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Sheriff Tamps Down Rumors and Quackery of Antifa Apocalypse in Palm Coast This Weekend

| November 1, 2017

The trumped-up image atop an August posting on a conspiracy-theory website that helped spread the false rumor of an anti-Trump uprising this weekend.

The trumped-up image atop an August posting on a conspiracy-theory website that helped spread the false rumor of an anti-Trump uprising this weekend.

First off, no: there is no antifa demonstration seeking Donald Trump’s overthrow in Palm Coast this weekend. Not at Freedom Fest at the Flagler County Airport, not anywhere real. (Antifa is short for “anti-fascist.”)


And there is no truth to the rumor that there will be an attempted “overthrow” of the Trump regime anywhere in the country or the known universe, dark matter included, though groups opposed to the Trump administration are planning some protests in larger cities, as many such groups have regularly done since Trump’s election a year ago. This weekend’s hoped-for demonstrations draw their inspiration more from Occupy Wall Street-type protests than anything violent, though organizers don’t deny that they’re hoping to build toward a mass-protest movement.

The rumors of more violent demonstrations have been spreading so fast, if only in the murkier recesses of the internet, that this morning the Washington Post devoted a story to address them. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office also issued a release saying “there are no verified sites within Flagler County or the state of Florida for these demonstrations.”

Consider the original source of the rumor: Infowars, the crackpot conspiracy-theory churn produced by the entertainer Alex Jones who just in the last few hours posted items about Twitter being “proud” to be an enemy of the First Amendment, Muslim teens raping a donkey, Saudi Arabia actually “staging” the Vegas massacre (you know, the way the U.S. government staged the Moon landing) and something about pot-bellied liberal predators roaming the streets on Halloween night to snatch children’s candy.

That’s in the last 15 hours.

The stories read like rejected drafts from The Onion, the more believable, less tasteless humor publication.

On Sept. 19, Infowars posted a “story” alleging that “Antifa is planning a new round of nationwide riots on November 4 as part of a plot to start a ‘civil war’ that will lead to the overthrow of the Trump administration.” The post linked to a website called refusefascism.org, whose own Aug. 6 post announced not an “overthrow,” but an invitation to protest “demanding that this whole regime be removed from power,” words not unlike those used by mainstream Democrats on more caffeinated days. That site never mentioned or alluded to a “civil war.”

The site also makes no allusions to violence except to stress that it is committed to non-violence, and it uses the language of ambitious demonstrators who want to see big numbers gather. Only when filtered through the fire-in-the-theater alarms of Infowars do the protests take on a more sinister, violent character–assuming any are held at all.

“We formed this organization around two main points,” Andy Zee, one of the group’s organizers, told The Washington Post in the story published this morning. “One is that the nightmare must end, and second, in the name of humanity we must refuse to accept a fascist America.”

The Post continues: “Zee maintains that Refuse Fascism is committed to nonviolent protest, and scoffs at the ideas floating through the far right of antifa super-soldiers waging war on mainstream society. If anything, the jarring disconnect over Nov. 4 shows how easily facts are eaten alive by social media and regurgitated as conspiracy theory. The possible violence coloring that disconnect illustrates how truly ideologically isolated the two sides are from one another. ‘It’s absurd. Calling for a civil war?’ Zee said. ‘Pick a date for a civil war? Honestly, what do you say to this?'”

Protests are planned in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco.

In its release, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office noted that “Rumors have spread that Palm Coast is one of those sites. Thorough research by the Northeast Florida Fusion Center and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Domestic Homeland Security Section indicate there are no verified sites within Flagler County or the state of Florida for these demonstrations. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Domestic Homeland Security Section is working with other local and state agencies and will continue to monitor the situation so that we can update the community if needed.”

The sheriff attributed the rumor to “an apparently false social media post from a Kansas Facebook page [that] indicated that Palm Coast will be a site of anti-fascist group demonstrations on November 4th and has since been widely disseminated. This has caused unnecessary concern for some citizens.” Some of the rumors were spread on a local neighborhood Facebook page–not by its administrator, but by commenters jumping in and making claims of violence ahead, and going as far as tying antifa protests to the Black Lives Matter movement–usually a tip-off that the commenters are more informed by Infowar-type quackery and bigotry than reporting reliable information.

The sheriff’s release is silent on the distinction between rumored violent demonstrations and legitimate protest, but Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mark Strobridge made that distinction explicit in a brief interview this afternoon: “Legal protesting is a constitutional right that the sheriff supports 100 percent,” he said, should there be non-violent protests this weekend. “There’s definitely a distinction between that type of behavior and legitimate protest.”

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15 Responses for “Sheriff Tamps Down Rumors and Quackery of Antifa Apocalypse in Palm Coast This Weekend”

  1. Brian says:

    Antifa is a bunch of left-wing miscreants and malcontents who are willing to throw this country into a volcano lest they admit the failure of their beloved liberal pipe dream.

  2. Dave says:

    Of course there are protest planned for this 4th of November and violence is never something to be tolerated. JOIN US THIS 4TH OF NOVEMBER to exercise your right as Americans to stand against the racism in our White House, and stand for the right of all Americans against this president

  3. Common Sense says:

    Thank you once again FlaglerLive for your voice of reason.

  4. Sherry says:

    If you are one of millions getting your FAKE news from social media. . . PAY ATTENTION! The Russians are doing everything they can to not only massively influence our elections, but they are working to DESTROY our society by dividing us!!!! Their brainwashing “propaganda” is being spewed in twisted ways, and YOU are falling for it!!!! Take a read and try some “critical” thinking!!!

    This from thinkprogress.org:

    While Facebook, Twitter, and Congress continue dealing with the fallout from revelations surrounding Russian actors running accounts, creating pages, and planning events from Texas to Florida, a pair of right-wing trolls seem to have taken advantage of the latest rounds of revelations — all while wading into the controversies surrounding recent NFL protests.

    Earlier this week, the “Boston Antifa” account tweeted out a pair of photos juxtaposing “NFL fans” circa 2015, pictured as a group of tailgating Bills fans, and 2017, pictured as a gaggle of young men and women posing in front of a mirror. The tweet pointed to a “New NFL,” offering “gender inclusivity” and “gluten free options at stadiums.” Looking to bandwagon on Sunday’s protests, the tweet also included the #TakeAKnee hashtag.

    On its face, the tweet appeared to be another anodyne, tongue-in-cheek comment on the recent, resounding protests against systemic racism in the United States. It probably would have flown under the radar, drowned out by more clever takes, if not for one detail: The tweet included a geotag that placed the account in Vladivostok, Russia.

    And just like that, the tweet took off, with tens of thousands of retweets along the way, from anti-Trump feeds to cable news analysts who specifically hawk their skills a “catch[ing] a Russian spy.”

  5. a tiny manatee says:

    Hilarious how gullible fox news grandparents are. No, antifa supersoldiers aren’t going to rise up and decapitate white parents. Krang T Nelson is genius.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bring It! We’ll see how far it gets.

  7. Concerned Citizen says:

    I guess I’m ignorant for asking. What the hell exactly is Antifa?

  8. woody says:

    Don’t forget your mask to hide your identity.

  9. John says:

    If they’re non-violent, why wear masks?

  10. Florida voter says:

    We continue to see manipulation through fake news and the use of social media. Yesterday the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed that Russia organized BOTH SIDES of the anit/pro Islamic protests in Houston on May 21. As investigations progress, we see more and more Russian social media manipulation. Most of this is to support Donald Trump, who preys on fear and divisiveness. I’ve asked it before:

    Is it too early to get my TRUMP/PUTIN 2020 sticker?

  11. r&r says:

    If they came to Palm Coast I don’t think they would get too much support. Most of the people here are for Trump and commend his work so far. He’s a GREAT Prez.

  12. Makeitso1701 says:

    Yes, sadly a lot of people in Palm Coast voted for the idiot, someone better check the water.
    Commend the idiot in the White House for his work so far……umm what has he accomplished in the last nine months, besides tweet nonsense and play a lot of golf. He is a do nothing president.

  13. Percy's mother says:

    GDP is up to 4%. Under the last guy we barely eked out 3% GDP.
    The stock market is at an all time high.
    Joblessness at an all time low.
    Housing at a 30 year high.

    By the way, a lot of business deals are made over golf . . . similar to Iceland wherein a lot of business deals are made in the sauna.

    I could go on about the “do nothing president”. Let me know if you want me to continue listing his accomplishments.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Trump for President 2020

    The federal government needs to ban Facebook, twitter and other such social media cites and come up with standards and guidelines for them to operate.

    President Trump needs to sign an executive order banning fake news from all news stations and require that only news without opinions be reported…..they couldn’t do it.

  15. Makeitso1701 says:

    Oh sure, he did all that in less then nine months, and it had nothing to do with Obama’s policies. You trumpies keep watching Fake…. I mean Fox News. How disgraceful,embarrassing and unpatriotic this idiot turned out to be.

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