US Christian militia plots war
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Detroit - Nine members of a radical Christian militia were charged with plotting to kill police in Michigan and wage war on the government, an indictment unsealed on Monday said.
Prosecutors say the Hutaree militia considered law enforcement to be "foot soldiers" of the federal government and counted among their enemies anyone who did not share their beliefs or was participating in the "new world order".
They had allegedly been training for an attack since at least 2008 and planned to kill a member of law enforcement and then attack the funeral with homemade bombs.
They 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 (IED), ambushes, and prepared fighting positions", the charging document said.
"It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising against the government," the indictment said.
Prosecutors said a weekend raid on militia members in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana was necessary because the group planned to kill anyone who got in the way of a "covert reconnaissance operation" planned for April.
Eight of the militia members were arrested, but the leader's son - Joshua Stone - is considered a fugitive.
The Hutaree website says it is "preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive".
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 Antichrist 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."
The number of extremist groups and armed militias which advocate radical anti-government doctrines and conspiracy theories nearly tripled last year to 512 from 149 in 2008, according a recent report by to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks the activities of hate groups.
The militia members face charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Those charged face a maximum sentence of life in prison in convicted.
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