Yet Another Warning from Michigan: FBI Busted Plot to Kidnap “That Woman”

As you’ve probably heard by now, the FBI foiled a plot to kidnap Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The conspirators intended to move her across state lines to Wisconsin where she would be tried by a kangaroo court for “treason.”

Timing of the plot and events which may have inspired this idiocy:

10-MAR-2020 — Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-4, declaring a state of emergency in Michigan to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-MAR-2020 — Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-5 canceling all events and assemblies over 250 people, ending on Sunday, April 5 at 5 p.m. Michigan’s public schools and churches were closed with this order.

16-MAR-2020 — Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-9, closing places of public accommodation including restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, theaters through March 30.

20-MAR-2020 — Militia group in Michigan brought to attention of FBI when group sought addresses of local law enforcement. A Confidential Human Sources (CHS) was identified during FBI interview with a concerned militia member.

23-MAR-2020 — Gov. Whitmer issued “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order 2020-21, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, effective immediately.

27-MAR-2020 — During a press conference discussing Pence’s work as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump tells VP Pence, “Don’t call the woman in Michigan.”

01-APR-2020 — Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-33 expanding Executive Order 2020-4, declaring both a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the state of Michigan.

07-APR-2020 — Michigan legislature adopted a concurrent resolution to extend the states of emergency and disaster declared under the Emergency Management Act until April 30, 2020.

09-APR-2020 — First extension of Stay-Home order until May 1 due to rising COVID cases.

15-APR-2020 — Drive-in “Operation Gridlock” Protest in capital city Lansing, violating Stay-Home order; organizer received financial assistance from DeVos family.

17-APR-2020 — Trump tweeted, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!

24-APR-2020 — Second extension of Stay-Home order until May 15 due to increased COVID cases. Some restrictions were lifted on outdoor businesses. Masks ordered for all residents in public spaces.

30-APR-2020 — Armed protest in state capitol building

06-MAY-2020 — GOP-majority state house and state senate file suit against Gov. Whitmer (Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate v. Whitmer)

08-MAY-2020 — Third extension of Stay-Home order until May 28. Some restrictions lifted on manufacturing as of 11-MAY-2020 as part of a phased re-opening.

21-MAY-2020 — Michigan Court of Claims ruled in favor of Gov. Whitmer in Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate v. Whitmer; the state of emergency would continue without legislative approval.

22-MAY-2020 — Fourth extension of Stay-Home order until June 12. State of emergency also extended to June 19. Two northern Michigan regions were able to reopen, allowing restaurants and bars to operate at 50% capacity. Groups of 10 were permitted across the state.

01-JUN-2020 — Stay-Home order lifted with restrictions, ex. groups of 100 outdoors, outdoor fitness classes, etc.

06-JUN-2020 — Meeting of ~15 co-conspirators in Dublin, Ohio.

08-JUN-2020 — Restaurants allowed to reopen and operate across the state at 50% capacity with other mandatory changes like masks and social distancing.

08-JUN-2020 — On reopening, Harper’s brewpub restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan, violated several of the remaining emergency restrictions. Over the next month at least 185 cases of COVID will have been traced back to this facility’s reopening.

14-JUN-2020 — A key co-conspirator and a militia group member meet at a militia field training exercise.

15-JUN-2020 — Stay-Home order ends. Some restrictions remain on events and assemblies as well as public accommodation facilities.

18-JUN-2020 — Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-127, again finding that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a disaster and emergency throughout the State of Michigan.

18-JUN-2020 — Co-conspirators met with militia group leadership at the Second Amendment rally at the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan.

20-JUN-2020 — Several co-conspirators met at a co-conspirator’s business in Grand Rapids for planning.

25-JUN-2020 — Key co-conspirator streams a rant about Gov. Whitmer to a private Facebook group.

28-JUN-2020 — Several co-conspirators met in Munith, Michigan for a tactical training

04-06-JUL-2020 — Holiday weekend partying results in uptick of COVID cases.

10-12-JUL-2020 — Co-conspirators attended a field training exercise in Cambria, Wisconsin which included attempting to make IEDs with balloons, BBs, and black powder.

13-JUL-2020 — Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-147, mandating the wearing of masks to contain spread of COVID-19.

18-JUL-2020 — Co-conspirators met in Ohio, discussed attacking Michigan State Police and shooting up Gov. Whitmer’s vacation home in western lower Michigan.

27-JUL-2020 — Co-conspirators discussed plan to kidnap Gov. Whitmer at vacation home, transport her to Wisconsin, and prosecute her.

09-AUG-2020 — Co-conspirators discussed obtaining intelligence about Gov. Whitmer’s Lansing home as well as attacking her at that site.

18-AUG-2020 — Co-conspirators discussed surveillance of Gov. Whitmer’s vacation home and getaway plans.

