Michigan white supremacist group members arrested on terror charges after targeting wrong house

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The FBI may be delaying the release of a report stating that white supremacists are the greatest terrorist threat facing our nation —possibly due to political pressure from the White House — but that hasn’t stopped them from arresting two Michigan men who are leaders of a violent racist hate group called The Base.

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25-year-old Justen Watkins and 35-year-old Alfred Gorman were both apprehended by the FBI this week in separate raids and charged with intimidating and terrorizing a local couple in Dexter, Michigan late last year.

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The arrests come just a few weeks after the bureau broke up a plot by other right-wing terrorists belonging to a group called the Wolverine Watchmen to attempt an assassination of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D).

Watkins and Gorman targeted the couple because they mistakenly believed that the address that they lived at belonged to a man who hosted an Antifa podcast.

A new online publication, The Informant, described the moment when Dawn and Rich Shea realized that they had been targeted by members of The Base in a case of mistaken identity:

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“Dawn Shea was home at night, nursing her newborn, when she first saw a flicker of light outside.”

“She and her husband, Rich, had just brought their one-day-old baby home from the hospital and were settling in for what they hoped would be a quiet night in Dexter, Michigan, a placid city of 4,000 just northwest of Ann Arbor.”

“A moment passed.”

“The light outside flickered again.”

“Dawn asked Rich to go see what it might be.”

“Rich went to look outside.”

“In the darkness, he saw two young men in front of their house, both dressed in black. At least one of the men was wearing a mask with a white skull printed on the front.”

“The man in the skull mask stepped onto the porch. The other stood in front of the house taking photos. His camera flashed.”

“The Sheas called law enforcement for help, but the men were long gone by the time someone arrived a half hour later. The Sheas were told that there wasn’t much that could be done but that they should call again if the men returned.”

“What neither the Sheas nor law enforcement knew at the time was that the mysterious visitors were part of an international neo-Nazi group known as The Base. It’s an organization that advocates terrorism and mass murder as a means to bring about the collapse of modern civilization and the eventual creation of an all-white ethnostate,” Nick R. Martin writes in The Informant.

The two men arrested by the FBI are alleged to have shared the address of the Sheas on the online bulletin boards frequented by the members of The Base and encouraging the harassment of the innocent couple.

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The felony charges against them — including membership in a gang, using a computer to commit a crime, and unlawful posting of a message — were filed in Washtenaw County District Court. They are currently incarcerated in the Washtenaw County Jail pending arraignment.

“Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public’s safety from these serious threats.”

Nessel said that the aim of the armed militia group The Base was “to establish White ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

“The group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism, at one point requiring its members to read neo-Nazi books that urge the collapse of Western civilization,” Nessel’s office said in a statement.

According to Jon Lewis, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, members of the militant group have been arrested in several other incidents this year so far.

The Detroit News reports that six other members of the group have been arrested in separate incidents in Georgia, Maryland, and Delaware, including in a plot to kill members of a militant anti-fascist group.

“While law enforcement has really denigrated their ability to commit acts of domestic terror, these arrests still show a significant threat to the homeland,” Lewis explained.

“Members are alleged to have engaged in firearms training at camps similar to what we saw in the Whitmer kidnapping case,” he continued. “These guys want societal collapse. They don’t just want to target government folks,” Lewis said. “They want the race war.”

The necessity of exposing and counteracting the activities of armed racist hate groups like The Base is one of the consequences of the election of Donald Trump, a president who has somehow enabled these groups to emerge from the shadows and feel emboldened to openly promote their repulsive agenda.

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Only a massive repudiation of Donald Trump at the ballot box next week can signal that this type of hatred and divisiveness is no longer deemed acceptable in American society.

Get out and vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to get back the America we’ve missed for the past four years. Only a Biden victory will truly make America great again.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

Original reporting by Robert Snell and Beth LeBlanc at The Detroit News and by Nick R. Martin at The Informant.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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