Tag: antigovernment

Virginia’s governor was also a possible target of an anti-government plot, the F.B.I. says.

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia was discussed as a possible target by members of an anti-government group charged last week with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the F.B.I. said on Tuesday.

During a hearing in Grand Rapids, Mich., Special Agent Richard J. Trask II of the F.B.I. said that Mr. Northam and other officials were targeted because of their aggressive lockdown orders to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, 13 men accused of involvement in the alleged plot were charged with a variety of state and federal crimes including terrorism, conspiracy and weapons possession.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the authorities revealed that the suspects also spoke about “taking” the Virginia governor “based” on coronavirus lockdown orders that restricted businesses.

The F.B.I. alerted members of Mr. Northam’s security team throughout their investigation, Alena Yarmosky, Mr. Northam’s press secretary, said in a statement. The governor was not informed, “per security protocols,” Ms. Yarmosky said, but added that “at no time was the governor or his family in imminent danger.”

Mr. Northam, a Democrat, issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 30, instructing residents to leave their homes only for work, medical appointments, family care, shopping for essentials and “outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements.”

In April, President Trump had openly encouraged right-wing protests of social distancing restrictions in Virginia, Michigan and other states with stay-at-home orders, a day after his administration had announced guidelines for governors to set their own timetables for reopening. “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment,” the president wrote on Twitter at the time. “It is under siege!”

Ms. Yarmosky referenced the president’s tweets in the statement from Mr. Northam’s office and said that the “rhetoric coming out of this White House has serious and potentially deadly consequences.” She added: “It must stop.”

Mr. Trask of the F.B.I. said that some of the suspects had held a meeting in Dublin, Ohio, several months ago where they “discussed possible targets” for “taking a sitting governor.”

Last week, the authorities said the men were affiliated with an extremist group called the Wolverine Watchmen, which court documents called “an anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia group.”

Source Article

Continue reading

Virginia Governor Was Also a Possible Target of Anti-Government Plot, F.B.I. Says

Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia was discussed as a possible target by members of an anti-government group charged last week with plotting to kidnap the Michigan governor, the F.B.I. said on Tuesday.

During a hearing in Grand Rapids, Mich., Special Agent Richard J. Trask II of the F.B.I. said that Mr. Northam and other officials were targeted because of their aggressive lockdown orders to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, 13 men accused of involvement in the alleged plot were charged with a variety of state and federal crimes including terrorism, conspiracy and weapons possession. They also talked of planning to storm the Michigan State Capitol and start a civil war, the authorities said.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the authorities said the suspects also spoke about “taking” the Virginia governor “based” on coronavirus lockdown orders that restricted businesses.

Mr. Trask said that some of the suspects held a meeting in Dublin, Ohio, several months ago where they “discussed possible targets” for “taking a sitting governor.”

Mr. Trask also provided additional details about the alleged plans to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. One of the suspects, Adam Fox, spoke about a plan to take Ms. Whitmer out on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan, and leave her stranded with the engine disabled so that someone would have to “come rescue” her, Mr. Trask said.

The other alternative had been to take Ms. Whitmer to Wisconsin or another unspecified state and to put her on trial. The accused had referred to her as “a tyrant.”

Last week, the authorities said the men were affiliated with an extremist group called the Wolverine Watchmen, which court documents called “an anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia group.”

The group met many times for tactical and firearms training and practiced building explosives, the F.B.I. said, and spoke about attacking law enforcement officers.

Mr. Trask and the prosecutor mentioned several other men who they said were involved in the surveillance and the discussion of the plot, including one from Wisconsin, but who were not among those arrested.

The testimony also indicated that the participants were suspicious that government informants were monitoring or had infiltrated their group, changing encrypted messaging platforms and giving each other code names in hopes of escaping such surveillance.

At one point after a planning trip to case the governor’s vacation home and the surrounding area, Mr. Fox asked that all the participants be scanned with a device that is supposed to identify if anyone was wearing a transmission wire or a recording device.

The effort apparently failed, Mr. Trask said, with the group eventually infiltrated by four informants or undercover agents who continued to document what the group was planning.

Source Article

Continue reading

Anti-government paramilitary groups in plot against Michigan governor also discussed kidnapping Virginia governor, FBI agent says

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping Virginia’s governor during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified Tuesday during a court hearing in Michigan.

Special Agent Richard Trask was part of the investigation that led to six men being arrested and charged last week with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Seven other men face state terrorism charges.

Trask did not name Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, during his testimony in a federal courtroom in Grand Rapids. He said members of anti-government groups from multiple states attended the meeting.

“They discussed possible targets, taking a sitting governor, specifically issues with the governor of Michigan and Virginia based on the lockdown orders,” Trask said. He said the people at the meeting were unhappy with the governors’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trask did not discuss further planning aimed at Northam.

