A video game that hasn't even been released is said to be the inspiration for a group of soldiers charged with murder and accused of plotting terrorist acts, including the assassination of the president.
Prosecutors in Long County, Ga., part of the larger community surrounding Fort Stewart, home of the Army's Third Infantry Division, said an Army private used a magazine article on Rainbow 6: Patriots to test recruits to an "anarchist militia." The video game, from Ubisoft, is scheduled for release in 2013.
The group called itself "FEAR," short for "Forever Enduring Always Ready," and several of its members face charges in connection with the murder of a member of the group and his 17-year-old girlfriend. Prosecutors say the leader, Isaac Aguigui, ordered the killing because the victim appeared to be distancing himself from the group and its aims, which was taken to be a threat to the group's secrecy.
The latest details come from the guilty plea of another soldier. Prosecutors say FEAR managed to acquire some $60,000 worth of weapons, greatly financed by the proceeds of a life insurance policy whose owner was the wife of the militia's leader, and who prosecutors said died under "mysterious circumstances."
They said that Aguigui read a magazine article (the publication was not named) about Rainbow 6: Patriots, whose story concerns a group of domestic terrorists, apparently motivated by economic inequality in the United States. One trailer for the game depicts the terrorists bursting in on a Wall Street executive, beating him in his office, strapping a bomb to him and then pushing him out the window of a skyscraper, detonating the bomb as he hits the pavement below. The trailer was shown at the Spike Video Game Awards on Dec. 10, six days after the murder of the former group member and his girlfriend.
"The game features a domestic terrorist organization compris[ing] U.S. soldiers who attack their own government, thus the soldiers are the true patriots," prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a judge on Tuesday.
Her office alleges that FEAR's aims included bombing a public fountain in nearby Savannah, Ga., bombing a dam in Washington State and poisoning crops there, and killing the president. In all, four soldiers face charges in connection with the killing and their involvement in the group.
Rainbow Six: Patriots is scheduled for release next year but in March, the game's creative director, lead designer, narrative director and animation director all were removed from the project.