Shortly before shots rang out at Wednesday night’s protest outside the Ferguson Police Department, injuring two officers and reviving fears of return to last year’s social unrest, the Twitter account of Operation Ferguson posted an ominous warning: “This will not end well tonight.” Whoever composed the Tweet was right. Exactly how they knew is an open question.
The Operation Ferguson Twitter account has 70,000 followers. It is run by Anonymous, the mysterious band of online vigilantes and mask-wearing anarchists that allies itself periodically with far-left causes from the Occupy movement to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. To read the stream of anti-police invective on Operation Ferguson’s timeline is to get a sense of Anonymous’s goals in Ferguson—and beyond. A pair of cellphone photos of cops in riot gear is captioned “punk ass terrorists.” A picture of a young African-American facing off with the police is accompanied by text: “You’ve been killing kids like me for decades. You can’t stop the revolution.” Yet another tweet reads: “protestors have taken streets to usher in the last days of the brutal regime. Same thing happened in #Egypt. #BlackLivesMatter”
During last year’s protests in Ferguson, Anonymous pledged to protect demonstrators from “abuse and harassment” at the hands of police. Hackers affiliated with the group crashed Ferguson City Hall’s e-mail server and, using a favored tactic, threatened St. Louis County Police Department Chief Jon Belmar by posting his home address, telephone number, and photos of his family. “I’ve said all along that we cannot sustain this forever without problems,” Belmar told the media late Wednesday after the shooting. “We were very close to what happened in New York”—a reference to the assassination of two NYPD officers last December.
Anonymous is not the only far-left group that has tried to turn Ferguson into the American Bastille. As the Daily Beast and the Blaze reported last year, well-known Communist agitators flooded into town following the death of Michael Brown with the goal of keeping emotions high and the revolution roiling. But the most-effective left-wing activist in Ferguson has got to be Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
Last week, the DOJ released a report clearing Officer Darren Wilson of misconduct in Brown’s death—the left’s initial justification for its war on Ferguson’s cops. But by dismantling the myth that Wilson had murdered Brown in cold blood, Holder risked undermining the agitators’ casus belli. So he went the extra step of accusing Ferguson’s police and courts of widespread and systemic racism. The report charged that the financially strapped city thought of its black citizens as not much more than a revenue stream. In a press conference, Holder decried last year’s riots, claiming that “violence is never justified,” before going on brazenly to justify the violence: “[S]een in this context—amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices—it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg.”
Holder’s claim is that while Darren Wilson didn’t murder Michael Brown, in a way, the entire system did. This type of racial grievance-fueling is like a shot of straight adrenaline to the agitators of Anonymous and their fellow travelers on the professional far left. One can’t help but marvel at the outgoing attorney general’s chutzpah as he condemns Wednesday’s shooting as a “cowardly” and “senseless” act. Senseless? For anyone who’s spent the last eight months watching Holder’s cynical manipulation of the protests in Ferguson, Wednesday’s shooting made all the sense in the world.