How dangerous were the people arrested over the weekend by the FBI? I visited and checked out the Hutaree Militia Website. For the most part, it’s pretty tame stuff. The only plans or diagram I found was for making an elaborate water filtering system. On their forum page, one forum was titled, “Evil Jew Forum”. Like most of the forums, one must be registered to access it, and I wasn’t about to register to check it out. The only ‘public’ forum has apparently gotten slammed in the past 24 hours or so. It’s more like a ‘pubic’ forum, based on all the photos of naked, gay men being posted there now.
So just who are these people? If you believe the Southern Poverty Law Center (and who really does?) they are a dangerous “Patriot group”. They define “Patriot groups” as any ‘fringe group’ based on conspiracy theories like “The New World Order”. They even classify the Tea Party and similar organizations as such.
Other groups, such as the Michigan Militia, have publicly stated that they consider the Hutaree to be neither Christian nor militia. Oddly enough, there are reports that local authorities had actually requested help from both the Michigan Militia and the Hutaree Militia in the past to help search for missing people. Bridgewater Township Supervisor, Jolea Mull, told AnnArbor.com that she had called them twice for such help. “Based on what I have observed of our local militia’s efforts,” said Mull, “I highly recommend that other municipalities coordinate with and get to know their militia members.” Michael Lackomar, spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia told AnnArbor.com that the Hutaree was a cult group and that, “They wanted to take control of the militia movement as a whole.”
Given the mood of the country currently, I am glad that the arrests made this past weekend went as smoothly as they did. We will see if the government’s cases against the Hutaree justified the actions. There are many unanswered questions. Unlike during the Ruby Ridge incident, where the government clearly over reacted as proven in court and U.S. Senate hearings, we now have more resources for obtaining the facts. I would like to think that the government is more careful these days when they target groups like this. But we have seen many cases against Muslims accused of extremism dismissed in recent years.
Right now, we simply do not know whether the Hutaree were a genuine threat. As for being an immediate threat, which the indictment alleges, the Hutaree militia website does announce that there was to be a training exercise on April 24th. This is what U.S. Attorney, Barbara McQuade, refers to when she said that the Hutaree had “planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April, which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk.” Most of the arrests were made while members attended a memorial service for a member who recently died.