Unclassified Document Sheds New Light on the FBI's Prosecution of the Rise Above Movement

The document, dated 3/18/18, warns agents accessing audio purported to be of Ben Daley on It's Going Down to take security precautions when accessing the website: "PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE ANARCHIST WEBSITE AND USE A COLD COMPUTER FOR THE LINK OF THE AUDIO RELEASE" is written in large capital letters. 

A source has provided National Justice with new documents regarding US Attorney Thomas Cullen's prosecution against Mike Miselis, Tom Gillen and Ben Daley, known as the "Rise Above Movement case."

This evidence is not currently available to the appellate court - where the men are fighting their conviction - but Thomas Gillen's counsel is hoping to introduce this to the court's record. 

This material raises questions regarding the FBI's handling of the case, the plethora of potentially tainted evidence, and Cullen's narrative on the August 12, 2017 Charlottesville rally.

Trial by Anarchist Blog?

One theme in the materials we have reviewed is the enormous reliance of the FBI on anarchist and communist propaganda blogs both to build their investigation and then in their arrest affidavits.

Federal prosecutors have publicly made no mention of the political orientation of the sources from which they have lifted "open source intelligence," but an unclassified guidance memo for agents collecting evidence against RAM shows that they are well-aware of the prejudice and danger. 

The document, dated 3/18/18, warns agents accessing audio purported to be of Ben Daley on It's Going Down to take security precautions when accessing the website: "PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE ANARCHIST WEBSITE AND USE A COLD COMPUTER FOR THE LINK OF THE AUDIO RELEASE" is written in large capital letters. 

It should be noted that two of the three sources of "Open Source Intelligence" used to build the case against RAM, Unicorn Riot and NoCARA, host their materials on It's Going Down and openly share the platforms anarchist beliefs and mission. 

The fact that the FBI uses materials they have not independently verified from blogs and websites it internally acknowledges belong to dangerous extremists to build legal narratives and characterizations against the defendants is outlandish.

The federal government has also relied heavily on "reporting" by Pro-Publica, a non-profit that in a 2013 white paper states that it prides itself on sensationalism ("impact") in pursuit of political ends.

The Heaphy Report 

The only vigorous and objective investigation into the events at Charlottesville is the Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia, authored by Timothy J. Heaphy and released in November 2017.

Heaphy, US Attorney Thomas Cullen's former boss and family friend, states that anarchists and communists entered Charlottesville from across the country, and coordinated with local anarchist and communist groups - generically referred to as "counter-protesters" in Cullen's articles and affidavits - to plan violent attacks on demonstrators and police (pg. 98). 

The report was out for a full year before Cullen decided to strike. The fact that the Heaphy Report is completely ignored by Cullen's prosecutorial team, and on top of that, no equivalent "rioting" charges have been filed against anarchists, suggests that the FBI puts more weight on propaganda released by left-wing rioters at Charlottesville than the fact-finding report ordered by the municipality and presented by a former federal prosecutor. This demonstrates a lack of seriousness and political bias on Cullen's part.

The conclusion of Heaphy's report, that the police, mayor and decision to allow the left-wing activists on the City Council plan security was to blame for the chaos at Charlottesville, ought to exempt demonstrators from charges like "rioting." The motion looked at by National Justice seeks to insert exonerating aspects of the Heaphy Report into the appellate court's record.

Thomas Cullen 

US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Thomas Cullen's unethical behavior regarding his prosecutions, in some cases ongoing cases, of "white supremacists" is another red flag. Puff pieces promoting Cullen as fashionable to elite liberals - rare for individual federal prosecutors - all focus on his crusade against people he deems "white supremacist." As a law and order figure, it should be seen as inappropriate for this man to be so zealous in one direction when ideologies come into conflict. None of Cullen's interviews regarding his work prosecuting people for Charlottesville related crimes include condemnations of left-wing violence, or a desire to prosecute all criminals regardless of professed political views. 

Cullen has been heavily criticized for using bogus statistics to ring false alarms about "white supremacist terrorism" that, knowing the data and information at his disposal as a federal official, amounts to lying. In his op-ed for the New York Times last February, Cullen expressed frustration at the fact that he needs evidence of criminal wrongdoing to put "white supremacists" in prison.

No member of the Rise Above Movement identifies as a "white supremacist," nor is there any specific record of them doing so. A source involved in the Rise Above Movement case believes that Cullen's decision to prosecute Brandon McMahon aka "Jack Corbin" of Florida on specious and rarely used charges is at least partially motivated by the fact that McMahon was publicizing open source intelligence proving the innocence of Cullen's other targets in the RAM case. 

In an alarming abuse of power, Cullen was granted his wish to deny McMahon bond for "cyberstalking" and allegedly sending threats over the internet. An important source of open source intelligence that could prove the defense's innocence in appellate court, especially after an identical case against the same group was ruled unconstitutional in California, has been sealed shut by Cullen! 

Cullen's relatively short stint as federal prosecutor has so far revealed him to be someone with ignorance or disregard for even elementary due process. In an unrelated case last August, Cullen was reprimanded by a federal judge for thuggishly denying a defendant his right to a public trial. This official blemish on his record should hopefully block his careerist pursuit of a federal judgeship. 

The source aiding Gillen's case is confident that if the appellate court is able to see the relevant facts they have gathered, the defendant(s) will be vindicated. 

The fact that innocent men today languish in prison is a travesty.