The joint intelligence product also states that criminal or violent anarchist protestors have become sophisticated in their use of technology.
“[A]narchist extremists will likely use secure communication methods and social networking sites, Internet chat rooms, message boards, and mobile devices such as smart phones to coordinate and facilitate violence or criminal activity threatening public safety and to exchange operational information such as law enforcement positions and rally points,” the bulletin reports.
German says broad descriptions like these have led police at other demonstrations to aggressively go after journalists and their communications equipment because they do not distinguish truly violent protestors from professionals doing their jobs.
Citing previous protests, the bulletin does distinguish between large groups of peaceful protestors and the small minority of protestors who break off from the larger gatherings and engage in “black bloc” tactics.
“Individuals egaging [sic] in ‘black bloc’ tactics typically dress completely in black and cover their faces with masks or bandannas to conceal their identity as they commit illegal acts such as vandalism, property destruction, and occasionally acts of violence which have included throwing Molotov cocktails, flaming torches, or acid-filled eggs at law enforcement,” the bulletin states.
German worries that by broadly labeling anarchists as extremists without proper context, the FBI and DHS are suggesting all anarchist protestors are potentially violent threats, likely leading to police overreach.
The bulletin concludes by predicting how law enforcement handle anarchist protests in Tampa Bay will likely influence the protests in Charlotte.
“The perceived success or failure of anarchist extremist actions at events leading up to the conventions, as well as at the earlier RNC in Tampa, will likely impact the strategies of anarchist extremists preparing to disrupt the DNC, occurring the following week just 600 miles north.”
♦ Photo by Alexis Gravel/Flickr