Soldiers in anti-Obama plot wanted to 'give the government back to the people'

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Peden, 25, right, and Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19 are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge in December. U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Peden, 25, right, and Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, 19 are led away in handcuffs after appearing before a magistrate judge in December. Lewis Levine/AP

New details are emerging about the four U.S. soldiers accused of plotting to assassinate President Obama and overthrow the U.S. government.

The bizarre story began unfurling on Monday after Pfc. Michael Burnett, dressed in his Army uniform, testified in a southeast Georgia court against his fellow militia members. Prosecutors accused the group F.E.A.R. (Forever Enduring Always Ready) of buying $87,000 worth of assault rifles, bomb materials, and semiautomatic weapons in a plot to bomb a park in nearby Savannah, poison apple orchards in Washington state and blow up a dam with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the government and killing Barack Obama. The group also stands accused of murdering former U.S. soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend Tiffany York after they learned of the group's plans. In a plea bargain, Burnett plead guilty to manslaughter and illegal gang activity on Monday in connection with Roark and York's murder. Here's what we've learned about the group so far.

The Group

The four U.S. soldiers implicated in the crimes,  Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, Sgt. Anthony Peden, Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Burnett, are all active members of the U.S. Army. According to Burnett, the group's rationale behind killing the president was "to give the government back to the people," according to CNN. "The government needed a change, Burnett told the court. 'I thought we were the people who would be able to change it.'" According to Long County Prosecutor Isabel Pauley, “This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk. Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action” and had the “knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans.” The Associated Press reports that the group courted current and former soldiers "who were in trouble or disillusioned." Prosecutors said they had no idea of the size of F.E.A.R.'s membership.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

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