During last week’s “May Day,” five self-described anarchists were arrested after it was discovered they were plotting to bomb an Ohio bridge.
At the time, we showed you that at least two of the members said they worked at “Occupy Cleveland” on their Facebook pages, though many other media outlets were seemingly unsure if there was any connection between the “Occupy” movement, and the criminal plot. But now the Occupiers have been caught on tape admitting one of the suspected plotters was such an active member that his name was on the lease for the group’s warehouse.
Last week, even if the connection was mentioned it was usually only to remark that the men were radicals loosely affiliated with the movement. In fact, an article in today’s Washington Post still makes no mention of the link, despite mounting evidence to the fact.
But in what represents one of the most concrete links thus far, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that one of the suspects, Anthony (Tony) Hayne, signed the lease where roughly a dozen of Occupy Cleveland’s members live. What’s it based on? Well, the Occupiers recorded themselves admitting it during a “general assembly”:
In a one-hour recording of a Friday evening general assembly meeting of the group posted on its website http://occupycleveland.com/live-stream/, occupy leaders expressed concern about Anthony Hayne’s name being on the lease, which strengthens his link to the group.
“We have a person facing terrorism charges on the lease of our warehouse,” said one of the leaders. “If this gets into the media, it would be a disaster.”
At the time of his arrest, Hayne was already wanted for violating his probation, having stolen $2,000 from a restaurant last year. With a criminal record stretching back to 2000, he also served a year in prison in 2007 for beating his wife.
What follows is a recording of the relevant section of the meeting, though the quality of the livestream was not too good at the time:
The Plain-Dealer continues:
During the general assembly meeting, one leader asked the group, “Is it just me? Aren’t you uncomfortable living in a warehouse where a guy has been arrested for terrorism? I don’t want to live in a place and have the FBI show up.”
Zitt stressed the Occupy Cleveland movement is dedicated to non-violence. He said if they had known Hayne and the other four men were considering terrorism, they would have thrown them out.
“These people participated in aspects of the movement, but once we discovered what was going on we decided they could not be part of it,” Zitt said. “I wish we had learned earlier.”
Critics are noting that even if the group was in the dark about the plot to bomb a Cleveland-area bridge, they still seemingly embraced a thief who served time for beating his wife. They ask, then, whether the movement is quite as committed to non-violence as it claims, or whether that is only a line for the public.