Monday, March 29, 2010


You probably know about this:

At least seven people, including some from Michigan, have been arrested in raids by a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based Christian militia group, a person familiar with the matter said....

On Sunday, a source close to the investigation in Washington, D.C. confirmed that FBI agents were conducting activities in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties over the weekend in connection to Hutaree, a Christian militia group ... whose members describe themselves as Christian soldiers preparing for the arrival and battle with the anti-Christ....

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations of Michigan, made an announcement Sunday during the group's 10th anniversary banquet about receiving a call from a network journalist about the alleged threat against Muslims....

Now, there's this group -- Hutaree -- and then there's the Michigan Militia. We're told that they're very, very different groups:

Mike Lackomar, of, said both The Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia and the were not a part of the raid.

Lackomar said he heard from other militia members that the FBI targeted the Hutaree after its members made threats of violence against Islamic organizations.

"Last night and into today the FBI conducted a raid against homes belonging to the Hutaree. They are a religious cult. They are not part of our militia community," he said.

This has been seconded by our old pal Mike Vanderboegh, the guy who recently became notorious for urging that opponents of the Democrats break their office windows:

The Hutaree have indicated in the past that, much like John Brown, they WANTED to start a civil war, which is why no responsible militia group in Michigan was willing to ally with them.

And yet there's a curious thing. Dan Riehl and Instapundit, in an effort to downplay the danger people like this pose, noted that a local official in Michigan recently turned to militia members to help in a couple of missing persons cases -- and it turns out that a member of the Michigan Militia sought help from members of Hutaree, the group we're told is completely, totally, and utterly separate:

Bridgewater Township Supervisor Jolea Mull has twice sought help from militia members this year to search for missing township residents.

The move is drawing criticism from militia watchdog groups, who say Mull is legitimizing an extreme right-wing movement that has a history of being associated with criminal activity....

When Mull learned from Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies that a township woman was missing Jan. 13, she contacted local militia leader Jimmy Schiel....

Schiel, a member of the Washtenaw County-based Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines, 9th Division, 13th Brigade, started making phone calls. He quickly rounded up three members from his unit and three from the Lenawee County-based Hutaree, 8th Division, 20th Brigade....

Mull, who said she was pleased with the militia's response, contacted Schiel again Feb. 17 when deputies told her 56-year-old Robert Melvin Wise was missing.

Four members from Schiel's unit, one from Hutaree and a member from a Livingston County unit responded....


I don't know what's going through this Jolea Mull's head, but I see no difference between this and a hypothetical 1960s or 1970s local government turning to violent leftist radicals, something Riehl and Instapundit would rail against.

Mull seems to be a member of a group called the Campaign for Liberty, which professes a small-government constitutionalism and opposition to foreign interventions that's reminiscent of Ron Paul's philosophy, although the name invoked on the group's site is Robert Taft. She also volunteers at what appears to be an anti-abortion pregnancy counseling center.

To me it's just so reminiscent of the '60s and '70s -- there was an "us" and "them," and there was a sense that people who seemed in any way to share your skepticism about "the Establishment," or whatever you called it, were the people who were most trustworthy, however peculiar -- or outright dangerous -- their particular approach to protest was.


Now, I'd like to get back to what Mr. Vanderboegh has to say:

As near as I can determine, no shots have been fired, no one has been killed and no houses or churches have burned down. I know that muster alerts have gone out to units all over the country, and people are getting ready and awaiting further word.

But here's the deal, Feds. If you kill anyone or burn somebody's house or church down with them inside, you will have started a civil war, no matter how despicable the Hutaree are, or how crazy, or how provocative. If that happens, there will be NOTHING responsible leaders of the constitutional militia movement will be able to do from our side to stop it. You will have crossed the Rubicon.

What I fear is that it won't even take that much. These appear to have been peaceful raids. And yet I fully expect Michelle Bachmann and Steve King and quite possibly Glenn Beck and Fox Nation and even Sarah Palin to declare that Waco has already happened. (We already have this talking point, courtesy of Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs: "Despite Record Levels of Islamic Terror in U.S., FBI raids Christian Groups.")

I think, even if the raids prove to have prevented horrible crimes, the right -- even allegedly responsible teabaggers -- will recall this as proof that their fears of totalitarianism are justified, and if so, it will be because elected officials sworn to serve the country will have willfully tried to divide it, and because organizations allegedly devoted to presenting the news will have helped those demagogues fan the flames.

And I really don't know what they'll do in response. But I know I would think twice before going anywhere near a federal building this April 19.


One more thing: It's not as if militia members in Michigan -- Hutaree and otherwise -- have been completely harmless and nonviolent until now. Note the timeline here:

* 2005: Michigan militia member Norman David Somerville is sentenced to six years in federal prison for possessing and distributing 13 machine guns. Authorities claim Somerville planned to retaliate against Michigan State Police troopers for the death of Michigan militia member Scott Woodring.

* 2003: Michigan State Police Trooper Kevin M. Marshall is fatally shot during a standoff at the home of Michigan militia member Scott Woodring in Newaygo County. Police say Woodring killed Marshall. Woodring was located a week later and fatally shot by troopers after he pointed a gun at them....

* 1999: North American Militia of Southwest Michigan member Bradford Metcalf is sentenced to 40 years in prison after being convicted of conspiring to blow up government buildings, threatening to kill federal officers and weapons violations.

Yeah, Jolea Mull, these seem like swell people to call for your missing persons cases.


(Riehl and Instapundit via Roger Ailes.)

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