Anarchist US soldiers 'plotted government overthrow'

image source, AP
image captionPrivate Isaac Aguigui (R) is accused of being the militia group's founder and leader

A group of American soldiers formed an anarchist militia and plotted to overthrow the United States government, a court in Georgia has heard.

The allegations emerged in a murder case against four soldiers accused of belonging to the group.

Prosecutors say the men formed a militia called Fear, standing for Forever Enduring Always Ready.

They are alleged to have bought $87,000 (£56,000) worth of arms to bomb targets and assassinate President Obama.

Prosecutor Isabel Pauley told the judge at the Long County court, near the Fort Stewart army base, that the militia had bought land in Washington state and planned to bomb a dam and poison apple crops in the area.

Their ultimate aim, she said, was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.

"This domestic terrorist organisation did not simply plan and talk... Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans," the Associated Press reports Ms Pauley telling the judge.

Murder charge

Details of the allegations came out during a murder case in a civilian court in Georgia this week against Isaac Aguigui, Anthony Peden, Christopher Salmon and Michael Burnett.

They are accused of the December murder of former soldier Michael Roark, 19, and his girlfriend Tiffany York, 17.

On Monday, Michael Burnett pleaded guilty to manslaughter and gang charges, telling the court that Roark knew of the militia group's plans and had been killed because he was "a loose end".

Private Aguigui, identified as the founder and leader of Fear, is accused of using a $500,000 (£316,000) insurance payout from the death of his pregnant wife a year ago to buy weapons and land for the group.

His fellow soldier Private Burnett told the court that Mr Aguigui had introduced him to "the manuscript", which he described as "a book about true patriots".

The militia aimed "to give the government back to the people", he said.

Prosecutors also said that they do not know how many members the group has, but recruits have distinctive tattoos of anarchist-type symbols.

Attorneys for the three remaining defendants, as well as for Christopher Salmon's wife Heather, who has also been charged in relation to the killings, have so far refused to comment on the charges. The case continues.

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