A group of US soldiers planning to take over their base, blow up
targets around the country, wrest control of the government and kill the
president – it could be a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s a developing
story in the southern state of Georgia.
Four US Army soldiers from the Fort Stewart base in southeast
Georgia are charged with killing a former comrade and his girlfriend in a
bid to prevent the couple from informing on a militia group of which
they were all members. One of the soldiers has agreed to
cooperate with the prosecution in exchange for a lesser charge, while
the rest are charged with malicious murder, felony murder, criminal gang
activity, aggravated assault and using a firearm while committing a
felony.The case's prosecutors paint a vivid picture of the group’s plans and actions.
over the sprawling Fort Stewart base, bombing a fountain in nearby
Savannah, bombing a dam and poisoning the apple crop in Washington
State, and, eventually, toppling the US government and killing the
president – these were the goals of the group, which called itself
F.E.A.R., an acronym for Forever Enduring Always Ready. “This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk,” said prosecutor Isabel Pauley. “Prior
to the murders in this case, the group took action. Evidence shows the
group possessed the knowledge, means and motives to carry out their
plans.”According to the prosecution, the group is the
brainchild of one Pvt. Issac Aguigui, who allegedly sought out soldiers
who were in trouble or disillusioned.Members could easily identify each other by distinctive tattoos resembling the anarchy symbol.
information is available about the man behind the plan, however. Gossip
website Gawker.com identified Aguigui as a page during the 2008
Republican Convention. Prosecutors say that during a videotaped
interview with military investigators, Aguigui called himself “the nicest cold-blooded murderer you will ever meet.”Aguigui’s pregnant wife died last year – and though he was never charged with her death, prosecutors say the judge finds it "highly suspicious.”
$500,000 of insurance and benefits Aguigui received after his wife’s
death financed the group’s activities. At least $87,000 went towards the
purchase of semiautomatic rifles and bomb components. An undisclosed
amount was spent on the acquisition of land in Washington State for the
group's use.While it’s unclear how easy it was to join the group, there seems to have been only one way to leave it.
soldier Michael Roark, also a member of the militia, was killed just
two days after leaving the Army. He and girlfriend Tiffany York were
killed by other F.E.A.R. members, allegedly on the orders of Aguigui,
who called them “loose ends” and believed they would betray others,
prosecutors say. The pair was taken to the woods under the pretense of going to shooting practice, and both were then shot in the head.
Army seems to have had some knowledge of the gang's activities, going
so far as to charge four soldiers with the slayings of Roark and York in
March. But the charges were never acted upon, and were later dropped.Moreover, Fort Stewart spokesperson Kevin Larson said, “Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield does not have a gang or militia problem.” He added, however, that Army investigators are still working on the case.
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