by Garret Ean
May 1 2012
Today the FBI celebrated May Day its own way with the arrests of five individuals who the bureau’s spokesman described as “self-described anarchists”. According to the feds, three of the five men arrested were directly involved in a plot to detonate a four-lane highway bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. They planted what they thought were explosives, went to a location outside of the blast radius, and tried to activate the bombs. An arrest warrant had already been signed before the men even made their way to the site. They had been duped in a typical sting operation in which they are given inert material under the guise that they are explosives to be used for a specific operation, and they are busted when they go about completing the task. While the facts have not yet fully emerged from the events of today, we are to rest assured that the year-long plotting and faux-terrorism incident was under complete investigatory quality control from the brightest minds in law enforcement. Whether the co-conspirator and source of the (non)explosives was an undercover federal agent or a confidential informant, it sounds as if the would-be terrorists were more specifically aiding the plot of another.
It is difficult to imagine how an investigation into a crime of this magnitude could progress so far while still being considered a controlled sting. This is not the first time potential terrorists have teamed up with informants and undercover agents to plant a bomb, only to discover the bomb was a dud and that they had been set up. The success of this sort of sting speaks to the laziness of the terrorist to not actually commit terrorism independent of the assistance of their inert explosives source. To think that it would have been difficult for a handful of determined young men to acquire or manufacture live explosives is wishful. In this case, it is alleged that the group believed themselves to be arming C-4 plastic explosives. It is more likely than not that someone claiming access to military grade explosives does not actually have access to them.
Statements released following the arrests indicate that one of the conspirators, Douglas Wright, aka Cyco, spent some time considering whether homemade explosives he could create using the infamously fake Anarchist Cookbook would be more cost effective than the theoretical C-4 that his fed friends wanted to sell him. If the quotes included in the arrest affidavit are accurate, it appears the sheer ignorance of the amateur terrorists does more to protect us from violence than the cunning police work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
WRIGHT told the (Confidential Human Source) he is going to show the CHS how to make smoke bombs and would contact the CHS later in the week to set up a time to make the smoke bombs. WRIGHT was going to look up some recipes in the Anarchist Cookbook and told the CHS they can make a couple recipes to see what works best…
WRIGHT described using an upcoming festival as an opportunity to create a civil distraction in order to commit a larger act of violence. WRIGHT also discussed making smoke bombs and other explosive destructive devices using the Anarchist Cookbook, a book that describes the construction and use of weapons and explosives. The following are some of the relevant excerpts from that conversation:
WRIGHT: We can make smoke bombs, we can make plastic explosives, we can make, like, we can—it teaches you how to pick locks. It does everything. (laughs)
CHS: How much do we nee—what—how much money we need to make explosiv—make the plastic explosives.
WRIGHT: I’m not sure, I haven’t really read too much into yet, um, I’ll have to get into that. I just downloaded it last night.
CHS: Well you gotta get with me—
WRIGHT: Should be able to find it.
CHS: You gotta get with me, uh, if we gonna be trying to do something in a month you need to get with me as soon as possible on how much money we gonna need—
CHS: —and the materials that we gonna need. Tell me what all we need to make the bombs so that we can, uh, start gathering—
WRIGHT: Mainly bleach.
WRIGHT: You can make plastic explosives with bleach. That’s actually what they used to use during like World War II, World War I for like land mines and hand grenades and stuff. They use bleach.
CHS: Well, what makes it blow up?
WRIGHT: I’m not even sure but that’s, that’s what you make it out of, is bleach. They teach you how to make all this stuff out of simple household items so that way you don’t go get all this stuff and then people are looking at you like “what are you doing?”
In related New Hampshire news, videojournalist Dave Ridley recently attended a speech at UNH Manchester by one of the founders of the Bush administration creation, Department of Homeland Security. Former DHS official Frank Cilluffo asks of the audience at one point during a Q&A, “Can anyone in this room tell me how many (terrorism) plots there have been in the United States since 9/11?” After a few random guesses, Dave inquired, “Are you counting the ones that were initiated by the FBI or not counting them?” Drawing laughs, Cilluffo responded, “What do you mean, ‘Initiated by the FBI’?” “Well, the FBI will often sting people by saying, ‘Hey you, go bomb something’, and the person tries to go bomb something and the FBI catches them.” The response to Dave’s statement is a bit of a red herring. “Actually, the FBI gives them every out, every opportunity to exfiltrate themselves in every undercover operation that they’ve run, so I very much disagree with that characterization.” There is certainly a difference between a properly executed sting operation and flat-out entrapment, and it is not inaccurate to identify the FBI as the initiator of a plot when they openly offer to provide the means, regardless of whether or not an out is made available to co-conspirators. See the video covering this interaction here and a follow-up video in which a World War II veteran takes Cilluffo to task on drone killings here.