FBI Intervenes in Seattle; Antifa ‘Autonomous Zone’ Becomes a National Crisis
June 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—While most of the country has witnessed a tapering of the street protests since the weekend of May 29–30, when the most violent confrontations occurred, the same can not be said of the city of Seattle, Washington. There, protests have not waned in the least, but grown. On Monday, June 8, city authorities willfully surrendered and abandoned the Seattle East Precinct police headquarters to Antifa protesters, who quickly declared a six-square-block area the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), an example which has now been attempted (unsuccessfully) in Portland, Oregon.
Seattle, it should be noted, is the city which saw the birth of the modern protest technology—with radical elements embedded among peaceful protesters, enshrined as the Battle for Seattle—at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in the Summer of 1999. Today, Seattle harbors probably the largest concentration of Antifa anarchists (who have fully adopted that WTO protest strategy) outside of the state of Oregon. Beyond that, it should be noted that Seattle is not known for its high concentration of African-Americans, the largest minority populations being those from Asia or India, supporting the tech community. Thus the protests here have been more about Antifa anarchy under the cover of Justice for George Floyd.
Events began to escalate Friday, June 5, with anarchists concentrating on the police headquarters in the Capitol Hill region (a 2020 version of Greenwich Village in New York City) just outside downtown Seattle, now a tech haven but otherwise a residential neighborhood. The East Precinct had recently become a target, as the “defund the police” demand grew in the second week following Floyd’s killing. That Friday, liberal Mayor Jenny Durkin announced a 30-day ban on police using CS (tear) gas, and when emboldened crowds forced police to gas the crowds despite the ban, things escalated further.
Tensions continued to mount past the weekend. While details are limited and confused, it appears that this was due to an intervention by the FBI, who informed authorities on Sunday, June 7, that they had a “credible threat” that mobs were about to burn buildings, which ultimately led—in a move which reportedly surprised even demonstrators—to the surrender of the police precinct on Monday, June 8. There were also reports of mobile shredders being sighted in advance of surrender, further indicating forethought by authorities. There is currently no insight into just exactly how the exact boundaries of the CHAZ were decided, nor what other buildings might be annexed into the barricaded territory.
As is well known, the government in Washington State—all the way from Seattle’s mayor and city council to Governor Jay Inslee—are extremely liberal, and anti-Trump. One of the principal Seattle City Council members at the center of the provocation, if not its pied piper, is Kshama Sawant. She has a British International Socialist pedigree and speaks with an Anglo-Indian accent. Every election cycle, many International Socialist activists come down from British Columbia to help her get reelected. Late on Tuesday, June 9, when demonstrators (somehow) gained access to City Hall, Sawant was said to be among them, according to Fox News.
The crisis has now reached the doorstep of the White House. On Thursday, June 11, Trump tweeted, “Anarchists just took over Seattle and the Liberal Democrat Governor just said he knows ‘nothing about that,’ ” followed by “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
These tweets met with ridicule from Mayor Durkin and Governor Inslee, who directly challenged Trump’s authority. Inslee tweeted: “A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of WA State business.” Durkan told the President “to go back to your bunker.” For his part, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told Good Morning America, “I am really angry about the situation that we have and at the point we just want to make sure that it gets resolved,” adding, “While I really support First Amendment free speech, this is not that” (emphasis added).
We are now getting reports that in the new autonomous zone, local self-appointed security guards are engaged in extortion activity (akin to ISIS) of the commercial establishments in the area. It is becoming clear that this is a set-up to force the President to either act aggressively, or be seen as impotent.