Obama DHS referred to Antifa actions as 'domestic terrorist violence' more than a year ago
The mayors of several large American cities where Antifa and white supremacists have fought pitched battles in the streets have claimed that their response was lacking because they had no idea the violence would get so bad.
Oh, really? Politico has obtained numerous documents from DHS and the DoJ that show that the Obama administration knew as far back as April 2016 – long before Trump was elected – that Antifa's actions were "domestic terrorist violence" and that their goal was to violently confront white supremacists (and, later, ordinary Trump supporters).
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. But they also reflect the extent that his own political movement has spurred the violent backlash.
Clearly, those mayors and local law enforcement had plenty of warning about Antifa and still allowed them to join demonstrations like the ones in San Francisco and Berkeley last weekend.
There is even evidence that Antifa is connected to a global network of anarchists:
By the spring of 2016, the anarchist groups had become so aggressive, including making armed attacks on individuals and small groups of perceived enemies, that federal officials launched a global investigation with the help of the U.S. intelligence community, according to the DHS and FBI assessment.
The purpose of the investigation, according to the April 2016 assessment: To determine whether the U.S.-based anarchists might start committing terrorist bombings like their counterparts in "foreign anarchist extremist movements" in Greece, Italy and Mexico, possibly at the Republican and Democratic conventions that summer.
Some of the antifa activists have gone overseas to train and fight with fellow anarchist organizations, including two Turkey-based groups fighting the Islamic State, according to interviews and internet postings.
In their April 2016 assessment, the DHS and FBI said the anarchist groups would likely become more lethal if "fascist, nationalist, racist or anti-immigrant parties obtain greater prominence or local political power in the United States, leading to anti-racist violent backlash from anarchist extremists."
In Charlottesville, it must have been apparent to the thousands of non-Antifa anti-fascist protesters who showed up to demonstrate against white supremacists that a couple of hundred guys walking around dressed all in black, with masks and helmets, carrying shields and clubs, were not out for a stroll in the park. Similarly, if there were non-racists who attended the demonstration against taking down a Confederate statue, what was on their minds when they saw hundreds of people carrying Nazi flags and dressed up in white sheets and hoods?
DHS had Antifa pegged almost a year and a half ago. The Obama administration was still publicly most concerned about "right-wing extremism" – you know, people who oppose abortion, higher taxes, and bigger government. Meanwhile, leftist thugs were allowed to run wild at Trump political events while also deliberately inciting violence at white supremacist events (not that the racists needed much of an excuse to go to war themselves).
The article states that the potential for these events to degenerate into a shooting war is growing rapidly as the ranks of both Antifa and the racists swell following Charlottesville. Unless cities stop treating Antifa as a legitimate protest group and brand them for the violent extremists they are, there will be more bloodshed.