The Militiagan Wolverines

Here’s a copy of in the indictment against the nine Hutaree milita members who were planning attacks on the government. (h/t scribe and Jeralyn)

Since we’ve been talking about whether right-wing extremists are organized enough to call terrorists, here are some details about their collaboration with others.

  • On February 6, 2010, several members of the militia “attempted to travel to Kentucky” for a summit of militia groups convened by the guy leading this group. In anticipation of the summit, the Hutarees tried to make IEDs. (Weather prevented them from reaching their destination.)
  • From August 13, 2009 to the present, Hutaree members used email, the internet, and phones to attempt to use explosive bombs and mines against local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and vehicles.
  • On August 22, 2009, members of the militia used firearms to conduct seditious conspiracy.
  • On February 20, 2010, members of the militia used firearms to conduct seditious conspiracy and attempted use of WMD (IEDs).
  • The head of this militia planned a “covert reconnaissance exercise” for April 2010 “during which exercise anyone who happened upon the exercise who did not acquiesce to HUTAREE demands could be killed.”
  • Two of the leaders of this militia taught others how to make IEDs.

Two points that may be unrelated. This group started conspiring war against the United States on August 16, 2008, so after Obama got the presidential nomination. And Obama is scheduled to appear before University of Michigan’s graduation on May 1.

So, to sum up. You’ve got a band of people training in the use of IEDs to use against law enforcement to wage war against local, state, and Federal government. They would have had a summit to expand their plans, if only snowstorms hadn’t prevented them from doing so. But they are coordinating their efforts, across at least two to four states, over the internet.

Are these guys terrorists yet?

65 replies
  1. scribe says:


    They’re white and, moreover, Jesus-cultist Christianists.

    They therefore cannot be terrorists.

    Oh, yeah – the h/t on grabbing the indictment goes to Jeralyn over at TalkLeft. I just passed it on.

    You should know better.

    • scribe says:

      Just to be clear – the “you should know better” in 1 above was meant to modify the “not a terrorist” snarkiness in 1, not the part about my getting the copy of the indictment from Jeralyn. That part on the sourcing was something I edited in, and it looks like the edit put it in the wrong place.

      Oops. My bad.

  2. scribe says:

    One other thing – this indictment reads like the feds had someone feeding them inside info. While there’s a bit of email and internet usage recounted in the indictment, there also seems to be a good amount of information that would likely have been developed from internal chatter that likely would have been communicated by a snitch.

    • JTMinIA says:

      >> “One other thing – this indictment reads like the feds had someone feeding them inside info.”

      That’s why there shouldn’t have been an indictment. They should all have been scooped up quietly and shipped to some island, never to be seen again. The indictment gives away how they were caught … it helps the terr’rists! What were they thinking by publishing said indictment??? Do they want the terr’rists to win???

    • PJEvans says:

      Some of the locals are saying that this group wasn’t exactly secret, but apparently what they had in mind wasn’t widely known.
      Also, the government probably moved in on them because they were about to go live on something. Just reading about what they were planning can give you the cold grues. (Their planned IEDs were heavy shit. Go look up EFP (explosively formed projectile) at Wiki.)

    • kellymkg says:

      The fact is, they did have inside info, they have it on all of us, at their disposal. Read the “CONPLAN”. Just one of the many government~police~civilian organizations set up to spy on ALL of us. Sure, they got the BAD guys, but how many of us regular folks are being harassed and stalked on a regular basis for being “libertarians” or for being against Bush’s policies, or for NOT voting on an issue??? This has gone way too far….
      Just had to get this in here, as several “Militia” members are being targeted unjustly.

  3. klynn says:

    So, will these terrorists get military commissions or civilian trials? When will the FBI turn these terrorists over to the military in order to gather more evidence? /s

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Since when does talent or the level of organization come into it? Were not a bunch of dudes with flashlights, who hoped to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge with harsh language, deemed “terrorists”? And last I heard, an individual could be a terrorist, too, as well as an “illegal enemy combatant”.

  5. JGabriel says:


    They would have had a summit to expand their plans, if only snowstorms hadn’t prevented them from doing so.

    I think we can be grateful that they lacked even the determination of the average postman (neither snow nor rain …).


  6. orionATL says:


    in the u.s., with its tens of thousands of miles of interstate hiway?

    what a nightmare.

    just this afternoon the carpenter’s radio was featuring one of the right-wing’s commercial provocateurs who opined that “the gov’t was trying to take over everything”.

    • Synoia says:

      Urban interstates in rush hour would be worse.

      Or other crowded areas.

      Our adventures in Iraq will bite us, because our local nuts have got bad ideas from Iraq, and some among our returning, soon to be unemployed, service people will have the anger, knowledge, and inclination to join with the nuts.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Yup. That’s what makes me nervous. Having lived in the Pacific NW for much of my life, I have no patience for militia types.

        Although I know a few folks who grew up around Hayden, ID and think the old Aryan Nations guys were nutballs who couldn’t find their asses with both hands.

