May 31, 2020

Trump to Declare ANTIFA a Terrorist Organization (And Obama Never Declared the KKK as Such)

Last week saw violent and destructive rioting and looting across the United States. The media have told us that this is in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. That officer knelt on Floyd's neck, essentially asphyxiating him. Chauvin was arrested on Friday, May 29, and charged with murder and manslaughter. There are accusations that Antifa has been involved in much of the violence.

President Trump wants Antifa to be designated as a terrorist organization.
Some in the media are incorrectly saying he can't do that. Axios, for example, wrote this today:
President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States will be designating antifa, which is short for "anti-fascist," as a terrorist organization. However, the law that allows the government to designate entities as terrorists only applies to foreign organizations. (Emphasis added)
Antifa flags
Antifa and Anarchist flags
Axios is wrong. It's astonishing that they seem unaware of the Patriot Act of 2001, which clearly defines domestic terrorism, terrorists, and terrorist groups in "Section 802, Definition Of Domestic Terrorism" and "Section 806, Assets Of Terrorist Organizations."

Penn Live gives a slightly better analysis, saying that the actual effect of Trump's designation is not clear.  "While domestic terrorism is defined in the 2001 Patriot Act bill....there are no current designated domestic terrorist organizations," they wrote. "There’s also no explicit law against providing support to domestic terrorist organizations — unlike groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations. The antifa movement is largely decentralized, with activists organizing their protest activities online or in small, decentralized groups."

But Penn Live missed something. That last part, about Antifa being "largely decentralized," is true. But that doesn't mean they are not an organization. Penn Live noted that Antifa has "activists organizing their protest activities online or in small, decentralized groups." Although the groups may be "decentralized," they communicate with each and coordinate activities. Foreign terrorist groups are often decentralized, allowing autonomy to their cells, but coordinating and sharing resources. Same with Antifa. An organization is an organization, even if it's "decentralized" and regardless of how sloppy the structure might be.

Video: Antifa Hijacked The Floyd Protests

(Note: There are many criticizing Trump for not designating the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization. True, but during his eight years in office, President Obama never did, despite a petition asking him to do so. No president has declared the KKK as a terrorist organization.)

President Trump wants Antifa to be designated as a terrorist organization.
From U.S. Attorney General William Barr's statement today (excerpted; emphasis added):
With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda
Federal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law
To identify criminal organizers and instigators, and to coordinate federal resources with our state and local partners, federal law enforcement is using our existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF). (See Barr's Full Statement)
References to "outside radicals and agitators" and "criminal organizers and instigators" are not new terms. Those of us who lived through the riots of the1960s heard the term almost daily. As in 2020, the Left was moving their people around to wherever they saw the opportunity to rile up the locals and heighten whatever tensions already existed. Today, the term is relevant to the current rioting.

Harrisburg Black Lives Matter Protest, May 30, 2020
Source: Penn Live
Local officials in Minnesota and Florida have recently said that outside agitators are stirring up trouble in their cities.

Whether it's 1,000 "outsiders" or half a dozen, they are there to exacerbate the tensions and even to ramp up violence. It should be remembered that it only takes a single effective agitator to stir up an entire neighborhood. They act as provocateurs. They are always subversive in action and intent.

Some on the Left dismiss accusations of outside agitators as paranoid conspiracy theory from the Right. But how does the Left explain the head of the NAACP in Harrisburg blaming local violence on outside agitators?

Outrage over the wrongful death of George Floyd is justified. Peaceful demonstrations are justified. Looting, arson, vandalism and violence against others, however, are not – they do nothing to honor the memory of the dead. Nor do such despicable actions comfort the Floyd family. It has only caused misery to innocent small-business owners, the employers of those businesses who are now out of a job, and people in the afflicted communities who, in some cases, have no nearby place to buy groceries. Even as the rioting continues, there is widespread speculation about who is behind the violence.

That's where Antifa fits in. Let's see how "domestic terrorism" is defined by the U.S. government:
Section 802 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Pub. L. No. 107-52) expanded the definition of terrorism to cover "domestic," as opposed to international, terrorism. A person engages in domestic terrorism if they do an act "dangerous to human life" that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to:  (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping. Additionally, the acts have to occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and if they do not, may be regarded as international terrorism. (Source: ACLU; See full Patriot Act text here.)
Section 802 describes Antifa perfectly. Many, if not most of the protesters, rioters and looters are local people. Some are genuinely trying to peacefully protest police brutality, but many otheres are using the death of George Floyd as an excuse to grab a free flat-screen TV or case of liquor.
Trump is considering the Insurrection Act to help quell the lawless rioting and looting.
See the full text of the Insurrection Act (it's very short). 

There is strong evidence that many rioters are "outside agitators" – people from other cities or even other states who have traveled just to participate in the violence and destruction. That's how Antifa operates. And here's some good evidence of Antifa being organized:
There is overwhelming evidence of Antifa being an organization, albeit decentralized. Consider the thousands of photos we've seen over the past 15 years of professionally-made Antifa flags. Consider how they just happen to show up en masse in a city to smash windows.
There are local Antifa groups. It is estimated that there are some 200 local Antifa chapters throughout the U.S. They have leaders. Meetings need to called, actions decided upon. So is it difficult to imagine an Antifa group leader in, say, Houston calling the Dallas and Austin Antifa leaders and suggesting they carpool to Minneapolis to coordinate with the local leaders and raise some hell?

Antifa "has no leadership?" Two items for consideration:

Portland Antifa leader celebrates looting, riots, extreme violence: May 2020, The Post Millennial

Alleged Antifa leader charged with 'ethnic intimidation' over attack on US Marines: January 2019,  Washington Examiner

Trump says he’ll label antifa a terror organization amid unrest - Penn Live
Past Posts About Antifa - Chicago News Bench
History shows agitators can turn protests into violent mobs - Mercury News
Why isn't the KKK designated as a terrorist organization? - Hopes And Fears
Subversion and Insurgency, by William Rosenau - RAND Corporation
Subversion - Wikipedia

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