Members of Christian Militia Arrested

Though on the... er, bright-ish... kinda side... they charged them with things that'd never stick.

So they can later charge them with Conspiracy to *, and not have to worry about running into double jeopardy statutes. So it's only a partial goat rodeo.

You mean sorta like we have all decided that GZ is guilty as well.

There's a dead kid, and Zimmerman has admitted that he did it. Of course he's guilty of slaying the kid. We just don't know what crime, if any, the slaying would fall under.

We're arguing that, given the 911 records that are easily available, it looks like outright murder of one sort or another.

On the one hand, we've got a bunch of yahoos that apparently said some stupid sh*t... and from what we know of the FBI's modus operandi, that stupid sh*t may have been completely egged on by the informant. Without that guy, it's quite possible, like with many of the other so-called 'terror' cases, that the accused wouldn't have done much of anything.

On the other hand, we have a dead kid on the sidewalk.

These are not comparable cases.

Malor wrote:

On the one hand, we've got a bunch of yahoos that apparently said some stupid sh*t and bought stuff required to do the stupid sh*t, and trained themselves how to do the stupid sh*t, but were arrested before they had a chance to actually plan to do the stupid sh*t... and from what we know of the FBI's modus operandi, that stupid sh*t may have been completely egged on by the informant. Without that guy, it's quite possible, like with many of the other so-called 'terror' cases, that the accused wouldn't have done much of anything.

On the other hand, we have a dead kid on the sidewalk.

These are not comparable cases.


FTFY. They're not comparable cases, but the militia were doing more than just talking sh*t. The Feds just didn't give themselves enough rope to hang themselves with. While I agree that the FBI does have a horrible habit of turning guys who are content to simply talk sh*t into would-be criminals, I don't think that was the case here.

I would say that any confrontation between a right wing militia and the government that doesn't end in bloodshed is a win all around.

heavyfeul wrote:
I would say that any confrontation between a right wing militia and the government that doesn't end in bloodshed is a win all around.

Maybe it's not a loss as they're not dead, but Malor's not wrong about the militia member losing 2 years of their life fighting trumped up charges being an injustice, so it's not exactly a win for them either. The Feds should have either waited a bit longer for actual evidence, or only charged them with what they could actually prove. Some of them spent two years in jail for charges the Fed's should have known they couldn't prove beyond an reasonable doubt. I think some were let out on bail, but not all of them.

and the government says they bought stuff required to do the stupid sh*t, and trained themselves how to do the stupid sh*t, but were arrested before they had a chance to actually plan to do the stupid sh*t...

But the court almost completely disagrees.

Again, we know the government instigates dumb people like this. How much of this whole "plot" was the informant's idea in the first place?

And how much of it just ludicrous fantasy by government agents that have no sense of humor, and want promotions?

Malor wrote:
and the government says they bought stuff required to do the stupid sh*t, and trained themselves how to do the stupid sh*t, but were arrested before they had a chance to actually plan to do the stupid sh*t...

But the court almost completely disagrees.

Again, we know the government instigates dumb people like this. How much of this whole "plot" was the informant's idea in the first place?

And how much of it just ludicrous fantasy by government agents that have no sense of humor, and want promotions?


No, the court doesn't disagree. What the court disagreed with was that the evidence the government had was enough to convict them for all of the conspiracy charges against them. The weapons charges against three of militia members remain, and one other militia member had already plead guilty to the weapons charge against him.

I'll just let their leader speak for himself:

That's what we're going to take on first -- you take on the brotherhood [police], and you start poppin' those boys, and you're gonna see the brotherhood numbers start to dwindle like any gang.
...
And if I kill their wives and their children inside, then so be it, because I'm sending a message to the rest of them ... your family is going in the patrol car with you every day you go out there. Every time you stop somebody, it's your family that's on the line.
...
Do you think I would hesitate to shoot a child?

