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June 5, 2012 1

Hizb ut-Tahrir Announces Third Khilafah Conference in Chicago

Update: After intense pres­sure from out­side groups, the Mead­ows Club, the venue of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Khi­lafah con­fer­ence, has announced that it will not pro­vide accom­mo­da­tions for the event. HT orga­niz­ers have announced that a new venue is being sought and its loca­tion will be announced as soon as possible.

An inter­na­tional Islamist orga­ni­za­tion bent on estab­lish­ing a world­wide Islamic theoc­racy plans to hold its third Khi­lafah (Caliphate) con­fer­ence later this month in a Chicago-suburb.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Amer­ica (HT), the U.S.-arm of the inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion with a long record of hos­til­ity toward Israel and the Jews, plans to hold the con­fer­ence, dubbed “Rev­o­lu­tion: Lib­er­a­tion by Rev­e­la­tion – Mus­lims March­ing Toward Vic­tory,” in Rolling Mead­ows, Illinois.

This year’s con­fer­ence will once again be held against the back­drop of the rev­o­lu­tions engulf­ing the Mid­dle East, which the orga­ni­za­tion seeks to use to pro­mote its vision of estab­lish­ing an Islamic Caliphate.

HT’s sec­ond Khi­lafah con­fer­ence, which was held in June of last year, focused, in part, on the organization’s view that cap­i­tal­ist and nation­al­ist sys­tems of the West are “ene­mies to Islam.” It drew sig­nif­i­cantly fewer peo­ple than its first con­fer­ence in 2009, which attracted approx­i­mately 400 people.

HT has attempted to cap­i­tal­ize on the Arab rev­o­lu­tions in the Mid­dle East and North Africa by tap­ping into peo­ples’ frus­tra­tions over events tak­ing place in the restive region. Sev­eral months ago, for exam­ple, the group orga­nized a rally in down­town Chicago to protest the Assad regime’s crack­down in Syria.

A May 2012 arti­cle on the group’s web­site notes the “bar­barism… and tyranny… [which are] the hall­mark of America’s pol­icy in the Mus­lim world.” In the same piece, HT claims there is a West­ern bias in pro­tect­ing poli­cies and insti­tu­tions only con­cern­ing the “Jews or the Zion­ist state of Israel.”

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May 23, 2012 Off

Anarchist Arrests Mark NATO Summit

Five indi­vid­u­als have been arrested by Chicago police in three sep­a­rate bomb-related cases dur­ing the lead-up to the recent NATO Summit.

Three men were arrested in a raid last Wednes­day in con­nec­tion to an alleged plot to attack Pres­i­dent Obama’s cam­paign head­quar­ters and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home, as well as police and finan­cial insti­tu­tions. The men were in pos­ses­sion of Molo­tov cock­tails and instruc­tions for mak­ing pipe bombs, accord­ing to court documents.

The sus­pects, who have been iden­ti­fied as Brian Church, 22 from Florida, Jared Chase, 27 from New Hamp­shire, and Brent Bet­terly, 24 from Mass­a­chu­setts, are all self-described anar­chists. The three trav­eled to Chicago together from Florida, where they were report­edly involved with the Occupy Movement.

Last month, five self-described anar­chists with ties to the Occupy Move­ment were arrested in Ohio after allegedly attempt­ing to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge “to send a mes­sage to cor­po­ra­tions and the United States government.”

Sebas­t­ian Senakiewicz, a 24-year-old self-described anar­chist, was also arrested in Chicago for mak­ing a false ter­ror­is­tic threat. Pros­e­cu­tors said Senakiewicz was unsat­is­fied with the relative-calm lead­ing up to the NATO Sum­mit and allegedly bragged he could blow up a down­town bridge. He report­edly claimed he had access to a vehi­cle packed with explo­sives and weapons.

In fifth man, Mark Nei­weem, 28, was charged with attempted pos­ses­sion of explo­sives. While charg­ing doc­u­ments do not men­tion tar­gets or his motives, the charges assert that he asked other pro­test­ers for mate­ri­als to con­struct a pipe bomb.

