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The militia of coronavirus skeptics that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan | The NY Journal

Six of the 13 detainees planned to hold a “treason trial” against Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. They are accused of terrorism

A group of armed men create a militia, meet in secret and plan to kidnap a governor and start a civil war …

It sounds like a plot from a third-rate action movie, but it just happened in America.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced Thursday that it had foiled a plot to kidnap and overthrow Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, which was seen by its organizers as the prelude to a larger civil movement.

As reported by the FBI, six men of the 13 detainees planned to hold a “treason trial” against Whitmer, who has become a target of coronavirus skeptics after enacting stringent pandemic mitigation measures that were overturned by a judge. last week.

“Hate, bigotry and violence have no place” in Michigan, Whitmer said at a news conference.

The governor linked the plot against her to the rhetoric of President Donald Trumpwho, he said, has spent the past few months “fueling mistrust, fueling anger and comforting those who spread fear, hatred and division.”

Whitmer recalled that Trump did not explicitly condemn white supremacists in the first presidential debate last week and called the comments he made then (he asked a militia to be “prepared”) as a “Battle cry” for hate groups.

What is known about the frust planrado?

The FBI explained that they became aware of the plans after an undercover source attended a meeting in June in Dublin, Ohio, where a Michigan militia called the “wolverine watchers“Discussed the overthrow of state governments” who believed they were violating the United States Constitution. “

“Several members spoke about assassinating ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ an acting governor,” the indictment document says.

In a video recorded during the meeting, one of the suspects questioned the role of the state in deciding when to reopen gyms during the coronavirus shutdown.

Getty Images
The group planned the kidnapping of the Democratic governor.

According to the FBI, the militia wanted to gather about “200 men” to storming the local capitol building and taking hostages, including the governor.

They hoped to put their plan into action before the November presidential election.

If that failed, they planned to attack the governor at her home, according to authorities.

The defendants “coordinated the surveillance of the governors’ vacation residence,” said US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew B. Birge.

He added that they also planned attacks with Molotov cocktails on police officers, bought a stun gun and collected funds to purchase explosives and tactical equipment.

Who are the accused?

According to the FBI, the main suspects are six men, five from Michigan and one from Delaware, who will be charged in federal court for plotting the kidnapping.

The detainees were named as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Casert and Ty Garbin, whose home in was raided by authorities Wednesday.

The other seven face terrorism and gang-related crimes charges in state court in connection with the alleged kidnapping plot.

Top from left: Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta, Daniel Harris, and Kaleb Franks. Bottom left to right: Ty Garbin, Eric Molitor, Michael Null and William Null

Antrim County Sheriff’s Office
The eight main suspects.

Whitmer came under widespread criticism after he imposed strict local measures to control the coronavirus, which sparked demonstrations and led gunmen who opposed the lockdown to storm the state capitol.

At the time, Trump hinted his support for the protesters, tweeting “FREE MICHIGAN.”

Last Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer did not have the legal authority to issue emergency executive orders and that responsibility rested with the state legislature.

After the ruling, the lawyer who argued the case before the court recommended to the citizens “burn their masks“, One of the protection measures that health authorities say are necessary to prevent the spread of covid-19.

What se knows of the group?

The defendants carried out weapons training in various states and at times attempted to create bombssays the FBI.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that in addition to the kidnapping charges, the state will charge seven members of “Wolverine’s vigilantes” with gang affiliation and providing material support to terrorists.

According to Nessel, the members of the militia “expected to start a civil war.”

“Michigan law enforcement officers are united in our commitment to eradicate terrorism in any form and we will take swift action against anyone seeking to cause violence or harm in our state,” said Colonel Joe Gasper, Director of the Michigan State Police. .

Garbin's home was raided by police on Wednesday.

Getty Images
Garbin’s home was raided by police on Wednesday.

In recent years, numerous violent incidents have been linked to citizen militia groups in the United States.

The adherents, who are often white men, sometimes brandish weapons during protests.

The Department of Homeland Security warned this week in an annual report that violent white supremacy was the “most persistent and deadly threat” for USA

Joe Biden, who is running for president against Trump, condemned the militias as “a genuine threat” and criticized his opponent for encouraging them.

“A president’s words matter,” he said, adding, “Why can’t the president just tell them to stop.”

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