Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

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Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-08 03:32pm

From the New York Times:
Authorities charged 13 men, some of whom were accused of plotting to storm the State Capitol building and planning to start a civil war.

“Our efforts uncovered elaborate plans to endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, government officials and the broader public. A multifront operation to apprehend the suspects in question was carefully coordinated and skillfully executed, resulting, very fortunately, in no casualties.” “Last night, the F.B.I. and Michigan State Police arrested six individuals charged in a federal complaint with conspiring to kidnap the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. According to the complaint unsealed this morning, Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta conspired to kidnap the governor from her vacation home in the Western District of Michigan before the November election. All of us standing here today want the public to know that federal and state law enforcement are committed to working together to make sure violent extremists never succeed with their plans, particularly when they target our duly-elected leaders.”

Authorities in Michigan announced that six men were arrested and accused of plotting with a militia group to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.CreditCredit...Allison Farrand for The New York Times

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Shaila Dewan and Kathleen Gray

Oct. 8, 2020Updated 3:04 p.m. ET

Authorities in Michigan charged 13 men with a battery of terrorism and conspiracy charges on Thursday, revealing what they said were plans by anti-government extremists to storm the State Capitol building, initiate a civil war to cause society to crumble and kidnap the Michigan governor ahead of the presidential election.

At least six of the men had talked about taking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, hostage since the summer, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court and unsealed on Thursday. The men met over the summer for firearms training and combat drills and tried to make explosives; they also gathered several times to discuss the mission, including in the basement of a shop in Michigan that was accessible only through a “trap door” under a rug, the F.B.I. said.

The men had surveilled Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home in August and September, and they indicated that they wanted to take her hostage before the election in November, Richard J. Trask II, an F.B.I. special agent, said in the criminal complaint. In July, one of the men said the group should take Ms. Whitmer hostage and move her to a “secure location” in Wisconsin for a “trial,” Mr. Trask said.

He said the F.B.I. believed the men were planning to buy explosives this week for their plot. 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 the custody.

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 men were said to be affiliated with the Wolverine Watchmen, an extremist group, and have been charged with state crimes, which carry penalties of two to 20 years in prison.

Dana Nessel, the Michigan attorney general, said in a news conference that she was particularly disturbed by messages from politicians that she claimed may have contributed to the violent plot.

“I have watched and have seen and listened over the course of these many months and when we hear the president say, ‘liberate Michigan’ or, ‘there are very fine people on both sides,’ these are not just subtle winks or dog whistles, these are messages to people who want to do harm,” she said. “These are commands to action.”
ImageRoads leading to the Governor’s Mansion in Lansing were blocked off on Thursday.
Roads leading to the Governor’s Mansion in Lansing were blocked off on Thursday.Credit...Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal, via Associated Press

The F.B.I. said it had learned about the six men it charged by intercepting encrypted messages the men had sent and because it had undercover agents and confidential informants working with the group.

Those six men were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which can carry a life sentence. Their names were listed in court documents as Adam Fox, Kaleb Franks, Brandon Caserta, Ty Garbin, Daniel Harris and Barry Croft. Mr. Croft lives in Delaware and the other five live in Michigan, the authorities said. No lawyers were immediately listed for the men.

The authorities said that Mr. Fox and Mr. Croft had decided to “unite others” to “take violent action” against state governments that they thought were violating the Constitution and that Mr. Fox was the one to initiate contact with a Michigan-based anti-government group. The F.B.I. said he had talked of storming the Michigan statehouse with 200 men and trying Ms. Whitmer for treason.

Brian Titus, the owner of a vacuum store in Grand Rapids, Mich., said that he had hired Mr. Fox, whom he had known since childhood, and even given him a place to stay in the store’s basement after he was kicked out of his girlfriend’s home. Mr. Titus said the store was raided on Wednesday.

“I felt sorry for him but I didn’t know he was capable of doing this; this is almost insane,” Mr. Titus said in an interview. “I knew he was in a militia, but there’s a lot of people in a militia that don’t plan to kidnap the governor. I mean, give me a break.”