The FBI did not brief Northam on any potential threat, according to a state official with knowledge of the governor’s briefings who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The June meeting was part of the FBI’s investigation of various anti-government groups, leading to last week’s stunning announcement that six men had been arrested for an alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer.

Tuesday’s court hearing was to review investigators’ evidence against Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta and whether they should be detained before trial. The men are all Michigan residents.

A sixth man, Barry Croft, was being held in Delaware.

The FBI used confidential sources, undercover agents and clandestine recordings to foil the alleged kidnapping conspiracy. Some defendants had conducted coordinated surveillance of the Democratic governor’s vacation home in northern Michigan in August and September, according to a criminal complaint.

The men were trying to retaliate against Whitmer due to her “uncontrolled power” amid the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said. They said four of the men had planned to meet last week to pay for explosives and exchange tactical gear.

Whitmer, who was considered as Joe Biden’s running mate and is nearly halfway through a four-year term, has been widely praised for her response to the virus outbreak but also sharply criticized by Republican lawmakers and people in conservative areas of the state. The Capitol has been the site of many rallies, including ones with gun-toting protesters calling for her ouster.

Whitmer put major restrictions on personal movement and the economy, although many of those limits have been lifted since spring.

Fox, who was described as one of the leaders, was living in the basement of a vacuum shop in Grand Rapids. The owner said Fox was opposed to wearing a mask during the pandemic and kept firearms and ammunition at the store.

The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted.

Seven others linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen were charged in state court for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol and providing material support for terrorist acts by seeking a “civil war.”

Continue reading

Spain Hit By Anti-government Car Protests Called By Far-right

Hundreds of cars and motorbikes paraded Monday in Madrid and other Spanish cities in protests called by the far-right to demand Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his government resign.

Anti-government protest in Malaga Anti-government protest in Malaga Photo: AFP / JORGE GUERRERO

Sporting red and yellow national flags and banners, people gathered on Spain’s national day at the call of far-right party Vox to protest the left-wing government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Madrid, hundreds of vehicles went down the large Castellana avenue where a military parade normally takes place on October 12, cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

Protesters called out by the far-right party Vox drive through Madrid to protest the state of emergency the government imposed to fight a resurgence in the coronavirus Protesters called out by the far-right party Vox drive through Madrid to protest the state of emergency the government imposed to fight a resurgence in the coronavirus Photo: AFPTV / Rebeca MAYORGA

Car protests also took place in Valencia in the east, and Seville and Malaga in the south, according to images on social media.

In Madrid’s central Colon square, many protesters also gathered on foot, all wearing masks, often accompanied by their relatives.

They are critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic in Spain, one of the worst hit European countries that is facing a major second wave of the deadly virus.

Anti-government protest in Malaga Anti-government protest in Malaga Photo: AFP / JORGE GUERRERO

A government decision to impose a state of emergency in Madrid to enforce a partial lockdown in the face of rising infections was a particular irritant.

“The government is abusing its power and imposing its decisions with a decree that is contrary to the Constitution,” Joaquin, 62, a civil servant who refused to give his surname, told AFP, echoing the thoughts of other protesters.

The state of emergency went into effect on Friday for 15 days.

It was imposed after a major row between the central government and the right-wing regional government of Madrid over divergent ideas as to how to contain the virus in the capital and surrounding areas.

Under the partial lockdown, people in Madrid and eight surrounding areas are not allowed to leave their towns but can go about freely within them.

Spain has reported some 850,000 cases and close to 33,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Source Article

Continue reading

Anti-government groups shift focus from Washington to states

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – The alleged foiled plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor is a jarring example of how the anti-government movement in the U.S. has become an internet-driven hodgepodge of conspiracy theorists who have redirected their rage from Washington toward state capitols.

That’s in contrast to the self-styled “militia” movement that took shape in the 1990s – loosely connected groups whose primary target was the federal government, which they considered a tyrannical force bent on seizing guns and imposing a socialist “new world order.”

Deadly standoffs between FBI agents and extremists at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, stoked those groups’ anger. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, convicted in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people, were reported to have met with Michigan paramilitary activists.

Public revulsion over that massacre damaged the movement, which largely faded from public view. But recent protests over racial injustice, the coronavirus and other turmoil during the Trump administration have fueled a resurgence, with paramilitary groups blending into a mishmash of far-right factions that spread their messages on websites and social media.

In many ways, their focus is unchanged, including contempt for authority, reverence for the Second Amendment and backwoods military-style training exercises.

But the plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer illustrates one stark difference: Nowadays, much of the anger focuses on state officials whom extremists accuse of denying rights and freedoms.

“And this is largely due to the fact that Donald Trump, who the militia movement supports, is at the head of the federal government,” said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

“But they can much more easily be angry at state governors, especially Democratic ones, but sometimes even Republican ones, who are involved with gun-control efforts or lockdown or anti-pandemic measures,” he added.

