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Leftist groups hellbent on stopping the construction of the new $90 million police training center in Dekalb County's South River Forest have launched a "Week of Action to Stop Cop City." While much of the proposed "action" appears to consist of harassing contractors, protesting suspected terrorists' arraignment, and kvetching about the movement's fatal failures, the week will culminate in a swarming of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center on Nov. 13.
"Block Cop City" organizers have indicated the siege will be nonviolent, notwithstanding their stated support of "all forms of protest and organizing" and refusal to distinguish between "good/bad or legitimate/illegitimate protest or action." However, there has been chatter on the related anonymous anarchist site "Scenes from the Atlanta Forest" indicating not all anarchists are willing to hold to the nonviolence directive.
What's the background?
The training center for police, firefighters, and partner agencies is being built on 85 acres of land near Constitution and Key Roads and is slated to open toward the end of 2024.
While the facility will provide an opportunity for first responders to hone their skills and improve their offering to the public, some leftist critics have suggested it will amount to a "war base where police will learn military-like maneuvers to kill black people and control our bodies and movements." Others, particularly radical environmentalists, have condemned the use of the forest for purposes other than camping or hiking.
Members of the opposition have conducted firebombings on police officers and law enforcement offices; attacks on firefighters and medics; sabotage on construction equipment; and intimidation efforts at the home of at least one state trooper. One leftist even made the fatal mistake of shooting a Georgia state trooper in the gut.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) noted earlier this year that "domestic terrorism will NOT be tolerated in this state. ... We will not rest until those who use violence and intimidation for an extremist end are brought to justice."
Kemp and his administration have made good on this vow in recent months.
Dozens of radicals, including a Southern Poverty Law Center attorney, have been charged in connection to the so-called "Stop Cop City" movement.
Three dozen have been hit with domestic terrorism charges. Three have been hit with felony intimidation charges for reportedly distributing flyers accusing a state trooper of being a "murderer" for killing a violent extremist. Three radicals involved with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund were charged in May with charities fraud and money laundering.
Anarchists share how-to bomb guides for nonviolent protest
The leftist blog Truthout indicated that in recent months, officials have made the construction site "impenetrable" and have successfully forced trespassers out of the forest. This is apparently a serious setback for those activists desperate to see constructed halted.
While the question of whether to put an end to the construction of the facility could possibly make it onto the ballot in the 2024 election, leftists don't want to leave it up to the voting public, noting, "Whatever happens at the ballot box will be too late."
"Block Cop City" organizers indicated that on Nov. 13, "a large, determined group will make their way into the Weelaunee Forest and the Cop City construction site, and will non-violently halt construction. By shutting down construction, we will open up new possibilities. Machines will become murals, the clearcut wasteland will be filled with art and music, and we will take the first steps of a long healing process by planting trees wherever they've been cut."
Elements inside the "Stop Cop City" movement have criticized the organizers' call for non-violence, suggesting the publicly stated Nov. 13 plan is "counter-revolutionary, poorly planned, ... stupid and liberal."
A flyer circulated on the "Scenes from the Atlanta Forest" criticizes the nonviolence directive, stressing anarchists don't believe in nonviolence and that claiming otherwise "is to act like a politician."
"As anarchists, we want to promote self-organization that increases conflict with the State and the advocates of reform and recuperation. This can include a myriad of different activities that are technically 'non-violent,' but it does not include a deliberate strategy of nonviolence," said the flyer, adding, "We suggest experimentation with more precise and more imaginative targets."
In addition to condemning nonviolence and sharing various guides detailing best-practices for destroying and vandalizing property, anonymous posters on the site have in recent days called for or at the very least paved the way for acts of wanton destruction.
One poster wrote, "Everyone shut up and go set some s*** on fire, or destroy something, break a symbolic f***ing window even."
Another post on the site provided a 1969 U.S. Army handbook on improved munitions along with a digital copy of "The Anarchist Arsenal: Improved Incendiary and Explosive Techniques" and a guide on how to make a remotely-activated device with a callback to a Slavic usage. The latter is especially concerning.
Peter Hemerlein, a veteran with over 17 years of experience as a bomb tech — who built and ran an explosives lab for IEDs out of Helmand Province, Afghanistan — told Blaze News, "Writer has not been formally trained on explosives or electronics, but appears to have first hand experience as indicated by 'tips and tricks.' The circuit will function as described."
"The circuit can also be minimally and simply modified to function in just about any other manner of victim action. Stepping on a switch, picking something up, moving something, opening a mailbox, etc., (in addition to cell-phone initiation)," said Hemerlein.
"The writer references triacetone triperoxide. H2O2 or TATP is no joke and super easy to make," added Hemerlein. "All explosives are measured off their TNT equivalent 'detonation force.' C4 is 1.4TNTEQ. TATP can be made as high as 1.7TNTEQ if done correctly."
The prospect that various elements of the anarchist outfit are not committed to nonviolence takes on a new dimension given this understanding.
Another poster shared an Oct. 24 Associated Press report detailing how Atlanta is presently facing a firefighter and fire truck shortage, intimating with thought emojis that this presents an opportunity.
Radicals have made no secret of where beside the construction site they might strike, having created a target map showing companies and organizations "complicit in the Cop City project." There is also a link on the "Scenes from the Atlanta Forest" site to a page providing personal information on police officers, APD board of trustees members, Fulton County clerks, contractors involved in the construction of the training facility, and others.
A spokesman for Gov. Kemp told Blaze News, "As we have shown in the past, Georgia will respect the right of all Americans to peacefully protest — but we will not allow violent offenders and domestic terrorists to break the law without swift consequences. We will continue to remain vigilant against any threats and in contact with our local partners as this week's planned events go on."
Blaze News asked Democratic Rep. Williams, who represents Georgia's 5th Congressional District, whether she had concerns about the constituents' safety in or out of uniform with regards to the Nov. 13 protest. She did not respond by deadline.
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.