Capitol Riot

The Florida Man Turned Kurdish Militiaman Turned Anti-Trump Vigilante

He fought ISIS and volunteered as a medic for BLM. Now he's been arrested for threats against pro-Trump rioters.

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A Florida man who had fought in a Kurdish militia against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and helped rescue a shooting victim in Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) was arrested on Friday for allegedly threatening Inauguration Day violence against Trump supporters at Florida's state capitol.

The case strangely touches on many corners of American life, from the U.S. military interventions in the Middle East to the Black Lives Matter protests that rocked American cities last summer. It is also part of a cycle of political revenge and government crackdowns that may continue long after the 2020 presidential election.

"Armed racist mobs have planted the Confederate flag in the nations Capitol [sic] while announcing their plans to storm every American state Capitol on or around inauguration day. We will fight back," Tallahassee activist Daniel Alan Baker wrote under his own name in the description to a now-deleted Facebook event, which he promoted with physical fliers and a YouTube video. "We will circle the state Capitol and let them fight the cops and take the building. Then we will encircle them and trap them inside. We will drive them out of Tallahassee with every caliber available."

The author of the alleged threat is a veteran of the war against ISIS—but he didn't fight for the U.S. military.

Baker had joined the U.S. Army in 2006, but went AWOL in 2007 before his unit was set to deploy to Iraq, according to the FBI's criminal complaint. He was then homeless over the next decade, taking occasional jobs as a security guard.

In 2017, Baker joined an anti-ISIS rebel force in Syria known as the YPG, which stands for "People's Protection Units" in the Kurdish language, the FBI claimed.

The YPG, now part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), had taken in hundreds of foreign volunteers as it liberated northeastern Syria from ISIS. Baker served as a combat sniper, and even appeared in an Emmy Award-winning VICE News documentary about ISIS's last stand in March 2019.

In the documentary, Baker leads part of a retreat under fire, helping save his fellow fighters and VICE journalist Aris Roussinos as ISIS militants overrun their outpost.

"Yeah! That's our boys," Baker hollers at the sound of a fighter jet from the U.S.-led military coalition. "OK, now's the time to go!"

The YPG is also an enemy of Turkey. Turkish forces attacked the YPG in October 2019, six months after Baker had returned to the United States.

Baker allegedly wanted to take matters into his own hands. Multiple people told the FBI that he intended to find Turkish military pilots who were training at U.S. bases and "kill or mutilate them," Special Agent Nicholas Marti wrote in an affidavit.

"The [SDF] is an ally of the United States and its forces have fought with the U.S. military in Syria against ISIS. As a rule, the SDF does not target civilians," said a source close to the SDF. "It opposes violence of any kind against civilians, men, women and children. The SDF is not associated in any way with Mr. Baker.  He is not an SDF fighter."

No attacks on Turkish pilots ever came to fruition, and Baker soon threw himself into a different struggle.

In mid-2020, protests against the police murder of George Floyd sparked unrest across the U.S. Baker traveled to Black Lives Matter protests around the country. He also picked up a reputation for aggressive online commentary.

"A number of us YPG volunteers warned Baker about his rhetoric online and how it could reflect negatively on the rest of us and the YPG," said Joshua Bailey, another American veteran of the Kurdish fighting force.

The Turkish government and the Trump administration have both tried to connect left-wing political violence in the United States to returning YPG veterans, with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan arguing that "those behind the recent violence and looting during protests in the U.S. are working with the YPG" and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security drawing a link "between ANTIFA ideology and Kurdish democratic federalism teachings."

Black Lives Matter protests eventually led to the creation of Seattle's CHAZ, also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), a police-free area occupied by anarchists and other activists. Baker came to the CHAZ/CHOP to volunteer as a medic.

On June 30, 2020, tragedy struck the protest zone. Vigilantes shot two black teenagers in an SUV, killing 16-year-old Antonio Mays Jr. It was the second deadly shooting in 10 days at the CHAZ/CHOP.

A video posted to Baker's YouTube channel shows him helping the victims of the incident, even though Baker later claimed on Twitter that the victims had first "pulled guns and knives and beat ass [sic] and started driving around shooting."

It remains unclear whether that is true.

In the video, Baker is startled by the sound of gunshots. He walks toward the noise, and finds a crowd shouting around an SUV with its windows blown out. Baker helps move the two victims (who are not visible) across the bloodstained ground to a waiting car, which takes them to the hospital.

Seattle police cleared out the CHAZ/CHOP soon after.

Baker told a journalist what his takeaway was in October 2020: "If they really wanted a revolution, we needed to get AK's and start making bombs."

His tone became much more frantic after the 2020 election. Baker made several posts on Facebook and Instagram warning that President Donald Trump would incite a military coup or civil war, according to the FBI's affidavit.

Baker's fears seemed to be at least partially confirmed on January 6, when a mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in hopes of overturning the election results.

"Many of us are also sharing anxiety over and deeply concerned about recent events in the Capitol," emphasized Bailey, the other YPG veteran, but the "overwhelming majority of YPG volunteers don't hold accelerationist views, especially in light of what we have seen in the Syrian civil war."

Baker's brushes with violence in Syria and Seattle, however, did not seem to have turned him off from political violence.

Baker posted a series of YouTube videos about the "terrorists" at the Capitol, including one offering money to help identify them. On Tuesday, he posted the call to arms that got him arrested.

And he made a chilling prediction in a private Facebook post, according to the FBI's affidavit.

"Aw, it's yalls [sic] first civil war!" Baker allegedly wrote.

