KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Some anti-Israel extremists privately plotting violence against Seattle cops

Apr 25, 2024, 5:54 PM | Updated: 5:58 pm

Photo: Some anti-Israel extremists in Seattle say they are plotting to use violence against cops....

Some anti-Israel extremists in Seattle say they are plotting to use violence against cops. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Some anti-Israel extremists are privately plotting to attack Seattle police officers who try to break up unlawful rallies, with one activist warning that “S**t is going to hit the fan.”

The Global Solidarity Network Seattle (GSNS) operates a semi-private Telegram channel. It lists Heather Yingling, GSNS executive director, as the channel owner and it features candid discussions from activists about issues they’re following locally.

This week, activists have used the channel to focus on anti-Israel encampments popping up on college campuses nationwide. The threat of violence was first flagged by an independent photographer in NYC who runs the influential Viral News NYC account on X, formerly known as Twitter.

One user named “Macs D” posted about “militarized police destroying a camp and making arrests” at a university in Atlanta on Wednesday. Then, a user identified only as “Andrew” posted a video of an officer with a taser helping subdue an unruly activist at the Atlanta protest.

Andrew told the group that if they see an officer attempting to subdue an unruly activist, they should “be prepared to move in immediately.” 

“I don’t know what’s going on beyond the camera’s frame at that moment, but that cop tasing is way off balance and there appear to be more people than cops,” Andrew wrote in the channel. “If we see something like this happening and you are with this many people watching cops like this who are isolated, we need to be prepared to move in immediately. Knock taser guy over and start grappling. This is how people are killed in front of us.”

He went on to say “Bravery and risk will be required of those who face such wickedness.”

Yingling weighed in during the conversation, telling the group that, “We need to remind them (cops) we outnumber them.”

What are the threats against Seattle cops?

The conversation turned to tactics to apply locally. Some student activists at the University of Washington (UW) announced this week that they would stage an anti-Israel encampment, inspired by Columbia University. The plan was postponed after criticism that the student activists involved were too white and that they didn’t properly engage with Muslim and Arab students.

When the encampment was set up, Andrew indicated that cops would be targeted.

“The truth is police are trained for individual safety,” he wrote. “There are certain tactics which they are not well prepared for, and which are all but guaranteed to throw them off. One important tactic is surround and kettle the cops.” (emphasis is Andrew’s)

“Kettling” is a police tactic to control large and unruly protests where large groups of officers form human barricades to contain a crowd within a small area where there is just one way for people to leave, which allows police to more easily identify protesters engaged in illegal activism.

“They use it against us, and it’s even more effective when we outnumber them,” Andrew wrote of kettling. “They don’t have eyes on all sides of their head, and they have to look down to make these arrests. A closing circle is almost impossible for them to defend against. Or if that isn’t possible to stop an arrest, surrounding cars when they are foolish enough to make [it] that easy/possible prevents them from leaving and resulted in a de-arrest yesterday at USC.”

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH confirmed the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is tracking this particular threat. The tactics and language from the Telegram chat mirror strategies and communication we saw from Antifa during the Black Lives Matter riots.

More from Jason Rantz: UW Seattle students planning antisemitic encampment to mirror Columbia University

How close are we to violence from the anti-Israel extremists in Seattle?

Yingling, who is active in local anti-Israel activism, separately posted on the Palestine Solidarity Committee – Seattle Facebook page. The account amplifies local antisemites. It’s where Yingling warned of pending chaos.

“S**t is about to hit the fan (already is in other states). If anyone here is ready and willing to support/defend a student encampment, please DM and join us on Telegram. There will also be an encampment of asylum seekers in need of support,” she wrote.

In a statement to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, Yingling stated that characterizing their Telegram channel conversation as planning to physically harm cops and otherwise engaging with them to stop arrests are “pretty inaccurate assumptions.”

“We will support and defend students’ & asylum seekers’ rights to peacefully protest,” Yingling said.

Activist defends comments

When asked how the comments by Andrew were mischaracterized, Yingling explained, “It is important to address misinterpretations and ensure accuracy in discussions surrounding student activism and protests. The original poster did not intend those actions to be taken in the manner they’ve been portrayed. Thus, it’s important to clarify the context accurately.”

Yingling did not, however, clarify the context.

“Furthermore, as we uphold students’ rights to peaceful protest, it’s equally vital to foster conversations about best practices and nonviolent strategies,” she said. “These discussions should include ways to address instances where police abuse their power, emphasizing the importance of holding law enforcement accountable through lawful and constructive means. They need to be held accountable for their actions.”

More from Jason Rantz: Are the pro-Hamas, Columbia University protesters the new Black Lives Matter radicals?

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 here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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