Whitmer told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that extremism targeted at state officials is “a very real threat to democracy.”

“There’s no question that these hate groups are domestic terrorists and I think we need to call them that,” Whitmer said while greeting voters in Traverse City. “We need leadership who steps up and takes it on. We need it coming out of the White House, we need it coming out of all of our statehouses as well.”

Six men were charged in federal court Thursday with conspiring to kidnap the governor in retaliation for what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a criminal complaint. Seven others, charged in state court for allegedly seeking to storm the Michigan Capitol, are linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen, a state affidavit said.

The Wolverine Watchmen used Facebook to recruit members and communicated on an encrypted messaging platform, the affidavit said.

Joseph Morrison, 42, a founding member, used the screen name “Boogaloo Bunyan.” Group members gathered for training and drills as they prepared for the “boogaloo,” an anti-government, pro-gun extremist movement that has been linked to a recent string of domestic terrorism

Continue reading

Why Michigan Is Considered ‘Fertile’ Ground for Anti-Government Extremists

For the past decade, gun owners dressed in flak jackets and camouflage fatigues have brought their rifles into the Michigan Legislature at least twice every year, asserting their vehement support for gun rights by displaying weapons in the hallways.

This spring, those gatherings intensified as participants turned what had been a declaration about the Second Amendment into a protest over how far the government could go in limiting individual behavior amid the pandemic. Hundreds turned out to demand an end to lockdowns, social distancing and mask wearing.

Among the demonstrators who stormed into the Capitol to protest those measures were two brothers who have now been charged as part of an extremist plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and to commit other violence. The brothers subscribed to a larger anti-government movement that has evolved in Michigan and throughout the United States over decades, but was spurred on this year by the pandemic, social justice protests and the presidential election.

With its fervent gun culture and its gaping differences between urban and rural populations, Michigan has seen its divisions grow ever wider since at least the 1990s, when armed groups on the right adopted increasingly extreme positions on limiting the government’s power.

The brothers are among 13 men who face a variety of charges related to the kidnapping plot, including terrorism, conspiracy and weapons possession. The authorities said the men were also affiliated with an extremist group called the Wolverine Watchmen, which court documents called “an anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia group.” Such groups have existed in Michigan for decades, most notably in 1994 with the formation of the Michigan Militia.

“There have been militia-type groups in Michigan even before we started using the phrase domestic terrorism,” said Bill Ballenger, a former Republican state senator who represented a rural area. “Before it never got to armed insurrection or an attempt to overthrow the government or assassinate people or anything like that.”

In a sense, experts said, the fight over measures like mask requirements to contain the spread of the virus was the latest example of what these groups see as government overreach. “It is really the perfect issue for far-right conspiracy theorists to rally around,” said Daniel Levitas, a lawyer and the author of “The Terrorist Next Door,” a history of extremist groups.

In the early 1990s, armed groups in Michigan, and around the country, were formed in reaction to bloody federal sieges against Randy Weaver and his family in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and against an armed cult in Waco, Texas, in 1993. The latter ended with the death of 76 people. The new far-right organizations accused the government of tyranny and began conducting paramilitary training and obtaining military equipment.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, later convicted of bombing a federal office building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, killing 168 people, attended some of the earliest meetings of the Michigan Militia. The gory details from the trial diminished the appeal of such groups, but they continued to exist.

“It

Continue reading

Anti-Government Groups Shift Focus From Washington to States | Political News

By JOHN FLESHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The foiled plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor is a jarring example of how the anti-government movement in the U.S. has become an internet-driven hodgepodge of conspiracy theorists who have redirected their rage from Washington toward state capitols.

That’s in contrast to the self-styled “militia” movement that took shape in the 1990s — loosely connected groups whose primary target was the federal government, which they considered a tyrannical force bent on seizing guns and imposing a socialist “new world order.”

Deadly standoffs between FBI agents and extremists at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, stoked those groups’ anger. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, convicted in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people, were reported to have met with Michigan militia activists.

Public revulsion over that massacre damaged the movement, which largely faded from public view. But recent protests over racial injustice, the coronavirus and other turmoil during the Trump administration have fueled a resurgence, with militias blending into a mishmash of far-right factions that spread their messages on websites and social media.

In many ways, their focus is unchanged, including contempt for authority, reverence for the Second Amendment and backwoods military-style training exercises.

But the plot targeting Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer illustrates one stark difference: Nowadays, much of the anger focuses on state officials whom extremists accuse of denying rights and freedoms.

“And this is largely due to the fact that Donald Trump, who the militia movement supports, is at the head of the federal government,” said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

“But they can much more easily be angry at state governors, especially Democratic ones, but sometimes even Republican ones, who are involved with gun-control efforts or lockdown or anti-pandemic measures,” he added.

