Revealed: pro-Trump activists plotted violence ahead of Portland rallies

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/23/oregon-portland-pro-trump-protests-violence-texts

Patriots Coalition members suggested political assassinations and said ‘laws will be broken, people will get hurt’, leaked chats show

Leaked chat logs show Portland-area pro-Trump activists planning and training for violence, sourcing arms and ammunition and even suggesting political assassinations ahead of a series of contentious rallies in the Oregon city, including one scheduled for this weekend.

The chats on the GroupMe app, shared with the Guardian by the antifascist group Eugene Antifa, show conversations between Oregon members of the Patriots Coalition growing more extreme as they discuss armed confrontations with leftwing Portland activists, and consume a steady diet of online disinformation about protests and wildfires.

At times, rightwing activists discuss acts of violence at recent, contentious protests, which in some cases they were recorded carrying out. At one point, David Willis, a felon currently being sued for his alleged role in an earlier episode of political violence, joins a discussion about the use of paintballs.

Where other members had previously suggested freezing the paintballs for maximum damage, Willis wrote: “They make glass breaker balls that are rubber coated metal. They also have pepper balls but they are about 3 dollars a ball. Don’t freeze paintballs it makes them wildly inaccurate” [sic.]

Another prolific poster is Mark Melchi, a 41-year-old Dallas, Oregon-based car restorer who claims to have served as a captain in the US army.

Melchi has been recorded leading an armed pro-Trump militia, “1776 2.0” into downtown confrontations in Portland, including on 22 August. At several points in the chat he proposes violence in advance of those confrontations, and appears to confess to prior acts committed in the company of his paramilitary group.

In advance of the 22 August protest, Melchi wrote: “It’s going to be bloody and most likely shooting, they’re definitely armed… so let’s make sure we have an organized direction of movement and direction of clearing or other Patriots will be caught in the possible cross fire. When shit hits the fan.”

He advised other members to ignore weapons statutes, writing, “I saw someone say bats, mace, and stun guns are illegal downtown. If you’re going to play by the books tomorrow night, we already lost. We are here to make a change, laws will be broken, people will get hurt… It’s lawlessness downtown, and people need to be prepared for bad things.”

Following these comments, several rightwing demonstrators were recorded using gas and bats on 22 August, where Melchi and his militia were also present.

In other remarks ahead of the day, Melchi draws on what he claims is his group’s history of traveling to multiple states to engage in violence at protests.

“My Group 1776 2.0. Has been fighting Antifa in Seattle, Portland, for months”, Melchi writes, adding “this won’t be a simple fist fight. People will get shot, stabbed and beat.”

He also claims police cooperation in interstate violence, writing “Yes, going after them at night is the solution… Like we do in other states, tactical ambushes at night while backing up the police are key. You get the leaders and the violent ones and the police are happy to shut their mouths and cameras.”

Melchi nevertheless recommends that members disguise themselves to avoid the consequences of homicide.

“We must be ready to defend with lethal response… Suggest wearing mask and nothing to identify you on Camera…to prevent any future prosecution.”

Alex Newhouse, the digital research lead at the Center for Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute, said of the group that “the main mechanism that makes these communities so dangerous is the incessant desensitization to the idea of political violence”.

Newhouse said that the ideas expressed in the group were entrenched in “extreme nationalism – that a few strong men with guns can together take out an evil that is at once imagined as an existential threat, and pathetically weak”. Newhouse added that the group’s discussions “fit within a broader trend of rightwing extremists becoming more accelerationist over time”.

The chatlogs became fractious at the peak of Oregon’s recent wildfire emergency. While some members said they had gone to rural areas to “hunt” imagined antifa arsonists, others became concerned about the dangers.

As early as 9 September, the baseless idea that the fires were a coordinated arson attack was treated as settled fact, with Melchi writing: “People have officially died from these Antifa Fires. I’d shoot them on site” [sic], and another user, Dub, responding: “Yes sir if I see them they are getting dropped where they stand.”

When adverse consequences of vigilantism became evident, leadership attempted to bring the group back under control. After a member of the group reported that an associate had been arrested in Lane county for “holding [someone] at gunpoint”, the group’s administrator, who used the user name Patriot Coalition, wrote “STOP HOLDING PEOPLE AT GUN POINT- STOP PULLING YOUR WEAPONS… VIDEO- TAKE PICTURES AND CALL 911.”

Along with antifascist demonstrators, Democratic politicians are also the target of violent fantasies in the chats. In particular, Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, is demonized and nominated as a possible target for assassination by the group.

On 24 August, a user identified as “Trent-Medford” writes, “Fuck wheeler… guess what soon as we are done with these punks. He’s next freakin coward !!!!!!”

User T Durden went further. In response to news that an alleged arsonist had been released on bail, and without encountering disagreement, they wrote: “Maybe we need to start taking care of the justice ourselves!”, adding, “Start with justice on our DA and then move on to the governor. Maybe by the time we get to the first judge, they will have changed their tunes.”

There is more at the link above.   These are cult tRump supporters.   These people think it is patriotic to threaten others, to intimidate others, to hurt others, to violate the laws just to get what they want.    They want the right to become occupying armies ruling over everyone else.  No rule of law.   These are criminal gangs.   tRump loves to talk about MS-13 but these people are a fascist gang just as dangerous.    Hugs

2 thoughts on “Revealed: pro-Trump activists plotted violence ahead of Portland rallies

  1. Keith September 25, 2020 / 09:19

    Nothing surprises me about this president or his more zealous base. The only thing that would is if he told the truth for one whole day. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scottie September 25, 2020 / 12:04

      Hello Keith. We know tRump lies, we know tRump is an idiot, and we know tRump is a completely divorced from reality. It is his followers I worry about. Really I do think they will resort to violence. They are so in mind set that tRump is the only one telling them the truth, that the only way he could lose is a rigged election that they won’t accept it if he loses. SPTV and right wing media has poisoned reality for them. Watch this from CNN. Hugs

      Like

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