This is a case of the Left protesting entirely too much.
News-Illiterate Cops Order Air Hunt for ‘Antifa’ Citing Neo-Nazi Rumors That Triggered Armed Mobs
By Dell Cameron (for Gizmodo?), 24 August 2021
Screenshots of two rambling social media posts—one from Facebook, one from Instagram—form the sum total of the evidence police used last summer to justify an aerial surveillance operation in North California, records obtained by the nonprofit transparency group Property of the People and reporting by the Guardian show.
I’ll be linking to the Guardian in a moment. Their article was picked up by MSN, Daily Kos, Daily Beast and several other hard-left mouthpieces, all of which had a very curious attitude. Let me demonstrate:
The paper reported Monday on events surrounding the California Highway Patrol’s decision in June 2020 to deploy surveillance aircraft to hunt for an (fake) caravan of left-wing “terrorists,” who were ostensibly on a roundtrip across California, smashing windows and starting fires.
The boldfaced gave me a double take at the byline. An event in June 2020 was covered by multiple news outlets… in August 2021?
The rumored invasion, which failed to materialize but prompted armed displays by right-wing extremists in cities across the Northwest, stemmed from social media posts made viral by an army of accounts claiming “Antifa” was on a traveling rampage.
On the face of it, this doesn’t seem newsworthy. Police get anonymous tips all the time. They rarely pan out but you try anyway because that one time in ten is totally worth it. Highway Patrol kept watch for a specific vehicle and nothing came of it… *shrug*
First, Twitter took action, saying the rumors had been boosted by “hundreds of spammy accounts” as part of a coordinated disinformation campaign. Facebook followed soon after, citing details shared by its competitor. Many of the accounts posed as members of “Antifa” or as official “Antifa” accounts while warning of the caravan’s movements.
Huh? FaceTwit contacted law enforcement and told them to ignore reports of rioters coming in a specific bus? That is NOT how cops do business. “Stand down, police, you don’t need to look for that. Your information is bad. Trust me.”
In reality, the campaign was launched by a white hate group, company officials said, one whose notoriety is tied to 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally; a bloody event staged by neo-Nazis and Klansmen defending the Confederacy, which capped off with a murder.
The Guardian’s new details add a chapter an already bizarre saga about a California sheriff who, in the summer of 2020, also insisted, despite all evidence to the contrary, that a band of anti-fascists were roaming the countryside, mayhem and madness in tow.
Documents obtained by Property for the People offer a singular look at how officers in California’s rural, northern counties—mostly “known for weed farms and hiking and [being] overwhelmingly white,” the Guardian notes—got duped into promoting the same false claims themselves, meanwhile throwing taxpayer resources at a phantom threat that even residents said beggared belief.
What a hatchet job. This is Antifa complaining that police acted on a tip that Antifa was looking for trouble!
Do you have that “protesting too much” feeling yet?
Despite the volume of journalists and law enforcement officials reporting the rumors were false…
Mostly just journalists…
…Humboldt County’s sheriff, William Honsal, refused to back down on the claims, which he promoted via his weekly “media availability” videos. Lost Coast Outpost, a news site covering California’s northwest, documented Honsal’s insistence he’d seen “substantiated, law enforcement reports” about “buses full of people” hurdling toward the state.
A CHP spokeswoman told the Guardian that the agency had received no evidence about possible buses beyond the two screenshots, and said its investigative unit reviewed the social media posts “to evaluate potential public safety issues”.
Credible enough for a BOLO, “be on the lookout”.
One of the two screenshots was of an Instagram post that claimed far-left “domestic terrorists” were headed for the small city of Redding in Shastha County; an easterly, three-hour drive from Honsal’s turf. The second, from Facebook, claimed the caravan had paused briefly in Klamath Falls, a five hour drive out of state, before continuing its journal. No photo or video evidence was offered, except for “a grainy image of a small van with ‘Black Lives Matter’ written on the back.”
The main reason I scanned several accounts of this was I wanted to see those screenshots. They were nowhere to be found.
The Associated Press, at the time Honsal received the screenshots, was circulating a fact-check saying photos of buses with text warning about “Antifa” being “bused in” to “incite violence and destruction” were fake. The text painted on the buses was photoshopped.
Segue to that fact-check. They’re usually good for a laugh…
CLAIM: Photo shows two buses emblazoned with “Soros Riot Dance Squad” at a Milan, Michigan, gas station, offering proof that billionaire philanthropist George Soros and far-left militant groups are transporting out-of-town rioters to protests.
