Authorities revealed the existence of a shadowy militia group called the “Wolverine Watchmen” on Thursday while detailing charges against 13 men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and spark a civil war.
Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel said seven of the men — all of whom were in custody on state charges under Michigan’s Anti-Terrorism Act — were “linked to the militia group Wolverine Watchmen and associates of Wolverine Watchmen.”
Nessel didn’t provide any further details about the group or take questions from reporters during a news conference in Lansing.
The Wolverine Watchmen don’t appear to have any online presence and aren’t listed among 576 “extreme antigovernment groups” identified as active during 2019 by the Southern Poverty Law Project, which monitors American hate groups and other extremists.
The Anti-Defamation League, which also monitors extremist groups, has no mention of the Wolverine Watchmen on its website, but in 2012 reported that a group called Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines was planning to conduct paramilitary training in Lupton, Michigan.
On its website, that group says, “A well-armed citizenry is the best form of Homeland Security and can better deter crime, invasion, terrorism, and tyranny.”
“Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, creed, color, religion or political affiliation, provided you do not wish to bring harm to our country or people,” it adds.
During Thursday’s news conference, Nessel said the seven men tied to Wolverine Watchmen “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 kidnap government officials, including the governor.”
The men also tried to identify the home addresses of law-enforcement officials so they could be targeted, Nessel said.