23-AUG-2020 — Co-conspirators discussed surveillance while meeting in Lake Orion, Michigan.

29-AUG-2020 — Co-conspirator and CH-2 surveil Gov. Whitmer’s vacation home.

30-AUG-2020 — Co-conspirators discuss findings of surveillance.

12-13-SEP-2020 — Co-conspirators meet in Luther, Michigan for field training exercise and practice making and using IEDs as well as tighten planning and coordination.

14-SEP-2020 — Co-conspirators discuss executing plan in late October, well before Election Day.

30-SEP-2020 — Co-conspirators discuss acquiring taser for plan.

02-OCT-2020 — Key co-conspirator confirms acquisition of taser.

06-OCT-2020 — In a 4-3 ruling along partisan lines, Michigan Supreme Court determined Gov. Whitmer did not have the authority to issue COVID-related executive orders after April 30, 2020.

07-OCT-2020 — Co-conspirators planned to meet to make payments on equipment.

07-OCT-2020 — Co-conspirator Garbin’s house was raided.

09-OCT-2020 — Arrest of ‘Wolverine Watchmen’ conspirators announced, complaint published.

I use word inspired loosely, because there doesn’t seem to be a direct link between the most aggressive emergency action and the inception and progress of this seditious terror plot. The emergency Stay-Home order was lifted the week the conspirators began planning; what restrictions remained clearly did not stop these men from traveling, meeting, organizing, and planning.

They also didn’t have a legitimate beef about the effectiveness of the governor’s actions, any more so than the polarized and irrational MIGOP-controlled state legislature. Eleventh largest by population, Michigan was hit hard early in the pandemic, now ranking 10th in overall COVID-19 deaths. But since Whitmer declared the state of emergency and enacted the Stay-Home order along with a phased reopening process, the state’s daily death toll has plummeted and its cases per million is now 40th in the country.

You’ll recall from posts I wrote about the protests opposing Whitmer’s orders back in April that the protests cause spikes in active confirmed cases beginning 5-10 days after the protests. They’re visible here in these charts.

The plot wasn’t about Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19.

One only needs to look and listen to the language the conspirators used about Gov. Whitmer to know that this was about hate for a woman with the authority to give orders with regard to a deadly pandemic.

Tyranny to this baker’s dozen of white men was about a democratically-elected woman in a position of legitimate authority telling them what to do.

Trump set the tone for this by refusing to help Whitmer when she asked for federal assistance, by refusing to allow Pence as COVID-19 Task Force chair to listen to Whitmer, and by tweeting, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” after the first protest against Whitmer’s orders.

His tweets yesterday attacking Whitmer again even after the arrests of kidnapping conspirators only reinforce the real intent of Trump and seditious domestic terrorists alike.

What will Trump’s tweets spawn next as we head into a second wave of COVID-19, this time with Michigan’s governor disempowered by Republicans on the state supreme court?

51 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    The other issue which is less obvious is racism. These white men accused of a seditious conspiracy to commit domestic terror are from parts of the state which are predominantly white. COVID-19 deaths only happen to Black people as far as they’re concerned in places like Luther, Michigan in a county which is 85% white. Why should they listen to a woman curtailing their ability to do whatever the fuck they want because she wants to save “those people”?

    • Smeelbo says:

      If a bunch of racists knew that by firing bullets into the air that first, the shots could never be traced back to them, and second, two-thirds of the casualties would be brown and black people, they would empty their rifles into the air, reloading until they ran out of ammunition, and then buy more ammo.

      In the case of COVID-19, the ammunition is free, and by pretending to not understand what they are doing, they avoid culpability.

      But make no mistake, they feel a secret thrill knowing they are committing untraceable genocide.

  2. Xboxershorts says:

    I would bet a years pay that…

    Very similar PAC networks exist in every state in the Union and similarly radicalized groups of people who’ve been fed a constant stream of outrage inducing media for years exist in every state as well.

    And I’m 100% certain that Foreign antagonists (Yes, you Vlad) are well aware of these “networks” that grew out of the late 2000s Tea Party movement and learned very quickly how to use social media to inject their own anti-American propaganda messaging into that media stream. (Racist undertones are very easy to amplify because we have never dealt with our original sins)

    I believe that the DeVos family never intended for this kind of reaction, but that this “thing” they’ve created using Outrage inducing messaging has likely grown into a Frankenstein Monster of sorts that grew well beyond anyone’s ability to control.

    I am really worried about our future.

    • bmaz says:

      Think it goes back further than that. Think the weird cesspools that begat McVeigh and Nichols after Ruby Ridge and Waco. There was early activity in Michigan, Idaho and northwestern Arizona. They are more widespread and connected now, but these dopes have been around a while.

