December 21, 2017 8:00 am
Updated: December 21, 2017 10:09 am

Antifa gets blamed for everything, including this week’s fatal Amtrak crash

Aerial view of Amtrak train derailment shows devastation of accident


Antifa may be a loose, barely organized group, but it’s been blamed for many high-profile crimes or misfortunes that’s happened since earlier this year — the Las Vegas massacre, the Texas church shooting — and many that didn’t happen at all, like this attack on a police officer in Charlottesville, Va., and a violent uprising in early November.

The claim that Antifa caused the Amtrak train derailment Monday was based on something other than pure fabrication, though — It’s Going Down, an anarchist site, published a claim by a group in Puget Sound that they poured concrete on railway tracks in the area in April, though local police, the railway and the group that posted the claim wouldn’t say whether this had actually happened.

(The most obvious cause of the derailment, which killed three people, is that the train was going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, a fact that was made public the same day as the accident.)

Alt-right online personality Mike Cernovich pointed to the original blog post, then angrily denounced people on Twitter who said he was going as far as blaming Antifa.

Gateway Pundit then amplified Cernovich’s account, claiming that the blog post was taken down after the derailment, a claim an unidentified anarchist interviewed by Buzzfeed disputed, saying that it had been “deleted four or five months ago because it kept getting taken out of context.” (All the Wayback Machine shows is that it disappeared at some point between Aug. 25 and last Monday.)

InfoWars whipped up a quick cut-and-paste post that, on Wednesday, was still the third-most read story on their site, with over 1,000 comments. InfoWars’ Alex Jones produced two videos, one of which drew heavily from a tweet on the @OfficialAntifa account, which is fake.

“Somebody knew exactly what they were doing,” Jones said. “They did it right there on the edge of the highway to block the highway for maximum sabotage. They may claim to spin it, like Vegas, and say it’s not a terror attack. There is a real, real evil spirit to these folks.”

The two videos, between them, had about 70,000 views by Wednesday.

From there, it slid down the pecking order of fake news sites, losing any attempt at qualifying it on the way: on Tuesday, ran a straightforward fake under the headline Police: Antifa Terrorists Derailed Amtrak Train In Washington.

U.S. president Donald Trump spun the accident differently:

It’s not at all clear his coming infrastructure plan is relevant,” the Associated Press responded in a fact-check. “The accident did not happen on a crumbling railway but rather on a section of track that had just been upgraded as part of a $181-million project for a new, faster route. The high-speed train was making its first run on newly constructed tracks when it derailed.”

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