Feds Arrest 4 in Ricin Attack Plot

Federal agents arrested four suspected members of a Georgia militia on charges of plotting attacks with toxins and explosives in Atlanta and against unnamed government officials.

The Associated Press says

The four, who authorities arrested Tuesday, were expected to appear in federal court in Gainesville, Ga., on Wednesday afternoon.

They were part of a group that also tried to obtain an unregistered explosive device and sought out the complex formula to produce ricin, a biological toxin that can be lethal in small doses, according to a federal complaint.

One suspect discussed ways of dispersing ricin from an airplane in the sky over Washington, court records state. Another suspected member of the group intended to use the plot of an online novel as a model for plans to attack U.S. federal law officers and others, authorities said. Court documents state that 73-year-old Frederick Thomas told others he intended to model their actions on the online novel “Absolved,” which involves small groups of citizens attacking U.S. officials.

The four listed in the indictment are Thomas; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68. The men live in the north Georgia towns of Cleveland and Toccoa.

At least two of the suspects are former federal employees, court records show.

Militia groups are the militant arm of the Patriot Movement. They are organized, armed groups that claim to defend the U.S. Constitution (from real or perceived enemies).

According to CNN

Prosecutors said the public was never in imminent danger.

“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die,” an arrest affidavit quotes one of the defendants, Frederick Thomas, as saying during one recorded conversation. […]

“While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a written statement announcing the arrests.

The affidavits don’t identify the “known militia organization.” But according to the documents, the men talked about spreading ricin across several cities at once, including Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans and Jacksonville, Florida.

What is Ricin?

CBS News says Ricin is

a poison found naturally in castor beans, and is made from waste leftovers after processing the beans. It can be used in powder, mist, a pellet, or can be dissolved in liquid.

Ricin seeps into the body’s cells of an exposed person, preventing them from making necessary proteins. Without the proteins, the cells die, eventually resulting in death. […]

Symptoms of ricin inhalation include difficulty breathing, fever, cough, nausea, heavy sweating, and fluid buildup in the lungs. Ingesting ricin can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, seizures, and hallucinations. Death can occur from 36 hours to 72 hours following exposure.

The Telegraph writes

Ricin can cause death from exposure to as little as a pinhead amount. Most victims die between 36 hours and 72 hours after exposure, and there is no known antidote.

The most famous case of ricin poisoning was in 1978 when dissident Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov was killed when an assassin in London jabbed him with an umbrella that injected a tiny ricin-filled pellet.

Militia Groups / Militia Movement

FBI sees little chance of copycat militia plots

WASHINGTON — There’s a lot of anger out there. But the alleged plot by Midwestern militants and violent outbursts by scattered individuals don’t signal any coming wave of extremist violence, federal investigators say.

There’s more fizzle than fight among self-styled militias and other groups right now, they say, and little chance of a return to the organized violence that proved so deadly in the 1990s.
[…]

There is always a risk of a lone wolf launching an attack, and law enforcement officials cannot rule out the possibility that they have failed to detect larger, more organized plots still unfolding. But the FBI bulletin – it was issued to police departments – underscores that authorities have not yet detected clear signs of a revival of organized violence that would require a strong federal response.

Federal agents have seen an increase in “chatter” from an array of groups, which can include radical self-styled militias, white separatists or extreme civil libertarians. That information includes everything from public posts on Web sites to intelligence gathered through informants.
[…]

But such violent talk appears unlikely to lead to action, authorities believe.

One key: Law enforcement officials say the lack of an armed, deadly confrontation in last weekend’s arrests – as there was in the 1993 standoff in Waco, Texas – made it less likely any groups would attempt new violence.
[…]

Anti-government anger flared in some quarters after Congress passed the massive health care overhaul this month, and a few lawmakers received threats or even suffered vandalism. And the angry political rallies of conservative tea party members have been well publicized. Lost jobs have given millions plenty to be upset about.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently reported an increase in what they define as right wing extremist and hate groups around the country.

In comparison, outbursts of violent extremism are minuscule.

Law enforcement officials point out that the extremist groups they do track are so diverse, with so many different motivations – anarchic, anti-tax, racist and on and on – that there is no defining principle other than a kind of general distrust of the government.
[…more…]

– Source / Full Story: FBI sees little chance of copycat militia plots, Devlin Barrett and Eileen Sullivan, Associated Press via the Washington Post, Mar. 31, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Hutaree militia members arrested in Sunday raid to be charged today

Hataree Christian Militia Federal prosecutors plan to unseal charges today against members of a self-described Christian militia arrested Saturday and Sunday in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

At least seven people were taken into custody in raids by an FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based unit of the Hutaree, a group that professes it is training in modern armed combat techniques for a prophesized coming battle with the Antichrist. [Read more...]

Seven arrested in FBI raids linked to Christian militia group Hutaree

Hataree Christian Militia At least seven people, including some from Michigan, have been arrested in raids by a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based Christian militia group, a person familiar with the matter said.

Other other militia members say that the FBI targeted the Hutaree after its members made threats of violence against Islamic organizations. [Read more...]