‘Antifa’ Falsely Linked to Amtrak Train Derailment by Right …

The anti-fascism movement, “antifa,”which is more of a protesting tactic than a formal group, has been the subject of blamein a growing number of bizarreandfalseconspiracy theories floated by right-wing pundits in recent months.

Take the mass shooting in Las Vegas that claimed scores of lives:Antifa was not involved, despite a theory otherwise. Then, antifawas blamed for a fake civil warplot. It never happenedbecause such a thing was never planned. Antifawas also blamed for a mass shooting in a Texas church. Again, the shooting had nothing to do with anti-fascism, or with left-wing protesters in general.

On Monday, some of the usual conspiracy theory suspectsconservative media personality Mike Cernovich, President Donald Trump mega-fan Jack Posobiec, the far-right website Gateway Punditand Alex Joness InfoWarsall brought up antifain the context ofa fatal train derailment in Washington state, and they did so before investigators had even announced any formalexplanation for the crash.

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What we know about the derailment is that more than a dozencars ofan Amtrak train jumped the tracks, injuring scores of peopleand killing an unknown number of others near Dupont, an area south of Tacoma, Washington. What we dont know is what caused the accident,though right-wing pundits were pushingout insinuations before a death toll couldbe established.

Cernovich, who has pushed several other conspiracies tied to antifa,observed to his fans that ANTIFA has a long and verifiable track record of obstructing train tracks, committing violence. His friend Posobiec, who on Twitter doxed one of the women who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct this November, leaking her work address and a recent photo to his followers, used the forum to tie antifato the deadly derailment. Antifa has targeted trains for weeks very near where the Amtrak derailment tragedy took place today, Posobiec mused. Gateway Pundit pushed the theory as well, falsely accusingIts Going Down, a well-trafficked antifascist website, of covering up its associations with the derailment.PJ Media, another right-wing site, picked up on the conspiracy, as did Jones.

The scene of a portion of the Interstate 5 highway after an Amtrak high-speed train derailed from an overpass early on December 18, near the city of Tacoma, Washington. KATHRYN ELSESSER/AFP/Getty Images

FLASHBACK: ANTIFA ADMITS TRAIN TRACK SABOTAGE NEAR TACOMA TO STOP FRACKING, a headline on InfoWars read. Antifa behind Tacoma train wreck?

The basis of the conspiracy appears to be a post published on a website called Puget Sound Anarchists that was rerunon a number of left-leaning sites and activist blogs earlier this year.

Early in the morning of April 20th we poured concrete on the train tracks that lead out of the Port of Olympia to block any trains from using the tracks, the April 21post read, adding that the groupnotified the train company of its actions. We did this not to avoid damaging a train, nothing would bring bigger grins to our faces, but to avoid the risk of injuring railway workers.

Blocking trains that carry fracking equipmentand other materials related to the production of fossil fuelshas long been a tactic of environmental protesters. In May 2016, for example, 52 activists were cited for trespassing in Washington State after blocking a train that was headed to two refineries. That protest was part of the so-called Break Freeprotests, urging people to disengage with fossil fuels due to issues related to man-made climate change.

People on the right became familiar with the April post onPuget Sound Anarchists because it ran concurrently on the website It’s Going Down, which has gained a widereach by reporting on alleged fascism and left-wing activism from an anti-fascist perspective following Trump’s election. After right-wing provocateurs seized on the post as something meant to incite violence (the post goes out of its way to discourage violence), It’s Going Down denounced the accusations to Newsweek and said it removed the post from its websitemonths before Monday’s train derailment.

Newsweek asked Cernovich why he felt it was important to talk about antifa in the context of this train incident. He wrote in response that ANTIFA groups shouldnt pour concrete on train tracks; however there is no proof they did.He said that the derailment could be an accident, poor infrastructure, antifa or ISIS. (The Islamic State militant grouphas also been blamed for the accident on the imageboard site 8chan, and other sites that traffic in conspiracy theories.) Trump himself cited poor infrastructure as a national issue in the aftermath of the derailment, and declined to name any other potential causes.

Anti-fascist activists have expressed frustration to Newsweek over having to repeatedly push back against a wave of what they call baseless conspiracy theories attached to their protests this year. They argue that the conspiracies are being spun deliberately and in bad faith. One comparedthe trend to the demonization of environmentalists and Black Lives Matter activists.

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‘Antifa’ Falsely Linked to Amtrak Train Derailment by Right …

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December 20, 2017   Posted in: Antifa |

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