Ms. Whitmer has been the subject of attack from right-wing protesters for measures she imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus.

In April, thousands of people gathered at the State Capitol to protest the executive orders she issued shutting down most of the state to help stop the spread of the virus that has now infected more than 145,000 Michiganders and killed more than 7,000.

President Trump openly encouraged such protests, tweeting, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

The protests featured some signs with swastikas, Confederate flags and language that advocated 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 opponents of her lockdown orders filed petitions with more than 500,000 signatures with the secretary of state last week to repeal the law that gives governors authority to declare emergencies during times of a public health crisis. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that her use of the 1945 law was unconstitutional.

Michigan has a long history of anti-government activity. A group known as the Michigan Militia dates back to the early 1990s, when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, later convicted of carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing attack in 1995 that killed 168 people, attended a few of its early meetings. It resurfaced again around 2008 and 2009, with the election of Barack Obama as president.

More recently, armed groups of men began appearing at some demonstrations, most notably the 2017 march by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va.

The upheavals in 2020 provided new impetus for militia groups to move from the online world onto the streets. During protests against the virus lockdowns, they accused the government of “overreach,” suggesting that business closings and mask mandates were forms of tyranny. That initial scattered presence mushroomed with the nationwide protests over social justice after George Floyd died at the hands of police in May. When some protests degenerated into arson and looting, militiamen appeared on the streets, saying that they were there to protect homes and businesses that law enforcement could not.

But some groups fervently opposed to the government in general and especially law enforcement claimed that they mobilized to protect protesters from officers.

Experts in the field have been worried about greater violence fomented by militias in the weeks before and after the Nov. 3 elections, especially since Mr. Trump has repeatedly suggested that his opponents might be trying to steal the election.

Many groups in the “patriot” movement have adopted the name militia, even if they do not fit the definition. According to experts, a militia trains together, has an established hierarchy and specific rules of engagement. Although the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms and mentions a “well-regulated militia,” all 50 states have some manner of prohibition against private paramilitary groups.

In response to the charges on Thursday, Mike Shirkey, the Republican majority leader in the State Senate, wrote on Twitter that a “threat against our Governor is a threat against us all” and called the men accused of the conspiracy “traitors.”

“We condemn those who plotted against her and our government,” he wrote. “They are not patriots. There is no honor in their actions.
...because 2020 isn't fucking crazy enough....
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Darth Yan » 2020-10-08 04:19pm

I'm truly worried. Even if Trump is removed (either by COVID or being voted out) his crazies will endure and a lot of democrats seem to think we can just go back to the status quo.

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-08 05:18pm

I'll just throw into the mix that Michigan militia types are NOT a new threat - they were involved with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (Terry Nichols, sidekick to Timothy McVeigh). So this is not entirely a new phenomena. Unfortunately, not an empty threat, either.

On another message board I frequent, when someone inquired what color these scum are, the answer was "White, except for their necks" (If you're not from North America/American is not your first language the sub-text is that they are rednecks)
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-10-08 05:33pm

There will be some suggesting that the FBI 'lead them on' and acted as agents provocateuses, because they had people on the inside, turning 'innocent talk' into action.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Raw Shark » 2020-10-08 05:50pm

LadyTevar wrote:
2020-10-08 05:33pm
There will be some suggesting that the FBI 'lead them on' and acted as agents provocateuses, because they had people on the inside, turning 'innocent talk' into action.
Somebody in the Federal government urged them to do it, all right...

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Zaune » 2020-10-08 06:19pm

The phrase "Don't retreat, reload!" comes to mind. And so does, "Careless talk costs lives."
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Gandalf » 2020-10-08 07:07pm

LadyTevar wrote:
2020-10-08 05:33pm
There will be some suggesting that the FBI 'lead them on' and acted as agents provocateuses, because they had people on the inside, turning 'innocent talk' into action.
Makes sense. Haven't they a track record of doing similar things with other organisations?
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-08 08:40pm

NPR's website has the criminal complaint embedded if anyone wants to read it firsthand.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by PainRack » 2020-10-09 01:07am

I reminded that Abu Bakar Bashir was blamed for the Bali bombings because as their spiritual leader, he inspired the attacks.

