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Project Megiddo

This report was prepared by the FBI. The .pdf version is available at the FBI web site. This is the full text of the public version of the FBI report. Opinions expressed are those of the FBI. Links to relevant information have been added by Apologetics Index to facilitate research.

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V - Militias

The majority of growth within the militia movement occurred during the 1990s. There is not a simple definition of how a group qualifies as a militia. However, the following general criteria can be used as a guideline: (1) a militia is a domestic organization with two or more members; (2) the organization must possess and use firearms; and (3) the organization must conduct or encourage paramilitary training. Other terms used to describe militias are Patriots and Minutemen.

Most militias engage in a variety of anti-government rhetoric. This discourse can range from the protesting of government policies to the advocating of violence and/or the overthrow of the federal government. However, the majority of militia groups are non-violent and only a small segment of the militias actually commit acts of violence to advance their political goals and beliefs. A number of militia leaders, such as Lynn Van Huizen of the Michigan Militia Corps -Wolverines, have gone to some effort to actively rid their ranks of radical members who are inclined to carry out acts of violence and/or terrorism.  (25)  Officials at the FBI Academy classify militia groups within four categories, ranging from moderate groups who do not engage in criminal activity to radical cells which commit violent acts of terrorism.  (26)  It should be clearly stated that the FBI only focuses on radical elements of the militia movement capable and willing to commit violence against government, law enforcement, civilian, military and international targets. In addition, any such investigation of these radical militia units must be conducted within strict legal parameters.

Militia anxiety and paranoia specifically relating to the year 2000 are based mainly on a political ideology, as opposed to religious beliefs. Many militia members believe that the year 2000 will lead to political and personal repression enforced by the United Nations and countenanced by a compliant U.S. government. This belief is commonly known as the New World Order (NWO) conspiracy theory (see Chapter I, Introduction). Other issues which have served as motivating factors for the militia movement include gun control, the incidents at Ruby Ridge (1992) and Waco (1993), the Montana Freemen Standoff (1996) and the restriction of land use by federal agencies.

One component of the NWO conspiracy theory -- that of the use of American military bases by the UN -- is worth exploring in further detail. Law enforcement officers, as well as military personnel, should be aware that the nation's armed forces have been the subject of a great deal of rumor and paranoia circulating among many militia groups. One can find numerous references in militia literature to military bases to be used as concentration camps in the NWO and visiting foreign military personnel conspiring to attack Americans. One example of this can be found on the website for the militia group United States Theatre Command (USTC).  (27)  The USTC website prominently features the NWO theory as it portrays both Camp Grayling in Michigan and Fort Dix in New Jersey as detention centers to be used to house prisoners in an upcoming war. Specifically in reference to a photograph of Camp Grayling, the USTC website states: "Note that the barbed wire is configured to keep people in, not out, and also note in the middle of the guard towers, a platform for the mounting of a machine gun." Specifically in reference to a photograph of Fort Dix, the USTC website states: "Actual photos of an 'Enemy Prisoner of War' camp in the United States of America! (Fort Dix, New Jersey to be exact!) Is there going to be a war here? Many more are suspected to be scattered throughout the United States."

Law enforcement personnel should be aware of the fact that the majority of militias are reactive, as opposed to proactive. Reactive militia groups are generally not a threat to law enforcement or the public. These militias may indeed believe that some type of NWO scenario may be imminent in the year 2000, but they are more inclined to sit back and wait for it to happen. They will stockpile their guns and ammunition and food, and wait for the government to curtail their liberties and take away their guns. When the expected NWO tragedy does not take place, these reactive militias will simply continue their current activities, most of which are relatively harmless. They will not overreact to minor disruptions of electricity, water and other public services.

However, there is a small percentage of the militia movement which may be more proactive and commit acts of domestic terrorism. As stated earlier, the main focus of the militias connected to the Y2K/millennium revolves around the NWO conspiracy theory. While the NWO is a paranoid theory, there may be some real technological problems arising from the year 2000. Among these are malfunctioning computers, which control so many facets of our everyday lives. Any such computer malfunctions may adversely affect power stations and other critical infrastructure. If such breakdowns do occur, these may be interpreted as a sign by some of the militias that electricity is being shut off on purpose in order to create an environment of confusion. In the paranoid rationalizations of these militia groups, this atmosphere of confusion can only be a prelude to the dreaded NWO/One World Government. These groups may then follow through on their premeditated plans of action.

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- Footnotes -
  1. Van Huizen lost re-election as commander of the MMCW in late 1997 to the more radical Joe Pilchak. (back)
  2. See "Militias- Initiating Contact," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 1997, pp. 22-26. (back)
  3. Accessed at www.eagleflt.com. (back)

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