AG Barr, Mayors say white supremacists, Antifa have infiltrated peaceful protests


In the wake of all the rioting and destruction last night, there’s a new theory for what is really happening. The new theory being spread on MSNBC and CNN is that white nationalist agitators are responsible for the bad behavior. But now AG Barr has weighed in and said the agitators are real but they are Antifa.

So where is this coming from? The claims about white supremacist agitators have been floating around for a couple of days but it a lot more traction this morning after the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis plus Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison suggested these agitators were largely responsible for the violence.

Mayor Carter gave a statement this morning saying, “Because we had a relative stillness in St. Paul, we didn’t make an enormous number of arrests, but every single person we arrested last night, I’m told, was from out of state. What we are seeing right now is a group of people who are not from here.

“As I talk to my friends who have been in this movement for a very long time, who wake up in this movement every day, and I ask them what they’re seeing, what their feeling, what they’re hearing. To a person, I hear them say ‘We don’t know these folks. We don’t know these folks who are agitating. We don’t know these folks who are inciting violence. We don’t know these folks who are first in to break a window.”

On top of that, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison went on Joy Reid’s show on MSNBC and said he didn’t believe the kind of people who are protesting George Floyd’s death would attack Cubs food market or some of the other shops that have been burned or vandalized. He pointed out that back in 2015 white supremacists had joined protests against the Jamar Clark shooting and wound up shooting several protesters. The shooter in that case was given 15 years in prison.

Ellison concluded, “They want the people looking at Minneapolis to believe that this is just Minneapolis people acting up. It’s not true. I’m not saying that no one from the protests did anything that they shouldn’t have done. I’m saying that the greater bulk of the violence and arson is being done by external forces, in my belief.” Here’s the clip:

Ellison also tweeted a link to a Vice story saying that “Boogaloo Bois” have said they wanted to join the protests in order to further a civil war against the state.

That story links back to this Bellingcat story which cites evidence that at least some of these people were in Minneapolis. One of them apparently got shot with something after parading with a distinctive flag identifying him as aligned with the group. Alternet also published a story Thursday claiming the “Boogaloo Bois” were infiltrating the protests:

When protests against the police killing of George Floyd escalated into clashes between police and protesters on Tuesday night, a significant segment of the boogaloo movement was electrified…

“I think for a lot of boogaloo-ers, their primary interest is resisting the state, what they believe to be state tyranny,” said Alex Friedfeld, an investigative researcher at the ADL Center on Extremism in Chicago. “They have this hostility towards law enforcement…. They oppose these [pandemic] directives. They’re upset about no-knock raids, police brutality. The George Floyd case — this is an example of police brutality, this willingness of the state to execute those who disobey — so it’s not surprising that they showed up to protest.”…

“There’s two versions of boogaloo,” said Friedfeld of the ADL. “There’s the white supremacist burn society down and build a white ethno-stage. And then there’s the anti-government resist tyranny at all costs, and if it creates a civil war, so be it version.”

So far, the wing of the boogaloo movement that’s shown up in the streets is the more mainstream, outwardly inclusive version.

So it’s certainly true (read the Bellingcat story) that some of these militants are interested in joining a battle against the police. And it’s true that at least a few of them have been seen in Minneapolis. However, I think it’s still a leap from that to what Keith Ellison is saying, i.e. “the greater bulk of the violence and arson is being done by external forces.” But the Mayor of Minneapolis is also making this claim, i.e. blaming this on white supremacists.

While I think what Ellison is saying is a stretch, I do think it’s possible that, at least in some cases, the people behind the rioting are really there to pursue their own agenda. That was pretty clearly the case in Portland last night where mostly white goons targeted the same places that Antifa groups in the area usually target: banks.

And as I’m writing this, AG Barr has just made a statement saying outside “far-left” groups are organizing some of the rioting. So authorities on all sides are now on board with this outside agitator idea, the remaining argument is over whether those agitators are far-left or far-right.

USA Today has a story saying both sides are right but that it’s the far-left protesters who are mostly responsible thus far:

“The real hard-core guys, this is their job: They’re involved in this struggle,” said Adam Leggat, a former British Army counterterrorism officer who now works as a security consultant specializing in crowd management for the Densus Group. “They need protests on the street to give them cover to move in.”…

Leggat, the security consultant, said intelligence reports from his colleagues indicate most of the hard-core protesters in Minneapolis are far-left or anarchists, and that far-right groups have not yet made a significant appearance. He said looting is typically done by locals – usually people with no criminal record who just get caught up in the moment…

A protester who has been outside some of the most intense scenes this week – the Minnehaha Mall on the south side on Thursday and Uptown on Friday – said his experiences with riots and protests leads him to believe most violence demonstrators are not from Minneapolis or St. Paul.

Arsonists and people breaking into buildings are “definitely” not from the neighborhoods they are damaging, Augustine Zion Livingstone said.

“Ain’t no black person burning down no damn barbershops in their hood,” Livingstone, 23, said. “We’re not doing that.”

So it sounds like there’s some truth to the idea that outsiders are partly responsible for the violence, but we’re now going to have to sort out who is to blame. And you can bet that networks like CNN whose hosts previously defended Antifa in principle are not going to want to admit they were wrong. Neither is Keith Ellison or the progressive mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In the Mayors’ case, they can release info on those arrested. Names and mugshots will make it possible to identify some of those people and figure out why they were there.





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