Executive summary, with hyperlink to the full text
On 1999-OCT-20, The FBI announced a report called "Project
Megiddo". It is intended to alert U.S. law enforcement to what they
describe is "the
potential for extremist criminal activity in the United States by
individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the year
2000." An accompanying FBI statement mentioned that "The
threat posed by extremists as a result of perceived events associated with
the Year 2000 (Y2K) is very real. The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious
and (New World Order) conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed a
precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible..." Their
concept is that by creating widespread instances massive destruction,
violence, and death, that the end of the world will be precipitated. This is
not a new phenomenon within Christianity. Very similar beliefs were held
during the time of the Roman Empire.
Data for the report were collected over a nine-month period of intensive
intelligence gathering by the domestic terrorism unit of the FBI, The report is "considered so sensitive and secret that it will
not be made public." Fortunately, the Center for studies on New
Religions (CESNUR) obtained a copy and placed it on the Internet. 4
For over four thousand years, MEGIDDO, a hill in northern Israel, has been the site of many battles. Ancient cities were established there to serve as a fortress on the plain of Jezreel to guard a mountain pass. As Megiddo was built and rebuilt, one city upon the other, a mound or hill was formed. The Hebrew word "Armageddon" means "hill of Megiddo." In English, the word has come to represent battle itself. The last book in the New Testament of the Bible designates Armageddon as the assembly point in the apocalyptic setting of God's final and conclusive battle against evil. The name "Megiddo" is an apt title for a project that analyzes those who believe the year 2000 will usher in the end of the world and who are willing to perpetrate acts of violence to bring that end about.
The year 2000 is being discussed and debated at all levels of society. Most of
the discussions regarding this issue revolve around the topic of technology and our society's overwhelming dependence on the multitude of computers and computer chips which make our world run smoothly. However, the upcoming millennium also holds important implications beyond the issue of computer technology. Many extremist individuals and groups place some significance on the next millennium, and as such it will present challenges to law enforcement at many levels. The significance is based primarily upon either religious beliefs relating to the Apocalypse or political beliefs relating to the New World Order
(NWO) conspiracy theory. 5 The challenge is how well law enforcement will prepare and respond.
The following report, entitled "Project Megiddo," is intended to analyze the potential for extremist criminal activity in the United States by individuals or domestic extremist groups who profess an apocalyptic view of the millennium or attach special significance to the year 2000. The purpose behind this assessment is to provide law enforcement agencies with a clear picture of potential extremism motivated by the next millennium. The report does not contain information on domestic terrorist groups whose actions are not influenced by the year 2000.
There are numerous difficulties involved in providing a thorough analysis of domestic security threats catalyzed by the new millennium. Quite simply, the very nature of the current domestic terrorism threat places severe limitations on effective intelligence gathering and evaluation. Ideological and philosophical belief systems which attach importance, and possibly violence, to the millennium have been well-articulated. From a law enforcement perspective, the problem therefore is not a lack of understanding of motivating ideologies: The fundamental problem is that the traditional focal point for counterterrorism analysis -- the terrorist group -- is not always well-defined or relevant in the current environment.
The general trend in domestic extremism is the terrorist’s disavowal of traditional, hierarchical, and structured terrorist organizations. Even well-established militias, which tend to organize along military lines with central control, are characterized by factionalism and disunity. While several “professional” terrorist groups still exist and present a continued threat to domestic security, the overwhelming majority of extremist groups in the United States have adopted a fragmented, leaderless structure where individuals or small groups act with autonomy. Clearly, the worst act of domestic terrorism in United States history was perpetrated by merely two individuals: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. In many cases, extremists of this sort are extremely difficult to identify until after an incident has occurred. Thus, analysis of domestic extremism in which the group serves as the focal point of evaluation has obvious limitations.
The Project Megiddo intelligence initiative has identified very few indications of specific threats to domestic security. Given the present nature of domestic extremism, this is to be expected. However, this is a function of the limitations of the group-oriented model of counterterrorism analysis and should not be taken necessarily as reflective of a minor or trivial domestic threat. Without question, this initiative has revealed indicators of potential violent activity on the part of extremists in this country. Militias, adherents of racist belief systems such as
Christian Identity and Odinism, and other radical domestic extremists are clearly focusing on the millennium as a time of action. Certain individuals from these various perspectives are acquiring weapons, storing food and clothing, raising funds through fraudulent means, procuring safe houses, preparing compounds, surveying potential targets, and recruiting new converts. These and other indicators are not taking place in a vacuum, nor are they random or arbitrary. In the final analysis, while making specific predictions is extremely difficult, acts of violence in commemoration of the millennium are just as likely to occur as not. In the absence of intelligence that the more established and organized terrorist groups are planning millennial violence as an organizational strategy, violence is most likely to be perpetrated by radical fringe members of established groups. For example, while Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler publicly frowns on proactive violence, adherents of his religion or individual members of his organization may commit acts of violence autonomously.
