Politico has gotten their hands on a “confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by DHS and the FBI,” in which authorities offer warnings about the rise of violent Antifa groups.
The outlet also conducted interviews with a “senior law enforcement official,” as well as a former member of the NYPD in order to supplement the report.
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 [the joint assessment].
Politico writes at length about Antifa violence seen well before Charlottesville, which The Daily Wire has documented here. Demonstrations in Portland, Austin, Berkeley, and elsewhere quickly devolved into vicious conflagrations when various “anti-fascist” cells showed up prepared to do battle:
Even before Charlottesville, dozens and, in some cases, hundreds of people on both sides showed up at events in Texas, California, Oregon and elsewhere, carrying weapons and looking for a fight. 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.
Politico quotes former NYPD officer Brian Levin, who is now the director of Cal State, San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism:
Both the racists and a segment of violent antifa counter-protestors are amped for battle in an escalating arms race, where police departments are outmaneuvered, resulting in increasingly violent dangerous confrontations. … It’s an orchestrated dance. The rallies spill over into social media and then even more people show up at the next rally primed for violent confrontation.
The actions of Antifa groups have become so extreme that the Department of Homeland Security has allegedly labeled it “domestic terrorist violence,” according to “confidential law enforcement documents obtained by Politico.”
Josh Meyer, the author of the piece, writes that President Trump’s “rhetoric,” and the subsequent actions of a small minority of his supporters, have helped escalate the aggression being seen. The situation has evolved so quickly that law enforcement “do not have a handle on it.”
Meyer further writes that law enforcement officials are concerned because they are having difficulty tracking the members and movements of Antifa cells due to their diffuse nature.
The spring 2016 assessment allegedly notes that some Antifa extremists have even gone overseas to train with similar groups, and that DHS and the FBI were worried that the evolution of “anti-fascist” violence could lead to terrorist acts, such as bombings.
While we have yet to experience the savagery of European-style anti-fascist attacks, Antifa aggression has indeed been sharpening. In August, a man was arrested after he allegedly attempted to plant explosives at the base of a Confederate monument in Houston.
On August 27, Antifa activists rioted in Berkeley, California, where a “No to Marxism in America” rally was supposed to take place. The rally was cancelled prior to the 27th amid fear of violent backlash.
The Washington Post writes:
A pepper-spray-wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifa members, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray and screamed, “Fascist go home!”
The brutality is on video.
Weekly Standard writer Matt Labash spent the 27th with Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer. Gibson had planed an event in San Francisco, then subsequently cancelled it, fearing attendees would get hurt.
Instead of staying home, Gibson and his friend, Tusitala Toese, a giant of a man at 6’6” and 345 lbs, affectionately nicknamed “Tiny,” went into the heart of the beast at Berkeley.
Doing nothing but holding his hands in the air, Gibson was intimidated, bear-sprayed, and physically attacked by Antifa (pertinent portion begins at the 30-second mark):
Though Gibson is half-Japanese and Tiny is Samoan, and the planned event was to feature male and female speakers of multiple ethnicities, and Gibson publicly stated that “no extremists will be allowed in. No Nazis, Communists, KKK, Antifa, white supremacists,” that didn’t stop progressives in positions of power from attacking the event.
As Labash writes:
[Nancy] Pelosi loudly suggested the permit be pulled, saying the National Park Service should reflect on its “capacity to protect the public during such a toxic” event, which she termed a “white supremacist rally.” The fact that over two-thirds of the event’s scheduled speakers were minorities, that race wasn’t being discussed, and that the event was billed a “day of freedom, spirituality, unity, peace, and patriotism” didn’t seem to cut much ice with her.
… Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to the Park Service, expressing her dismay that Crissy Field “will be used as a venue for Patriot Prayer’s incitement, hate and intimidation.” The mayors of San Francisco and Berkeley denounced the group, too.
Antifa is becoming more and more aggressive, and according to the documents procured by Politico, it's not going unnoticed by officials at the FBI and DHS.
Unfortunately, many progressive politicians and media figures are looking the other way, or even encouraging Antifa’s tactics. Some have offered vague condemnations of “violence,” but refused to get specific, or even say the word “Antifa.”
If left unchecked, group violence easily escalates. We've seen Antifa’s behavior evolve from obnoxious to frightening over the last 18 months, and if no one steps up to condemn their actions, we may very quickly move from frightening to deadly.
When that happens, who will take responsibility?