Four of the five self-described anarchists arrested this week after allegedly attempting to blow up a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio were reportedly frequent members of “Occupy Cleveland.”
Of the five self-described anarchists arrested this week after allegedly attempting to blow up a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio, four were reportedly members of “Occupy Cleveland.”
Occupy Cleveland became notorious among conservative media in October of last year after a 19-year-old college student told police she was raped by a man who had asked to share her tent — an incident that led the late Andrew Breitbart to attack the movement as fostering a “culture of rape.”
Conservative media are again seizing upon Occupy Cleveland for its connection to the men duped by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into planting fake bombs on a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Appearing on Fox News Wednesday morning, legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. questioned whether federal officials should begin treating the Occupy Wall Street “organization” as a terrorist threat.
A spokesperson for Occupy Cleveland confirmed the association with the four men in a statement to reporter Henry J. Gomez, writing for The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“While the group arrested Monday evening by the FBI [was] 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,” the statement explained. “Occupy Cleveland has affirmed principles of nonviolence since its inception on Oct. 6, 2011.”
Of the men arrested, Douglas Wright, 26, Joshua Stafford, 23, Brandon Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35 were reportedly regulars at occupy meetings and had identified themselves as part of the group on Facebook. The fifth suspect, Connor Stevens, 20, had no apparent affiliation to the protest group.
Court records indicate that they discussed bombing a Ku Klux Klan headquarters and a Federal Reserve bank before targeting the bridge. They also considered targeting a jail, but opted against the attack to avoid harming the inmates. They allegedly wanted to stage an attack on “corporate America and the financial system” instead.
The FBI’s informant allegedly met Wright on Oct. 21 of last year, just two days after news broke about the sexual assault. Wright reportedly vouched for the informant, who formed a relationship with the men and even employed one of them at his roofing business. He then pretended to help facilitate the bomb plot, only to deliver fake explosives ahead of the planned May 1 attack.
Occupy Cleveland said it canceled its May 1 rally due to the news.
This video is from Fox News, broadcast Wednesday, May 2, 2012.
Photo: Flickr user spatulated, creative commons licensed.