The Occupy movement burst out of winter hibernation on May Day with dozens of protests in cities across the country — but not in Cleveland. The Cleveland May Day rally was cancelled after five “self-proclaimed anarchists” were arrested and charged with trying to blow up a bridge. The FBI staged a high profile press conference to announce the arrests, taking care to make clear the connection to Occupy, although the men had all broken off from the movement because they felt it was too passive. The story behind the plot has become clear since the men were arrested: there was an FBI informant who befriended the five and facilitated every step of the plot, including finding a person who could supply the necessary materials. The informant hired some of the men to do manual labor, and supplied them with beer and pot. This may be one of the most successful of the FBI’s manufactured crimes. Not only was the Cleveland May Day rally cancelled, but two days after the arrests, the Occupy camp was shut down.
Cleveland 5 Update- August 2012
In an unfortunate turn of events, one of the five men arrested for allegedly planning to blow up a bridge in Cleveland has pled guilty and agreed to testify against his co-defendants. Anthony Hayne faced life in prison for his role in the plot, which bears all the hallmarks of an FBI-manufactured crime. The informant who encouraged and facilitated the plot connected with the men while infiltrating Occupy Cleveland. With the plea deal, Haynes faces 15 – 20 years in prison.
Cleveland 5 Update – September 2012
It was only a matter of time. After Anthony Haynes agreed to testify against them, the other members of the Clevelend 5 had little choice but to plead guilty also. So, on September 5, theFBI announced that Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, and Connor Stevens had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and attempted use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce. The one remaining defendant, Joshua Stafford is undergoing an examination and competency hearing. Rolling Stone magazine has a compelling article about the incident The Plot Against Occupy: How the government turned five stoner misfits into the world’s most hapless terrorist cell. From the very beginning of this tale, it was clear that the defendants didn’t have the resources, skills, or even the motivation to pull off a serious crime. But the FBI’s agent provacateur followed the script outlined above and was able to create a terror plot out of almost nothing.