Emerging: FBI entrapment to frame right wing militant groups in kidnapping a state governor and in the Capitol riot

Emerging: FBI entrapment to frame right wing militant groups in kidnapping a state governor and in the Capitol riot. By Ken Bensinger, at Buzzfeed.

Shortly before the 2020 US election in the swing state of Michigan, after mail in voting had already started, there a partially-executed plot to kidnap Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The suspects were arrested before the plot was fully executed.

The apparent kidnappers were right wing “extremists”, of the sort the left are always warning us about. This event obviously helped the left in that state’s voting for President.

But it is turning out that the whole thing was really an FBI plot — entrapment at best, political meddling at worst. Three of the five people in the van that went to kidnap the Governor were FBI informants! Worse, it looks like the episode was a dry run for the “Capital riot” of Jan 6. It stinks so much that even lefty Buzzfeed is noticing the illegal and improper hand of the spooks in the political process.

This is an important story in the rapidly change arc of US “democracy.”

The audacious plot to kidnap a sitting governor — seen by many as a precursor to the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol by hundreds of Trump-supporting protesters — has become one of the most important domestic terrorism investigations in a generation. …

To some, the FBI’s infiltration of the innermost circle of armed anti-government groups is a model for how to successfully forestall dangerous acts of domestic terrorism. But for others, it’s an example of precisely the kind of outrageous government overreach that radicalizes people in the first place, and, increasingly, a flashpoint for deep state conspiracy theories. …

An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.

A longtime government informant from Wisconsin, for example, helped organize a series of meetings around the country where many of the alleged plotters first met one another and the earliest notions of a plan took root, some of those people say. The Wisconsin informant even paid for some hotel rooms and food as an incentive to get people to come.

The Iraq War vet, for his part, became so deeply enmeshed in a Michigan militant group that he rose to become its second-in-command, encouraging members to collaborate with other potential suspects and paying for their transportation to meetings. He prodded the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping plot to advance his plan, then baited the trap that led to the arrest. …

The defendants are claiming FBI entrapment:

All but one of the 14 original defendants have pleaded not guilty, and they vigorously deny that they were involved in a conspiracy to kidnap anyone. …

The defendants, as well as others caught up in the sweeping investigation — which stretched from Baltimore to Kansas City — claim their talk never rose beyond the level of fantasy and they never intended to harm anyone. Although they have not denied participating in training events, attending meetings, and communicating with other defendants, they claim that no actual conspiracy to kidnap the governor ever existed.

Instead, they say, they were targeted because of their political views. Some describe the case as a premeditated campaign by the government to undermine the Patriot movement, an ideology based on fealty to the Second Amendment and the conviction that the government has violated the Constitution and is therefore illegitimate. …

To date, one defendant has formally accused the government of entrapment, arguing that the FBI assembled the key plotters, encouraged the group’s anti-government feelings, and even gave its members military-style training. Additional defendants have said they plan to make similar claims when the cases, divided between federal and state court, go to trial starting as soon as October. …

The FBI has form:

Since its founding 113 years ago, the FBI has relied upon, and often paid, confidential informants to aid in criminal investigations. Starting in the late 1950s, it has employed them specifically to infiltrate dissident groups and spy on targeted individuals, including the Black Panthers, the Ku Klux Klan, and Martin Luther King Jr.

The tactic has a decidedly mixed record. Informants have helped make cases that averted terrible violence. But informants have also coerced innocent people, falsified evidence, and even committed murder while working for the FBI. …

It’s now established fact that there were several FBI informants in the Capitol riot too. No one in the administration will say how many, or what their roles were, or release the 14,000 hours of video footage of the event. This practically shouts that the “riot” too was not as portrayed in the media, and that the FBI were responsible for it as well to some extent. Which really opens up some a can of worms.

In court, the government has drawn a direct line between the alleged kidnapping plot and the Jan. 6 insurrection, holding up the storming of the US Capitol as evidence that the Michigan defendants posed a profound threat. …

Brazen.

But if the defense is able to undermine the methods used to build the Michigan case, it could add weight to the theory that the administration is conducting a witch hunt against militant groups — and, by extension, that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a black op engineered by the FBI.

Remember, this is a left-wing publication saying this. There is hope yet.