The F.B.I. announced the arrest of 13 members of our species who were planning to make America great again. Here are five of them:
From The New York Times:
Storming the State Capitol. Instigating a civil war. Abducting a sitting governor ahead of the presidential election.
Those were among the plots described by federal and state officials in Michigan on Thursday as they announced terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men. At least six of them, officials said, had hatched a detailed plan to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has become a focal point of anti-government views and anger over coronavirus control measures.
The group that planned the kidnapping met repeatedly over the summer for firearms training and combat drills and practiced building explosives, the F.B.I. said; members also gathered several times to discuss the mission, including in [a basement] accessible only through a “trap door” under a rug.
The men spied on Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home in August and September, even looking under a highway bridge for places they could place and detonate a bomb to distract the authorities, the F.B.I. said. They indicated that they wanted to take Ms. Whitmer hostage before the election in November, and one man said they should take her to a “secure location” in Wisconsin for a “trial,” Richard J. Trask II, an F.B.I. special agent, said in the criminal complaint.
Mr. Trask said that one of those arrested had bought a Taser for the mission last week and that the men had been planning to buy explosives on Wednesday. Court records indicated that at least five of the men had been arrested on Wednesday in Ypsilanti, Mich.; it was not immediately clear if the sixth man had been taken into custody. . . .
The F.B.I. said a leader in the kidnapping plot had reached out to members of an unnamed anti-government group for help, and the state charged an additional seven men, all from Michigan, with providing material support for terrorist activities, being members of a gang and using firearms while committing felonies.
The seven men were said to be affiliated with an extremist group known as the Wolverine Watchmen, and the state’s attorney general accused them of collecting addresses of police officers in order to target them, threatening to start a civil war “leading to societal collapse” and planning to kidnap the governor and other government officials.
The seven men were charged with state crimes, which carry penalties of two to 20 years in prison.
Ms. Whitmer and Dana Nessel, the Michigan attorney general, tied the extremist plot to comments from President Txxxx and his refusal at times . . . to condemn white supremacists and violent right-wing groups. . . . Ms. Whitmer said extremists had “heard the president’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry — as a call to action.”
. . . the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said in September that the most pressing threats facing the nation were from anti-government and white supremacist groups, who . . . have carried out the most lethal domestic attacks in recent years.
The F.B.I. investigation of the kidnapping plot began early this year, according to an affidavit, after a social media discussion of violent government overthrow. The F.B.I. used confidential informants, undercover agents and intercepted messages to monitor the group. . . . The six men were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which can carry a life sentence.
The authorities said that [two of the men] had decided to “unite others” to “take violent action” against state governments that they thought were violating the Constitution . . . . The F.B.I. said [one] had talked of storming the Michigan Statehouse with 200 men and trying Ms. Whitmer for treason. . . .
Ms. Whitmer has been the subject of criticism from right-wing protesters for measures she imposed to try to control the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected about 146,000 Michigan residents and killed about 7,200.
In April, thousands of people gathered at the State Capitol to protest the executive orders she issued shutting down most of the state. Mr. Txxxx openly encouraged such protests, tweeting, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”
. . . In May, a man was charged with threatening to kill Ms. Whitmer and Ms. Nessel. And the protests at the Capitol in Lansing featured some signs with swastikas, Confederate flags and demonstrators who advocated for violence against Ms. Whitmer, including one man who carried a doll with brown hair hanging from a noose. Many in the crowd carried semiautomatic weapons, leading some Democrats in the Legislature to call for a ban on guns in the Capitol.
Republicans in the Legislature sued Ms. Whitmer in May over the executive orders, and last week opponents of her lockdown filed petitions with more than 500,000 signatures to repeal a 1945 law that gives governors authority to declare emergencies during times of a public health crisis. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that the law, which Ms. Whitmer had cited, was unconstitutional [deciding it conflicts with another Michigan law regarding emergency declarations]. . . .
The alleged plot in Michigan was infused with elements that have been the focus of anti-government extremists for years, said J.J. MacNab, a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, such as accusing government officials of tyranny.
Most of all, Ms. MacNab said, they want their acts to serve as examples — to inspire others to carry out similar attacks.
“Starting a revolution is a common thread in the overall anti-government extremist movement,” Ms. MacNab said.
Homeland Security analysts have warned in recent days of potential attacks from extremists seeking to retaliate against government-ordered social distancing measures and closures. . .
The F.B.I. said it had monitored the kidnapping plot throughout the summer as the target narrowed to the governor’s personal vacation home. The group discussed the governor in vulgar terms and called her a “tyrant.”
“Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her,” one of the men said in an encrypted group chat, according to the F.B.I. . . .
“I just wanna make the world glow, dude,” the affidavit quoted [one of the men] as saying in a profanity-laced tirade. “We’re gonna topple it all . . . “
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