A breaking news story from Cleveland, Ohio today. Occupy Cleveland's May Day festivities have been cancelled today after an announcement from the FBI that 5 members of Occupy Cleveland had been arrested after an attempt to blow up an area bridge, as well as targets at other locations.
The Cleveland office of the FBI announced Tuesday the arrests of five people who allegedly tried to blow up a bridge in northeast Ohio.
The FBI displayed a photo of the Route 82 bridge in Brecksville, just east of Riverview Road and referred to it as the "Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge" during a 10 a.m. news conference, and confirmed that was the target. The bridge crosses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and connects Brecksville to Sagamore Hills.
According to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office, these five were arrested Monday evening and charged with conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce:
- Douglas Wright, 26
- Brandon Baxter, 20
- Anthony Hayne, 35
- Connor Stevens, 20
- Joshua Stafford, 23
USA today is also following the story:
Five men, including self-proclaimed anarchists, have been arrested in a sting operation in which they allegedly tried to blow up a bridge outside Cleveland, federal officials say.
The FBI informant allegedly taped secret conversations with the suspects, the criminal complaint says. It quotes two of the suspects, Douglas Wright and Brandon Baxter, as saying that they did not want people to think they are terrorists, so they were looking to blow up a bridge at night or to pretend to be a construction crew and stop traffic onto the bridge before the explosion in order to limit the number of casualties and the potential for killing possible supporters.
The criminal complaint includes an excerpt of an alleged comment by Baxter that was taped by the informant in which he says, "Taking out a bridge in the business district would cost the ... um .. would cost the corporate bigwigs a lot of money not just because of structural damage to the bridge, but because it's going to stop a lot of people going to work."
The five men will appear in Cleveland federal court today to face charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosives to damage property affecting interstate commerce, and Cleveland U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach "The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot.'' The FBI said the public was never in danger from the explosives, as the entire operation was handled by an undercover FBI employee.
As if there is any other kind of "terrorist operation" in the U.S.
The Smoking Gun reports:
The federal probe that resulted last night in the arrest of five purported anarchists for allegedly plotting to bomb an Ohio bridge began last year at an Occupy Wall Street rally in Cleveland that was infiltrated by an informant who was directed to attend the event by his FBI handlers.
You really must read the entire Smoking Gun piece, especially the part about one of the "terrorist's" idea for how to escape if they find themselves in a chase situation with authorities. His idea came from a 1967 episode of the "Batman" series. I kid you not.
In a statement issued by Occupy Cleveland on Twitter today, the group writes "Occupy Cleveland is shocked by these allegations. We continue to be committed to creating social change through non-violence."