Intrepid AEN Reporters Shawn Harold and Linda Thompson AEN News (317) 780-5211, Fidonet 1:231/110 Dec. 23, 1994 Northpole Standoff A fierce battle ended in a stand-off today as a multi-jurisdictional task force of federal law enforcement agents tried to arrest the leader of a militant doomsday cult, who call themselves "Elves," living in a heavily fortified compound at the Northpole. According to witnesses, federal agents hid in livestock trailers as they drove up to the compound. The approach was difficult in the snow using wheeled vehicles. Several agents were reportedly thrown from the trailer when it hit a snowbank. The agents were unable to use dogteams and sleds because the ATF agents shot all the dogs during training at a nearby recreational facility where agents had practiced for weeks on a mock-up of the compound in preparation for the raid. As three National Guard helicopters approached, over 100 law officers stormed the main compound, a heavily fortified gingerbread structure, throwing concussion grenades and screaming "Come out!" Cult members and law officers negotiated a cease-fire about 45 minutes after the incident began. For the next several hours, ambulances and helicopters swarmed the premises. The area was cordoned off and ATF agents with machine guns were posted in the roadways to keep reporters at least two miles from the main battle area. In a lengthy report on the group Saturday, The Northpole Tribune-Herald said that the cult was known to have a large arsenal of high-powered weapons, probably produced in a workshop disguised as a "toy factory." This toy factory is also believed to be the sight of a mephamphetamine laboratory, according to sources inside the ATF. The article quoted investigators as saying the crazed cult leader, who uses several aliases, "Santa Claus," "Saint Nick," "Sinterclaas," and "Saint Nicholas," age unknown, has abused children and claims to have at least 15 wives. Santa Claus denies these accusations of abuse and said he has had only one wife, Mrs. Santa Claus. Authorities had a warrant to search the Northpole compound for guns and explosive devices and an arrest warrant for its leader, Santa Claus, said Mess Stanford of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Washington, D.C. Mr. Stanford added it would be useless to attempt to get a copy of this warrant, however, because it had been sealed, "for national security reasons." The assault came one day after the Northpole Tribune-Herald began publishing a series on the cult, quoting former members as saying the deranged cult leader, Santa Claus, abused children and had at least 15 wives. ATF spokesman Jack Killchildren in Washington said the assault had been planned for several weeks, although he added, "I think the newspaper's investigation set up heightened tension." The cult's fortress, called "The Toy Factory," is dominated by a tower with lookout windows facing in all directions. Guards reportedly patrol the 77-acre grounds at night. Attorney General Janet Reno ordered the raid after cult members refused to surrender documents relating to national security. A source inside the Justice Department said that the documents were lists of cabinet members and highly placed government officials who were naughty or nice. Despite preliminary, secret negotiations to obtain the list, the Elves refused to surrender the document to the Justice Department. The raid was scheduled for December 23, because December 25 is believed to be a traditional cult holiday and all the militant elves would be engaged in cult rituals in preparation for the event. At a press conference this afternoon, Attorney General Reno said, "These militants abuse children in the most vile manner, by teaching them to expect charity. They have even distributed free, working replicas of 'assault weapons' and 'handguns.' It is a matter of dire importance to our future and the future of all our children, that this peril be ended by every means at our disposal." She went on to say that "I do not want to surround the compound and shoot everyone and then burn it to the ground in order to prevent this child abuse from occurring again, but that appears to be our only alternative." According to Reno, the "Toy Factory" itself is a sweatshop and conditions inside were horrendous. The Department of Justice is also looking into allegations of animal cruelty. Former members of the cult have claimed that Santa Claus frequently uses leather restraints on at least eight reindeer, housed in sordid conditions on the compound. Witnesses reported seeing a reindeer with a protruding red nose, which Janet Reno said was further indication of the abusive conditions inside the compound. Several of the elves were reported by the BATF to have been carrying automatic weapons. However, independant sources dispute this, claiming that the "automatic weapons" were nothing more than large candy canes. ATF leader Ted Oyster, shaken after the ordeal, spoke to reporters as hundreds of agents, many of them in tears, were taken away from the Northpole in military airlifts, ambulances, and private vehicles. "We had our plan down, we had our diversion down, and they were waiting..." Oyster said resignedly, shaking his head. A hospital spokesman said that most of the wounded ATF agents appeared to be suffering from shrapnel wounds from broken candy canes, as well as frostbite, apparently suffered from wearing forest-green camoflage in the wintery terrain. Attorney General Reno offered no comment on these reports. Mack "the knife" McWarty was seen strolling across the White House lawn, chuckling to himself as he read what inside sources say was a copy of the naughty/nice list. One highly placed government official was found dead in Marcy Park. His name and the cause of death are unknown at this time, however, the White House immediately issued a statement claiming the official had committed suicide after learning his name was not on the nice list. Patsy Thomahawk refused to comment on the advice of her attorney on whether she had any part in removing copies of the naughty/nice list from a safe in the White House. A spokesman from the MJTF said that it was indeed a tragedy that Santa Claus had caused this confrontation, but this should be a lesson to anyone who tries to give to everyone without permission from the welfare department, and that gathering sensitive data without a permit from official sources will be stopped by any means. FBI spokesman Bob Pricks, the former national Abortion Poster Child of 1944, relayed that "We are dealing with a madman. We have cut off all electricity, water, and communications to the compound. Santa Claus has demanded that we relay a message to the world. It reads, 'Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.' FBI psychological experts are presently analyzing the message, however, preliminary reports indicate this is an encrypted threat to invade the neighboring towns near the Northpole. It may also be a doomsday message that the cult intends to commit suicide, like Jonestown." Shortly after the raid, a smiling Reno was seen strolling through the pile of rubbish looking for anatomically correct Barbie dolls. She claimed that she was going to confiscate any that she found as "evidence" and that they were for a personal investigation that she was conducting. Attorney General Reno also disclosed some information about plans to raid Mr. E. Ster Bunny sometime next spring. According to the FBI's report on Mr. Bunny, he has been hording food all year. This is in direct violation of a secret Presidential Directive. "This ingratitude for everything that we have done will stop, even if it means raiding every house in the USA to enforce these new laws that were made to insure your freedom...." Reno said. This, boys and girls, should make us all sleep just a little bit better tonight. The government will protect us from overindulging in freedom. If they didn't step in and take control of that "naughty/nice" list, just think what shape we might be in..... Merry Christmas to you all.