The Hutaree Case: Next, Time, They'll Send in the Drones (William Norman Grigg)
Monday April 2nd, 2012
Next time the Regime identifies a group of people as "domestic terrorists," the result might be a summary mass execution, or imprisonment in military custody, rather than a trial. This is one very plausible result of the dismissal of "seditious conspiracy" charges against members of Michigan’s Hutaree militia.
Thanks to the legal environment created by the NDAA, the Feds won’t have to run the risks involved in submitting the next "domestic terrorism" case to the scrutiny of a court. Now that Attorney General Eric Holder has helpfully clarified that "due process" and "judicial process" aren’t the same thing, it’s entirely possible that the next group of American dissidents identified by the SPLC or some other self-appointed political watchdog group as "terrorists" could be targeted by a drone-fired missile or a presidential strike team. In fact, the SPLC, which provides an updated list of domestic enemies to law enforcement agencies, already has some experience as target-spotters for domestic drone operations.
When asked by Rep. Thomas Graves (R-Georgia) if "targeted assassinations" could be conducted domestically as well as overseas, FBI Commissar Robert Mueller pointedly refused to rule out the possibility. This was probably welcome news to Leslie Larsen, the FBI Agent who presided over the Hutaree case for years, only to see the most serious charges evaporate.
"We haven't worked a year and a half on this investigation and risked [an undercover agent's] life to walk away from this with 3 arrests," groused the secret police investigator two years ago. By that time it had become clear the FBI wouldn’t be able to manufacture a successful criminal conspiracy out of a few trivial firearms violations and a surfeit of anti-government rhetoric.
During the past decade, false flag operations targeting disaffected Muslims have become the FBI’s métier. The Hutaree was the first non-Muslim "domestic extremist" group to be cast as the lead in one of the Bureau’s post-911 Homeland Security Theater productions. U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, who was able to see the plot holes in the FBI’s implausible script, had the character and good sense – traits otherwise all but impossible to find on the bench – to dismiss the case with prejudice.
In her order granting the defense motion for summary judgment, Roberts – who had previously expressed severe skepticism regarding the supposed merits of the case – lambasted the Feds for repeatedly venturing beyond "inference to pure speculation" and "attempting to formulate an alternative theory of criminal liability" when it became clear that they couldn’t provide tangible evidence of intent to commit an overt criminal act. This resulted in a theory of the case "based primarily on two conversations … the first on August 13, 2009, and the second on February 20, 2010."
The Hutaree "militia" was a loosely organized group of obscure people united by their entirely commendable hostility toward the criminal clique calling itself the United States Government. They apparently shared a set of apocalyptic beliefs about the imminent rise of the Antichrist, and they engaged in survivalist training in anticipation of the End Times, when they might confront the necessity to use defensive force against government agents – whether foreign or domestic – in league with the enemy.
It was in the context of this scenario that members of the Hutaree group supposedly plotted to murder a law enforcement officer and then follow up with opportunistic attacks on other LEOs who would attend the funeral. This repellent terrorist tactic should be familiar to the Feds who investigated the Hutaree group; after all, the government that employs them has made extensive use of it. A detailed report compiled by British and Pakistani journalists has documented that CIA drone-fired missile strikes have killed "dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or [who] were attending funerals" that resulted from earlier missile attacks.
In orchestrating its phony domestic terrorist plots, the Regime tends to use a script inspired by its own acts of state terrorism abroad. The Hutaree "plot" to assassinate a cop and then capitalize on the funeral may have been prompted by the federal informant who infiltrated the group and – acting as a provocateur– thoughtfully offered to teach them how to make improvised explosive devices. It may have been stitched together from in post-production, from scraps of various conversations, by the FBI impresario presiding over this little melodrama. What we know for certain is that it was not conceived by the Hutaree activists, nor did they take ownership of it.
The original indictment – which Judge Roberts eviscerated in a preliminary ruling – accused the Michigan dissidents of making material preparations to carry out specific criminal acts. When it was shown that there was no evidence to support that charge, the Feds shifted their focus and charged them with "seditious conspiracy," which consisted of expressing opinions about government corruption and making physical preparations to for self-defense against criminal violence perpetrated by government authorities.
Citing a Supreme Court precedent (Russell v. United States, 1962) holding that the prosecution isn’t "free to roam at large – to shift its theory of criminality so as to take advantage of each passing vicissitude of the trial," Roberts observed that the Feds were not free to "say that the alleged plan set forth [in the original indictment] is irrelevant." Yet that’s precisely what they attempted to do.
Although the supposed police assassination plot was central to the case against the Hutaree, "the Government did not provide sufficient proof of the existence of a conspiracy at all," ruled Judge Roberts. "The Government says it is not certain whether the Hutaree intended to initiate the conflict, or simply engage in it once it was initiated by others." While Hutaree members frequently engaged in what were described as "diatribes" against law enforcement, "all of this speech is protected by the First Amendment," Roberts observed. Expressing hatred for the government’s enforcement caste "is not the same as seditious conspiracy." (Of course, sedition – rather than being a crime – is the highest and noblest form of patriotism, and should be commended, rather than prosecuted.)
Under the Government’s theory of the case, Roberts noted, one could be charged with "sedition" simply through his or her "mere presence at the scene" when a Hutaree activist spoke about "going to war and killing police."
One of the defendants, Tina Mae Stone, was described by the Feds as an "active, engaged and vocal member" of the purported conspiracy because she overheard two conversations – one regarding a planned trip to Kentucky by David Stone, Sr. and the federal informant, and a second that took place in an FBI-rented warehouse in which the provocateur "discussed explosives" with Mr. Stone.
