Antifa: Trained by terrorist PKK in Syria, may end up outlawed in the US

© George Frey/Getty ANTIFA protesters demonstrate on the University of Utah campus against an event where right wing writer and commentator Ben Shapiro is speaking on September 27, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

US President Trump aims to declare Antifa as a domestic terrorist organisation. But the group has been in Syria since 2014 and its violent record well documented after a series of controversial decisions taken by the Obama administration in 2015.

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he’d be designating Antifa as a terrorist organisation in wake of the violent protests that have swept many American cities. 

Trump and the US Attorney General William Barr have blamed Antifa members for hijacking peaceful protests, which started after a black man, George Floyd, was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis. 

Washington has already put the Federal Investigation Agency in multiple cities on the job to track down the group’s members. 

“The violence instigated and carried out by antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” Barr said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has called out Antifa or Anti Fascists, a secretive movement that has come to the fore in the US recent years after its black-clad members turned violent during protests. 

Antifa traces its origins to the anti-Nazi movement in the 1940s. It was mostly dormant for many years until Trump’s election and rise of the ‘alt-right’. 

Last year, Trump made a similar call to designate the group a terrorist organisation. 

Trump’s decision to declare the group a terror organisation can be difficult to implement as Antifa doesn’t have a central leadership or even a coherent ideology, a US-based security analyst told TRT World. 

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise if US authorities find a link between Antifa and violent attacks during recent years. 

For years there have been concerns that some Antifa members have joined the YPG, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terror group, in Syria, where they received armed training under the watch of Obama administration.

Since 2014, hundreds of foreigners have travelled to northern Syria to join the ranks of the Marxist-Leninist YPG, which has relied on savvy PR machinery, utilising social media to find recruits. 

While the YPG has been endlessly eulogised in the Western media as American allies who fiercely fought Daesh terrorists, little is discussed of the group’s ideology, which doesn’t tolerate dissent or difference of opinion. 

Behind the glorified images of YPG’s female terrorists are many men who once made up the cadres of the PKK, a terrorist group that has waged a decades-long teror campaign against the Turkish state.

The PKK is responsible for more than 40,000 deaths. Besides killing soldiers, it has bombed shopping malls, killed politicians and executed hundreds of Kurdish-speaking villagers who didn’t abide by the terror group’s radical views. 

Its jailed chief Abdullah Ocalan has evolved from being a Marxist-Leninist to someone who now adheres to what is called democratic confederalism with a dose of anarchism. 

But the dark PKK-YPG history wasn’t a concern for young Americans and Europeans who joined its rank and file, for they were sold the idea of fighting bearded and brutal Daesh terrorists, a symbolic manifestation of evil.  

The westerners who joined the YPG were an odd group. They were leftists, anarchists, feminists and ecology buffs. They were ex-marines, former drug addicts, misfits, adrenaline junkies or just young people sucked up in the conflicting battles of Syria. 

Many of these volunteers travelled to Syria from American cities without any hindrance under the watch of Obama administration. Upon their return, they were hardly ever investigated. 

“What does Antifa want with a bunch of seasoned combat veterans? Why do they need that to supplement their movement? It’s a very interesting question to what they were precisely upto,” Brad Johnson, a former CIA officer, said in an interview last year. 

Multiple reports say that many of the far-left activists were not even sure about the real ideology and motive of the YPG, which received military and financial aid from Washington.

FLASHBACK: Ilhan Omar Asked Judge for Lighter Sentences for Nine Minnesota Men Plotting to Join ISIS

BGN-Ilhan-Omar-ISIS_840x480

Shortly after her historic election as the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, then State Rep. Ilhan Omar, now a member of Congress, asked a judge for lighter sentences in the trial of nine Minnesota men charged with planning to join ISIS.

In a November 2016 letter unearthed by conservative media this week, Omar wrote to Judge Michael Davis requesting “compassion” and a “restorative approach to justice” in his sentencing.

“Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to be 50 or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion. Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment,” Omar said in her letter.

She was one of 13 individuals to write letters to Davis, who also received a letter from Minneapolis City Council member Abdi Warsame.

“The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion,” Omar continued. “We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to affect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation.”

Throughout her letter, Omar argued that the young men were tempted by Islamic extremism because of their “systematic alienation” from society, which should be countered through “inclusion and rehabilitation.”

“A long-term prison sentence for one who chose violence to combat direct marginalization is a statement that our justice system misunderstands the guilty,” she continued. “The most effective penance is making these men ambassadors of reform.”

Omar concluded her letter by telling Davis that his “ruling can set a precedent and has the potential to be a landmark case in addressing extremism.”

Two of the men received lighter sentences for cooperating with federal authorities, while the remaining seven all received at least ten years in prison. Guled Omar, who was one of the group’s leaders, received the most severe penalty of 35 years, and two of his fellow ringleaders each received a sentence of 30 years a piece.

Read Ilhan Omar’s full letter here

Share or comment on this article: