ANALYSIS – Though ideologically sympathetic left-wing supporters of the BLM movement insist that ‘right-wing’ extremists are the only domestic threat in the U.S., increasing evidence points to the role of Leftist anti-police rhetoric and chaos in inciting and providing moral cover for anti-government anarchist groups of all stripes. I highlighted this clear overlap in my piece on the recent Department of Homeland Security (DHA) threat assessment report.
While the DHS report focused attention on White Supremacist Extremists (WSE) as the “most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland,” that report, using data from 2018 and 2019, in today’s hyper fast-changing environment, may already be dated.
White Supremacists remain an extremely serious danger, but ideologically amorphous, anti-government, anti-police anarchist groups may now be as serious, or even superseding the WSE threat.
Meanwhile, nationwide BLM protests and violent riots vilifying the police and calling to defund law enforcement only add fuel to the fire that the anarchist terrorists are trying to ignite. Especially as one political party seems to not only ignore but encourage and enable this dangerous rhetoric and chaos.
The most recent example of this extremist ideological fusion – the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer.
As USA Today reports, “Michigan law enforcement is on high alert after the FBI revealed that a suspected plot by extremist groups to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also involved a ‘plan to target and kill police.’ These extremists cannot be easily categorized as right or left-wing.
Their members appear to include persons leaning both ways. What they have in common is an anti-government and anti-police agenda and intent to commit violence.
One of the suspects in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is an anarchist who called President Trump an “enemy” and a “tyrant.” The Washington Times reported that social-media posts by Brandon Caserta show a video of him bashing Trump while sitting in front of an anarchist flag.
“Trump is not your friend, dude. And it amazes me that people actually believe that when he’s shown over and over and over again that he’s a tyrant,” the accused terror suspect says. “Every single person that works for government is your enemy, dude.”
Caserta faces 19 felony charges, including state terrorism counts.
Another of the alleged plotters, 23-year-old Daniel Harris, a former enlisted U.S. Marine, reported the Washington Post, attended a Black Lives Matter protest in June, telling reporters at the time that he was angry about the killing of George Floyd and police violence,”
Harris told the Oakland County Times:
It is a shame what happened with George Floyd and instances where law enforcement officers murder an unarmed man/woman who isn’t resisting arrest, was complying with the orders is wrong and need to be stopped. You look at photos and videos of news teams and protesters being beaten by riot police when they are there peacefully, you see people losing their eyes because of an officer shoots them with a ‘non-lethal’ round like pepper balls, or rubber bullets.
Harris added, “I’ve gone through that sort of training and I can promise you weapons like that they can turn into a lethal round.”
Ultimately, whether from right or left, anti-police rhetoric and rioting is only intensifying the threat posed by domestic terrorists.
“We’re cautious. We’re absolutely more careful,” said First Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police, to Detroit Free Press, “This is one of the tactics these anti-government, domestic terrorism groups use. Law enforcement is the face of the government. if you’re mad at the government, you’re mad at the police.”
Bob Stevenson, a retired police chief now executive director of the Michigan Police Chiefs Association, said in the Detroit Free Press, “In our training, we view all extremist groups as dangerous…. We’re not under the illusion that because someone’s politics are left or right that they’re not dangerous.”