In typical fashion, the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that five self-styled left-wing anarchists arrested late Monday for allegedly trying to blow up a bridge near Cleveland were actually shepherded through every step of the supposed plot by government agents. The FBI later claimed nobody was ever in real danger because the federal government gave the alleged “terrorists” fake bombs.
The five anti-capitalist dupes — most of them in their twenties — ostensibly sought to attack the bridge in an effort to send a message and hurt the “One Percent.” Apparently they were disillusioned with the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” movement for not being violent enough in its effort to kill what little remains of the free-market system.
"They talked about making a statement against corporate America and the government as some of the motivations for their actions," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach explained when he announced the arrests. “The defendants chose the target. The defendants went to the bridge to do recon. The defendants went to a hotel room to purchase what they thought were C-4 explosives.”
The group was taken into custody on April 30. An indictment unsealed Tuesday charged them with “conspiracy” and “attempted use of explosive materials to damage property affecting interstate commerce.” A U.S. District Court Magistrate decided to jail them without a bond, at least until a hearing next week.
According to prosecutors, the five defendants allegedly planted the fake explosives provided by the FBI on the bridge late Monday. They then left the area and entered the bogus “codes” to detonate the phony “bombs” before being arrested. If convicted of the fake plot, the anarchists could face more than 20 years in prison.
Court documents cited in media reports show that the federal government first came across three of the dupes last year at a protest. The FBI then used a tax-funded “informant” — apparently a convicted felon out on probation — to infiltrate the anarchist clique and allegedly help hatch and plan fake terror attacks.
The affidavit filed in the case claimed that the alleged conspirators considered several targets including a law enforcement “fusion center” and a new casino. At least one suggested attacking neo-Nazis or a Ku Klux Klan meeting. Another potential plot they supposedly discussed involved bringing down large bank signs in Cleveland.
In the end, however — with plenty of help from the FBI — the dupes decided to go for a bridge. “Taking out a bridge in the business district would cost the ... corporate big wigs a lot of money,” 20-year-old defendant Brandon Baxter allegedly said in one the recordings cited by prosecutors, claiming that blowing it up would prevent people from going to work. He later had second thoughts about it.
The purported leader of the government-controlled operation, 26-year-old Douglas Wright, was reportedly recorded by the FBI touting the bridge idea, too. The affidavit noted that Wright did not want people “to think they are terrorists, so they would want to blow up the bridge at night or possibly pretend to be a construction crew and drop orange cones off at each end of the bridge to stop traffic before blowing up the bridge, thus limiting the number of casualties and the potential for killing possible supporters.”
The defendants were indeed affiliated with the “Occupy Cleveland” movement, an off-shoot of the broader anti-market “Occupy” operation backed by billionaire George Soros. Comprised mainly of socialists, communists, labor unions, and a scruffy assortment of agitators for various causes, the controversial movement was planning a global May Day “resurgence.”
Organizers sought to spark strikes, economic disruptions, and more. And in some areas — especially in cities like Oakland, California — violence broke out, with protesters destroying private property, attacking police, and generally wreaking havoc. Most demonstrators were reportedly peaceful, and some attendees claimed “agent provocateurs” working for law enforcement were actually responsible for much of the chaos.
Occupy events were also planned for Cleveland on May 1 until the FBI’s fake plot was “foiled.” A statement released by the local occupy group after the anarchist arrests, however, promptly distanced the movement from violence and the five men duped by the FBI — even while acknowledging that some of them had attended occupy events.
"While the group arrested Monday evening by the FBI were associated with Occupy Cleveland they were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland or the event that was planned for later today at the GE Lighting building,” the statement said. "The May Day Event that was sponsored by Occupy Cleveland, the North Shore AFL-CIO, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, Fight for a Fair Economy and SEIU Local 1 has been cancelled because of the alleged actions of the autonomous group arrested last night.”
Some analysts speculated that the FBI’s efforts to manufacture the bogus terror plot might have been part of a government scheme to destroy the Occupy movement by portraying it as violent — especially if the establishment’s plan to use the protesters as useful idiots was not perceived as working out as planned. Others compared the scheme to terror attacks by President Obama’s long-time confidant Bill Ayers, an unrepentant anti-free market terrorist.
But like the vast majority of the “terror” plots supposedly foiled by the federal government in recent years, there is little doubt thus far that the alleged plot to blow up the bridge was cultivated from start to finish by the FBI. In fact, just a few days before the anarchists were arrested, author David Shipler, who wrote the book Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America, discussed the absurdity of manufacturing terrorists to stop terror in a piece for the New York Times.
“Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones?” wondered Shipler. “Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves — too sure, perhaps.”
According to Shipler and the sources he cited in the Times piece, government agents normally target people for their speech at first. When they find somebody dumb or naïve enough to play along, the FBI often prods the vulnerable individuals into working with the government to hatch a half-baked plot. Government agents, of course, run the show from the beginning — even providing the bogus bombs and sometimes offering huge cash payments.
Then, the SWAT teams swoop in and “save the day” so the Justice Department can issue press releases patting itself on the back for keeping America safe. And when defendants claim entrapment, they tend to lose “because the law requires that they show no predisposition to commit the crime, even when induced by government agents,” Shipler explained in the piece, entitled "Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I."
Are there real terrorists who hate freedom? Probably, somewhere. Should Americans give up their freedom under the U.S. Constitution in a futile attempt to keep themselves safe from them? If you asked the Founding Fathers, the answer would be loud and simple: No.
Photo: Five men have been charged with conspiring to blow up the the Station Rd. bridge at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville, Ohio: AP Images