When Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked how he viewed the car attack in Charlottesville, Va., here’s how he responded:
“It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America.
That certainly seems to suggest the government is looking into a possible terrorism charge against the suspect, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. At Saturday’s rally organized by white supremacists, a car slammed into counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19.
But according to the Justice Department and legal analysts, it’s simply not possible for the government to file charges of domestic terrorism, because no such criminal law exists.
The Patriot Act does define domestic terrorism, and under this designation, the Justice Department has broad powers to investigate, said Neal Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who served as former President Barack Obama’s acting solicitor general and as the national security adviser to the Justice Department.
The FBI is trying to identify individuals spotted with James A. Fields Jr. before his car rammed into a crowd of protesters Aug. 12.
Two sources have confirmed that FBI officials recently spoke with workers at the Shell Station on Preston Avenue and reviewed video footage taken from the gas station. The footage allegedly shows Fields with an unknown number of people not long before 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, the recorded time of the fatal crash. The FBI is working to identify the people with Fields, the sources said.
A 23-year-old man who said he hated the U.S. government has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly trying to blow up an Oklahoma City bank with what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in a truck.
According to a criminal complaint, Jerry Drake Varnell wanted to start a militia group and admired Timothy McVeigh, the domestic terrorist who was convicted and executed for setting off a massive truck bomb outside a federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995.
An Akron man was arrested with a pipe bomb and another explosive device just hours before hundreds gathered in the city to honor the victims of the Charlottesville, Virginia attack.
A 26-year-old man is facing charges that include possession of a dangerous ordinance, manufacture of a dangerous ordnance and carrying a concealed weapon.
Authorities said Andrew Schneck, 25, was found by a Houston Park Ranger late Saturday night with materials capable of creating “a viable explosive device.” An attorney for Schneck said the same man had also been convicted in an earlier explosives case.
I’ve been saying all along that eventually someone was going to get killed in these street fights, and that the state would certainly use this as a pretext for a crackdown on political freedom, and with the support of much of the public who see these events as nothing more than lunatics wreaking havoc. Many alt-rightists and leftists I know have fantasies of some kind of Weimar-like epic battles, to which I always respond that America is not some weak nation devastated by world war and depression like Weimar. The US has an elaborate an internal security apparatus as East Germany during the Stasi era. Pretty soon they will start making examples of the leaders of these actions
Politically-motivated violence of this kind is far more significant from the point of view of the State’s interests than ordinary criminal violence such as drive-by shootings carried out by rival gangs. The latter form of violence actually serves the State’s interests to a great degree because of its effect of rendering the most oppressed communities in society even more dysfunctional than they already are, which in turn makes political resistance even more unlikely. The State wants members of these communities to kill each other in rivalries between various illegal enterprises, and not staging insurrections against the State itself. Additionally, ordinary criminal violence serves the State’s interests by generating public outcries for “law and order,” thereby legitimizing the construction of an ever larger police state. Of course, the State cannot allow criminal violence to spiral so far out of control that the middle class feels threatened to the point that the State begins to lose its legitimacy. But generally high crime rates serve a certainly political utility from the point of view of the State.
Chomsky said, “what they do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks – and [the movement] is generally self-destructive.”
“When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it’s the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is,” said Chomsky, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “That’s quite apart from the opportunity costs – the loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism.”
Robert Stark joined with Keith Preston of Attack the System, Sam Kevorkian, J.G. Michael, and Joshua Zeidner discuss the “Unite The Right” event in Charlottesville Virginia, the aftermath, and it’s implications for political discourse.