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Despite the Democrat-spun phrase and Joe Biden talking point, a spokesperson for the National Police Association asserts, "No, Antifa isn't just an idea."
In an exclusive interview on Antifa and far-left activism, The Post Millennial spoke with Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired sergeant turned-police advocate who spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement commanding positions in investigations, narcotics, hostage negotiation, crime prevention, and field training.
Antifa is not just an idea
Late last month, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden claimed that "Antifa is an idea, not an organization" on the presidential debate stage. During the first televised face-off, moderator Chris Wallace cornered President Donald Trump to denounce white supremacists for the umpteenth time. "Somebody's gotta do something about Antifa and the left," Trump volleyed, "because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem." That's when Biden downplayed Antifa as merely an "idea, not an organization, not militia."
"Antifa isn't just an idea. Antifa goes back to the '20s," Brantner Smith prefaced her elucidation of the movement, alluding to Adolf Hitler's Brownshirts of the 20th century. These were the main paramilitary wing of the Nazi party and their methods of violent intimidation aided the German dictatorship's rise in 1920. Hitler's Storm Troopers would force their way into the meetings of his political opponents, disrupt discussion, and silence speakers.
"Antifa has been around for decades," Brantner Smith said. "But we started to see a resurgence during Occupy Wall Street and then after the election of Donald Trump. We saw it once again explode."
Antifa is a leaderless, amorphous organization
"There's no leader of Antifa," Brantner Smith said, on the need for a recognizable figure to arise for the public to legitimize efforts. "And what that means these days is there's no blue check Twitter account that is the leader of Antifa."
Antifa's internal organization is similar to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that is composed of "radical Islam cells, terror cells," Brantner Smith explicated. "It's not a traditional paramilitary structure." However, Antifa is still identifiable, characterized by "consistent beliefs" with extreme mobility and funded objectives.
Brantner Smith cited intelligence reports of similarly-dressed militia members in black bloc attire. Practitioners often don the notorious look complete with riot gear accessories to thwart the impact of crowd control munitions: military boots, balaclavas, biker gloves, gas masks, goggles, and makeshift body shields.
As The New York Times reported, this "intimidating aesthetic" of solid black descending upon residential neighborhoods to hunt for "fascists" is "by design." The threatening black-clad imagery also serves as a camouflaging tactic for Antifa members to be enveloped in anonymity and evade detection. "Move like water" is the beehive mindset—be fluid, be unrecognizable, be no one.
In the latest elusive endeavor, a Portland-area group incited "direct action" against the "celebration of colonialism" on Columbus day. "NO streamers/photos/videos," Generational Resistance instructed followers to avoid recording the rampage, adding to "Wear black, cover up, show up!"
On the "Indigenous Day of Rage" in the Rose City last weekend, a network-wide gag order was in place to avoid potential incrimination for the dismantling of presidential sculptures and the vandalism of the Oregon Historical Society.
Altogether, the destruction cost an estimated $50,000 in property damage, according to the city. Although the aftermath was visible, protest participants were reportedly banned ahead of time from documenting evidence of the night's planned criminal activities. A serial riot arrestee in the all-black uniform even deleted her burner Twitter account because of tweets that implicated herself posed with the toppled President Theodore Roosevelt statue.
Then Brantner Smith moved on to the uncanny civil unrest in Kenosha, a relatively small, blue collar town situated on the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Within 24 hours of the officer-involved Jacob Blake shooting in August, Antifa operatives were on the ground, she recounted. A week after the headlining incident that sparked national attention, Kenosha Police Department revealed that more than half of the arrested rioters were not local residents, instead most of them hailed from 44 other municipalities.
"How does that happen without communication, without funding, and without a centralized goal?" Brantner Smith probed. As The Post Millennial's contributing editor Ian Miles Cheong wrote for Human Events on this phenomenon: "Riots have become a nightly occurrence in America, driven by social justice-fueled outrage against police brutality. Every city is just one officer-involved shooting away from erupting into violence."
Then Brantner Smith illustrated how an enraged Black Lives Matter mob nearly assaulted Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Republican National Committeeman Chris Ager alongside their wives on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
As attendees left the White House, ground footage on Pennsylvania Avenue captured convention goers accosted and harassed by demonstrators who had gathered to disrupt Trump's nomination acceptance speech. Protesters even executed an effigy of the president via guillotine.
