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Last year, at the neo-Nazi jamboree in Charlottesville, an unknown member of the violent white supremacist group Rise Above Movement (RAM) in a "Make America Great Again" hat was caught on tape as he "pushed an African-American protester to the ground and began pounding on him." Several months before that, the man was filmed with the same group, beating up protesters at a Trump rally in Berkeley. A year later, thanks to an investigation by Frontline and Pro-Publica, we now know who this man is and -- perhaps more importantly -- where he works.


His name is Michael Miselis. He is a 29-year-old man working on his doctorate in aerospace engineering at UCLA, and has a side gig with United States defense contractor Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. This side gig means that he has a security clearance. Not only that, but according to current and former employees of Northrup Grumman, the company is well aware of his activities in Charlottesville and with RAM, and -- judging by the fact that he continues to be employed there -- is ok with that.

Northrop Grumman did not respond to several requests for comment. However, interviews with current and former Northrop employees, as well as an internal email, make clear the company knows of Miselis' actions in Charlottesville and involvement with RAM. Miselis informed his superiors about his contact with reporters from ProPublica and Frontline, as is required by any individual who holds a higher-level security clearance, the people said.

This seems like a pretty bad idea given the inclinations of this particular group.

You see, RAM isn't just a bunch of angry white dudes whining on 4chan about "white genocide." I mean ... it would be bad enough if it were that and he had security clearance, but this group is a lot scarier, more active and more violent than that. Formed last spring by Nazi ex-con and MMA enthusiast Robert Rundo, RAM is dedicated to violent street fighting as a way of addressing what they see as a "destructive culture" brought about by Jewish people and non-Europeans. In other words, they are racists who go around beating people up. Several of the 20 or so core members of the group have already been in jail for hate crimes and other crimes like robbery and assault.

Behold, two of RAM's mission statements, via the ADL:

"We want to rise above all of today's destructive culture and see the rebirth of our people, strong in mental and physical capacities as our forefathers were. In a time when you can be harmed for your political beliefs or shamed for your heritage, we are here to defend our identity and shared goals." Rise Above Movement, Instagram, June 12, 2017

"The Rise Above Movement is the premier MMA club of the Alt-Right, representing the United States. Their dedication is to promote an active lifestyle and common values among young people and a future for European people. This is achieved through training, creative thinking and activism. The main task of The Rise Above Movement is to revive the spirit of a warrior and to see the rebirth of values of Western Civilization's forefathers." Rise Above Movement, GAB.ai, December 18, 2017


And here is their training montage video, which features clips of them beating up protesters and holding up racist and anti-Semitic signs.

Given that you can be disqualified from having a DoD security clearance for something like having a bunch of debt, it sure seems odd that belonging to a group that exists exclusively to promote the use of violence in order to secure a white ethnostate would not be a disqualifier. It seems extra odd that actual video of you and your friends beating people up in furtherance of your extreme beliefs would not be a disqualifier either.

This security clearance means that Miselis has access to sensitive information regarding national security. How can the DoD be sure that this ass would not use the access he has in order to do something extremely fucked up? I think it is fair to say that someone who is literally training for a race war is probably a little bit dangerous in this capacity.

According to ClearanceJobs.com, involvement in an extremist group or a hate group can be a disqualifying factor -- so I think it is fair to say that Northrup Grumman and the DoD owe America an explanation as to why they found belonging to a Neo-Nazi fight club to be a thing they can overlook.

[ProPublica]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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