Rogers for America Commentary - Antifa and Terrorism
OP ED ANTIFIA JUNE 11,2020
President Trump is right about Antifa: if they look like terrorists, talk like terrorists, and act like terrorists — they belong to a terrorist organization.
Shortly after the start of the devastating riots that have paralyzed our country, Donald Trump issued a stark warning to “Antifa,” the umbrella designation for a loose collection of anarchist groups that exploit peaceful protests to engage in political violence.
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” the president tweeted.
Attorney General William P. Barr later expanded on the president’s remarks, noting that the Justice Department will be treating violent Antifa rioters as domestic terrorists.
"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," he explained, adding that "The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly."
He’s right, and here are four reasons why:
The 2017 riots in Washington D.C.
The ongoing violent riots in our nation’s capital are not the first time Antifa has assaulted the seat of our democracy. During and after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the domestic terrorist group swarmed the streets of Washington, destroying property and instigated fights with police.
The 2017 Antifa riots caused more than $100,000 in property damage and led to the arrest of more than 230 people, but mercifully did not result in any serious injuries. The final toll from this round of riots will certainly be much higher, with several law enforcement officers already having sustained injuries such as a broken leg inflicted by a brick hurled by rioters.
The Berkeley riots.
Americans got another taste of the true destructive power of Antifa a few months later during the 2017 riots in Berkeley, California, where Antifa organized violent demonstrations in and around the University of California, Berkeley as a means of censorship.
The so-called “resistance” movement mobilized in response to the university’s plan to host conservative speakers on campus — but continued to cause destruction for many months to follow. In addition to extensive property damage, Antifa was also involved in violent altercations, targeting peaceful protesters who gathered in the city to rally on behalf of free speech.
“Some anti-fascist protesters, wearing black and with their faces covered, chased or beat Trump supporters and organizers who had scheduled and then canceled the ‘anti-Marxist’ rally, citing concerns over safety,” The Los Angeles Times reported following a clash in August of that year.
Repeated violence against journalists
Antifa’s violence isn’t reserved solely for peaceful conservative protesters, though. In recent years, Antifa members have repeatedly targeted and assaulted reporters who were trying to cover their protests, treating members of the media with every bit as much hostility as they treat conservatives.
Even far-left publications like Vox have admitted that Antifa is out of control, highlighting the group’s violence against innocent reporters. “Antifa says it fights fascists and neo-Nazis. But this weekend, members attacked cops and journalists,” Vox wrote following the violent 2018 riots in Washington D.C.
In 2019, Antifa brutally beat up another journalist, Andy Ngo, who sustained horrific injuries that required hospitalization.
Ideology that is incompatible with our civil society.
Most fundamentally, Antifa deserves to be called a terrorist organization because of its intrinsically violent ideology. Unlike legitimate political factions, Antifa predicates its very existence on the flawed assumption that its political ends are so noble that its members are justified in achieving them by “any means necessary,” including wanton violence and destruction. In the eyes of Antifa radicals, violence is not just an acceptable form of so-called “resistance” — it is the only legitimate form of protest against American society.
Of course, since Antifa members have demonstrated a clear preference for targeting those they perceive as weak, isolated, or otherwise vulnerable to the cowardly “black bloc” tactics they use to frustrate law enforcement. As we’ve seen during the ongoing wave of destruction across the country, small business owners and entrepreneurs — many of whom are minorities — end up paying the heaviest price for Antifa’s orgy of destruction.
President Trump had no choice but to put his foot down and declare that America will not tolerate Antifa’s domestic terrorism. We would be foolish to confuse violent extremists who are actively plotting to destabilize our society with the peaceful protesters they are essentially using as human shields.
Steven Rogers is a retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer and a former member of the FBI National Joint Terrorism Task Force. He is a member of the Donald J. Trump for President 2020 Campaign Advisory Board.