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“Wolverine Watchmen” plot to abduct Governor Gretchin Whitmer: Group Members Charged with Conspiracy to Kidnap

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Undercover FBI agent gathered detailed audio evidence on elaborate and deadly plot

The FBI released an affidavit on Thursday, October 8th, charging six members of a right-winged private militia for plotting to overthrow the government and kidnap Democrat Governor Gretchin Whitmer

Read More: Trump’s Disinformation Propaganda Production fueled by Steroids and Hubris

These six men were part of a group called “Wolverine Watchmen,” a private coalition that endorses (and often times enacts) violent actions to liberate itself from what they perceive to be a tyrannical government. Members typically hold libertarian views, rallying against tax hikes, gun control, and occasions where they think the government impedes on personal freedoms. 

Their plot to kidnap Gretchin Whitmer comes after several months of strict rules regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor has exercised immense emergency powers in Michigan, rigorously enforcing certain restrictions in the name of health and safety. In April, many members of “Wolverine Watchmen” stormed the state capitol when Whitmer announced a stay-at-home order.

According to the FBI investigation, the six charged members are named Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. They have been planning to kidnap Whitmer for months with recorded phone calls and rehearsal meetings to prove it. The evidence heavily suggests that they intended to execute the kidnapping at Whitmer’s vacation home in Michigan’s Western District. References to moving the captive governor to Wisconsin or even killing her also emerge in the recordings.

Following the report’s release, The Daily Beast performed thorough research on the militia’s vast members, using their social media and public records to reveal that many people tied to the “Wolverine Watchmen” also show support of alt-right, white supremacy groups.

Tellingly, all of this comes less than two weeks after the first presidential debate, when President Donald Trump struggled (and ultimately failed) to condemn white supremacists. Rebuking this Presidential statement was at the heart of Whitmer’s response to the situation.

Michigan has a long history as a hot bed for militia activity

In a news conference, Whitmer explained that white supremacists and private militias took the President’s fumbling response during the debate as a call-to-action, and blames the POTUS for reinvigorating such violent hate groups when he had a clear avenue for creating peace.

Whitmer naturally expressed shock and disgust at the situation, but she also had strong words of hope. Despite everything she’s been through, she addressed Michiganders with poise, praising those who have shown bravery throughout this troubling year and promising to continue protecting the state against the virus.

At last, she mentioned that unity is crucial for getting through this pandemic, and that becoming each other’s enemy will only tear this country apart further. She called for kindness, empathy, and grace, for protecting our neighbors and following the guidelines that will keep everyone safe.As of right now, the legal reprehensions for Fox, Croft, Garbin, Franks, Harris, and Caserta remain to-be-determined.

They are being charged in federal court while seven other members of the “Wolverine Watchmen” are going to state court for targeting police officers and the capitol in Michigan. Given the evidence against them—as well as the fact that the Second Amendment only allows militias when called upon by the government— it seems as if the law is not on their side. 

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