Much to the chagrin of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a federal judge has cleared the members of a Michigan militia who were accused by federal law enforcement agents of conspiracy to commit sedition. Since you didn’t hear much about this ruling from the national press corps, here is one online version of the report:
“Seven members of a Michigan militia have been cleared of plotting to overthrow the U.S. government as a judge dismissed the most serious charges against them.
“In a shock defeat for federal authorities, District Judge Victoria Roberts said the group’s expressed hatred of law enforcement did not amount to a conspiracy.
“The FBI secretly planted an informant and an agent inside the Hutaree militia in 2008 to collect hours of anti-government audio and video that became the cornerstone of the case.
“Senior officials had insisted they had captured homegrown rural extremists poised for war.
“But the judge said: ‘The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level.’’
“Judge Roberts granted requests for acquittal on the most serious charges: conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the U.S. and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.
“Other weapons crimes linked to the alleged conspiracies were also dismissed.”
At this point, I believe it is necessary that I review a column I wrote on April 6, 2010, regarding the Hutaree militia raid. As you read the words that follow, please remember that they were written TWO YEARS AGO–almost to the day.
I want to try and expound on Grigg's outstanding analysis of the Hutaree militia raid. In doing so, I am going to also expand upon Grigg's reference to James Madison's trenchant treatise in Federalist 46.
Referring to the federal indictment against the Hutaree militia, that alleged members were making preparations for potential armed conflict against law enforcement officers as a "seditious conspiracy," Grigg astutely noted, "If they were acquiring weapons and developing appropriate skills in anticipation of defending themselves against government aggression, their actions–while possibly conspiratorial in nature–don't amount to a crime. This is particularly true in light of our cultural history, in which sedition–agitation to change the existing political order–is our proudest civic tradition."
Grigg then rightly observes, "Government is nothing more than the rationalization and exercise of violence. Everything done by government contains at least the implicit threat of lethal coercion. Thus the indictment's description of Hutaree as 'an anti-government extremist organization which advocates violence against local, state and Federal law enforcement' is a product of rhetorical onanism [from Genesis 38:9—a great analogy, Will]."
As a general rule, government is the most violent force on the planet. If one wants to get a true perspective on the historical record regarding who or what routinely produces the most violence and death, one should pick up a copy of R. J. Rummel's book, "Death By Government." Since the end of World War II, Communist China and Red Russia lead the pack when it comes to death and brutality; however, the US government has inflicted its share of carnage as well. For example, in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, the government in Washington, D.C., has killed over 800,000 civilians (and this figure is a conservative estimate noting the most credible resources possible).
Also see here. Plus, does anyone remember the violence that our federal government enacted upon the Branch Davidians outside Waco, Texas? Does anyone remember the mother shot in the head while innocently holding her little baby in her own home by a federal sniper near Ruby Ridge, Idaho (after her small son was shot in the back by federal agents)? In fact, the list of civilians who have been killed by federal law enforcement agents over the years is a very long one. Granted, many of these killings were done in lawful self-defense; but others amounted to nothing less than old-fashioned murder (and never was the federal agent who committed the murder ever brought to justice).
If one wants to indict an "organization which advocates violence," then surely the central government in Washington, D.C., should be indicted!
If Hutaree members were indeed planning AGGRESSIVE violence against anyone–in the government or without–they deserved to be stopped. If, however, they were simply preparing to DEFEND THEMSELVES against government overreach or abuse–and would only resort to violence in an act of lawful self-defense–they committed no crime and are but the most recent victims of federal abuse of power. This is a question that will doubtless be determined in a court of law.
To charge, however (as the indictment does), that Hutaree members (all 9 of them!) planned "to levy war against the United States, [and] to oppose by force the authority of the Government of the United States . . ." will take some doing to make stick. As Grigg points out, "If Hutaree was preparing for armed DEFENSE against criminal actions by government officials, this charge is as pointless as a broken pencil. If their efforts to 'prevent, hinder, and delay' various government initiatives were confined to activism, rather than armed conflict, they are–in that particular–not substantially different from hundreds or thousands of other groups."
The entire case against Hutaree appears to be based upon the testimony of an FBI undercover agent inside the group. Placing agent provocateurs inside groups such as Hutaree is a classic strategy of federal police agencies. This part of the story was broken by the Wall Street Journal.
See the WSJ report here. Militia Chief's Mistrust Festered, Friends Say | Portrait Emerges of Man Who Despised Authority; Undercover Agent Played a Role in Probe, March 31, 2010.
Using agent provocateurs is a long-favored tactic of both the Kremlin and the White House. Joel Skousen's latest WORLD AFFAIRS BRIEF contains an extremely trenchant and insightful analysis of how Russia and the US have used–and continue to use–this tactic.
"A related tactic [to false flag operations] is the hiring of agent provocateurs to infiltrate a group targeted for destruction and induce radical elements of that group to perform crimes against innocent civilians that will justify armed retaliation or arrest. With the sudden surge in claimed terrorism in Russia and the arrest of the radical Hutaree group in the US, it is helpful to review the role of false flag terror attacks in Russia and the role of agent provocateurs in the US as we analyze what's really going on."