Now, I'm not saying he should have been arrested for mouthing off about what he would like to do, but the Fed's didn't just fantasize that he wanted to kill cops either. From reading about how the undercover agent got into the group, I'd say that any charges related to possessing explosives could have been due to the agent "suggesting" it, as he gained the group's trust due to his knowledge of explosives. The militia had been under observation for awhile, but they didn't gain much scrutiny until they started trying to obtain explosives and find someone that knew how to make and use them. That was when the undercover agent joined them, but they already been kicking around the cop killing idea by then, and already had plenty of other weaponry. They had videos on their own website of their training exercises. I don't know if the guns they're carrying in the video are the ones they're facing charges for or if they were legally owned, and there's nothing illegal about playing soldier in the woods, but the government did not just make it up.

I'd like to know the nature of the weapons charges. Some are clearly more serious than others, but none of them are trivial.

And, frankly, I see absolutely nothing inconsistent with keeping automatic weapons out of the hands of hate filled nutbars and living in a free and open society.

Stengah wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:
I would say that any confrontation between a right wing militia and the government that doesn't end in bloodshed is a win all around.

Maybe it's not a loss as they're not dead, but Malor's not wrong about the militia member losing 2 years of their life fighting trumped up charges being an injustice, so it's not exactly a win for them either. The Feds should have either waited a bit longer for actual evidence, or only charged them with what they could actually prove. Some of them spent two years in jail for charges the Fed's should have known they couldn't prove beyond an reasonable doubt. I think some were let out on bail, but not all of them.

The 2 years is really my only problem with this. 2 years in jail to be acquitted because there shouldn't have been charges in the first place is pretty bad, regardless of circumstances.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Stengah wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:
I would say that any confrontation between a right wing militia and the government that doesn't end in bloodshed is a win all around.

Maybe it's not a loss as they're not dead, but Malor's not wrong about the militia member losing 2 years of their life fighting trumped up charges being an injustice, so it's not exactly a win for them either. The Feds should have either waited a bit longer for actual evidence, or only charged them with what they could actually prove. Some of them spent two years in jail for charges the Fed's should have known they couldn't prove beyond an reasonable doubt. I think some were let out on bail, but not all of them.

The 2 years is really my only problem with this. 2 years in jail to be acquitted because there shouldn't have been charges in the first place is pretty bad, regardless of circumstances.

Sure. But whose fault was it that it took so long? Why didn't the defense push for a trial sooner?

Jayhawker wrote:
Sure. But whose fault was it that it took so long? Why didn't the defense push for a trial sooner?

Who says they didn't? Lawyers can file motions to speed things up, but it is up to a judge to decide whether or not to grant those motions.

Jayhawker wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
Stengah wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:
I would say that any confrontation between a right wing militia and the government that doesn't end in bloodshed is a win all around.

Maybe it's not a loss as they're not dead, but Malor's not wrong about the militia member losing 2 years of their life fighting trumped up charges being an injustice, so it's not exactly a win for them either. The Feds should have either waited a bit longer for actual evidence, or only charged them with what they could actually prove. Some of them spent two years in jail for charges the Fed's should have known they couldn't prove beyond an reasonable doubt. I think some were let out on bail, but not all of them.

The 2 years is really my only problem with this. 2 years in jail to be acquitted because there shouldn't have been charges in the first place is pretty bad, regardless of circumstances.

Sure. But whose fault was it that it took so long? Why didn't the defense push for a trial sooner?

Well obviously I don't know, but if I had to make an assumption I would assume the defense was doing exactly that. If I had to guess I would guess the defense wants shorter than longer here.

Maybe I'm skimming here, but do we know why they were denied bail? Two years incarcerated without a conviction seems extraordinary. Was this a case of Patriot Act / National Security powers being used/abused?

Oso wrote:
Maybe I'm skimming here, but do we know why they were denied bail? Two years incarcerated without a conviction seems extraordinary. Was this a case of Patriot Act / National Security powers being used/abused?

They weren't denied. They were ordered released two years ago. It's just more fun to pretend they were in jail when making hyperbolic statements bout the police state.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0...

