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Hutaree militia arrests point to tripling of militias since 2008

Federal authorities arrested nine members of the Hutaree militia, a fringe Christian group in Michigan, this weekend. The indictment alleges that the group was planning to kill law-enforcement officers as part of a plan to 'levy war' on the United States.

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“A major shift to the left certainly helped” in both cases, Ms. Beirich says.

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The economic meltdown and the growth of minorities such as Latinos are also a factor, she adds.

Who are the Hutaree?

Federal authorities say the Hutaree started to conduct military-style training in Michigan’s Lenawee County in August 2008.

After debating different scenarios, the group decided upon killing a local law enforcement official and attacking the subsequent funeral procession, the indictment says. The indictment says the Hutaree planned to use “improvised explosive devices” and “explosively formed projectiles” that, authorities say, qualify as weapons of mass destruction.

The group accelerated training in February and March with plans to carry out the attack in April, the indictment states.

The Hutaree is unique because it interacted with militia groups outside Michigan, notes Beirich. Many groups the size of the Hutaree tend to be insular and segregated from larger groups. The Hutaree, however, had 350 MySpace members despite its apparently small membership.

Christian connection

On its website, the Hutaree uses Christian terminology and Bible quotes that position it as a military organization prepared to confront an Antichrist. “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.… We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t,” a passage reads.

The site’s homepage includes a picture of 17 men and women posing in camouflage uniforms and brandishing assault weapons.

The accused comprise: David Brian Stone; his wife, Tina Stone; sons Joshua Matthew Stone and David Brian Stone Jr.; Joshua Clough; Michael Meeks; Thomas Piatek; Kristopher Sickles; and Jacob Ward.

Seven arrived in US District Court in Detroit Monday and were ordered held without bond until Wednesday, when bond hearings will take place.

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