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May 1, 2012

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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February 28, 2012

White Supremacist Dennis Mahon Found Guilty in 2004 Bombing

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A jury in Arizona found Dennis Mahon, 61, a longtime white supremacist and anti-Semite, guilty in the 2004 mail bombing that severely injured Don Logan, an African-American who was director of Scottsdale’s Diversity and Dialogue Office at the time. The jury, however, stopped short of calling the incident a hate crime.
The jury found Dennis Mahon guilty on three charges: conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives, malicious damage of a building by means of explosives, and distribution of information related to explosives. Also charged in the case was Mahon’s twin brother Daniel, but the jury found Daniel not guilty of the one charge against him: conspiracy to damage buildings and properties.
Police originally arrested the Mahon brothers in June 2009. The arrests followed a lengthy investigation of the mail bombing, which occurred on February 26, 2004, when a box addressed to Logan exploded when he tried to open it at his Scottsdale office.

Both brothers have a long history of involvement in the white supremacist movement. Dennis Mahon held leadership positions within various white supremacist groups in the Midwest in the 1980s and 1990s, including the Ku Klux Klan and White Aryan Resistance (WAR), a now-defunct group led by well-known racist Tom Metzger. Metzger has long advocated “lone wolf” activity. According to the lone wolf model, individuals and small cells engage in activity that leave behind the fewest clues for law enforcement authorities, decreasing the chances that activists will end up getting caught. 

Dennis Mahon reportedly moved to Arizona from the Midwest in 2001 to establish WAR’s presence in the area. His brother Daniel joined him in Arizona.

Daniel Mahon was also an active white supremacist. In May 1999, according to court papers, American Airlines fired him after he violated written work rules that “prohibited threatening and intimidating behavior toward other employees and conduct detrimental to other employees and American Airlines.” Mahon was under investigation by the company for his activities related to his participation in a “Caucasian Employee Resource Group.”

ADL provided assistance to investigators throughout the lengthy case.

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February 21, 2012

Underwear Bomber Asserts Terror Attacks are Driven by Hatred of Israel

At his sentencing last week, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, also known as the underwear bomber and Christmas Day bomber, threatened that terror attacks would continue “until the Jews are driven out of Palestine.”
Abdulmutallab previously linked his failed 2009 attack to Israel. When he pleaded guilty in October 2011, Abdulmutallab admitted that he planned the attack “in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel and in retaliation of the killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Palestine, especially in the blockage of Gaza” and “in retaliation for… Israel [sic] massacres of innocent Palestinians.”
In a video released by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in 2010, apparently made as a martyrdom video for the upcoming attack, Abdulmutallab justified Al Qaeda’s actions against Jews and Christians. “Brotherhood of Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula have [sic] the right to wage Jihad,” Abdulmutallab said, “because the enemy is in your land with their armies, the Jews and the Christians and their agents.” Abdulmutallab and other apparent Al Qaeda fighters are featured in the video firing automatic weapons at targets bearing the Jewish star, the British Union Jack, and the letters “UN.”
Abdulmutallab was sentenced to multiple life sentences for attempting to blow up an international flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25, 2009.

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