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Religious Tolerance logo

Hutaree militia in Michigan

A Fundamentalist Christian militia attempts
to "levy war" against the U.S. Government

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2010-MAR-27: MI: FBI raids fundamentalist Christian militia:

The FBI conducted raids during the weekend of MAR-27 and 28 in parts of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Their targets were members of a fundamentalist Christian militia group, the Hutaree. Their web site describes their members as "... preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive." Their logo is a cross with the initials CCR, which stand for the Colonial Christian Republic. 1

Their web site states that: "Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment. ... The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it. We will reach out to those who are yet blind in the last days of the kingdoms of men and bring them to life in Christ." According to their web site, Hutaree means "Christian warrior." 2

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Is the group anti-Muslim?

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) speculates that the FBI raid was motivated by "... possible threats of violence against American Muslims." There are allegedly reports in the media that members of the Hutaree militia made threats of violence against Islamic organizations.

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

"Given the recent sharp spike CAIR offices nationwide have observed in anti-Islam rhetoric, it would not be surprising that an extremist group would seek to turn that bigoted rhetoric into violent actions. At this stage, we are seeking more information about possible threats to American Muslim organizations and are urging the offices of CAIR and other Islamic institutions nationwide to take appropriate security precautions.”

Last week, CAIR called on Republican leaders to repudiate racist taunts by tea party opponents of health care reform who targeted a Muslim congressman and a African-American lawmaker on Capitol Hill. CAIR did not mention whether they called on Republican leaders to also repudiate homophobic taunts by the same group against a gay member of Congress. 3

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Charges against the Hutaree members:

According to the Detroit Press, eight male and one female adult militia members were charged with conspiracy to kill a local police officer sometime in April. This would probably result in hundreds of officers from around the U.S. forming a procession at the funeral. The Hutaree allegedly planned to attack the procession with improvised explosive devices and gunfire.

Accused are:

  • David Brian Stone, 45; his wife, Tina Stone, 44; his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, all three of Clayton, MI;
  • His other son, David Brian Stone Jr., 19, of Adrian, MI.
  • Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, MI;
  • Michael Meeks, 40 of Manchester, MI;
  • Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, IN;
  • Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, OH; and
  • Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, OH.

Each of the accused faces three to five charges, including:

  • Sedition, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years,
  • Attempts to use weapons of mass destruction (maximum of life imprisonment),
  • Teaching/demonstrating use of explosive materials (maximum of 20 years) and
  • Two counts of carrying weapons in relation to a crime of violence (minimum of 5 years).

The indictment states that group had identified a police officer in Michigan for the initial assassination.

Their aim was to "intimidate and demoralize law enforcement, diminishing their ranks, and rendering them ineffective." They then intended to use the incident to trigger a "war" against law enforcement, using bombs, ambushes and prepared fighting positions. They hoped that this would cause a general uprising against the Federal Government among disgruntled Americans.

Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge said:

"This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society. 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." 4

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The militia movement and domestic terrorism:

The Wall Street Journal states that:

"Security officials in Washington have been watching the rejuvenation of the militia movement with unease for the past year. Some of the same conditions that last led to a surge of militias in the early 1990s—a tough economic environment and a Democratic administration in the White House—prevail today, investigators said."

"The election of Barack Obama as the country's first African-American president has galvanized some white supremacist in parts of the militia universe. Domestic terrorism from armed groups not connected to Islamic ideology is possible, said Lydia Khalil, a counter-terrorism researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York." 5

Two chapters of the Hutaree Militia -- one in Utah and one in Michigan -- were included in the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) list of militia groups issued in early 2010-MAR. Hatewatch, a division of the SPLC, reports that the strength of the militias rose quickly and then went into a steep decline during the 1990s. They are now coming back:

"Almost a decade after largely disappearing from public view, right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country. 'Paper terrorism' — the use of property liens and citizens’ 'courts' to harass enemies — is on the rise. And once-popular militia conspiracy theories are making the rounds again, this time accompanied by nativist theories about secret Mexican plans to 'reconquer' the American Southwest."

"One federal law enforcement agency has found 50 new militia training groups — one of them made up of present and former police officers and soldiers. Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda. 'This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,' says one. 'All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence'."

"A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate. One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama."

"At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president’s country of birth."

"The latter claims from the so-called 'birthers' first gained traction when far-right hard-liners like writer Jerome Corsi, politician Alan Keyes and Watergate felon and radio show host G. Gordon Liddy questioned the validity of the president’s birth certificate. But they have picked up speed thanks to the likes of Lou Dobbs, the CNN and radio host who has repeatedly demanded that Obama 'show the documents' proving his citizenship — this despite the fact that the birther claims had been thoroughly debunked by a guest host of Dobbs’ own CNN show and by many others.

"As Chip Berlet, an analyst of the radical right at Political Research Associates, said in a recent report: 'The current political environment is awash with seemingly absurd but nonetheless influential conspiracy theories, hyperbolic claims and demonized targets. And this creates a milieu where violence is a likely outcome'." 6

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Niraj Warikoo, "Fed raids in Michigan may be tied to Hutaree, a Christian-militia group," Free Press, 2010-MAR-28, at: http://www.freep.com/
  2. The Hutaree web site is at: http://www.hutaree.com/
  3. "CAIR Seeks Info on Militia Threats to Muslim Groups. FBI reportedly raids militia after threats of violence against Islamic organizations," CAIR, 2010-MAR-28, at: http://campaign.constantcontact.com/
  4. Paul Egan & Mike Wiklinson, "Indictment: Hutaree militia planned to kill law officer, attack the funeral procession," Detroit News, at: http://www.detnews.com/
  5. Kieth Johnson et al., "Militia probe included undercover FBI agent," Wall Street Journal, 2010-MAR-30, at: http://online.wsj.com/
  6. Mark Potok, "New SPLC report: Return of the Militias," Hatewatch, 2009-AUG-12, at: http://www.splcenter.org/

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How you got here:

Home page > Intolerance/change/conflict, tolerance, etc. newshere

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-MAR-03
Latest update: 2010-MAR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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