Acccording to the author, recent attempts to label right wing groups (by Maxine Waters), or antifa (by Tom Cotton), as ‘insurrections’ fail to meet the federal legal standard.
Instead, he argues (based on experience in Iraq) that:
"…None of these groups [Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, antifa] could be considered insurrectionists in the formal, U.S. legal sense. Still less could this term be applied to the unorganized looters who pillaged property or to the mobs that attacked police precincts over the past several weeks. These people, however violent, were committing acts of civil disturbance, property destruction, and assault that are well-addressed by ordinary civil and criminal law. And of course, protesters legitimately exercising the First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” are committing no crime whatsoever and should be protected, supported, and – most importantly – heard.
In this respect the argument that the protests have been “largely peaceful” may be true, but it is also irrelevant. Only a tiny minority – 2 to 5 percent – of individuals in insurgencies, civil wars, or criminal gangs actually commit violence…"
“… Thus, as this month’s disorder fades, the main long-term impact may be its radicalizing effect on a tiny minority of participants who join more violent groups as a result. It is commonplace in insurgencies for guerrilla talent spotters to identify recruits through street violence, inducting them into armed, organized groups over time. More broadly, the military concept of insurgency –subversion plus violence, intended to seize, nullify, or challenge political control – may be more applicable here than insurrection…”
He also makes the point that repeated street clashes between multiple insurgent groups has led to a tactical and organizational “cross-pollination”.
It seems that, if true, this further invalidates the Trump-Barr approach to the wider protest movements, since it would and does train committed insurgents, while also winnowing and toughening up those cadre capable of radicalization beyond dissent.