The Michigan Kidnapping Plot and January 6—Is There a Connection?

On October 11, 2020, in a blog titled Antifa and the Boogaloos: Condemning Political Violence Left and Right, I included reporting on the Michigan kidnapping plot. Recall that the Justice Department alleges that, over several months in 2020, members of the extremist group Wolverine Watchmen plotted and trained to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and put her on trial for tyranny. Authorities arrested the plotters before any part of the plan was executed. The men also discussed storming the Michigan capitol and taking politicians hostage. This is an important detail.

It is now being reported that the FBI allegedly used at least twelve informants in the Michigan kidnapping case, associates of that agency thus making up a majority of the plotters. Defense attorneys are crying entrapment, arguing that the FBI “induced or persuaded” the defendants to go along with kidnapping plot. If you are familiar with how the FBI works, it is not surprising that the plot was organized by or at least with the help of the FBI. The agency justifies developing apparent inchoate offenses to ostensibly disrupt the plans of domestic terrorists. There are hundreds of instances of the FBI doing this. The agency sees it as its job to have ears to the rails to hear approaching trains. (One may reasonably ask whether the practice gives the agency cover to run operations against political opponents.)

The mob at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021.

I am not here to interrogate the Michigan case. Rather the case compels me to ask a more immediate question: How is it possible that, only a few months before the events of January 6, when a mob that included members of right wing extremists breeched the US Capitol Building at the nation’s Capitol (“A republic, if you can keep it”; A Peaceful Transition of Political Power), the very agency involved in hatching a plot that included plans to storm the Michigan capitol could be caught so flatfooted? No ears to rails for this train? Are we seriously expected to believe that January 6 was an intelligence failure?

At most, only one-tenth of Capitol arrestees can be classified as supporters of militias or militia-like groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters (“A New Kind of American Radicalism”: The Campaign to Portray Ordinary America as Deviant and Dangerous). Presumably Nancy Pelosi’s commission will show that a handful of organized extremists instigated the breaching of the Capitol building. However, especially considering her rejection of Jim Jordan to sit on the commission (an action prompting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pull all of his choices from the panel), one question that probably won’t be addressed is how many FBI informants were involved in the planning of the events on January 6. Not only would the FBI face charges of incompetence and illegitimacy as an intelligence organization for failing to thwart the breech that day, but they might also be implicated in it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, decided to create a select committee to investigate the January 6 riot Senate Republicans filibustered a bipartisan bill to set up an outside commission.

What is the point of Pelosi’s commission? I grasp the importance of January 6 to the propaganda campaign to paint populist-nationalism as the greatest threat to American and marginalize those who question Joe Biden’s legitimacy as president. This is what was behind the Democrat’s (second) failed attempt to convict Donald Trump. Will the committee, in the context of a spectacle portraying January 6 as a Trump-inspired insurrection, cover up FBI involvement in it? (See also Cancelling Half the Nation: Progressives Reach for One-Party Rule.)

Far from attempting to preventing certification of the election, the riot instead stopped the process of interrogating state certifications, a process that would have returned the matter to the states, where there is clear evidence of election irregularities (see the Navarro Report). Is it not obvious that the establishment needs to raise the profile of a particular narrative of January 6 to distract from the November 3 movement to get to the bottom of the 2020 election? November 3 is what the Congress should be investigating. Where is that commission?

Will we learn the truth of Ashli Babbitt’s death at the hands of a gunman inside the Capitol? Who killed Babbitt? (To learn more about Babbitt see (“A republic, if you can keep it”; A Peaceful Transition of Political Power.) Will we learn the truth about what happened to Officer Brian Sicknick? We know that he was not killed on January 6. How did he die?

Update (July 24, 2021): On Substack, Glenn Greenwald echoes my points in his own report published today: FBI Using the Same Fear Tactic From the First War on Terror: Orchestrating its Own Terrorism Plots. His report provides much greater detail. Must see stuff.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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