Fresh on the report by The Southern Poverty Law Center on the rise in domestic terror groups on the right, came the arrest of at least seven people connected to a Christian militia group. The raids, led by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task force focused on individuals in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana and was part of a larger investigation of the Hutaree Militia, a Christian militia group. The raids were followed up by a five-count indictment charging certain members with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
According to news reports, the group was allegedly preparing to carry out a series of bombing attacks in the coming weeks as part of a larger plot to kill police officers. The group was then going to follow up with additional bombings during the funeral processions of those slain officers. The FBI has alleged that the group’s website refers to a Colonial Christian Republic and shows videos of members burning United Nations flags. Their leader, David Brian Stone, a.k.a Captain Hutaree also faces charges for training people on how to make and use improvised explosive devices, commonly known as IED’s, similar to those used in Iraq and Afghanistan by al Qaeda and Taliban forces.
According to the FBI, the goal of the Hutaree Militia was to incite nationwide anti-government violence. The group has close links to several other American militias, including the Ohio Militia, the Michigan Militia Corps, the Kentucky State Militia, the Central Texas Militia and others. The indictment alleges that several of the Hutaree members tried to travel to Kentucky to attend a summit of militia groups in February. Not surprisingly, following the raid and the indictments, other militia groups are doing their best to distance themselves from the Hutaree Militia.
The Souther Poverty Law Center’s March “Rage on the Right” report documented 512 antigovernment “Patriot” groups, including the armed militias named above. The Hutaree Militia is no stranger to the group and represents just another part of the alarming rise of anti-government rhetoric and action taken by the extreme right in this country. According to the SPLC we’re witnessing a 244 percent increase in the number of armed groups since 2009.
Unfortunately this appears to be a story that is not going away anytime soon, and thankfully the raids were conducted before anything tragic occurred. But it is another sobering reminder that anti-government rhetoric, like that witnessed during the health care debate, has the potential to incite those on the fringe. We can do better than this. Contact your representatives and demand they return civility into the public discourse and immediately renounce any anti-government rhetoric before it’s too late.
photo courtesy of Michael (mx5tx) via Flickr