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US government designates antifa as terrorist


US president Trump has declared his intentions to add Antifa to list of terrorist organizations, tweeting May 31st:

The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.

US Texan Senator Ted Cruz has similarly been campaigning for this move:

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is aiming to highlight the role Antifa and like-minded groups are playing in riots across the country, convening a Senate hearing Tuesday on the issue while alleging that radical left-wing groups are engaging in "organized terror attacks" designed to tear down government institutions.

“Across the country, we’re seeing horrific violence, we’re seeing our country torn apart. Violent anarchists and Marxists are exploiting protests to transform them into riots and direct assaults on the lives and safety of their fellow Americans,” Cruz told Fox News in an interview.

Unsurprisingly Trump's opponents have opposed this move, and even labelled it impossible. For instance, in Slate, we can read:

While the president and attorney general may have political motivations for wanting to stigmatize a left-wing movement by tagging it with the terrorist label and thus seek to assign blame for the violence engulfing several U.S. major cities, it is unlikely that Trump can do so within existing legal authorities.

In the United States, there are two competent authorities for designating terrorist groups. First, the Department of State can designate groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. It can also designate both groups and individuals as terrorists under Executive Order 13224. This order was established shortly after Sept. 11 as part of an effort to provide the State and Treasury departments enhanced capability to block terrorists from the U.S. formal financial system.

However, for the State Department to designate a group, it must document that the organization operates overseas, and that the group’s leaders, camps, and operations are based outside of the continental United States. Antifa, by virtue of its domestic presence and lack of any organizational cohesion, would be impossible for the State Department to designate.

The Treasury Department can also sanction terrorists per Executive Order 13224. But it can only piggy-back on an already existing designation of a group, typically one that is already labeled by the State Department as a terrorist organization. Without an underlying State Department designation, the Treasury Department can’t act. And, while Treasury has designated a number of domestic-based charities as terrorist entities, those groups were linked to foreign organizations such as Hamas, the Tamil Tigers, Lebanese Hizballah, and al-Qaida.

So it appears to be difficult for the Trump administration to accomplish this. Thus, the question is:

Will Antifa officially be labelled a terrorist organization in the US before 2022?

  • Antifa must be added to an official list of terrorist organizations for this to resolve positively. They must remain on this list for at least seven consecutive days.
  • It must happen before 2022.
  • It can happen under any presidency (winner of 2020 US election).
  • An "official list is" one that appears on the public-facing website of a US federal agency.

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