Michigan? Are they blaming California for not noticing what was going on just 2,500 miles away?
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A photo of two unmarked buses was manipulated to add the words “Soros Riot Dance Squad” to the side of each vehicle. The buses are not being used to transport people to protests; they belong to a local transportation company and are providing a local shuttle service.
Okay, it’s pretty easy to believe that that was a fake. But this Redding incident, so far as I’m aware, there was no goofy comment photo-slapped onto the pics.
Rumors about organized networks of out-of-town anti-fascist rioters descending on cities nationwide have swirled across social media in recent days as citizens continue to protest the death of George Floyd. There is no evidence that Soros or others are organizing such networks.
Those were not rumors. Those were documented facts, that Antifa, BLM and similar organizations will routinely bus in hundreds of professional agitators to ‘help’ with a protest. And yes, Soros is one of their most infamous, and documented, backers.
If law enforcement has a chance to stop one of those party buses in the middle of nowhere instead of downtown, everybody wins except the bad guys.
Soon reports surfaced of armed vigilantes gathering on city streets, steeling themselves for a showdown with a threat that no one in 800 miles could find.
The link is another far-Left source. I’m strongly inclined to doubt its claim that gangs of white vigilantes played Rooftop Korean across the street from BLM protests, or that they wandered around town in gangs with ARs at port arms. There’s just no way they wouldn’t be arrested for brandishing weapons in public, or at a minimum, their faces doxxed across the Internet. Northern California is still mostly white and conservative but no, nobody does that kind of thing without the usual excitement.
Honsal, still, did not back down.
Good for him!
Property of the People’s executive director, Ryan Shapiro, criticized the highway patrol for engaged in “military-style” surveillance while Honsal and others issued disturbing public announcements based on a threat supported by virtually nothing.
“Military-style surveillance”? This is going farce. Let’s go to the article that launched this pathetic effort to pressure police into not following up on rumors of Antifa activities.
Revealed: how California police chased a nonexistent ‘antifa bus’
By Sam Levin, 23 August 2021
On 1 June 2020, a law enforcement official in the small northern California city of Redding sent screenshots of two social media posts to her staff, asking them to investigate.
Sounds like a disgruntled night-shift worker and not, for example, the divisional chief of State Police.
One was an Instagram story. “BE AWARE … I have heard, from a reliable source, that ANTIFA buses with close to 200 people (domestic terrorists) are planning to infiltrate Redding and possibly cause distraction and destruction,” it read.
Spoiler: there were Floyd protests in progress in Redding. You might find that context relevant. Network news did not.
The second, a Facebook post, warned that buses of protesters planning to “riot” had stopped in Klamath Falls in southern Oregon, “but there was no rioting or burning as they decided to move on”. The post included a grainy image of a small van with “Black Lives Matter” written on the back.
Elizabeth Barkley, then chief of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) northern division, which covers rural parts of the state just south of Oregon, asked her colleagues to look into the claims and “notify our allied agencies in town”. Ninety minutes later, another CHP official forwarded the message to officers saying, “The thought is these buses are roaming – looking for events to attend (and possibly cause problems).”
A chief of the Highway Patrol is not “a law enforcement official in the small northern California city”. And for my international readers, Redding is the largest city in Northern California, in Shasta County.
Fifteen minutes after that, a CHP sergeant told a listserv of commanders that “possible ANTIFA buses [are] heading to Redding”, adding that the agency’s tactical alert center had been notified. The official said that CHP aircraft operations were now actively trying to locate a vehicle on the freeway. The sheriff of nearby Humboldt county, William Honsal, shared the information with his entire staff, saying, “BOL [be on the lookout] for ANTIFA buses from Oregon.”
What?! They didn’t blow off the regional chief of Highway Patrol just because MSN told them to?
The actions of officials in Shasta and Humboldt counties last summer were outlined in internal documents obtained through a public records request by Property of the People, a not-for-profit transparency group, and shared with the Guardian.
They show how officers in these rural counties, known for weed farms and hiking and overwhelmingly white, were swiftly duped by unfounded allegations about “Antifa buses” threatening to “infiltrate” the community as the United States wrestled with the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that sprung up in the aftermath.
The records also show how the agencies’ response to those unsubstantiated allegations helped spread misinformation rooted in online conspiracy theories. The files were particularly troubling, experts said, because antifa conspiracy theories have inspired armed rightwing vigilantes to organize in response, sometimes with violent demonstrations.
