"The Charlottesville Four, a Show Trial in the Making"
I read Tuesday that four men were arrested early in the morning on charges that they traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia last year to incite a riot and attack counter-protestors.
This is a violation of Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S. Code Section 2101, which makes it a felony to cross or telephone across state lines to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot. Punishment can be up to 5 years in prison.
The press has gone into a frenzy of denunciations of the four defendants; a typical example is the Huff post article here.
It is the substantially incorrect reporting leveled against politically unpopular people which causes me concern. As a Revisionist, I think facts matter to Justice, to fair reporting, and to history.
The three Huff reporters are Ryan J. Reilly, Andy Campbell and Christopher Mathias. It is inconceivable to me that a journalist writing about this case would avoid the facts which make the government's charge substantially impossible.
The first fact overlooked is that the 4 defendants were going to a legal assembly which had been given a governmental permit. It was as proper and correct as an assembly can be.
The second ignored fact is that the Charlottesville City government had worked closely with the event organizer to secure the event site from possible (illegal) counter-protestors. That is, at the time defendants crossed state lines, they were going to a legal permitted event and were going to have barricades and police separating them from anyone to riot with.
Also relevant to whether the defendants crossed state lines with an intent to cause a riot was the circumstances of the violence. The Huff three neglected to mention that approximately 1,000 counter-demonstrators poured into Charlottesville (many crossing state lines) with the announced illegal purpose of disrupting the legal demonstration. Included in this crowd were members of openly violent groups such as Anti-Racist Action, The Revolutionary Communist Party, the Metropolitan anarchist Coordinating Council, and Antifa. Ironically, these people clearly committed exactly the crime the four defendants are charged with. The fighting only started when the police failed to keep the two sides separated. See here. Unless they knew the police were going to bungle security, the Four Defendants could not have been intending to riot as they crossed state lines.
The FBI's own evidence supports this; affidavit in support of the arrest warrant makes a point at paragraph 28: That the FBI had seize bank records which show that the credit card of one of the Defendants was used on August 11, 2017, in Charlottesville, to buy white athletic tape, black spray paint and a folding knife. The FBI claims this shows an intent to riot. Well, maybe, but it shows that the defendants arrived in Virginia without their athletic tape or any other weapon and strongly implies that the Defendants had no expectation of a riot prior to arriving in Virginia. They had to buy tape in Virginia. The three Huff reporters missed this fact too.
The criticism of factual gaps in the article by Reilly, Campbell and Mathias could go on but the real point here is that these guys are using their power as journalists to egg on a criminal prosecution and lie to the public. Obviously, they hate the defendants and maybe they are justified in hating these four young men. But Reilly, Campbell and Mathias are writing propaganda not journalism. They should be ashamed and so should the Justice Department.
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|Title:||"The Charlottesville Four, a Show Trial in the Making"|
|First posted on CODOH:||Oct. 4, 2018, 1:30 p.m.|