So..... What does that say about Trump ?

(Note: the issue with Bakar conviction was that the critical evidence linking him to leadership of JI was inadmissible because US got it by torture. Since they refused to reveal that in Indonesia court, Indonesia didn't convict him for the Bali bombings, but subsequently jailed him for organising terrorist militant camps in 2010).
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-10-09 04:36am

Guess who Trump decided to criticize in all this. That's right, he's upset with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

'She didn't say thank you': Donald Trump blasts governor after thwarted kidnap plot
Savannah Behrmann
20:21, Oct 09 2020


US President Donald Trump slammed Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for not saying 'thank you' after the US government charged six people with conspiring to kidnap her in an alleged domestic terrorist plot.

Seven additional people are also facing state charges pursuant to Michigan's anti-terrorism act in connection to the alleged plot.

Officials said men arrested have ties to a far-right militia group, who were unhappy, in part, about Whitmer's Covid-19 restrictions, and called her a "tyrant."

Whitmer "has done a terrible job. She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband's boating activities. The Federal Government provided tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan," Trump tweeted.

He continued, "My Justice Department and Federal Law Enforcement announced" they "foiled a dangerous plot" against Whitmer and "Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist.

In remarks on Thursday (Friday NZT) during a news conference, Whitmer did thank law enforcement and prosecutors for thwarting the plot and pursuing criminal charges "to bring these sick and depraved men to justice."

She criticised Trump by saying he has not done enough to condemn hate groups "like these two Michigan militia groups" in the country and accused him of "stoking distrust," "fomenting anger" and emboldening groups who "spread fear and hatred and division."

Officials say the 13 men arrested this week in the kidnapping plot are all members or acquaintances of the Wolverine Watchmen militia group. In addition, all have been tied to a larger scheme – attempting to foment a civil war – according to investigators.

Members of the group had discussed storming the Capitol Building to kidnap Whitmer and other would-be hostages, considered shooting up Whitmer's home, discussed setting off a bomb to divert police away from the kidnapping, according to officials, who also said the men tested an explosive and begun training to achieve those ends.

During the news conference, Whitmer who often clashes with Trump, resurfaced the US president's comments during the first presidential debate when Trump told the Proud Boys group to "stand back and stand by."

"Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action," Whitmer said.

Whitmer continued, "When our leader speaks, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternise with domestic terrorists, they legitimise their actions, and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit."

Trump said Thursday (Friday NZT) on Twitter that he does "not tolerate ANY extreme violence. Defending ALL Americans, even those who oppose and attack me, is what I will always do as your President! Governor Whitmer--open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!"

Appearing on CNN on Thursday (Friday NZT), before Trump’s tweets, Whitmer said she's asked Republicans in her state and the White House to decrease the level of incendiary rhetoric that she said helped initiate the alleged plot against her

"We know every time that this White House identifies me or takes a shot at me, we see an increase in rhetoric online, violent rhetoric, and so there's always a connection and certainly it's something that we've been watching. But this took it to a whole new level," the governor said.

Trump returned to the issue during an interview of Fox News after sending his tweets on Thursday night (Friday NZT), saying, "It was my Justice Department that arrested" the men, "But instead she goes and does her little political act."

Democratic nominee Joe Biden said in a statement that there is "throughline" from Trump's "tolerance of hate, vengeance, and lawlessness" to the plot against Whitmer.
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When Governor Whitmer worked to protect her state from a deadly pandemic, President Trump issued a call to "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"

That call was heard.

He's giving oxygen to the bigotry and hate we see on the march in our country — and we have to stop it.
3:35 PM · Oct 9, 2020
In early April, just a few weeks into restrictions around the country to fend against the coronavirus, Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN," along with other states in apparent opposition to those governor's stay-at-home orders.

The former vice president said "That call was heard", and the alleged kidnapping plan is "the kind of twisted plot we expect from ISIS, but now it's here at home."