Whitmer told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that extremism targeted at state officials is “a very real threat to democracy.”

“There’s no question that these hate groups are domestic terrorists and I think we need to call them that,” Whitmer said while greeting voters in Traverse City. “We need leadership who steps up and takes it on. We need it coming out of the White House, we need it coming out of all of our statehouses as well.”

Seven of the 13 suspects charged in the kidnapping plot are linked to a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen, a Michigan State Police investigator said in a court filing. The group used Facebook to recruit members and communicated on an encrypted messaging platform, the affidavit said.

Joseph Morrison, 42, a founding member, used the screen name “Boogaloo Bunyan.” Group members gathered for training and drills as they prepared for the “boogaloo,” an anti-government, pro-gun extremist movement that has been linked to a recent string of domestic terrorism plots, the affidavit said.

Supporters have shown up at protests over COVID-19 lockdown orders and demonstrations over racial injustice, carrying rifles and

Continue reading

F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

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.

Source Article

Continue reading

Thailand’s Next Protest Could Draw 100,000, Anti-Government Group Says

(Bloomberg) — Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.



a group of people in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Students make the three-fingered salute as they stand behind the gate of Samsen school to demand for less strict school rules, more tolerance and respect during a protest in Bangkok on October 2, 2020


© Photographer: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP
Students make the three-fingered salute as they stand behind the gate of Samsen school to demand for less strict school rules, more tolerance and respect during a protest in Bangkok on October 2, 2020

A planned anti-government protest in Bangkok next week is set to draw some 100,000 people, or twice as many participants as a demonstration last month, according to organizers.

The gathering scheduled for Oct. 14 will call on the government to resign and the monarchy to be reformed, said Arnon Nampa, a lawyer and leading figure in the campaign.

“People who want any or all of these changes should join the movement,” Arnon said at a briefing in Bangkok on Thursday. “We’re looking to increase pressure on the government.”

Thailand’s political risk is back in focus following a series of protests that started mid-July, adding to challenges faced by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s government. The economy is headed for its worst ever full-year contraction and year-to-date foreign fund withdrawals from the equity market now exceed a record annual exodus set in 2018.

Read: Thailand’s Political Tensions Seep Into Equities: Taking Stock

Prayuth has said protesters are allowed to gather as long as they follow the law, and that he doesn’t want the movement to escalate because it’s “not good” for the country, according to government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri.

The protest organizers, representing several youth-led groups, plan to hold their gathering at Democracy Monument, a symbol of Thailand’s transition to constitutional monarchy following a 1932 coup. Thailand has since had about 20 successful putsches, the most recent led by former army chief Prayuth who now heads an elected government.

(Updates with comment from government spokesman in penultimate paragraph.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Continue Reading

Source Article

Continue reading

Thousands at anti-government protest in Bulgaria [Video]

SHOTLIST

SOFIA, BULGARIAOCTOBER 3, 2020SOURCE: AFPTV

1. Wide shot protesters march to the old parliament headquarters in downtown Sofia during anti-government protest2. Mid shot protester waves Bulgarian flags as he takes part in anti-government protests in the capital Sofia3. Wide shot protesters wave Bulgarian flags and shout slogans as they take part in anti-government protests in the capital Sofia4. Mid shot man beats a drum as he takes part in anti-government protests in the capital Sofia5. Close-up shot protesters watch a caricature of Boyko Borissov projected on the facade of the Bulgarian parliament6. Wide shot protesters shout slogans and wave Bulgarian flags during anti-government protest in front of the Aleksandar Nevski cathedral in downtown Sofia7. Wide shot protesters march next to the Aleksandar Nevski cathedral in downtown Sofia during anti-government protest8. Mid shot protesters march next to the Aleksandar Nevski cathedral in downtown Sofia during anti-government protest9. Close-up protesters wave Bulgarian flags during anti-government protest in front of the Aleksandar Nevski cathedral in downtown Sofia

///———————————————————–AFP TEXT STORY:

Thousands march calling for Bulgaria govt to quit

=(Picture+Video)=

Sofia, Oct 3, 2020 (AFP) – Thousands of people marched through the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Saturday calling for the government to quit, the latest in a series of such protests.The protesters, most of them young, gathered in front of the parliament, shouting “Resign!” and “Mafia” “Europe heard us and saw us!” lawyer Nikolay Hadjiguenov, one of the march organisers, told the crowd.On Wednesday, the European Commission expressed its concern over the independence of the judiciary in Bulgaria, the lack of progress in the battle against corruption there and what it said were threats to the independence of its news media.For the past three months, there have been regular demonstrations at which protesters have called for the government to resign. Recent polls suggest that more than 60 percent of the population support them.But the country’s centre-right Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, in power for nearly 10 years, has refused to step down before the end of his mandate next March.vs/jj/har

Source Article

Continue reading