Malor wrote:
One thing we know is that many of these supposed 'terror' cases are planned and orchestrated by the informants themselves. How do you even know that this wasn't all driven by the informant, pushing a bunch of numbskulls with weapons into saying something incriminating?

Because that didn't happen in this case, Malor. These idiots didn't need to be pushed.

AP[/url]]David Stone was recorded saying he was willing to kill police and even their families. He considered them part of a "brotherhood" — a sinister global authority that included federal law enforcers and United Nations troops.

He had bizarre beliefs: David Stone suspected Germany and Singapore had aircraft stationed in Texas, and thousands of Canadian troops were poised to take over Michigan. He said the government put computer chips in a flu vaccine.

He had a speech prepared for a regional militia gathering in Kentucky in 2010, but bad weather forced him and others to return to Michigan. Instead, he read it in the van while a secret camera installed by the FBI captured the remarks.

"It is time to strike and take our nation back so that we may be free again from tyranny," David Stone said. "Time is up, God bless all of you and welcome to the new revolution."

Swor (Stone's defense attorney) said David Stone is a Christian who was bracing for war against the Antichrist.

"This is not the United States government. This is Satan's army," Swor told the judge Monday, referring to the enemy.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...

The tape played Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit features David Stone, one of seven members of the group called Hutaree, charged with conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion. Stone said on the tape that after killing officers he would go to their homes and burn them down.

"And if I kill their wives and their children inside, then so be it, because I'm sending a message to the rest of them," Stone said on the tape. "Your family is going in the patrol car with you every day you go out there. Every time you stop somebody, it's your family that's on the line."

Jayhawker wrote:
Oso wrote:
Maybe I'm skimming here, but do we know why they were denied bail? Two years incarcerated without a conviction seems extraordinary. Was this a case of Patriot Act / National Security powers being used/abused?

They weren't denied. They were ordered released two years ago. It's just more fun to pretend they were in jail when making hyperbolic statements bout the police state.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0...

Exactly. I am still trying to figure out where the controversy is. When you grab your favorite assault rifle and join a militia that preaches violence and sedition, you are going to have some legal troubles. Seems like common sense to me. This is not some peaceful civil disobedience movement fighting for a constitutional right. This is an armed, fundamentalist, end-of-days Christian military group who believe they are locked in a holy war with the US government. That sounds like a threat to me. We have domestic terrorists too. Let's not forget that before Al Qaeda, the biggest terrorist attack on US soil was perpetrated by guys just like the ones under suspicion here.

heavyfeul wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Oso wrote:
Maybe I'm skimming here, but do we know why they were denied bail? Two years incarcerated without a conviction seems extraordinary. Was this a case of Patriot Act / National Security powers being used/abused?

They weren't denied. They were ordered released two years ago. It's just more fun to pretend they were in jail when making hyperbolic statements bout the police state.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0...

Exactly. I am still trying to figure out where the controversy is. When you grab your favorite assault rifle and join a militia that preaches violence and sedition, you are going to have some legal troubles. Seems like common sense to me. This is not some peaceful civil disobedience movement fighting for a constitutional right. This is an armed, fundamentalist, end-of-days Christian military group who believe they are locked in a holy war with the US government. That sounds like a threat to me. We have domestic terrorists too. Let's not forget that before Al Qaeda, the biggest terrorist attack on US soil was perpetrated by guys just like the ones under suspicion here.

I know, we should've totally sent them to Guantanamo forever.

We have laws that protect speech. We have laws that criminalize actual planning to commit crimes. The Feds were morons and arrested them for what is covered under the first set of laws. That we don't have indefinite detention because we don't like their ideas and think they are up to no good is a good thing.

We imprison people for what they have done(and that includes actual, defined planning to commit a crime), not for what they think or the opinions they hold.

So my quick read says that the investigating agents confused willingness to commit a crime (not a crime) with conspiring to commit a crime (actually a crime) and when the case was brought to court, the defendants were acquitted.