      Also, good to see you again.

      • Xboxershorts says:

        Yes, an undercurrent of anti-government resentment has always been there.

        But I think it’s been put on steroids in recent years.

        And the pleasure is mine!

      • Rayne says:

        It’s both. It’s quite easy to mess with the nationalists/separatists because there’s been +25 years of friction built up with help of libertarian Republican types. Takes very little to stir them up with foreign aid since they have mutual interests. Russia has fueled separatist movements within UK, Spain, Ukraine, and US (ex: Texas and California separatist groups). These groups have a strong overlap with white nationalists.

        Democracies are more vulnerable to this kind of influence because they entertain the will of the people, where autocratic systems like Russia simply outlaw separatism while co-opting nationalism.

        In Michigan the link between Michigan Militia (group linked to 1995 Oklahoma City bombing) and the guys arrested yesterday isn’t hard to grasp — they’re hanging out in the same areas where these white nationalists/separatists have been for decades. Only surprise they weren’t hanging out in Michigan’s Thumb region where Nichols was from and where racist white nationalism has gotten so ugly it was key to the retirement of a Republican who was overwhelmed by it.

      • Raven Eye says:

        Better, robust networks, built on or into existing networks, are more likely to be much stronger and more effective. Combine this with one of the most important features of the malign use of social media: Low risk. It comes in two areas: Financial risk and operational risk.

        The cost of investing in social media operations is minute compared to traditional, boots-on-the-ground methods. Putin has shown an admirable ability (regardless of the fact that he is a despicable person) to pivot on the new technology. You go out and find the best and the brightest and give them sandboxes to play in. Even for the academic types, the temptation to study this play must be almost irresistible. Once you learn the types of people you need, it’s easy to recruit and grow new ones. And you don’t even need to send most of them abroad – a decent salary and comfy digs in St. Petersburg are just fine. Even if you need to send folks out to get some ground truth in American cities, the cost and risk of exposure are very low – an in-and-out job. In some cases, you’ll be able to leverage long-term illegals that have been working abroad for years.

        The operational risk is so low because the risks to your staff are minimal. You can fail with 80% of your virtual trial efforts, and it’s just another day at the office. If you failed with 80% of your traditional field operations, the costs in terms of resources (financial, personnel, experiential, security, etc.) could be enormous and you’d have a short career (at best).

        In this low risk context, find the existing organizations to exploit using social media; and build baby, build.

  3. Rugger9 says:

    David Neiwert has been investigating these creeps for a very long time. The part that concerns me is that they’ve made a policy of infiltrating the police (note how NYPD pulled back from the Brooklyn anti-mask riot last night, contrasted with how they handle a BLM protest) and the military which would otherwise limit their available reach. These yahoos know that the Army or USMC would grind them into dust if they got into a shooting war, and so that’s why the “militias” want to encourage the armed forces to be sympathetic and stay out.

    • Rayne says:

      True. Do a map of the locations from which these guys hailed and you’ll see they weren’t from Midland and Saginaw County area which were hardest hit by the dams’ failures.

      That crisis could have led to a strong uptick in cases but it didn’t as the chart shows. The majority of Michiganders believe mask wearing and the other actions Whitmer took under emergency powers were necessary to keep the state safe. Those places where idiots didn’t follow the orders are where the upticks occurred — like the stupid partiers on a couple lakes during the summer holidays as well as Harper’s.

      All this crap is personal. I live downstream from the dams and one of my kid’s friends worked at Harper’s and got sick. Wear a mask, people.

  4. dadidoc1 says:

    These groups really grew under the Obama administration. Believe me, these folks have massive stockpiles of guns and ammunition. I’m pretty sure they were disappointed when Obama didn’t try to confiscate their guns. Donald Trump has definitely refueled their fire.

    • Rugger9 says:

      That point reinforces Rayne’s observation that it’s the racism that drives these yahoos.

      The NRA owns this as well between their sketchy rhetoric and policy to ship as many guns as possible with as little oversight as possible. I know it’s early but how many of the weapons seized were ghost weapons?

      • Raven Eye says:

        The NRA will never initiate or endorse an initiative or policy that does not result in increased sales of weapons, accessories, ammunition, or firearms-related services.

        They know where their silver comes from.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I lived in Michigan for some time during the Obama years and was *shocked* at how openly racist my white co-workers were. Many of them owned ARs and fantasized about shooting bipoc during and after Ferguson. “Educated” people too, and near a major college town. Big reason for why I skedaddled back to Minneapolis.

      Some pundit tried to make some stupid economic anxiety excuse based on a picture of a broken window after the FBI raid, good takedown of it here

  5. BobCon says:

    I think a big piece is how Facebook completely dodges reponsibility, and how the larger press shows general cluelessness about how Facebook works.

