Put this in the “it’s about time” file.
The Department of Homeland Security has officially deemed Antifa a domestic terror organization. Politico learned of this classification from obtaining confidential documents from the law enforcement community.
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.
Previously unreported documents disclose that by April 2016, authorities believed that “anarchist extremists” were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets. They were blamed by authorities for attacks on the police, government and political institutions, along with symbols of “the capitalist system,” racism, social injustice and fascism, according to a confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by DHS and the FBI.
After President Donald Trump’s election in November, the antifa activists locked onto another target — his supporters, especially those from white supremacist and nationalist groups suddenly turning out in droves to hail his victory, support crackdowns on immigrants and Muslims and to protest efforts to remove symbols of the Confederacy.
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.
Writer Josh Meyer begins to veer and blame Trump’s “political movement [which] has spurred the violent backlash.” But we’ll ignore his slander to stay focused on the truth at hand: Antifa is terrorism. Full stop.
Even Meyer knows this deep down:
In the Texas capital of Austin, armed antifa protesters attacked Trump supporters and white groups at several recent rallies, and then swarmed police in a successful effort to stop them from making arrests.
California has become another battleground, with violent confrontations in Berkeley, Sacramento and Orange County leading to numerous injuries. And antifa counter-protesters initiated attacks in two previous clashes in Charlottesville, according to the law enforcement reports and interviews.
The documents said there’s been a shift of focus from domestic terrorists à la Timothy McVeigh and on to “leftist anti-government groups” such as Black bloc and the Anti-Fascist Action Network: “They claim to have no leader and no hierarchy, but authorities following them believe they are organized via decentralized networks of cells that coordinate with each other. Often, they spend weeks planning for violence at upcoming events, according to the April 2016 DHS and FBI report entitled ‘Baseline Comparison of US and Foreign Anarchist Extremist Movements.’”
“Dozens of armed anti-fascist groups have emerged, including Redneck Revolt and the Red Guards, according to the reports and interviews,” Meyer’s report continued. “One report from New Jersey authorities said self-described antifa groups have been established in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.”
Politico also learned that DHS and FBI intelligence began flagging Antifa before the election and confirm that “lawfully organized white supremacist” rallies were targeted by leftists and that’s what caused outbreaks in violence:
At the Sacramento rally, antifa protesters came looking for violence, and “engaged in several activities indicating proficiency in pre-operational planning, to include organizing carpools to travel from different locations, raising bail money in preparation for arrests, counter-surveilling law enforcement using three-man scout teams, using handheld radios for communication, and coordinating the event via social media,” the DHS report said.
The detailed report also notes that some Antifa activists have traveled overseas “to train and fight with fellow anarchist organizations, including two Turkey-based groups fighting the Islamic State.”
Law enforcement agencies are concerned the weapons of Antifa will also become more dangerous as the movement grows. However, they also admit to having “intelligence gaps” with these domestic terrorists.
“There’s a lot more we don’t know about these groups than what we do know about them,” one senior official said.
What they know for sure, however, is that more attacks are imminent, but this has left many officials wondering, "What are we gonna do? How are we gonna deal with this?"
Naming your enemy is the first step. At least this administration is willing to do that.