Veterans and actively serving soldiers in the U.S. military formed an anarchist militia in rural Georgia and intended to assassinate Obama and overthrow the government. They named their group FEAR – Forever Enduring Always Ready.
That’s what prosecutors in Long County, GA, told a judge yesterday — in a case against four U.S. Army soldiers based in Fort Stewart in southeast Georgia, who are accused of having killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect FEAR.
Russ Bynum reports for the Associated Press from Ludowici, GA, Aug. 27, 2012, that the prosecutors’ claim is backed by one of the defendants, 26-year-old Pfc. Michael Burnett, who made a deal to cooperate with prosecutors against the three other soldiers. Yesterday, Burnett pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter, illegal gang activity and other charges.
The prosecutors said the militia group FEAR, comprised of an unknown number of active and former U.S. military members, spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components. The group was serious enough to kill two people — former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York — by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret.
Burnett said he knew the group’s leaders from serving with them at Fort Stewart. He agreed to testify against fellow soldiers Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, identified by prosecutors as the militia’s founder and leader, and Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon.
The four defendants
Clockwise from top right: Sgt. Anthony Peden, Pvt. Christopher Salmon, Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, Pfc. Michael Burnett
Prosecutors say Roark, 19, served with the four defendants in the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and became involved with the militia. FEAR believed it had been betrayed by Roark, who left the Army two days before he was killed, and decided the ex-soldier and his girlfriend needed to be silenced.
Burnett testified that on the night of Dec. 4, he and the three other soldiers lured Roark and York to some woods a short distance from the Army post under the guise that they were going target shooting. He said Peden shot Roark’s girlfriend in the head while she was trying to get out of her car. Salmon, he said, made Roark get on his knees and shot him twice in the head. Burnett said Aguigui ordered the killings.
Prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a Superior Court judge: “This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk. Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action. Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans.”
Pauley said Aguigui funded the militia using $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the “highly suspicious” death of his pregnant wife a year ago. Aguigui used the money to buy $87,000 worth of semiautomatic assault rifles, other guns and bomb components that were recovered from the accused soldiers’ homes and from a storage locker. He also used the insurance payments to buy land for his militia group in Washington state, Pauley said.
Pauley said that in a videotaped interview with military investigators, Aguigui called himself “the nicest cold-blooded murderer you will ever meet.” He used the Army to recruit militia members, who wore distinctive tattoos that resemble an anarchy symbol. Prosecutors say they have no idea how many members belong to the group, but that all members of the group were on active-duty or were former members of the military. Pauley said that Aguigui “targeted soldiers who were in trouble or disillusioned.”
Pauley said the militia group had big plans. It plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah. In Washington state, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said the Army has dropped its own charges against the four soldiers in the slayings of Roark and York. The Military authorities filed their charges in March but never acted on them. Fort Stewart officials Monday refused to identify the units the accused soldiers served in and their jobs within those units.
“Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield does not have a gang or militia problem,” Larson said in a prepared statement, though he said Army investigators still have an open investigation in the case. “However, we don’t believe there are any unknown subjects,” he said.
H/t FOTM’s beloved Grouchy Fogie