The Hutaree Militia of southern Michigan, whose recently arrested leader and members consider themselves to be Christian warriors, evidently feared that a little-known (to most Americans) European politician and bureaucrat might be the antichrist. A lengthy posting on the Hutaree.com Web site, headlined "10 Horns of the European Super State; Mr. Europe and 7 years of peace in Israel," discusses at length—exhaustive length—a theory that Javier Solana, the former secretary-general of NATO and also a former senior official of the European Union, could be the antichrist. Part of the evidence for this notion, which seems to be popular among millennialist Christians and militia adherents, is the fact that most Americans have never heard of Solana—the reason for this being, according to the treatise's author, a conspiratorial "media blackout" on Solana's existence and activities.
The far-right American theory about Solana's secret identity is news to European diplomats who are familiar with Solana's lengthy and distinguished career, first as a Spanish government official and subsequently as an international bureaucrat. "I think they've got the wrong man," says Anthony Smallwood, chief spokesman for the European Union's Washington diplomatic mission. "Mr. Solana has now retired and is an elderly private gentleman. This is quite insane." He adds that Solana used to make regular trips to Washington in the course of his work for NATO and the EU but "took few precautions" to ensure his personal security. (Earlier this week, Solana was reported to have been traveling in the former Soviet republic of Georgia with former U.S. deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott).
A quick Google search shows that the notion has taken root far beyond the corners of southern Michigan and western Ohio where the Hutaree operated. Virulent elements on the far-out political and religious fringes seem to have been struck by his efforts to build up the transnational institutions of the European Union (even though those institutions have no role whatsoever—nor is there any prospect of them having any role—in the governance of the United States).
"I am not going to say that this man is, in fact, the antichrist," writes the screed's author, John Reynolds. But, Reynolds continues, "when you take a look at the story that surrounds him, his rise to power from the ranks of the 10 nation Western European Union to become the sole leader of Europe with complete power and authority to convene the Council of Europe in the event of an emergency, it should make the radar of any Christian buzz with all kinds of activity."
But that's by no means all. "The thing that I find really notable is the fact that we have heard nothing about it here in the USA," Reynolds continues. "There is a virtual media blackout on this man. I see Jacques Chirac and Silvio Burlusconi [sic], Tony Blair and Prince Charles on the TV all of the time, yet not a word one regarding Solana. Why not? How is it that this man has flown under radar for so long and still continues to do so. Is it because they know that the Christian church will recognize the trend? That is a possibility. If he is, in fact, the coming antichrist then I can imagine that Satan is going to dedicate extra effort to keep this man concealed from us."
With this Declassified item, the conspiracy of silence is now broken. And thanks to Smallwood, Declassified can now also confirm elements of Solana's biography that seem to have caught the conspiracy theorists' interest. It is true, the EU spokesman says, that Solana once was a Socialist party activist in his native Spain; it is also true that he once protested against the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and later against Spain's joining NATO. It is also true that he served as Spain's foreign minister in a government led by then–prime minister Felipe Gonzalez—also a Socialist. In his subsequent career, first as secretary-general of NATO and later one of two European Union officials with responsibility for the community's foreign relations, Solana was generally regarded as a man who continued to have vaguely left-of-center views. It's true that in those posts he acted as a nonpolitical bureaucrat, helping to administer the activities of international organizations at the heart of the international establishment. But that may be exactly why anti-establishment groups like the Hutaree have become so fascinated by Solana.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit says eight Hutaree members, including the group's presumed leader, David Stone, have pleaded not guilty to charges contained in a federal indictment against them, including seditious conspiracy and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. A ninth person arrested in the case has not yet appeared in court to enter a plea. Bail hearings were being held Wednesday in federal court in Detroit. Prosecutors argue that the defendants should remain in custody as dangers to the community.