News24

5 held in plot to blow up US bridge

2012-05-01 19:00

Washington - US authorities arrested five self-described anarchists in the Cleveland area for allegedly plotting to blow up a four-lane highway bridge over a national park, but had no ties to foreign terrorism, the US justice department said on Tuesday.

The group, ranging in ages from 20 to 37, were arrested overnight by the FBI after planting the explosives on the bridge. Three have been charged already with conspiracy and attempting to use explosive materials and the other two are expected to be charged later on Tuesday.

The FBI said the five arrested, identified as Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Connor Stevens and Joshua Stafford, were under continuous watch as part of an undercover operation and therefore the public was never in danger. The explosives, supplied by an undercover FBI agent, were inert.

"I want to stress ... at no time during this investigation was the public in danger," FBI agent Stephen Anthony told reporters in Cleveland. The bridge is about 15 miles south of Cleveland in an area popular with hikers and joggers.

Under scrutiny

The group initially came under scrutiny by authorities in October 2011 when the FBI learned that some self-described anarchists planned to attend a protest in Cleveland, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed on Tuesday.

An FBI informant saw four of the men going through the crowd expressing displeasure at demonstrators' unwillingness to engage in violent acts. The men wore masks and carried walkie-talkies, according to the affidavit.

Over the next several months, the group considered a variety of targets for attacks including the Group of 8 leaders meeting in Chicago and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, according to the FBI affidavit.

They also considered igniting smoke grenades off one bridge while they tried to knock large bank signs off the top of big office buildings in downtown Cleveland and even setting off a car bomb outside the Federal Reserve Bank there, the court papers said.

Late last month, the group settled on trying to blow up the four-lane Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park by placing explosives on some of the columns in hopes of the entire bridge collapsing.

Wright told a confidential source working with the FBI that "as long as stuff 'gets fucked up' he'll be happy with the action," the FBI said in its affidavit filed with the court.

At one point, Wright expressed concern that the undercover FBI agent who sold them what they believed was powerful C-4 explosives for $900 was a police officer, but he continued with the plot.

The group had no ties to foreign terror organisations and the plot was not connected to the anniversary of the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a raid by US forces a year ago in Pakistan, said a US justice department official who declined to be further identified.

The men were expected to appear in federal court in Cleveland on Tuesday.

The undercover operation is the latest of a number of sting operations undertaken by the FBI and Justice Department in an effort to thwart attacks by domestic and foreign militants.

Comments
  • Fred - 2012-05-01 19:16

    Lenzi, Matt, are you still with us?

      Ted - 2012-05-01 20:09

      Fred. They may be the chaps mentioned in the article. FBI supplied IDs used to show how safe America is. You supply the walkie talkies, supply the money, supply the fake IDs, supply the explosives and invite the media. Sounds like this story is another made-for-the media Homeland Security propaganda item.\r\n.

      Fidel - 2012-05-02 04:05

      Entrapment?

  • Benji The'Rocker Krieger - 2012-05-01 19:36

    i sell u explosives then i arrest u for conspiring to blow up ur 'target'... funny ey

  • john.dahodi - 2012-05-01 19:41

    Oh, yes. these five men did every thing what other Mohammed and Aslam think to do, explosive substance in hand, willingness to blow up an imporatnt bridge and so on, but still they were men, between 25 and 35 years age; individuals, anarchists and confused persons but NOT TERRORISTS. Why because they do not look like Muslims, they do not have Muslim names and they do not have any agendas related to their human rights violations, freedom of their land from their occupiers or are fighting with their dictators. The WAR on terroirsm will never end, unless we change the yard stick of measurement of terrorism and terrorists. Any person of any color or nationality or religion must be treated with the same rules, regulation, name calling and tried and punished with similar intensity as a criminal otherwise we are indirectly breeding the crops of terrorists providing our cool corner. Not only the security agencies should follow these norms but the media also should follow the same yard sticks.

  • Skwertno1 - 2012-05-01 20:18

    He who lives by the sword dies by the sword, but Gandhi said, an eye for an eye makes the world blind......

      Thouca - 2012-05-01 22:13

      no, it simply makes two one-eyed men....

  • Jerzy - 2012-05-01 21:32

    Anarchist must mean white terrorist

  • Fidel - 2012-05-02 04:04

    "Washington - US authorities arrested five self-described anarchists" "The FBI said the five arrested, identified as Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Connor Stevens and Joshua Stafford," I love how Caucasian terrorists (presumably Christians) are referred to as anarchist by both the media and US authorities, while both African-Americans and American Muslims are always referred to as terrorists.

      DSBennie - 2012-05-02 07:34

      Terrorists are referred to by their doctrine, if it was Muslims carrying out the attack they would be referred to as Islamic Fundamentalists, they are called Anarchists cause that is what they are

  • pages:
  • 1