Fanning the Flames

Pandemic Diary Entry #49

June 29, 2020

I have always had a problem with people that form their points of view from bumper stickers.

It is frustrating that so many people never learn the facts in-depth about an issue, they read a bumper sticker, see a meme on Facebook or hear a few bullet points on a TED Talk and voila, they have formed their opinion.

One such meme making the rounds is asking why isn’t the KKK a terrorist organization. This is usually entwined with the subject of Antifa (pronounced an-ˈtē-fə).

Let us begin with the fact that despite a few people in the White House attempting to label Antifa as a terrorist organization. They can not. For the same reason the KKK can not be labeled as a terrorist organization.

In the United States, the State Department can designate groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. It can also designate both groups and individuals as terrorists under Executive Order 13224. This order was established shortly after September 11th.

However, for the State Department to designate a group, it must document that the organization operates overseas, and that its leaders, and operations are based outside of the continental United States. Only the domestic chapters of foreign terrorist organizations fall under the umbrella of “designated” terrorist organizations.

Despite what one would think, neither of these groups is actually an organization.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are approximately 72 Klan groups. The Klan has changed, powerful Klan chiefs are a thing of the past, today many chapters operate across the country with no official relationship.

Antifa, standing for anti-fascist, is an adjective. It is not a group of people. The term is used to label a group of people whose beliefs lean, most often, to the far left but there is no official leader or headquarters.

This does not mean that these organizations are peaceful, it just means they can not be classified as terrorists.

Both groups are known for their violence.

Antifa’s rampages normally end in property damage while the white supremacist movements often end in killings.

Antifa is known for causing damage to property during protests. In February 2017, at the UC Berkeley campus a protest took place to deplore right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. People wearing all black and wearing masks threw Molotov cocktails and smashed windows during the protests. These actions have been attributed to the Antifa movement.

In a CNN interview Scott Crow, who was involved with Antifa for almost 30 years, said members use violence as a means of self-defense and they believe property destruction does not equate to violence.

Right-wing groups, which includes white supremacy groups such as the KKK are responsible for more murders in the US than any other extremist group.

Since the BLM protests began at the end of May, fifty vehicle-ramming incidents by white supremacists against the protestors have been reported. At least 18 of those incidents were reported as deliberate attacks, while the remainder are yet unspecified.

According to a University of Maryland sponsored study, between 2010 and 2016 53% of terrorist attacks were carried out by religious extremists 35% by right-wing extremists and 12% by left wing extremists.

A report from the Anti-Defamation League shows that over the past decade, extremists of all ilk have killed 372 Americans. 74 percent of those killings were committed by right wing extremists. Only 2 percent of those deaths were at the hands of left wing extremists.

With these statistics should there be a domestic terrorism classification for law enforcement?

Mary McCord, legal director at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a former Department of Justice official posted on Twitter that “No current legal authority exists for designating domestic organizations as terrorist organizations. Any attempt at such a designation would raise significant First Amendment concerns”.

On February 27, 2019 McCord collaborated with Jason M. Blazakis, director of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, and wrote in an article in the Lawfare blog that “designation of a domestic organization as a terrorist organization would raise serious concerns about infringing on First Amendment rights and cause legitimate fears that the designation tool could be used wrongly to target unpopular ideologies.” But making it a crime to materially support domestic terrorism — just as it’s a federal crime to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization — “does not raise the same concerns.”

In 2019, after the House introduced legislation to make domestic terrorism a federal crime Faiza Patel, director of the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice wrote that such a law was “both unnecessary and creates serious risks of abuse.” She went on to say “The FBI already has all the authority it needs to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of white nationalist violence.”

This country is embroiled enough in contention, we don’t need to stoke the fire with rhetoric based on ignorance.

Trivial Things

My Horoscope for today: Sometimes it’s only when we feel overburdened that we open up to people. What starts out feeling like the last straw turns into a godsend.

San Francisco weather: 65 degrees and sunny

NYSE DOW opened at: 25152

NYSE DOW one year ago: 26805

Foreign word of the day: cove

Spanish: ensenada
Italian: baia

OED word of the day: simi-dimi (Elaborate or meaningless ritual; superstition; mumbo-jumbo. Also: fuss, rigmarole)

Days since Shelter In Place was initiated: 110

Reading: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Studying: History and Context of Russian Literature

My Black and White Picture of the Day

Something Silly From the Internet:

If you liked this please clap and let me know. Thank you



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