America’s Right Wing Is the Leading Perpetrator of Political Violence and Death in US
Bill Berkowitz and Gale Bataille / BuzzFlash
(August 3, 2020) — Donald Trump is doubling down on law and order as the main strategy of his re-election campaign. However, a new data base contradicts Trump’s hyping of left extremist violence with the finding that since 1994 there have been over 300 deaths resulting from right wing violence, and during the same period, there have been no killings perpetrated by anti-fascist activists.
Team Trump has saturated the airwaves with ads showing scenes of chaos and destruction purportedly from the streets of Portland and has explicitly associated mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests with violence and anarchy in America’s cities. Trump’s ads claim that things will get much worse if Joe Biden is elected president. The provocations and excessive force of federal agents is of course never acknowledged.
These ads and Trump’s related statements are no longer dog whistles, but rather are blatant attempts to stoke the fear of “others” — read people of color and (“democrat”) leftwing extremists. “In reality,” according to The Guardian’s Lois Beckett, “leftwing attacks [in the US] have left far fewer people dead than violence by rightwing extremists, new research indicates, and Antifa activists have not been linked to a single murder in decades.”
A new database created by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) analyzed nearly 900 politically motivated plots and attacks in the US, and found that there were no victims killed in anti-fascist attacks since 1994. At the same time, at least 329 victims were killed in right-wing violence.
The launch of the CSIS database “comes as Trump administration officials have echoed the president’s warnings of a violent ‘leftwing’ revolution,” Beckett reported. “’Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent and extremist agenda,’ the attorney general, William Barr, said amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. In a House Judiciary Committee hearing on July 28th, Barr defended his role in sending unwanted federal forces into cities and appealed to the law and order constituency, “I don’t agree that there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country.”
A new justice department taskforce on violent anti-government extremists listed ‘antifa’ as a major threat, while making no mention of white supremacy.” While it isn’t easy to ascribe motivation to a particular action, and researchers might have disagreements over a specific incident, “multiple databases that track extremist violence, including data maintained by the Anti-Defamation League, and from journalists at the Center for Investigative Reporting, have found the same trend: It’s violent rightwing attacks, not ‘far-left’ violence, that presents the greater deadly threat to Americans today, Beckett of The Guardian stated.
There is also some evidence that rightwing individuals and groups have infiltrated protests with the explicit goal of fomenting confrontation with police and violence. Devin Burghart, president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, said his organization has found evidence of Boogaloo and other far-right extremist groups at 40 protests related to Floyd’s death, including some in Kansas City and Wichita.
According to the Kansas City Star, other documented incidents of rightwing violence linked to protests include:
• Three alleged Boogaloo adherents were arrested May 30 in Las Vegas for what authorities said was a plot to spark violence at Black Lives Matter protests. The men, ages 23 to 40, were charged in federal court with conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive and possession of an unregistered destructive device. According to the complaint, FBI agents arrested the men as they were heading to a protest with materials to make Molotov cocktails to lob at police.
• The man (Steven Carrillo) charged with ambushing and killing one deputy and critically wounding another in Santa Cruz County, California, on June 6, scrawled phrases associated with the Boogaloo movement on the hood of a car shortly before his arrest, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday. (Note: Carrillo was also charged with the murder of a contracted security officer in front of the federal courthouse in Oakland using a Black Lives Matter protest as cover.)
• Minneapolis police have identified a suspect whom they believe helped initiate the riots and destruction in the city following the killing of George Floyd. According to a search warrant filed earlier this week, the man is associated with the “Aryan Cowboys,” which the Anti-Defamation League lists as a White supremacist prison and street gang.
“Leftwing violence has not been a major terrorism threat,” said Seth Jones, a counter-terrorism expert who led the creation of CSIS’s dataset. In explaining its methodology, CSIS pointed out that, “We included both attacks and foiled plots in the data set, but a variable was added to distinguish between the two. Incidents were defined as plots if they demonstrated plans or intention to commit an act of terrorism that was prevented, most often due to law enforcement intervention or failure during the preparation stages (such as explosives detonating during production). Incidents were defined as attacks if action was taken to carry out an act of terrorism. is includes attacks that both succeeded and failed.”
Type Investigations’ David Neiwert reported in early July that the database compiled by Type Investigations and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, found that “the past three years of [right-wing domestic violence] incidents contains so many open affinities and copycats that it indicates domestic terrorism has taken on an almost viral quality.”
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.