The Geriatric Militia Conspiracy

Grumpy Old MenThe media is going to have a field day with this, if only because it’ll be useful for drawing attention away from Fast and Furious and discrediting one of its sources. The Affidavit submitted for the search warrant can be found here. Their geriatric plot seemed to revolve mostly around the use of ricin, claymore mines, and silenced weapons. Our group of grandpas here seems to want to use shaped charges too, because presumably they’ve read about it somewhere, though perhaps they can’t quite remember much about it. The affidavit outlines a story of hilarious incompetence, which made it very easy for the FBI to build a case against them. Just from the affidavit, it already looks like a pretty solid case.

On May 24, 2011, THOMAS and CHS1 drove to Atlanta in THOMAS’s 2006 Red GMC Canyon Pickup Truck, license plate Georgia BMB 0821. CHS1 consensually recorded the trip. THOMAS and CHS1 planned and conducted surveillance on the ATF (2600 Century Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30345) and the IRS (401 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30308) buildings to plan and assess for possible attacks.

There’s an awful lot of consensual recording going on here. But I guess you have to have something to share with the grandkids at Christmas. Or perhaps at their age, it helps to remember what the conspiracy was about, and who it was against. Either way, this is generally enough to nail someone on conspiracy. You can actually sit around and talk about the geriatric rebellion all you want, but as soon as you take some action to further your conspiracy, you’re committing a crime. If you have two confidential informants following you around with recording equipment, it’s typically not going to be hard to gather enough evidence to send you to prison for the rest of your short lives. What’s surprising is how much of their action reads not like the action of grown men, who should at their age have some aged wisdom, but rather reads like 13 year old Quasimodos plotting to attack their local Jr. High to get back at the cool kids. I will share with you some of this quite humorous, though demented and incompetent, plot:

“We’d have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh. If we we’re gonna blow the buildings I would be smart to hit ’em both at the same time. Plant the explosive right up against the wall, a shaped charge. We can do it. Okay let’s do it then. We can so do our own homework on making from scratch mortars what the hell’s that, claymores and grenades. We’ve gotta have a lot of explosives.”

Pretty sure McVeigh just used truck filled with a few barrels of diesel fuel and fertilizer, along with some blasting agents. I guess they didn’t do their homework. Either way, grandpa’s walker could probably be converted into a wicked fragmentation grenade.

“Yea, uh, claymore mines, we can make these things, but I’d rather have store bought, a real one.”

Yeah… the mines Home Depot sells are a hell of a lot more reliable than the grow-it-yourself types. You could always pick one up at Lowes, which is better laid out, and keeps the anti-personnel weapons in a more logical aisle, but Home Depot has a better selection.

“We need to place within an ATF or DEA big black van. When they fill up their people, we’re gonna take ’em all out at once.”

If they get into a white van, the plan is off!

THOMAS expressed interest in obtaining weapons and equipment for the “covert group” from the UCE. THOMAS stated that he and the other members of the group have begun physical training and fitness to prepare for the physical demands that their plans may require.

My recommendation is this, for physical training.

“Helluva’n effect for so small a package! Interested? You bet!!! Show this to Cobra (ROBERTS) and then we’ll work out what we might be able to swap for some. Thanks!”

It’s not a conspiracy if you all don’t have cool code names. For the record, he’s talking about explosive packages here, though possibly he’s heard that line from his wife before.

On August 1, 2011, CHS1 consensually recorded a meeting with THOMAS, ROBERTS and another individual in northeast Georgia. They talked about acquiring TNT and building their own explosive devices. They discussed various types of detonators, but seemed to focus primarily on using pre-paid cell phones

The pre-paid models are the only ones that come with the detonators built in.

The affidavit notes some problems with the informants (one is under indictment), but given they have audio recordings, it looks like a pretty open and shut case of probable cause to get a valid warrant. No matter how ridiculous these guys might be, if you make a list of federal sonsabitches you want to take out, and then take action to further your plot, even if the FBI is there every step of the way providing you with everything you need to incriminate yourselves, you’re going to end up in prison. After reading the affidavit, I have no problem with what the FBI did here, and I’m going to guess after execution of the warrant, they are looking at a pretty solid case. We should probably be thankful these guys were laughably incompetent.

