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WASHINGTON — Nine members of a Michigan-based Christian militia group have been indicted on sedition and weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to murder law enforcement officers in hopes of setting off an anti-government uprising.
In court filings unsealed Monday, the Justice Department accused the nine people of planning to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer, then plant improvised explosive devices of a type used by insurgents in Iraq to attack the funeral procession.
Eight of the defendants were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. A ninth remained at large, the Justice Department said. The indictments against them were returned last Tuesday. The defendants were identified as members of Hutaree, described by federal prosecutors as an anti-government extremist organization based in Lenawee County, Michigan, and which advocates violence against local, state and federal law enforcement. The group saw local and state police as “foot soldiers” for the federal government, which it viewed as its enemy, along with participants in what they deemed to be a “New World Order,” according to the indictment.
“This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge in Detroit, said in a statement. “The F.B.I. takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.”
A law enforcement official said that the alleged plot was unconnected to recent threats against Democratic members of Congress who voted for legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system.
A Web site for the Hutaree group talks about a coming battle against the putative forces of the Anti-Christ and hosts an “evil Jews Forum,” but does not appear to focus explicitly on recent political events.
The Web site, which describes the group as “preparing for the end times,” featured video clips of people running through woods in camouflage gear and firing assault rifles, along with links to gun stores and far-right media. It also features an elaborate system of military ranks for its members. The site says it coined the term Hutaree, intended to mean Christian warrior.
“Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” the Web site says, adding, “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”
The indictment charged that between August 2008 and the present, the defendants — led by David Brian Stone, 45, who also used the name “Captain Hutaree” — developed a conspiracy that they hoped would result in a war against the United States government. They allegedly decided they would kill a local law enforcement officer, and then bomb the funeral caravan. The killings “would intimidate and demoralize law enforcement diminishing their ranks and rendering them ineffective,” it said.
Afterward, the indictment said, Hutaree members would retreat to several “rally points” and wage war against the government, using prepared fighting positions as well as “trip-wired and command-detonated” bombs.
“It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more wide-spread uprising against the government,” the indictment said.
Mr. Stone used the Internet to obtain diagrams of “explosively formed projectiles,” a particularly lethal form of roadside bombs responsible for many deaths of United States soldiers in Iraq, the indictment says.
It says that he e-mailed diagrams of such devices to a person he believed to be capable of manufacturing them, and then directed one of his sons to obtain the materials to make them. It also says he and his other son taught other Hutaree members how to make bombs in June 2009.
Barbara McQuade, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said the government moved to arrest the members of the group this past weekend to short-circuit some operation it had planned to do next month, and which she did not explain detail.
“Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time.”
All nine people face the charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. In addition, Mr. Stone and one of his sons, David Brian Stone Jr., has been charged with teaching the use of explosive materials.
These guys are obviously batshit fucking crazy. However, is this the future of terrorism in the U.S.? The Republican party doesn't seem too terribly concerned about it:
So, is this just a false alarm? Are people overreacting? Or is the GOP not realizing/not caring that their politicking--which they may see as just scoring cheap political points, driving up turnout--is putting real peoples' lives in danger?