Last week three activists associated with the Occupy movement were arrested and accused of plotting an attack to protest the NATO summit. The group allegedly stockpiled Molotov cocktails and planned to burn down Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters and Rahm Emanuel’s house among other buildings.
Some of the accused’s supporters say these weren’t Molotov cocktails, they were “beer-making equipment.” I have no idea what beer-making equipment looks like. My beer-making equipment is a little money and a trip to the nearest convenience store.
Attorney Michael Deutsch has accused Chicago police officers of planting evidence and entrapping the men. If the trio is found to have been manufacturing Molotov cocktails to hurt others, being encouraged by undercover police officers doesn’t excuse them.
Yet this phenomenon of government agents aggressively egging on violent ideas is an increasingly frequent tactic used to turn useful idiots into national headlines.
These three men bear a striking resemblance to the aptly named “Five Stooges of Cleveland.” We’ll never know whether the two equally unkempt groups—both labeled as “self-described anarchists”—would have been able to commit these crimes on their own because the government supported them each step of the way.
Rick Perlstein wrote a fantastic piece in Rolling Stone last week detailing how the feds pushed forward the Cleveland group’s plan to blow up the Brecksville Bridge on May Day. Perlstein points out that one of the arrestees, Connor Stevens, told his sister that he felt “very pressured” by someone in the group. That someone was an FBI informant.
Perlstein says the informant encouraged the group to destruct a huge bridge while the other protesters were considering smaller locations. The would-be criminal masterminds began getting some information from an online version of the notoriously unreliable Anarchist Cookbook, the author of which now openly regrets its publication.
When the informant realized these people were idiots and wouldn’t be able to build an explosive device to save (or extinguish) their own lives, he casually mentioned that he knew a C-4 dealer (in reality an undercover officer). The group was arrested after attempting to ignite their fake (and federally supplied) weapons.
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