Nei­weem is report­edly a mem­ber of the Anar­chist Black Cross (ABC) and fre­quented their online chat rooms. ABC is a national col­lec­tive that aims to sup­port and defend polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and has indi­cated sup­port for class war (abol­ish­ing cap­i­tal­ism). Some ABC “col­lec­tives” merged into a fed­er­a­tion advo­cat­ing armed self-defense through its Tac­ti­cal Defense Cau­cus, which it hoped would orga­nize, recruit and train anar­chists in the tac­ti­cal use of firearms. In his tes­ti­mony before the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence in Feb­ru­ary of 2005, Robert Mueller, Direc­tor of the FBI, iden­ti­fied the fed­er­a­tion as a poten­tial threat to national security.

Other anar­chists clashed with police at the end of an oth­er­wise peace­ful anti-war protest Sun­day, lead­ing to dozens more arrests.

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May 1, 2012 Off

Five Apparent Anarchists Arrested In Plot To Bomb Cleveland Bridge

Update — June 13, 2013: Joshua Stafford was con­victed of con­spir­ing to use a weapon of mass destruc­tion on June 13. He faces up to life-in-prison. The other four sus­pects have all pleaded guilty and were sen­tenced to between six and ten years in prison. 

Five Ohio men were arrested Mon­day night after allegedly attempt­ing to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge “to send a mes­sage to cor­po­ra­tions and the United States government.”

The five men, Dou­glas Wright, Bran­don Bax­ter, Anthony Hayne, Con­nor Stevens, and Joshua Stafford, had been con­sid­er­ing acts of vio­lence for months, accord­ing to fed­eral agents. Two of the men placed what they believed to be explo­sive devices at the bridge and tried to remotely det­o­nate it. The devices, how­ever, were inert and pro­vided by the FBI as part of a sting operation.

Wright, Bax­ter, and Hayne have been charged with con­spir­acy and attempted use of explo­sives; charges against Stevens and Stafford are pending.

All five men were appar­ently involved in Occupy Cleve­land protests and have been char­ac­ter­ized by law enforce­ment or self-identify as anar­chists. Hayne, Stafford, and Bax­ter list the move­ment as their “employer” on their Face­book pages.

In recorded con­ver­sa­tion with the FBI, Bax­ter dis­cussed the impact of blow­ing up a bridge. “Tak­ing out a bridge in the busi­ness dis­trict would cost the…corporate big wigs a lot of money,” he said. Wright believed that the Occupy Move­ment had been coopted by “cor­po­rate Amer­i­can and law enforce­ment” and that there­fore they needed new recruits from out­side the movement.

The media coor­di­na­tor for Occupy Cleve­land denied any knowl­edge of the planned attack, but acknowl­edged that some mem­bers of the move­ment are acquainted with the suspects.

Baxter’s anti-capitalist views were voiced in inter­view last month dur­ing a protest in Cleve­land against home fore­clo­sures. “…I feel the pow­ers that be, who­ever they might be — on all lev­els of gov­ern­ment and those who hold cor­po­rate power — are not lis­ten­ing because not enough peo­ple are actu­ally tak­ing a stance…”

The five men allegedly con­sid­ered other tar­gets for attack, includ­ing the local Fed­eral Reserve Bank and law enforce­ment Fusion Cen­ter, before set­tling on the bridge. Bax­ter inquired into tar­get­ing the Klan or other neo-Nazi groups in Ohio, but was dis­suaded when he was told they were not in Cleve­land. He claimed to have pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in a protest against the Klan in Oak­land, California.

The planned attack was allegedly timed to coin­cide with May Day, a cel­e­bra­tion of Inter­na­tional Work­ers Day that has been seized upon by anar­chist and anti-capitalist groups around the world. May Day events around the world have often fea­tured prop­erty destruc­tion and arrests.

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