Skousen further states,
"As we move on to discuss the arrest of the radical members of the Hutaree cult in Michigan, it is important to note that virtually every prosecution of so-called domestic terrorism in the past decade is owed to the infiltration of FBI informants. While none of us in America dispute the need to gain intelligence on real threats to national security, we have to question the propriety of training and pressuring informants (most of which have been forced to accept the informant assignment in lieu of a prison term for other crimes committed) to provoke and induce angry and unstable dissidents to commit acts of terror.
"All too often, FBI 'informants' have been pressured by superiors to go far beyond informing. They have provided weapons, explosives, and even acted as the guiding hand to map out the strategy and tactics for performing the deed. These things only come out reluctantly during trial, and even then I suspect that we are never allowed to know the full extent of these provocations."
To receive a sample of Joel Skousen's WORLD AFFAIRS BRIEF or to subscribe to this excellent newsletter (I highly recommend it), write to: email@example.com
In addition, Will Grigg states that another major component of the indictment that is worrisome is the charge that Hutaree is guilty of "seditious conspiracy." As Grigg writes,
"Whatever is eventually learned about Hutaree, as things presently stand the indictment against it could provide a template for 'seditious conspiracy' prosecutions involving practically any group that endorses the use of defensive force to protect citizens against government aggression.
"Indeed, the definition of 'conspiracy' used in the Hutaree indictment could make a criminal out of anyone who reads Federalist Paper 46 in public, thereby sharing James Madison's commendably seditious admonition that the people preserve 'the advantage of being armed' in the event that insurrection against the central government proves necessary in order to preserve liberty."
Let's look a little closer at Federalist 46, written by Founding Father, author of the US Constitution, and America's fourth President, James Madison. In dispelling the fears of colonists toward a standing federal army, Madison said in Federalist 46,
"Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops."
Madison went on to say, "Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
Could Madison be any clearer? He (and the rest of America's founders) emphatically expected the militia of the "several States" to be universally armed against the potential encroachment on liberty by the central government, meaning: the citizenry must at all times be prepared to use their arms against any aggressive nature of the federal government to trample their freedoms.
This, of course, reinforces the founders' intent, that the 2nd Amendment protected the right of the people to keep and bear arms for the express purpose of providing the citizenry with the capability to repel (with violence) any assault against their liberties by their own federal government.
So, pray tell, would today's FBI categorize James Madison's statements in Federalist 46 as "seditious conspiracy"? If so, perhaps we are closer to tyranny than any of us wants to admit!
Furthermore, it is not lost to millions of Americans that this is the same federal government (through Department of Homeland Security fusion centers) that just recently characterized pro-lifers; people who support the 2nd Amendment; people who oppose the United Nations and illegal immigration; people who voted for Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin; and Iraq War veterans as "extremists" and potential "dangerous militia members."
But, once again, the federal government–along with their propagandists in the major news media, including its artificial authority on militias, the ultra-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama–is able to use the Hutaree militia to demonize militias in general, and even more damaging, to try and destroy the concept of constitutional State militias in the minds of the American public.
Did members of the Hutaree intend to carry out aggressive violence against law enforcement personnel? I have no idea. Until this story broke in the national media, I had never heard of this group. I will wait for the facts to come out–if indeed the federal government and national media even allow the facts to come out.
I do know this: I do not trust the federal government to tell the truth about anything! They did not tell the truth about the Branch Davidians at Waco; they did not tell the truth about Randy Weaver; they did not tell the truth about Gordon Kahl; and, if their track record is any indicator, it is doubtful that they are telling the truth about the Hutaree militia. But we shall see.
In the meantime, as William Norman Grigg opines, "There's reason to believe that the Feds have expanded and escalated this ongoing enterprise to exploit, and exacerbate, growing public hostility toward an increasingly invasive and esurient government.
"Whether it is ever demonstrated that Hutaree intended to 'levy war' against the U.S. government, this much is beyond serious dispute: The Homeland Security state is unambiguously preparing for war with the public–in fact, it has been doing so for a long time."
[2010 column ends here]
I invite readers to visit William Norman Grigg’s blog at here.
Well, now in 2012, the facts have all been laid bare. The Hutaree militia was innocent of the federal government’s conspiracy charges, and the federal government, once again, did not tell the truth. And, furthermore, the words written by yours truly and Will Grigg seem even more relevant today than they did two years ago, do they not?
In closing, let me be very clear about this: I have nothing but appreciation and respect for honest, God-fearing law enforcement personnel. I count law enforcement personnel among my kinfolk, and I feel very privileged to have been made an honorary deputy sheriff by my former county sheriff. I certainly share no anti-law enforcement prejudice. But the current trend to militarize and federalize law enforcement is both unconstitutional and alarming. Even more alarming is the manner in which the federal government and its toadies at the SPLC are attempting to criminalize the expressions of freedom and constitutional government–the same words, thoughts, and ideas expressed by America’s Founding Fathers. To quote myself, “So, pray tell, would today’s FBI categorize James Madison’s statements in Federalist 46 as ‘seditious conspiracy’? If so, perhaps we are closer to tyranny than any of us wants to admit!”
In the meantime, congratulations to federal District Judge Victoria Roberts for representing the court in a manner consistent with the founders’ intentions: by using the gavel as a hammer to protect liberty rather than as a rubber stamp to dismantle it–as so many federal judges are inclined to do these days.