Brantner Smith questioned how Antifa "just happened to be there" in the nation's capital. Meanwhile, anarchists appear to have a permanent presence in the Pacific Northwest. Antifa strongholds have witnessed the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone in Seattle and 100 relentless days of rioting in Portland since George Floyd's death.
Social media mobilization
In August, Facebook took action against Antifa and other "offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests" in an update of the platform's Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy towards violent networks in the US. Initially, over 980 groups, 520 Pages, and 160 ads were removed.
During the purge off Antifa-tied accounts, Facebook took down the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front (PNW), a shadowy chapter among others in major Democratic-led hotspots that led a coalition of agitators during the multi-city day of uprisings on J25.
The Post Millennial's editor-at-large Andy Ngo exposed Big Tech for being "complicit in allowing antifa terrorists to carry out acts of organized violence across American cities." Ngo noted that numerous Antifa groups do not use the Antifa designation in their names. He named PopMob, short for "popular mobilization of everyday antifascists," an offshoot of Rose City Antifa devised to be the purported "moderate" face of Antifa.
"Social media consumption is part of the problem," Brantner Smith warned, also compelling impressionable viewers to seek out alternative news sources beyond basic cable networks. Algorithm users alike are "fed a constant diet" peddled by establishment media's sympathetic agenda to social justice.
Black Lives Matter-Antifa allegiance
"There's nothing wrong with the phrase, 'Black Lives Matter.' Of course black lives matter. All lives matter," Brantner Smith specified. "But Black Lives Matter Inc. is by their own definition a Marxist, anti-police, anti-America, anti-man, anti family organization. And that marries up perfectly with the philosophy of Antifa, which is to destroy the system by creating chaos and spreading misinformation."
With little fanfare, the official BLM organization had quietly scrubbed text from its "What We Believe" section, removing the socialist language housed on the deleted page.
"We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and 'villages' that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable," BLM omitted any mentioned of fathers in its dystopian vision.
What anti-fascism actually means
Law enforcement protects individual rights while Antifa is about the collective, Brantner Smith juxtaposed the two dueling sides. "This is opposite speak to say that Antifa is anti-fascist."
This past week, Webster's Dictionary changed the definition of the term "preference" to discredit Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Sen. Mazie Hirono claimed that the long-standing inoffensive connotation was "offensive" on the Senate floor. "Dictionaries tell us what words mean. Dictionaries do not tell us what is offensive and what isn't," Brantner Smith charged. "That is fascism right there. Who are the real fascists then?" She asked.
A threat posed to the American way of life
"People who do not feel safe are not free. The whole idea of the United States of America is for people to be free—free to worship, free to move about, free to involve themselves in capitalism and family," Brantner Smith declared. "This is a great, wonderful experiment that we're involved in."
But Americans who don't feel safe to leave their homes, to practice their religion, to visit a particular business are enslaved to fear, Brantner Smith stated. Following Yelp's plans to place Scarlet Letter alerts on businesses accused of "racist behavior," a Portland-based Antifa group solicited and compiled a blacklist of pro-police and anti-BLM companies.
"There's no relationship building with Antifa," Brantner Smith stressed. "That's like saying we're gonna build relationships with the Taliban. That doesn't work either. We don't build relationships with them. We destroy them."
Brantner Smith described Antifa's philosophy as "an absolute direct contradiction to the American way of life."
"It's not our to re-educate them. It's our job to get rid of them. We don't make peace with people who commit armed robberies, and we don't reach out to people who murder. We have a law and order system in the United States. These people are committing crimes, and we don't tolerate their crimes," Brantner Smith urged.
Elected leaders, blind to Antifa's insidious nature, defend criminality
Despite the preponderance of evidence that Antifa is much more than an idea, many of the nation's elected leaders continue to state that they are harmless and even a positive force.
"Police can arrest all the people they want, but the police don't prosecute," Brantner Smith said, highlighting how rioters who have committed crimes in the name of Antifa have not been held to account due to lenient catch-and-release programs. "Unfortunately, many of the prosecutorial bodies in larger urban areas are far-left activists and not prosecutors. So they don't get punished. If you don't get punished. You're just gonna keep doing it over and over again," she slated.