Potential cult-related violence presents additional challenges to law enforcement. The potential for violence on behalf of members of biblically-driven
cults is determined almost exclusively by the whims of the cult leader. Therefore, effective intelligence and analysis of such cults requires an extensive understanding of the cult leader. Cult members generally act to serve and please the cult leader rather than accomplish an ideological objective. Almost universally, cult leaders are viewed as messianic in the eyes of their followers. Also, the cult leader’s prophecies,
preachings, orders, and objectives are subject to indiscriminate change. Thus, while analysis of publicly stated goals and objectives of cults may provide hints about their behavior and intentions, it is just as likely to be uninformed or, at worst, misleading. Much more valuable is a thorough examination of the cult leader, his position of power over his followers, and an awareness of the responding behavior and activity of the cult. Sudden changes in activity - for example, less time spent on “Bible study” and more time spent on “physical training” - indicate that the cult may be preparing for some type of action.
The millennium holds special significance for many, and as this pivotal point in time approaches, the impetus for the initiation of violence becomes more acute. Several religiously motivated groups envision a quick, fiery ending in an apocalyptic battle. Others may initiate a sustained campaign of terrorism in the United States to prevent the
NWO. Armed with the urgency of the millennium as a motivating factor, new clandestine groups may conceivably form to engage in violence toward the U.S. Government or its citizens.
Most importantly, this analysis clearly shows that perceptions matter. The perceptions of the leaders and followers of extremist organizations will contribute much toward the ultimate course of action they choose. For example, in-depth analysis of Y2K compliancy on the part of various key sectors that rely on computers has determined that, despite a generally positive outlook for overall compliance, there will be problem industries and minor difficulties and inconveniences.
1 If they occur, these inconveniences are likely to cause varying responses by the extreme fringes. Members of various militia groups, for example, have identified potentially massive power failures as an indication of a United Nations-directed NWO takeover. While experts have indicated that only minor brownouts will occur, various militias are likely to perceive such minor brownouts as indicative of a larger conspiracy.
The Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem has stated that some state and local governments could be unprepared, including the inability to provide benefits payments.
3This could have a significant impact in major urban areas, resulting in the possibility for civil unrest. Violent white supremacists are likely to view such unrest as an affirmation of a racist, hate-filled world view. Likewise, militia members who predict the implementation of martial law in response to a Y2K computer failure would become all the more fearful.
"U.S. Congress, Senate, Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, Investigating the Impact of the Year 2000
Problem," February 24, 1996, pp. 1-6.
1999-NOV-13: The Christian Alert Network is an American
Christian Fundamentalist group. They issue reports which deal with what
they feel are threats to Christianity. They are distressed that the FBI
document "classifies all God-fearing Americans as domestic
terrorists [sic] suspects." Their report says that the FBI
considers a person a terrorist if:
They believe the book of Revelation and its description of battle of
They believe in time prophecy.
They believe that God will overcome the enemies of Christianity.
They believe that the Y2K bug will hit many computer programs. 7
"Simply put, it [the report] vilifies all Bible believers, home
schoolers, 2nd Amendment rights advocates, freedom-loving Americans as domestic
terrorists." The Christian Alert Network is supporting the Free
Congress Foundation's (FCF) call for the House of Representatives to
hold an investigation into the FBI and its Project Megiddo. FCF's
previous call for action was an attempt to force the U.S. Army to terminate
the religious rights of Wiccan soldiers.
2000-JAN-21: We stumbled across some relatively new essays,
published by "Anonymous" on JAN-10. The Other
Side of the News identified the author of one of them as Scott
McDonald but we have no way of confirming this. The two essays are:
The essays deal with a secret international conspiracy involving
the FBI, the OCRT (the sponsor of this web site), and several other
groups. The goal of this conspiracy is said to be the destruction of
conservative, Bible and prophecy believing Christianity in the U.S.
They also describe the OCRT as a religious hate site.
Additional references added by this web site
5. The "new world order" is a collection of "conspiracy theories warning of a tyrannical
global government, often depicted as a tool of the Anti Christ. [sic]6
6. "'Project Megiddo' warns of cult violence, religious terrorism as
new millennium approaches," AANEWS, 1999-OCT-20.
7. "Christians are terrorists [sic] suspects according to FBI,"
The Christian Alert Network newsletter, 1999-NOV-13.
8. The initial plan by the FBI was to distribute the report only to police
chiefs. They were considering publishing an abbreviated version for public
distribution. They have changed their mind and published the entire report
on their web site at http://www.fbi.gov
(It requires an free Acrobat reader to view the report). This change in plans might have been caused by the proliferation of copies
published on the Internet.