How is this not an example of checks and balances protecting citizens from the police state? There was clearly probable cause, but when the state made its case, but the case was not strong enough and the non-criminal violent apocalyptic cult members were acquitted. Justice wins.

In a true police state, the cult members don't get a day in court, the police powers are not checked or balanced, and the free press does not provide the public with information critical of the police.

Yes, absolutely the FBI deserves criticism and censure for abusing its authority. They are *not* allowed to punish people for potential criminal activity. They are required to have probably cause before exercising their powers and most often, probably cause requires being specific to time and place. The failing of this case is clearly that the threat was not specific to time and place and thus the avowed willingness of the Hutaree's to murder women and children is not a crime. In this case, the court system and the press were clear balances against the unchecked power of the police. Ergo: no police state. Not yet anyway, but we do need to watch those f*ckers because the FBI have demonstrated time and again that they do not accept any checks or balances to their power. (Just like the FBI needs to watch (within clear limits) organized groups that embrace violence. The key is checks and balances.)

So, thoughtcrime.

Oso wrote:
How is this not an example of checks and balances protecting citizens from the police state?

I think the people who have a problem here don't have a problem with the checks and balances. Checks and balances are good, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be upset that an aspect of the government needed to be checked and balanced.

I also don't think it should take 2 years for that balance to happen. It should be fairly easy to tell early on if there's actual evidence worth bringing to trial or not. That doesn't take 2 years.

To look at it another way, if I'm accused of a crime and put in a jail but later let out because they realized they had no evidence, I don't walk away feeling good about the checks and balances. I'm looking for some form of punishment for the people who wrongly arrested me.

Funkenpants wrote:
I do think that if my neighbor was constantly talking about killing me, raping my wife, and shooting my kids to teach the rest of the neighborhood to fear him, I wouldn't be bothered over much by the government trying to put him in jail.

If it was just talk, I would. If they had evidence of actual plans to do any of those things then it would be different.

I'm not in favor of jail time over speech, regardless of the content.

Oso wrote:
So my quick read says that the investigating agents confused willingness to commit a crime (not a crime) with conspiring to commit a crime (actually a crime)...

A conspiracy involves an agreement to commit a crime, much like a civil contract requires a meeting of the minds. But it's difficult to know when two people have agreed to commit a crime absent some overt, concrete step that evidences that agreement (which is why some jurisdictions make an overt step to further the conspiracy an element of the crime).

It sounds like the government prosecutors just didn't have enough here to show that there was an agreement between the defendants to move ahead with plans.

I do think that if my neighbor was constantly talking about killing me, raping my wife, and shooting my kids to teach the rest of the neighborhood to fear him, I wouldn't be bothered over much by the government trying to put him in jail.

DSGamer wrote:
So, thoughtcrime.

More like a prohibition on agreements to break the law.

SixteenBlue wrote:
It should be fairly easy to tell early on if there's actual evidence worth bringing to trial or not. That doesn't take 2 years.

Why do you assume there wasn't? The judge clearly thought there was enough evidence to proceed to trial. It just wasn't enough evidence to meet the very strict standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."

SixteenBlue wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
I do think that if my neighbor was constantly talking about killing me, raping my wife, and shooting my kids to teach the rest of the neighborhood to fear him, I wouldn't be bothered over much by the government trying to put him in jail.

If it was just talk, I would. If they had evidence of actual plans to do any of those things then it would be different.

I'm not in favor of jail time over speech, regardless of the content.

To clarify, you're saying you would tolerate your neighbor threatening to rape your wife and shoot your kids?

This is a strawman and off topic, of course, I'm just dumbfounded at how far down the rabbit hole this discussion has gone to excoriate the Federal government.

Seth wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
I do think that if my neighbor was constantly talking about killing me, raping my wife, and shooting my kids to teach the rest of the neighborhood to fear him, I wouldn't be bothered over much by the government trying to put him in jail.

If it was just talk, I would. If they had evidence of actual plans to do any of those things then it would be different.