  7. sundog says:

    Yes, by definition, they’re terrorists. (snark)But they’re not brown or Muslim, so they can’t be that bad.(/snark)

    I live two blocks from the guy arrested in Whiting, IN. When I came home Saturday night, there were rows of cars with flashers lining both outside lanes of Calumet Avenue, a four lane Avenue, up to the street where I turn off of Calumet to go home. I thought there must have been one hell of an accident at the next light. It just goes to show, you can find these Bozos anywhere.

  8. Styve says:

    That’s an awful title, to someone who went to Michigan Business School! Not that I really cared much about the football mania, but still, to associate the University with those right-wing freaks isn’t very cool.

    • emptywheel says:

      Hey, my PhD is from MI and I had season tix my final year (BRady’s final year too).

      But some of the local militas do refer to themselves as Wolverines.

  9. john in sacramento says:

    Semi O/T

    Not trying to be snarky or anything, but I was just looking at this picture on MSN’s front page and noticed the police car’s lights … and, well, I thought those went out of style about twenty years ago

    I’m almost expecting to see Jake and Elwood to come down the road with a giant speaker on top of the car

    • emptywheel says:

      Hey now, don’t knock our bubble gum machines. We’re not as hip as the CHP, but these guys did catch these nutcases before they did anything drastic.

      Besides, a guy in one of these cars saw me speeding last week, by a fair bit, and he just waved me to slow down.

  10. orionATL says:


    that is a very clever, funny title.

    this post following the previous on is truly coincidental.

    need i add, i have no loyalties to michigan.

  11. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Hutaree members used email, the internet, and phones to attempt to use explosive bombs and mines against local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and vehicles.

    I could see using cell phones as trigger devices for a bomb but email? Can anyone explain that to me?

    • Synoia says:

      “Attached to this email are the instructions and a video on how to make…”

      And it’s not bread.

    • freepatriot says:

      I could see using cell phones as trigger devices for a bomb but email? Can anyone explain that to me?

      these computer thingys are basically jes complicated cell phones anyway

      with key boards made for people with fat fingers

      it’s as closs to a cell phone as I wanna git …


  12. topcat says:

    They won’t be terrorists until they buy prayer beads, die their skin brown, and begin muttering in a middle eastern language. But as soon as they do, watch out brother, because the FBI, the CIA, the US Army, and every redneck cop within a day’s drive will really, really crack down on these people. But until then, just relax – these are obviously just good ‘ole boys out havin’ some sport and showin’ some loyalty to ‘Merica.

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      You think they admire or have connections to genocidal Serbs? Ok They upped the Crazy to 11.

    • busboy33 says:

      Now that was a fun read. My favorite part:

      “Respect for duly constituted authority and social trust are essential ingredients of civilization. These elements represent the basic glue of society.”

      . . . and that’s why we’re going to massacre as many cops as we can in order to start a violent uprising against the duly-elected government.

      Y’know . . . to preserve the respect for authority.

  13. AZ Matt says:

    I saw their photos up at TPM and most of these guys probably had a hard time finding dates so they became bitter is my opinion. ;>

  14. AppleCanyon2 says:

    Just a short “pop-in” to say Happy Birthday!
    I have been reading the earlier posts and just now caught up to this post.
    You are awesome and I hope you have a great birthday celebration after all the work you did today.

  15. orionATL says:

    an entire family of fundamentalist christians was involved in the hutaree arrests: dad, sr., mom, son, jr. ,and son2.

    this was the same pattern with eric rudolph’s family.

    terrorism is the playground of the emotionally disturbed and the mentally ill.

    • aardvark says:

      Once again, I think it is a major mistake to write these folk off as emotionally disturbed or mentally ill.

      I do find it disturbing these folks were flying under the radar far enough that as far as I can tell–and I have been looking at the Spring edition of Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks almost 3,000 hate groups–that they were missed by the SPLC.

  16. willyloman says:

    And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die. Chris Hedges

  17. cinnamonape says:

    Here’s a couple of Websites that might be of interest.

    One of them actually used the rank of Zulif on a Facebook page. I’m not a member of facebook so maybe someone else want’s to go down the rabbit-hole into the “friends” pages, several of whom used the banner of the Hutarees.

    And as for internal discord amongst the Michigan militia groups…this seems to be an issue – as well as religious differences (one of the SWMM being an “Objectivist” which seems to have led to the split with the Hutarees, one of whom seems to have been a founder of one of the other militias and split. Note that one of the original Michigan militias was indeed the “Wolverines”.

  18. kking says:

    How many people have these 9 men killed? Mabe we need Blackwater to take out the militia in The USA.

    • willyloman says:

      you seem to be missing his point, Cynthia

      “It is time for us to stop talking about right and left,” McKinney told me. “The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from the white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. Citizens United did not come from white supremacists, it came from the Supreme Court. Our problem is a problem of governance. I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized.”

  19. TalkingStick says:

    I think we need to be careful about throwing the term terrorist around. Even though these folks fill all the qualifications for the generic definition. Of course they are loosely connected group of white supremacist and Christian Identity groups who love guns. And they resonate with many nativiists and my beloved southern neighbors. Eric Rudolph attempted to use the same technique of a small explosion to lure people to the site then a bigger one to kill more.

