The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is spying on the communist co-host of a popular anti-Jeffrey Epstein podcast in order to tie the anarchist-aligned “Antifa” movement to foreign powers and terrorism, according to a recently leaked intelligence report.
“They targeted Americans like they’re Al-Qaeda,” a former DHS official told The Nation‘s Ken Klippenstein. “They essentially were violating people’s rights like this was the 60’s.”
During the 1950s through the 1970s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) illegally ran a counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) that focused on neutralizing the entirety of left-wing movements operating in the United States–including the women’s liberation movement, the socialist and communist movements and the Civil Rights movement–including political assassinations.
While COINTELPRO officially ended in 1971, the FBI has continued to spy and subvert many of the same ideologies ever since–targeting the American Indian Movement, environmental organizations and, most recently, the Black Lives Matter movement.
Titled “The Syrian Conflict and its Nexus to the U.S.-based Antifascist Movement,” the DHS intelligence report was compiled in early July and contains information on TrueAnon podcast host Brace Belden–a public figure and leftist originally known for his travels to Syrian Kurdistan where he joined up with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The DHS intelligence report notes:
U.S. citizen (USC) Brace BELDEN was encountered on 08 April 2017, arriving in San Francisco, California from Frankfurt, Germany. BELDEN was returning from a six month tour of volunteering to fight with the YPG under the umbrella of the Syrian Democrat Forces (SDF) fighting ISIS in Syria as part of the ongoing Raqqa offensive starting in November 2016 to retake Raqqa from ISIS. BELDEN stated he recently learned that an open source article had been written about him and his “Anarchist” fighters that the story rights had been sold to a movie company and are planning to produce a movie about them. According to the open source article, BELDEN was a minor criminal and drug addict who started reading Marx and Lenin in drug rehabilitation treatment and became involved in a number of political causes before deciding to fight alongside the YPG.
Belden addressed the revelations via TrueAnon‘s Twitter account.
Of course it’s all totally ridiculous, Antifa isn’t an organization (one of many problems!) and certainly not capable of challenging the established order but from what I gather many in government think it is. Not great imo
— TrueAnon Pod (@TrueAnonPod) August 3, 2020
Five other Americans are listed in the DHS report as well–three of whom fought alongside various Kurdish militias of differing left-wing ideological tendencies against ISIS. Two of those five Americans traveled to Kurdish-held areas in Syria in non-combat roles.
All of the men, however, are accused of having some connection to “ANTIFA” or anarchism–though Belden, for his part, told The Nation that he has never been affiliated with the autonomous protest movement or anarchism–self-identifying as a “red” and communist.
The DHS report cites “open source” (i.e. news reports and photos) information that link some of the fellow travelers to Antifa “patches,” “flags” and other “physical items.” In other words: some of the Americans listed in the intelligence document posed with or wore imagery considered by DHS’ top minds to be Antifa-adjacent.
“There appears to be a clear connection in the imagery between ANTIFA ideology and Kurdish democratic federalism teachings and ideology,” the report concludes–based on the profiles of the five men.
While the shocking intelligence report is of a piece with the general preoccupation that American law enforcement has with left-wing movements, the effort appears to have made good on President Donald Trump’s late May promise to declare Antifa–which is not an organization–a “terrorist organization“.
The document itself plainly states: “ANTIFA is being analyzed under the 2019 DHS Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism (CT) and Targeted Violence.”
Chip Gibbons is the policy director for civil liberties organization Defending Rights & Dissent.
On his personal Twitter account he said the leaked report showed that “DHS is trying to link ‘Antifa’ to the Kurdish YPG as part of an effort to tar domestic protesters as being tied to foreign powers.”
Such ties are key to continued or expanded surveillance.
Once foreign ties are postulated by law enforcement in a probable cause affidavit, the rubber-stamping Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court could authorize a spying campaign.
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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