Earlier this month, acting Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf released his department’s annual assessment of violent threats to the nation.
If we listen to the rhetoric coming out of the White House, its compliant Justice Dept., and Fox so-called News, we would be correct in assuming Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa, or other “left” groups would be high on the list of domestic threats.
Yet in the report’s forward, Wolf states:
“[I am] particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years. [They] seek to force ideological change in the United States through violence, death, and destruction.”
Not Antifa (which means “anti-fascist”).
“Racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists [have become the] primary source of ideologically motivated lethal incidents [in the US].”
As The Guardian recently reported:
“Last year was the deadliest on record for domestic extremist violence since the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. White supremacists were responsible for most of that bloodshed in 2019–39 out of 48 deaths, including 23 people who died at the hands of an anti-Hispanic racist in El Paso, Texas, and a Jewish worshipper murdered at Poway Synagogue in California.”
Brookings Institute terrorism and extremism expert, Vanda Felbab-Brown, added:
“The threat is serious and intense. It is by far the most serious domestic danger in the US on many levels–the frequency of attacks, the level of recruitment, the scope of ambition of the groups and the wider political capital they are building.”
Yet something conspicuously omitted with these claims is facts.
How many murders has ANTIFA been behind in the past 25 years?
The answer is zero.
Counter-terrorism expert and CSIS database creator, Seth Jones, explained:
“Left-wing violence has not been a major terrorism threat. The most significant domestic terrorism threat comes from white supremacists, anti-government militias and a handful of individuals associated with the ‘boogaloo’ movement that are attempting to create a civil war in the United States.”
Multiple violence-tracking databases, including the Anti-Defamation League, conclude violent right-wing groups present the greater threat, not “far-left” ones.However, more than 93% of this summer’s over 7,000 BLM protests have been peaceful according to data the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED) compiled together with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative.
ACLED director of research & innovation, Dr. Roudabeh Kishi, told The Guardian:
“There have been some violent demonstrations, and those tend to get a lot of media coverage. But if you were to look at all the demonstrations happening, it’s overwhelmingly peaceful.”
ACLED found, despite the majority of peaceful protests, there were 392 violent incidents originating from federal agents and right-wing vigilante groups repeatedly met–and still meet–BLM protesters with tear gas, riot gear, rubber munitions, pepper spray, and beatings.
“Individual perpetrators–sometimes linked to hate groups like the KKK–have launched dozens of car-ramming attacks targeting demonstrations around the country.”
Incidents are increasing.
As Slate reported:
“20 violent groups—left and right—have taken part in more than 100 protests related to the George Floyd killing. In June, there were 17 counter-demonstrations led by right-wing militant groups in June, one of which sparked violence. In July, there were 160 counter-demonstrations, with violence in 18.”
There have been at least 100 incidents involving attacks against journalists.
A video taken before “blue lives matter” adherent Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire and killed two BLM protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin shows police tossing water bottles to armed civilians. One officer broadcasted “We appreciate you being here” via loudspeaker.
This is astonishing video. Officers in Kenosha in military vehicles stopped to engage with armed white men, told them they were appreciated and offered them bottles of water. pic.twitter.com/O5lJxwgf3M
— Kristen Clarke 866-OUR-VOTE (@KristenClarkeJD) August 26, 2020
After he had murdered the protesters, he proceeded to walk down the street toward police with his arms up, rifle slung across his chest.
Yet not a single police officer stopped him, despite witnesses identified him to police as the one who had just committed murder.
He was allowed to waltz by while police chose to respond to the “bigger threat”–BLM protesters.
He made it all the way back home before turning himself in.
While it may be true Trump finally capitulated to pressure to condemn white supremacist groups in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity two days after the first presidential debate during which he instructed “The Proud Boys” to “stand back and stand by,” right-wing so-called “militia” and white supremacy groups all over understand Trump isn’t fooling anyone, least of all those he half-heartedly condemned.
Those still holding out for more evidence, though, should look no further than Trump’s response to the domestic terrorists who plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and put her on trial for treason.
Two weeks ago, the FBI charged 13 right-wing domestic terrorists for their role in the plot to abduct Whitmer–six who masterminded the plot they intended to enact before the presidential election, and seven with ties to the so-called “militia” group “Wolverine Watchmen,” who face state terrorism, conspiracy, and weapons charges for planning to storm the state Capitol in Lansing and incite civil war.
In what should have been another easy opportunity to distance himself from those committed to carrying out partisan intolerance and hate in his name, Trump blew it–again–and instead admonished Gov. Whitmer.
Gov. Whitmer said at a press conference, at which she thanked law enforcement and expressed her hopes the criminal charges would “lead to convictions, bringing these sick and depraved men to justice”:
“Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, like these two Michigan militia groups. ‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. ‘Stand back and stand by.’ Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.”
Attacks on Black lives Matter and Antifa are smokescreens for right-wing violence.
The numbers don’t lie.
The terrorist threats we face in America today are not from some foreign jihadist cell intent on perpetrating another 9/11.
They are from our fellow Americans–heavily armed, cranked up on right-wing hate media and a president encouraging the misguided animosity they express through what they feel is “defending freedom.”
It’s only just getting started.
What Trump has unleashed is going to take a long time to tamp down again.
A Joe Biden win will not immediately shut it off.
It’s going to take an ideological shift that previously took decades to effect.
But if Trump gets another term?
It’s looking that way.
Image credit: www.progressive-charlestown.com