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General News    H3'ed 5/2/12

FBI Supplied the Anarchist "Terrorists" Arrested in May Day Plot

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Message Will Potter

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As the Occupy movement carries out massive May Day protests around the country, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task force is trumpeting the arrest of "self-proclaimed anarchists" and "terrorists" who allegedly conspired to destroy a bridge in Ohio. Integral to the development and advancement of this plot, however, were FBI agents themselves and an informant with a drug and robbery record.

Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, were arrested by the FBI on April 30, just in time to make the announcement as the nation turns its attention to May Day protests.

The affidavit reveals a plot by the FBI that continues a pattern of behavior in "terrorism" investigations against political activists. Most importantly, undercover FBI agents helped shape the "plot," offered advice on how and where to use explosives, and allegedly sold explosives to the activists.

Pervasive Use of Informants and Undercover FBI

The informant in the case has been working with the FBI since July 20, 2011, and has a criminal record including possession of cocaine, conviction for robbery, and four convictions for passing bad checks. (The FBI's proclivity for using down-and-out criminals was a key issue in the "Operation Backfire" Earth Liberation Front cases. The lead arsonist and informant, Jacob Ferguson, had a heroine addiction, and is now back in prison on drug charges

120430_us-v-wright_affidavit_ohio anarchist
120430_us-v-wright_affidavit_ohio anarchist
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The informant and the others haphazardly talked about various plans, starting with the use of smoke grenades and destroying the banks signs off the top of large buildings.

For instance, on April 10, 2012: """BAXTER explained that he does not know what to do with the explosives and he has never considered blowing anything up before."

Conversation shifted to other outrageous plans. According to the affidavit, "WRIGHT joked that he would wear a suicide vest and walk in and blow himself up, but advised he would have to be very drunk."

"The CHS [the informant] asked the others what it is they wanted to do" BAXTER said that they had never decided on the bridge, they were just throwing out options and they had never decided on anything."

FBI Guidance

The defendants flitted between hyperbolic conversations --- some about destroying bank signs, some about destroying a boat, some about a bridge -- and various spy tactics such as secret email accounts, wiping computer drives, and disrupting surveillance. At every step of the way, the informant (who was paid nearly $6,000, plus expenses) and undercover FBI agents were there to correct course.

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Will Potter is an award-winning reporter who focuses on how lawmakers and corporations have labeled animal rights and environmental activists as "eco-terrorists." Will has written for publications including The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News and Legal Affairs, and has testified (more...)
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