In a series of "social justice leaders" features, newly-elected District Attorney Mike Schmidt of Multnomah County admitted he is "old buddies" with an Antifa militant, campaigning to abolish prisons. The unchecked riots "are nothing like the Armageddon that the Trump Administration is trying to portray our city," Schmidt alleged. "This dystopian image that is being painted nationally is not at all what it looks like on our streets," the district attorney portrayed the "amazing people out every night talking about the systemic racism in our criminal justice system."
Trump has sent in the National Guard in Portland, but the sitting mayor, Ted Wheeler, consistently turned down federal help, without providing alternative action to quell incessant riots in his city.
Serving as police commissioner, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler even prohibited the city's police force from using tear gas to curtail violence under any circumstance. "We all have the opportunity and the obligation to create change. We all want to focus on the fundamental issue at hand. Justice for black people and all people of color," Wheeler said in September.
Leftists expressed their gratitude for an indulgent city leader by launching illegal commercial-grade fireworks at Wheeler's apartment complex that same month to "celebrate" his birthday. While sporting party hats, protestors sung "Happy tear gas to you" to the tune of "Happy Birthday." Others danced the "Macarena." A beating of drums and a pounding of pots and pans accompanied a whistling cacophony of disgruntled Portlanders ever-dissatisfied with their mayor.
Wheeler joined rioters over the summer and ended a late July night bathed in tear gas as enraged voices cried for his resignation, chanting "Tear Gas Ted has got to go."
In August, Wheeler's pandering to the mob surmounted when he promoted a staggering $62 million coronavirus relief fund exclusively for "Black relief and resiliency" while riots ravaged local businesses.
According to a poll that surveyed likely voters, Wheeler trails by double-digits to his Antifa-identified challenger, Sarah Iannarone. The radical candidate praised Biden in a mayoral debate earlier this month. KGW News anchor Laural Porter asked Iannarone on-air: "You've been called the 'Antifa Mayor.' Are you Antifa and how would that guide how you would handle protests as mayor?"
"I love that Joe Biden answered this question before me, because being opposed to fascism in 2020 is not something to be embarrassed about," Iannarone echoed Biden's evasive response, also describing her #EverydayAntifascist bumper sticker.
"If you're able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota," Harris tweeted in June with a link to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which has bailed out defendants from Twin Cities jails charged with violent felonies and sex crimes. Fund beneficiaries included a twice-convicted rapist, a man accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old child, and another who brutally attacked a senior citizen and burglarized her home.
"People around our country of every race, of every age, of every gender—perfect strangers to each other—marched shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-to-arm fighting for us to finally achieve that ideal of equal justice under law," Harris said during the first and only vice-presidential debate. "I was part of those peaceful protests" in the "fight to achieve our ideals," the former chief prosecutor proudly stated despite her unfaithful track record in criminal justice reform.
She reportedly attended her first protest in a stroller in the 1960s."This is a movement. I'm telling you," Harris told Stephen Colbert in a June episode of "The Late Show," regurgitating her running mate's one-liner downplaying Antifa. Protesters "should not" and "we should not" stop the foreseeable chaos after Election Day, she said with a smile.
A troubling trend of rising crime, declining policing
"To make a living, these officers go out, they get frozen water bottles thrown at them, and they have Molotov cocktails thrown at them," Brantner Smith said, telling the story of a friend stationed at the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse in Portland who witnessed attempts to set the federal building ablaze every single night.
She then spoke from the perspective of a beaten-down and burnt-out law enforcement agent: "I'm going off to work tonight. I'll probably come home with urine and feces on me. And I may get burned up. I may get shot. I may get punched."
"Our whole purpose is to maintain law and order, to keep the peace," Brantner Smith emphasized. "We don't do it for the money. Nobody gets rich being a cop. We do it because we're passionate about our citizens, we're passionate about our country, and we're passionate about protecting people. We're gonna run out of people who want to do that for a living. We already are."
According to federal data, levels of police staffing across the country have dropped sharply from a decade ago as calls to "Defund the Police" encourage officers to quit at record numbers, DailyMail analyzed police employment data collected from the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll. And as a result of recruit shortage, "cop deserts" could materialize where authorities are unable to sufficiently patrol or effectively respond to 911 calls.
An anti-Trump alliance
"Right now, Antifa fits a narrative for our political left and for our media," Brantner Smith pointed to the left-wing cohorts plagued by Trump Derangement Syndrome. "There are people willing to destroy this country if it means destroying Donald Trump. We have lost all reason, all objectivity."