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CSUSB’s Brian Levin interviewed about a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor
Oct. 9, 2020
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB, was interviewed for a segment on Michigan and federal authorities charging a group of 13 suspected terrorists in an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and recruit militia members to storm the state Capitol. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the FBI announced the charges Thursday. They say the men wanted to overthrow the state government and incite a civil war.
Levin says this is a dangerous moment with the controversies over COVID-19 restrictions, the gun rights movement, and the tinderbox of 2020 presidential politics. And he says social media – Facebook, in particular – makes it easier for white supremacists to find each other, but also for people who are discontented, with COVID restrictions, for example, to become radicalized.
“The ‘liberate’ movement, which is not a fringe movement per se, but does have a substantial number of conspiracists, and others, that can serve as a gathering place and then a conduit to radicalize others,” he says.
President Donald Trump’s rhetoric has spurred on these groups, Levin says, and Whitmer agrees. This is from a statement she released after the indictments were made public.
“Just last week, the President of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups. Stand back and stand by, he told them. Stand back and stand by.”
Read the article at “‘Violence has been prevented today’ after 13 charged in plot to kidnap Whitmer.”
The plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer points to the threat extremism experts such at CSUSB’s Brian Levin have been warning about because of inflamed rhetoric tied to the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“This is exactly the threat we've been warning about for some time: small cells organizing on social media to direct their aggression at a target demonized in the socio-political culture," said Levin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Along with other Democratic governors, Whitmer has been a frequent target of Trump's criticism for shutting down their economies in response to the coronavirus pandemic this year. In April, as protesters gathered outside Michigan's state capitol to protest a lockdown imposed by the governor, Trump tweeted "Liberate Michigan."
Levin said Whitmer, a first-term governor who was briefly under consideration to become Biden's running mate, was demonized as a "Nazi" during the protests that were attended by militia and other far-right groups.
Read the complete article at “FBI charges 6 in plot to kidnap Michigan governor.”
CSUSB professor interviewed about alt-right violence on the rise and the Nov. 3 election
Fox 11 Los Angeles
Oct. 9, 2020
FBI and other law enforcement foiled a detailed plot by a domestic terror cell to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and now there's concern about more possible violence ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino joined Good Day LA to discuss the uptick in these domestic terrorist attacks.
See the segment at “Alt-right violence on the rise.”
These news clips and others may be viewed at “In the Headlines.”