Yesterday I noted that RT's Thom Hartmann and Alternet's Joshua
Holland were running interference for
the Occupy movement by blaming some violent behavior on
mysterious outsiders with "hip" clothes.
But the vandalism in several
cities wasn't the worst hit the movement took Tuesday. The worst was the
announcement by the FBI that five men connected to Occupy Cleveland had been
arrested for attempting to blow up a bridge. Enter RT's Abby Martin
with another blame-shifting story titled "Operation Entrapment?"
Abby Martin: Five self-described anarchists
were arrested after allegedly plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland.
That bombing was supposed to take place on Occupy Wall Street's huge day of
action on May Day. But the good guys rushed to the rescue, stopped the men
in their tracks and saved civilians from danger. Right?
Well as it turns out the government agency was actually instrumental in
helping the Cleveland Five plan this terrorist bridge plot. The entire event
was provoked and orchestrated by agent provocateurs. They supplied the
motive, the means, and everything else to carry out the
Martin then brings on Stephen Webster of Raw Story to discuss
her claim that the Cleveland Five were entrapped. To his credit, Webster
doesn't seem to buy it. He agrees that confidential informants are
used often by the FBI but does not say that this is always or even mostly a
bad thing. But Martin just keeps pushing, eventually comparing the FBI to
terrorists who recruit suicide bombers:
Martin: Some would say that the recruitment
methods that the FBI provocateurs use against would-be terrorists is similar
to suicide bomber recruiters in the Middle East. I mean they pray upon the
emotionally deranged, financially down-and-out people and convince them to
conduct terror plots. I mean, is this moral?
Nearly all of what Martin is saying here is
either misleading or flat wrong. According to the
complaint filed by the FBI, ringleader Douglas Wright "and a group of
anarchists Wright recruited had been discussing plans involving violence and
destruction to physical property in a variety of ways..." Wright also
expressed his belief that the Occupiers were too passive and "Wright was
planning on recruiting in homeless shelters and neighborhoods on the east
side of Cleveland." In other words, Douglas Wright was allegedly the person
doing the recruiting among the "down-and-out," not the FBI.
As for Martin's claim that the FBI supplied the "motive and means," that's
also not true. Wright had already assembled a group of like-minded
anarchists who were motivated to do damage to corporate America. The group
had already discussed plans, observed law enforcement reactions, and scouted
possible access points to carry out their plots. And it was Baxter, the
Occupy Cleveland stalwart, who allegedly first suggested the possibility of
blowing up a bridge. Finally, it was Wright and Baxter who allegedly asked
the FBI informant to reach out to a "contact" about obtaining C4.
The only thing the FBI provided the Cleveland Five was fake C4, which the
plotters allegedly negotiated for and agreed to purchase from two undercover
agents. This inert material is what they eventually set beside a concrete
bridge pier and attempted to detonate with a cell phone Monday night.
To sum up, the FBI was not recruiting people into a plot they had
devised. On the contrary, Wright and Baxter were allegedly
recruiting people for their plot. They allegedly came up
with the plan to blow up a bridge based on their own anti-capitalist
motives. They allegedly purchased materials to carry out the plan.
And they allegedly did carry out the plan (fortunately, with fake
C4). Abby Martin has completely inverted reality in her report, proving once
again that RT can't be trusted to present the facts when it comes to the