The latter conversation touched on the subject of using coffee cans and wine bottles to make improvised explosively formed projectiles (EFPs). Ms. Stone joked that "she would take one for the team and drink more wine, presumably so that the bottles could be used to make explosives," Roberts recounts. The Feds characterized that wisecrack as evidence that she had "played an active, unhesitant, and continuing role in obtaining materials to use in building EFPs" – despite the fact that she was present for only one meeting with the Hutaree co-defendants, and never provided them with anything.
Following dismissal of the case, Hutaree defendant Michael Meeks, a 42-year-old former Marine, said that the salient lesson taught by the case was the need for Americans to "watch what you say. Even the most innocent of statements can be used against you."
Actually, the lesson is that anything said in your presence can be used against you – and if a sufficiently incriminating remark isn't forthcoming from you or your friends, the Feds can always pay somebody to perform on cue, and on camera.
While the Feds didn’t succeed in imprisoning the Hutaree defendants for life, they were able to steal more than two years of their respective lives through pre-trial incarceration.
As a consolation prize, the Feds were able to extort guilty pleas from David Stone, Sr. and his son Joshua on weapons charges, which could result in prison terms.
Although U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade – the Madam DeFarge behind this case – wasn’t able to feed the defendants to the guillotine, she expressed a measure of vindictive satisfaction that the felony convictions mean "that these defendants will never be permitted to possess firearms again." She also reiterated the Regime’s intent to continue "dismantling" militias and other dissident groups suspected of impermissible animosity toward their rulers.
Once again, thanks to the NDAA – the Obama Regime’s "Law of Suspects" – the Feds will be able to use extra-judicial means to "dismantle" dissident groups in the future.
The original Law of Suspects was enacted by France’s revolutionary Jacobin government on September 17, 1793 (as it happened, the sixth birthday of the U.S. Constitution). The decree permitted the wholesale imprisonment of several classes of people deemed enemies of the State:
As David A. Bell of Johns Hopkins University points out in his study The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It, the Law of Suspects – the template for every modern totalitarian legal system, including the NDAA – was the enabling act for the revolutionary Reign of Terror. As is the case with a contemporary American deemed an "enemy combatant," any French citizen branded a Suspect had no right to appeal that designation. Protests of that kind were probably met with some variation of the sentiment recently expressed by Robespierre’s modern disciple, Sen. Lindsey Graham: "Shut up – you don’t get a lawyer!"
- Those considered "partisans of tyranny" or "enemies of liberty" – which in the Jacobin lexicon referred to defenders of the monarchy and traditional institutions;
- Individuals who had been denied "certificates of patriotism" issued by the revolutionary regime;
- Former nobles and erstwhile "civil servants" who had been cashiered by the National Convention;
- Those who emigrated from France between July 1, 1789 and April 8, 1792, and their family members, unless they provided suitable displays of "devotion to the Revolution."
The same concept was embedded in the Soviet Union’s Fundamental Principles of Penal Legislation, which identified the central mission of the state's law enforcement apparatus (chiefly the Ckeha secret police, which would later become the KGB) as that of identifying, and removing the threat of, "socially dangerous persons." That mission was enshrined in Article 58 of the Soviet penal code, which was the foundation of that government’s perpetual war of terror against dissent – and the antecedent to section 1031 of the NDAA.
The law dealing with "socially dangerous persons," notes the authoritative Black Book of Communism, dealt with "any activity that, without directly aiming to overthrow or weaken the Soviet regime, [which] was in itself 'an attack on the political or economic achievements of the revolutionary proletariat.' The law thus not only punished intentional transgressions but also proscribed possible or unintentional acts" (emphasis added).
Additionally, the expression "socially dangerous persons" itself was based on "extremely elastic categories" that permitted the imprisonment of people in the gulag "even in the absence of guilt." This is because what the Soviet rulers were pleased to call "the law" specified that incarceration, exile, or execution could be employed as means of "social protection" against "anyone classified as a danger to society, either for a specific crime that has been committed or when, even if exonerated of a particular crime, the person is still reckoned to pose a threat to society." (Emphasis added.) The Regime in Washington has acted on similar assumptions regarding Gitmo inmates who remain in detention despite their demonstrated innocence. The NDAA would authorize similar treatment of U.S. citizens as well.
Soviet "law" discarded entirely with the idea of punishing overt acts, focusing instead on the supposed motivations of those deemed innately threatening to the regime. Note also that the Soviet system was rigged to nullify exculpatory verdicts. Soviet prosecutors, like Federal prosecutors today, considered themselves entitled to "shift the theory of criminality" as needed in order to justify detention of political offenders.
Detention of "socially dangerous persons" was the primary function of the Soviet penal apparatus. As Paul Gregory points out in his book Lenin's Brain, most of the prisoners consigned to the gulag were sent there not because of what they had done, but because of what the state suspected they could do; they were being isolated from the rest of society "because of actual or suspected opposition to the Soviet state" – that is to say, that they had a "general plan" to "oppose the authority" of the government," as the U.S. "Justice" Department said of the Hutaree defendants.
During the Senate’s discussion of the NDAA’s martial law provisions, Sen. Graham warned that Americans suspected of terrorism – another "elastic" category that can include practically any kind of organized dissent – should "know what will come your way – death; detention; prosecution."
Under the NDAA, the Regime has the luxury of ignoring the third option listed by Graham when courts refuse to ratify every conspiracy theory concocted by the Cheka (or, as it’s now know, the FBI). Or the Feds could simply avoid the messiness associated with "judicial process" of any kind and implement the Obama administration’s policy of executive assassination.
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.
Copyright © 2012 William Norman Grigg