KTTH OPINION

Rantz: An inside look as Seattle Antifa, antisemites vandalized Starbucks

Nov 28, 2023, 5:55 PM

Seattle Antifa Israel...

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

Antisemitic Antifa activists, anarchists and other radicals targeted the Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery as part of a call to “Block Black Friday.” They caused felony-level damage that led to one arrest.

Activists promoted direct action by sharing social media flyers. The flyer claims the protest and mass vandalism were “autonomously organized by Seattle area radicals, anarchists, and community members.” The hope was to “shut [Black Friday] down for Palestine.” They were mostly successful.

I obtained exclusive videos from inside the café as Antifa and anarchists vandalized the storefront and taunted customers with vulgar hand gestures and taunts. It got so rowdy and dangerous that activists said they forced Starbucks to close.

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An inside look at the vandalism

Several dozen activists surrounded the Starbucks Roastery. Many of them were dressed in black bloc, a style of clothing intended to hide personally identifiable characteristics so that police have trouble making arrests. It’s a hallmark of Antifa action.

The video shows one masked activist tagging the building with the phrase “Free Palestine” in spray paint. They also spray-painted the Palestinian flag, anarchist symbols and messages like “Never Again,” “Free Gaza,” “River to Ses,” “You are genocide supporters” and “Land Back.”

The video also captures a masked activist flipping off customers. They even carved “Free Gaza” into the store’s wooden door. Another activist pounds his hand on the storefront window, taunting customers. One of the windows was nearly shattered and must be replaced and security cameras on the roof were sprayed with paint.

“During all of this, the atmosphere was upbeat but chill, with people eating tamales and drinking coffee that were being distributed from a truck parked next to the demo,” an anonymous author published on Puget Sound Anarchists.

The anarchist went on to brag about how effective the Starbucks protest was for their movement.

“While people held space with megaphones in front of the Starbucks, they made it abundantly clear that a diversity of tactics would be utilized and accepted,” the anarchist wrote. “This foregrounding of this rhetoric created a space where small crews could feel comfortable knowing this was a space where they were free to sabotage, attack, spray paint, blast sound systems, wheatpaste, serve hot food, without the expected pressure of someone telling them to stick to the organizers’ plan.”

Why didn’t police intervene?

The damage was significant, yet Seattle Police (SPD) did not intervene.

“It was a temporary disruption that was handled and thankfully did not turn into a major issue,” a Seattle Police Department spokesperson told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “As with any crime, incidents of vandalism are handled on a case-by-case basis. There are a multitude of factors that can determine when officers intervene. We are not at liberty to discuss our tactics as far as when officers will intervene.”

One cause for concern is that any intervention could lead to the use of force. Any force becomes a political nightmare and opens officers up to discipline for merely doing their jobs. Any police intervention could also exacerbate the situation, leading to violence.

Though they didn’t intervene at the time, police did end up making an arrest of a suspect they believed was responsible for some of the vandalism. The arrest occurred when the activist mob marched downtown.

Crashing the Seattle Christmas tree lighting ceremony

The group marched into downtown Seattle after their assault on Starbucks. Once there, they disrupted the annual Seattle Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

“Once the group descended upon Westlake Plaza, they spread out within the hundreds of Christmas capitalists gathered for the absurd celebration of excessive consumption,” the Puget Sound anarchist wrote. “The street was blocked off by police barricades to allow for the crowd to gather and perceive the spectacle. On the right side of the street was a giant Christmas tree. On the left side of the street was a stage prepared for a performance and programming to accompany the tree lighting.”

The author admits that activists “took over the stage soon after arriving and started throwing Christmas decorations to the ground and trashing the scenery.” There were a handful of activists who stayed on the stage, holding a banner reading “From Turtle Island to Gaza: Land Back.” Land Back refers to a movement of literal land reclamation to its so-called original stewards.

During this disruption, police made an arrest for the vandalism at Starbucks.

An arrest of a … colorful activist?

As activists chanted and gave speeches in front of a crowd angry that the ceremony was interrupted, an officer spotted suspect Tarik Aly Youssef, who is based in Vancouver, Washington.

“Youssef was observed having used red and white spray paint to damage the storefront of the Starbucks Reserve,” the officer wrote in a first appearance document obtained by The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “The damage caused by Youssef is estimated by SPD detectives to exceed the $750 felony threshold.”

The document does not explain what tipped off the officer that Youssef was one of the activists allegedly spray painting the Starbucks. But upon arrest, the officer says they discovered a can of red spray paint in Youssef’s backpack. The officer said that it matched the color used in the damage to Starbucks.

Youssef was arrested for investigation of malicious mischief.

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Who is Youssef?

Prosecutors have not yet charged Youssef, as they’re waiting for a damage assessment from Starbucks. He was released without objections.

A source says that Starbucks has been slow to turn over evidence on cases in the past. It can lead to suspects avoiding being charged. As of the morning of Nov. 28, Starbucks has not yet provided materials so that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office can pursue charges, should they have enough evidence.

On a TikTik account (@_thesphinx_) that appears to belong to the 25-year-old suspect, Youssef described himself as a transgender, polyamorous, pansexual, anti-capitalist, autistic Egyptian who is an “honorary member of Trantifa” (a name for transgender Antifa members). After The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH contacted Youssef via TikTok, the account’s videos were removed, and the account appears to be deleted.

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH archived many of the videos before they were deleted. The videos featured manic monologues criticizing police, explaining how to burn American flags effectively, and celebrating the death of California Senator Diane Feinstein.

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Listen to The Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow him on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: An inside look as Seattle Antifa, antisemites vandalized Starbucks