FBI Warns of Militia Mayhem

Police across country are asked to monitor cult behavior fearing millennium violence

The FBI is warning police nationwide of possible threats posed by cults and militias as the Year 2000 dawns. A 40-page report will be distributed soon explaining to police why the changing of the calendar could be an opportunity for violence.

In the report, the FBI points out eight warning signs police should look for when seeing if a local cult or militia poses a threat this New Year’s Eve. FBI officials told U.S. News & World Report that one sign is violent or destructive rhetoric. Law enforcement officials urge police to be aware of changes in the behavior of militia groups and cults in their areas as the New Year draws closer.

The FBI report is titled "Project Megiddo" referring to an ancient battleground in Israel that is thought to be the site of the biblical Armageddon. That’s where the last battle between the forces of good and evil will be waged.

Law enforcement officials believe the New Year’s Eve threat comes from two quarters: groups who view the Y2K computer bug as part of a plot by the government and others to establish a new world order, and far-right Christian groups and militias who believe the new millennium will trigger a final battle between good and evil.

Dates play a large role in violent acts, according to David Kessler the executive administrator of the Center for Millennial Studies. Kessler told NBC news that even though past prophecies on the world coming to an end have been wrong, they still have an impact on society. Kessler sites the bombing in Oklahoma as an example. The federal building was bombed on April 19, 1995, the second anniversary of the destruction of the Branch Davidian cult compound near Waco, Texas. Groups and cults could view the beginning of a new millennium as a chance to take violent action.

There are really two definitions of the new millennium each having importance to different fringe groups. The traditional definition is a 1,000-year messianic period that can begin at any moment. The second is 1,000 anniversary on the calendar. Many people join these two together and believe that 2000 could be the Second Coming of Jesus. Authorities warn these different interpretations could also pose a problem. Because some people believe the new millennium starts on January 1, 2000 and some believe it starts on January 1, 2001, polic