10 thoughts on “The Geriatric Militia Conspiracy”

  1. McVeigh actually was able to direct the blast towards the building. He used 3/4″ plywood on an angle (like this “B o\” where B=building, o=ampho and \=plywood) to direct the blast. It may not see intuitive given the force of the blast, but it worked.

  2. Here’s what I’m wondering. Would these guys have gone nearly as far if the FBI wasn’t hand holding them all way to jail? Or would they have simply been relegated to their planning and mutterings until one of them blew their hand off in a barn? Thinking about them trying to build their own detonators … cripes. What a gong show.

    But I do wonder about the extent the government plays in the roll of carrying these sorts of plots from “ramblings” into “reality.” Personally I’m glad they are in custody and not going to hurt anyone, purposeful or accidental, but still. It’s an interesting topic.

    1. It’s a good question. I tend to believe for most guys like this, it’s just talk, and the federal hand holding into criminality helps them cross the line. This isn’t entrapment, since that has to involve being enticed to commit a crime. If the feds just line up sellers and facilitate getting you the equipment you need, that’s not entrapment. But it’s also not the kind of help your average grumpy old man is going to have access to.

      It’s an interesting psychological issue though. If you started off with talk, and then suddenly someone comes along and offers to hook you up with the equipment you need to further your conspiracy, how hard is it to say “Whoa… hold on there cowboy… this is just all talk. You don’t think I’m crazy enough to actually go through with this do you?” I think it’s tough for some men to admit they are nothing but talk. Their inclination will be to go a little bit down the road to furtherance, even if they may not have followed through.

      That said, I’m not sure I care. As long as they weren’t entrapped, and it doesn’t sound like they were, plotting to murder people is a crime, even if you don’t follow through. It’s not something you or I would really even joke about, and I’ve been pretty clear I don’t have much regards for people who threaten it when the political process is still functioning.

      1. One of the thoughts that has crossed my mind about this is issues of mental competency. If these were old men who were inclined to be a little “off their rocker”, then I suspect a case can be made that they were “in over their heads” in the investigation, and thus became victims of a “weak” form of entrapment.

        This is why I’m uncomfortable with law enforcement getting convictions via “helping” the potential criminal. I understand the reasoning behind it…but I’d be somewhat satisfied if this kind of thing just stopped.

  3. I knew this would happen as soon as they started arresting the pre-fab islamic terrorists. Talking a stoned kid in a chat room into a plot the FBI made up (or ripped from a hysterical Tom Clancy novel) is the very definition of entrapment.

    We’ll be seeing more of these imaginary plots “exposed” as efforts are made to weed out political undesirables and justify the enormous spending on domestic counter-terrorism.

  4. Someone I used to know was part of the antiwar movement in the 1960s. He said that you could always tell who the FBI undercover agent was: he was the guy that thought burning down the ROTC building was a cool idea.

    Nonetheless: there are a lot of really stupid people out there who are frustrated, angry, and do not take a lot of encouragement to plan something criminal.

  5. The first rule of Geriatric Militia Club is: do not talk/record/take action in Geriatric Militia Club.

  6. Don’t get all caught up in snarky comments about age–everyone still has their inner 13-year-old. :)

  7. Just a walk down memory lane. . .

    There were several guys in our gun club c. 1994 who were members of “Company F, Bucks County Militia.” At least one was an officer. Even though I was sympathetic, at the time, I avoided the militia as I already was well on my way to having a Masters in “organizations” so I knew the prognosis was not good.

    “Company F” was very open about its activities, and shortly the PA State Police made a point of visiting every known member, just to talk to. I don’t recall hearing that any threats were made, but it seemed to serve as enough of a warning that the militia fell apart overnight.

    What I’m thinking is that if the FBI wasn’t bent on entrapment, they would have just gone and given these old guys a talking too, and they would have closed up shop, at great savings to everyone.

    I suppose that back in ’94 I thought what the State Police did was some kind of totalitarianism, but today I think what they did was just right — discouraging the enthusiasts before they found themselves all dressed up with no place to go, and so itching for trouble.

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