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Bogus Bomb threat shuts down Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. cops make mountains out of molehills

  A Black Marine was busted for trespassing in a graveyard Washington D.C. The cops used that as a lame excuse to search him, his backpack, his car and his home for explosives. No explosives were found.

I suspect this shows that the police have as much respect for the 4th and 5th Amendments as they do for used toilet paper.

And as they often do the cops make mountains out of molehills. In this case the cops shut down a part of Washington D.C. near the Pentagon causing huge traffic jams because of the bogus bomb threat invented by the cops.

Source

Ethiopia: Yonathan Melaku's offence at this point appears to be just trespassing

Early Friday morning police arrested Yonathan Melaku, an Ethiopian-American Marine Corps Reservist, for carrying a reportedly suspected bomb making materials near the Pentagon. But according to the latest press statement from the FBI, some of the initial reports by several media appear to be incorrect.

Arlington County Fire Department and an initial FBI search of Yonathan's vehicle found no immediate threat. The FBI removed the vehicle from the scene and further processing of the vehicle is underway. The FBI also said in a statement that, Melaku also was in possession of a backpack that contained unknown materials which initially caused public safety concerns. Bomb experts at the scene, however, were able to determine that the items were non-explosive and inert. The materials in the backpack will undergo further testing at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, VA.

The United States Marine Corps reports that Melaku joined the Marine Corps Reserve on Sept. 4, 2007 and is currently listed as a Marine Corps reservist Lance Cpl and a motor vehicle operator with Combat Engineer Support Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve. He has previously been awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal. He has not deployed overseas.

Melaku currently remains in the custody of the United States Park Police.

At this point, Yonathan's offense appears to be no more than trespassing. Yonanthan was at the Arlington National Cemetery early Friday morning after the cemetery was closed. The reports about alleged writings about Al Qaida and Taliban also appears be inaccurate as the FBI statement made no mention of that. ABC news reports that, inside his backpack were spent 9mm ammunition and a notebook containing the words "al qaeda," "Taliban rules," "mujahidin" and "defeated coalition forces,". But this has not been confirmed by the FBI or the local police. Even if the report is accurate, carrying a notebook with the words al qaeda or "Taliban Rules" is a constitutionally protected right. It is important to wait for the FBI and authorities to complete their investigations before jumping to conclusion, but thus far, no smoking gun.

The FBI has searched his residence in Alexandria, VA and it is now known what they found there if any.

Source

Marine Corps Reserve Corporal Arrested in Pentagon Bomb Scare

By RICHARD ESPOSITO, PIERRE THOMAS (@PierreTABC) , SUNLEN MILLER (@sunlenmiller) and HUMA KHAN

June 17, 2011

A Marine Corps Reserve lance corporal who was carrying suspected bomb making materials and pro-al Qaeda literature was arrested in Arlington National Cemetery early this morning, triggering a bomb scare that snarled Washington's morning rush hour. The FBI, however, determined that the material in the man's backpack was harmless.

"There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert," said Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI.

The material in the suspect's backpack tested negative as a potential explosive, sources said.

Sources told ABC News earlier that the backpack contained what was believed to be ammonium nitrate and spent ammunition for an automatic weapon. The material was reportedly contained in four large ziplock type bags.

Sources also said there were pro-al Qaeda statements found in a notebook that contained mostly notes for a financial class. There was also was a page containing words "al qaeda," "Taliban rules," "mujahidin" and "defeated coalition forces."

The suspect was identified as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va. U.S. Park Police said no charges have been filed against him yet.

He joined the Reserve on Sept 4, 2007, according to the FBI, and is listed as a motor vehicle operator with Combat Engineer Support Company. He had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Selected Marine Corps Reserve medal.

"We are told he had a backpack with five pounds of something labeled ammonium nitrate but as of this juncture, has not passed the test that indicates explosive capacity," New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said today, when asked about the arrest. "It is too early to, I think, draw any conclusions but the investigation obviously is going foward with the federal authorities."

Sources say they haven't found any ties to a terrorist organization.

Police and the media congregated at Melaku's home in Fairfax County, Va. where two people were seen being questioned by authorities and FBI agents. The FBI and Fairfax police were seen huddling in groups and putting police tape to prevent people from entering the area. They went into the townhouse with bomb technicians without a search warrant under the "public safety hazard" issue.

An FBI spokesman would not confirm whether the house was indeed Melaku's or his parents' residence, but did say it's connected to the suspect and there was no safety hazard.

Melaku allegedly told police in Arlington when he was captured that there were other "devices" in the area and also the location of his vehicle. But the FBI said there was no reason to believe other individuals were involved and they believe the suspect acted alone.

Police were investigating a vehicle, a red 2011 Nissan, that contained materials authorities were examining to determine if it was a bomb or other weapon. The material was reportedly neutralized, according to law enforcement spokesmen at the scene.

There are two main types of ammonium nitrate, agriculture and blaster's grade. Ammonium nitrate for agricultural use is widely available but is of a chemical composition that will not easily detonate. Blaster's grade ammonium nitrate is used widely in mining and blasting. It's sale is under license and carefully monitored.

The Pentagon and the surrounding areas were closed to traffic this morning, creating a commuting nightmare.

Source

Marine reservist held in suspicious materials investigation near Pentagon; no explosives found

EILEEN SULLIVAN, ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

9:04 p.m. CDT, June 17, 2011

ARLINGTON, Virginia (AP) A Marine Corps reservist carrying a backpack containing what initially appeared to be bomb-making material was detained near the Pentagon early Friday, but authorities later said the suspicious items were not explosive.

Yonathan Melaku, 22, was discovered after 1 a.m. Friday inside Arlington National Cemetery, several hours after it had closed.

As officials investigated the contents of Melaku's bag and his car parked nearby, roads were closed around the Pentagon, snarling rush hour traffic for hours.

Melaku, a naturalized citizen originally from Ethiopia, was detained for trespassing after becoming uncooperative, authorities said, but hadn't been charged as of Friday night.

Melaku was not believed to have any ties to al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Melaku had a bag with a substance that at least initially was feared to be ammonium nitrate, which can be used in explosives with the correct concentration and is also widely used in fertilizers, according to a second law enforcement official. But the official said there was nothing in Melaku's possession that could have detonated or caused an explosion.

Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the investigation.

The FBI declined to specify what was in the backpack, but said the items were undergoing further testing at the laboratory and that Melaku did not possess any explosives. It was not immediately clear late Friday what any testing showed.

"I can tell you this was not a device and that the products in the backpack are inert," said Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of the counterterrorism unit at the FBI's Washington field office.

Melaku joined the Marine Corps Reserves in September 2007 and is currently listed as a lance corporal and motor vehicle operator with a combat engineer battalion headquartered in Baltimore, according to the FBI. He has received the National Defense Service Medal and the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal. He has not been deployed overseas.

Lt. Col. Francis Piccoli, a spokesman for the Marine Forces Reserve, said Melaku was not on active duty at the time he was detained. He said a quick review of his records showed nothing negative in his background or performance.

Melaku remained in the custody of the U.S. Park Police as investigators in protective white suits and bomb-sniffing dogs went through his brick town-home in suburban Washington.

Melaku was arrested a few weeks ago accused of damaging cars and stealing items from them. His attorney in that case did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

In another incident earlier this week that officials treated as suspicious, a vehicle was pulled over near the Pentagon after the driver appeared to be backing up against traffic. Authorities determined that people inside the vehicle were taking pictures of the Pentagon, and an occupant admitted carrying a gun, said Pentagon police spokesman Chris Layman. The incidents appeared unrelated, he said.

 

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