The FBI has arrested five individuals described as "anarchists" after they allegedly conspired to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge, and wage similar attacks in Chicago in coordination with the upcoming NATO summit.
The group-- at least three members of which are self-declared anarchists, according to authorities-- decided to bomb the Route 82 Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge with C-4 as their first attack, after considering a number of other plots.
"After the Ohio attacks," ABC writes, "the men would focus on waging similar assaults in Chicago during the upcoming NATO summit, according to FBI Special Agent Ryan Taylor...the five anarchists wanted body armor, helmets and gas masks to wear in Chicago, which was 'the main place they were worried about having the protective gear because there is no telling what they might have to use there.'" [Emphasis added]
Suspect Douglas Wright is quoted by the FBI as predicting that a "s--t load" of anarchists would go to Chicago after leaving the Cleveland area "a pile of rubble and ashes," as anarchists in every major city throughout the country will ultimately be "rioting and destroying each city." [Emphasis added]
A written statement on the case elaborates that Douglas L. Wright, Brandon L. Baxter, and Anthony Hayne were arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Charges against Connor C. Stevens, and Joshua S. Stafford are pending.
While the violent plot may not be officially related to Occupy Wall Street's "May Day" plans, a quick search of the suspects' Facebook pages shows that at least two of the individuals describe themselves as having worked at "Occupy Cleveland."
Moreover, their names have shown up in various news reports in connection to the Occupy movement. Anthony Hayne is pictured in a Lakewood Patch article holding a sign saying, "We Are Still Here #Occupy Cleveland," and Brandon Baxter makes his opinion known in this Cleveland.com report (and here's a picture of him from "Captured Cleveland," a site that claims to capture Cleveland through photographs).
Screen shots of Brandon Baxter's and Joshua Stafford's Facebook pages, below (note the "Worked at #OccupyCleveland" beneath their names):
In an NYPD memo, police note that the Occupy movement embraces "diversity of tactics," so that, presumably, certain factions can be more "disruptive" while others remain moderately presentable, though The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the suspects did complain to authorities that "Occupy" was not violent enough.
While the group is “intent on using violence to express their ideological views,” in the words of the Special Agent in charge of the Cleveland division of the FBI, authorities insist that there was never any danger to the public, as the group was under close surveillance.
"The defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot," U.S. Attorney Dettelbach commented. "The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions."
This is a breaking story. Updates will be added.