    Facebook gets a lot of positive press for shutting down specific pages and groups set up by the right, but what they almost never do is kick bad actors off their platforms.

    Charlie Kirk is getting rightly dragged for being photographed with the Michigan terrorists. He was behind the pro-Trump troll farm which had fake accounts bannes by Facebook. But Facebook has left Kirk himself alone.

    And this works at a lower level as well. Facebook may decide that certain content violates its terms, and ban certain memes or block certain articles, but it almost never takes serious action against the people who distribute them.

    Most people who distribute this kind of racist, sexist garbage also use Facebook for sharing photos of kids and dogs and cars. They don’t want to give that up, and would stop sharing photos of Whitmer with a target if Facebook treated the distribution of this stuff more seriously.

  6. P J Evans says:

    Trmp is unhappy now because Whitmer didn’t congratulate *him* on the arrests. He doesn’t deserve any: he was egging them on. (I read that FB reported them to the FBI.)

    • Raven Eye says:

      That term “stand by”? To someone in the police, military, militia, or vigilance committee, the means “Stand by for orders”. Trump knew exactly what that means. It might have been one of his reptilian responses, but that just shows how deep this is embedded in his psychological makeup.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I don’t think there’s any question that Trump knew exactly what “stand by” meant, when uttered by the so-called Commander-in-Chief. (He’s not the C-in-C of any civilian are armed gang, only of the US military.)

      If Trump can’t win, he will take a blowtorch to the game board and whoever is still near it. He hopes that armed gangs will wield it for him. He’s a psychopath: he doesn’t care how much damage he causes or to whom.

      Same with making public appearances, without shielding himself, while sick with a deadly, largely untreatable, contagious disease spreading across the world. So long as Trump refuses to say when he tested negative, be assured that he hasn’t yet tested negative.

      • Raven Eye says:

        If Trump loses the election, let’s say it takes a couple of weeks for that to sink in. From that point in time to the middle of January can we imagine what he’d be willing to do?

        • P J Evans says:

          He already has figured out he’s going to lose – that’s the reason for some of the recent craziness from him. The next three months are not going to be easy.

          • Raven Eye says:

            I don’t have any reason to conclude that Trump has “figured out” that He is going to lose. He may FEAR it, but I don’t think that he has accepted it. For that matter, regardless of what the polls or forecasts say, I don’t KNOW that He is going to lose.

            That said, I can’t see anything that He wouldn’t try, though more likely domestic rather than foreign.

            Should He lose, it will be interesting to see the reactions of the Republicans in the Senate from mid-November through mid-January. Will He still have any leverage over them (other than the threat of motivating more domestic terrorists to conduct targeted actions)?

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          Worried he will really start trashing foreign policy especially, e.g. pulling out of the UN, NATO.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            War with Iran. He’s making more and more noise about them, creating his own predicate. He does know he’s losing; that’s what the whole “rigged” election rhetorical campaign is about–stealing it back.

  7. Nehoa says:

    Perhaps we should propose that only women can bear arms under the Second Amendment. Might lower the level of crazy a bit.

  8. SelfAbsorbed says:

    I had a vague memory of reading about the DeVos Clan supporting the MI lockdown tantrums, sorry I mean, protests, and found this article (link below) that’s very interesting, especially now that the monster the DeVoses (DeVos’s? I’m not sure what the pl. of DeVos is) have been feeding money for years is linked to misogynistic domestic terror plots to kidnap & execute the MI governor.

    Also, thank you! I’ve been looking for someone, anyone, to call out the underlying misogyny in this case and I’ve seen nothing.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Misogyny is their superpower. Its the animating force they won’t acknowledge, unlike the racism they often proudly will. In this, too, they ape Trump.

  9. P J Evans says:

    I saw a comment on Twitter that Rick Snyder poisoned the city of Flint, but no Blacks tried to kidnap him for it. (California is still restricted and masking.)

  10. mospeck says:

    slow chipping away at our freedom by v clever folks
    in USA
    in Russia
    good news is that trump and putin will soon be going the way of the passenger pigeon:
    Book of Dan chapter 3, verse 3 (hot pretzles 15c)
    when the demon is at your door, in the mornin it won’t be there no more

    • bmaz says:

      The original CNN piece, linked in Begala’s piece, is even scarier.

      To be clear, this is not just a “religious group”, it is a full on cult and they are sick.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Hey, bmaz, I don’t know if you know this already, but in that CNN Begala embedded clip: the last person shown with Amy Coney Barrett is Rick Mullaney of Jacksonville, FL. He was General Counsel for the City from 1997 – 2010. He later became director of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University. During a similar timeframe (1995 – 1999 and 2004 – 2008), Susie Wiles had executive level positions in the mayor’s office.

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