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by MKSheppard » 2020-10-09 07:08am

Here's a PROTIP for all our peeps out there on either the left or right spectrum:

If someone offers to sell you explosives or give you some. Demurr and say you need to think about it. Leave immediately, and after doing anti-tail/surveillance measures, go to your local ATF office (their full name is Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and tell them someone is trying to sell explosives to you illegally.

Watch as you get the ATF arresting the FBI agents
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by MKSheppard » 2020-10-09 07:18am

Rogue 9 wrote:
2020-10-08 08:40pm
NPR's website has the criminal complaint embedded if anyone wants to read it firsthand.
Hurm.
   In the course of its investigation, the FBI relied on information provided by Confidential Human Sources (CHS) and Undercover Employees (UCE) over several months. Not all CHSs and UCEs were present at all times, however, at least one CHS or UCE was usually present during the group meetings. Those CHSs and UCEs consensually recorded the meetings and conversations with the subjects. Some meetings or conversations were recorded by more than one CHS or UCE. Certain CHSs also had access to group or individual texts, online chats, and phone calls. Each CHS was vetted for reliability by the FBI agent
handling the source. None of the CHSs were aware of the other CHSs involved with the groups
in order to preserve the independence of their reporting. Although multiple CHSs were used
over the course of the investigation, this complaint only relies on audio recordings and
information provided by CHS-1, CHS-2, UCE-1 and UCE-2.
So i guess the old meme that in any random "milita" meeting, 8 out of 10 will be informants or undercover cops from 43 different agencies, while 1 or 2 are actual members still holds true.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-09 07:35am

The FBI's job is to catch bad guys. I'd prefer they do that before rather than after they kidnap and/or kill a governor of a state.

And, frankly, since I have zero intention or desire to blow someone or something up I just don't have to worry about being "entrapped". I'm OK with dumbshits and wanna-be coup conspirators being locked up. If worry about being talked into buying illegal explosives is a likely problem for you I suggest you strongly re-consider your life choices.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Zaune » 2020-10-09 07:50am

Anyone really committed to blowing something up because they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore probably doesn't need to buy dynamite off some shady character they met in a bar in the first place. You can buy the official US Army field manual for homebrew explosives on Amazon, for crying out loud.

All the FBI have ever accomplished with these supposed "sting operations" is roll up someone who was running their mouth.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-09 08:01am

You say that like it's a bad thing.

And no, we don't know that they were "just running their mouth".

Terry Nichols was just a guy from Michigan "running his mouth" until he actually helped Timothy McVeigh build a bomb to blow up a Federal building. If these guys had gone through with their plans everyone would be running around saying "why didn't something DO SOMETHING? These guys were talking about this for months!"

You have the PotUS yelling that people exercising their rights to free speech should be locked up and charged with felonies, but you're not happy about the FBI stopping a bunch of people planning to kidnap and murder someone?
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Zaune » 2020-10-09 09:16am

Broomstick wrote:
2020-10-09 08:01am
You have the PotUS yelling that people exercising their rights to free speech should be locked up and charged with felonies, but you're not happy about the FBI stopping a bunch of people planning to kidnap and murder someone?
That's not what I'm saying. But I've heard an uncomfortable number of stories about the FBI "foiling" a terrorist plot that only got as far as anything indictable because the undercover agent was enabling their supposed co-conspirators.

Admittedly this was usually coming up in the context of some Muslim guy who spent too much time watching angry YouTube videos while the FBI dealt with the militiabro movement by ignoring it and hoping it would go away, so... Hell, I dunno. Ask me again in a few weeks when we know how serious and credible this plot actually was.

And let's face it, I've said a bunch of things that could be construed as advocating terrorism when anger and frustration gets the better of me. I wouldn't want to get hauled off by the police for it because someone got the wrong idea, or worse, saw it as an opportunity to justify their budget without having to do any actual work.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-09 10:51am

Speech is protected - you can wish death on other people as long as you don't act on it. Telling someone "drop dead" is not a crime.

Coming up with a plan, however, is when you start crossing the line.

