By Calvin Palmer
Nine members of a Christian militia have been charged with plotting to kill police in Michigan and trying to wage war on the United States government.
After FBI raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, nine members of the militia called Hutaree have been charged with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and teaching the use of explosive materials.
Those charged are militia leader David Brian Stone, 45; his wife, Tina Stone, 44; his sons Joshua Matthew Stone, 21 and David Brian Stone, Jr, 19; Joshua Clough, 28; Michael Meeks, 40; Thomas Piatek, 46; Kristopher Sickles, 27; and Jacob Ward, 33.
Prosecutors allege they were just days away from planning to kill a policeman and then launching an attack at his funeral with homemade bombs.
Court documents said the group would then retreat to one of several “rally points” to “wage war against the government and be prepared to defend in depth with trip-wired and command-detonated anti-personnel improvised explosive devices, ambushes and prepared fighting positions”.
Prosecutors said Hutaree considered police officers to be “foot soldiers” of the US government and counted among their enemies anyone who did not share their beliefs or was participating in the “new world order”.
The Hutaree website says it is “preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive”.
“The indictment unsealed today outlines an insidious plan by anti-government extremists to murder a law enforcement officer in order to lure police from across the nation to the funeral where they would be attacked with explosive devices,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
“Thankfully, this alleged plot has been thwarted and a severe blow has been dealt to an dangerous organization that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States.”
The group’s logo is a cross with the initials CCR, which stand for Colonial Christian Republic and its name means “Christian warrior.”
A video posted on the website depicts a group of heavily armed men in military gear replacing a burning United Nations flag with their flag after pretending to kill soldiers wearing blue helmets.
The group also warns of the coming of the Anti-Christ and the “Beast” and cites Biblical passages to prove that “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves.”
“This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in a statement.
“The FBI 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.”
According to the southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors such groups, the number of active “Patriot” groups – of which militias form a paramilitary wing – increased from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009.
The accused face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.