    Best leave it to the politicized version. Our government already claims the right on suspicion of intent to detain and or assassinate US citizens without any legal process.

    A few of the organizations currently considered to potentially commit acts of terrorism against the government:

    The Quakers,
    The Unitarians.

  20. dick c says:

    “Are these guys terrorists yet?” Do you mean real terrorists like Al Queda and the eco-terrorists? Don’t be silly.

    • applepie says:

      Eco-terrorists? You mean like Union Carbide or Massey Coal?

      And, to emptywheel: I don’t know, but I assume they will be in Federal lockup, and Milan is it for MI, no?

          • dick c says:

            It was “tongue in cheek,” kidding! The news media doesn’t hesitate to group environmental vandals with Al Qaeda, yet would never refer to a bunch of crazy Christian white men with guns and bombs as terrorists.

  21. karmi says:

    They couldn’t even attend a so-called “summit” because the “Weather prevented” them!?! Well, at least now, we know they don’t work for the post office.

  22. quanto says:

    Do you mean they were given their Miranda rights? Where is Pete Hoekstra?
    We could be getting so much more information from them if they were just sent to Gitmo. (/s)

  23. orionATL says:

    aardvark @34

    you are right to be skeptical of my general comment.

    i rarely work from certain knowledge, rather from general knowledge, memory, and intuition – and you know what those are worth.

    my summary of observations over the years is just as i stated: emotional unbalance/ emotional conflict (particularly within a family)


    mental illness

    is the status of many individuals who try to carry out (and, rarely, succeed in carrying out violent actions that we call terrorism these days.

  24. rainshadow says:

    There is no published evidence that this group was affiliated with Tea-Quaeda. Its possible that it was street theater they were rehearsing, or a protest of a bullet coming from the stratosphere through Eric Cannots window..
    The fact that they are charged in the civilian court system proves they’re not terrists

  25. lysias says:

    Since when have IED’s been weapons of mass destruction? I thought that term was limited to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

    The typical IED in Iraq and Afghanistan can kill and/or injure a vehicle-load of soldiers. Two and four fatalities are typical results.

    How does that differ from the damage done by an artillery shell? Does this mean artillery shells are now WMD’s?

  26. Sara says:

    I’d like to know how smart and knowledgable these guys were.

    During the Clinton Administration, Militia Membership was built by either attacking or hyping up what were broadly understood within the potential militia audience, police attacks on what were small militia like cells.

    Ruby Ridge and Waco are the obvious examples, but the Militia in Montana stand off would be another possibility. Militia’s built membership based on the “wrongs” of law enforcement (which did make some mistakes, and did do cover-up’s on occassion,) even though in these cases Law Enforcement did have legitimate reasons for beginning investigations. Waco was supposed to be about Child Abuse, and Korsch did have children by numerous women in his cult — and Ruby Ridge was initially about violations of Fire Arms and Explosive laws. But what happened when the “raids” were botched gave the opening for all the claims that built militia membership. The Montana stand off was an example of a not-so-botched raid, the FBI put the manpower on the ground, and kept the place isolated for months, leading to a surrender. When Montana failed, militia membership declined.

    My guess is that there is “out there” a desire to repeat the dynamics of the early Clinton period, at least in part, to build militia membership. A nice stand off would build anti-Obamaism as well as militia membership — or at least bleed a few anti-Obama types off from tea partyism into militias.

    I wonder if this isn’t the muddled thinking behind this and perhaps many of the stories about militias that have been about the news recently.

    Any defination of Terrorism, by the way, has to factor in the concept of using the act of terror to generate fear and terrorize a population as part of the outcome. Lynching, for example, brought about self-subordination on the part of the target population. Public Gangland killings get people to shut up when law enforcement comes round asking questions. Terrorism is always about generating a fearful reaction from a mass audience.

  27. lysias says:

    So an artillery shell is now a weapon of mass destruction? Sorry, but that strikes me as absurd. It’s certainly contrary to all the training I got as a naval officer.

    By the way, I guess this means Saddam really did have WMD’s.

    • freepatriot says:

      So an artillery shell is now a weapon of mass destruction? Sorry, but that strikes me as absurd. It’s certainly contrary to all the training I got as a naval officer

      it’s one of those things where the legal definition is much different that the common definition of a thing

      most people think chemical, biological, or nuclear devices are the only things that qualify as a WMD

      but according to the US Code, any explosive device can be a weapon of mass distruction

      I saw a copy of the relevant section of the US Code posted in the comments of a thread at some other site (I still loves me some train wreck)

      it’s kinda like “Mayhem”

      that is legally defined as “severing a part from a human body”, not dancing with your underwear on your head

      so if you think you were involved in mayhem, check for severed body parts, and if you’re fishing with dynamite, you might be charged with possession of WMDs

      not that I would ever fish with dynamite, it’s more like “Picking up” than fishing …


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