Thirteen men, seven of whom are linked to the anti-government militia group Wolverine Watchmen, were arrested over charges of planning to kidnap the Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer.
They are also charged with planning to attack the state legislature building and obstruct justice,‘ the CNN quotes the Prosecutor’s Office as saying.
The defendants are charged with planning to kidnap the governor, a Democrat who clashed with President Donald Trump over coronavirus-related restrictions ahead of the upcoming presidential elections,‘ Reuters reports.
Six people were charged in a federal court for conspiring to commit kidnapping, and seven were charged in a state court.
’The individuals in custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan,’ Dana Nessel, Attorney General of Michigan, said.
Six of the accused men could face life in prison if convicted for the attempted kidnapping of Whitmer. Two of them considered using a diversion tactic and detonating bombs.
The Wolverine Watchmen militia group used Facebook since November 2019 in order to recruit new members. They trained to use firearms, and mount an attack against the government resulting in a civil war, the indictment states. The group planned to kidnap Whitmer ahead of the presidential election in order to ’hold a trial for high treason’ and an alleged violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Michigan is of critical importance for the upcoming presidential election, to be held on 3 November. This state has been the focus of Trump and his supporters after Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic, which they then criticised. Protests were organized as a result, attended also by armed members of militant groups.
Trump himself criticized Gretchen Whitmer on Twitter the day before yesterday, claiming that she called him a racist although that was not true, and adding that she never even thanked him for what he had done for Michigan. According to him, she has been a terrible governor for everyone except for her husband. Prompted by this, the governor called on the White House to tone down the rhetoric.
’The fact that after a plot to kidnap and kill me, this is what they come out with, they start attacking me as opposed to what good, decent people would do is to check in and say are you OK. I think that tells you all that is at stake in this election. It tells you everything you need to know about the personality of the two people on this ballot that we have to choose from in a few weeks,’ she said for CNN.
Facebook notified the police of the content that the group had been publishing six months ago, and the group account was removed in June, after some of its leaders were identified as members of an anti-government militia group. This is only one of the incidents in which the militias have been involved in recently, such as the one in Charlottesville in 2017.
Peniel E. Joseph’s analysis
General hatred and rebellion
‘Americans are living through truly historic times: the Covid-19 pandemic, protests catalyzed by the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the national embrace of Black Lives Matter 2.0, and the specter of black-clad federal law enforcement officers engaging in pitched battles against peaceful mothers purposefully dressed in white. Americans are living in an era when efforts to forge a new national identity — what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. characterized as a "beloved community" free of racial injustice — are directly confronting deeply entrenched national myths rooted in white supremacy.’ The entrenched system of oppression has not changed, and the ‘2016 election of Donald J. Trump revealed the depth and breadth of racial resentment and fear among those who correctly interpreted the phrase "Make America Great Again" as a call for a restoration of white supremacy. This year has ushered in the most dynamic social movement for racial justice in American history as Black Lives Matter 2.0 awakened the entire nation to a reality of White supremacy -- made more legible to millions of White Americans who .. showed new layers of empathy in taking the streets to protest against the killing of George Floyd,’ Peniel E. Joseph, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and a lecturer in History at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote in a column for the CNN.
The causes and consequences of systemic racism in the most powerful country in the world Racism Entrenched in the American Society
The protests over the murder of George Floyd are not either the first or the last to be held because of the brutal treatment of African Americans by white law enforcement officers.
Between 2013 and 2019 alone, police officers killed 1,944 African Americans, even though 17.3 percent were unarmed. However, in 98.7 percent of cases, no charges were brought against the police officers in question. One of the main reasons is racism, which is deeply entrenched in the American society.
Racism in the U.S. is nothing new. It has been around since the arrival of the Europeans in North America – the Indians were considered savages that needed to be killed or kept in reservations; black people were seen as property to be abducted and transported from Africa; for decades, hiring the Chinese was outlawed; and during the Second World War, 120,000 Japanese Americans was kept in camps. And all that despite the fact that as early as 1776, the Declaration of Independence said, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ ‘There is not a country in world history in which racism has been more important, for so long a time, as the United States. And the problem of "the color line," as W. E. B, Du Bois put it, is still with us. So it is more than a purely historical question to ask: How does it start?-and an even more urgent question: How might it end? Or, to put it differently: Is it possible for whites and blacks to live together without hatred? In any case, slavery developed quickly into a regular institution, into the normal labor relation of blacks to whites in the New World. With it developed that special racial feeling-whether hatred, or contempt, or pity, or patronization-that accompanied the inferior position of blacks in America for the next 350 years-that combination of inferior status and derogatory thought we call racism,’ writes Howard Zinn in his famous book A People’s History of the United States.
When in 2009 Barack Obama became the first African American president of the U.S., many thought that that marked the end of racism. However, racism is still there, and whether the U.S.A, which calls itself ’the land of freedom and justice’, truly will become that for all Americans, irrespective of the colour of their skin, is hard to say.
TOP 5 The Most Dangerous Incidents of the 21st Century THE TEMPLE MASSACRE 5 August 2012 The Sikh temple in Wisconsin DEATHS: 8 Perpetrator: Wade Michael Page * A member of Hammerskins, a neo-Nazi group. Decided to kill as many Indians as possible. THE CHURCH SHOOTING 17 June 2015 The Methodist Church in Charleston DEATHS: 9 Perpetrator: Dylann Roof * A racist who decided to kill as many African Americans as possible. THE MURDER AT THE GAME 14 June 2017 The baseball stadium in Alexandria DEATHS: 1 Perpetrator: James Hodgkinson * A leftist who came to the gathering organized by the Congress, but was killed in the shootout during which he wounded a senator and five more people. THE MASACRE IN EL PASO 3 August 2019 A Walmart store in El Paso DEATHS: 23 Perpetrator: Patrick Crusius * The killer wrote in his manifesto that his goal is to stop the Hispanic invasion. "RUN OVER THEM" 2017-2020 Throughout the United States of America OVER 20 DEATHS Perpetrators: Numerous * It started in Charlottesville, where James Alex Fields ran over leftist protesters. These attacks against leftists and members of the Black Lives Matter movement continued in 2020, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 people.
Kurir.rs, Andrija Ivanović/ Photo: Profimedia, AP