FBI Arrests White Supremacy Leader Who Ran 'Hate Camp' In Michigan
Three weeks after the FBI thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), federal agents arrested two men — one of whom is the leader of white supremacist group the Base — as they continue a crackdown on extremism, according to The Detroit News.
A team of FBI agents arrested Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor, during a pair of raids Thursday, including at a rural farmhouse in Bad Axe, 100 miles north of Detroit.
According to Michigan Attorney General Dana [Nessel], the 3 1/2-acre farm was being converted into a “hate camp” for members of the group to prepare to overthrow the government, according to the criminal case, which also accused Base leaders of encouraging others to harass a Washtenaw County family online.
- The men were charged with multiple felonies, including gang membership, using a computer to commit a crime and unlawful posting of a message.
Interviews and court records describe Watkins as a white supremacist who was trying to build a hub on a shoestring budget in an isolated farmhouse decorated with Nazi flags and a photo of Adolf Hitler.
- According to the FBI, the Base operates as a paramilitary organization and has declared war against minority communities, both in the U.S. and abroad.
- The group’s goal is “to bring together highly skilled members to train them for acts of violence, Nessel said.”
- Jon Lewis, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said, “Members are alleged to have engaged in firearms training at camps similar to what we saw in the Whitmer kidnapping case.”
- Lewis added that the group is looking for a “race war,” saying: “These guys want societal collapse. They don’t just want to target government folks.”
- Nessel said the Base claims to be training for a race war "to establish White ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula."