JUST IN: Federal authorities announce arrest of four members of white supremacist group "for committing various acts of violence" at Charlottesville rally. https://t.co/1FJvcHGjUZ pic.twitter.com/RUPFm5r3r9— ABC News (@ABC) October 2, 2018
Federal authorities arrested four members of the neo-Nazi hate group, Rise Above Movement, charging them with conspiracy to traveling to Virginia in order to commit violent acts in “furtherance” of riot. The arrests have shed light on the militant group that has created new tactics to peddle white supremacy.
The arrested people were Cole Evan White, Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis and Thomas Walter Gillen from Southern California. The alt-right fight club-style gang took part in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that ended in a tragedy and the four members were charged for violating the federal riots statute by participating in the rally with “intent to incite a riot.”
If that isn’t terrorism, what is?
The FBI wrote in the criminal complaint the group has a publicly viewable Twitter page and posts “photos of themselves posing shirtless and wearing skull half masks.”
ProPublica identified Miselis as one of the people who were seen committing violence against the counter-protesters. Afterwards, Miselis lost his job as a system engineer at the defense contractor, Northrup Grumman.
In July 2018, ProPublica tweeted out a video of Daley punching a counter-protester at another rally in Berkeley. He also assaulted a Mother Jones journalist at the same rally.
2/ Two months after the deadly rally in Charlottesville, we published our first story. It was about the Rise Above Movement, a group of violent white supremacists who showed up at Trump rallies in California. https://t.co/6G2BDcTHXl— ProPublica (@ProPublica) July 25, 2018
The FBI also wrote in its affidavit that Gillen was photographed being arrested for his involvement in Charlottesville, with his fists taped together in the “manner of boxers or MMA style fighters...in an apparent effort to prepare to engage in physical violence.”
The Rise Above Movement has over 50 members, who spend their weekends boxing or training in other martial arts. They have also publicly bragged about inciting violence in San Bernardino, Berkeley and Huntington Beach while they spread their ideology through their social media platforms and even their clothing brand.
RAM was initially suspended on social media but rebranded itself and now operates in the open as it promotes its mission of eliminating Muslims, Jews and people of color and other religions from the face of the world.
The group is still active on YouTube and Vimeo and shows themselves wearing the American flag on their faces, working out and promoting the white European identity. Their clothing company, Right Brand Clothing, was marketed via Instagram for months, gathering over 2,000 followers before the platform suspended the account, according to the Huffington Post. The brand still retains its website which is currently marketing its fall 2018 outerwear collection. However, they are not accepting orders at this time.
According to experts, the neo-Nazi group has devised a plan where they can package their hate-mongering ideologies into a socially-active, lifestyle brand by using things like group exercises and $30 T-shirts, to make it seem more attractive.
RAM members have also taken international trips to Europe recently to connect with white supremacists in countries like Germany and Ukraine and have competed in MMA tournaments.
It’s unbelievable that counter-terrorism units and law enforcement presumably know of all these things (RAM is not exactly hiding itself) and still have done nothing to stop the neo-Nazi group.
Even before the “Unite the Right” rally, the group had orchestrated violence in several places in California. The group went to a “Make America Great Again” rally in Huntington Beach wearing skull masks, where they beat up counter-protesters and reporters as President Donald Trump’s supporters cheered them on.
Later, the group traveled to Berkeley, where photos show them punching, kicking and otherwise assaulting demonstrators who lay writhing on the ground.
Michael German, a former FBI agent told BuzzFeed News that such people usually have extensive criminal records and are known by the police. However, they have been able to fly all over the world without law enforcement officials batting an eyelash.
The arrests came over a year after James A. Fields Jr. drove a car into a crowd of protesters, killing a paralegal Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others. Fields was charged for 10 counts of felony, including first degree murder, in December 2017 and of hate crime this June.
Yet, law enforcement officials refuse to call these neo-Nazis terrorists.
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