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Two men arrested in plot to kidnap Michigan governor were Marine veterans

Two of the 13 men arrested in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were Marine veterans, according to Marine officials.

Joseph Morrison was a Marine reservist who joined the Corps in March 2015 and was discharged from the reserves as a lance corporal on Thursday, Capt. Joseph Butterfield, a headquarters Marine Corps spokesman, told Marine Corps Times Saturday.

He was assigned to Engineer Support Company, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Battle Creek, Michigan, and his awards included the National Defense Service Medal and the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Butterfield said.

His exit from the reserves had nothing to do with the alleged kidnapping plot, Butterfield said. The men were charged on Thursday.

Daniel Harris was an 0311 who joined the Corps in June of 2015 and was discharged in June of 2019 after serving with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Butterfield said.

His awards included the Good Conduct Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Butterfield said.

The two men were allegedly part of a militia group named the “Wolverine Watchmen,” who were allegedly plotting to take down the Michigan government for perceived constitutional violations, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a Thursday news conference.

“Our efforts uncovered elaborate plans to endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, government officials and the broader public," Nessel said.

“The individuals in custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, make 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 to kidnap government officials including the governor of Michigan,” Nessel added.

Harris is one of six men allegedly involved in the plot facing federal charges, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Harris allegedly discussed “attacking a Michigan State Police Facility," and allegedly said, “Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her,” on an encrypted group chat, the paper reported.

Morrison is facing state charges for his alleged role in the plot and is alleged to be one of the founding members of the Wolverine Watchmen. He is known by the moniker the Boogaloo Bunyan, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The boogaloo movement started on the internet is linked to neo-Nazis and white supremacists seeking to capitalize on current unrest in the nation to start a second civil war, USA Today reported.

“We are aware of the circumstances surrounding the two individuals, and will assist the investigating authorities in any way we can,” Butterfield said in his Saturday statement.

“The serious allegations are not a reflection of the Marine Corps, do not reflect the oath every Marine takes to support and defend the constitution, and do not align with our core values of honor, courage, and commitment,” he added.

In a recent online event Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said the Corps needs to eradicate all traces of racism within its ranks.

“You have to be ruthless in rooting it out," Berger said about racism at the Defense One online expo in September.

“When you find it, you got to separate it like a cancer quickly because it clearly will spread,” he added.

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