Editor’s Note – This piece by Valerie Richardson features quotes from CSP Director for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Kyle Shideler.
Dozens of pro-life pregnancy centers have been terrorized for months by a radical pro-choice outfit calling itself Jane’s Revenge, but now it looks as if the previously unknown group is entwined with a more significant threat: Antifa.
Antifa trackers and conservative media outlets linked two Miami residents charged with conspiracy in attacks on crisis pregnancy centers in Florida to the shadowy anarchist movement after the Justice Department unsealed the federal indictment last week.
One of the suspects, 23-year-old Amber Smith-Stewart, has made no secret of her Antifa sympathies. She has identified herself as “Antifa, anti-capitalist” on her Facebook page, which includes images of pro-Antifa posters and flags from a screenshot posted on the AntifaWatch website.
The second suspect, 27-year-old Caleb Freestone, is listed on AntifaWatch and has been active with Whatever It Takes, a left-wing pro-choice group with no love for “fascists” that advocates for “sustained civil resistance” and “direct action.”
He was arrested in July at a heated Miami-Dade County school board meeting and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest without violence and trespassing after a warning. A woman at the meeting publicly accused him of being with Antifa, which he appeared to deny.
“People who are accused of being the boogeyman Antifa are met with a significant police response,” Mr. Freestone told WLRN public radio.
The two are accused in June attacks on a trio of pregnancy resource centers in Hialeah, Hollywood and Winter Haven. Vandals left behind spray-painted messages such as “Jane,” “Jane was here” and “Jane’s Revenge,” as well as the anarchist “A” symbol favored by Antifa.
That doesn’t mean Antifa and Jane’s Revenge are the same, but they likely share much of the same personnel, said Kyle Shideler, senior analyst for homeland security and counterterrorism for the Center for Security Policy.
He described both as examples of anarchist and autonomist Marxist groups organized by affinity groups, small cells of people who share the same politics and engage in direct action together. They often join other affinity groups to form clusters. Those that stay together are called collectives or blocs.
“There are probably people who identify as Jane’s Revenge who do not engage in activities that Antifa is best known for, but the overlap is really high,” Mr. Shideler said.
A week after the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked on May 2, a group calling itself Jane’s Revenge firebombed the Wisconsin Family Action headquarters in Madison and issued a communique warning that more attacks were coming.
That assault acted as a call to arms for affinity groups nationwide, Mr. Shideler said.
“You had the initial incident that was carried out by Jane’s Revenge, and then they issued a manifesto essentially saying if you believe in this, then you are a member of us. Go out and do what we have done,” Mr. Shideler said. “It’s a very common insurrectionary, anarchist way of thinking. So various affinity groups across the country took up that call and conducted actions in the name of Jane’s Revenge.”
Since the Supreme Court leak, at least 79 pro-life facilities and 126 Catholic churches have been attacked, according to the CatholicVote tracker.
The Jane’s Revenge statement issued in May through Bellingcat journalist Robert Evans ended with: “We are not one group, but many. We are in your city. We are in every city.”
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