Sick tactic white supremacist used to drum up fear and hate
White supremacists have been busted impersonating anti-fascist coalition Antifa on social media in another twisted bid to incite violence and racial tension across the United States.
Twitter says it shut down multiple accounts operated by white nationalists after they "violated our platform manipulation ad spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts".
One tweet, posted on May 31 under the name "Antifa America", called on "comrades" to wreak havoc in white neighbourhoods and was shared thousands of times.
"ALERT. Tonight's the night, Comrades," it began. "Tonight we say 'F**k The City' and we move into the residential areas … the white hoods … and we take what's ours."
It was followed by the mispelled hashtag #BlacklivesMaters and #F**kAmerica.
According to Twitter, the account was set up by US white supremacist organisation called Identity Evropa, also known as the American Identity Movement.
"This account violated our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts," a Twitter spokesperson told Fact Check. Org. "We took action after the account sent a Tweet inciting violence and broke the Twitter Rules."
The social media platform stopped short of banning the group, which continues to operate at least three genuine accounts, despite displaying unquestionably racist and inflammatory content.
Screenshots of the tweet in question and others generated by same group were circulated widely on Facebook, which has chosen to tag warnings instead of remove the posts.
This week, US President Donald Trump declared his intention to classify Antifa as a terrorist organisation. It's a move experts say would not only be unconstitutional but impossible, given Antifa (which stands for "anti-fascist") is not an organisation but an umbrella term for an ideology.
In addition, a federal designation for domestic terrorist organisations does not currently exist in the US, no deaths have been linked to anti-fascist violence and, as a loose coalition, Antifa has no bank accounts, assets, infrastructure or leader.
Australian researcher Andy Fleming said it was unclear how significant Antifa's role has been in the US protests against the death of unarmed African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis last week at the hands of four police officers.
Peaceful protests have been marred by violence generated by pockets of extremists, gangs of looters and the heavy-handed tactics of police.
"In general, anti-fascists are supportive of the protests against racist police brutality," Mr Fleming told the ABC.
"(But) to characterise the protests as being constituted by or taking place at the instigation of anti-fascists is radically mistaken.
"These are genuinely popular mobilisations, in which African-Americans, whether or not they identify as 'anti-fascist', play a leading role."
On Sunday, US Attorney-General William Barr said Antifa was associated with violence at recent protests but officials have yet to show evidence to support this claim.
According to CBS, a Department of Homeland Security circular issued on May 31 warned well-coordinated groups had "potentially compromised" law enforcement radio communications in Portland, Oregon over the weekend.
It said those seeking to incite violence in other locations could be "monitoring local law enforcement communications to identify vulnerabilities in their operational security posture."
The note did not name any group in particular but Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey have both asserted white supremacist groups have been involved in violence.
New Jersey Has Hate Groups currently operating.....— 𝕸𝖔𝖓𝖆𝕷𝖎𝖘𝖆 👑 (@BarbieDMV) May 30, 2020
American Identity Movement (White Nationalist)
Atomwaffen Division (Neo-Nazi)
Feuerkrieg Division (Neo-Nazi)
Firm 22 (Racist Skinhead)
New Jersey European Heritage Association (White Nationalist)
Noble Klans of America (KKK) https://t.co/yePQqYMbmv
On Friday, police in Denver, Colorado seized assault rifles from at least two people associated with a group of far right anarchists called the "Boogaloo Bois" near the site of a protest.
The Anti-Defamation League said the Boogaloo Bois were among several "right-wing anti-government extremists (who) have also reacted to the protests and violence following the killing of George Floyd".
In a report published on Monday, the ADL said while the group counted white supremacists among its members, its focus is not explicitly race.
"Some white supremacists have also adopted the boogaloo concept, but most boogalooers are not white supremacist," it said
"Rather, their orientation is anti-government and vehemently anti-police, a fact that has largely shaped their reactions to the protests against George Floyd's killing."
Originally published as Sick tactic to drum up fear and hate