Show me the bodycount, please. Those “mostly white racists” are not Chicongo monkeys; they do not miss. Ask the Kenosha Kid.
A CHP spokeswoman told the Guardian that the agency had received no evidence about possible buses beyond the two screenshots, and said its investigative unit reviewed the social media posts “to evaluate potential public safety issues”. She noted that Oregon police had raised similar concerns.
“A CHP air unit conducted a short search for the buses; however, they were unable to locate them,” the spokeswoman said in an email, adding that no specific individuals were surveilled, contacted or apprehended, and that no threat was identified. The full extent of the operation is unclear, though the spokesperson said the actual aerial search was brief: “The Antifa bus mission was a 12-minute event.”
Conclusion, hard-Left journos got their Freedom Of Information Act request granted, to the effect that aircraft were used to search for those two Antifa Party buses based on what could reasonably be considered an anonymous tip… and nothing came of it. Welcome to police work. It’s very boring when done right.
Why are they making so much noise over this?
The obvious answer would be trying to “train” police to obey Marxist fact-checkers in matters involving the policing of Marxists. I don’t see that happening because the first cop who stands down and lets them through will have his life justifiably ended for everything from incompetence to criminal conspiracy.
It is tempting to also believe that those Antifa buses existed and when the police BOLOs went out, their allies warned them off the highway and tried to run interference for them. For that to be true, however, the buses would have had to be headed for a destination.
A 2 June report from the CHP northern division on “George Floyd protests” said no arrests were made, and noted that all related protests in the region were “expected to be peaceful”.
*GunnerQ checks for mostly peaceful protests*
UPDATES: Protests wind down after mostly civil night in Redding
By Mike Chapman, Alayna Shulman, David Benda, Damon Arthur, Matt Brannon, 2 June 2020
While the initial Redding march in honor of George Floyd was postponed, groups of protesters demonstrated Tuesday night at City Hall and at Shasta County Courthouse. A group that said it was protecting businesses from looting formed outside the Kohl’s store, where the march had been scheduled to take place. That group crossed paths with the George Floyd protesters at City Hall and the courthouse, while police and sheriff’s deputies watched.
Nearly three hours into the protest, Police Chief Bill Schueller came down from upstairs at city hall to mingle with protesters, but declined to take a knee in solidarity.
Meanwhile, police shut down Court Street as protesters and counter-protesters continued to gather in front of the courthouse. The situation got tense between the two groups but people separated them.
On 1 June, CHP and county sheriffs went on (sort-of) high alert for specific buses reportedly carrying agitators. On 2 June, the protests in downtown Redding fizzled out.
Looks like the City of Redding dodged a party bus.
Eureka protests: Arrests, vehicle incidents, law enforcement’s ‘solidarity’
By Shomik Mukherjee, 1 June 2020
The city of Eureka is the seat of Humboldt County.
After a weekend of protests brought hundreds to downtown Eureka in rallies against the controversial police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, law enforcement and local activist groups on Monday addressed the chaos.
Across two days, three individuals were arrested, while protesters spray-painted multiple buildings and smashed windows at some locations. One arrest led to a GoFundMe page for bail payments; the fundraiser has over $11,000 in donations at press time.
Law enforcement officials joined protesters on Sunday afternoon to chant with the crowd for justice in Floyd’s case and echoed the sentiment in a public statement on Monday, but a local activist group later called the Sunday incident “trauma-inducing” and “humiliating.”
Others on social media denounced police firing nonlethal rounds into crowds on Sunday [May 31] night.
Separately, a witness at the protest on Saturday said she saw a large truck pushing its way through protesters on the street in front of the Humboldt County courthouse — an experience she called “really, really scary.”
On Monday afternoon, Sheriff William Honsal and Eureka police chief Steve Watson issued a joint public statement denouncing Minneapolis police’s fatal arrest of George Floyd.
Looks like a party bus got through to Humboldt County… but maybe not all of the buses? Let me requote something that MSN said earlier: Lost Coast Outpost, a news site covering California’s northwest, documented Honsal’s insistence he’d seen “substantiated, law enforcement reports” about “buses full of people” hurdling toward the state.
Maybe the party buses that he claimed to have seen, were the buses that came down before the June 1 tips? It’s a good bet that many of those agitators were not locals.
Looks like the mainstream media is lying their heads off at law enforcement to prevent them from doing their jobs again.