posted under the handle "@ANTIFA_US," falsely aligned itself with ongoing Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. One tweet that called for protesters to "move into residential areas" and "take what's ours" was retweeted hundreds of times as of Sunday night. The account was removed Monday for breaking Twitter's rules against platform manipulation, spam, and inciting violence, NBC News first reported.
The FBI has collected no intelligence indicating that "antifa" was involved in violence over the weekend related to protests over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died on May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, The Nation reported. Trump announced on Twitter that day that "the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization." But an internal FBI situation report, the bureau's Washington, DC, field office "has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence" in the violence that took place on Sunday.
United States President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that the U.S. will go ahead and label Antifa as a “terrorist organization,” raising serious concerns about the unconstitutionality of such a threat if carried out. “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump said, as protests over the murder of the black man, George Floyd, continued in at least 30 cities in the United States on Sunday, with Minneapolis as the epicenter. Without evidence, Trump and several top officials from his administration, including U.S. Attorney General William Barr, have blamed Antifa and groups it describes as "agitators" for taking over the protests in U.S. cities.
While appearing on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, the good and brilliant scholar/thought leader Dr. Cornell West did not mince words, “We would have been crushed like cockroaches were it not for the anarchists and the Anti-Fascists [Antifa ].” He went on to say that Antifa saved his life, as well as the lives of clergy members and others who bravely travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia to confront vitriolic and malevolent white supremacy and anti-Jewishness. We remember Charlottesville with such melancholy, after the tragic and violent death of our dear and brave sister Heather Heyer.
Conservatives in the U.S. have long sought to reframe grassroots political activism as dangerously radical, but efforts to criminalize protests have rapidly intensified since Donald Trump’s election. Most recently, Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy introduced a resolution that names “Antifa” as a “domestic terrorist organization.” “This was a move designed to punish dissent against both racist groups and policies of the government,” David Rose, a member of Portland’s Rose City Antifa, told Truthout. “The senators are attempting to open the door to illegalizing any form of dissent against racist institutions or groups.” The resolution, S.Res. 279, uses the recent controversy over the clash between right-wing reporter Andy Ngo and protesters in Portland, Oregon, as the impetus to designate antiracist protesters as a criminal operation.
The Unite The Right Rally today, one year after the one in Charlottesville, can only be described as a complete flop. The racists were unable to fill a single train car and were dwarfed by police surrounding them and over ten thousand anti-racists, who gathered in various parts of Washington, DC. The Alt-Right racist movement has been exposed for what it is -- an unpopular, shrinking fringe movement that the national consensus finds despicable. In fact, counterprotesters outnumbered white nationalists by the hundreds at the DC rally — to the point that some counterprotesters left early because it was kind of boring.
Washington DC: Over a thousand are expected to mobilize in a counter-demonstration against a White Nationalist rally outside the White House on Sunday. A White Nationalist rally organized by Jason Kessler is permitted to protest in Lafayette Park in the afternoon. National Park Service police also granted Answer Coalition and a broad base of social justice groups a permit to counter-protest in Lafayette Park at the North side of the park. Police are preparing for the possibility there will be confrontations by erecting barricades to keep groups apart by 100 feet.