NEXT: Our Post-9/11 Response Deprived Us of Liberty and Didn't Stop Terrorism. Let's Not Venerate or Expand It.

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  1. And people still think it was a good idea to empty the mental hospitals – – –

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  2. What’s funny is so many people taking so many of these kooks seriously. 25,000 troops to protect Biden? Biden trying to keep all the white national guards out of front line duty? You’d almost think people had prophecies to fulfill.

    1. Lee Harvey Oswald was one kook with a surplus bolt action rifle. They may be nutty, but they can still be dangerous.

      1. In that case, 25,000 Praetorian guardsmen is not enough. We should just relegate the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments to the dustbin. Long live the Empire!

        1. Meesa propose an Enabling Act.

          1. Never let a Reichstag riot go to waste

      2. Look! Here’s the last guy on Earth who believes the Warren Report!

      3. How could 25,000 national guard troops have stopped Oswald?

      4. LHO was also almost an idiot savant. He was literally not worth a shit at anything except for shooting a rifle.

        But yeah, one (or a handful) of nuts can do some damage if they luck into the right situation.

        1. Here’s hoping.

          1. Meh.
            Biden and Harris are just props.
            This country will no longer be governed by individuals, but ruled by an unaccountable collective/cabal.

      5. So what you’re saying DOL, is that only troops who vote Democrat should be allowed to serve?

    2. I’ve noticed on the radio the news updates – those 10 second clips where they give you the top news headlines of the day/moment, which one would think are supposed to be completely free of editorial – has been very Orwellian over the last few months.

      This is the space reserved for brief bits like
      “Jaguars sign Urban Meyer to be their new head coach. Jacksonville mayor says the city will run out of vaccines at some point. President Trump heading back to Florida today. WOKV news time is 12:36, and temperature is 63 degrees.”
      Today they slipped this one in: “Qanon followers have been talking online about the possibility of disguising themselves as national guard”

      Clown. World.

  3. “Anti-Trump Vigilante”? Does anyone really even care about anything that has to do with Trump on his last day of being the best libertarian prez evah. One thing is clear though, Trumpian Party supporters like Sevo, LC aka the SCOTUS Whisperer, JesseAZ aka the Mediocre Freedom superhero, Nards and the rest of the Trump clan have only themselves to blame for Biden’s election. Nice job douchebags!

    1. Stop sharing sqrslys appetizers.

    2. “…One thing is clear though, Trumpian Party supporters like Sevo, LC aka the SCOTUS Whisperer, JesseAZ aka the Mediocre Freedom superhero, Nards and the rest of the Trump clan have only themselves to blame for Biden’s election…”

      So the debble made you do it, shitstain?

    3. Is this the WK sock du jour?

  4. overwhelming majority of YPG volunteers don’t hold accelerationist views

    I like how accelerationists are now being vilified. We’re the new boogey man. Though as far as I know, I’m the only one.

  5. But which democrats can we charge for incitement? That’s the new thing right?

    1. Pelosi tried to foment a military coup the other week, and the Pentagon told her to basically fuck off… but it won’t be treasonous unless Republicans try to do it.

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  6. You know we’re returning to normal when Florida Man gets caught acting crazy.

  7. #HERO

  8. I’m told there are good people on both sides.

    1. I’m looking forward to watching you get Rittenhoused you subhuman piece of dog shit.

      1. Me? What did I do?

        Work out your anger issues somewhere else, Jack. I haven’t, and won’t, go anywhere near this stupid shut n

  9. So Baker is mostly peaceful.

  10. Was he driving a cart naked through Walmart or try to kiss a cottonmouth?

  11. Armed racist mobs have planted blah, blah, blah…”

    These guys always start with a lie.

  12. LOL, you had me at “Florida man”! Enough said. Hahahahahahaha.

    1. Hold my beer! – Am I right!

      1. Florida Man looks a hell of a lot more sane than most of the rest of the country.
        But I’m jealous if you slept through 2020. It was a shitshow.

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  15. So the BLM sympathizer was also a fighter for the Islamic theocracy of ISIS which had actual chattel slavery. Maybe he is a baddie?

    1. He fought for the anti Isis Kurdish militia called YPG.
      Which follows a socialist ideology and has all women fighting units and foreign fighting units.
      The U.S. armed and trained and equipped YPG to turn them from a rag tag mountain militia into excellent mobile infantry.
      Then The U.S. Marines in Syria acted as their artillery and air support.
      After that, the U.S. sent them to defeat Isis and occupy the Isis capital city of Raqqa which is in a non Kurdish area.
      After taking numerous casualties, YPG conquered Raqqa.
      The. U.S. ally Turkey then invaded Syria and conquered the Kurdish city of Afrin, committing all the usual atrocities on the Kurdish population.
      President Trump did nothing about that and drew down the Marine numbers in Syria.
      So the Kurds can expect an assault on theirs enclave of Rojava by the Turks any day now.
      If I were a militia leader pretty much anywhere, I would not ally with the US because of our history of abandoning the Vietnamese Montagnards, the Iraqi interpreters, and now the Kurdish YPG

      1. All of which begs the question, why was the US in Syria and all these other places? If there’s no direct threat we shouldn’t be risking American lives.

        So you call it as the US being untrustworthy, I call it that we shouldn’t have been there anyway. So any belief by this group or that one that our support would be total and last forever was simply wrong.

        That’s what happens when US presidents make decisions based on their warmongering rage instead of US interests.

  16. Is this guy like Sargent Barry Sadler’s book character Casca, The Eternal Mercenary?

  17. Tales of the Deranged…

  18. Hey I know Joshua! Lives just a few blocks from me.

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