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Georgia soldiers charged in terrorist plot

FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
On Dec. 12, 2011, U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, (right) and Pvt. Christopher Salmon, 25, are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriffs Office, in Ludowici, Ga. Prosecutors said Monday that a murder case against four soldiers in Georgia has revealed they formed an anarchist militia within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the federal government.
Monday, Aug 27, 2012 2:27 PM
Last updated 7:33 PM
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 LUDOWICI, Ga. — Four Army soldiers based at Fort Stewart killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect a militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday.

On Dec. 12, 2011, U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, (right) and Pvt. Christopher Salmon, 25, are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriffs Office, in Ludowici, Ga. Prosecutors said Monday that a murder case against four soldiers in Georgia has revealed they formed an anarchist militia within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the federal government.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
On Dec. 12, 2011, U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, 26, (right) and Pvt. Christopher Salmon, 25, are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge at the Long County Sheriffs Office, in Ludowici, Ga. Prosecutors said Monday that a murder case against four soldiers in Georgia has revealed they formed an anarchist militia within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the federal government.

Prosecutors in rural Long County said the militia group composed of active duty and former U.S. military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components and 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 in December in order to keep its plans secret.

“This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk,” prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a Superior Court judge. “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.”

One of the Fort Stewart soldiers charged in the case, Army Pfc. Michael Burnett, also gave testimony that backed up many of the assertions made by prosecutors. The 26-year-old soldier pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter, illegal gang activity and other charges. He made a deal to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against the three other soldiers.

Prosecutors said the group called itself F.E.A.R., short for Forever Enduring Always Ready. Pauley said authorities don’t know how many members the militia had.

Burnett, 26, said he knew the group’s leaders from serving with them at Fort Stewart. He agreed to testify against Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, identified by prosecutors as the militia’s founder and leader, Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon.

All are charged by state authorities with malice murder, felony murder, criminal gang activity, aggravated assault and using a firearm while committing a felony. A hearing for the three soldiers was scheduled Thursday.

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. Pauley said the group 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.

“A loose end is the way Isaac put it,” Burnett said.

Aguigui’s attorney, Daveniya Fisher, did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press. Attorneys for Peden and Salmon both declined to comment Monday.

Also charged in the killings is Salmon’s wife, Heather Salmon. Her attorney, Charles Nester, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Pauley said Aguigui funded the militia using $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the death of his pregnant wife a year ago. Aguigui was not charged in his wife’s death, but Pauley told the judge her death was “highly suspicious.”

She said 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.

In a videotaped interview with military investigators, Pauley said, 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, she said. Prosecutors say they have no idea how many members belong to the group.

“All members of the group were on active-duty or were former members of the military,” Pauley said. “He targeted soldiers who were in trouble or disillusioned.”

The prosecutor 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, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.

The Army brought charges against the four accused soldiers in connection with the slayings of Roark and York in March but has yet to act on them. Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said he could not comment immediately on the militia accusations that emerged in civilian court Monday.

District Attorney Tom Durden said his office has been sharing information with federal authorities, but no charges have been filed in federal court. Jim Durham, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, would not comment on whether a case is pending.

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stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 08/27/12 - 03:56 pm
5
0
Unbelievable.....

If he (Aguigui) is this sick he would probably stop at nothing including killing his wife and unborn child. There are soldiers out there still deployed who put thier lives on the line everyday for some scum like these to give the military a bad name. I hope they all get what they deserve and if he did kill his wife I hope he gets charged with that also.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 08/27/12 - 04:20 pm
3
1
OMG

You can't help stupid......we not only have terror groups to worry about But these home grown groups too......
Run for gov. office if you want to change things.

corgimom
34237
Points
corgimom 08/27/12 - 05:46 pm
4
0
He targeted the nut cases.

He targeted the nut cases. The Army gets their share, especially the schizophrenics. They were losers as civilians, they are losers as soldiers, too.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 08/27/12 - 07:22 pm
3
8
More right wing domestic

More right wing domestic terror.... color me surprised.

paragoalie
14
Points
paragoalie 08/27/12 - 08:37 pm
7
3
Using a horrible event to further your ideals

TParty,
Where in the article does it say any of them are right wing? In fact in the article I read it states they are anarchist. So your comment brings up several theories. 1) You are trying to turn somebody's murder to further your political ideologies. 2) You have no idea what the word anarchy means. 3) You are just trying to gain attention. 4) You in fact have something wrong with your head.
Comments such as yours are what are dividing this great nation, we will never move forward unless rhetoric stops on all sides.
Please avoid using hate and stereotypes it just makes you look ignorant.

CobaltGeorge
165061
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/27/12 - 11:43 pm
1
2
TParty

based his total comment on the "Color" in the red suits!

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 08/27/12 - 11:44 pm
3
5
Anarchists don't join

Anarchists don't join militias, or the military... that's a give away. "Plotted range of anti-government attacks" is another one. Another hint comes form the reports from DHS, about right wing domestic terrorists planning attacks like this.

There are fringe people of every group and corner. As a conservative- I understand there are crazies in my group, even within the TEA Party. To solve it though- we have to call strikes, strikes. Don't a lot of people get upset when every Muslim doesn't condemn extremists in their own faith? We should hold ourselves to that standards we put on others.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 08/28/12 - 02:50 am
2
4
"we not only have terror

"we not only have terror groups to worry about But these home grown groups too......"??? All groups who commit terrorist acts, or plan to, are terror groups.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 08/28/12 - 07:35 am
1
1
techfan

And your point is???????????

Angie H
4300
Points
Angie H 08/28/12 - 09:01 am
2
0
"Another hint comes form the

"Another hint comes form the reports from DHS, about right wing domestic terrorists planning attacks like this. "

Why are THOSE terrorists branded "right wing?" Is it because they use guns, and everyone knows how peacful the left wing is. @@

Angie H
4300
Points
Angie H 08/28/12 - 12:18 pm
2
0
cheapster.... "Than what?"

cheapster.... "Than what?" Sorry....pet peve of mine. "THEN what?"

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