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A New Name in American Paranoia: The Hutaree Militia

No one quite knows why the group in the middle of the latest armed militia controversy calls itself the Hutaree. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery, Ala., group that monitors militias and extremists groups, knows little about the Hutaree. Bloggers following the raids on Hutaree camps in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio over the weekend speculated that the word was made-up, one that came out of the group's own invented dialect, which appears to include military ranks with bizarre names of no clear etymology (its leader, for instance, was known as "Captain Hutaree," and was sometimes just called, "Joe Stonewall.")

But while the name Hutaree may have a mysterious flavor, the plot its members were reportedly hatching was part of a familiar form of American paranoia. On Monday, federal authories charged nine alleged Hutaree members with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. The government believes the group — which apparently espouses an extreme form of fundamentalist Christianity — may have been plotting to kill law enforcement officers to help spark a broader armed conflict. According to court documents, the Hutaree deemed police "foot soldiers" of the federal government — which in turn was part of the New World Order, a perpetual bogeyman of militia groups.

While training, Hutaree members reportedly wear tiger-stripe camouflage uniforms, with shoulder patches bearing a black cross, two brown vertical pillars that form the letter "H." All part, it seems, of "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive," as a slogan on the Hutaree's website declares (it has a background of military fatigue). A photo on the site shows 18 men holding rilfes in a wooded area. There's also a two-minute YouTube video showing men running through woods, wearing fatigues, shooting rifles.

Read the full story here.

And since we're thinking about the resurgence of U.S. extremist groups, check out this piece I did early last year, about an apparent Ku Klux Klan murder in Louisiana.

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