This will, of course, wind up in court, but so far we have a group of people who traveled to the residences of the governor (not illegal, even if creepy), held multiple meetings to discuss their grievances (not illegal), started "training" (not illegal provided no laws regarding weapons were broken), started pooling their resources to purchase explosives - OK that would be conspiracy to commit a crime. We shouldn't have to wait for this to act:
Image

Given that these are good Christian White boys I think it's a different situation than trying to entrap a minority that already experiences heavy bias. Assuming the evidence holds up in court they had moved from "free speech" to criminal action, specifically, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder.

Another stupid piece of shit: they (allegedly) had plans to take Whitmer from Michigan to Wisconsin for their necktie party. If they had just kept this shit within Michigan they might have kept the charges at the state level but by crossing state lines (if they did - if I was their defense lawyer I'd argue they didn't) they bring the Feds in, which means death penalty is on the table (neither Michigan nor Wisconsin have the death penalty, but the Feds sure do).

Yes, I am also aware that the Feds have engaged in entrapment in the past, but that doesn't mean they don't also catch a lot of actual bad guys. As always, law enforcement needs oversight.
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Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Solauren » 2020-10-09 12:00pm

I agree on the entrapment.

it's one thing to set up a meeting for a government agent to offer bribes to someone, when there is no prior evidence of that person accepting bribes (Abscam)

However, investigating a possible plot, and discovering it's legitimate (such as discovering they are looking to buy something illegal, and then offering it to sell it to them to arrest them), that's fine. If you don't arrest them for it, it will likely escalate to a serious threat and action taken.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Gandalf » 2020-10-11 12:31pm

Zaune wrote:
2020-10-09 09:16am
And let's face it, I've said a bunch of things that could be construed as advocating terrorism when anger and frustration gets the better of me. I wouldn't want to get hauled off by the police for it because someone got the wrong idea, or worse, saw it as an opportunity to justify their budget without having to do any actual work.
That gets even more interesting when you consider that a lot of foreign policy discussion is features people stating versions of "fuck the laws, we're going in."

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-11 03:01pm

I think some of these vigilante types are sunk a little too deep into civil war/apocalypse/Turner Diaries fantasies. They think there are circumstances where they can take the law into their own hands and seemed shocked that there are literally millions of other people who disagree with them, and that actual law enforcement will (eventually) come down on them. They're somehow convinced that they've made all of their life strictly by their own efforts, completely forgetting they're embedded within a civilization that has sheltered them from the real "law of the jungle" all their lives. They have a deluded notion that they're some sort of elite warrior types (just ignore their flab and bulging bellies) that will come out on top in an armed conflict, little realizing that they're the cannon fodder of the actual power elites. Trump & Company are not going to pardon them, they're not connected enough, rich enough, or powerful enough for that. No, these toadstools "rid" King Henry of that "troublesome priest" AND provide a convenient scapegoat all in one.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-10-11 08:33pm

What really gets me is their plan to kidnap her and take her to another state to "put her on trial".

Every woman I know fully believes that would have included gang-rape, brutal beatings, and finally murder for her 'crimes'.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-10-11 10:43pm

Their "trial" was certainly going to be a drumhead airing of their bullshit grievances followed by a tree and a rope. If they'd raped her it wouldn't surprise me, but the indictment doesn't name it as a thing they conspired to do.
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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Ralin » 2020-10-12 12:33am

So...why were they going to take her across state lines? Is that just where their compound happened to be or did they figure it would make it harder for police to track them or what?

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-10-12 12:38am

I wouldn't be surprised if they were thinking that if they crossed state lines, then state police couldn't touch them and that Trump would protect them from Federal forces.

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Re: Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor, Start Civil War

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-12 05:26am

Yeah - but that would ironic, a bunch of anti-government types relaying on a presidential pardon and/or support...

Even if it wasn't planned, under such a scenario rape wouldn't be surprising.

The whole "cross state lines" thing has me a bit baffled, there are plenty of out-of-the-way places in Michigan to do whatever. The "put it in Federal jurisdiction" is the only theory that I've yet heard that makes any sense.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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