I'm not in favor of jail time over speech, regardless of the content.

To clarify, you're saying you would tolerate your neighbor threatening to rape your wife and shoot your kids?

This is a strawman and off topic, of course, I'm just dumbfounded at how far down the rabbit hole this discussion has gone to excoriate the Federal government.

I didn't say tolerate, I said I'm not ok with the government putting people in jail for it. I don't mind other forms of repercussion.

"Thoughtcrime" may be enough for probable cause to investigate, but probable cause is *not* guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They are two very separate things. Constitutionally protected speech may be interpreted by the police as deserving further investigation. We are protected against unwarranted search and seizure, but not against being investigated when there is probable cause to suspect a crime will be committed. Note that probable cause is not enough to get a conviction, but is enough to warrant investigation. There are different standards of evidence for initiating an investigation, for deciding to prosecute an alleged perpetrator, and for convicting the perp of a crime.

The FBI muffed the second, but the first seems appropriate.

Seth wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:
I do think that if my neighbor was constantly talking about killing me, raping my wife, and shooting my kids to teach the rest of the neighborhood to fear him, I wouldn't be bothered over much by the government trying to put him in jail.

If it was just talk, I would. If they had evidence of actual plans to do any of those things then it would be different.

I'm not in favor of jail time over speech, regardless of the content.

To clarify, you're saying you would tolerate your neighbor threatening to rape your wife and shoot your kids?

This is a strawman and off topic, of course, I'm just dumbfounded at how far down the rabbit hole this discussion has gone to excoriate the Federal government.

I have come to violent blows with people attempting to do horrible things to my friends because of the color of their skin or sexual orientation. I'm no pacifist.

However, I'm a believer in proportionality of response. If someone is just making loud noises about it, the proper response isn't physical force, it's ignoring them, or psychological warfare of your own. (Someone slinging homophobic slurs is just an excuse for me to practice my talent in crushing someone's spirit. It's fun, to boot.)

In this case, my response is a bit different. If I am in fear for the safety of my family, I'd call in the police and have them investigate. If they're just loudmouthed assholes... there's a whole lot of perfectly legal ways to make someone's life miserable. Turnabout is fair play.

Now, if you've got evidence of them plotting to do physical harm, or believe they are and think it needs to be investigated, that's fine. But if they can't prove it... they're just loudmouth assholes. There's a sh*tload of those around.

Jayhawker wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
Stengah wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:
I would say that any confrontation between a right wing militia and the government that doesn't end in bloodshed is a win all around.

Maybe it's not a loss as they're not dead, but Malor's not wrong about the militia member losing 2 years of their life fighting trumped up charges being an injustice, so it's not exactly a win for them either. The Feds should have either waited a bit longer for actual evidence, or only charged them with what they could actually prove. Some of them spent two years in jail for charges the Fed's should have known they couldn't prove beyond an reasonable doubt. I think some were let out on bail, but not all of them.

The 2 years is really my only problem with this. 2 years in jail to be acquitted because there shouldn't have been charges in the first place is pretty bad, regardless of circumstances.

Sure. But whose fault was it that it took so long? Why didn't the defense push for a trial sooner?


They were allowed to go free on bail, and most of them took advantage of that. From what I've read, only the father and son didn't, but I don't know if they just couldn't afford it or if there was some other reason.

Stengah wrote:
From what I've read, only the father and son didn't, but I don't know if they just couldn't afford it or if there was some other reason.

It was because of the gun charges they were facing (and ultimately plead guilty to). Specifically, they were guilty of possessing a machine gun (a modded AR-15).

OG_slinger wrote:
Stengah wrote:
From what I've read, only the father and son didn't, but I don't know if they just couldn't afford it or if there was some other reason.

It was because of the gun charges they were facing (and ultimately plead guilty to). Specifically, they were guilty of possessing a machine gun (a modded AR-15).


Yeah, it looks like the original decision to let them out on bail was reversed on appeal for 5 of the 9.